Duke and the Drivers – Harder Than Before

Duke and the Drivers – Harder Than Before / 2006 Groove International / 12 Tracks / http://www.dukeandthedrivers.com / Reviewed 22 June 2007

There are a lot of Boston bands that played in the seventies that have came back to prominence in the current era. Duke and the Drivers is one of those bands; The Destroyed is another. Even though the vocals on “Harder Than Before”, the opening track, are scratchy in the C.C. Deville/Joe Walsh way, the smooth style of the rest of the band is enough to make up for that. Still, it only takes Duke and the Drivers a few minutes to get their old fans back and tons more. The harmonica solo tops things off; the band is hard hitting in the seventies rock way. Continue reading “Duke and the Drivers – Harder Than Before”

At Dusk – You Can Know Danger

At Dusk – You Can Know Danger / 2006 Popping Open Music / 10 Tracks / http://www.atduskmusic.com / Reviewed 22 June 2007

This is the third album released by “You Can Know Danger”; “In The Background” starts off this effort, and shows that the band has had time to smooth out their sound. What is immediately noticeable with At Dusk on this album is the diversity of sounds that come together. There are a number of layers that individuals will have to decipher to understand what the band is trying to do with this album. However, these layers are made all the more difficult with the inclusion of a challenge to the traditional time signature used in the brand of alternative meets emo rock that is par for the course for this album. Continue reading “At Dusk – You Can Know Danger”

Jana Hunter – There’s No Home

Jana Hunter – There’s No Home / 2007 Gnomonsong / 15 Tracks / http://www.janahunter.tk / http://www.gnomonsong.com / Reviewed 22 June 2007

“Blank Unstaring Heirs of Doom” was the last Jana Hunter CD that I had the chance to review, and while it feels like only yesterday I review it, it is in reality over a year and a half since I heard something from Hunter eirself. “Babies” is a track that shows a much more cohesive sound for Hunter than was previously heard. What was a focus point to eir last album was the vocals of Hunter eirself. This time, it feels as if the instrumentation and the vocals themselves all try to work together to create something more. This results in something that has a more contemporaneous sound, and could really break Hunter in to the big time if given the proper opportunity. Continue reading “Jana Hunter – There’s No Home”

The Lift – It Is What It Is

The Lift – It Is What It Is / 2007 Little Red / 10 Tracks / http://www.theliftstation.com / http://www.myspace.com/thelift / Reviewed 21 June 2007

The Lift do not start off their “It Is What It Is” with the most interesting of starts. The band themselves are catchy on their own, but there seems to be too much of a U2 influence early. This hinders the band from crafting their own sound right from the get go. However, this is not a major deal, and a song like “Wired” does well to bring a slightly different sound to the fore. The band plays the same light style of rock that has been tied to acts like later Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snow Patrol, and Coldplay. The resulting sound of tracks like “Wired” is something that is very groomed for radio stations, but does not seem to push the envelope in any serious way. Continue reading “The Lift – It Is What It Is”

Trail of Dead – So Divided

Trail of Dead – So Divided / 2006 Interscope / 11 Tracks / http://www.trailofdead.com / http://www.interscope.com / Reviewed 21 June 2007

I still remember reviewing Trail of Dead a number of years ago for the campus radio station. They were a pretty impressive band back then, and I’m glad I have the chance to see how they have grown since then. The first actual track on “So Divided” is “Stand in Silence”, and the beginning of the track reminds me of the first time that the Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan show. Continue reading “Trail of Dead – So Divided”

Secrets of the Moon – Antithesis

Secrets of the Moon – Antithesis / 2007 Self / 9 Tracks / http://www.secretsofthemoon.org / antithesis.sotm.de / Reviewed 21 June 2007

Secrets of the Moon start out their “Antithesis” with a well thought-out entry in “Nowhere 11.18”. The track gradually grows in speed and uses repetition to get into listeners’ heads. The band is able to tie together different elements and create something compelling without having to resort to vocals. The orchestration of Secrets of the Moon during this track lays a solid framework with which the band can use on subsequent tracks. Continue reading “Secrets of the Moon – Antithesis”

Nox – Ixaxaar

Nox – Ixaxaar / 2007 Earache / 9 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/nox333 / http://www.earache.com / Reviewed 21 June 2007

Nox is a band that plays an absurdly fast brand of metal. In fact, it is my opinion that they are one of the top five or ten fastest acts out on the market. While I have no reason to believe that they use sequencing on any of the tracks on “Ixaxaar”, to have a drummer of the caliber to make the skin hits during “Choronzonic Chaos Gods” work so well is a feat in itself. There is so much in the way of material present during the disc’s opening track that the three and a half minute runtime feels as if the band has went on for five or six. However, there are enough in the way of twists and turns to keep individuals interesting and wanting more from “Ixaxaar”. Continue reading “Nox – Ixaxaar”

Dreadful Yawns – Rest

Dreadful Yawns – Rest / 2007 Exit Stencil / 10 Tracks / http://www.bomp.com / http://www.myspace.com/dreadfulyawns / Reviewed 17 June 2007

It has been a few years since I have had a chance to hear The Dreadful Yawns. In fact, it was 2005 when I last reviewed a Dreadful Yawns album. For their self titled album on Bomp, I said that the band had a down home and rootsy sound that would do them well on the GAC channel. For their next album, “Rest”, I would have to agree with what I said prior. This Cleveland band is a little bit more diverse in sound than how I described them previously. Continue reading “Dreadful Yawns – Rest”

Rio En Medio – Bride of Dynamite

Rio En Medio – Bride of Dynamite / 2007 Gnomonsong / 12 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/daniellestechhomsy / http://www.gnomonsong.com / Reviewed 17 June 2007
“You Can Stand” is the first track on Rio En Medio’s “Bride of Dynamite”, and the slower, more soulful sound created by the band during this track is telling. As it sits at the head of the album, the rest of the disc is tempered by the music that is contained within. This is heard in the disc’s second track, “Heaven is High”, just as it is heard throughout the rest of “Bride of Dynamite”. The female vocals may be slow and drawn-out, but the band seems to pull influence from the sixties, specifically the folk and more psychedelic sounds of that decade. Continue reading “Rio En Medio – Bride of Dynamite”

Johnathan Wilson – Frankie Ray

Johnathan Wilson – Frankie Ray / 2007 Koch / 16 Tracks / http://www.kochrecords.com / http://www.songsofjonathanwilson.com / Reviewed 17 June 2007

The tag that I see Wilson tagged with is “rock”. I would have to not agree with that, as songs like “Calvary” rely much more on a country-western and seventies pop sound than anything remotely close to rock music. The walking bass line, the strung-out vocals, everything on “Frankie Ray” seems to put Wilson into a C&W box. Continue reading “Johnathan Wilson – Frankie Ray”