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MAY 2005 Reviews

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1. Devil and His Friend

Self Titled-2004
 
Review By Tiny Elvis

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Band Members: Unknown

I don't know too much about California's "The Devil and his Friend" but there is definitely a consistent sound here of garage punk, surf, and high treble blues chords, that remind me a lot of the first Blues Explosion album that was self titled.  It's a gritty and mostly instrumental album that has a high-end slickness to it.  I swear on track 6 I hear that theromin but it could be an effects peddle. Track 9 also is quite tight, and the effects are performed timely.  All in all this is down my ally being that I am a huge blues explosion fan.  I wonder if lyrics could take them to the next plateau of if a lowering of the high end would do so.  To me it's the rock and roll and look forward to see what happens to "The Devil and his friend" when they do make that strive to the next plateau. 

Recomended if you like: Speedball Baby, Early Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Dick Dale, Garage Rock and Surf.

2. The Maps

Self Titled- 2004
 
Review By Tiny Elvis

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Band Members: Unknown

California’s “the Maps” are another one of those enigma bands that I have little to no information about. As soon as I pushed the disc in my player I felt as if I were transformed back to the late 60’s during the hay day of the Doors. Well there is good reason for this though, “The Maps” have a striking resemblance to that of the Doors. Whether it be the vocal parody of sound and delivery or the music that follows in that struture that made the doors so great, none the less you cant help but feel that influence. Now am I to say that is a bad thing? They are all original songs as far as I know and they are delivered with the passion and musicianship that is their own. Shit there will be others that will say that the Doors died with the passion of Morrison but they live at least in heart with “the Maps”. If you are looking for great musicianship, excellent melodic song structures with explosions of honed instruments and vocal presence these cats are for you. Regardless of the similarities they are fun to listen to and worth a few spins in ye ole jukebox.

3. Erinn Williams

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Damsel with a 6 Gun EP- 2002
 
Review By Tiny Elvis

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Guitar/Bass/Keyboards- Joel Martin, Drums- Chris Cano, Piano- Zac Rae, Vocals- Erinn Williams

Erinn Williams is on the brink of success scoring may opportunities on television and on commercials and may be heading to a radio near you. But unfortunately with only a 3 song EP to judge I really cant make too much of a strong statement. Vocally She is absolutely Gorgeous and you can see that she was trained in opera when she was in college. You can feel it when she wanders from the rock mid-range to show off those trained vocal chords. Erinn gels quite well with her fellow musicians on track one’s “The Battle” where together they move the song to dynamic bust-ins. Track 3’s “Damsel with a Six Gun” is a powerful ballad that shows off her vocal strength and presence of mind. Considering that this is a 2002 release I hope that I have more to review of her in the future perhaps more tracks that she has recorded recently, I know the process costs a lot but I cant help yearn for more to see where she is heading musically and artistically.

Recomended if you like: Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, Golden Palomino's

Hear Erinn on myspace.com

Erinn Williams Web Site

4. Sacred Dice

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Self Titled- 2004
 
Review By Tiny Elvis

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Anthony Cristofani- Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Louis Cristofani- Vocals/Keys, Lindsey Kate Hawkins- Vocals/Synth/Percussion, Craig Bickel- Lead Guitar, Graham Hitchcock- Bass, Sean Hutchinson- Drums

L.A.’s “The Sacred Dice” are a bouncy rock and roll band full of pop. The line up of the “Sacred Dice” seems to highlight their skills effortlessly while constructing great indie-pop songs. They utilize background vocals and layering that adds complexity to the songs that is comforting. Lindsey Kate Hawkins’ Backup vocals on track 2’s “Some Nights the Stars don’t seem so far” are gorgeous, vibrant and sexy. This is a track that makes good use of the layering of vocals quite well. Track one “Defective Lover” is instantly a hit ready for ready. For a sweet cabaret feel track 3’s “Self-Help” churns out something almost dark and yet has that uppity keep. Great musicians and clever lyrics make this EP worthy of your attention yet I am again at a loss because its hard to determine if 4 songs are enough for me to make a stern judgment on these cats. I hope I hear more of them in the future and I will keep you posted.

Recomended if you like: Ben Folds Five, The Rentals, Spiritualized, U2

Hear Sacred Dice on myspace

5. Lost and Found Sound

Self Titled- 2002-05
 
Reviewed By Tiny Elvis

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Stacy Stephens- Acoustic/Electric Guitars, FX Pedals, Casio Keyboard, Micro Korg Synthesizer, Voice Recorder, Drum Machines, Sampler

I don't know if I was to review this album and I suppose that I am a bit confused to whether this is just a recording Studio or that Arizona's "The Lost and Found Sound" is a project of Stacy Stephens.  I am trusting that it is the latter of the two.  Over the past three years Stacy has put together "An Album".  Now I have said before that an album by my definition is something from beginning to end that captures your imagination and places you in a setting, a scene, if you will.  That scene can be personal to you or a window into that of the artist and in this case, depending on your state of mind you can ride on both sides of the fence.  I think that there might be something for everyone here.  This is an artsy album, and that isn't a problem with me, in fact I enjoy what he is bringing to the table and I am patting my belly looking for dessert.  Now is this album Perfect?  That is something that is difficult to obtain but this cat pushes toward greatness.  There are things that could be done with the recording to make it closer but that is nit picking at something that matter little to me.  Mind you the recording is good.  Splashed in between cool sound bytes from movies and TV are some lavish and flowing sounds like that of Track 3's "Indian's Riding Dinosaurs" and Track 5's haunting backwards spinning vocals of "Government Sunsets" that is captivating and stimulating.  I really Liked the Samples of Art Bell and Linda Morten Howe on Track 10's "Samples AM radio".  This track is very well done and a bit spooky, but then again many a nights I have been spooked out by Art Bell and company.  Track 12 "One in Five Americans" gives me a sweet Portishead Feel that is peppered with some unique and original synth sounds and effects.  Stacy Is helped out on Track 16 by Richard Bernal in a smooth construction that would be Brilliant if the levels on the Bass were down a bit but none the less, great. Not all the songs on this album hit me but there are enough that I have to give Kudos' out to Stacy and hope to hear more from him.  The Dark and Fantasy filled theme of "The Lost and Found Sound" is that of questions of patriotism and the wonderment of perhaps where we are heading as a country.  The Doubts of leadership, our policies, the question marks within, and exactly where we stand amongst those punctuations of the uncertainty.

Recommended if you like Nathan Merriweather, Portishead, Duster, Beck, early Crooked Fingers

Learn more of the Lost and Found Sound

6. Hacha

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Moorpark Street- 2004

Reviewed by Tiny Elvis

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Members: Harold Papineau- Lead Guitar, Charles Etienne-Drums, Chris Bell- vocals, rhythm guitar and harmonica, Mike Murphy-Bass

Hacha Hail from Encino California and bring you a very fun and catchy sound. When you hear this album you can help but think of those sunny afternoon's at an outdoor concert kicking back some beers and other stuff and just relaxing to a bouncy and entertaining band. Track 2 "5 Foot 3" is one of those that stick in your brain after you hear it. I even found myself singing it a bit afterward. The bass work of Mike Murphy is exceptional and he shows off some fine grooves in track two as well as Track 4 "Big Sky" which is my favorite off this album. The guitar work in their improve meanderings is equally amazing. Of course you cant dismiss Charles Etienne on drums who keeps it all together and brings it all back after each sidebar jam. If you are looking for a fun time hit this cats up and grab a 12 pack and sit in the sun, well until they come to and outdoor venue near you.

Recommended if you like: Black Crowes, Gov't Mule, Phish, Moe

Check them out at their webpage

Listen to them on myspace

7. Apse

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Self -Titled- 2005

Reviewed by Tiny Elvis

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Members: Robert W. Toher, Ryan M. Todd, Ezer Lichtenstein- Drums, Aaron Piccirillo- Guitar, Michael Gundlach- Guitar, Matthew Wick- Auxiliary percussion, and Drumming.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the avant-garde style and attitude of a band. I enjoy a free form non-conformist way in life so that too carries over to music I enjoy. So Connecticut's Apse fits snugly in that covey. They come at you with a magnetic and perilous sound that wanders begging you to follow them where they are going. Apse are Engaging, alluring and beguiling from the first track "Leer" and on forth. There are some soft spots in the recording whereas the bass could be turned down a bit on some of the distortion and there are parts where the distortion sounds more like "bad speakers" than a quality muffled sound. I get that "bad speaker" feel on track 2 "AE". The Gem of this album might well be the last track "Norse" which is golden. With that said I like what I have heard and would enjoy seeing them live to see how this sound conveys in concert. Its an airy and spacey sound of planetary orbit that is both fresh and new. Taut with attitude keep your eyes out for Apse in your area.

Recommended if you like: Brian Eno, Mogwai, Sonic Youth, Russell Mills, Spirtitualized.

Check out Apse's Website

Hear Apse on Myspace

8. Atari Champ

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Nostalgia- 2003

Reviewed by Tiny Elvis

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Members: Paul Chesterton- vox, Mike Morris- guitar,
JohnQ- bass, Eric Heart- drums, vox., MathR keys, vox

This 4 piece from Central California delivers a steady injection of Emo-Core that ranges to both extremes of the genre. Lyricist Paul Chesterton has a friendly voice that can carry emotion when called upon. His range is perfect for this genre, a bit rusty and rugged but refreshing. Eric Heart's enterprising drums keep the songs tight and yet fluid as tempo's swing. Mike Morris shows off his skills on track 3 "Visitation Days" as he chugs along the fret board during the verses. Eric Heart lays down a huge fatty bassline on track 6 "Criminal Conversation" that easily is my favorite off this album. The lyrics and the wavery guitar makes this track a gem. Track 9 "Run out of Chances" is power packed with high voltage in a classic emo core sense. This the first full length effort from these guys is very good check out their sites and give it a listen.


Recommended if you like : Jawbreaker, Cursive, Mineral

Check out their Website

Hear them on Myspace

9. Self Made Soul

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I am what I believe- 2004

Reviewed By Tiny Elvis

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Members: Alexander Anderson- Vocals, Acoustic Drums, Acoustic Guitar, Sampling, Electric Guitar, Human Beat Box, and Scratches. Randy Roswell- Electric Guitars, Keyboards, Programming, Sampling, Engineering, and Spoken Word. Aron Nobel- Drums (live shows).

When I do my reviews I like to pop the disc in and listen to the album through before I read further about the band. So you can imagine my surprise when I looked through Self Made Soul's press kit to find that these cats are only but a 2 piece. Although they have added Aron Nobel for live performances and perhaps more so in future recordings, they are made up primarily of the two, Alexander Anderson and Randy Roswell. This thick and meaty sound is coming from two fellas who have great structure and understanding of a songs creation and how to bring the song to life from its infancy to the finished product without over complicating it. There is a religious undertone and that may scare some away but these dream pop album is worth a few "Try-On's" to see if it's the fit for you. Hands down the song that impacted me the most is track 8 "Relation Respirator" who's fat (and I don't men phat either) melodic beat waltzes with some fresh lyrics of what might be the most heart felt track on this album. I also enjoy track 9 "Fifteen Minutes" which has a lot of perfection painted throughout. There are elegant raises in tempo that are smooth and powerful and they are accompanied by a variety of sounds that pleasantly whisk you through the 4 plus minutes. These cats have a good ear for sound and song aesthetics and there is a bright future in store for them. Track 8 and 9 gave me this feeling of Twilight Singers and Spain a bit and perhaps that is why it hit me. There is a hidden instrumental on track 16 and track 4 and 6 are worth a few listens. There is much to offer a variety of listeners on this album while these two are able to show the future of music, combining the computer with modern day instruments and creating new and dynamic sounds.

Recommended if you like: Depeche Mode, Book of Love, God Lives Underwater, Dream pop

Check out their website

Hear them on Myspace

Expertise in Indie, emo, lo-fi, pop, punk, Psychedelic, Trip-hop, Jazz, Folk and Blues