Search for the Hidden Gem (2011 – vol# 7)

Written by on September 22, 2011 in Music Reviews, September 22, 2011 - Comments Off on Search for the Hidden Gem (2011 – vol# 7)

Search for The Hidden GemI’m thrilled school has started, and why wouldn’t I be? Because now I can look forward to the hours of reliving my algebra, creative writing, and American History nightmares all over again instead of going home and watching Total Access on the NFL Network.

The Berger / Sanchez Project

self titled
Style (World / Flamenco / Latin Jazz)

I don’t get a chance to hear as much Latin Jazz inspired music as I’d like too so I’m glad this CD came my way. Catching my ear from the start, and not particularly the norm for Latin Jazz style music, is how relaxed these 8 songs make me feel. I first listened to this on a Sunday afternoon while kicking back with a glass of Sonoma County zinfandel (can’t remember the vineyard), and the songs melted away all the daily stresses. And as I listened to the CD a few more times I found myself transported to a lazy afternoon lounging in a hammock on a Pacific island bidding a fond adieu to another beautiful sunset. The duo that makes up this project is Jorge Sanchez on guitar and Matt Berger on bass and percussion. Sanchez’s guitar playing is effortless as he glides over the strings with smoothness and passion, and Berger’s playing on the bass and the percussions is superb. There’s something special in these songs that speaks to my inner being.

Rating 4 (excellent debut CD)

King Lizard

“Viva La Decadence”
Style (Rock)

Is 27 years too soon for a band to recycle the Whitesnake 1984 “Slide It In” album cover, again? Sure a CD cover featuring boobies grabs attention where normally none would exist. But since the chick with the boobies isn’t the singer or even in the band I am finding the carrot to be worn out. On a positive note, I do like some of the energy this sleazy rock band from the UK puts out. However, I am turned off by another band in 2011 trying to look like a watered down version 1980’s Motley Crue. The bleached blond singer with dark highlights, Beverly Hills oversized bug eye sunglasses in the title track video, and screamed high notes works OK for Steel Panther but these guys aren’t as talented as Steel Panther. King Lizard’s song writing is drab, uneventful, very predictable, and sorely missing everything related to a “hook” factor. Vocally the 80’s hair metal influences abound, and if that floats your boat hoist the mizzen mast. As for the other musicians, the playing is just there taking up space with nothing stepping out front and center into the spotlight. What I honestly hear is a weekend tribute cover band that finally wrote some originals, albeit 12 originals cut and pasted from the covers they’ve been jamming in the pubs for years. Eye candy on the cover aside, this one is a prime candidate for the recycling bin.

Rating 1 (not feeling the decadence either with this one)

My Brothers Banned

“Meet Me in the Park”
Style (Indie)

Holy cat crap Batman, don’t look now but the Riddler is singing Puff the Magic Dragon. Oh, that evil and diabolical swine! That cruel villainous purveyor of musical incantations, he’s wielding a weapon with such destructively hideous and debilitating power I don’t think my bat earplugs can block its harmful effects. But I must try! The fate of humanity and my poor defenseless CD player, and the millions of CD players out there, are counting on me. Oh no, the Riddler’s incorporated a force field so powerful the bat earplugs are virtually helpless. What kind of perverse villain uses a cute and cuddly tree frog with a wicked stink eye stare as a sinister force field? How ingenious, and yet utterly heinous and unnecessary, an act. What will the Riddler think of next? I fear this is a lost cause, scorched and battered, but maybe, just maybe one day, better earplugs will be invented. To the bat cave!!

Rating ½ (only because I like tree frogs)

Meekos & Me

“Anxious Little Turtles”
Style (Indie)

First I dealt with a dangerous tree frog (see above review) and now I have to deal with anxious little turtles. WTF is up with musicians and all these damn reptiles and amphibians? What kind of stuff is Animal Planet airing these days? But I guess if you think about it, newborn turtles are a little anxious when they’ve hatched and have to scurry as fast as their little flippers can flip for the safety of the water before they get munched by a seagull. Tasty little morsels aren’t they? So just like little baby turtles that are scared and anxious, I’m going to assume this duo’s debut CD is a reflection of their own anxious fears. Let’s see how they do, shall we? Meekos and Me is bravely comprised of Joey Colando (vocals and guitar) and Danny Grab (cellist). Playing through these tunes I really have to wonder what this duo’s purpose and goal was for writing these mind bogglingly ineffective musical gems. OK, I’ll agree the songs are calm and relaxed, and apparently this was the intention according to the bio. Ok, purpose achieved, and far too much so when it becomes an enormously foul tasting pill to swallow without lube and payola. To reference their bio, “they’re on their way to the top,” these 14 songs are the direct opposite of chart topping. If going to “the top” means leaving the comfort of your parents’ basement for the comfort and security of a shared single apartment then you’re well on your way. But if going to “the top” means having to play these songs live to the masses at Madison Square Garden, then it’s going to be a brutally hard and arduous road to slog.

Rating ½ (welcome to LA, don’t quit you’re day job.)