Music Briefs: Pepper Rabbit, Emmy the Great, Jose Conde, Bell

Music Briefs are provided by DJs from KXUA 88.3 FM, a student-run radio station broadcasting out of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. KXUA is a non-profit station dedicated to serving the NWA community with the most eclectic blend of music possible. Listen online at

Pepper Rabbit – Red Velvet Snow Ball

Label: Kanine Records (2011)
Genres: Indie Pop
Sounds Like: Architecture in Helsinki, Gruff Rhys

Review by TG Keas, KXUA Music Director

This album was a breath of fresh air. Even though I put a lot of effort into posturing about originality and uniqueness in music, the sheer indie pop-ness of this one was overwhelming. Silly name? Check. Beautiful, swirly-huge studio sound with a million instruments? Check. Breathless fun? Check, check, and check. The paragon levels of these elements – not to mention the craftsmanship exhibited in its construction — really pushed this one into the stratosphere for me. Unfortunately, Pepper Rabbit’s songs don’t seem to have the staying power that would have granted it immediate ascent into the Indie Pantheon. While the headspaces are nothing short of awe-inspiring, it’s the style that is lording over Red Velvet Snow Ball, not the substance of songwriting.

Emmy the Great – Virtue

Label: Close Harbour (2011)
Genre: Folk
Sounds Like: Buffy Sainte-Marie (poetically not musically), Noah & the Whale, Laura Marling

Review by Ginny Garber

While boisterous songs so often screech across the airwaves filling minds with nonsense, powerful messages pass by under the cloak of a soft voice. Emmy the Great (of London) uses her subtlety of song to debunk all the Man-sustained notions of permanence, property, and the pursuit of finite resources, not to mention the patriarchal view of women as either houses or queens. Great kudos to the songwriter who can successfully deliver a song named “Dinosaur Sex.”

Jose Conde – Jose Conde

Label: PiPiKi Records (2011)
Genres: World, Cuban Alternative
Sound Like: Manu Chao, Jack Johnson

Review by Stephanie Sullivan

Cuban musician Jose Conde recorded his self titled album in his Brooklyn, NY home studio. The poetic tracks on this release are earthy and fun. Tracks vary in style exhibiting the diverse sounds that Conde is capable of producing. The music is passionate, loving, gentle, happy at times and moody during others. Just a lovely album!

Bell – Diamonite

Label: Relapse (2011)
Genre: Synthpop, Dream pop
Sound Like: Azure Ray, Cranes

Review by José Bonilla

Bell’s Diamonite is slam packed with positively mixed poppy tracks. This nice dose of dreamy electronica matched with nice vocals can revive anyone’s soul to the synthpop genre. If you haven’t heard anything interesting in a while, give this album a listen and I promise you will enjoy it.