“Blues For The Modern Daze”
By the 21st CD, I’d expect a musician to have figured out what works for them and what doesn’t. And what I’m hearing in the new CD from Walter Trout is outstanding, excellently written and performed blues and I’d say Trout figured it out in spades. In my ears this isn’t the blues meant to be appreciated in a dark and smoky room contemplating the hard times of life sucking down Marlboro’s. Instead, what’s different and what I like about Trout’s 21st release is “new life” and “invigorating freshness” that stands up strong and lively in more high key settings. Trout’s guitar playing is skillfully focused fitting wonderfully with his mature and scruffy vocals. Sometimes 15 songs on a CD are way too much but 15 isn’t enough when the songs are this awesome.
Rating 4 ½ (Hidden Gem)
Editor’s Note: Walter Trout performs at the 7th Annual Simi Valley Blues Festival on Saturday, March 28. For more info log onto www.simiblues.org
I find it damn near impossible to take serious a deathcore metal band from Utah, especially one that on looks alone could be mistaken for some bubble gum pop rock band. Oh, and did I mention they’re from Utah? I for one was not aware Utah had its own population of howler monkey vocalization maestro’s. Musically there’s not a redeeming quality to be found anywhere on this disc so that’s enough of that. The thing I’m really jazzed about though is how spot on the bands artwork is for marketing. OK, sure all the other hardcore, deathcore, etc’core bands I’ve come across would use wicked and painful imagery to sell merchandise that kids will buy to piss off and scare their parents and teachers. But that’s so blasé and clearly not the direction for this cutting edge deathcore band from Utah. Chelsea Grin on the other hand have juxtaposed a wildly menacing type font (it’s really scary) with smoked too much sensimilla whack job watercolor artwork of hands reaching for the celestial key. Sure this looks as moronic as it sounds for a deathcore band but being cutting edge means taking chances no matter how moronic. After all it takes a cutting edge band to use a watercolor painting better suited for the Salt Lake City Arts and Craft Show than artwork designed to sell deathcore inspired merchandise. Simply brilliant.
Rating ½ (gonna look real cool at school wearing that CD cover on a t-shirt)
When I think of Switzerland I immediately think of those killer meatballs from IKEA but maybe I need to add the formula written power ballad inspired Bon Jovi backwash Sahara Rain is still spitting out. After all what’s not to like about song writing so phenomenally reminiscent of my third graders English paper. And sure one could look for music with high intensity but why bother when the energy level put forth by Sahara Rain is so extraordinarily weak it’s hard to decided what’s more fun – another spin of this CD or waiting in line at the DMV. And finally why would Sahara Rain bother writing music that sells when they’ve clearly mastering the artful craftsmanship of melodious drivel so profoundly uninspiring? Some tough choices for sure.
Rating ½ (DMV here I come!)
“Back From the Edge”
Seriously, if these 14 tracks are all that was gleaned from the journey to the precipice I’m thinking a t-shirt would have been a better souvenir. Too say these musical winners are inspirational, apropos, or remotely entertaining is about as harrowing as using a butter knife with the lights on against a slimy stick of butter with both eyes open. But maybe the CD title is a riddle and “back from the edge” is code for the tragically angst ridden experience of going through the turmoil one experiences when the corner java stop runs out of skim milk for the moca frappochino so you substituted with a double espresso and now you’re out of toilet paper. Frightening to say the least. To say any songs stood out more against the others is a trivial task in futility, and I’d rather dissect the existence of a corn nut instead, but the lyrics and rhythms in the songs “Pin-Up Queen” and “Cat House Blues” are so absurdly trite I feel sorry for the mythical girls in the DVD rental that these are about.
Rating ½ (who doesn’t love web addresses on CD’s that don’t work?)