Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review: Trophy Scars - Never Born, Never Dead

When first listening to Trophy Scars fresh summer EP, Never Born, Never Dead, I found myself making strange connections between the music and the classic Mafioso film The Godfather. There was a cinematic entrancement about the way the music flowed and how the writing climaxed just at the right moment like a true theatrical masterpiece. Lead man Jerry Jones’ olive oil voice and New Jersey charm conjured images of the wedding scene at the beginning of Coppola’s film when Johnny Fontane sang to a group of swooning Italians, all the while the Don was peering through the window of his empirical perch, making deals to kill men and redeem tragedies. It was the contrast between the sophisticated and traditional Italian life on the outside, and the brutal reality of the business within the house that made the Corleone family truly intimidating – artists of deceit and trickery. That same style of a fresh shine on the exterior, but with a savage interior, was brilliantly utilized on Never Born, Never Dead as it tells stories of love and death; vengeance and cruelty.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Review: Andrew Jackson Jihad - Knife Man

For all intents and purposes, Andrew Jackson Jihad should not be taken seriously. Their music is sporadic and stripped down, their writing blunt and estranged, and lead man Sean Bonette’s singing is, at best, unbearably whiny. With all of these elements that should make for a disaster, why on Earth is the final product so enamoring? For the average music listener, Andrew Jackson Jihad’s freshest release, Knife Man, might very well be the worst piece of music in existence. But beneath the seemingly dreadful exterior features, there lies a brutal honesty and a mutual understanding between writer and listener that latches onto those who can catch onto it. Songs like track six, “Distance”, which begins with a vulgar display of candid shamelessness, show a side to this punk-folk group that most bands are terrified of revealing – a human side with a beating heart and steaming emotions.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Thrilling Night with Faux Reality

It was another electric night in Old Town on Saturday night when Mead’s Corner hosted a handful of local performers to strut their stuff for the coffee shop community. It is no simple task performing for an apathetic group of hipsters with varying degrees of odd haircuts and thick rimmed glasses that would make Rivers Cuomo embarrassed to see. Perhaps that is a plausible excuse as to why each group, leading up to headliners Faux Reality, had a nervous twitch in their smile as they took the momentary attention of the room atop the brightly lit stage in the musty establishment. There was a rich scent of coffee and egotism as sound checks occurred and equipment was prepared for the night. As the crowd began to shuffle their Vans and Converse into the room and down into their respective seats, the first act took stage for what was inevitably going to be a memorable night, for good or for worse.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review: I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business - Gold Rush

Ace Enders’ moniker for his solo work, I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business, has never been more appropriate than on his newest release, Gold Rush. The record follows the expected and perfected pattern that Enders is known to utilize, with soft acoustic strums and upbeat drumming to lay the ground for his smart and personal lyrics, but now his words take on a slightly more sour and self-conscious tone. It is clear from the first verse of opening track ‘Gold Rush’ that he has come across a new stage in his life. He croons with a misleading sweetness, “after the gold rush, didn’t think I’d be alone/so alone,” and in just a few words, he gives the listener the smallest taste of what’s to come, setting the tone for the remainder of the album. His love for that clashing contrast between light and dark is the key factor in what makes Gold Rush such an affecting and interesting album, making it a fantastic addition to his already immense collection of memorable records.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room - Hurricane Season

For the majority of his magnificent and extensive career with Alkaline Trio, Dan Andriano has been providing soundtracks for the lonely and angst filled teens and adults alike across the world. As the bassist and secondary singer/writer of the group, he fueled the fire that Matt Skiba ignited, giving the group a backbone and a necessary variance in its style. While Skiba was a fan of a direct punch to the gut with his writing and musicianship, Andriano chose to be a more brooding and atmospheric performer. His songs were gloomy and honest, but not overwhelmingly so. Beneath the dreary aesthetic that he presented himself with, there was still a light of integrity that kept his writing from becoming monotonous and stereotypical. With this background, it should come with no surprise that when he eventually released his solo work nearly two years in the making, that it should not only match his previous work, but in some instances one-up it. With the fresh and appropriate moniker of Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room, he releases his emotionally demanding LP, Hurricane Season, which pulls no punches and conceals no secrets of what’s been running through Andriano’s ever intriguing mind. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Song of the Day 52: Bowerbirds - House of Diamonds

It's that time of year when I retreat to my room for hours upon hours and rarely see sunlight. As horribly unhealthy as I've become, I'll always find solace in the fact that music never quite pulls the plug on me. Fairly often I find music that clings to me like ants to the soda I never cleaned from my hardwood floor. And more often than not, I find that music to be indie-folk. Indeed I've grown quite a love in my heart for the whimsical and care free music that blooms beneath the bridge of the mainstream. Bowerbirds' little unknown bit of joy, Upper Air, is precisely what I need these days, and 'House of Diamonds' starts it off humbly and effectively. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.