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Around Hear Page 3

| March 31, 2008 | 0 Comments

The debut album from Paper Arrows, Look Alive, swoops in and hits the pause button on racing pulses. The trio crafts somber melodies that would make Adam Duritz proud. Joe Goodkin’s vocals even slightly resemble the Counting Crows frontman. While Duritz sings about Maria in every song, the gal Goodkin pines for in these 10 tracks is up for grabs. Along with bassist Jay Marino and drummer Darren Garvey, Goodkin is a formidable bundle of angst. “Why I Had To Fall” pays homage to The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” while “When You Left” owes a debt, strangely enough, to Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time Is Here.” (
– Janine Schaults

Given the earnest playing – particularly the interplay of the Edge-like power picking and shredding of guitars – one initially wants to take Ready The Destroyer‘s three-song demo to heart and run out to convert the world to their side. Alas, the nasally, goth-edged, and otherwise submerged vocals are distractingly incomprehensible enough to eventually question whether these really are songs as much as declamations set to music and, thus, ultimately reconsider the crusade. (
– David C. Eldredge

The unabashed power pop of The Redfords came together when songwriter John Gidlund recruited drummer Jonathan Marks (Hey Champ) and a handful of other musicians to record a debut full-length. The result is Miracle At Sunrise, an album heavy on thick guitars and catchy choruses. Gidlund is a good songwriter and an above-average guitar player, and he gracefully navigates his way through many alt-rock clichés. (
– Joseph Simek


World weary and contemplative, Mike Reeb‘s All That’s Left is a folk country protest album that wears its heart on its sleeve on songs like “Like A Wing.” On others it comes off defiant like the angry “Oh, We Need A Change.” Despite its slight heavy handedness on the opening number, “It’s Been A Real Hard Year,” two things that never come into question are Reeb’s sincerity and social conscience. (
– Dean Ramos

Sometimes, even in bands who do it well, vocal harmonies sound tedious. Husband-wife duo Brooklyn and Ruth Dekker, though, must go to bed at night yawning in key – that’s how easy they make it seem on Rue Royale‘s self-titled, debut full-length. The group’s José González-ish folk pop is sparse in makeup, nothing more than acoustic guitar and some occasional percussion. But that’s O.K. because it keeps the spotlight on songs like “Confidence In Gravity” shining directly where it needs to: those impeccable harmonies. (
– Trevor Fisher

Sabertooth‘s Dr. Midnight: Live At The Green Mill (Delmark) captures the fiery grooves and scintillating jazz expositions of Sabertooth live at the legendary Green Mill. The extended, improvisational jams swing and pounce with sinewy strength and grace, the arcing rhythms pushed by drummer Ted Sirota’s snappy kit work. The smoldering originals “Blues For C Piff” and “Mary Anne” blend seamlessly with their broad interpretation of “Odd Couple,” while “Tetemetearri” opens with a Native American flute before melting into a slow sultry bedroom waltz. (
– Patrick Conlan

It takes a few seconds for Scenic Route‘s motor to start revving on “Internal Combustion,” the lead track on their debut full-length, City On Fire, but once the tune gets rolling it’s clear the group are hitting on all cylinders. The fearsome foursome proceed to blast through eight more rough-and-tumble cuts, leaving formidable power chords, crushing basslines, and memorable music in their hard rock wake. (www.scenicroute
– Jeff Berkwits

The classy, light jazz on Pat Schiller‘s latest, When I Go Home, evokes images of well-dressed couples gliding across the dance floor. His deep vocals and fluid piano playing are particularly well suited to romantic songs like “Just Close Your Eyes,” but Schiller also succeeds with gospel on the title track and moves to a more modern beat on “Tried To Get In.” The shimmering instrumental “We Are Alone Tonight” is like a nighttime drive along the beach. (
– Terrence Flamm

Stuck Underwater‘s No Script To Follow is unbridled anger metal, effectively delivered with a punch to the gut. Opening track “Mr. Skeptical” blends into “Clocks” with Pantera-inspired intensity and little let-up on the remaining nine songs, most notably the eerie instrumental “Through The Eyes Of Reincarnation.” Vocal stylings are varied throughout, a contemporary metal trend, with deep and dramatic metal crooning on “D’z Bag O’ Bonz” abruptly changing to horrified shrieks and bloodcurdling wails – and back. (
– Jason Scales

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Category: Around Hear

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