You can't totally fault these Brunswick guys for having a singer whose thin, hoarse vocals are about as abrasive as nails on the proverbial chalkboard. After all, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, whom Remora singer-guitarist Bill Scheutzow echoes, didn't have great pipes in the traditional sense. So while Scheutzow really stretches his range on the strident opening tune, "Pearl," and on the ragged rocker "Hypocrite," he's better off on the quiet opening to "Faded Star," where he passionately croons "I'm not gonna change/I'm stuck this way." In fact, "Faded Star" is the one song that deviates from noisy guitars/chorus/more noisy guitars approach, something the young band might want to exploit when it decides to follow up this uneven debut. - Jeff Niesel Remora performs with the Hey Yoos, the Setbacks and Yield On Mars at 6 p.m. Saturday, January 17, at the Agora Ballroom (5000 Euclid Ave., 216.881.2221). Tickets: $9.
The Natural Progression of Things
Back in the days of Soul II Soul and Digable Planets, mixing jazz and hip-hop beats was commonplace and yielded some pretty terrific albums. Now, in our Auto-Tuned age of disposable hip-hop heroes, that's not the case. So it's refreshing to hear this Cleveland crew pull off an organic jazz/hip-hop blend so effortlessly on The Natural Progression of Things. Featuring everything from chilled-out slow jams ("Dirty Go-Go") to intricate narratives ("The Beautiful Nobodies"), this six-man act (anchored by DJ Ceven) takes a fresh approach. That it packs this disc with a total of 22 tracks (only the goofball prologue is inessential) suggests it's got ideas to spare as well. - Niesel