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New releases from Venus in Furs, Lenny Smith, The Hawkeyes and Safe from Exposure

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Venus in Furs
Red

(Self-released)

Dark, aggressive synth-and-guitar rock from the longtime locals. The CD kicks off with a cover of the Velvet Underground song for which the band is named; if you can hang with an electro-industrial take on that classic, you might go for the whole album. The moodiness feels put-on at times, but that's symptomatic of the genre. Some blistering guitar work is a highlight. 

-- Andy Mulkerin

 

Lenny Smith
Southern Style

(Self-released)

Eleven tracks of old-style blues-rock with some eclectic world and folk influences thrown in. Great guitar work, mostly middling vocals and lyrical content. The Alabama-born Smith is at his best when he lets go and rocks it out.

-- Andy Mulkerin

 

LENNY SMITH CD RELEASE. 7 p.m. Fri. Nov. 18. Club Café, 56 S. 12th St., South Side. $7. 412-431-4950

 

The Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes

(Self-released)

The Hawkeyes frequently compare themselves to Neil Young and Crazy Horse, but on this four-song EP, the apparently hard-drinkin' alt-country Americana outfit from Youngstown, Ohio, falls somewhere between Copperhead Road-era Steve Earle and Lost Highway-era Bon Jovi.  But, er, a little closer to the Bon Jovi side.

-- Margaret Welsh

 

Safe from Exposure
Alive

(Self-released)

Some reference points for this full-length would include Christopher Cross-style soft rock and Owl City-type contemporary stuff. Impeccable recording (these two guys are clearly gearheads) and great vocals; super weird and maybe slightly anachronistic songwriting. Not bad!

-- Andy Mulkerin

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