Scene of Action – S/T

Scene of Action – S/T / 2007 Pop Smear / 5 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/sceneofaction / http://www.popsmearrecords.com /

I have to be honest here. When I first the instrumentation at the beginning of Scene of Action’s disc, I heard The Killers. In much of the same way, the first time I heard the band’s vocals on “Daydream Stop hock”, I thought they paid off Gerard Way to do the vocals. The vocals do stop being such a direct imitation when the band hits the chorus, but the band struggles with providing a unique product for the entirety of the inaugural track. While individuals that have gotten into pop music in the last few years will not know it, “Conscience Ache” sounds as if Scene of Action have taken their fair share of late nineties British rock, specifically Placebo and Muse albums, into the recording booth with them. Continue reading “Scene of Action – S/T”

Caleb Micah – Come Home

Caleb Micah – Come Home / 2007 Aux / 6 Tracks / http://www.calebmich.com / http://www.auxrecords.com /

“Come Home” starts out with “Juan Shoe is Gonna Rock You!”, a track that uses a duet of vocals done in a back and forth style that is given the perfect amount of support by the slightly country-tinged sound of the guitars and drums. This style reminds me vaguely of The Anniversary, but don’t get me wrong; Caleb Micah’s work here is unique and amazing in its’ own right. I could completely seeing “Juan shoe” being the next black sheep-type of hit. Micah’s vocals are incredibly hard to pin down in regards to what influences eir; during “Science (As In, She Blinded Me With), one can hear a tension between two distinctly different sounds, being those of Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and Goo Goo Dolls. Continue reading “Caleb Micah – Come Home”

The Action Design – Into A Sound

The Action Design – Into A Sound / 2007 Pop Smear / 6 Tracks / http://www.theactiondesign.com / http://www.popsmearrecords.com /

The first track on “Into A Sound” is “The Scissor Game” and it gives The Action Design a rock meets goth type of sound that really brings the band into a Nightwish or an Evanscence sound in my opinion. The second track on the disc is “Eyes On Me”, and aside from being a more pop-influenced track, hints of dance music present themselves just as the Rasputina influence does. The end result is that The Action Design is a catchy act that is quite like a chameleon; each track varies the approach enough that individuals are always left wondering what is next from the band. There are only six tracks on “Into A Sound”, and six different sounds promptly issue forth from the disc. The best track on “Into A Sound” has to be “City Committee”. Continue reading “The Action Design – Into A Sound”

Monikers – Eat Your Young

Monikers – Eat Your Young / 2006 Kiss of Death / 5 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/monikers / http://www.kissofdeathrecords.com /

“Eat Your Young” starts out with “Information”, a track that has a emotional blend of guitar and drums until the slightly snotty vocals of the band kick in in a very Fat Wreck type of style. The production of the disc seems to oppress the guitars and vocals while giving an accurate sound to the deeper (drums and bass) parts of the band. Still, the catchiness of Monikers shows through and “Information” is a track that succeeds through appreciation of mid nineties punk, grunge, and a little bit of the current energy of rock music. The very dense style of the tracks means that the sub-three minute runtimes of tracks like the aforementioned “Information” and “Two Stories” feel as if Monikers have given their fans a five minute long opus. Continue reading “Monikers – Eat Your Young”

Sleeping Pilot – Panic Sex

Sleeping Pilot – Panic Sex / 2007 Sonic Deadline / 8 Tracks / http://www.sleepingpilot.com / http://www.sonicdeadline.cjb.net /

Sleeping Pilot start off their “Panic Sex” with “()”, a very dark and brooding track that gains energy slowly, rending individuals with confident and aggressive guitars and at-attention drums, just waiting for the right moment to strike. Despite this deep and dark sound first shown by Sleeping Pilot, the use of brooding arrangements is aesthetically similar to Nada Surf’s “Popular”. After the band kicks into “The Law of Falling Bodies”, the formula is much different. An energetic brand of hardcore is what awaits listeners, with hints of Converge and At The Drive-In prevalent. The wind-swept audioscapes of Sleeping Pilot during this track is the band’s own sound linking up with their influences, making for a very unique style encountered here. Continue reading “Sleeping Pilot – Panic Sex”

Fangboner – A Joke Gone Bad

Fangboner – A Joke Gone Bad / 2007 Lightning Rock / 5 Tracks / http://www.fangboner.net / http://www.lightningrockrecords.com /

“Quiet Riot” is the first track on “A Joke Gone Bad”, and it shows Fangboner as an act that is very in tune with the punk rock of acts like The Weirdos ad The Dickies. The vocals of Sheamus Carney remind me a little bit of Devo, and the heavily-rock based punk style of Fangboner provide individuals with something new couched in a style that is decades old. The production is interesting in the sense that it operates much in the way that it did when the early punk bands cut their albums. This means that there is a little bit of an echo present, but the instruments themselves sound almost as if individuals are standing right next to the band. The drums are splashy, the fuzz of the guitar comes through perfectly, and a song like “If Only It Was Always This Easy” is made the stronger by it. Continue reading “Fangboner – A Joke Gone Bad”

Collin Raye – Selected Hits

Collin Raye – Selected Hits / 2007 StarPointe Records / http://www.collinraye.com / http://www.starpointerecords.com /

What Collin Raye does on eir “Selected Hits” is essentially make a Greatest Hits EP. Like many greatest hits albums, there are a few new tracks to whet the appetites of completists (this time, “A Soldier’s Prayer” and “Quitters” make their appearance). Also like many greatest hits albums, there are tracks that everyone that is a fan of Raye’s would know, a listing which includes “That’s My Story (And I’m Sticking To It)”, “Little Rock”, “I Think About You”, and “Love Me”. There is a minor twist on the greatest hits idea with “Selected Hits”; the songs here are not what individuals know as being the “studio” version, but rather mark a live recording that Raye did with the Salt Lake Symphony. The production of these tracks are all excellent, and allow listeners to hear exactly what type of variations Raye added to these already classic tracks. Continue reading “Collin Raye – Selected Hits”

Karmina – The Kiss

Karmina – The Kiss / 2007 CBS / 5 Tracks / http://www.karmina.com / http://www.cbsrecords.com /

“The Kiss” is the self-titled opener to this pop star’s latest EPs. “The Kiss” has a sound that seems like a more  mature version of early Hilary Duff. There are hints of artists like Kelly Clarkson present in Karmina’s overall approach. The instrumentation works well in highlighting all the right places during “The Kiss”, but does not experiment or come forth with a sound that has been heard before. Individuals that are trying to find a new easy listening meets pop (adult contemporary) type of sound should look into Karmina, but if individuals are looking for ways that the pop genre can be expanded, this is not the disc that they should pick up. “Free” varies up the style that individuals should expect from Karmina, coming in with a slower tempo. Continue reading “Karmina – The Kiss”

Will Dailey – Back Flipping Forward

Will Dailey – Back Flipping Forward / 2007 CBS / 10 Tracks / http://www.willdailey.com / http://www.cbs.com /

Will Dailey has been around the Boston independent music scene for a few years. 2004 marked the release of Dailey’s first disc, “GoodByeRedBullet”, which pushed 10,000 copies in sales. Individuals that are not immediately familiar with Dailey’s work may have still heard Dailey in the past. Songs of eir have been present on shows such as CSI: Miami, Jericho, NCIS, and The Young and The Restless. I guess it makes that sense that “Back Flipping Forward” is on CBS Records.

 Well, the re-release of “Back Flipping Forward” is on CBS; Dailey released the album to critical acclaim once before, in April of 2006. Individuals that have this first version of “Back Flipping Forward” still need to pick up this version, for a number of reasons. The style of rock that Dailey plays is something that is interesting in the sense that it sounds like a more soulful, more honest version of a John Maher. I have no doubt that it will be easy for Dailey to go forth and really capture the minds and hearts of a number of individuals on the college circuit. Whether eir fame will expand when CBS gives this album proper publicity is to be seen, but Dailey makes a strong case for this album based on eir work here. The production is strong without being stifling, the arrangements thoughtful without otherwise sounding trite or too experimental.

More interesting to me is the fact that unlike a Maher, Johnson, or Matthews, Will Dailey is able to make an entire album work within a specific theme. This means that individuals know exactly what album a song like “Yesterday’s Gone” or “Rise” is coming from; different tracks have a common thread that links them inexorably to each other and to the whole of “Back Flipping Forward”. If you are a fan of this very vibrant and energetic take on the singer songwriter paradigm, pick up “Back Flipping Forward”. I have no doubt in my mind that Dailey is just one of the lineage that leads all the way back to Bob Dylan, in that the instrumentation that ey provides and the heart and spirit that ey imbues each track on the disc with is similar to that of the great mumble mouthed legend. Also, if you hear some rumbling about Dailey playing live – take the opportunity. I have little doubt in my mind that the live performance takes all of the strengths from the studio and adds more of Dailey’s vim and vigor.

Top Tracks: Yesterday’s Gone, Rise

Rating: 6.2/10

Johnny Cash – The Great Lost Performance

Johnny Cash – The Great Lost Performance / 2007 Island / 18 Tracks / http://www.johnnycash.com / http://www.islandrecords.com /

This CD makes a Johnny Cash that was a good fifteen years before the one that was captured during the last “American” CD. This means that the voice seems stronger, and that there is more of an energy with each of these eighteen cuts that blends well the younger and older Cash. This “lost performance” was recorded in July of 1990 at The Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, New Jersey. For those individuals that are only casually familiar with Cash’s discography, “Ring of Fire”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, and “I Walk The Line” all make their appearance on this album. Continue reading “Johnny Cash – The Great Lost Performance”