The Campbells – The Kid From Gillette, Wyoming

The Campbells – The Kid From Gillette, Wyoming / 2007 Self / 8 Tracks / /

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 / /

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 / /

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 / /

“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 / / /

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 / /

“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”

Kiff – You Can’t Keep It Down

Kiff – You Can’t Keep It Down / 2006 PeaceLabs / 11 Tracks / /

Aside from knowing that Kiff (spelled differently, I think) was the name of Zapf Brannigan’s second in command on Futurama, I had no idea what “You Can’t Keep It Down” was ultimately going to sound like. The disc’s cover, which features Chris, the logo, and the album logo, does not give much more of a clue. The opening track here is “Now” and it does not sound like I expected. Chris is clad in a sleeveless vest and shirt, and I guess what I was expecting was something that was much more of a singer-songwriter type of thing. What ultimately issues forth on “Now” is a set of vocals that will remind individuals of those of Fall Out Boy and a piano that could be present on a Tori Amos track. Continue reading “Kiff – You Can’t Keep It Down”

Joemca – Jum+Ka

Joemca – Jum+Ka / 2006 One Stone / 5 Tracks / /

Joemca is someone that I was not familiar with before picking up this EP. The very Depeche Mode style to the vocals during the first track “Strangers” make it seem like Joemca is influenced tremendously by the New Romantic style. Unlike a number of the acts from that era, there seems to be a high amount of emotion present during the entirety of this EP. Even though the instrumentation is largely created by non-human things (like a synthesizer), the emotion of the vocals is mirrored perfectly in the resulting arrangements. “Strangers” may not be a track that will make it onto the rock radio charts, but it does perfectly in introducing fans to the allure of Joemca. What is more exciting about “Strangers” is the fact that there is variation present in the track that makes the first part qualitatively different than the second, despite both of the tracks having a high amount of commonality. Continue reading “Joemca – Jum+Ka”

The Horrifics – Now Fear This

The Horrifics – Now Fear This / 2006 1031 / 17 Tracks / / /

I must admit that I did not expect a hard type of punk music looking at the band. One member of the band has hair like Wayne Static and yet another looks like ey would be perfect in Union Underground. However, what The Horrifics sound like is nothing like how they look. “Uzumaki” is the first full track on “Now Fear This”, and it links together the TKO streetpunk sound with the more Irish-punk of the Dropkick Murphys and hints of early Pennywise. “That Which Looks” is where this Pennywise influence starts, and this mid-nineties California sound allows for The Horrifics to go and create another song that individuals can easily sing along with. This track also shows that The Horrifics can go and use other punk styles; the band has their fair share of Misfits influence present during this track, even when one considers the California architecture that the track is built on. Continue reading “The Horrifics – Now Fear This”

Daylight Dies – Dismantling Devotion

Daylight Dies – Dismantling Devotion / 2007 Candlelight / 8 Tracks / / /

Daylight Dies has a very subtly stated introduction to “Dismantling Devotion” that gives the resulting section of “Life Less Lived” that much more gravity. There is nothing in the way of vocals during the opening minutes of “Dismantling Devotion”, but this does not hinder Daylight Dies in the creation of a solid bit of current metal. This metal rests on earlier metal movements, and does not use grunge or nu-metal to fuel the resulting music. The only thing that seems to hold the band back from succeeding completely on the early stages of “Dismantling Devotion” has to be the dry vocals that attack listeners during every track on the disc. Continue reading “Daylight Dies – Dismantling Devotion”