Music Morsels September 2006 
by Mark Waterbury
  Karate High School Karate High School - Arcade Rock
EVO Records

San Francisco’s Karate High School has created a hybrid of music that is undeniably catchy, but also edgy enough to grab you by the throat. Witness the opening track “Good News Bad News,” melding the brash pop of the Offspring with the metal punch of Disturbed. This pop/metal/punk/hip-hop blend continues throughout the album, with very unique songwriting being a welcoming factor. Few bands can balance fun and edginess the way this fivesome can, ranging from melodic to brutal often in the same passage. A unique yet comforting voice in modern rock to keep an eye on.

  Diana Ross Diana Ross - Blue
Motown Record - B0005604-02

Diana Ross recorded a CD of jazz standards in 1972, which for some reason languished in the Motown Vault for over three decades. Recently unearthed and remastered, “Blue” is a wondrous showcase of one of the best voices in music, and a great tribute to music from an era gone by. With stellar musicianship backing her up, Diana’s voice will ensnare you as she sweetly croons classics like “Let’s Do It,” “Smile,” and “Solitude.” Reminiscent of her portrayal of Billie Holiday in “Lady Sings The Blues” this CD is bound to thrill Diana’s fans, as well as jazz connoisseurs from all eras.

  Less Claypool Les Claypool - Of Whales And Woe
Prawn Song Records - PSR-0011-2

The unexpected is expected with any CD that has Les Claypool's involvement, and his latest solo release delivers in that aspect. Jaw dropping bass work, sardonic lyrics, and frenetic, enjoyable weirdness are present as usual, but the Primus front man always finds unique ways to blow your hair back. The Zappa-esque jazz rock of "One Better," foot stomping twisted blue grass of "Iowan Gal" and the psychotic grunge blues of "Lust Stings" will cling to your cerebellum. Les proves again that he may be one of the more pure musical geniuses around today.

  Andy Timmons Andy Timmons Band - Resolution
Favored Nations - FN2560-2

Anyone who doubts if Andy Timmons can be mentioned in the same breath with guitar heroes like Satriani and Vai needs to listen to “Resolution.” If anything, the former Danger Danger ax slinger opens your ears even more with innovative surprises. Wicked shredding in songs like “Deliver Us” and “Redemption," a bluesy edge in “Ghost of You” and the ethereal jazz of “Gone” shows several sides of Andy’s talents.  The difference here is emotion, you can feel it dripping from the frets in songs like “Gone” and “Lydia.” Although it is obvious Andy infuses his soul into his talents, he still has fun with the wild country tinged “Headed For the Ditch.”

URL:   Email:
  The Destroyed The Destroyed - Russian Roulette

Underground punk darlings The Destroyed continue their renaissance with their second new CD. No one is daring to do this type of punk anymore, so fans of the true, angst and anger-riddled roots will go nuts over this. Purposely raw and sloppy, Bert Switzer presides over drumming that sounds like Keith Moon wrecking his set - and keeping a semblance of rhythm while doing so. Ear-splitting guitar chords and vocals from chief songwriter J.D. Jackson like an angrier Jello Biafra add to the basement tape feel. Punk used to spit on everything conventional, these guys never quit doing that.

URL:   Email:
  Antonio Montana and Nitro Antonio Montana & Nitro - Threatening Behavior
Beat Department - MMN 1195

Veteran rapper Antonio Montana and club DJ Nitro have pooled their talents into a fresh hip hop perspective with their collaborative debut. The weaving of a danceable club throb, street smart rapping and a subtle drum-and-bass fueled back drop creates an appeal targeted at a wider audience. While still very poignant with the lyrics, the vibe will get into a grove that could create a club atmosphere in your living room. Creating their own sounds rather than sampling others songs is another welcome facet.

URL:   Email:
  The Sammus Theory The Sammus Theory - Man Without Eyes
OCI Records - MMN6106

The Sammus Theory takes heavy rock like a marriage of Creed and Korn, and brushes it with a stroke of prog feelings, creating music that is very intense yet intelligent. Basically taking what Queensryche did in the 80's and applying it to the 21st century, this Idaho quartet really breathes life into the hard rock/metal world. Songs like "Take Your Face," "Answers" and You Choose" are heavy enough to get the metal heads thrashing, while the creativity should capture prog snob's attentions. While not really commercial, a diverse sector of rockers will like this.

URL:   Email:
  Soundoctrine Soundoctrine - Endurance
Niayana Recordings - CD 70014

This jazz fusion quintet from Youngstown, Ohio manages to create compositions that are musically tight, but also have a loose feel, as if you are invited into their jam session. The rhythmic grooves are often frenetic, especially in songs like “Really Cool” and “Kickin’ Stick,” although they fit well in the more laid back feel to the music. This allows the talented keyboard, sax and guitar work to shine brilliantly.

URL:   Email:

  The Room The Room - Hey Now
D/L Music - 60104

There are several bands who are trying to revive the classic rock sound. Canada’s The Room invokes memories of 80’s popsters like Survivor and White Lion, but they do it so well it is hard not to take notice. Excellent vocal work, hooky guitar riffs not too heavy but with plenty of power and driving rhythms dominate this six song sampler. Considering the number of low talent posers on the radio nowadays, there is nothing wrong with a band doing good, solid albeit retro rock.

URL:   Email:

  Jeff Laine - Blues Vein

Detroit born Jeff Laine catches your ear immediately with the deep emotive resonance of his voice, like Steve Kilby on a Johnny Cash trip. This veteran singer/songwriter winds down a primarily alt rock road with interesting twists and turns. “Fell For You” has a grungy blues feel. “Brandenburg” mixes a touch of Austin folk with Depeche Mode burble. “The Old Wound” weaves subtle hooks with a retro Velvet Underground vibe. Intelligent lyrics help make this CD the one that should gain wider spread notice for a man of obvious talent and passion.

URL:   Email:
Division of Serge Entertainment Group