CD Reviews


You Better Believe It!
7 tracks
Darling Pet Munkee (Michael J. Epstein, Sophia Cacciola, and Cathy Capozzi of Axemunkee) presents a follow-up to their earlier release “Glows in the Dark!” which also featured a kaleidoscopic collection of comic-book-ad-themed sonic pulp. Opening track “Hypno Coin” belongs firmly in the Sparks/Queen axis of idiosyncratic and operatic rock. “Scary…,” with its use of ominous soundscapes, electronic effects, and droning overtones,  features a deliberately abrasive post-punk sound in the school of Wire and the No New York movement. “Polaris Nuclear Sub” showcases difficult, problematic abstract music that is leavened with the familiar showboating tropes of arena-rock heavy metal—comparable, say, to early Black Sabbath. “Charles Atlas,” offers faint undertones of early surf music, as though it were being played through a scrim of early Pink Floyd by way of The Who Sell Out and its genre-clowning whimsy. “100 Pc. Toy Soldier Set” is a send-up of martial music—cast in an appropriate march rhythm—something which might have been issued by some sardonic hippies circa 1969. “Grow Man Grow” sends up burlesque-show music, sounding vaguely like the bluesy evergreen “Fever” with the added postmodern fillup of a rampaging coda. “Live Toy Circus” is a hilariously carnivalesque trip with disorienting shifts in tempo and timbre. One hardly knows what to say about this Michael J. Epstein side project except… Bravo–it’s brave… and brilliant.    (Francis DiMenno)


On High
9 tracks
Cult 45 give you pretty much everything you would want out of a rock ’n’ roll band.  They bring swagger, power, melody, heart, and fun.  Always a great live band, this album (recorded at Mad Oak under the guiding hand of engineering maestro Benny Grotto) combusts with the same ferocity as their live shows.  Tai Heatley’s vocals are what first grab your attention.  They are guttural as hell, yet they also have a great clarity.  It’s rare that you get both of those traits from a singer.  The rhythm section rumbles along like an old wooden roller coaster, giving the illusion that it will send you flying from your seat, but remaining in control the whole time.  Best of all, the band knows where its strength lies, never slowing things down with any wussy ballads.  Hopefully, the rest of 2013 rocks this much.  (Kevin Finn)



Hey Ice Machine
10 tracks
To be honest, this kind of music is for more discerning folks than me, but when something special perks up, I’m all ears. The very first time I saw this group was at Northeastern University’s After Hours Coffeehouse. It was early in their career, but their enthusiasm and off-kilter energy bristled with a roots-rock dedication, which basically consists of a punkish yen for bar-band sounds. The twitch, the twang, the sincerity, and good-time attitude was already evident, though the polish had yet to be applied to these upbeat tunes that were full of imaginative, loopy edges. As for heritage, think of similar long ago outfits like Big Star, the Replacements, Jason & the Scorchers, Rank & File, True Believers, and local heroes the Del Fuegos or Scruffy the Cat.

Hey Ice Machine (formerly Shelterbelt) is made up of musicians from some of Boston’s best bands of recent past with Tom Novotny (Mittens) on lead vocals and guitar, Winston Braman (Fuzzy, Consonant, Come and Thalia Zedek) on bass, Brett Saiia (Frank Smith) on lead guitar and vocals, and Jonathan Ulman (Common Thrill and Muy Cansado) on drums. That they are able to sculpt their own identity in Boston’s music scene is a true testament to their collective talents. Their debut album is a little more rockabilly with raw, back-to-basics arrangements, showcasing their lovable misfit sensibility, unpretentiously enjoyable good-natured countryish rock, and most importantly, tremendous playing.  Crisply supporting unique gritty vocals, the guitars soar and dive, attacking during the solo jams, whilst the rhythm section both grooves and growls. There are a surge of memorable tunes – “Make Me Feel Good,” “Outlier,” “Trees,” “I’ve Been Told,” “Oh Please Don’t” – which foretell a strong desire to develop into an essential, cutting-edge outfit. Definitely check ’em out now before they melt away into national prominence!   (Harry C. Tuniese)


Hey Ice Machine
10 tracks
With each listen, I find myself becoming more and more captivated by this band’s catchy down-home sound. The Kentucky-fried guitar twang, the rugged three-part vocal harmonies, the honky-tonk rhythms, and, of course, the frontman’s gruff country crooning that brings the tracks full swing. It makes me nostalgic for those bygone days of balmy summer afternoons spent lounging on the front porch of my granpappy’s shotgun shack, sittin’ in a rocking chair, and sippin’ on a Coke that cost a nickel. (That is, if it’s possible to be nostalgic about something that I’ve never actually experienced.) Of course, what I find myself liking even more are the two distortion-bit blues-rock romps that aren’t so much nostalgic as they are frenzied, high-strung freakouts. The kind of tunes that would partake of a different kind of coke. You know, the kind you don’t sip. (Will Barry)


If Kevin Plays in the Forest…
11 tracks
This band has been around for a good long while, and it puzzles me that they are not more widely known. For all of the band’s rhythmic and melodic dexterity, and witty lyrical turns, this latest collection is also overflowing with memorable songs that are full of remarkable emotive force. Opening track “This Does Not Exist” is a roundelay thatcombines classic nouveau-power pop with percussive snap and flexibility. On “Digital Kids,” early XTC is an irresistible point of comparison, but the KMB brings a softer focus and less edgy intensity—’80s prog with a 21st-century sensibility. Quality songs abound on this collection; the most notable tracks include the snappy and sardonic “Enough Already,” more meditative tunes such as “An Ocean Away” and “Today the Moon,” and the stunningly dynamic “Still Standing Still,” as well as the ingenious “Wheels Within Wheels.” Practice makes perfect, and this could well be a breakthrough collection for this band. It would be a mistake to neglect this talented trio; they have compiled a highly impressive collection of new material that deserves far greater exposure.      (Francis DiMenno)


Blood and Water
5 tracks
Clocking in at five tracks, American/roots artist Brian Carroll gets the most out of every tune of his new album, Blood and Water, blending tales of suffering, self-destruction and perseverance. This album is harsh, honest, and doesn’t skimp on the details, showing both the dark and bright sides of life. Lines like “time is a loaded gun, don’t you go and let it go off in your face” make for better words to live by than any smarmy Hallmark card. Clearly, Brian isn’t trying to sugarcoat anything, and that’s truly for the best.

The first track, “Devil Won’t Get Me Down,” paints the image of someone so determined to make it, they’re able to stay out of reach of Ol’ Scratch when he comes knocking. “So What If I” depresses the hell out of me at first with a tale of a substance abuser unable to control his demons, though at the very end, promises the one he loves that he can change for the better.

Brian’s guitar skills match the mood of the music—some melancholy notes blended with a slow, walking pace, and here and there, an upbeat strum. Vocally, I hear a man who’s made his fair share of mistakes, but can see a light around the bend. All in all, I think Blood and Water is an introspective, solid collection of music that you won’t regret picking up. (Max Bowen)

Saint Of The Highway
13 tracks
Much of this South Shore native’s music is Americana ballads with strong drums, pedal steel, and Dylan inspired harp. For best examples, listen to “The Rain Came,” “The Sad, Sad Story of Sammy Lee,” “Up Through the Ashes,” and “Tell Me What You Want”—all good songs he wrote himself. Nestor even tells me that his original “Little Lady Lowdown” is inspired by a story I posted on Facebook about my hooking up again with a high school sweetheart after 38 years. Ha. I really dig his credible cover of Johnny Cash’s “Man in Black” and he also does a nice version of “Mystery Train” that really rocks in a C&W way. Cool stuff.              (A.J. Wachtel)


The Art-Music Exchange
10 tracks
The guiding concept behind this album is that the first five songs were “inspired by” and the last five songs were “selected by” five people who are not in the band. “Secret of Glass Worms,” inspired by Walter Sickert, begins with a grim lockstep declamatory and flowers into an ethereal, pastoral flute and organ. Subsequent tracks include a gothic dirge (“The Procession”), a bizarro-blues shuffle (“La Cubeta”), an XTC-like circus send-up (“Twelve Little Dreams”), and a string-slathered lament (“Brood”).  “The Violinist,” which was “selected by” Walter Sickert, is a string-section driven art song of unusual force and drama. “Stranger,” another strong selection, is best of show—a heartfelt singer-songwriter showcase of great melodic and lyric impact. “Holy Ghost” is an inspirational ditty reminiscent of a slightly less glum Magnetic Fields, and another very appealing song. “Faith in Free Part III” reminds me of “Rainbow” by the Rolling Stones, with a touch of Turtles-era whimsy folded in. The final song, “Amylee,” an older number, has a nice space-age lyric yoked to “Desire”-era Dylan melodramatics. A great many of these songs come across like show tunes for a show that has yet to be written—and a hell of a show, at that.    (Francis DiMenno)


Quit Your Day Job
8 tracks
Someone call the A&R guys from Epitaph records. Move over NoFX and Pennywise. Boston has spawned a band of upstarts that are intent on challenging the established punk/hardcore elite. Ripoff tear through the 8 tracks that comprise their debut EP, Quit Your Day Job, with the skill of veteran hardcore musicians.

This exceptional EP combines all the classic punk rock tropes into an engaging mix, blending snotty pop-punk sneer with screamo growls, straight-ahead punk verses, chunky hardcore choruses, and nü-metal bridges. Even their obligatory gimmick song, “Standard Deviation,” contains enough memorable lines about hanging out in the woods drinking and smoking that it doesn’t become abrasive after a dozen listens.         (George Dow)


The Eclipse
12 tracks
The Vital Might’s second album, 2009’s The Red Planet, showed great promise, and their third outing ups the stakes for this progressive and experimental band. Though not a concept album per se, The Eclipse is a series of meditative songs dealing with life, love and loss. Opening track “The Eclipse” has a tuff-sounding cascading riff reminiscent of “Touch Me” by the Doors, with a superadded spooky choir a la XTC’s “Travels in Nihilon.” It’s not a bad template for what stands out about the rest of this album: shamanic yawp yoked to a blend of hard-edged rock with a techno-dazzle fillip (as on the majestic “I Found You”). A punchy track such as the irresistible “No Plans,” with its unfolding sections, displays a more melodically adventurous side to the band. The introductory section of “Alongside” is an innovative soundscape haunting in its reverb-drenched circular structure, which devolves into a mid-tempo ballad. “The Greatest Man II” (a reprise from The Red Planet) is an emotionally wrenching, melodically resonant testimonial, while “Calm My Sleep”  is a lyrical but turbulent emotional plaint. “Common Sense” wraps up this collection with a tour de force of angst-filled rough-and-tumble—a fitting finale to a remarkable album that may someday be regarded as a minor masterpiece.  (Francis DiMenno)


Dutchco Records
5 tracks
Lance is a funny guy. He is a former National Lampoon contributing editor and you may remember him from WBCN DJ Duane Ingalls Glasscock’s houseband, the Stools. And he is a very funny guy. The lyrics to songs: “The Truth Is One Option,” “Drinking My Paycheck Tonight,” “She Took Off With the Caddy,” “The Sheriff’s Gone,” and my favorite, “Happy Hour Up the Betty Ford” are sharp, critical, and not your normal cup of tea. The music is all Americana—sorta like Jerry Jeff Walker meets Lyle Lovett, and it is all performed tightly, interestingly, and with your typical yee-ha arrangements. I enjoy the twangy guitar parts, the gruff and growling hillbilly vocals, and the humor that is behind the serious performance. Different and pretty cool; check it out.  (A.J. Wachtel)


Red Witch   
10 tracks
This album takes me back through the last 20 years of the rock and metal that I grew up with—but though they take a few cues from the greats, Red Sky Mary isn’t just regurgitating their favorite bands. This foursome stands strong on their own, and their sound is hard to ignore. Powerful guitar riffs, pounding drums, and vocals that punch right through the music and into your face resonate throughout this album. “Drag Me Down” is my favorite, a high-intensity tune that you will rile up any crowd to 11.

This album blends shredding, mosh-inspiring tunes with slower, brutal, sludgy arrangements. Songs like “Evil” or “LA Driver” make a good bridge between the faster ones, the kind that have your fist pumping to each beat. Lines like “Across the seas of time, through the deserts of my mind,” are chiseled into my mind via the shrieking vocal skill set of Sam Vlasich. Tom Boisse (guitar), Gary Boisse (bass), and Barrett Goeman (drums), pound, rip and slash their way through each song, but make no mistake—this is a band with serious talent, and they’re not relying on headbanger clichés with their music.    (Max Bowen)


Static Motor Recordings
8 tracks
Comparing any Americana-tinged rock band to Wilco usually comes across as taking the easy way out, but I think it’s apt in this case.  The Longwalls are by no means a carbon copy of that acclaimed band, but both acts exhibit a sense of adventure not always seen in what can often be a somewhat staid genre.  The Longwalls excel at mixing dissonance and tension in with hummable melodies.  In that regard, they live somewhere between a more rustic Velvet Underground and a less new-post-punk the National.   The musicians are all top-notch, and the icy vocals of Alan Wuorinen add a lot of color.  This one’s going to be in heavy rotation for a long time.   (Kevin Finn)


The Sound After the Flash
15 tracks
This is the second collection of songs from this 1960s NYC-based performer who was also somewhat well-known in 1970s Cambridge folk circles. Now based on Martha’s Vineyard, this veteran has assembled a collection of songs of which the best are well worth a listen. Israel has a voice reminiscent of songwriters such as Steve Weber and Michael Hurley, which is heard to good effect on the opening track, “Southland.” The songs here vary from whimsical boogie (“What I Know,” “Angry, Lost, Mad and Sad”) to serious message songs (“Bonobos”). Standout tracks include “Hep C,” a lament in the mode of Dave Van Ronk and Eric Von Schmidt, the bluesy “I Don’t Think About You,” and the sweetly elegiac “Maynard.” Fans of the Greenwich Village folk scene will likely appreciate many of these numbers.      (Francis DiMenno)


Naked Ear Records
10 tracks
This band seems about ready to explode on every song. Contemporary beats with great guitars, bass, drums, keys, and even acoustic and electric mandolin. Each song starts out with a great guitar opening that sets the mood and tone for all the self-composed music. Then the matching and knowing vocals appear and the songs start to take off.  I really dig the two-guitar intro and frantic performance of “Madman.” And the high-energy “Reminder” is a perfect example of what this group is all about. On “Monsoon,” featuring story-teller Odds Bodkins speaking an excerpt from “The Water Mage’s Daughter,” a whole new energy is brought to the disc. How imaginative is this? Is the band backing up this man or is Mr. Bodkins just the icing on the cake for the melody? You decide.Three brothers in this ensemble include Owen Landis on drums, Walker on bass and Ezra on lead guitar. Vocalist and second guitarist Tim Ahern and keyboardist/mandolinist Ben Ruddock are the added attractions to this red-hot family attraction. Check these cats out now.      (A.J. Wachtel)


12 tracks
The hallmark of a dedicated band lies in its ability to fearlessly issue a debut full-length of multi-dimensional pro-portions—a blatant “Here we are!” to the masses that have grown so accustomed to saccharine pop and overdubbed electronic confections —a surprise, albeit a welcome one.  Although the sounds of Cochecho are not entirely new to the ears of music aficionados, one will undoubtedly recognize an ample amount of dedication amid powerhouse vocals, crisp, clean melodies, and a style that seamlessly blends the genres of rock ’n’ roll, old country, and blues.  From the opener, “Impossible,” straight through to the emotional closer, “Hands of Love,” the record evokes memories of road trips upon ruminations of life, love, and longing.  While at times, it appears as if the Naked Stills are trying to incorporate all of their influences, ranging from O.A.R to the Counting Crows, as opposed to focusing on their sound, it is acceptable for their debut.  The fact of the matter is: any individual, regardless of their musical tastes, could easily find something to love amongst so vibrant a collection.  In the words of lead vocalist Rocco DeRosa, the record is about “transition, growth, and working through who you were to become what you want to be.”  In a word, fitting.  (Julia R. DeStefano)


The Daily Dose
13 tracks
Western Massachusetts songwriter Tim Chaplick records under the name Cause a Rockslide. His songs are uniformly nice—mostly acoustic and highly melodic, with low-key vocals and an almost lilting ambiance that some might characterize as soft; but this isn’t soft rock per se; more like the sort of lo-fi and low-impact singer-songwriter fare that began to emerge as a definable sub-genre in the early 1990s, but which can be traced all the way back to artisans such as Jesse Colin Young. Some of the tracks, such as the ethereal “Quiet Heart,” come across as almost too ephemeral; not quite grounded enough to leave a lasting impression. Introspective tracks such as “Between” have a certain staying quality, but there does not seem to be a varied enough palette on display over the course of 13 songs, and so a feeling of sameness is the inevitable result.          (Francis DiMenno)


Buttoned from the Bottom Up
10 tracks
Adam Reczek’s Buttoned from the Bottom Up treads a neat line between folk and indie-pop—the same line walked by the likes of more recognizable bands like the Shins and the Decemberists. After listening to the tracks that contain less production, you might expect to find Adam strumming on stage at Club Passim, but the ones that contain more than just Adam and guitar suggest that he might find a place for himself in rotation on The River.

Adam has an interesting vocal style that’s a little bit Ben Folds, while oddly containing something that sounds oddly like a combination of Weird Al and They Might Be Giants. There might even be a little James Taylor deep down in Adam’s heart.

Whomever his vocal influences may be, he’s found himself a comfortable sound that’s all his own.     (George Dow)


The Deep North EP
4 tracks
Guitarist Nick Twohig and pianist Brad Couture formed the Deep North in 2010 as a studio project, and honestly, I have no idea what the incarnation of the band might have sounded like. But one second of Rebecca Frank’s massively overdubbed vocals backed with dramatic piano accompaniment on opener “Wake Up” vaults the listener deeply into Carly Rae Jepsen territory. Although based in Boston, the Deep North’s lyrics focus on Hollywood (the first track finds our heroine stranded on Santa Monica Boulevard; the last track tells the sad tale of a “Silent Film Star.”)  That may be because Hollywood is where they film all those Disney and Nickoledeon tweencoms, and clearly that’s the Deep North’s target demographic.  To the band’s credit, Frank’s vocals haven’t been processed into tinny autotune like most of today’s teen divas, but every track mechanically goes to an overboard chorus devoid of even a hint of genuine emotion.  This is what people who take Alternative Press seriously and spend all day on YouTube might call “pop punk” (the band’s Facebook page says “indie/ rock,”)  but it would be better filed next to wherever they put the Serena Gomez and Bridgette Mendler records.    (Jim Testa)


I Accept My Defeat
11 tracks
There are those classic albums like London Calling and Quadrophenia that reveal more and more with each listen; they practically beg you to play them over and over again.  Fang Noir has not made one of those albums.  Upon first listen, I was drawn in by what seemed like a Replacements-esque shagginess.   Upon second listen, I realized they lacked the danger of the ’Mats, but I still kind of wanted to tousle their hair.  Upon third listen, I realized the rough edges were just an affected attempt to hide shitty songwriting and playing.  In other words, in a cycle of three spins of this album, I relived Weezer’s entire career.            (Kevin Finn)


4 tracks
The two proper tracks that comprise Weedbreather left me begging for a full-length release. Weedbreather crashes out of the gate as a groove-laden metal jam before switching gears into a reggae beat and spins off into space. Bridge of Sighs is a dark and heavy, Soundgarden-influenced ballad that lumbers along for too-few minutes.

The noisy instrumental interludes that make up the rest of the EP don’t bring much to the table, with the exception of the fleeting smile that hearing the Vincent Price voice-overs beings. Nonetheless, with this far-too-short submission Broken on the Wheel introduce themselves as a promising stoner-metal jam band.      (George Dow)


Hubba Hubba
5 tracks
Milk released their five-song CD on 12/11/12. I wonder to myself “What is the significance of the name Milk?” I would venture to say their college-aged female fans and friends would say that they do a body good! As for the title Hubba Hubba, their CD release party was at the legendary fetish boutique in Cambridge’s Central Square. No doubt I’m more literal-minded than they are, but if I released a CD titled Hubba Hubba, I’d have chosen a cover model in the mode of modern pin-up/ Dutch model/Dior’s Addict fragrance rep, Daphne Groeneveld.

Milk got their “cover girl” from their Advanced Psychology textbook! This female exudes more of a Richard Lewis “oy vey”  vibe than anything hubba-ish. However what IS “hubba” is not the cover, but the music!  The opener “Oh My” (oh, I get it now!) is primal, bluesy with a classic rock feel, reminiscent of the Fab Four’s “I Want You/ She’s So Heavy.” Matt delivers a soulful mating call. “Blown” is European-flavored lounge pop in a MGMT vein.  Matt’s vocals and Sam’s keys underscore the intensity of the third track,”1430 Strut.” Jesse’s power drumming kicks “Cupertino” into overdrive.

Matt adopts a defiant demeanor, leading Milk’s sonic attack with his six-string prowess taking the song into authentic garage-punk territory. Milk is an energetic new band with an impressive grass roots following. On Hubba Hubba, Milk convincingly delivers a rootsy Americana  style. On the closer, “Restless Deep Sea Blues,”  the band lays down some bluesy Southern rock flavored jams. I see Milk becoming a strong musical force in 2013 a la Comanchero or Township.                   (Nancy Neon)


3 tracks
With Tomorrow, Fishing the Sky delivers a trio of instrumental ambient ruminations that meander along, teeming with warm fuzzed-out bass-tones and electronic beats, sprinkled with sprightly piano tinkling and synthesizer chiming. It’s like musical wallpaper—the type of wallpaper you’d expect to find lining a psych ward: Soft pastels, like milk-white, mint-green, and sky-blue; colors that breathe a drowsy, sedative calm. Soothing? You betcha. Uplifting, too. But, it’s a tad homogenous overall and, at times, verges on catatonic. Not exactly something I’d listen to while operating heavy machinery.        (Will Barry)


Root Cellar Records
Fossil Rock
16 tracks
The Wild Fandango
15 tracks
The prolific Mr. Root has issued what I believe are his eighth and ninth albums respectively. The 2011 release, “Fossil Rock” opens with the lumbering, heavy rock-like title track, and then Mr. Root proceeds to regale us with a series of genre travesties as per his usual pattern: one might think of them as show tunes and music hall for the new millennium, of which the best ones display his patented tendency toward lyrical whimsy and workmanlike tunesmithing. Tracks such as “Psychotropic Tales” and “The Riddle of the Starry Sky” are the standouts here; the Johnny Cash parody “Tennessee Three Production Line” is both clever and apt; “Goin’ Emo” is a wild mash-up of proto-garage Farfisa punk (ala “96 Tears”) plus Devo-era new-wave lunacy. True to form, album number 9, “The Wild Fandango,” released in 2012, opens with the parodic title song; the followup tune, “Smell My Glove” is (yet) another take-off on dumbo rock. Highlights on this collection, however, are comparatively few: the Beatles travesty “Lead Balloon” is a witty deconstruction of our expectations regarding originality, and three older tracks, “Kerouac King Kong,” “The Curse of the Mojo Hobo,” and “Secret Agent Lady” are heard to good effect. But the tunes mostly come across as nothing special. Jeff Root has plenty of witty ideas for lyrics and a strong need to share them with us all, but perhaps he will learn in time to write better tunes; to distinguish good ideas from bad ones, and to refine his best ideas and discard the out-takes.                   (Francis DiMenno)


Sure as the Moon 
10 tracks
This group wears a bunch of different hats. On the opening cut, “Hello, Let’s Go” they are a funky ska band with horns. On the title song, “Sure As the Moon” they do funky R&B with horns. On “Long Fishing Line” they are a funky blues band with horns. Different dressings on the same funky salad.  Garret Savluck on tumpet, Henley Douglas on baritone sax from the Heavy Metal Horns and trombonist John Ferry from Bim Skala Bim  appear all over the CD. Wait. It gets better. Don’t miss listening to “Music”—a good song with a good hook, “Messy Step,” which sounds like the soundtrack in a Steve McQueen car chase, and “Handa Wanda,” a catching and clever ska song with power and hum ability that ends this project on an even higher level. The future looks bright for Sun Jones. I really enjoy listening to this party band’s latest.   (A.J. Wachtel)


I’m Not Cold
4 tracks
Boston-based singer, Jaqui Grae delivers her opening salvo in the form of an engaging EP, I’m Not Cold. Her lovely voice could easily find a home on Top 40 radio, but thankfully she seems to favor the production styles of other strong independent female vocalists like Florence and the Machine’s Florence Welch.

Jaqui’s vocals are at their most interesting when she explores her deeper, gravely regions. When coupled with the light industrial elements favored on most of the EP’s four tracks she seems a kindred spirit of older, post-punk women like Siouxie Sioux.

All told, I’m Not Cold delivers a pleasing introduction to a promising young artist.             (George Dow)


Steady Feet
3 tracks
This easy-going acoustic songwriter pop is a great late-night earful.  One listen and you’re easily transported into a dark room in the middle of the night.  The candles are slowly burning down to their base and the last cigarette has been snuffed out before curling up in the middle of the room to enjoy this jam. Soft harmonies and throbbing polyrhythmic drum patterns are a lull, punctuated by seemingly random subtle touches of ambient keyboard and whistles, filling the spaces of the folksy omnipresent strum of a couple of acoustic guitars.  This is a mellow listen for sure, but full of melody and texture, the way the brain hears music just as it drifts into contented slumber. Someone get me some coffee!    (Joel Simches)


8 tracks
Band-members for this Worcester-based group include Johnny Wheeler (keyboard and vocals), Sean McKinstry (guitar and vocals), Kevin Outland (guitar, bass and vocals), Matt Soper (bass, guitar and vocals), and Justin Beauregard (percussion). This is a melodic and bluesy team effort, a singer-songwriter collection with the standard complement of mix-it-up touches: reggae (“Stuttering,” “Mystery”), dry balladry (“The Waiting’s Over”), and funk (“Sinking Ships”). Their competent in-genre songs can only be faulted for lacking originality and heft. In best of show is the heartfelt, smoldering piano-driven ballad, “When I Go to See You” and the neatly folksy, “Waiting Patiently.” (Francis DiMenno)
Want your CD reviewed? Send it to the Noise, PO Box 353, Gloucester, MA 01931. Or send downloads to New England acts only.


CD Reviews — 2 Comments

  1. 100% disagree with your review of the Deep North. Way off base. If you don’t like poppy-indie rock, don’t review it.

    • Lori,
      At the Noise we review everything that is sent to us. Some music is liked and some is disliked by each individual reviewer. It’s just impossible for every band to get a good review. If the band is as worthy as you think, they will move on with a thicker skin and be happy that it wasn’t some national corporate magazine that gave them a poor review. Good luck to Deep North and their endeavors.