Music Morsels August 2006 
by Mark Waterbury
  Black Rose Diary Black Rose Diary - Here’s To Indifference
Basement Transmission Records - BTR002

Erie, PA’s Black Rose Diary produces a familiar pop punk style that is unique because they go further back with their root influences. Instead of hugging Green Day’s coat tails, you feel the presence of Iggy Pop and Social D. This gives the songs a nastier, grittier edge, while style catching the ear with power hooks. The often tongue-in-cheek lyrics increase the distinct personality of the music.

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  Amy Kuney Amy Kuney - 6 song EP
Spin Move Records - SMCD1002

If SoCal’s Amy Kuney proves anything on this six song taste, it is that she is not your typical singer/songwriter. While vestiges of some of the modern Lilith Fair era ladies is apparent, the more dominant and welcome dimension in her songwriting is her soulful, jazzy edge. “So Help Me God” and “Sore Loser” are perfect examples of this. The haunting alt folk of “In The Dark” is a subtly emotive masterpiece.

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  The Happies The Happies - If We Were Really Here
Eden’s Watchtower Records - EDEN031

Maybe this Salt Lake City fivesome has an apt moniker, as their music has an undeniable catchy, fun and...well, happy vibe. They inject a nice quirkiness into their music, exemplified on “Sun Don’t Shine,” which is like Nirvana meeting the Beatles at a carnival. Light and airy when it has to be, gutsy and edgy when it wants to be, the music created by The Happies makes no apologies for rocking you in the manner it does.

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  Kaniget Kaniget - self titled

L.A.’s Kaniget have resurrected the ghost of Jim Morrison and taken him to a Velvet Underground concert, creating a retro but fresh psychedelic trip. The obvious Doors/VU influences are given a more ethereal, eerie vibe, with touches of 80’s era Midwest punk, new age ambiance, and subtle goth throb. When you weave this with tortured, emotive vocals and quietly insane guitar work, the result is music with a strange sort of brilliance.

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  Planet of Women - Waking Up the Neighborhood
Propaganda Records

Normally I would not review a CD single, but this one deserves attention. The power that these three London lasses inject into their music is stunning, with a brash, fat corded guitar growl, nuclear fueled rhythms and vocals dripping with hoarse, nasty power blues. The extra track “I Don’t Care” shows an even edgier side. If these two songs are any indication, this trio will wake up more than just the neighborhood.

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  Lara Herscovitch - Juror Number 13
LaRama Records

New York born Lara Herscovitch injects various world stylings into her intelligently written, folksy compositions. The bare bones approach of light percussion and acoustic bass backdrop help both her wonderful voice and delectable six string picking shine. Several songs are sung in Spanish, and the emotion is apparent even if you don’t habla. Fresh and invigorating, Lara brings unique talents to the singer/songwriter world.

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  Jerusalem A Symphonic Saga Book 1: The Mask Of Love - D.S. Lionfire

After a long pilgrimage to the Holy City and other religious sites, D.S. Lionfire set out to write this stunning symphonic rock opera. This CD, the first of seven acts is breathtakingly beautiful and intense in both the music prowess involved and the passion that fuels it. Ranging from the powerful prog rock edge of “You’re Eyes Can’t Turn Back” to the Middle East tinged folk in “These Hills” this CD will mesmerize and inspire you.

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  Matias Manser - Home?
Manser’s Garage Records - 0256

L.A. based Matias Manser pushes the singer/songwriter envelope far enough that you don’t even want to label him that. While his acoustic guitar picking, emotive voice and intellectual vocals are a focal point, he weaves a subtly intense music machine around it. The haunting, explosive blues of “Happy Now,” driving edgy rock of “Complain” and potent folk ballad “Your Way” showcase his diversities and passions.

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  Northey Valenzuela - self titled
The Lab - 3020615502

The Odds’ Craig Northey’s collaboration with Jesse Valenzuela from the Gin Blossoms is good time rock and roll with just the right touches of hooks and edginess. Not too heavy but by no means mellow, this duo finds a perfect midground to create catchy songs with a healthy dose of musical intrigue. The Monkees meets Dire Straits “Counting on You,” laid back funk of “Bulletproof Jacket” and gritty, soulful rocker “Not A Lot Goin’ On” are among the songs that make you hope this is not just a one time project.

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  Turks And Caicos Mass Choir - Behold! Live In Chicago
Meek Records - MR4021

This choir from the tiny island nation of Turks And Caicos employs a reggae vibe laced with R&B as their chariot for the word of the Lord. The result is fresh and unique, stimulating the faith of believers while hopefully catching the ears of others. They lyrics get right to the blessed point and the vocals, whether en masse or flaunting featured soloists, are purely inspirational. A joyful and enjoyable musical feast.

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Division of Serge Entertainment Group