Music Morsels

July 2007

by Mark Waterbury

Magellan - Innocent God
Muse-Wrapped Records

The seventh album from Trent and Wayne Gardner and Robert Berry’s labor of love underlines the fact that Magellan should be considered among the elite of progressive rockers. With root influences nodding to Genesis and Kansas, they have always created a fresh feel, with exceptional instrumental structures and potent vocal harmonies. There are only seven songs, most being fairly long, but the captivating music created will keep you zoned in on the experience from the first note to last. The title track personifies this, as it easily could rate as a prog epic. The explorer Magellan circled the world, and this supremely crafted music by his namesake deserves worldwide attention.

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Q’Ball - This Is Serious Business
Bald Freak Records

New Jersey’s Q’Ball has proved with his first two releases to have a solid grasp on modern electronic rock. With this, his third CD, Q deserves wider recognition for the talent that he is. Weaving power rock hooks with pulsing keyboards and loops and strong vocals, you have music that grasps you with its honest intensity. Sly touches of R&B, punk, retro new wave and trip-hop add further flavor. With excellent guitar and bass contributions from GN’R guitarist Bumblefoot, there is no reason Q’Ball should not be one of the leading purveyors of this genre.


  Jack Foster III

Jack Foster III - Tame Until Hungry
Muse-Wrapped Records

With his third CD release, San Francisco's Jack Foster III shows further proof of his diverse songwriting tastes and splendid music and vocal capabilities. Ranging from the moody, touching ballad “No Tears Left For Cryin’” to the powerful prog rock fueled “The Solution” and bluesy flavored “Civilized Dog,” Jack’s versatility with both instrumental and lyrical aspects shines brightly with a deeply spiritual reflection. His uniquely emotive voice adds extra zest to the well-crafted and satisfying music he creates.

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  Teddy Presberg

Teddy Presberg - Blueprint of Soul
Outright Music - TPR0906

Teddy Presberg obviously has deep roots in the 60’s to 70’s heyday of R&B, that is before it morphed into disco. This collection of ten instrumental tracks has a highly enjoyable vibe, driven with a kind of loose abandon that still allows the prodigious musical talents to shine through. Wicked guitar licks, funky organ passages and a solid, grooving beat dominate the songs from the sultry blues of “My Bird Can Fly” to the rock-edged boogie of “Colonel Sumners.” This disc is a retro blast!


  Dave Mehling

Dave Mehling - How Do I Make You Lonesome?

This Duluth, MN based singer/songwriter/music fuels his song crafting with a more alt rock feel, straying into Brit Pop with a subtle Coldplay vibe but with far more emotive vocal work. Subtle dynamics from guitars and piano occasionally burst with surprising intensity. Then when you think you have Dave figured out, he hits you with the delectable bare bones twisted folk of “Break Love,” and the blues-kissed “Setting Sun.” Innovative songwriting fueling catchy songs makes for both intriguing and enjoyable music.


  Heartbreak Club

Heartbreak Club - Lamecore

The five song demo from this foursome including New Yorkers and Aussies shows influences from power poppers like The Click Five and Good Charlotte. It shows much more than that though, such as the edgy metal riffing in “The Girl @ Tguk,” and the alt folk of “Like The Weather.” These songs have the interesting qualities of being catchy, edgy, witty, and entertaining in a familiar way while still proving that some serious thought went into the songwriting process.


  Jimmy Williams

Jimmy Williams - Sonic Divergence

Instrumental rock guitarist Jimmy Williams pulls out all the stops to blow you away with his second CD. Laden with powerful metal tilting in the prog direction, the music on “Sonic Divergence” is pure intensity, backed by excellent musicianship that spends more time making sure the songs are strong instead of stroking egos with overblown passages. Even though he tones things down for a couple more balladic songs, most of the tunes are the type you want to crank up because of their power, but also take note of the stunning musical pyrotechnics. Stellar production by prog keyboard master Erik Norlander adds the crowning touch to this killer disc.



Metaform - self titled
Just Recordings

Hip-Hop has been looking for something truly innovative for a while now, and they may have found it with San Francisco's Metaform. You do think a bit of Insane Clown Posse at first listen.  Then you realize that the multitude of influences, ranging from electronica to R&B to alt rock to drum and bass are masterfully weaved into a throbbing mosaic, augmenting the often darkly humorous and poignant words. This is very fresh and ear opening stuff here.



Squaretape - self titled demo

This San Francisco foursome draws obvious influences from 80’s new wavers like Talking Heads, Oingo Boingo and The Cars. Those are surely not bad influences, especially since Squaretape takes this template and does wonderfully bizarre things with it. Staying away from sounding commercial but undeniably catchy, the tongue-in-cheek lyrics presented with lilting, twisted harmonies are a further welcome dimension. Everyone has influences, as long as you do something unique with them that is the key to being a good songwriter, and Squaretape's music has that quality.


  The Nadas

The Nadas - Listen Through The Static
Authentic Recordings - AR20542

Des Moines, IA is in the middle of the Heartland and you can hear the Heartland dripping from The Nada's music. Having been around for over a decade, the music is polished as one would expect, but it is also brimming with life and carries the right doses of edginess. Not too country or too rock, but something in between that has greater substance and cannot be pigeonholed in either direction. The lyrics are heartfelt and are sung with honest emotion. With five studio albums under their belts, it is time for this wonderful act to shine further beyond the Midwest.


Adam Rich
Division of Serge Entertainment Group