Bronze – Calypso Shakedown

Bronze – Calypso Shakedown / 2006 Self / http://www.myspace.com/bronzechicago /

“On The Clock” literally sounds as if Bronze is coming out of the late seventies or early eighties. Whether it is through the heavy use of synthesizers, or through the emotive vocals, the band loves their musical predecessors. Like current retro-looking acts like The Darkness or the Scissor Sisters, Bronze are able to be deeply involved in earlier musical styles and yet keep individuals interested in the current. “On The Clock” is easily equivalent to a Chicago or a Seals and Crofts track, from the bouncy instrumentation down to the multiple sets of vocals. Continue reading “Bronze – Calypso Shakedown”

Silveth – The Elemental

Silveth – The Elemental / 2007 Self / 5 Tracks / http://www.silveth.com /

“Storm” shows that Silveth is an act that has no desire to finesse their fans. The metal that the band puts forth is full of shredding guitars, splashing drums, and growled-out vocals that never bend or break. The band can scale back their intensity but never budges on the intricacy present in their music. “Storm” shows that the band can keep listeners’ interests for well over five minutes, and Silveth does it by throwing in differing approaches and metal influences. Continue reading “Silveth – The Elemental”

Josh Ritter – The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter – The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter / 2007 Sony / 14 Tracks / http://www.joshritter.com / http://www.sony.com /

The first track on “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter” is “To The Dogs or Whoever”, and it shows Ritter as someone that blends together Bob Dylan with Conor Oberst. The style approached during this inaugural track is a jangly bit of indie rock that will allow individuals to sing along after only a few listens. Hints of the neo folk movement, particularly acts like Vetiver and Devendra Banhart (and later White Stripes) come into play as the missing piece to Ritter’s own unique style. “Mind’s Eye” has some big shoes to fill after this opening salvo, and starts out with a set of guitars that are a virtual mirror of those that start off The Clash’s “London Calling”. Continue reading “Josh Ritter – The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter”

Shock Cinema – Our Way Is Revenge

Shock Cinema – Our Way Is Revenge / 2007 Kanine / 8 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/shockshockcinema / http://www.kkaninerecords.com /

What Shock Cinema does on their “Our Way Is Revenge”, and particularly during the opening track “Breathe Again”, is recall the goth rock of bands like Siouxie and the Banshees and the Sisters of Mercy. The punk-like tempo is the only derivation from that formula, and it is this blending together of styles that brings Shock Cinema from 1987 to 2007. The guitar work is another strong piece of this band, and provides another “high” to match with the “high” of the vocalist. “Breathe Again” represents the band’s first single, and will ensure that listeners stick around through “Art of Noir”. Shock Cinema approaches a much more sultry and Waitresses-like sound for “Art of Noir”. Continue reading “Shock Cinema – Our Way Is Revenge”

Sah – 06/06

Sah – 06/06 / 2007 Phiatry / 5 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/sah / http://www.phratryrecords.com /

It is always a risky gambit for a band to go forth and start off their EP with an instrumental song. Sah is a band that does just that with the opening to their 06/06, “Inside You There’s A Part of Me Scared Shitless”. Luckily for the listeners, Sah is an act that can create a tremendously interesting narrative out of nothing more than a set of drums and a guitar. Where the tempo may slow significantly during the aforementioned “Scared Shitless”, the band comes back into a raucous, loud sound that will shock listeners to attention. Keep in mind that the five tracks each last for over ten minutes, and one should understand that the style of what Sah puts forth on 06/06 is not like that of bands trying to gain radio play, but rather is similar to acts like those on Hydra Head, albeit removed from the metal genre. Continue reading “Sah – 06/06”

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”