They Shoot Horses Don’t They – Pick Up Sticks

They Shoot Horses Don’t They – Pick Up Sticks / 2007 Kill Rock Stars / 10 Tracks / /

They Shoot Horses Don’t They is a fucked up band. “One Last Final Push” mixes together so many different styles that it is really like a schizophrenic trying to go and craft a song. Ultimately, “One Last Final Push” is a track is primarily influenced by the swing-dancing style along with a rock sound. “The Guest” has the same sort of dissonant horns and strong vocal present. The one thing that I could link They Shoot Horses Don’t They to would have to be one of those fun houses that are present at any county fair. In these fun houses, for individuals that might not know what I’m talking about, there are slanted floors, weird bungee cord contraptions, and the like. Continue reading “They Shoot Horses Don’t They – Pick Up Sticks”

The Shake – Kick It

The Shake – Kick It / 2006 Self / 9 Tracks / /

The band comes forth to us with a sound that blends together equal parts FOo Fighters and Bad Religion. The first track on “Kick It” is “Frequency”, and it shows the band’s ability to create a wall of sound. The only thing that could be construed as a negative on this opening track is the high amount of distortion. With the solid arrangements played by the band, the distortion is not needed, and it actually detracts from what is a solid opening and introduction to the band. What the band ultimately settles down to in this track is a current rock style that is linked heavily to the sixties rock style. This distortion sounds more like a constraint of the recording process than from anything that the band was responsible for, so one cannot fault them all that much.

The band shifts their style slightly for “Outcast”, taking up a little rockabilly influence to the track. The band still comes forth with that Oasis/Blue-retro type of sound on the track, drawing linkages between the first few tracks of “Kick It”. while each of the first few tracks on “Kick It” were short, punchy introductions to the band, “8 O’Clock” is a song that lasts for over 4 minutes. This is the band’s first real test on the album, and the slower tempoed song is a solid continuance of some of the styles and approaches that first presented themselves on earlier tracks on this album. This minor shift in the sound provided listeners by The Shake keeps individuals interested in the band, something that is definitely needed at the middle-point of this album.

The one thing that starts to reveal itself during “Kick It” is the fact that the band does not have a single-worthy track present on the album. Sure, the songs are fun on their own merit, but there is not the song on “Kick It” that will catapult the band into some semblance of fame. For their next album, this is what The Shake needs to do. Craft a song like “8 O’Clock” and stick in a hook or solo that will get individuals focused in on the track. The song is almost what the band needs, but the band is ultimately on the outside looking in with this album. Give the disc a listen and then check back with the band in a few years; hopefully they will have worked on their overall sound.

Top Tracks: 8 O’Clock, Manic Boogie

Rating: 5.6/10

V/A – Chakras: From Brazil To Berlin

V/A – Chakras: From Brazil To Berlin / 2007 Azul / 25 Tracks / /

This double disc has a very interesting purpose in mind. There is a unification of the more tribal styles of Brazilian spirit music with the functionalist and inorganic sounds of Germany. What would normally sputter out and fail to succeed is whipped into a solid two-disc mix by Miguel Reis, DJ Chris Wood and DJ Toni Rios. I can’t say that I am familiar with any of the artists that have their tracks used during this set, but there seems to be a high level of quality present on both of the discs. Obviously, each disc is intended to be a composition on its’ own, so it’s not only the work of the artists that originally did the songs but also the creator of these mixes. Continue reading “V/A – Chakras: From Brazil To Berlin”

Black Diamond Heavies – Every Damn Time

Black Diamond Heavies – Every Damn Time / 2007 Alive / 10 Tracks / / /

“Fever In My Blood” is the first track on “Every Damn Time”, and it starts out with a schizophrenic drum beat that finally gets reined in about a minute into the track. The guitars and other elements of the band gradually insert themselves into the mix, until a very sixties influenced type of rock presents itself. There is a great deal of bass as the vocals come out with a gritty, rough sound that fits the rest of instrumentation well. Continue reading “Black Diamond Heavies – Every Damn Time”

Villebillies – S/T

Villebillies – S/T / 2006 Universal / 12 Tracks / / /

However punk or ska-influenced that this cover may be, what the Villebillies do on this self-titled album is rap. “Whiskey” is the first track on the disc, and it seems like the Villebillies are trying to blend together Bone Thugs N Harmony with Gnarls Barkley. “Whiskey” has a level of newness to it; despite listening to a lot of rap, I have not heard of an artist that approximates this style. The backing beat that opens up “Burnin Down The House” is particularly nondescript, with a sound that could conceivably be on a Britney or boy band track. Continue reading “Villebillies – S/T”

Tim Barry – Rivanna Junction

Tim Barry – Rivanna Junction / 2006 Suburban Home / 10 Tracks / / /

Tim Barry is one of the member of Avail. Avail was an integral part of the melodic punk scene in the late nineties. “Rivanna Junction” starts out with “Trash Inspirations”, a track that goes the alt-country route taken by Lucero. At some point, Barry is still a practitioner of punk music, and this blend of styles should be appealing to fans of both genres. Three minutes in, and the track conks out. “Avoiding Catatonic Surrender” is a much more slow and pensive track than “Trash Inspirations”. But Barry’s vocals take the Mellencamp track to kick up the tempo. Continue reading “Tim Barry – Rivanna Junction”

The Buddhist Monks – My Spirit Flies To You

The Buddhist Monks – My Spirit Flies To You / 2006 Decca / 14 Tracks / / /

The Buddhist Monks are to 2006 what the Gregorian Monks were to the early nineties. There is some sort of acceptance by the pop and adult contemporary stations to what normally would be a style of music reserved only for the most devout of followers. The music that is present on “My Spirit Flies To You” is not genuine prayer music, however; the tracks here use arrangements and vocal styles that are not in accordance with Buddhist rituals. The may be the reason why The Buddhist Monks have achieved success outside of their own circle of adherents. Continue reading “The Buddhist Monks – My Spirit Flies To You”

Ligion – External Affairs

Ligion – External Affairs / 2007 Maple Jam / 11 Tracks / / /

The vocal style that starts off “On The Way” does not mesh completely with the more dance-y rock of Ligion. This is because there seems to be a more emotional and natural sound to the vocals, while the instrumental arrangement on this track seems to be more sequenced than anything. Ligion get their stuff together to the degree that the chorus to the track is as catchy as they come, but the band’s opening weakness is fairly major. “Lost My Car” is the next track, and it starts off with a punk meets rock approach that opens up into an energetic type of emo rock. Continue reading “Ligion – External Affairs”

Sachal Vasandani – Eyes Wide Open

Sachal Vasandani – Eyes Wide Open / 2007 Mack Avenue / 12 Tracks / / /

“Naked As We Came” is the first track on “Eyes Wide Open”, and Vasandani comes forth with a very classic style of singing. If anything, I would have to link eir singing style to an early Dean Martin or Bing Crosby. There is enough of a current focus to keep individuals interested; there is more than a passing glance at the Dave Matthews Band, even as Vasandani’s instrumentation moves in a more classical jazz format. What results with “Eyes Wide Open” is something that is very easy listening, with a light enough instrumentation to allow all the nuances of Vasandani’s vocals to shine. “Please Mr. Ogilvy” is the second track, and brings Vasandani more into the modern era than anything. Continue reading “Sachal Vasandani – Eyes Wide Open”

Maylene and the Sons of Disaster – II

Maylene and the Sons of Disaster – II / 2007 Ferret / 11 Tracks / / /

Maylene and the Sons of Disaster is a band that blends together Corrosion of Conformity (“Deliverance”-era) with Marilyn Manson, and puts it in a way that listeners in the current period can love. “Memories of the Grove” is the first track on “II”, and it shows the band as being very comfortable in their surroundings. Even though the band is one of the harder acts out there, they have one of the best production values. Continue reading “Maylene and the Sons of Disaster – II”