Thursday, June 22, 2006

CD Review: Halifax, The Inevitability Of A Strange World

There are some amazing debut albums coming out this year, and this one leads the pack in a major way. Halifax's highly anticipated debut album The Inevitability Of A Strange World is out, and out with a bang! The band's website boasts a million visitors, and shows nearly a half a million plays of their first track from the album, "Nightmare" and almost 400,000 plays of their song "Anthem For Tonight", also from this new CD. They have a strong influence from the band Nine Inch Nails, as well as the Foo Fighters to reggae to Children of Bodom. “It’s almost like the music we listen to doesn’t necessarily shape our sound, as much as it helps to express what we are feeling,” says Hunau.

Front man Mike Hunau, guitarists Chris Brandt and Adam Charles, bassist Doug Peyton and drummer Tommy Guindon comprise this irreverent group of party animal rockers, and booze swilling as they may be, this group rocks with a flavor and a flair that earns them the right to be as boldly blazon in their offstage rituals as they choose! The energy and power in "Better Than Sex" showcases their mainstream capabilities, as well as highlights the reasons for such a loyal and strong following that they enjoy. The melding of Rock, Punk, a touch of Emo that is what songs like "Such A Terrible Trend" and "Murder I Wrote" bring to mind, in a way that few bands are able to portray in today's music scene.

From the moment this band stepped out on stage in Austin and the TV cameras brought them into America's music focus, these guys have been destined to make some powerful music. The website puts it in a way that makes perfect sense...
From the coke-binge-gone-wrong theatrics of “Snow In Hollywood” to the stunning snarl of “Promise Me A Tragedy,” Hunau says most of the tunes in the Halifax songbook first germinate when he and Brandt collaborate. “It’s usually us coming up with a skeleton of a song and the lyrics and then we’re bringing it to the table and showing everyone what our version of it is,” he says. “And then everyone works on it together.” As frustrating as a rock democracy can be – Hunau says the sequencing of the disc was laborious due to disagreements – it’s this teamwork that eventually found the group a home on the infamous Drive-Thru Records label.

This debut album on Drive-Thru Records is sure to be the vehicle to launch a lasting career with some very highly sought songs to come. A definite must add to any collection, an excellent album of today's sounds.

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CD Review: The Head Cat, Fool's Paradise

CONTENT WARNING: The Author freely admits to despising this album, if you are looking for a nice candy coated review, please leave now.

The Head Cat? or should it be The Beheaded Cat? I am at a loss, is this album for real? Right from the opening, it sounds like karaoke from a biker's bar! Bad songs sung by bad voices, with echo and reverb in the recording, overall a stellar performance in exactly how not to make an album. And this was actually sent out for review? What were they thinking; I did not even receive a good supply of malt liquor with it to make it go down smoother! "Fool's Paradise", the title and opening track is absolutely the equivalent of finger nails on a chalk board; I have never seen perfectly good plastic so blatantly wasted.

This thing was billed as a "Rock-a-billy" side project from Motorhead's Lemmy, and The Stray Cats' Slim Jim Phantom. I was actually intrigued by the idea as I read about it, I loved both of those bands as a kid, and the very thought of attempting this seemed kind of cool. Holy Cat Claws Batman, was I wrong!!

Neil Young can get away with singing out of tune because, well hey, he's Neil Young! I have absolutely no idea what in the hell was going through Lemmy's mind when he published this CD, other than it would make one hell of a prank gift for those who have everything and appreciate nothing. If you have read my reviews here before, I can throw a soft jab or two at something I don't like, but this is the first on record where I can't seem to dig up a single nicety about this CD.

I kept looking over my shoulder as I listened to this thing, wondering where the hidden cameras were, this can't be real! Just when the worst song ends, up starts a new level of sounds that emulate from a Siamese cat in heat with only dogs surrounding her, un believable, I truly have heard it all! Lemmy Kilmister created Motorhead, unbelievable head banging Heavy Metal at its best, what in the name of Ozzy was he thinking when he decided to do this? Seriously, this attempt is the parallel experience of envisioning the entire Osbourne clan sing Barney songs at a gay bar in San Francisco, it just don't work.

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CD Review: Monty Are I, Wall Of People

Burning up the road on the Warped Tour is a new band from Providence, Monty Are I. These guys herald in a sound reminiscent of Metal from the '80s, with a twist that the new "Emo" genre adds. Band members Steve Aiello - Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar; Ryan Muir - Vocals, Guitar, Trumpet; Andrew Borstein - Synth Keys, Trombone, Vocals; Mike Matarese - Bass; Justin Muir - Drums, Sampling, show an enormous maturity to the sound of their profession, bursting out with an energy that is as rock solid, as it is infectious.

"In This Legacy" has a fist pounding beat that is backed with a torrent of vocals, much more complex than a variety of other bands out there today in this genre. Center tracks, "Island City" and "Metropolis" even have a symphonic refinement of sorts that elevates the sound to a new level of "Emo", with vocal harmonies that underscore the bands true talents. "Only The Weak" is an excellent anthem for an anxious youth movement, there are actually some very nice riffs and cadences that emulate such amazing bands as Queen and E.L.O, but with a definite modern machismo to it.

This CD is scheduled for a release date in August of 2006, coming on the heals of their Warped Tour performances and a run with the RX Bandits in July. As a Debut album coming out on Stolen Transmission Records, this is a pretty well anticipated event. With nearly 12,000 MySpace friends listed on their site, this band promises to make some strong waves with the advent of this CD. I seldom hear a debut album with such total regard for the complete experience of recording, right down to the mixing; an excellent beginning to what I predict is going to be a banner run for this band!

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

EP Review: Jen Murdza's things untold

Not since I first heard Diana Krall, nearly five years ago, have I been so excited about the advent of a fresh new female vocalist to the music scene, Jen Murdza is going to break a lot of molds and cross lines between genres, mark my words, she is the real deal.

Her voice has exactly what jazz requires, sultry, soft, gripping and passionate. Having said that, there is absolutely no way that the Jazz Genre can possibly hope to contain these vocals all to itself. Pop will call, Blues will beg, there will be plenty to go around, and go around it will. Alanis Morisette, Jewel, bluesy, sultry, these would all be keywords in a technorati tagline.

While slight nuances of others may come to the mind, there is in fact, no true comparison out there today for Jen's style, rhythm and soul. I'm not particularly a fan of the shorter EP's, but this one makes a very big and emphatic exception to that rule. I sound like I'm courting her, I know, but I really am impressed with this woman's approach to a very tired profession.

She brings a fresh and very seductive sound to the table, and with backing by artists such as Craig Najjar, Steve Fekete, and Jenn Oberle along with Marty Walsh, this is a sound that is going to grow rapidly into a crescendo of beautiful noise, as they say. Long anticipated, this EP has five very real representations of Ms. Murdza's embracing talents as a singer and songwriter as well.

"Lamb" is a wonderful start to this EP, hinting of bright melodies and complex harmonies to come. The final track,” This Is Real”, is a very soft and hopeful song that is representative of songs from happier times. Seldom do I take an initial release from an artist and praise it so well, but such is the mesmerizing voice of this 5'2" songstress. Performing live from Georgia to Rhode Island, Massachusetts to California, this is a sound that has flown below the radar for far too long. You heard it here first folks, mark my words.

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