Music Morsels

April 2008

by Mark Waterbury
  Let Me Down Easy

Little Memphis - Let Me Down Easy
East Country Records - CDDL 1001

The debut from this New Hampshire act anchored by Dan LaPorte and Todd LeBlanc takes classic country ideas and fuels them with a foot-stomping, modern fire. Rock-edged tracks like “Feel Like Dancin’” make you think this pair could be like New England's version of Brooks and Dunn. Ballads such as the title track and “Hope He’s Good Enough” exemplify the throaty, bluesy vocal croon seemingly born in the band’s namesake city, but with a healthy rural feel. Lyrically mixing heartfelt subjects with down home humor, and graced with enough musical prowess to make you notice that as well, this wonderful balance of old and new styles should wake up folks in Nashville as well as those hungry for something with strong roots. 



Mysteriam - Entryway

It is rare to find truly experimental music these days, and Chicago's Mysteriam proves to be one of those rarities. Multimedia artist Corbett Lunsford uses his own colorful palette to create a vibrant mosaic of life brimming musical tapestries. Pulsing non-linear beats, hypnotic sampling, haunting vocals and subtle musical backdrops with varied instrumentation are masterfully weaved into mesmerizing and enjoyable yet highly unique song structures. Although the songs on “Entryway” tend to be mellow, the intrigue factor alone makes them intense. This is true trail-blazing, mind-stretching music.



A Choir of Spirited Distraction

Mysteriam - A Choir of Spirited Distraction

This effort by the Chicago based envelope stretching music machine created by Corbett Lunsford has a bit more traditional song structuring while maintaining the ambient template of “Entryway.” Think of Prodigy, Bowie, Massive Attack, and The Future Sound of London thrown in a blender behind a bar at a smokey East Village jazz club. Songs like “Moment” and “Sore Spot” have pop sensibilities albeit twisted. “You’re The Man” is Zappa-esque R&B with satirical lyrics. Corbett is obviously unafraid to take chances, and happily for the listener, he never seems to miss the mark with his wonderfully bizarre but prodigious musical talents.

  Through The Walls

Clear Blue Betty - Through The Walls

The four song taste from this Madison, WI band combines straight ahead rock with a proper dose of modern alt edginess harkening to another Mad Town female voiced act, Garbage. Emotive vocals by Beth Kille and wicked guitar licks by veteran axe master John Masino help fuel music that is potent even when a bit reigned in. “Back To You” has solid hooks with a great down home feel. “Sticks And Stones” is a grittier rocker with tongue-in-cheek lyrics. “Say My Name” is a blues tinged ballad that rivals anything the Morissette/Clarkson/Apple crowd puts out there. This EP is the kind that makes you hungry for a full length effort.

  Visions and Nightmares

Dr. Mint - Visions and Nightmares

Talk about having a jam session in your living room! The debut from SoCal’s Dr. Mint is true improvisational jazz/rock fusion, with trumpet and sax explosions as if Al Hirt and Charlie Parker rose from the grave and went insane. Joining the insanity is diverse guitar ejaculations, wild bass licks, potent rhythms and surreal sampling. Ranging from kick-back-and-close-your-eyes mellow to blow-you-backwards-over-the-chair intense, you never know what is coming next from this Dr. That is one of the most refreshing aspects of this ear opening music.

  First Nervous Breakdown

The Meadows - First Nervous Breakdown
Single Recordings - SIN 09

L.A.’s Todd Herfindal and Kevin Houlihan combine their deep pool of songwriting talents to create music that is inherently likable while still displaying their capabilities. Comparable maybe to an edgier Jayhawks, combining heartland flavor with just the right jolt of guitar power and intense rhythms. The lyrics have an honest intelligence, sung with a melodic but rustic fervor, graced with delectable harmonies. The songs will snare your attention in so many avenues that you have to think this group has the potential to break out of the tough L.A. music scene.


The Surfactants - Of The Bones of The Face

If the Foo Fighters and Devo got caught in the middle of a tornado, this is the kind of creative madness they could leave in their wake. New wave tinged synth pop is melded with gritty, powerful guitar driven rock and then taken a step further in the edginess factor. In spite of all of this, they manage to channel the craziness and diversity into solid strong structures with just the right waft of hooks. The Surfactants could be the hottest band out of the Twin Cities in a long time. Not just could be, SHOULD be!

  Gallows Hill

Rev. Bob & The Darkness - Gallows Hill

Boston is a long way from the Texas hill country - or the southern Appalachians - or the oil fields of Oklahoma. Well, not so far if you worship to this Rev’s twisted musical sermons. Weaving roots country and Americana with a sort of Goth soul, haunting vocals flavored with slightly mournful accordion are backed by music conjuring visions of muddy, red, dust-covered, desolate land. With occasional forays into big band jazz, cow punk and new grass, this seven piece outfit spits on all conventional aspects of country music to wonderful effect.

  A Single Step

Richard D. Shank - A Single Step

Anyone who can channel influences as diverse as Springsteen, Bruce Hornsby and Dr. John into something unique and refreshing has talent to be noticed. Asheville, NC’s Richard D. Shank is that type of prolific songsmith, creating songs that have this unpretentious, but highly enjoyable quality. Perhaps it is his use of hooks while not really adhering to typified pop song structures. There is this sort of uplifting quality to the music as well, while still leaving enough space for the musical talents and thoughtful lyrics to shine through.


Do You See The Dark - self titled

If Filter had a female vocalist they could have sounded like this NYC trio. With the sultry, potent vocals of Cakes launched by explosive guitars and thundering rhythms, you hear tons of potential on this EP. The vocal harmonies often present in the choruses offset the fiery power swirling around them. The songs are strongly written, avoiding being stereotypically too close to an Evanescence clone, while still having this fierce emotion that drills the music into your soul.


Division of Serge Entertainment Group