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Around Hear Pg. 2

Poppy, melodic, and, at times, ragged, The Blissters creates modern-day pop rock for the masses on its latest EP. The band has a bit of a new wave sensibility that couples nicely with its garage rock guitars. “Right Of Reason” is an interesting track, but most of its stuff is pretty appealing. The band is certainly energetic and that helps breathe life into a mostly overused genre. (www.myspace.com/theblissters)
– Mike O’Cull

Revealing his versatility and wide-ranging skills, Henry “Sadiki” Buckley, Jr. displays remarkable technical producing skills and songwriting maturity on Morning’s Come. He brings a refreshing insouciance, coupled with piercing lyrical depth, in creating a unique crossover sound. Constructed on a solid foundation of reggae’s sauntering tempos, slick grooves blend R&B and hip-hop influences in sparkling tunes. “Perfect Love” and “Dancing” showcases how Sadiki mixes these elements into intoxicating, revelatory songs. (www.sadikionline.com)
– Patrick Conlan

Three musicians + eight songs = Muttonhead, Bloomington-based Constant Velocity‘s latest. It’s equally straightforward but not as easily defined, so let’s just call it honest rockin’ music for/about regular folks. From unrequited love songs of longin’ for hangin’ oneself in a trailer (but the ceiling’s too low!) to giving a Pink Floyd cover a sexy Latino beat, the band’s honest plug-and-play mentality and smart, quirky catchiness recall Violent Femmes, albeit with a harder edge. (www.constantvelocity.net)
– David C. Eldredge

Helicopters has been circling around for years now. Sizing Up The Distance amplifies the band’s continued progress to bring greater depth and color to its indie guitar pop originals by overlaying electronics, loops, and other studio tweaks. It’s akin to early Mission Of Burma, but sounding much more acoustically grounded: ’70s prog-crossed by lyrically emo-shaded ’80s new wave. This latest does justice to the buzz Helicopters has built. Indicative of the trio at its best is final cut, “This Is The Bookend,” a nothing-short-of-brilliant homage to Paul Simon’s classic “bookend” ballad, “America.” (www.ilovehelicopters.com)
– David C. Eldredge

Mindwarp Chamber’s eight-song Delusional Reality is a solid representation of the progressive metal genre, even if it doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking. The tracks, averaging seven minutes, follow Iron Maiden’s model of ambitious layering, frequent tempo changes and imaginative lyrical themes. A synthesizer is a signature touch, with mixed results: The synth works when sustained notes give the guitar and drums room to work, but sounds cheesy or dated when featured in entwined guitar solos and attempts at dramatic introduction (on “Snowdevil Sleeps” and “Thought Saboteur”). (www.mindwarpchamber.com)
– Jason Scales

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Bloomington duo 100 Year Picnic delivers a stunning collection of songs on Tales Of A Modern Splash. Friends/neighbors Jeff Greeneberg and Edwin Pierce revel in family and the everyday humdrum of life lived to the fullest while channeling The Beatles and Wilco. Greeneberg dons a slithering John Lennon on “I Don’t Know What To Tell You” before switching gears into Calexico’s Joey Burns’ twin brother on “Isolation.” Guests Brian Choban and Jennifer Rusk imbibe the funky “Everything’s Perfect” with sweaty trumpet bleats and Prince-worthy calisthenics. (www.100yearpicnic.com)
– Janine Schaults

Following in the tradition established by The Jesus Lizard and Big Black, Pyrite writes prickly melodies that stick with a jagged barb on Back Pain (Belgian Style). Snarling, stabbing, dissonant guitars ride roughshod over ragged bass and disjointed drumming in the satirical “Teenage Page.” The punchy drill of “Move On” recalls 13 Songs-era Fugazi. The incisive lyrics, shouted and barked with wit and fury, add to the fine cacophony. (www.myspace.com/pyrite312)
– Patrick Conlan

Tongues plays a delightfully sleazy brand of garage rock – a virile, potent mix that’s incendiary yet playful. From the opening full-on blast of the combustible “Cool Air” to the brash, wonderfully titled “The Creamer,” Tongues plays it hot and heavy. The standout cut, “The Sag,” is a steamy, roiling number of crashing drums and muscular riffs, and the disjointed, ribald lyrics add to the fun. (www.myspace.com/storybookfuneralband)
– Patrick Conlan

Unlike many ’60s/’70s throwback records, Tropical Disease‘s Blessings In Disguise is neither too stylish nor too hokey. It seems to come from a genuine love of bands like The Monkees (“Comin’ In Loaded”), The Stooges (“Telemarketer Blues”), and Badfinger (“Secrets”). While hardly anything revolutionary, Tropical Diseases seems to be the real deal as opposed to a lot of bands that only go as far as the local record store for inspiration. (no contact provided)
– Dean Ramos

Young metalheads might scoff at Veilside‘s big, polished sound, but the band didn’t record Chapter One for teenagers at Hot Topic. Songs like “Awake” (damn unfaithful women) and “Little Game” also don’t fit Chicago’s current heavy scene, but there’s still an audience out there for well-played and well-sung hard rock. Veilside is proof. (www.myspace.com/veilside)
– Trevor Fisher

James Wyman plays a comforting, placid, adult-oriented pop that’s coolly modern with a respectful nod to AM gold. His lyrical themes of optimism and resilience are matched with assured melodies and solid musicianship. His comforting, innocuous style is especially effective on the title track, and the bright, chirpy horns add a touch of jazzy whimsy to “If I Can’t Find My Way.” (www.jameskwayman.com)
– Patrick Conlan

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