CD Reviews

Photo: Jim Countryman

Photo: Jim Countryman


Vizzitone Label Group

Love Whip Blues                      

10 tracks

Erin Harpe has an inimitably sweet voice which also happens to be admirably suited to the type of updated country and city blues purveyed here. Of the originals, “The Delta Swing” is an easygoing Delta blues, “Love Whip Blues,” is taken at a more lively pace made appealing by some expert harp playing by co-writer Richard Rosenblatt. “Good Luck Baby” varies the pace with a funky soul ballad. “Virtual Booty Blues” is a swinging and highly dancable toe-tapper. Of the cover versions, Willie Brown’s “Future Blues” is taken at a mighty rock and roll pace while still retaining its Delta Blues roots. It’s brilliantly done, for it is hard to take a forebodingly gloomy and doom-laden original and make it sound fresh without trivializing it. The cover of  “M&O Blues” (attributed to the notorious Lucille Bogan) is suitably swampy and bizarre. William Moore’s “One Way Man” is a straightforwardly excitable romp through a standard blues; the cover of Luke Jordan’s ragtime guitar classic “Pick Poor Robin Clean” is taken at a slower but by no means reverential pace. The cover of John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” is as sweet as can be, rendered so by sophisticated guitar picking and the passion of Harpe’s vocal interpretation. This is solid all the way through, but the standouts include the Prine cover, the opening track “The Delta Swing,” and “Future Blues.”               (Francis DiMenno)


Serpent Umbrella                    

10 tracks

Gravel Pit were big(ish) in the ’90s, I’m aware of that, but I’ve never heard them before this morning. I don’t know if you remember the ’90s, but you didn’t just hear everything in the world back then. Gravel Pit weren’t in my universe, man. My world was puke and bleary eyes and grunge records. It’s Mudhoney’s fault that I don’t really know who Gravel Pit is. Anyway, this is their first record in 13 years and I have no way of knowing how it compares to their old stuff, but right now, in 2014, they sound like one of these nu-soft rock bands that are floating around, like The Silver Seas or The Boy Least Likely To. It’s all pretty gentle, lightly psychedelic, crunchy on top but with a smooth, chewy center. “Anyone, Anything, Everything” is pretty much the defining track here, a piano-driven indie-pop tune that name-checks Duran Duran and feels like Freddie Mercury navigating a teenage crush. If they remade that 500 Days of Summer movie as a cartoon rendered in vintage Charlie Brown style, you fuckin’ bet this would be on the soundtrack. “The Wreck of the Triple One” throws a few fiery twangs into the mix and closer “Don’t Do What You’re Dying to Do” ends things with a synth-y, dance-y, Killers-esque glamorous indie-rock vibe, but for the most part, hold steady while the Gravel Pit pours a whole lotta ear sugar into your skull. I still prefer puking and Superfuzz Bigmuff, but to each their own.                         (Sleazegrinder)


Joe Has a Big Fat Head           

3 tracks

I don’t know how to pronounce the name of this band. I don’t what significance it holds, if any. What I do know is these three very long tracks pull the listener in like the muses lure shipwrecked sailors to their doom. Minimal vocals over extended songs make this more of a noise project than a jam band, more in the vein of Flaming Dragons of Middle Earth or Sunburned Hand of the Man. I couldn’t find out much about this Providence band, but I can’t stop listening to Joe Has a Big Fat Head. Let the mystery be your history. This is another great addition to the Providence noise canon.   (Eric Baylies)


Electric Candyland                 

10 tracks

The idea here is that local legend Jen D’Angora (Downbeat 5, Dents) and a crack team of garage rock pros (members of Rudds, Gentlemen, Gravel Pit, etc.) harken back to the early ’60s and regale us with the timeless pop perfection of beehive-abusing girl-groups, with a few side detours to boot-stomping ’70s glam and snarly early ’80s power-pop. If that sounds like Blondie to you, then congratulations, you’ve cracked the Deelinquents code. Basically if we invented Parallel Lines instead of New York, it’d be this album. My fave is the prom-baiting slow-burner “Nobody But a Fool,” but just about any track here feels the like the A-side of a bitchin’ summer single. I mean, there’s no need to sit here and dwell on it, it’s a fun, frothy record that kindly requests you change out of those fucking sweatpants and put on your goddamn dancing shoes. The end. The cover of “Fox on the Run” feels a little too on the nose for its own good, but otherwise, you’d have to be some kind of gross neckbeard or something not to be charmed by this.    (Sleazegrinder)


Stop, Look, and Listen          

11 tracks

Lines West’s press talks about their similarity to Wilco and the Drive-by Truckers. I’m sorry. I don’t hear it. Sure, these New Haven, CT-based guys like Americana and they are fond of slipping a banjo into lots of their tunes but there’s very little of the aforementioned bands influence that I can hear. Given that pedigree maybe a comparison to The Avett Brothers or Mumford & Sons would be more appropriate. Even then, the production on this collection of songs is way too polished to really invoke either of those bands. What I hear instead is a semi-acoustic version of Coldplay fronted by Paul McCartney. That’s a fairly strong endorsement, right? Well, why not. This is a great collection of songs. If you like Wings at the Speed of Sound-era McCartney; if you like the less “we’re-the-next-U2,” stripped down moments with Coldplay; if you like radio-friendly, adult-contemporary-indie rock; you will gush over Stop, Look, and Listen.

Though I don’t have a personal inclination towards this flavor of rock, I know enough to be certain that the music of Lines West has legs. These inspired tracks tap into some primal need that most 35 – 45-year olds have to be re-inspired as they move into whatever that next phase of adulthood has to offer them. With the right support these young men will be headlining New England independent radio festivals in no time flat.    

     (George Dow)


The Deep End                           

15 tracks

Christine Ohlman is the beehive queen. Not THEE beehive queen, I’m pretty sure that’s still Ronnie Spector, but at the very least she’s the beehive queen in these parts. Back in the early ’90s, she was part of the Saturday Night Live band, which is probably a much better gig than whatever you and I were doing in 1991. Since then she’s played Madison Square Garden with Bob Dylan’s band, sang for the Joplin-less Big Brother & the Holding Company, and just generally sauntered around in her big hair, singing rock n’ roll songs with raspy, curled-lip bravado. You get what all the fuss is about when listening to The Deep End. There’s shades of blues, rockabilly, Americana, doo-wop, and garage rock all over these songs but really, they’re just authentic, true-blue, booze n’ bruises rock ’n’ roll. Everything sounds big on this album. “Cry Baby Cry” reaches levels of Phil Spector-esque intensity, a pocket symphony of teenage melodrama, opener “There Ain’t No Cure” leans heavy on arena-rock cowbell ten seconds in and never quits, the drawling, heartbreaking “Like Honey” sounds like it came straight from an early ’70s Ronstadt album, “Everybody’s Got A Heartache” is slow burning, funky blues complete with honking horns and a swooshing organ. Ohlman & Montez (her band, incidentally, not a cool dude named Rebel) brought a few heavy hitters with ’em for this outing, too. There’s a handful of high-profile collaborators sprinkling the disc, including Marshall Crenshaw, Ian Hunter, and Levon Helm. It’s always nice to have friends in semi-high places, and hopefully it nudges a few fence-sitters Ohlman’s way, but really, she’s a big enough presence all on her own. Great stuff. This might be the greatest album Tina Turner never made.    (Sleazegrinder)


Through the Other Side           

8 tracks

Cougar Bait has returned with a new electronic sound and a different lineup. I’m a little new to this genre, but I’ve become a big fan of performers like Daft Punk and DedMau5, and given some time, I can see Cougar Bait opening for them. They’ve got an amorphous sound that doesn’t stick to one arrangement with a few small changes in each song—the music shifts from fast-paced club styles in “Booty on the Dance Floor” to the more chilled out “Break Through.” The synthesizer tones blend well with the guitar (Sean Sullivan) and bass (Jamie McCarthy), which offer some impressive solos throughout the album, and CT Lucious kills it on the drums. Geli, a Worcester-based artist, supplies the vocals for a few of the songs, and the result is a great blend of tunes and voice work. She’s really impressed me with her efforts on this album, and I’ll be sure to give her music a listen. I feel like there is some room for improvement on this one, but in all, it’s a solid opener from this revamped band. (Max Bowen)



7 tracks

While the first first three tracks of Dead Cats, Dead Rats’ Raw may sound like Ryan Sollee of The Builders & the Butchers fronting a Nirvana-esque punk rock band, you’ll find a lot more when you peek behind the curtain and look deeper into this Boston-based band. Four tracks in, on “Knockout,” you suddenly find yourself listening to what sounds like Glen Danzig crooning over a Carl Perkins, chug-a-lug, rock-a-billy beat. Next up, “Big Trouble” finds DCDR in full-on post-punk mode, out-Interpol-ing Interpol with angular guitar stabs and dead-pan vocals which bring to mind that band’s über-hit “The Heinrich Maneuver.”  “Warm Up” leads DCDR back into heavy grunge mode—buoyed by series of a deep chugging riffs that serve to re-center the tune each time the chaotic verses threaten to send the song off the rails. The closing track, “Half and Half” is influenced by the countrified punk of Social Distortion. The song starts quietly—revealing the band’s skill at paring things back from full-on rock mode—before turning up the volume and finishing up back on a hard and heavy note.    (George Dow)


We Gotta All Chill Out

10 tracks

This is hard rocking metal arena rock; and it’s pretty good. Joey Freedom sings lead, plays acoustic guitar, piano, and harmonica and Clinton “Clintone” Lurvey plays the lead guitar, bass, drums, and sings background vocals. For just two people’s input there is a lot going on in their music. All the songs are written by Joey and their sound is a bit like Aerosmith meets Bob Dylan meets Tom Petty; Check out “Guitar Man” and you’ll see what I mean. Other rocking tunes I really enjoy are “I’m Going Insane” with its manic pop metal pace, the title track “We Gotta All Chill Out” that deals with political injustices, and the metal rocker “Happy” and the metal ballad “Grace,” both with really nice guitar parts. The main formula on this CD is: a cool guitar part sets the mood in the intro, then Joey’s raspy vocals come in followed by three minutes of good guitar focused metal rock ’n’ roll. Then the music ends. Good stuff.    (A.J. Wachtel)


75 or Less Records
Junior Varsity Arson          

5 tracks

Junior Varsity Arson is the musical project of four long-time New England rock stalwarts, Guy Benoit (Thee Hydrogen Terrors), Kraig Jordan (The Masons), Dave Narcizo (Throwing Muses), and Don Sanders (Medicine Ball, The Masons). What do you get when you throw these four guys in a room together? Not exactly what you would expect. Instead of heavy art punk, you’ll find something more akin to Devo or They Might Be Giants, as spoken/ sung by an odd combination of the guy from Cake and William S. Burroughs. If you have any taste at all you will agree that this is an oddly appealing recipe. The five songs that comprise JVA’s self-titled, debut EP roll by like some strange beat poet’s LSD-induced hallucination. “Her Parents Love Me” starts off quirkily with, “Her parents love me/ I’m such a big improvement/ over the white supremacist. Her parents hated him/ He ruined every holiday,” and continues on with a strange, American gothic love story. “Brown Jacket and Purple Keds” is a song about…  actually, I have no idea what this song is about. There are references to shopping at Target, a museum, a Volvo, and shit-stains on the floor. I have to admit that I lost the story line pretty quickly. And so it goes for another three tracks of stream-of-consciousness lyrics spoken and sung over kitschy keyboards, guitars, and drums.  Junior Varsity Arson’s debut sounds spontaneous—like a gang of accomplished musicians getting together on a Saturday night, simply enjoying playing together, all wondering what will come out on the other side. Thankfully, what came out the other side is utterly entertaining.           (George Dow)


Meanie Jeanie Records

ZIZAL! (The Land Is Moving! Look Over There!)                             

10 tracks

Superficially, Ouellette’s vocal stylings remind me of David Bowie at his most theatrical, accompanied by a mutant strain of Eno-influenced Talking Heads world-funk instrumentals. Yet you see right off that the band is more than the sum of its putative influences. Mostly, they are great fun. Absolutely delightful. And this collection is a set which rewards careful listens because of the varied instrumentals and the unexpected twists and turns of the melody and rhythms. Even trying to describe the songs is like attempting to spear a glob of mercury with a fork. Suffice it to say that Ouellette’s rich baritone is ruggedly complemented by the bold sonic choices of the variegated accompaniment, which range from irresistible synth beats and drones to vocal and other naturally found samples. More than an oddity for the sake of mere novelty, the instrumentals serve the purpose of a ground to the vocal signal. One can see some of this music as a soundtrack to the future, notably the funky “La Nuit…,” the downright humorous “Everything is Ruined,” and the best of show, the heavenly “Pluck You Is Fantastic.”           (Francis DiMenno)


Nowhere to Land                     

12 tracks

There is something hypnotic in Whitaker’s inimitable banjo runs, and Eva Walsh’s sweet fiddle playing complements it nicely. “A Day With You” is a lively love song; “The River” is a magnificent and reverential lament; “Better Words” is alternately winsome and touching; and “When the Weather Breaks” is shiver-inducing in its simple loveliness. This is a collection chock-full of inimitably sweet banjo and fiddle balladry which could have been recorded and released in 1960, which points more to a classic folk sensibility than to any lack in the material, which is fine.               (Francis DiMenno)


You Can’t Trust Your Allies

5 tracks

On a beautiful afternoon, I went to a neighborhood block party and was treated to a wide diversity of local acts: Lucy Martinez (folk), The O.H.M. Jazz Trio (jazz standards), Fun Era Fifty (acoustic pop), and a knock-out rock band, The Boston Swindlers. After the Swinders’ set, I expressed my admiration and they slipped me their debut EP. Wicked pissa—classic Boston rock to the tee, right down to their accent! Though I really don’t listen to this style of music anymore, I’m glad all over to hear reflections of The Real Kids, DMZ, Outlets, Nervous Eaters, Birdbrain, etc. and here it is in the new millennium. I’m also hearing New York Dolls, Stiff Little Fingers, or AC/DC. These guys have amalgamated it all.  Tunes like “Comrade” or “Hey Rozzie” soar with killer guitar work from Bruno Giordano and Colin Dwyer. The rhythm team of Scott Sugarman (drums) and Anthony Giordano plow right along too. Call it anachronistic, revisionist, or just plugging into the current scene to shake some action! My only personal desire for them is to add a bit more surprise, a dose of sophistication, and a hint of pop! Then they could really break out of the pack. This is a band to watch for!     (Harry C. Tuniese)


For You                                        

4 tracks

A Salem-based collective-coven led by post-rock visionary/ mellow wizard Rob Hughes and an ever-expanding, ever-evolving jive cotillion of musical cohorts, Fishing the Sky is a hazy, dreamy thing, the sound of your pilot speaking a moment before your plane crashes into the ocean, lost forever. Largely instrumental, slightly creepy, and never overpowering, the four expansive tracks on For You ride the edge of ambient, like sonic wallpaper that occasionally slithers off the wall and licks the back of your neck. Best of the bunch is the climactic “The Good Ole Days Before You’ve Left Them,” a mournful submarine dirge anchored by a violin that sounds like it’s nine miles away from the rest of the band. This is mood music, obviously. It’d be lousy sandwiched between Guns N’ Roses and T Rex on an iPod shuffle mix, but if you want to drive around all night crying about shit, for example, then it’s perfect for that. Or like a really sad breakfast? Burying a small household pet in the backyard? You’ll figure it out.               (Sleazegrinder)


A Real Fine Day                       

10 tracks

How can I review a seasoned blues singer/ songwriter of the caliber of Mark Nomad—this man knows not only the genre, but he knows every which way within and through his guitar while playing blues (he’s especially noted for his masterful slide guitar playing). Mark Nomad is new to me, so I can share that my experience with his release A Real Fine Day was real fine indeed. With the foundation of blues, we’ve got a whole lot more going on above. There’s the undeniable ’70s funk in “Squeeze Me In”—a song that also highlights Mark’s soulful voice (the essence of this track reminded me of Blood, Sweat & Tears). The slower feel of “My Mind Gets To Wanderin” showcases his talent for having his guitar act as another voice in the songwriting. “No Place To Go” is a purely superb real-deal blues. And my absolute favorite of all is the last track, “A Real Fine Day”—instantly loved this from the first couple of notes… swampy and psychedelic at the same time—I could listen to it over and over again! There were a couple of tracks that felt a bit too long or repetitive, but I understand that’s the blues. Otherwise, this recording was a winner. Goes without saying this man is a talent.        (Debbie Catalano)


Let Trouble Go                           

9 tracks

As I’m driving down Storrow Drive one fall morning, I slide Matt Fraza’s new album into my player. The opening track is mellow folk melody that puts me in mind of a quiet house concert with a cup of coffee in hand, resting on a couch and surrounded by friends. It’s familiar, relaxing, like a stroll down the quiet roads I grew up on. Much of the lyrics lack a regular format, and have a more stream of consciousness feel to them, reinforcing the casual feeling I get when listening to songs like “Forever.” At first I was a little put off by this, but on the second third runs through the album, I think I get it—Matt, Kraig Jordan (bass, lead guitar), and Tom Chace (drums, keyboards, vocals, bass) have some stories they want to share, and it’s about the telling of the tale, not making sure it fits into a certain mold.           (Max Bowen)


Gary Shane                                 

6 tracks

Goddamn Gary Shane, man. Holy smokes. What a survivor. You know this dude, he’s been around since ’79 or so in various permutations: The Detour, Johnny’s Coaltrain, Silvertones, Free Radicals, etc. For whatever reason, he’s never been as high profile as other legacy-rockers in town, like your Willie Alexanders or Johnny Angels. Dunno why. Was it because he lived on the North Shore? I’m pretty dismissive of anybody who takes the highway to get home, so maybe. Or maybe he just lacked a flashy gimmick. Anyway, he’s always delivered the goods, and he’s still at it. This nondescript, unassuming-looking collection of songs is somewhat of a mystery to me. I’m not sure if he’s got a new band or these jams have been kicking around for awhile or if they’re hot off the presses, but I will tell you this much: they’re stellar. Well, at least half of ‘em are. The template is familiar, especially for this town: gritty, street-level divebar rock ’n’ roll steeped in the blues, soaked in Motown, and raised in a garage. “Key to the Highway” and “Destiny” both have a warm Modern Lovers vibe—frothy, personable, easy to like, and fun to sing along to. And then comes “Higher Ground”. Gary Shane’s decades-long battle with MS is no secret, so it’s not a surprise that he’d tackle the debilitating illness in his music. I could be wrong, I wasn’t there when he wrote it, but “Higher Ground” appears to be the moment when he throat-punches his own mortality, and it’s kind of a mini-masterpiece, a swirling nine-minute kaleidoscope of testimonial and confession, of beauty and sadness, of defeat and redemption, a sun-drenched swirl of organ, psychedelic guitar, and gently wafting flutes that thoroughly tramples all of Shane’s worries, pains and tragedies underfoot, even snatching a bit of George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” along the way to chase the darkness back into whatever hole it came from. “Higher Ground” does what rock ’n’ roll is supposed to do: it elevates. Strangely, the rest of the record takes a more pedestrian turn. There’s a cover of “One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer” that just sounds like the original, an eye-rolling tongue-in-cheek dude anthem (“FN Bitch”) and an anti-climactic twenty-minute noodle. What are you gonna do? Shane almost nailed it. Halfway to greatness. You know, like living on the North Shore.         (Sleazegrinder)


Carried Away                             

5 tracks

These five compositions are a bit folky and a bit Americana—and they are all ballads played at different tempos. The opening cut, “Carried Away” introduces Sara’s great voice—sometimes lecturing, sometimes playful, and always passionate and very likable. “Roll Away” is a nice acoustic ballad with slight tinges of blues and pop mixed in. I really like both the lap steel playing of Ryan Duchene in the uptempo “Subway Song” and the nice finger picking guitar work done by Darren Ray in the closing cut “Fly.” The rhythm section of BJ Ray on drums and Jeremy Dryden on bass is rock solid too. The most radio friendly song here is “Don’t Wanna Wait” with a really nice country rock melody that I think is the most memorable of them all.  You don’t hear too many bands in Boston making cutting edge country & western these days. Check this out!        (A.J. Wachtel)


Under My Hat                          

15 tracks

Under that hat is a voice of sincerity, a genuine folk and country singer and musician, a socially conscious man, a poet… a singer/ songwriter who exemplifies a storyteller through his music. Every word that Lenny Solomon sings in his latest Under My Hat is expressed with such sincerity—whether it is commentary on issues such as in “The Fracking Song” and “Soldier Coming Home” or the pure poetic loveliness of the hopeful yet wistfully delivered “The Awakening,” and the song about an actual poet in “Ode To Robert Frost” in which he humbly states, “wish I could write a poem as good as Robert Frost.” Though clearly impassioned in his lyrics, Lenny’s vocal style is not one that punctuates or booms through (that wouldn’t suit his folk music anyway). But what I notice and admire is the  soul and heart, both in depth and in lightheartedness, shining simply throughout his lyrics, punctuated by the music. Whether it is the harmonica or admirable guitar-picking in some tracks, subtle and lovely backing vocals on others, and even a pleasant surprise a little more than midway through with the Trop-rock tune “Jane & Hal,” Lenny Solomon’s release is a pleasurable listen. Other favorites of mine: “Del’s Song” and “Cat In The Hat” (cool bluesy guitar in this one!).      (Debbie Catalano)

THE BORG                    

Dove Records

The Borg                                      

8 tracks

Albums like this are hard to review because the music feels more like a score for a sci-fi flick or a video game than it does something you would sing along to in your car.  The songs are almost begging for some kind of visual context, although the fact that there does seem to be a somewhat cohesive alien overlord apocalypse story running throughout does help.  The music sounds like it was played on appropriately cheap instrumentation, and the vocals often have a creepy sing-song, chant-like feel to them.  As I listened to the album more and more, I found myself wondering if it was at least partially supposed to be a joke, particularly on the goofy “No Animals,” which depicts a world with, yup, no animals.  The one real highlight on the album is “Choose What’s Right,” which is practically sinister in its catchiness and sounds like what The Magnetic Fields would come up with if they were writing the soundtrack to one of the movies they make fun of on Mystery Science Theater 3000.             (Kevin Finn)

SICK PILLS          

75 or Less Records


12 tracks

Classic-era punk, particularly of the UK variety, presented us with a lively alternative to bloated arena rock, and the best of its purveyors, particularly the Buzzcocks and The Jam, also offered up some pretty snappy tunes to go with the attitude. This propensity carried forth into the so-called college rock of the ’80s (aka indie rock), and we find plenty of that attitude and tunefulness here, particularly on the opening track, “Wormfood.” But the same opening gambit tropes which seemed so refreshing and new a generation ago have now become cliches: telepathic guitar lines; anti-love songs; stop and start dynamics; brawly Pistols-like chaos; sludgy intros; machine-gun staccato; cinematic whangdoodle; abrasive textures; pounding clamor; grudging grindoramas; feedback-laden echoplex tunings, and so forth. No bad, all in all—just lacking in anything genuinely novel.                  (Francis DiMenno)



9 tracks

Guitarist and vocalist Andy Davis of the Universes and Boo Radleys has teamed up with drummer Melba Cantwell and friends to create a poppy garage masterpiece. It’s hard to pin the Pixels down. Sometimes they sound like Galaxie 500, sometimes they sound like they should be on a Nuggets compilation. With Melba’s sparse kit and minimalist style, she is reasonably compared to Maureen Tucker when you see this band live, but this is no Pizza Underground. This album takes the Pixels to a whole new level musically and I can’t wait to see them again.               (Eric Baylies)


Dove Records

Hunters of Triangle                  

8 tracks

Here’s something I truly appreciate—uniqueness. The eight songs in this self-titled release by Hunters of Triangle meander and weave in what I would describe as ’60s-influenced catchy Brit pop and quirky psychedelic. I can’t find any info whatsoever on these guys and I get the feeling that it’s deliberate—so, unique and mysterious, hmmm? Either way, that seems to fit with this musical mélange. Though the recording is thin-sounding, the songs have enough hooks and musical arrangements to showcase each song’s substance. In fact with its often airy aforementioned Brit pop feel, the recording sound works. The tracks include the melodious “My Old Girlfriend” into the super cool and too-short “Red Silohette” (misspelled on purpose?). But when “Everybody Loves Me” arrives, the warped, trippy side emerges. Bass-heavy, it feels a bit dark and creepy, sort of like those colorful ’60s cartoons that through the swirly animation demonstrate a drug trip. Trust me, if you heard it you’d know what I mean. We come back into the sunshine with my favorite, “Shilo Can Sing” and with the other tracks featuring tidbits that remind me of The Beatles and The Kinks, I’d say Hunters of Triangle, whoever they are, has just the right touch of throwback vibes and eccentric distinction.   (Debbie Catalano)


Expensive Hobby

Light of Day                             

10 tracks

“Lovely Lee” has the virtue of brevity—a simple idea simply stated, albeit with a curly keyboard middle eight. These are mostly standard-issue pop songs, notable for the retro stylings of “Hangin’ Around,” which might have been the great lost Seeds single. “Summer” strikes me as sub-Elvis Costello; best of show is the standard-issue but highly catchy “Paper Cut,” followed by the equally infectious psyche-rocker “Ok.”             (Francis DiMenno)


75 or Less Records
Faceless Angels        

10 tracks

Deadlands play dangerously close to a line that would put them into the schmaltzy bar-band blues category. What saves them from that awful fate is a skill for invoking the ghost of early ZZ Top in order to bring some character to their tracks. As often as the generic “Before You Were Born” and the “Mustang Sally”-baiting “Discotex” make me want to scream, tracks like “Bottom Feeders,” “Libby Prison Blues,” and “Fink” prove that there’s much more at hand with Deadlands than Thursday-night-dive-bar status. There are glimpses of real blues-rock genius on Faceless Angels. If you queue up those stellar moments and skip past the cheese you are certain to find something to enjoy on this record.             (George Dow)


Tangled in a Tree                    

13 tracks

Fallon makes the type of music that requires you to leave your cynicism at home.  For many a Bostonian, this would probably be a deal breaker, but it’s their loss.  The music here is pretty, intelligent and expressive, mostly folk but with some country flair as well.  Fallon’s songs have as much PMA as the Bad Brains and enough ruminations on friendship to fit in perfectly on a 7 Seconds record.  Maybe the punks and the folkies aren’t all that different!  The band is solid throughout, led by the subtly great playing of guitarist Kenny Selcer.  The only real misstep is “Talk to Me,” which rails against the kids and their texting and tweeting and Facebooking.  It’s done in a jokey manner, but still comes way too close to “Hey kids, get off my lawn!” territory.        (Kevin Finn)

• • •

Leave a comment if you’d like.

Your first comment must be approved (to prevent spam),

after that—your comments will be posted immediately

(and appear on the homepage).

Thank you for reading The Noise.



CD Reviews — 3 Comments

  1. Thanks for listening to my CD – I appreciate your kind attention. I hope that you might listen to “Talk to Me” one more time, however; you will see that it isn’t about face booking and texting – it isn’t generational. It is about interpersonal communication: “I say I would like to talk to you so that we won’t misunderstand each other …” Looking each other in the eyes – something we all need to do more often. Peace.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my new CD and it pleases me that you have enjoyed it. Appreciation and honor is much felt.

    -Daniel Ouellette

  3. Yeah, well played…you got most of the JVA (Junior Varsity Arson) stuff exactly right.