HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE, CHRISTIAN MISTRESS, SPELLCASTER
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Any Hammers of Misfortune album could stand up against the soundtrack for a major Broadway musical. HOM's sense of the dramatic and thematic make it easy to envision the band's music accompanying a grand stage production with interpretive dance, extravagant costumes, and exaggerated gestures and emotions. 17th Street, the band's most recent opus, has nine grandiose rock/metal compositions that could make even Andrew Lloyd Webber sweat. "Summer Tears" has the romantic, drunken swagger of a Ziggy Stardust tune with a chorus that's straight from The Phantom of the Opera, while "The Day the City Died" sounds off with exuberant big-top riffs and piano that emulate Queen perfectly. There's plenty of heaviness that goes along with all the pomp, but Hammers of Misfortune are clearly thespians at heart. ARIS WALES Also, read our article on Christian Mistress.
THE GROUCH, ZION I, ELIGH, EVIDENCE, DJ FRESH
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) I discovered Evidence the same way you did—as one third of underground vets Dilated Peoples. (The KutMasta Kurt-laced "Work the Angles" still gives me that face.) Even still, I always thought Rakaa was my favorite of the two emcees; in retrospect, this might just be due to our slight resemblance. Ever since Ev's 2007 solo debut, The Weatherman, though, I had to eat my words; his halting syllables, once kind of annoying to me, had coalesced into a bold cadence (as on the epic declaration "Mr. Slow Flow"). His voice, once dry as dust to me, now sounds like one of the last great hiphop monotones, used in pursuit of style, as opposed to total lack of. If only his "Chase the Clouds Away" had real weather-altering properties. Remember to take your vitamin D, people. LARRY MIZELL JR.