by Nathan Cardiff

When he’s not belting out tunes with Dean Monkey & The Dropouts or shredding with Oils, multi-instrumentalist Christopher Luxem (aka CS) is producing some of the best experimental rock on the scene. He has a devastating voice (somewhere between choir crooner and southern folky) which comforts the soul and chills your spine. His latest release, June Igloo, is a strong collection highlighting his terrific vocals and also his wide-range of musical influences. The record starts with the loopy, spacey “For Now” before getting into the fun and light “Goat Ghost.” The harmonies will keep you cool on the warmest of these summer days. “Richland Silt” is a weird, folk-infused tune that gets your toe-tapping instantly. A peculiar track with lyrics like “Frog in the swimming pool, frog under your tire/But we just like amphibians, will too one day expire” that make you grin, if only for how sweet and carefree they appear to be until the heaviness gets to you.

The powerhouse tracks on the record are partnered right in the middle; “Looking For” is the hypnotizing, harmony driven juggernaut that has all the time in the world. It’s in no rush and has no reason to be. A beautiful track that gives the vocals free range over the stunning guitar. “With The Dogs” has a tropical feel to it, breezy and danceable; the awesome guitar and drums will get you moving quick. Luxem is quick to switch genres again with the road trip rocker “Born Down Bobby,” my favorite track on June Igloo. He howls the lyrics over the jangly guitar and the energy from this song bursts forward with a wonderful aggression. As soon as it ends though, we are switching directions again; the melancholic “Bank Robbing Son of a Bitch” is a spooky and brief tale and a perfect ending to the record.

Luxem is accompanied by Andrew Frederick and Mark Osman of Oils for these songs and June Igloo was recorded at Seedco Studios (which, in my opinion, continues the streak of solid releases that have been recorded in the space); the chemistry between these three really gives the record a tight feel, even in the experimental pieces. Luxem is all over the place, but it’s exciting and refreshing, not exhausting. He keeps you guessing and the surprise of what’s coming next is always thrilling.

Favorite Tracks: “Goat Ghost” & “Born Down Bobby”

by Nathan Cardiff