Shivaree - I Outta Give You a Shot in the Head... Shivaree
I Oughtta Give You a Shot in the Head for Making Me Live in This Dump

Shivaree released its debut disc earlier in the spring, but the album is just catching on now thanks to eerily catchy single "Goodnight Moon."

If you've heard and liked that track (which has gotten a lot of play on WTMX-FM this month), you should definitely pick up the entire album. It features one of the funniest (and longest) titles this year I Oughtta Give You a Shot in the Head for Making Me Live in This Dump.

Shivaree is the brainchild of quirky singer-songwriter Ambrosia Parsley, whose whisperingly sultry, to sassy, to insouciant vocals lead her band through a dozen tracks that mix mood, samples, airy keyboards and sometimes lightly funky guitar riffs. The result is a prism of sound that underscores the offbeat, personal lyrics of Parsley who sings of a "Daring Lousy Guy," a "Pimp" and an "Arlington Girl."

Anyone who remembers the mid-90s band Elysian Fields will want to get their mitts on Shivaree ... like EF, Parsley and company create an exotic atmosphere that sucks you into its world and leaves you sighing for more.

This is one of my favorite discs so far this year perfect for playing in a dark room amid the flickering shadows of a dozen burning candles.


Verbow - White Out Verbow
White Out

Verbow's second album is a stirring, layered collection of sound that knows when to rock, and knows when to stretch out on a tangled bed of cello.

The inventive Chicago quartet got its start back in 1993 when guitarist/vocalist Jason Narducy met up with cellist Alison Chesley at Northwestern University. The duo, then billed as Jason and Alison, played around Chicago for a of couple years and released an album on the local Whitehouse label. But it was the addition of a rhythm section and a new name not to mention the attention of their idol and subsequent mentor Bob Mould (formerly of Sugar and Husker Du) that launched them to the national circuit in 1997 with their signing to Epic and release of the Mould-produced Chronicles.

With White Out, recorded with producer Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins) in Indiana during a blizzard, the band has fully come into its own, offering a range of gently melancholy songs that touch on the territory of Radiohead and Unbelievable Truth ("Garden," "Crest of Mary") and a good batch of its distinctivly unique pounding rock anthems, ("Dying Sun," "New History").

The inclusion of Chesley's sparring cello lines, behind Narducy's quietly evocative vocals, can't help but bring to mind Bob Mould's first solo album; it's no wonder the wunderkind rocker took this band under his wing.

White Out weaves its way through a variety of moods and styles; it's one of those discs that grows on you more with each repeated listen. If you're looking for something with a bit more depth than the latest Britney Spears, check this one out.

You can also catch the band live; they're holding a record release party Saturday at the Double Door in Chicago, and will play an acoustic show at the Starbucks in Schaumburg Aug. 10.