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JigGsaw  Zero Generation
There's an essential part of the “indie rock” equation that's gotten lost in recent years: the “rock” part of the genre. While the world's overflowing with indie-popsters with an ear for gooey melodies and gentle dynamics, the great tradition of hot-and-sweaty indie rock's slowly being squeezed out of the picture.

JigGsaw bucks the trend for fey and cuddly indie rock and builds on the traditions of its Champaign, Ill. hometown to deliver a debut that's chock full of big riffs, big energy and all the indie-rock independence and smarts of its late-'90s predecessors such as Sarge, Hum and Corndolly. Although Zero Generation leans as much toward the snarky power-pop of acts such as The Divorce or The Lashes as much as the heyday of Midwestern indie rock, it's apparent the band's much more infatuated with Champaign’s spot as indie-rock hotspot than any of the more pop-addled indie that's so popular these days.

Although big melodies abound on Zero Generation, JigGsaw's as concerned with kicking out the jams as pleasing your sweet tooth. “Holly Brown” is a sexy romp through blazing-guitar power pop that sits between the power pop of Weezer and Ultimate Fakebook and hard-rock alternative acts like Weezer. “Breathe” and “Mona Lisa’s Mirror” don't break any power-pop rules, though the crunchy guitar distortion and revved-up dynamics push the band into realms of rock’n’roll despite the big melodies. “A Fair Warning to an Under Age Lover” checks mid-'70s guitar rock as well as modern pop, for a boogie-woogie, riff-driven feel.

Now that tight T-shirts and bedhead rule the indie-pop scene, JigGsaw revives the original notion of indie rock: independence from any scene. While that certainly won’t land the band on any upcoming O.C. soundtracks, it makes for some fun listening. It’s a godsend for anyone who’s concerned that indie rock is slowly losing its independence.

- Matt Schild

Big Takeover #57
Textbook The Great Salt Creek
The antecedents of Textbook stem from a chap by the name of Dave Lysien, former vocalist and commandeer of Chicago's smartest pop-punk of the '90s Not Rebecca, whom Textbook in no small part bear an uncanny resemblance. Across 11 cuts, Textbook brandish the dexterous aplomb of Hey Mercedes, Ted Leo, and even The Replacements, minus the "it" band quotient. A hipster's wet dream they're not but aficionados of ringing, indie-guitar rock, fleshed out with a touch of rootsy abandon, will surely appreciate the fact that Textbook are sincerely in it for the tunes." - Neal Agnete

Build Your Own Scene
Textbook Live
Textbook played last. They are a rock and roll (Brian described them as power pop) band from Chicago. These guys kicked a lot of ass. Their drummer was going wild the whole time and so was their guitar player. It didn't take long for them to get us going. Everyone in the bar was movin' and groovin to the music. I must have been groovin pretty damn hard cuz my kneck is very soar as I write this. They were all very cool guys as well. You can check out their stuff at and make sure to catch them when they come to your town. - Brent Houzenga

Illinois Entertainer
Textbook The Great Salt Creek
Despite his punk pedigree as former frontman of Not Rebecca, Dave Lysien's new band, Textbook, forsakes blistering sonic blasts for thoughtful, deliberate ditties. The group's latest recording, The Great Salt Creek, brims with buoyant indie-pop paeans, most notably "Dear You, Dear" and the engaging "Find My Way Back Home." A few of the 11 tracks bare hints of the songwriter's loud-and-fast past, but even those numbers are surprisingly introspective, resulting in a varied and altogether entertaining effort.
- Jeff Berkwits, Illinois Entertainer

Jersey Beat
Textbook The Great Salt Creek
Textbook plays a type of looking-back rock that really will draw listeners back to those halcyon days when bands like Mineral and Jets To Brazil had the hearts and minds of every hipster. The energy in which the band opens up the disc, coupled with the smooth, memorable vocals of Dave Lysien is a perfect ploy to draw listeners into the more nuanced style that dominates tracks like "Dear You, Dear". The instrumentation present on tracks like "Dear You, Dear" is intense; with so many layers present, listeners of all types and of all styles will find something to connect with. Adding a twinge of irony to the title track with the ZZ Top meets 38 Special guitars, Textbook nonetheless subjugates this diverse style into their own distinctive sound. The track, which does seem to move more towards the country-rock of Molly Hatchet and Three Dog Night, really modifies Textbook's sound ever so slightly to something that is appreciative of the alt-country movement (bands like Uncle Tupelo). Overall, a fun disc that will win individuals over through its radio-friendly sound, strong instrumentation, and soulful lyrics.

Empme Music Blog
Textbook The Great Salt Creek
Textbook formed in 1999, a year after the split up of Not Rebecca. At the time though I was living in Houston, TX and Textbook didn’t cross my path until about a year ago when they opened the Colossal record release show where I picked up the band’s debut CD. Self-released it was a solid mix of power-pop melodies a la Material Issue and gravelly vocals adding a rawness that seemed to counteract the sweetness of the melodies in just the right way. My biggest problem with that record was that I was not ready for it. I was still living in my post-Not Rebecca mourn (yes, it has been going on for that long) and held this Textbook album up to that standard. I wouldn’t place that as a flaw against the album so much as it was my own flaw, but none-the-less the CD didn’t receive much time in my stereo.

Fast forward to the present. I’ve had time absorb the first album. I’ve been able to separate the past and the present. My mind is cleared and the arrival of Textbook’s second album is a very welcome surprise. I’m not sure if it sounds better because it IS better or if I am just more open to an all Dave, no Tom record. Either way the record is sitting high with me. What I can say about it is that while stylistically the album hasn’t changed much from the last one, but everything has been turned up a notch. The songwriting has definitely progressed, showing a band that’s much more comfortable playing together and recording together. The vocal performance is the best that Dave has ever done. The production fits the mood of the songs rather than the songs trying to fit into the production.
Lenka Dusilova U n E a r t h E d
On albums, Dusilova sounds Dido-like, yet live her voice is richer, rounder, and edgier--like a saner PJ Harvey. Note that Dusilova is the recipient of the equivalent of the Czech Grammy, denoting her popularity in Eastern Europe. Slavic popular music emphasizes different elements from American music, most significantly the element of lyrics because of the long history of censorship in these regions. Accordingly, Dusilova's music showcases the vocal melody. Although one may question the relatability factor of English-speakers listening to mostly Czech-language lyrics, Dusilova communicates beyond the linguistic barrier. Dusilova is an example of the stuff that stars are made of: charisma. She struggles with English, but her voice and demeanor radiate warmth, serenity, sensuality and moodiness. The music aside from Dusilova's vocals is super-mellow, but terse--every note change is significant.

Impact Press
Sheilbound Counting On Abacus
I think it's time to create a new genre. Let me introduce you to ... Emo-punk. Oh, let me guess, it's been around forever, right? Uh-huh. Well, this is the first time I've heard it and if the rest of it is like Sheilbound then thank you, sir, may I have another? This is really cool and has been in my rotation for the past few weeks now. If you don't like in your face, balls to the wall punk but still want that rock-out vibe with a pinch of indie/emo rock, this is it.

Aaron J. Poehler
ParkScene 14
Park has a definite thing about the past. Not only do the lyrics of most of the songs on Scene 14 resonate with images and memories of times long gone by ("And I can still remember nights filled with forty-fives…Summer was the best thing that happened to me/Class of Coleco vision of a stereo") but they dubbed more vinyl noise onto this CD than I think I've ever heard on a digital disc, including Bob Mould's self-titled album. They must really have wanted this to be a 12" piece of black plastic, but surveys and studies show the vast majority of people don't have the hardware, so it wasn't to be. However, it may actually be more fitting that the album appear on CD because as much as they wistfully look back, the songs dwell firmly in the present--they may wish you could live in the past, but they are all-too-aware that you can't ("You can only rethink memories so much", also from "Class of Coleco"). The music is that college-brand of time-signature-shifting riff-based punk-inflected rock, but a sense of melody guides the noise and constrains it in the service of the songs; similarly, the wailing, passionate vocals may wander off pitch but succeed at carrying the emotion across even if the tune gets a bit bent. Scene 14 doesn't reinvent college-rock or anything, but it's a good sight better than one might expect.

Impact Press
Park Scene 14
Fans of emo should get this disk. The music has a consistent catchiness through each song, be it aggressive or passive. The whole CD is so good it rises above any hint of pretension. It's nice to hear something that gives back to you.

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