Search for the Hidden Gem (2010 – vol# 4)

Written by on April 15, 2010 in April 15, 2010, Music Reviews - Comments Off on Search for the Hidden Gem (2010 – vol# 4)

Oh happy days, national health care and the iPad both in the same year!!!  But which one is more important?

The Lincoln Bedroom

“Broken Record”
Style (Indie / Alternative Country)

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing The Lincoln Bedroom live a couple times, most recently for the band’s CD release party, and the band’s new CD is a wonderful compliment to the entertaining enthusiasm these guys put forth on stage.  Playing through the CD I hear uptempo “stomp your heels” alternative country mixed with good ol’ fashioned Irish drinking music blended with a little singer songwriter.  The musicianship exhibited is top notch and highly professional with each song being superbly written, arranged, and produced.  Countless times a band’s CD doesn’t come close to recreating the energy of the live show, but this CD perfectly recreates the band’s stage vitality.  As an added bonus for bartenders and waitresses, the songs by The Lincoln Bedroom offer subliminal messaging by way of the numerous references to whisky and drinking.  I’m not a doctor but I think it’s clinically proven that hearing the word “whiskey” and “drinking” in a bar equates to more beverage sales, which ultimately endears this band to bartenders and cocktail waitresses.  And happy bartenders make for happy drinkers.  Finally, in keeping with the old saying “It’s not how you start but how you finish,” I really dig the way the CD ends with the song “Fall Back to The Underground.”  The last song starts slow and mellow but progressively gets louder and more aggressive ending with an absolute controlled fury.

Rating 4 (nicely done!!!)

Beati Paoli

“A Sense of Urgency”
Style (Indie)

I don’t know where these songs are going or even what the intention of spending time and money to write and produce such junk, but I surely have a sense of urgency (to borrow from the CD title) to get through it.  What I hear is an indie/garage/underground band doing all they can to go against the mainstream, but in all likelihood I’m betting these guys are toting around iPhones and iMacs sipping lattes at Starbucks.  Musically, forget about it.  The incoherent vocalizations, because there’s nothing related to singing, reminds me a scratchy off key pitch Mumbly sucking down 2 packs a day.  If the vocals aren’t bad enough, the other three musicians making up his “supergroup” are doing the minimum to bang out demo quality jams.  Impressing upon me the most are the drums and how it sounds like the dude’s banging on cookware.  Completing this appalling ensemble is this band’s choice of artwork with its usage of a wrecked abandoned building and lame clipart. Sure anyone can listen to good music but in some way it’s my self-imposed duty to warn others about travesties like this.

Rating ½ (eventually mom will need those pots back)

Crash the System

“The Crowning”
Style (Power Rock)

A crash indeed!  How far back in the dark ages is the music scene in Sweden, which is where these guys hail from, that power pop music heavily laced with harmonies and keyboards is allowed to continue?  I could overlook my disdain for the power ballad style of music Crash the System is creating if something, anything, stood out but there really isn’t much to these songs.  Musically, the songs are heavily polished and produced cleanly, which is a good thing, but where the production shines, the lack of substance, overpowering low energy, and poor musicianship completely mucks up the pool.  Most annoyingly are the lame keyboards and the one octave singer.  Spinning through this I really have to wonder if these songs were produced as a potential tax write off, because I don’t hear anything remotely marketable.  Shouldn’t the goal be to at least write one song with a descent hook to move some merchandise?  All told, there are 13 songs worth avoiding, and really that’s 13 songs too many.  At least none of these not so spring chickens are sporting teased mullet hairdos.

Rating 1 (only because of the clean production)

Dieter Moebius

Style (Experimental)

Sometimes there’s a need to step far outside the norm and checkout the unimaginable, undesired, and forgotten.  And this reissue of a 1999 release is my one moldy oldie for 2010.  Stumbling through the time space continuum infused no doubt with copious amounts of something not sold over the counter helps fuel the snail’s pace of these 8 tracks.  This re-issue CD from Moebuis is not at all recommended for anyone interested in beats, rhythms, chords, arrangements, melodies, or structure (that being the key word), because none of those components exist within a single song.  This creation is of experimentation sounding like the soundtrack from a B or C grade sci-fi flick (“The Blob” or “It Came From Outer Space” come mind) while seeking a higher consciousness.  In the end, I found the choice, variations, and quality of this electronic audio experimentation to be severely lacking and not what I expected from an artist with some 40 years of musical experience.

Rating 1 (there’s a reason this 1999 release was forgotten)


Style (pop / rock)

The 13 songs from this Portland Oregon youngster have some very strong mainstream commercial possibilities.  Becca has a nice palatable voice, the songs are upbeat and fun with some sing along catchy lyrics, and her music seems like a good fit for fans of things like iCarly, Paramore, and American Idle.  I hadn’t heard of Becca before this listening, and I may be throwing darts at this guess, but what I hear is an artist who not only found the right producer for her sound and song direction, but also an artist who listened when instructed how to sing or play a particular section.  I say this because it’s an excellent production.  The songwriting is exactly what it needs to be for this style of melodic pop rock.  The tempo is wonderfully consistent with easy to get into hooks.  Whether or not these songs get picked up for radio or Becca lands on a good tour remains the task for her management and the doors she’s willing to bang on.

Rating 4 (I think the highest rating I’ve given for this style of music in 3 years)

Mike Cavanaugh