By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Singer and guitarist Kip Loui has served time in bands such as Belle Starr and the Rockhouse Ramblers, playing country- and folk-indebted songs across St. Louis. But for the past few years Loui has led the Transmitters, a quintet that mixes the grit of alt-country with the rhythm and drive of soul music.
The band's second album Receiver gives a good picture of the Transmitters' rootsy approach. Loui's voice is strong and clear but not particularly nuanced; he sounds the same singing the beach-blanket rave-up "Broken Parts" as he does the love-gone-wrong mea culpa "Place Inbetween" (although his straight-ahead style works for these straight-ahead songs). Jon Parsons' keyboards carry much of the weight throughout Receiver, with rich Hammond organ tones providing percussive attacks and mellow backgrounds as needed. His keys turn the good luck/goodbye break-up tune "Nice Try" into a Blues Brothers rave-up while mimicking the see-saw rhythms of the Rascals' "Good Lovin,'" and his plaintive electric piano adds a nice coda to the dark, bluesy "Equal Measures." The rest of the band provides an able frame for these songs — especially lead guitarist Mike Young, who gives the right amount of raunch and bite to his solos. And Jason Hutto's production captures the right amount of gristle, while allowing the layers of these songs to emerge.— Christian Schaeffer
9 p.m. Friday, December 28. Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City. $5. 314-727-4444. Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o The Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.