Music Morsels June 2006 
by Mark Waterbury
  Bruce Turgon - Outside Looking In
Locomotive Music

Longtime collaborator of Lou Gramm’s in several bands, prolific songwriter/hired gun Bruce Turgon unleashes his first solo album. Melodic classic rock that no doubt courses through his veins is a heavy influence here, but Bruce stretches the boundaries further. “Walk Through Fire” tilts in the prog direction while maintaining solid hooks. “Pleasure Dome” is a down and dirty hard driving rocker. While I would not call this music current, Bruce rocks his butt off and injects enough of his distinct personality to keep it fresh and enjoyable.
  Splitsense - Purify

Aggressive but melodic modern metal from Queens, NY, Splitsense has proved with their sophomore effort "Purify" that they could be ready to take on the world. With elements of bands like Nickelback, Tool and System of a Down, this foursome injects something extra, more intelligent, and unique yet still familiar in the songwriting. “As Far As I Can See” stacks up with anything on the radio today. Killer guitar riffs with intricate passages, thunderstorm rhythms, frenetic drumming and harmonic but still intense vocals lend the songs an extra edge.
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  Moossa - Step Right Up
504 North

The second CD from Richmond band Moossa finds the jam/reggae rock foursome with plenty of juice in the songwriting tank. Moossa delivers a one-two punch with the toe tapping rocker “Slack Like Me” and the sunsplashed laid back reggae of  “Little Bit Lighter.” “Tollbooth” toys with back alley funk, “It’s True” has a subtle punk soul, and “Rambling Oklahoma Blues” is grittier then a July evening in Tulsa. Brimming with wicked guitar licks, soulful vocals and thoughtful lyrics, Moossa once again delivers a disc that is entertaining and musically intriguing 
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  Marky Ramone - Start of the Century
The Lab - 302 061 546 2

One of the last surviving members of the seminal garage punk act tributes his fallen band mates and also lets them know the music they created is very much alive. The first CD is new, original music from Marky, driven by a power trio as potent as their leather clad peers. Keeping the songs short and intense, this is reminder of what punk is truly all about, in your face and meant to be played loud. Disc two is a raucous, live concert of Ramones classics that you have to know has Johnny, Dee Dee and Joey slam dancing in that big garage in the sky.
  Vernon Reid & Masque - Other True Self
Favored Nations - FN2550-2

Vernon Reid proves with his latest solo project that he deserves to be considered a legend with the six string. This instrumental foray occasionally bares some resemblance to the metal-meets-R&B that Living Colour was famous for, but he goes well beyond that. “Flatbush & Church Revisited” lays out sultry, island tinged blues. “Enjoy The Silence” has a Beatles psychedelic edge, while "G" has an ethereal, jazzy vibe. Whatever background subtleties he may use, Reid’s guitar skills are amazing and also feel natural; he doesn’t have to be overly flashy to prove anything.
  Rock N Roll Soldiers - The Two EPs
Atlantic Records - 756783784 23

If you take the poppish sensibility of say The Click Five and twist it with a nasty guitar snarl ala GNR with a touch of the Offspring, it may sound like Rock N Roll Soldiers. Hooky and brash, this Eugene, Oregon foursome pays far more attention to injecting unique touches into their songs than most bands today. Bands tend to try to write hits that sound like everything else. This band’s priority is writing songs that rock and with their obvious talent, everything falls into place in wondrous fashion.
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  Dark Skin - Flo Food

Sacramento does not seem like it would be a hip-hop breeding ground, but Dark Skin may change that ideal. Reminiscent of Tupak and Jay-Z in his vocal stylings and sampling, the most unique factor of Dark Skin is the often introspective sense of humor prevalent in most of his raps. Albeit often X-rated, but hey, weren’t Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy that way? And they made you laugh. This aspect is by its own refreshing considering all the negative and angry rap around today.
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  Vickie Natale - Never Gonna Stop
Capital Records

“Star Search” may be considered the poor second cousin in talent shows with the mammoth popularity of “American Idol.” There is still a lot of talent in “Star Search” as 2004 Grand Champion Vickie Natale proves. Tilted towards the R&B edge of pop, Vickie writes all her own lyrics and music before knocking you out with her seductive, soulful voice. Songs range from the energy pulsing “2Bad” and “That Boy” to the beautiful, emotive ballad title track. “Forbidden Love” is shades of Aretha. Vickie is a talent that may in fact never stop.
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  Nuffsed - Ignite The Fuse
Best Coast Records

With their first full length CD, Seattle’s Nuffsed has proved that they may be one of the freshest new voices in reggae. Although paying unavoidable homage to Marley, Tosh and Bad Brains they definitely have a distinct sound. Along with the island beats, Nuffsed infuses elements of hip hop, jazz, rock and blues into the rainbow mosaic. Versatile vocals, clever lyrics and excellent instrumentation set their music apart from their modern peers.
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  Angelo LaTona - Unveiled
Mia Mind Music - MMN1178

Co-produced by his mentor Tom Gavornik, the debut CD by jazz guitarist Angelo LaTona is a glimpse into the obvious talents of this young man, who evokes his spirituality with an instrumental vehicle. You notice several subtle music personalities, including blues in “Trinity Suite Part 2,” smoky, back alley groove on “In His Presence” and borderline rock virtuoso on the title track. Add in some well-written compositions and a talented cast of backing players, and you have a jazz guitar lover’s delight.
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