Search for the Hidden Gem (2011 – vol# 1)

Written by on February 3, 2011 in February 3, 2011, Music Reviews - Comments Off on Search for the Hidden Gem (2011 – vol# 1)

I wasn’t even close with my super bowl pics this year.  Sadly though, this means we only have a short time left to the football season.

Jim Florentine & Don Jamieson

“Terrorizing Telemarketers Vol#5”
Style (comedy)

I would think by volume 5 for any sustained project all the bugs would have been worked out and the material would be rib tickling funny, or as the CD name implies, terrorizing.  For these two basic cable sidekicks (because Eddie Trunk is the star), this latest installment of yanking the telemarketers chain is neither funny or terrorizing but instead is pathetically predictable and useless.  I’m a big fan of the work Tom Mabe did on his “Revenge of the Telemarketers” CD’s because Mabe’s stuff is original and funny.  However, reminiscent of a pimply face teenager making his first crank call asking for sex or Prince Albert in a can, Florentine and Jamieson’s skits are amateurish, nonsensical, asinine, and above all hampered by such a sluggish delivery they’re devoid of any comedic value.  What is funny though is hearing the telemarketers realize Jim and Don are yanking their chain and call them out before these two chucklers can deliver their loophole filled punch line.  The one thing these two sidekicks did consistently is that they did a horrible job horribly well.

Rating ½ (a day late and without question a dollar short)


Style (Indie / Rock / Pop)

Right off the bat I’m not digging the band name because Centrevol just doesn’t roll off the tongue well.  But band name aside, and the lightness of the CD having only 7 songs, I do like what I hear.  Each of the seven songs has a comfortable quality like a friend you haven’t seen in years and can’t wait to hear about his adventures to the Orient.  The songs are up tempo with some really nice hooks, an infectious groove beat that’s not too overpowering, and quality harmonies.  I’d hate to put these guys into a dance band category because there’s a lot more to their musicianship and song writing, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out these guys pack a dance floor with girls wigglin’ and jumping around.  Some bands just have that certain dance flavor in their music without really trying to write it that way and I think Centrevol is such a band.  Now that I’ve heard the CD, which I might add is mixed exceptionally well, I’m going to keep an eye out for show listings in Los Angeles.

Rating 3 ½ (only because I need more than 7 songs)

Mikey Sabatella

“A Life in the Day”
Style (Singer Songwriter)

Armed with a raspy mid-low vocal style and a guitar, Sabatella’s song writing and delivery fits somewhere in the classroom with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waite, and the like.  Sabatella’s songs are dark and moody with a sympathetically slow sauntering that works wonderfully for those times I’m hanging out in a dive bar lit by worn out Christmas lights gazing forlornly into my tequila glass contemplating what it all means.  However, this set of songs really isn’t the best choice of music to hear before leaving the office because it’s making me depressed and now on my drive home, restricted by the open container law, I’ll have to contemplate what “it” all means while stuck in traffic.  Definitely not a warm and fuzzy collection of songs but I truly love how Sabatella is able to induce such an inwardly reflecting mood.

Rating 3 ½

Thelonious Dub

“Master Plan B”
Style (Jazz)

When I hear or read the name Thelonious I think improvisation and how genius sometimes meanders a little too far off course.  I’m not going to put Thelonious Dub into the “genius” category just because they used a certain word for the band name, but what I like about this 9 song disc is how there’s enough classic jazz influence blended with a little modern upgrade (using a Roland GR-300 guitar synthesizer) that doesn’t sound out of place, and the barest minimum of fusion hanging around the fringes.  And I really love the use of an upright bass.  But seriously, what is up with that ridiculous YouTube video for the song “You Can’t Win” with fruit and boxers?  Not a good video for a jazz band marketing a song.

Rating 3 ½

Slangin Betty

“Sunset Blvd”
Style (Rock / Indie)

Really, why bother?  Pilfering the “musician for hire” ads and supposedly basing the CD subject matter on visits to the Sunset Boulevard (what an original concept), two musicians from Yorktown, VA took 4 years to record these 12 musical wonders here in Los Angeles.  I guess at some point along the recording process you’re just too financially committed to cut your losses, or their accountant clued them into tax deferred losses.  I only hope the aliens in space monitoring our airwaves aren’t judging the hot bed of action that is Sunset Boulevard based upon this irrelevant, poignantly pathetic unemotional drivel that has about as much energy as sap dripping from a tree in winter.  And does it really make sense calling your band Slangin Betty, which in itself is a lame name, and using a Marilyn Monroe likeness on the cover?

Rating ½