|ALBUM CAPSULE REVIEWS
by Mark Waterbury
Bayadera - Rotation of the Earth
Bitemark Records - BR-2012
The fourth CD from this culturally diverse OC quintet
displays a masterful weaving of various world flourishes with female voiced
alt rock. Think of a more Latin slanted No Doubt, or a less punkish Garbage
hanging out at the Casbah and you get an idea of the template here. Gina
provocative vocal work is wrapped in the potent talent of the players,
creating music that snares your soul while getting you into a highly danceable
groove. With inherently catchy music backed by strong songwriting, look
for this band to break out of SoCal very soon.
Phil Keaggy - The Song Within
Although many people relate Phil Keaggy to his Christian based
recordings and tours, it should be more widely recognized beyond those who
listen to his Christian music that he is a highly gifted guitarist. If you
experienced Phil’s phenomenal capabilities yet, then this instrumental
project for McPherson acoustic guitars will flat out blow you away. With
styles ranging from folk and new age to blues and jazz, Phil’s prowess
will hold your attention throughout the sixteen tracks, as “The Song
Within” rates comparably with some of his best previous instrumental
efforts. Even without words, the way he displays his talents in a non-ego
flaunting way on this disc, he is glorifying the Lord using his God-given
talents to full effect. If he reaches more people this way, that’s
what it’s all about, right?
Hope and Glory - Ann Wilson
Zoe Records - 01143-1085-2
I know, it seems like everyone is doing tribute or
cover CDs these days, but that is no reason to ignore this delectable effort
from Ann Wilson. Heart’s
legendary golden piped diva lends an intense personal stamp to more acoustic
based songs like Floyd’s haunting “Goodbye Blue Sky,” Jesse
Colin Young’s gritty nugget “Darkness Darkness” and Elton
John’s “Where To Now St. Peter?” On the flip side, Zep’s “Immigrant
Song” starts with a more stripped down acapella treatment, with Ann’s
vocals absolutely on fire. With guests including Gretchen Wilson, Allison
Krauss, Rufus Wainwright and Ann's sister Nancy, this may be one of the best
cover CDs to emerge from the recent deluge.
The Thrillhammers - Long Story Short
Sometimes you just have to rock.
That is what The Thrillhammers appear to be all about if this debut is
any indication. This Canton, Georgia based foursome infuses touches of
country and blues into a blistering rock machine, like a more honky tonk
fueled Georgia Satellites with frayed edges nodding towards Jason and
the Scorchers. They don’t try to be trendy or modern.
The music just feels like they strapped on their guitars, grabbed their
drum sticks, cranked up the amps, and let loose. Pure rock is often created
that way, and that is what The Thrillhammers have done here.
Zanya Laurence - Soul Theory
Soul Spot Music - SSM001
The pop world could use more people like Zanya Laurence.
On her debut, this SoCal native displays captivating and emotive vocal pyrotechnics,
fueled by a pop edged R&B backdrop that allows you to fully experience her talents.
Also writing the lyrics on most of the songs, this is obviously music created
with as much of Zanya’s heart and soul that she could possibly fuse
into it. Anytime you can marry this type of talent with catchy, likable music
you have something special going on.
Buck 69 - When She Whispers Your Name
Toledo’s Buck 69 takes
the roots of blues rock more often found in Texas and blends it with
a touch of jam band free form feelings. Even though the music is well
written and produced, the result feels like you invited them over to
your house for a band party. Excellent groves with top notch musicianship
still has that feeling that they are letting their hair down here and
there at just the right spots. You have to do a bit more when you play
blues rock these days, and Buck 69 has the talent to grasp you with their
Danny Ross - Introducing Danny Ross!
Imagine if Elton John went alt
rock. You may get an idea of what NYC’s
Danny Ross sounds like, because he can twinkle the keys like the Rocket Man,
but his music feels more like Ben Folds or maybe a touch of Third Eye Blind.
A heady brew of hooks, edginess, instrumental talent, uniquely melodic vocal
work and intelligent lyrics work to great effect here. Danny is going
to snare your attention and make you want more after listening to the five
tracks of this EP.
Annie Barker - Mountains and Tumult
Beautiful Revolution Records
The exquisite occasionally operatic voice from L.A.’s Annie Barker
shows astonishing range and vocal control. Take a listen to “Revolutionary
Rock N’ Roll and you will get a good idea of the depth of her talent
pool, both vocally and lyrically. With an ethereal but intense instrumental
backdrop like a marriage of The Verve Pipe and Keane, the music is the type
that twists its way into your soul in a comfortable sort of way. Stunningly
emotional and very enjoyable, watch out for this lady!
Greg Roth - Caught Looking
Rio Rancho Records
Singer Songwriter Greg Roth infuses a healthy does of sardonic
wit into his lyrics, and sings them with a gutsy yet tempered emotion. Fueled
by music that rides the fence between alt folk and alt rock, many of the
tunes have snappy grooves that draw you deeper inside what is happening.
With embellishments including unique instrumentation and occasional forays
into various styles including bluegrass, island and blues, Greg weaves it
all together in masterful fashion for a very well crafted debut.
Doop & the Inside Outlaws - Blood River
Highland Music - BR 001
Detroit seems an unlikely home for folk that runs this
deep and muddy. It feels more Nashville or Austin, but it feels damn good,
even when the songs touch upon more somber subjects. Emotional storytelling
vocals are enhanced with gritty, jangly guitars, sweet touches from a Hammond
B-3, and solid rhythms. From the tearful ballad “Let You Bleed” to
the scorching rocker “Who’s To Say” this rootsy band
wears their heart and guts on their sleeves, and could easily be the next
big thing out of the Motor City.
|Division of Serge Entertainment Group