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Jeffrey Altergott - JPop.com
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Jeffrey Altergott

Jeffrey Altergott

Jeffrey Altergott


Some describe Chicago music scene veteran Jeffrey Altergott as an “Indigo Boy”; others trot out phrases like “funky folkie” or “acoustic space cowboy.” Yes, Altergott sounds as singular as his supple tenor, or his sweet mix of rock, folk and jazz rhythms. And though he loves Aimee Mann, Duncan Sheik and Andrew Bird, he’s truly his own melodic, infectious invention-confection. How appropriate that his fifth and latest disc bears the title “Balloons. Read more on Last.fm
Some describe Chicago music scene veteran Jeffrey Altergott as an “Indigo Boy”; others trot out phrases like “funky folkie” or “acoustic space cowboy.” Yes, Altergott sounds as singular as his supple tenor, or his sweet mix of rock, folk and jazz rhythms. And though he loves Aimee Mann, Duncan Sheik and Andrew Bird, he’s truly his own melodic, infectious invention-confection. How appropriate that his fifth and latest disc bears the title “Balloons.” From the much-lauded 2000 LP “Icarus Grounded” (featured everywhere from the Chicago Tribune to the Discovery Channel) to this cloud-skimming new disc, Altergott always aims high. He yearns to break free, transcend boundaries … and take listeners with him for the ride. Produced by Chicago drummer extraordinaire Chuck Harling and engineered by Mike Hagler (Wilco, Neko Case, Lloyd Maines), “Balloons” gathers 11 songs, played by the crack trio The Whole Fantastic World. Harling and Nashville young-’uns Daniel Sherron (guitars) and Craig Hamilton (bass) are joined on “Balloons” by prominent guests including horn deity Paul Von Mertens (arranger-bandleader, Brian Wilson) and Chicago folk chanteuse Heather Perry. On the glorious title track, Jeffrey captures the contradictions we feel as soaring souls stuffed in flesh-and-blood cages: “Maybe if I can embrace/ things about myself I hate/ it would be less a coffin and more a womb.” Altergott sounds meditative and hopeful on “Dandelion,” a post-Paisley trip that blends electric piano and phased guitar like wild sprouts bursting from dark earth. Closer to reality—reality TV, that is—Altergott takes on tabloid journalism with rapier wit and a kickass beat in “Dismal”: “You’ve got reality/ You’ve got the hospital/ You’ve the crime-scene drama/ Could it be that we’re addicted to trauma?” “Balloons” picks up where his tender 2007 acoustic predecessor “Don't Be a Stranger” left off—but with just the right dashes of rock-your-ass-off swagger and playful shuffle that marked Altergott’s 2004 release, “Runt.” Altergott fleshes out two songs from “Stranger” with startling results.

“Every Day Is A Reason” grafts earnest lyrics about the struggles of a gay couple onto a free-gallop backbeat: “Sticks and stones may break our bones/ We’re still a family anyway.” On the more whimsical side, “Kickstand”—filled to the brim with those juicy Mertens horns—sounds like it was channeled from an enchanted swing-era radio in an antique shop corner. Altergott has garnered high praise from the likes of WXRT-FM deejay Richard Milne (as a “Local Anesthetic” capsule pick), the Chicago Reader, and LinuxTag—which handpicked the title song from “Icarus Grounded” for its first OpenSource compilation CD, released in Europe. If you seek a smart, engaging interviewee who can talk about almost anything, from the spiritual thrust of his songs to electrical engineering (yes, Altergott built his own recording studio), then contact Justin Brown or Emily Lichter at public emily to set up an interview about the making of “Balloons,” by far his most engaging, challenging record to date. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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