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CD Reviews: The latest from Nik & the Central Plains and other local acts 

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Nik & the Central Plains
Walk on Beaches
(Self-released)

The locals return with an eclectic mix of guitar rock and alt-folk. At times, Nik Westman, who normally channels Neil Young and '90s alt-country, finds a space that's a bit closer to Pavement. Rockers like the title track and "Trash Can Fire" tread aggressive territory with lyrics that verge on silly (but not bad), and Westman shines in simpler tunes like the infectious and pretty "Shade of Blue."

By Andy Mulkerin

Nik & the Central Plains release shows April 22-23, Thunderbird Café, 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville.

 

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JD Eicher & the Goodnights
Shifting
(Self-released)

This quartet deliberately shifts among pop styles, with friendly, sometimes gentle melodies and frequent suggestions of folk music as well as hints of self-acknowledged influences from The Beatles, the Dave Matthews Band and David Gray. A kind of gentle innocence pervades, as if not trying to grab you as it passes by, but hoping you'll be touched; most of the lamenting words pine for moved-on love.

By Gordon Spencer

JD Eicher & the Goodnights release show April 29, Hard Rock Café, Station Square.

 

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Bare Branches
Haunts
(Self-released)

Well-written (and craftily packaged) indie rock from the Butler band formerly known as Hand Drawn Mountains. The band makes oblique references to its members' Christian faith; if that turns you off, you might stay away, but they never proselytize, so most folks shouldn't be bugged. Lush, epic songs of longing and growing up, with deep, charismatic vocals. Well done.

By Andy Mulkerin

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