The Challenger Deep – S/T

The Challenger Deep – S/T / 2007 Self / 5 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/thechallengerdeep

The Challenger Deep introduce themselves with “Historian”, a track that has a very tempestuous and chaotic flow. In a way, the instrumentation that takes place before the vocals kick in seem like a more jacked up version of At The Drive-In. The style of The Challenger Deep is not easy to categorize. There are hints of hardcore, hard rock, metal, and even grunge and punk in the band’s thrashy, gritty style. “Convent Station” removes some of this grit and focuses the band energy into something that resembles some of the Dischord post-punk, as well as The Replacements and Husker Du. Continue reading “The Challenger Deep – S/T”

Okay Paddy – Where You Went?

Okay Paddy – Where You Went? / 2007 Prison Jazz / 5 Tracks / http://www.okaypaddy.com /

Okay Paddy play a brand of rock music during their “Dumbwater” that blends together acts like Weezer with Matthew Sweet to create a sound that is very well located in the mid to late nineties alternative rock genres. Unlike Weezer, there seems to be a little more energy in the arrangements during tracks like “Dumbwater”. This added energy flies in the face of the ironic type of apathy brought to the table by bands of Weezer’s ilk. Throwing in a horn at the end of the track, Okay Paddy further distinguish themselves from their influences. Continue reading “Okay Paddy – Where You Went?”

Jesea Hoop – Kismet

Jesea Hoop – Kismet / 2007 Sony / 3 Tracks / http://www.jescahoop.com / http://www.columbiarecords.com /

This “EP” version starts out with “Seed of Wonder”, a track that blows away any conception that I might have had about Hoop before playing this disc. There are so many instrumental and vocal layers in this track that individuals can be satisfied one of twelve different ways. In much the same way, Hoop et al change things up considerably a number of times during the track, while still being able to subjugate the disparate elements of the track into a cohesive introduction. Continue reading “Jesea Hoop – Kismet”

Oreskaband – S/T

Oreskaband – S/T / 2006 Sony / 6 Tracks / http://www.oreskaband.com / http://www.sony.com /

As one can likely game from the band’s name, what Oreskaband play is a brand of ska that is in the same vein as a Mighty Mighty Bosstones or a Reel Big Fish. The first track on the disc is “Pantime”, and it is a quick, barely-minute long track that gives individuals some sort of context for the rest of the EP. “Yeah! Ska Dance” is more of the same ska fare, with the Asiatic-tinted vocals giving a little bit of a Puffy Ami Yumi sound to this well-tread genre. “Pinocchio” marks the middle of this EP, and it continues with much of the same style and sounds that have previously been established by Oreskaband to this point.

By the time that “Pinocchio” finishes, it feels as if Oreskaband is in a little bit of a rut. Sure, the tracks are all catchy and fun, but none of the subsequent tracks on this EP give listeners anything in the way of different approaches or nuances to the band’s sound. The band is able to put together interesting tracks, butt there is just not enough in the way of variation to keeps fans interested even with this shortened runtime. For the band’s next release, there has to be much more in the way of variation to keep things interesting.

“Monkey Man” has a clapping chorus that changes things up, but even this gives up the ghost much too quickly. While it is always interesting to see a Japanese band go forth and get a little bit of fame in the United States, Oreskaband is ultimately forgettable. Give them another listen for their next album, but skip this release. Sorry, girls, but there just is not enough interesting here to keep individuals focused in for the entirety of this disc.

Top Track: Pinocchio

Rating: 3.0/10

Mello Mello – An Abstract Love Story

Mello Mello – An Abstract Love Story / 2007 Mello-Soul / 16 Tracks / http://www.mello-soul.com /

Mello Mello have a pretty good description of their general sound in their act’s name. What results from tracks like their eponymous opening track is something that resembles Jodeci, Tony Toni Tone, or even Boyz II Men. “Tha Best Thing 4 U Iz Me” has a much more current type of sound, and this R&B meets rap flow could easily be on an Usher, UGK, or Outkast album, despite each influence representing a different part of the track. Continue reading “Mello Mello – An Abstract Love Story”

Chip Raman – Edge of a Song

Chip Raman – Edge of a Song / 2007 Rosebud / http://www.chipraman.com /

It has been quite a while since a straight-forward chap with a guitar sounded this was. Individuals will hear a lot of the sixties (Neil Young, Bob Dylan) in Raman’s style. Obviously, Young or Dylan never said anything about opening up their Nokia, but the style of Raman is unmistakenly influenced by these two giants of rock. “The Post It Note” discusses a phone conversation between Raman and god, and this track only becomes more impressive when Raman modifies his vocals to achieve a higher register. Continue reading “Chip Raman – Edge of a Song”

Dave Sasscer – Quiet Mind

Dave Sasscer – Quiet Mind / 2007 Self / 10 Tracks / http://www.davesasscer.com /

Dave Sasscer is the lynchpin of the eponymous project that released “Quiet Mind” this year. Joining Sasscer are the Mojo Conga Jam, a group of talented musicians that have spent time in the supporting acts of the Indigo Girls, Shaun Mullins, Omar Hakim, and Hiram Bullock. The first track on “Quiet Mind” is “(When) She’s in Love With Me”, and shows Sasscer et al as individuals that appreciate nineties rock. Of course, the style of music that is present during “Love With Me” is something fresh and current, but one cannot deny the nineties influences – bands such as the Counting Crows and Chris Isaak – that give the overall sound further coloration. Continue reading “Dave Sasscer – Quiet Mind”

Lorrie Ruiz – Chewy

Lorrie Ruiz – Chewy / 2007 Self / 10 Tracks / http://www.chewyonline.com /

The funk meets jazz sound of “Slipping Away” gives first-time listeners to Lorrie Ruiz a good grounding in the styles that will present themselves throughout “Chewy”. While Ruiz does craft a sound that is rooted heavily in earlier music styles, the resulting music does not sound dated in the least. Instead, the allure of a “Slipping Away” is that individuals of all ages can find something that they can get behind during this track. “Blind Eye” slows things down but Ruiz’ intensity takes a step forward. Rather than resting on her laurels, Ruiz’s vocals take on a new path when they are distorted considerably for “Blind Eye”. Continue reading “Lorrie Ruiz – Chewy”

Onesidezero – S/T

Onesidezero – S/T / 2007 Corporate Punishment / 13 Tracks / http://www.onesidezero.com / http://www.corporatepunishment.com /
Onesidezero start off their self-titled album with a musically heavy track in “Carry Your Gun”. When the band throws the vocals into the mix, what results is something that does not mesh completely. The vocals struggle to approximate the roughness of the instrumentation. This means that there are two distinct threads present in this opening track that does not help the band create a cohesive, album-spanning sound. Despite the fact that Onesidezero does start off with this sub-optimum output, there are flashes and moments of brilliance during “Carry Your Gun”. “Breath” is a track that messes with the tempo in much the same way as a System of a Down, but the vocals and guitar work that are present during the opening track do not have the same allure that Serj et al brought to “Steal This Album” and other releases. Continue reading “Onesidezero – S/T”

John Phillips – Jack Of Diamonds

John Phillips – Jack Of Diamonds / 2007 Phoenix / http://www.varesevintage.com /

This album marks music from John Phillips’ “Jack of Diamonds”. For those that might not know, this was a previously unreleased album that marked music that Phllips created from 1972 and 1973, and was unreleased for whatever reason.  Varese Vintage here has not only committed the disc to the CD format, but has added 5 new tracks, whether they be live or retooled versions of Mamas and Papas songs (“Honeymoon (No Dough)) or songs that were rare for whatever reason. “Devil’s On The Loose is the first track on “Jack of Diamonds”, and the track confuses me. Continue reading “John Phillips – Jack Of Diamonds”