The Spoken X – Wild Child

The Spoken X – Wild Child / 2007 Metro / 13 Tracks / http://www.thespokenx.com /

The title track to “Wild Child” just exudes cool. From the spoken narrative that starts out the track (think the opening to “Shaft”) and the ropy, cop-drama bass line present, and an individual would have a good idea of what The Spoken X are trying to do with this album. Instead of just sticking with that one sound for the entirety of the track, an electronic influence pushes its’ way a number of times. The vocals provide the thread that is weaved through the entirety of “Wild Child”, and the band does well in linking earlier and more current styles into a cohesive and current track. Continue reading “The Spoken X – Wild Child”

Alaria Taylor – Bread or Water

Alaria Taylor – Bread or Water / 2007 Self / 5 Tracks / http://www.alariataylor.com

Alaria Taylor is perhaps the most decorated musician that you have never heard. Among these accolades are winning the VH-1 Song of the Year Contest and the Billboard Magazine World Song Contest. The five tracks that are on “Bread or Water” show the reason why Taylor has received all of these accolades. While the guitars start off strongly during “Nobody Else Like You”, it is the Heart-like vocals of Taylor that come to dominance during the track. The high energy of the arrangements during this song lay the foundation for a compelling and intense EP. Aside from the vocals, the linkages present between the different instruments are something to admire; the guitars, bass, and drums link together to provide the perfect pallet for Taylor’s vocals to shine on. Continue reading “Alaria Taylor – Bread or Water”

Brown Shoe – Vanity

Brown Shoe – Vanity / 2007 Self / 13 Tracks / http://www.brownshoemusic.com

It is a hell of time trying to find a band when you’ve screwed up their name. For the longest time, I thought the band’s name was “Brown Shoes” instead of “Brown Shoe”. After I got that problem worked out, I was able to hear the powerful indie rock of the band. Brown Shoe reminds me a lot of Desert City Soundtrack in the same emotional intensity is present in the instrumentation of both bands. The vocals have a little bit of a Neil Young sound to them, so there is that blending of new and old that will get butts in seats. The production is the final piece of the puzzle, and it allows the band’s higher registers to have a little bit of fuzz without completely oppressing the band’s sound. Continue reading “Brown Shoe – Vanity”

Matt Woods – Something Surreal

Matt Woods – Something Surreal / 2004 Self / 12 Tracks / http://www.mattwoodsband.com /

Most the time when I receive CDs done by a band with the name of an individual (typically the leader of the band), what I am “treated” to is something that is quiet, singer-songwriter styled, and is something that essentially rehashes the collected works of artists like Dave Matthews and John Maher. However, Matt Woods and the rest of eir band on “Something Surreal” come forth with a scintillating approach to the disc that will keep individuals stuck at the edge of their seats for the entirety of the disc. While there are some tracks on this album that do go into that same general style I mentioned, there are much harder tracks present, as well as variations that run the gamut of all the different styles in between. Continue reading “Matt Woods – Something Surreal”

The Campbells – The Kid From Gillette, Wyoming

The Campbells – The Kid From Gillette, Wyoming / 2007 Self / 8 Tracks / http://www.campbellsrock.com /

The Campbells start out their “The Kid From Gillette, Wyoming” with a very early nineties type of alternative rock sound “My Silly Sparks” is a track that sounds as if The Campbells took equal amounts of Polaris and Soul Asylum and linked them together. There is still a little bit of fuzz coming from an earlier grunge sound, but this is moderated by the inclusion of strung-out, more hippy-like guitar work. Even though The Campbells are doing this earlier style, the act can still seem relevant and germane to current listeners. “My Silly Sparks” is able to do that through the inclusion of a vocal style that hits at points on the work of They Might Be Giants. Continue reading “The Campbells – The Kid From Gillette, Wyoming”

Charlie Beresford – The Room is Empty

Charlie Beresford – The Room is Empty / 2005 Self / 14 Tracks / http://www.charlieberesford.com /

The dissonant opening that Charlie Beresford places on eir “The Room Is Empty” will provide individuals with a challenge. The artistic style of this track may be lost on some, but Beresford’s dedication to making “If Only” work will endear more than a fair share of fans. “Nosfer” is a twenty second string-heavy track that gives more to the atmosphere than anything, winking quietly out of existence and allowing Beresford to move into eir “I Let You Walk With Me”. “I Let You Walk With Me” is a much more straight-forward track, sounding almost as it came from a movie soundtrack. Continue reading “Charlie Beresford – The Room is Empty”

Fjord Rowboat – Saved The Compliments for Morning

Fjord Rowboat – Saved The Compliments for Morning / 2007 Self / 10 Tracks / http://www.fjordrowboat.com /

This is Fjord Rowboat’s first full length album. After individuals listen to “Carried Away”, they will marvel at how mature the band is. “Carried Away” is a track that has the same type of instrumental coolness and disaffected vocals that have been present in countless Franz Ferdinand and Interpol tracks, but what Fjord Rowboat does to break themselves off from that crew is provide a little bit of “Tonight, Tonight” (Smashing Pumpkins)-like strings to the mix, as well as a ropy bass that is present during all parts of the track. What results is something beautiful and catchy, something that allows fans to filter in by the busload as soon as the track starts. Continue reading “Fjord Rowboat – Saved The Compliments for Morning”

Arrica Rose & The …’s – Last Night on Earth

Arrica Rose & The …’s – Last Night on Earth / 2007 Poprock / 5 Tracks / http://www.arricarose.com /

“Last Night on Earth” starts out slowly, but “Turn” (the introductory track) really starts going when Arrica Rose gets situated. The style that Rose & the …s play is hard to properly explain. “”Turn” has a sixties pop type of sound, while Rose’s vocals have a mid-nineties sound..”Occasionally the World’s An Unhappy Place” has a slightly newer sound than “Turn” does, but the band still works primarily in the mid-nineties alternative style. The instrumentation sticks behind the vocals of Rose, but there are moments (such as the country, slide guitar-like solo present) where the instrumentation shines as brightly as Rose eirself. Continue reading “Arrica Rose & The …’s – Last Night on Earth”

Cat-A-Tac – Past Lies and Former Lives

Cat-A-Tac – Past Lies and Former Lives / 2007 Needlepoint / 12 Tracks / http://www.cat-a-tac.com / http://www.needlepoint-denver.com /

Cat-A-Tac starts out their “Past Lies and Former Lives” with a track that has a very nineties alternative type of feel to it. Coupled with that, “Needles and Pins” has more than its’ fair share of electronic and New Romantic influence, which makes Cat-A-Tac into a different act than anyone has previously heart. With a strong momentum going into the title track, Cat-A-Tac go in a different track. The style approached during this track is still in the alternative/indie framework, but goes in a early Goo Goo Dolls or Lucero type of approach. Continue reading “Cat-A-Tac – Past Lies and Former Lives”

Mike Mangione – Tenebrae

Mike Mangione – Tenebrae / 2007 Mike Mangione / 12 Tracks / http://www.mikemangione.com /

“Tenebrae” starts out slowly, with Mangione more concerned on creating a compelling and full sound instead of necessarily going forth and trying to wow listeners right off the bat. “Waiting For No One” is a very long track in terms of leading off “Tenebrae”, but the number of different twists and turns that ey puts into the song allows listeners to stick with Mangione until the end. Hints of Blessid Union of Souls and Dishwalla both present themselves during this opening track, and an interesting production presents itself during the onset of “It’s Me, Not You”, the second track on the disc. This production is very laissez faire (hands off), which gives the compositions on “Tenebrae” a live, coffee shop type of sound that highlights the humanity of Mangione’s voice. Continue reading “Mike Mangione – Tenebrae”