Doug Neumann – Does Decaydance

Doug Neumann – Does Decaydance / 2007 Decaydance / 14 Tracks / http://www.dougdoes.com /

Do you remember all of those lounge singers that would go and put their own spin on popular songs? Well, Doug does that with a number of Decaydance artists, which means that “Does Decaydance” has Doug’s interpretation of Fall Out Boy, Gym Class Heroes, Cobra Starship, Panic! at the Disco, and more. Educated at the Berklee College of Music, it is not surprising that during track like “Dance Dance” that Doug is able to come forth and really create a new song out of one of Fall Out Boy’s biggest hits. There are times where Doug approaches the arrangements and style of the original song, but the inclusion of horns and a slower tempo really tends to masquerade the track as something substantially different from the original. Continue reading “Doug Neumann – Does Decaydance”

Eazy-E – Featuring Eazy-E

Eazy-E – Featuring Eazy-E / 2007 Capitol / 16 Tracks / http://www.emicap.com /

“Featuring Eazy-E” is an album that collects all of the different songs that were milestones of Eazy-E’s career, whether it be with other individuals or were songs that were hidden away for about the last fifteen years. This means that there are songs on here like “Automobile” (with N.W.A.), “Get Yo Ride On” (with Mack 10 and M.C. Eiht), and “Boyz In Tha Hood (G Mix)”. The hidden tracks are even more interesting, including “P.S. Phuk U 2”, a track that will make individuals wonder why exactly it stayed out of print for so long, and “Trust No Bitch”, a track that even the most heavy collector of Ezy-E merch is not likely to have. Continue reading “Eazy-E – Featuring Eazy-E”

Black Tide – Shockwave

Black Tide – Shockwave / 2007 Interscope / 2 Tracks / http://www.blacktidemusic.com / http://www.interscope.com /

This single is Black Tide’s first foray into the major label scene, and their brand of classically influenced metal will go over big with a populace that has been lusting after anything retro. “Shockwave” is so close to a Judas Priest song that I’m frankly afraid that Black Tide will be tapped as a copycat act. The ability of the band is so far beyond question that it would be almost offensive to question their compositions. The only thing that can really be said about “Shockwave” in a negative sense is the fact that the production seems to leave some of the compositions on the track flat. Sure, the guitar solo is intense as all get out, but it feels as if the producer is putting up a plexiglass barrier between the band and their listeners. Hopefully a more raw and raunchy mix can be given to the fans before the band’s full length is released. Regardless, Black Tide will fit in well with the retro metal band scene, whether it be touring with Wolfmother or Dragonforce. Pick the disc up at Hot Topic – I believe (but am not sure) that the single can only be picked up there. See the band live and pick up their full length whenever it is ultimately released.

Rating: 7.5/10

Koop – Koop Islands

Koop – Koop Islands / 2007 Atlantic / 11 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/koop /

Koop is an odd band. I believe, in the 2,500+ discs that I’ve reviewed in the last decade, that they are the first to link together the swing genre with a more Caribbean type of sound. Where I originally thought that the style would not work in the slightest, just listening to a few seconds of “Koop Island Blues” (the disc’s first track), and I was shown the fallacy of my beliefs. Individuals that were either very musically savvy or on the other side of the pond already know about Koop, but those individuals that either had other music to focus on or were in the United States likely were not able to receive the gospel of Koop until this year. Continue reading “Koop – Koop Islands”

Brian Dewan – Words of Wisdom

Brian Dewan – Words of Wisdom / 2007 Eschatone / 16 Tracks / http://www.briandewan.com / http://www.eschatone.com /

Brian Dewan is one weird individual. The sing-song nature of “Words of Wisdom” (the opening track), could conceivably be on a Disney movie or some odd, out of the way, radio station. Dewan’s opening to the album “Words of Wisdom” is primarily vocal, with only the lightest in terms of instrumentation to fill the wide spaces left by these lyrics. “Words of Wisdom” is not a cohesive album in that there are a good quarter of the tracks recorded around 15 years before the others – it is a testament to Dewan’s ability that ey is so able to link these two distinct periods in eir life to create something resembling a full album. Continue reading “Brian Dewan – Words of Wisdom”

Dri – Smoke Rings

Dri – Smoke Rings / 2007 Range Life / 11 Tracks / http://www.rangeliferecords.com /

Do you remember the band The Anniversary? That act that got oh so freaking angry whenever an interview or review called them “emo”? Well, Dri was a member of that band. Dri is also currently a member of Art in Manila and Fourth of July. The songs that are present on “Smoke Rings” in no way resemble eir work when ey was still a member of The Anniversary. The dreamy style of music of “Two Are One” has hints of atmospheric rock, shoegazing indie rock, and even a slight hint of artists like Bjork and Vitamin C. Thus, a track like “Don’t Wait” could get Dri some serious play. “Don’t Wait” could bring Dri White Town, Sarah McLachlan, or even Fiona Apple like levels of fame should the song fall into the hands of the right individuals. Continue reading “Dri – Smoke Rings”

Benzos – Branches

Benzos – Branches / 2007 Stinky / 12 Tracks / http:/www.benzosmusic.com /

“Branches” stars off with “Sell This Thing”, a track that has a heavy instrumental component to it. During this track, Benzos creates a style that touches upon acts such as Coldplay and Snow Patrol, while still having the jangly guitar work of an early Radiohead or Oasis. The result is something that has more than a little bit of history, as well as having a current and contemporary type of sound. The introductory track may be a little on the long side, but Benzos makes individuals that are listening in pay attention and stick with the track for the entirety of the song. I can completely see Benzos achieving a great deal of acclaim from tracks like “Phase 2”, but it remains that the act has a focus on the instrumentation present on their tracks that few bands that are popular in the current period do. Continue reading “Benzos – Branches”

The Chinese Stars – Listen To Your Left Brain

The Chinese Stars – Listen To Your Left Brain / 2007 Three One G / 9 Tracks / http://www.thechinesestars.com / http://www.threeoneg.com /

This Rhode Island band was formed from the ashes of Arab on Radar and Six Finger Satellite. I was not familiar with the band before receiving “Listen To Your Left Brain”, even though this is their second full length and fifth release in total since the band’s founding in 2003. The 9 tracks on “Listen To Your Left Brain” provide individuals with an interesting look to how individuals in 2007 would create the music that was all the rage in 1985. This brand of rock mixed with an ample amount of electronic music and dance rhythms plays well with Big Country, Duran Duran, and some tracks (“Cold Cold Cold”) even work well with Suicide and Bauhaus. The only thing that distinguishes the tracks on “Listen To Your Left Brain” from those that were created around a generation ago is the angularity present on a number of the guitar tracks on the disc. Continue reading “The Chinese Stars – Listen To Your Left Brain”

Seven Mary Three Come Forth with “Day and Night Driving” 2/19

Seven Mary Three has signed to Bellum Records (a division of ICON MES), and on February 19, 2008 will release their sixth album DAY&NIGHTDRIVING. The first single, “Last Kiss,” impacts Rock radio formats on February 4th, along with a music video to be serviced to all local, regional, and national broadcast outlets as well as online and retail. The band will host a record release show in their hometown of Orlando, FL, on Feb. 22-23, with fans from all over the world expected to attend.
Continue reading “Seven Mary Three Come Forth with “Day and Night Driving” 2/19″

Opeth – The Roundhouse Tapes

Opeth – The Roundhouse Tapes / 2007 Peaceville / 9 Tracks / http://www.opeth.com / http://www.peaceville.com /  

Opeth have been making intense metal music since 1990, and they have been doing just that with singer Mikael since 1992. Since then, they have provided fans with 8 full length albums and a smattering of other material. “The Roundhouse Tapes” are recordings that were captured from a live performance at (you guessed it) the Roundhouse, a venue in London. This review is for the audio version of the release; plans are already underway to release a DVD version of these recordings sometime in 2008. “The Roundhouse Tapes” has a number of Opeth hits, whether it be “Ghost of Perdition”, “Demon of the Fall”, or “Face of Melinda”.  Continue reading “Opeth – The Roundhouse Tapes”