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  Listen Up! 3/14/03 Listen Up!

Friday, Mar. 14

Willie Nile, “Hard Times in America,” Polaris Records. Eleven years ago, Nile released this five-song EP as a stop-gap between albums that turned out to be several years apart. The gem of this collection is “Sorry,” a spritely pop song of apology for kicking teeth in and smashing guitars, because “I just love you.” Somehow, when he sings it, it sounds funny and cute, and not horrifying. It’s all about exagerration. Nile is one of the least appreciated great songwriters of the last twenty-five years. This is a minor work, but worth hearing.

Erik Voeks, “Sandbox,” Rockville Records. This was basically a St. Louis band in the early 90s, and somehow I never saw them play or heard this record before today. There are some good songs and some weak songs here. There is a lot of impeccable musicianship delivering some solid power pop on this record. I think I need to hear it some more to really decide what I think. The weakest songs are the first few cuts, strangely enough.

--Steve Pick

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