Here are some CD reviews that the artists have been kind enough to send or give to me. They cover a spectrum of styles. Comments are always welcome.
Hailing from out west (okay, Michigan), I must say this self-titled CD by CHOKING SUSAN (chokingssusan.com) really pissed me off. I mean, it’s so much fun that I felt almost gypped by its being only 15 minutes. Seriously, this is majorly entertaining. The band is solid Ramones throwback – a compliment that complements vocalist Colleen Caffeine. Okay, I realize this is exceedingly obscure, but Colleen’s voice remind me a lot of Canadian singer Anne Lorree, though the style is ever so different. Very clean sounding recording and so sharp leading the buzzsaw behind her. And I do mean behind; the vocals on this recording are so far in front of the band in the mix, that sometimes it has a karaoke feel, but it all comes out in the wash with fun songs, dynamite instrumentation, sublimely racous lyrics, and keen vocals. A must NOT to avoid. - RBF
Here is a link to the photos I took when Choking Susan played at CBGBs in 2006: http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/554604681UlHbBX
OBJECT is not just a rock duo but a couple as well. Eric is the voice and plays a strong guitar with a grunge style. Maria is a kick-ass, full-on energized power drummer. I’ve seen them play a few times now, and they never fail to impress. Their songs, including the 5 here on “The Mirror World” (Velcro Kitty, c/o objectband.com), are brash and inventive within its genre. “Talk Too Much is the catchiest and easily the breakout of this collection. And there is the irony for this connected couple: the lyrics are all first person about the misery of relationships (an example is “You are a hole I fell into” from “The 8th Floor”). While I don’t know what that is all about, I am convinced the Object as a whole is wholly worthwhile listening. - RBF
Here are some photos at a show at Peggy O'Niell's in Brooklyn which feature Object: http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/544794675WCPomm
The first (and last) time I met TERRY SULLIVAN was outside Max’s Kansas City, when his seminal Buffalo band The Jumpers played there. That group should have made it. Another of his bands, the Restless, came close. Now here is a solo release that highlights what Terry can do. Terry was always a great rocker, and this release, "The Earth Moovs Around the Sun" (goodcharamel.com), shows his growth, adding some Cars-ish/Bowie-like pop edges (Bowie especially on cuts like “Mr. Completely”). Jumpers co-member Bob Kozak, one of the better songsmiths to come out of Erie County, joins him on a few cuts. Terry covers a bunch of different pop-rock styles, including blues inflection, Springsteen-type rock, ballads, singer-songwriter, and even some programmed techo-influence. Sounds like he’s all over the map, and, well, perhaps he is, but this is a decent exercise in pushing his own envelope. That being said, I still have to add that I’d like to hear more of the Jumpers’ style “I Wanna Know What’s Going On” straight bar rock. – RBF
We went to see Mary Gatchell play at the Rockwood on the Side of the Lower East, and figured we’d finish our drink and go. But fate had other plans, when TAMARA HEY came on. We did not leave until after her set, as she transfixed us right from the start. After her set, I got a copy of her CD, “Right This Minute” (Sunsound, c/o tamaramusic.com), which I’ve listened to a number of time now. Tamara is a local veteran, but this was my first taste of her sound, a comfortable mix of pop, singer-songwriter, and just a touch of country. Her voice is reminiscent of Emmylou Harris without the vibrato. A sweet voice with a solid band (including her own guitar) and excellent production values. There are lots of standout cuts, including the title one, “Up in the Air”, “”Rainy Rainy Cloud”, and so many others right to the end . She can break your heart with “More Like Melanie”. to getting your foot tapping with the bluegrass influenced “Pebble In My Shoe.” I feel fortunate to have the happy accident in seeing her. Won’t be the last. – RBF
Here are the photos I took of the show mentioned in this review: http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/552522711roiCPv
At that same Gatchell/Hey show, I also ran into chanteuse KATHY ZIMMER, who gave me her CD “Dreamin’” (kathyzimmermusic.com). Kathy’s vocalizing is clearly the focus of this 15+-minute EP. Her voice is silky and cultured like a pearl, with a velvet smoothness that is reminiscent of laying in a bubble bath. There is a strong jazz influence and a hint of operatic training in there. She sounds like she could be singing standards sitting on a piano, or jazz on a rainy afternoon. The four songs, written by Kathy, are all right in their own right, but actually her voice seems stronger than the material. Really, that’s meant as a compliment of degree. – RBF
I will try to put up 5 reviews every few days or so. Keep those CDs coming in, folks.