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German Shepherd
Legends of Olde
(Lock & Key Collective)

The debut from scene vets (members of Knot Feeder, Submachine, late-era Don Caballero). Much of what you'd expect from a band with such a pedigree: heavy guitar rock, technical proficiency (verging sometimes on prog-style riffage), epic atmosphere and wailing vocals from Jason Jouver. Heartfelt and melodic, it's not necessarily what's "in" right now, but it's a great album. -- Andy Mulkerin

German Shepherd CD release show: 9:30 p.m. Sat., April 30. Smiling Moose, 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. 412-431-4668

 

Caleb Pogyor
I'm Talking to You
(Self-released)

Pogyor's gently psychedelic rockers are plenty ambitious; "Yer Pistol" opens with a uniquely twisted groove, takes a Beatles-y detour then ends in a noisy Pink Floyd vamp. Rootsier songs like "The River" and "Fool's Gold" nod to Neil Young-style guitar heroics. The CD contains some misses and sounds thin at times, but Pogyor's thinking big. -- Aaron Jentzen

 

Hipster Deathmachine
Scared of Ponies EP
(Self-released)

Hipster Deathmachine's EP suggests a fun party band: sodden metal riffs, skronky horns, the occasional "jazz" chord and Frank Cunniff's entreating punky vocals. What else can we really say? The band chooses to kick off one song with a beery belch and ends its EP with a Rage Against the Machine cover. Mystifying. -- Aaron Jentzen

 

Brad Yoder
Excellent Trouble
(Self-released)

The supremely talented Yoder straddles the line between wordy, literate folksinger and smooth, easy-adult contemporary artist. At times, that genre liminality is a problem; heady folk-song topics benefit from an energy that Yoder's soft-rock arrangements, while lovely, lack. A committed listener can find plenty of rewards in Yoder's musicianship and topical lyrics, but I fear the hooks that could draw in more casual fans are missing this time. -- Andy Mulkerin

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