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Longtime local music maven Dan Pavelich has joined us at Racine County Eye. Look for Dan’s weekly CD and LP reviews, Quick Spins, as well as news about local musicians, gigs, and recordings of interest.

Slaughter Party
The After Party (SP)

Local band Slaughter Party is one prolific group. Earlier this year, they released their powerful “Psychos In Love,” which combined the macabre silliness of horror comics and movies, with the sonic energy of proto-punkers The Ramones. “The After Party” is an able sequel, combining short sketches with frantic band performances.

What I really take a liking to is the way that this production unfolds like a creepy radio horror drama. It’s sort of like a vintage Scooby-Doo episode, where clever, catchy punk songs score monster-filled chase scenes. Bassist Ray Gallo, guitarist Will MacKenzie, and drummer Jared Nehmer were absolutely made for each other. Gallo sings “I got these roaches in my smile, hey, man, how’s that for style,” in “Buggin’ Out,” which can only be described as an ode to decomposition. Good, scary fun.

Ace Frehley
Spaceman (E1)

While Kiss fans speculate if Ace Frehley will return for select dates on their upcoming farewell tour, Frehley is quite content to carry on without his former bandmates. His 2014 release, “Space Invader,” stands as the biggest selling solo record from a former member of Kiss. “Spaceman” looks to continue that trend.

As you might expect, this is straight-forward rock and roll. Backed by stellar session drummer Anton Fig and even Gene Simmons on a few tracks, Ace has never sounded better. Whether he’s going all-out on his own “Rockin’ With The Boys,” or covering Eddie Money’s “I Wanna Go Back,” The Spaceman is firing on all cylinders. Highly recommended.

Joel Paterson
Hi-Fi Christmas Guitar (Bloodshot)

I have to admit, I took a listen to this record because the cover looked so cool. Upon further inspection, I was pleasantly surprised to find a first-rate holiday platter that owes as much to Chet Atkins and Les Paul as it does jolly old Saint Nicholas. Played and produced with a nod to twangy instrumental outings of the past, “Hi-Fi Christmas Guitar” hits all the right notes.

Paterson is well-known around the Chicago area as a member of the kitchy Western Elstons, and a guitarist of considerable skill. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” is a real toe-tapper here, as Paterson channels the fore-mentioned Les Paul with nifty trills dripping with nostalgia. Other standouts include the tremolo-soaked “Blue Christmas,” and a beautifully dreamy version of “Christmas Time Is Here.” Excellent!

Soon to be released

Andrea Bocelli/Si (Sony)
Pentatonix/Christmas Is Here ! (RCA)
John Legend/A Legendary Christmas (Columbia)
Josh Turner/I Serve A Savior (MCA)
David Crosby/Here If You Listen (BMG)
Robyn/Honey (Cherrytree)
William Shatner/Shatner Claus (Cleopatra)
Celtic Women/Ancient Land (Manhattan)
Chevelle/12 Bloody Spies: B-sides and Rarities (Epic)
Jessie J/This Christmas Day (Lava)
Nas/Nasir (Mass Appeal)
KC & The Sunshine Band/A Sunshine Christmas (BFD)
Various Artists/Have Yourself A Swingin’ Little Christmas (BF)

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