CD Reviews

CD334web-LizFrameLIZ FRAME & THE KICKERS
Sooner                                                                                           
10 tracks

This 2011 outing is, most of all, earnest, filled with spare, simplistic message songs that are performed with  an admirable sense of self-possession and integrity.  “Bullseye on My Back” is a moody track which in some ways epitomizes their approach—easy to understand story line, introspective vocals, and simple but effective melodicism.  The low-key approach is actually quite appealing; “Don’t Play With Guns” is creditably tough and rugged in a Dire Straits mode, while “Girl of Little Faith” features wonderful harmony vocals, which put the band near the top of the heap of the Americana sweepstakes. Highly recommended.            (Francis DiMenno)

 

THREE DAY THRESHOLD
While the Baby Sleeps          
4 tracks

Three Day Threshold may get pigeonholed as a country band, but it’s more fitting to compare them to the psychobilly of Reverend Horton Heat or the gothic Americana of Murder by Death.

This 4-song EP is a perfect introduction to a sub-genre all its own. “Baby’s Got to Go” has a Johnny-Cash-on-steroids tempo that gallops like a horse. “Dark Eyes” surprises with its Eastern European-sounding fiddling—a punked-up polka instrumental, a la Gogol Bordello. The fiddle/guitar interplay on “Give It A Name” blends so you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. The EP closes with the Tom Waits-worthy swing ballad, “When the Money’s All Gone.”   (George Dow)


ROB POTYLO

Drone Alone 
11 tracks

If you like goofball protest songs crudely sung over a slightly out-of-tune guitar with lyrics that may have some deeper meaning hidden beneath their awkward, comedic exterior, then this, my friends, is the album for you. You can download it for free, but you might wanna consider throwing the guy a couple bucks to invest in a tuner and some more pot.   (Will Barry)


BUTTERSCOTT
Snowman on the Moon        
4 tracks

This is aggressive and ironic techno-punk with great sexual innuendos in every lyric—the type of music that first makes you grin when you hear the insinuation. Then you can’t believe Jonathan Scott wrote a song around it, and finally you really dig the beat and the message. I like these songs. The first, “Bubblegum Man,” with the lyrics: “I am Bubblegum man; chew on my bubblegum if you can,” is very minimal with the artist melodically rapping to a drum machine. Short and sweet, this would be a great set opener live. The second song, “Hobbyhorse,” has a nursery rhyme feel to it, adding to the irony: “Daytime, night time/ baby it’s the right time.” It’s techno-pop at it’s best. Next is “Groggy Froggy” with metal-ish guitars and a punk feel mixed with ’60s Brill Building pop that makes it unique and good. Last is “Wheelchair Woman” pure punk lyrics, loud, aggressive guitars, and just a few chords. Funstuff!               (A.J. Wachtel)


SUNNI BADORE
Family Life
5 tracks

Pianist/vocalist Sunni Badore lures us into Family Life admitting she wants us to love her in “Jones,” a playful bouncy barroom romp. Her inviting alto voice lets you know, “I wanna be the one you’re making tracks for” with the fiddle rolling lines, keeping it fun. She’s serious in “Sons & Daughters,” caring about what we, as a generation, are leaving for the folks that come after us. “Euphoria” rocks as Sunni harmonizing with herself while electric and classical guitars battle. The title track, and highlight of the EP (along with “Jones”), is a humorous kickback swinger sung from a front porch swing with Grandma sharing all the dirty little secrets about the relatives. Sunni gets serious again to close the short disc with “Precious One.” Sunni Badore has created a collection that is easy to re-listen to. The contrast of humor and seriousness works well, but the lighter, more uplifting, subjects win-out. These tunes fit well alongside Janis Joplin’s “Me & Bobby McGee.” Now how can we not adore Sunni Badore and Family Life?   (T Max)


JO HENLEY
The Fall Comes Early 
11 tracks

With this fourth full-length album under their belts, the rhythm and poise with which the members of Jo Henley (Andy Campolieto, Ben Lee, Tony Markellis  and Mike Dingley) write and perform is exquisite. Touches of Robbie Robertson and the Band and all who followed in their footsteps echo throughout this collection.  The range is beautiful. The lyrics and melodies have a very familiar feel throughout, as if we have dear friends in all these songs—a rare gift indeed.  

“Big City” is an instrumental surprise, soft and edgy but haunting and soothing at the same time.  What movie soundtrack can we all place this in?  In this selection, as well as the album’s namesake, “The Fall Comes Early,” I hear romance in Ireland.  It takes me back to one of my favorite movies, Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero featuring Mark Knopfler’s fabulous soundtrack.

A neat Luther Perkins riff is perfect for delivering “I’m Gonna Find It” with some fine picking by the band’s stellar lead guitarist, Ben Lee.  

Right from the start, “I Used to Be Young” is simple and uncluttered but sticks in your head, in a good way.

The traditional “Amazing Grace” is the last track, the sweet tea served after this delicious musical spread.

These guys should be on the AMA (Americana Music Association) charts, right up there with Guy Clark, Dawes, and Steve Earle.    (Jim Marchese)


HOOKERCLOPS
Dumb 
7 tracks

It turns out this is more of a requiem than a review as the mighty punk-rock behemoth that was HookerClops has since, I’m sorry to say, disbanded. But, you can rest assured, their new 7-inch Dumb doesn’t go quietly into that good night. No, it rages in a frantic, ferocious free-for-all of grizzly guitars, leather-lunged vocals, ball-busting basslines, and heavy-artillery drumming. For me, though, it’s the curve-ball tune “Notice” that is the unquestionable high-water mark on this all-too-brief release: a heavy, slow-burn of a tune that seethes with guitar fuzz, bittersweet melody, and deeply personal lyrics—the lyrics of a man who has taken something ugly, some lump of bitterness and anger from his past and turned it into something beautiful, like growing daisies out of dogshit. You can really feel the catharsis in this tune. The rest of the record doesn’t disappoint with its meth-head tempos, ’70s-rock riffs, anthemic choruses, trademark sense of humor, and raunchy guitar solos. This is HookerClops doing what they do best and doing it loud as hell. Ah well, looks like this is last call, boys. Here’s to you. Cheers.    (Will Barry)

 

 

GRETA BRO
Love’s Song
8 tracks

Greta Bro’s 8-song CD, Love’s Song (all lyrics and most of the music written by Bro, some in collaboration with a circle of friends), is at once haunting, sultry, sexy, and swaying with pleasing rhythms throughout (produced and engineered expertly by John Hicks).

Rife with cool and interesting instrumentation, solo riffs surprise and delight me—check out the melodica, ukulele, flute, and percussion of all sorts, including a tabla; there’s trumpet, cello, really smooth sax, and maybe, just to tickle your imagination, birdsong!  
Bro’s songs stand out, each quite different from the one before; they call me over to her party. I’ve listened to them over and over since lifting the CD from my sister’s shelf without permission. I pour a glass of wine, close my eyes, and move myself into another place, into Greta Bro’s world. I let my head tilt from side to side. It’s a very smooth ride; I love it.

So, where’s it been hiding—or maybe I’m the only one who hadn’t heard it?     (Iowa’s Frances-Ann)


MICHAEL THOMAS DOYLE
Storm Colors 
3 tracks

The three-song EP from Michael Thomas Doyle brings an indie rock style that resonates with power and dedication, a sign that if he sticks to it, good things are likely in store.

A student at Berklee School of Music, Doyle’s music has a solid rock sound with some pop elements here and there, creating an upbeat and energetic flow. The vocals are clean and carry through the music with ease, and the guitar skills are impressive—particularly in “Liquid Courage,” which features some killer riffs. The first track, “Storm Colors,” is a solid opener, incorporating some strong visuals of nature with raw emotion. “Baby on Sunset” dials it down a decibel or two, and closes out the album with another great exhibition of Michael’s skill on the strings.  

This versatile sound brings to mind an image of Michael at an open mic, giving a small group of friends and family a quieter acoustic version, or performing with a full band at a much larger venue, getting heads to nod and feet to tap throughout the set. Michael makes the most out of this EP, and it’s definitely worth picking up.                              (Max Bowen)


RENEE & JOE
Dreamsteering      
14 tracks

Parts of this song collection are reminiscent of early XTC, and with a simple but not overly simplistic instrumental palette. “Molly,” in particular as an absolutely beautiful song, and the album is speckled with similar gems: “For My Love” is a whimsically romantic romp; “Tell Me a Good Lie” has a lovely, memorable melodic line.       (Francis DiMenno)

 

SCOTT TARULLI
Anytime, Anywhere  
11 tracks 

It is fitting to assume that, for Scott Tarulli, the guitar is not merely a musical instrument but an extension of oneself.  A session musician, writer, and Berklee professor, his new record, Anytime, Anywhere, not only exemplifies instrumental compositions; it serves to push the boundaries of our comprehension.  While Tarulli has undoubtedly developed a signature technique over the course of years spent honing his craft, his gift lies in his inimitable ability to transport listeners to otherworldly dimensions. Particularly noteworthy are the shifts that encompass “Shade Dance,” the Jane’s Addiction/Dave Navarro-esque riffs of “Caffeine and Wine,” and the romanticism of “Aurora.”  Not since Allen Devine and David Byrne have instrumentals “taken” this reviewer anywhere.  Tarulli is in league with the two in that his compositions can be felt deep within one’s core and therefore, experienced.  Atmospheric and “ear-pleasing” to the utmost extent, compositions such as these are best suited for inclusion within the world of television and film.         (Julia R. DeStefano)


LISA MANNING
The Zoo 
19 tracks

Lisa Manning calls herself the singing poet. She tackles personal and social subjects in her unique classical folk style. “The Zoo” starts things off with a statement about how a planet can be healthy as long as mankind is locked up in zoos. “Modern Child”—about a violent looney with a gun—has gotten Lisa banned from some open mics. Why an artist can’t sing about life’s realities without being penalized is beyond me. “That Carefree Child” follows the life of a boy going though his parents’ breakup, and sounds like it could be gender flipped auto-biographical song. “Turn Your Engines Off” is a complaint about people leaving their cars running while doing their nature gawking. Sounding maybe too personal, on the recording she dedicated “The Last Waltz” to her best listener, Joyce.  With 19 songs, I’d expect more variation in tempos, sounds, and style. Lisa has locked herself in a very small stylized space—I believe there is a lot of room for decoration and expansion. But if she chooses to be a total minimalist, does my opinion matter?   (T Max)

 

GIANTIST
Changing Front 
11 tracks

With this, their first full-length, Giantist continue to hone their dark-toned atmospheric rock sound to great effect. It’s a slow, brooding sound, thick with watery guitars, a churning rhythm section, and soaring saxophone that builds to eruptions of fuzz, fury, and the feral chromatic-fantastic squealing of the guitarist exorcizing demons from his guitar. Amidst the high decibels and stomp-box grit lie the somber skeletons of folk songs: acoustic strummings, the male vocalist’s hushed, bone-dry chant, and the female’s oil-slick lilt, each carrying the poetic gravitas of the lyrics. At first cattle-prodded with the surge of electricity, in the eye of this album’s storm, the folksiness is offered up in all its naked austerity, finally returning with a fuzzed-out vengeance in the finale. Yes, they’ve really upped the ante from their prior release with a deeper sense of gestalt and keener ear for composition, treating the album not just as a collection of songs but as a cohesive whole, a concept, one with a seamless flow from song to song. Simply put, sans all the geek-speak and fan-boy adoration, I think Changing Front is Giantist at their giant-est.     (Will Barry)

 

THE FLYING SEEDS
Street Songs & Meadow Music Volume 1      
11 tracks

This is thought provoking music with a Latin influenced sound. Many of the songs on this release are really mellow pop songs with nice melodies and a different sound. Their sound is present in the very good flamenco guitar work of Lenin Sabino, one half of the Flying Seeds. In songs like “Reflexiones,” “All Night All Day,” “Warm Night Under Autumn Skies,” and “Vision To Share,” the tunes begin with his South American guitar finger picking ,which sets the mood for the duration. He also adds flute and charango to the mix. The songs themselves are mostly lyrics about nature and love and are provided by talented writer Emily Sabino, the other half of the mix. Some of her words are like poems set to music. She has a great voice and I really dig when she sings harmony to herself. “Join Out Of Time,” a nice uptempo pop song or “Miracle,” which showcases the best of the band: nice vocals, great flute, and a memorable melody, are maybe the two most radio-friendly cuts on this release.  The CD itself has a great psychedelic and colorful design. Check their music out when you can; I dig it.                    (A.J. Wachtel)


IAN JAMES 

Blue FX Records
Human Casualty
14 tracks

This sounds like the type of music that vampires listened to back when they were badasses, not broody pretty boys.  At the very least, Ian James doesn’t make music that should be listened to during the daytime.  A veteran of punk bands like Chanticlear, James has moved a few years forward on the musical timeline, making music that recalls ’80s British post-punk.  Both the sound of his voice and the dark feel of the music recall a slightly peppier Joy Division.  For the most part, there’s an urgency and tension to the music that keep things fresh.  There are a few missteps, though.  The pseudo-rap on “Getting in My Way” makes Geddy Lee’s rapping on “Roll the Bones” sound like Chuck D.  Overall, it’s a solid choice for your friends with rainy outlooks.                (Kevin Finn)


SHANNA UNDERWOOD
Fieldnotes from a Caravan
9 tracks

This is a 2010 Americana outing in which the excellent, low key instrospective song, “There was a Town” segues into material which, unfortunately doesn’t bear the same heft or sheer forcefulness. The singing is stellar, but too many of the songs consist in the main of poignant and melancholy laments, which are mostly forgettable. Songs of this type—rootsy ballads replete with harmonica and slow guitar—are a fine thing for them as likes ‘em, but I can’t help getting the strong impression that this is mood music for folks who are inclined to wallow in misery. Still, there’s no denying a song like the grandly presented and genuinely touching “Small City Walls” is a worthy and classic addition to the genre.      (Francis DiMenno)


GIN MILL JANE
’Til You Come Back Home
6 tracks

From the opening vocals, low, mournful but full of life, then ratcheted up to 11 with an intense mix of roots, rock, and soul, ‘Til You Come Back Home delivers in an unforgettable way. 

Based out of Providence, RI, Gin Mill Jane does its local scene proud with a solid contribution to a genre that is quickly expanding in New England. The six tracks sound just like the name implies—a hard as nails personality who stands on their own and tells their story for all to hear. “A Little More” is a solid opener, but there’s a lot more to come, with a percussion and piano-infused cover of “(Ain’t That) Good News” by Sam Cooke.  

I was blown away by the vocals of Heather Randell on the first track, and the instruments sealed the deal. This album showcases an incredible range, with Heather also on harmonica, along with Brian Knoth (acoustic and electric guitar), Frank Haines (upright and electric bass), and Eric Hastings (drums and percussion). But that’s not all—Brooks Milgate (keyboards and piano), Jared Sims (saxophone), and Brian Thomas (trombone) make a solid contribution of their own, and it comes through loud and clear. Though the album packs in instruments of all kinds, it doesn’t feel overloaded. Each one has a part, and they make room for the others, and the final product shows a band that’s experienced, dedicated, and determined.         (Max Bowen)

 

CHRISTA RENEE BAND
Roots Dance Culture EP 
4 tracks 

This feel-good album brings soulful jazz and reggae style music with gospel chants and pop-lyrics. Guest Jonah Erikson plays lead guitar on the first track, “Culture of Violence,” a jazzy song with offbeat drums and a rocksteady feel.  “Lovesick” brings romance and lost love, a lyric heavy song with piano and softer percussion. This track comes unexpectedly to an album with such an upbeat title but shows that these musicians are talented enough to expand into other genres. This EP is heavily reggae-influenced with a touch of ska-style rhythm and blues. Christa Renee sings, “Can we ever be happy/ can we ever just be okay/ just for today?” in the song “Just For Today,” a track that begins with syncopated keyboard, and ends with a swing-style tempo. The EP brings all types of dance and funk, and returns to Jamaican reggae in the final track, “Mr. Leaver.” Christa Renee Band gives jazz and dance music a new voice, while accentuating an array of rhythms. It’s refreshing to hear a female-fronted band with such international influences in this genre. Roots Dance Culture is bound to make a wild summer soundtrack.        (Ashley Magown)


Z CO.
Z Company                            
10 tracks

This is some interesting music from Peter Zicko (Girl on Top) and John Fannon (New England) that was released during the summer. Sometimes the acoustic side stands out and sometimes the metal influences take center stage–—almost like T. Rex meets Metallica at times. “My World,” the radio friendly “Superhuman,” “I Wont Let You Go,” “Bridge To You,” and the opener and closer; “Feels Like Dreaming” and “Man” really showcase this acoustic/electric dichotomy present in every song. Sometimes Peter’s vocals are haunting; sometimes they are wispy. But they are always good and appropriate. This is acoustic folk/rock with a heavy metal edge and loud guitars. Check it out.                                        (A.J. Wachtel)


THE INEBRIATIONS
“Austin, Texas”
1 track

What we got here is a rowdy country-rock tune, loaded with chicken-pickin’ geetar, solid drumming, and the steady thud of the jug-band bassline. It is clearly driven hard by the singer’s raspy yelp that sounds like it has been left to sweat a couple days in some backwoods country smokehouse. Though the music’s doused in old-timey Americana, it’s been polished to a high studio-shine and lacks in the boot grit and tobacco spit of true-blue country music. Still, I’d be a son of a bitch if bartenders didn’t see an increase in whiskey sales and fist-fights every time this tune hit the jukebox at the local watering hole. (Will Barry)


KALEN
Fallen From the Sky
6 tracks

Kalen Lister is a young lady from Exeter, NH, who wrote and produced this CD. She also sang and played piano and percussion. The mood shifts from somber works of staggering heartbreak and pain to more upbeat trip-hop cabaret jazz. This sassy urban gypsy will be chopping heads and blowing minds on the cutting edge of female- fronted music for decades. Kalen is associated with an underground musical movement, yet I can see her timeless, passionate odes to life and love being huge on soundtracks and regular radio, if radio as we know it does not cease to exist soon. The CD booklet is a work of art in itself, with eight paintings rendering Kalen’s debut album a must have on every level. This is music for airports, funerals, and parties.       (Eric Baylies)


FROGGY & THE FRIENDSHIP
Proud Dad Records
Stegosaurus 
11 tracks

Much like how you should never read the comments following a story on the Internet, you shouldn’t look at the pictures with the liner notes, and you shouldn’t listen to the lyrics of this album.  Avoid those two things, and you’ve got a much better shot at enjoying this.  The band mixes the big, theatrical feel of the Polyphonic Spree or I Am from Barcelona (without the inflated headcount) with a hippie vibe.  They come across as the type of band that you would expect the Burlington, Vermont, High School drama club to come up with.  This is a crew with an unusually high level of ambition, and the songs are generally quite catchy and are crying out to be sung along with.  Too often, though, they get weighed down in a goofiness that might seem okay for a song or two but gets a bit grating over the course of an entire album.           (Kevin Finn)

 

SPOSE
The Peter Sparker Mixtape
13 tracks

I’m not got gonna lie, when I heard the words “hip-hop” and “Maine” in the same breath, I rolled my eyes, half-thinking it’d be a bunch of rapping about moose, trees, and smoking pot by the pound because, well, that’s what it means to be from Maine, right? Wrong. Well, maybe except for that last part. But seriously, shame on me for doubting this guy. Spose’s Mixtape is rife with wit, tongue-twisting word-play, and a wry sense of humor. Most of all, it’s got substance. Not only does the music distance itself from the empty bravado of gangsta-rap—where talent and intelligence too often take a backseat to how many times you’ve been shot or locked up. Spose isn’t afraid to poke fun at gangsta-rap’s shortcomings either. “It’s not a novelty or comedy,” he raps about his music in the opening track, “because I’m into honesty and modesty and never did a robbery.” But, don’t take his modesty for docility. That razor-shark wit, cunning, and rapid-fire rhyming of his can still kick ass and take names, as he displays in the album’s second half. For me, though, it’s his unpretentious approach and fresh perspective that really make this a stand-out album.             (Will Barry)


BLACK AND GREY
Littleguy Records
After All This Time 
4 tracks

“I Can’t Make You Happy” is a truly unsettling, bare-boned, acoustic romantic lament, full of original imagery and performed here in an emotionally wrenching fashion. Nearly as good is the full-bore folk rocker “In the Sand.” Although the vocals are droning, they are heard to good effect amid the semaphoric guitar work.  This slab of minimalistic despair may well be the stuff of cult worship in years to come.                     (Francis DiMenno)  


JOHN DECARLO & COMPANY
Live @ T.T.’s Demo Tape        
5 tracks

When John’s group plays uptempo, I call it ska and when they slow it down a notch, I call it reggae. This is good music in both cases—rock steady covers and originals recorded live at T.T.’s March 1. The band, including bassist Mark Ferrante and saxman John Ferry, both from Bim Skala Bim, is killer. John also plays guitar and sings with local Marley tribute band, Duppy Conquerors. I really dig the Delroy Wilson cover of “Better Must Come” and “Guns of Brixton” by the Clash (!). Josh Cohen on sax and vocals, Mike Hartford on keys and Matt Sullivan on percussion and vocals have the vibe down just right and DeCarlo’s song, “Pull It Together,” is also red hot. Spark up a spliff and enjoy the music. Good stuff.         (A.J. Wachtel)

 

TWO VIEW REVIEW

REBUILDER
Rebuilder EP 
6 tracks

From what I gather from their self-titled EP, Rebuilder is all over the indie rock spectrum, with a sound that ranges from punk to pop punk to emo. “Keep Me Awake” is by far my favorite track of the set with its catchy bubblegum pop punk riffs. This particular track reminds me of pop punk mainstays Motion City Soundtrack—the singer, in particular, reminds me of Justin Pierre. The opening track on the EP, “Everything That I Hate,” immediately evokes the Promise Ring. I think I can hear threads of second wave emo influence throughout the entire EP. On the other end of the spectrum, “Exhaustion” is reminiscent of old school punk with its gang vocals and grungy, faster-paced tempo. The last track, “Headrush,” which is stylistically in the same vein as “Exhaustion,” is nothing exceptional, but solid and catchy nonetheless—which, as it happens, also sums up my feelings on the EP as a whole.      (Emily Diggins)


REBUILDER
Rebuilder EP
6 tracks

Despite earning an “A” for effort, it is the bands lack of originality that ultimately sinks this freshman outing. To the point of being a detriment, the band enthusiastically revels in its influences. While there are some great moments in this DIY effort (including tasty and surprising organ and electric piano runs), the project ultimately leaves listeners trying to remind them of which Green Day or Sublime or Minor Threat song they were listening to. In the end, all is not lost, since I eagerly anticipate hearing what Rebuilder comes up with when they have matured and found their identity. (Marc Friedman)


DAVE GERARD
Savoy Productions
The Zoomy Trail              
10 tracks

The musicianship on this 2009 outing is impeccable; the songs, though, mostly plough familiar genre paths—for instance, the bluesy slow build followed by a mysterioso guitar solo (“Dreamland”), or the somewhat threadbare blues pronunciato “30 Robins,” or the pretty but ultimately inconsequential ballad “Faith.” Gerard’s vocal prowess compares favorably with Tom Waits and his legion of acolytes.  Only the material seems somewhat lacking. Fans of Stonesy Blues and Leon Russell-style low-key soul shouting (“Change”) will enjoy this album immeasurably. Those who see the style as a relic of a bygone era may very well decide to take a pass.       (Francis DiMenno)


SPIN-OFF!
Late Night Curry 
5 tracks

It is fitting to assign Late Night Curry with the term “comfortable,” as it is not a particularly groundbreaking effort but still remains pleasing, nonetheless.  Where Spin-Off! lacks in originality, it makes up for in “enjoyability”—providing listeners with a healthy dose of infectious, ’80s-infused arrangements and sing-a-long choruses.  This is not to say, however, that the band cannot come across as strange from time-to-time—“Sigourney Weaver” being the prime example alongside “Weird Girls” and “Screaming Creatures.”  Where one could come up with a hook of: “She had a face like Sigourney Weaver but not in a bad way… She had the legs of a golden retriever but not in a bad way” this reviewer will never comprehend.  There is no doubt that Spin-Off! has made this persona work to their advantage.  It has only served to solidify their status as a band with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor—something perfectly acceptable in this reviewer’s book.  (Julia R. DeStefano)


CHANCE LANGTON                           
Old Green Records
I’m Better Than Them
5 tracks

This man is a national treasure. His latest CD includes a short set recorded live at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, NH, and it catches this very talented artist right in his prime playing acoustic guitar and making point after satirical point; and the crowd just going nuts. And it’s easy to tell why: whether talking about a one-legged waitress he encountered at I-Hop, joking about an Asian Liquor Store named “Tai-wan On,” or getting the audience to sing-along with him as he plays his masterful acoustic guitar acompanyment; and sings The Three Stooges’ “Alphabet Song” with the packed, hysterical, house; he is a very funny man. I can’t quote the many funny comments Chance made or I’d ruin your future enjoyment, but he is biting, observant, intelligent and experienced enough to have the crowd in the palm of his hands. Langton has toured with Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers and Styxx: his singing voice can be heard in Adam Sandler’s animated film “Eight Crazy Night” and he has appeared physically in “House Party 2” and “Complex World.” This CD also includes four separate songs; “The Laugh Factory,” “One Of The Elves,” “I Want The Money” (where he is backed by Weird Al Yankovic’s band), and “I’m Better Than Them”; all with good acoustic guitar finger picking and playing. Some of these songs sound like they have pop and celtic influences. Sorta like if the Pogues did the Beatles’ “Michelle.” Now I just want to go see him live and onstage in person.           (A.J. Wachtel)


JESSICA PROUTY BAND
Set Me Free
8 tracks

The best thing about this record is Prouty’s arresting voice.  Its mix of power and clarity makes her band sound like a heavier version of Heart, if Heart had provided the soundtrack to a less nuanced Game of Thrones.  These songs make me want to simultaneously fight a dragon while pining for a handsome prince.   It’s a bit of a throwback record in that it’s arena rock, and unashamedly so.  This is both a good thing and a bad thing.  It’s good in that the songs generally make you want to pump your fist and shout along.  It’s bad in that the band at times leans toward the melodramatic, occasionally recalling Evanescence.  Of course, if I had a voice like Prouty’s I probably wouldn’t waste my time with subtlety, either.          (Kevin Finn) 


MEL GREEN     
MLG Limited
I’m Taking My Time  
13 tracks

Idiosyncratic songs with interesting instrumentation.  “There’s a Light on the Hill” is an ill-considered outing which is sung in a key unsuitable to Mr. Green’s range, and “God’s Domain” is so evanescent and fey that it makes Bread come across as pimpin’ Mack Daddies. “Old Flowers Die” and “All This Time” are best of show, and put me in mind of the neglected eccentric songwriter Biff Rose. But much of the rest of this 2010 outing seems rote and plodding, as though the singer wished to record an aural diary of his feelings but chose to pay little regard as to who might wish to listen to it.    (Francis DiMenno)


If you are a New England-based act with a CD you’d like reviewed, send it to T Max, PO Box 353, Gloucester MA, 01931.  We’d like to love every CD that comes in, but the reviewers are instructed to let their true opinion be heard.  Digital releases are also reviewed—send free downloads to tmax@thenoise-boston.com.

Comments

CD Reviews — 2 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the Inebriations CD review written by Will Barry, and thanks to the rest of the Noise staff for the ink!

    -Dave Yuknat

  2. Pingback: Dreamsteering review: The Noise | Renee & Joe