Search for the Hidden Gem (2010 – vol# 7)

Written by on August 5, 2010 in August 5, 2010, Music Reviews - Comments Off on Search for the Hidden Gem (2010 – vol# 7)

R.I.P. Captain Phil Harris.

Hellbound Glory

“Old Highs & New Lows”
www.hellboundglory.com

Style (Outlaw Country)

The band’s MySpace has a ‘sounds like’ quote that sums things up quite eloquently – “As traditional as your Grandma’s apple pie and as potent as your cousin’s home cooked crank.”   I’d like to add, outlaw bootlegger amped on NOS, oxycotin, Wild Turkey, with FTW (tattoo included) attitude.  I fell in love with Hellbound Glory’s brand of music with the release of their last CD “Scumbang Country” and am thrilled to hear the continuation of such wonderful song writing and storytelling.  Each song is composed with exceptional lyrics, catchy toe tapping rhythms, perfect tempo and length, top notch tone, and subject matter that’s uncompromising and unapologetic.  Hellbound Glory’s music is a definitive full 180° in the opposite direction from the commercial fluffy country being pushed on the radio today.  The song subject matter is truthful representation of spiraling love/hate relationship between the writer and his vices (alcohol, drugs, and women).  Granted, I don’t know these guys personally but there’s no way in hell anyone could up make this kind of stuff for songs like “Either Way We’re Fucked,” “Another Bender Might Break Me” and “Why Take the Pain,” just to name a few, if they weren’t going through the daily ritual of empty bottles, hangovers, and relationships that are more like a gasoline inferno than a hallmark special.  The life lessons of these songs is that everyone loves having fun but sometimes the fun ends abruptly and ends up in the FUBAR outhouse.

Rating 4 ½ (HIDDEN GEM – I dig every song on this CD)

Alamance

“In the Moment”
www.myspace.com/alamancemusic
Style (Indie / Alternative / Pop)

Oh joy, a fluffy alternative pop band that falls short of anything substantial to grab hold of.  Describing the songs from Alamance reminds me of scanning the radio dials on long road trips and coming across one of the only two radio station signals within a hundred miles of nowhere frequency and being stuck listening to poorly written religious songs of love and praise performed by alternative rock bands.  Maybe this CD is the sign I’ve been waiting for to invest in satellite radio.  Another way I can best describe these songs from Alamance is by wishing there was a “less character than a white wall” category for music award shows.  The musicianship alone is enough to put these guys at the top of the list.  I would also suggest a category for “vocal lessons required” and “must improve song writing.”  I’m dismayed to read on the band’s MySpace page that their singer and songwriter Josh Sorhagen was sponsored by the USO and did some shows in Germany.  I know our troops have it tough but having this singer sent over to perform for our troops is like kickin’ a guy in the junk just because.  This recoding is absolutely uncalled for.

Rating 1 (thankful the CD only has 8 songs)

Robby Krieger

“Singularity”
www.robbykrieger.com
Style (Fusion Jazz / Instrumental)

Had I not recognized the name I would have passed over this CD because of its poor choice of cover art, which in all honesty is aimlessly hideous, excusing this entry as some funky New Age experimental burnout instrumental.  Luckily, I decided to dive in and stay a while.  This 2010 release from Krieger is blended as fusion, mixed with a taste of flamenco guitar, and sprinkled lightly with some light orchestral notes in the early stages.  The genre ranges from an uptempo modern approach (such as track 9 “Solar Wind”) to the more prevalent dated 60’s approach, especial in the keyboards and organ.  I’m also detecting a little 60’s surfing culture influence in track 6, “Coffin Dodger.”  I can’t say these songs would motivate me to put forth the energy and money to check it out in a club over a cocktail, but throwing the disc on as background music in the office worked just fine.

Rating 2 ½ (I liked it more than I thought I would)

Year of the Dragon

“Blunt Force Karma”
www.myspace.com/yotd
Style (rock / hip-hop / hardcore / funk)

Given the right night club setting these grooves will be bumpin’ live on stage.  The first thing on my radar is the funk and hip-hop base coat putting the head bobbin’ and body groovin’ in motion.  Next I’m drawn to the rock and hardcore accents that give the songs a gritty, rough around the edges quality.  And finally, I dig the record concept.  In comic book fashion, the storyline is cleverly simple depicting the story of an alien race arriving on the scene and denying all hotties their inalienable right to be funky.  This of course gets mankind pissed off, because let’s face it, mankind without hotties is a not so fun.  Through chronic council sessions YOTD gathers the troops for a battle against the aliens and an all out Blunt Force Karma asswhoppin’ utilizing all their musical prowess.  The songs are arranged to follow the concept, which leads me to ponder how this might play out in a fun theatrical stage production.

Rating 3 (save the hotties!!!!)