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Around Hear Page 2

| March 30, 2007 | 0 Comments

The three-man band Doses offers a trio of unnamed bass-guitar-drum tracks on a no-frills demo focusing on solid rock instrumentation. Recorded in November 2006, the tracks are non-linear alternative rock jams that stress grooving rhythms and frequent time changes instead of noodling guitar leads. The resulting indistinguishable compositions prove to be either a marketing ploy for a band that needs a singer, or, perhaps more realistically, a first attempt by a band that has much potential. (
– Jason Scales

On first listen – with titles such as “Good Girls Go To Hell” and “3 Pounds Of Pills” – the slam, glam, in-your-face, melodramatic horror-show metal mash-up that makes up Drama Queen Die‘s Making A Monster would appear irresistible. Unfortunately, the distracting rasp of AndrewWalker’s (think laryngitic Joan Jett/Pat Benatar) all too often keeps this otherwise solid cross of The Darkness and Alice Cooper aural onslaught from solidly connecting with the jugular. They’re probably killer live; maybe all that’s needed is an outside producer to make them equally targeted on disc. (
– David C. Eldredge

The 10-song debut from heavy blues rock power trio Goat Motor amply displays the solid chops they’ve honed during three years together. Pedestrian lyrics and rote percussion that brings to mind a second coming of Grand Funk Railroad aside, there are times when the serviceable vocals and solid fretwork/interplay of guitar and bass in some of the cuts brought forward more pleasurable images of Cream. In short, loosening things up could make pretty good chops even better. (
– David C. Eldredge

Running the gamut of independently minded guitar rock from the ’80s upward, The Honeybear Wild combine the endearing charm of mid-’90s indie and raw, untamed sneer of punk with just enough Nirvana-style urgency to create the opus that is Faberge Egg. Tracks of note include the opening number, “Photobooth” (a tribute to our flannel-wearing musical brethren from the Pacific Northwest if there ever was one), the Primus-esque “Cheese It It’s The Fuzz,” and the blistering “The Banquet Of Dionysus.” (
– Dean Ramos

Velcro Lewis And His 100 Proof Band sound right at home on the CD they share with Tijuana Hercules because both acts play blues flavored rock and feature gravel-voiced lead singers. Lewis’ vocals are well-suited to the mean-spirited bounty hunter portrait “Tracker” and the gross-out humor of “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin?,” but he and the band are most impressive on Yardbirds-style rave-up “The Oven’s On.” Tijuana Hercules’ vocalist, John Vernon Forbes, sounds too gimmicky when he’s trying to channel Leon Redbone on “Somethin’s Gonna Burst,” but he does a fair ZZ Top imitation on “Not Necessarily Sleight Of Hand.” The energetic “That Is No Mistake” offers some fun, but overall, the low-fi production hampers Tijuana Hercules’ half of the disc. (
– Terrence Flamm

Singer/guitarist Jeff Libman plays the role of an all-knowing observer on much of December Waves, a collection of acoustic-based rock songs. On the tuneful “Nobody Knows You,” Libman scolds a workaholic for missing the important things in life, and he preaches perseverance on “Step Into The Fear” and “Hold On.” The thought-provoking love song “Bound To You” and the politically charged “Alien” add emotional depth. (
– Terrence Flamm

While there’s an appealing asceticism to the piano-based melodies of the Kyle Mann Combo, the 11 songs on Goodbye Kites are by no means austere. A bright, Paul McCartney-esque sound imbues “Trails” with charming innocence even as “America, The Real” offers slightly grittier sentiments juxtaposed with a laidback, Caribbean-style beat. It’s a solid, altogether original, debut from a promising and obviously talented trio. (
– Jeff Berkwits

In the transcontinental debut flight that is Hope In Isolation, The Martino Conspiracy board understated pop influences from Dashboard Confessional and The Postal Service, treating them to first-class production and a personal touch from vocalist/ guitarist Tony Mart-ino. The blue skies of “Just Don’t Know” add peppy horns that showcase the Phil Spector in Martino’s many studio associates. Coupled with Martino’s introspective and hushed storytelling, the song parachutes into its own unique blossom. (
– Mike Meyer

There is very little mellow or electronic on Mellotronic‘s four-song demo. Although this Chicago band, which formed from members of Adrift and The Grey Skies Are Sleeping, claims to blend multiple genres, Mellotronic is mostly a straight-forward rock band – not a bad thing in this case. There are some well-crafted, catchy songs bubbling underneath the sub-par production, especially the tracks that push forward (“Fire,” “Resilience”) instead of floating along in hopes of being “atmospheric.” (
– Joseph Simek

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