Mike Maimone

Pretty Pictures EP

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The windy city barrelhouse piano man is back, a year after his kickin' and snortin' mix of Dr. John, Tom Waits, and Randy Newman: the bleary-eyed and gin-soaked Open Mic Nights, Empty Bottle Mornings. Maybe he awoke dry-mouthed and headachy, because these four tunes are even more cantankerously impolite, with our boy hissing, seething, and growling like Screamin' Jay Hawkins in the graveyard, busting out bits of swamp blues and mean-dog New Orleans voodoo R&B (see the bitterly titled "Trust"). Being a "recovered accountant" (good one), he's an informed source to decry tricks employed by them to cheat workers, and his new bassist Bob Buckstaff and drummer Chris Faller rumble behind his pumpin' piano jive like men who suspect they'll be similarly stiffed by the club owner. The "last call" barroom blues of "Uncivilized" is a good chaser, too.

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