So yeah, I’m still playing catch-up from the week of Sodom & Gomorrah music debauchery known as SXSW. One of the things that pretty much none of us got around to was checking in on our hopeful SonicBids artists, crossing their fingers for a little press from the good old Synthesis Blog. We got a lot of overdue artists waiting for a response from us, so in an effort to get back to everyone I will be cranking out the reviews like whoa. We’ll start with a dozen for today.
Usually, I spend a good 20 – 30 minutes with each artist I’m writing about before even beginning to express my feelings about their music. But there’s really no time for that right now, and besides, judging a book by it’s cover is the NEW JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY, so this is all real-time reviews on the first listen. If I fuck up your or your friend’s band it just goes to show that you should be doing better to impress me. ME. First listen, that’s all you usually get anyway. With that caveat, on to the show:
Will Hanza sounds like he was really bummed when Jeff Buckley died. There’s a lot of parts in his songs, they go a lot of different directions, but it’s mostly powerful, sonic rock with tentative valleys. This shit’s got some subtlety and nuance, I will have to go back and listen some more. Great band to start with. I suggest you look more into them as well.
Built By Snow first sounded like Replacements meets Jimmy Eat World meets other crappy melodic nu-alt rock bullshit. VideoMatt would like these guys more than me. Their recording sounds a little rough, but I’m already warming up to Built By Snow. And yes, I do understand what I just did there. Warming to Snow? Brilliant, yes? Nah, these guys aren’t half bad. They’re like 1/3 bad.
Lachi is not really pissing me off, but she’s not getting me pumped either. Jazzy-alternative rock. Think Regina Spektor imagining herself as a ’60s lounge singer, and missing the mark a little bit. But as Lachi sings, “I guarantee I’ve heard worse.” Poppy, but nothing amazing here. And you know the whole idea behind the song “Video Killed The Radio Star?” Yeah. Think on that.
Zobapago classifies themselves as children’s music. It’s pretty fun. If I had a kid i would probably subject them to far worse stuff. Like that Rockabye Baby series: Wussy acoustic/glockenspiel renditions of AC/DC. No, Zobapogo is way better… Oh shit, it just got annoying as fuck. Story-time, with narrator. Crap. But then again, hell, I feel like I’m learning something, I can always brush up on my counting and ABCs. I am also learning that the saxophone was created by THE DEVIL. Agh!
The Boxing Lesson is kinda making me feel good. Yeah, really good. A bit of Britpop meets dark psychedelia, like Cure, Failure, things like that. I like dark and moody music, and wait, they’re from Austin and going on tour? The Boxing Lesson, you are winning so far. Look these guys up as well, worth your time and patience.
AN ASIDE: Oh, I’m probably a terrible person and not deserving of my position as a music journalist for just glossing over all these hard working musicians with hopes and dreams and thousands upon thousands of hours clocked in to making their art… OH WELL. Continuing…
Carole Troll from NYC plays blues and jazz standards with a honeyed voice that has felt the pain for years and years. Oh man, that high note just sent a shiver. Good shit. Too bad blues has been sullied by too many white dudes with Hawaiian shirts and mustaches. And her last name is Troll? Stage name anyone? Oh shit, this cover of “Summertime” is terrible. Slap bass was also created by THE DEVIL. Otherwise Carole is legit.
Michael Stollaire…where to start. Okay, first off, Michael, that picture is terrible. Just terrible. You’re a goofy looking dude making a goofy looking face. Now the music, sounds like you really like Dire Straits, but Knoffler you are not. Nor are you Nightranger. This is some ’80s power rock, fist pumping ear punishment. I hate this. I really, really hate this. Terrible. The lyrics sound like the kind of shit you hear in the background of an afternoon teen drama television show….only audible and far more obnoxious. This makes me want to poop. It’s better than coffee and cigarettes, and probably worse for you. “This smells like trouble.” Indeed. You missed the cocaine LA Hair heyday bro! But pornos always needs soundtracks, so…. Wow dude.
BrothaRemixx…”All my lyrics are written by God and delivered by me.” I still want to shoot the messenger. Sorry man, that bio intro got off on the wrong foot. Actually, BrothaRemixx has got pretty good flow, and I like the juxtaposition of positive Love of God / brotherhood lyrics and total gangsta knockin’ beats. I bet the devil is pissed about this. This is on some angry Christian soldier shit. God’s into some fear tactics then? No doubt.
Mama’s Dirty Li’l Secret from Brooklyn. Damn, there are some screws that need to be tightened here. Apart from the recording not sounding all that hot, the drums sound like they’re about to fall apart. It’s on some punk rock meets hard rock, and, well, I’ve heard this style done a hundred times better. This bar rock needs a lot of work. These lyrics are weak, too. Meh. If I was like 10 beers deep, I might have other feelings. Right now, I just want this to be over.
Gumshen, from Seattle. Okay, warmed over grunge? Remember when Bush tried their best to rip off Nirvana and failed? This is like Gumshen ripping off Bush ripping off Nirvana, but without the painfully awkward lyrics. I mean, at least you can laugh at Bush’s lyrics. Gumshen’s doing nothing for me, they are existing in the void between decent and terrible. With a terrible band you can actively hate it (see Michael Stollaire), and that produces a little joy. But a band that is in the nether world just kinda sucks, like when the inside of your nostril itches and you know the minute you scratch it some hot girls will walk by and see you picking your nose. So you just suffer a little. But Gumshen’s recording actually sounds really good, so they at least have the tech side working for them. Lyric: “I’m a bastard and a loser deserving of all your hate.” You got it!
The Sandoval Band. Considering that I hate a good 99% of funk music, I must say that 30 seconds in I don’t hate the Sandoval Band. Perhaps it’s just because I feel bad for destroying my buddy Dain Sandoval’s Socially Pink song the other day, but for goodness sake, The Sandoval Band is currently residing in the exclusive roster of white-boy funk bands that don’t totally piss me off (John Scofield, Medeski Martin & Wood….I think that’s about it). And yes, I see that the Sandoval Band isn’t all white boys….they just kinda sound like it. Maybe it’s the whole Christian Wonderbread bent. Christian funk? If I were Jesus, I’d feel conflicted.
Evangenitals have the best name of the batch, easily. They have pictures in their myspace of Kyle Gass and Dio, so there’s a few bonus points right there. The music, a female-fronted pop-folk, meets hillbilly stomp – easygoing groove with lyrics that I would consider, well, kinda forgettable, but with potential. Their singer Juli, however, was a fledgling pro boxer before an injury forced her into a new career path, so for the record, I FUCKING LOVE AND SUPPORT THIS BAND DON’T HIT ME.
The Wrap Up: So what have we learned? The Boxing Lesson from Austin is legit, Will Hanza is legit, the Evangenitals might kick my ass if I don’t say something nice, The Sandoval Band is decent, I would stay at Carole Troll’s bar lounge set until the bass player started slapping, and I couldn’t care less if the other bands were playing at a venue near me. Except Michael Stollaire – I’d see that shit in a hot fucking second.
Shitty bands: 0