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CD Review: Gogol Bordello's Trans-Continental Hustle 

The Deal: Fifth studio album from gypsy rockers gets a little polish on it from producer Rick Rubin.

The Good: Call it gypsy punk, gypsy rock, folk with an edge or whatever you like – the fact remains that Gogol Bordello is a unique band on the music landscape these days. They combine punk energy with folk-style songwriting and the energy of rock. There's a strong Eastern European influence evident in the violin and accordion that have always been present (as well as singer Eugene Hütz's accent), but the new album also finds some South American hints from Hütz's new country of residence, Brazil. "Uma Menina" finds a good bit of Latin percussion in it. While some tracks are toned-down acoustic numbers, most are ramped-up and energetic that you could only imagine working an audience into a frenzy.

The Bad: While retaining some of the raw energy that has been present on previous albums and in the band's live performances, the album is definitely more polished than previous efforts. However, if you listen closely, you can hear every instrument clearly instead of it being in a big indiscernible muddy mix.

The Verdict: A good portion of the band's appeal is their frantic live show, but the music does its best to capture that without visuals. Hütz has a style as unique as the music as a whole. It's also fun, pure and simple.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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