Reel Big Fish ... Reel Big Flop?

Well, maybe that's a little harsh. After all, their last album (Fame, Fortune and Fornication) wasn't original material, but 10 somewhat poorly chosen covers.
It's actually not horrible, it's typical Reel Big Fish style hyperactive horns and humorous undertones, still incredibly tight and well constructed... but it's no Take On Me. And the songs aren't ones which I would ever care to hear in ska-form. Who chose these songs, really!?
Halfway through the first track, Nothin' But A Good Time, the album is already becoming too repetitive. Although that's almost expected in a way from the band it seems like they didn't step outside of the box quite enough on this attempt. Why are they releasing a covers album anyway? Where's Me First and the Gimme Gimmes?
Despite the poor selection, they do a great job of giving each song a Reel Big Fish makeover, and their skill of incorporating horns into pretty much anything does not go unnoticed. It's all so incredibly upbeat that it just starts to get on my nerves after a while. Up until the last song there is nothing that I would want to go back and listen to more than once... the last track (Talk Dirty To Me), however, has a PHENOMENAL female vocalist named Tat (Tatiana Demaria) and she really makes the song something else.
I love RBF but this release does not get any props from me, sorry guys!

I'm Sarah. I do what I want.

Matt York be Mine

When I first popped in this CD I had a preconceived notion about what this may sound like. You know, your typical pop rock album, but as soon as track one began it erased any previous thoughts I had about Matt York. The second release from this Oakville Ontario native is appropriately titled Mine, as to say that “this is my sound and what I am presenting to the world”. This album begins with a traditional gospel like tune which instantly sets the mood for the rest of the album. From the beginning I am super stoked to listen to the rest of this album.
As the album continues the songs are musically well written, but at parts reminds me of a mash up containing Jack Johnson, Lenny Kravitz with a sprinkle of Michael McDonald. When the player lands on the song Someday I instantly see the more playful side of Matt and his band. This song displays the vocal range of Matt and with the gradual addition of instruments makes the the intensity of the mood increase. Props to the keyboard/organ player, Scott Galloway, who is able to mesh an traditional organ sound with the well scripted guitar solo. The CD weaves in and out of forgettable songs, laced with hints of John Mayer and Broken Social Scene. With hidden gems like Lucky Man and One Day, Matt is willing to open up to his audience and let them see the song writer that lies beneath. Adding a more melancholy feeling with backing vocals that left me with chills, One Day had me hitting the repeat button a few times. At time, while listening to the album, I felt like I knew the direction Matt was taking his album, then just when I thought I had him figured out he switches it up and takes it down a completely different road. To be precise, while bobbin' my head along to Mine, I instantly heard “The Boss”, as though Matt was listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA. But as soon as the chorus kicks in the song changes from a steady driving sound into a super happy almost Ben Lee sound, which left me in a semi-confused state of mind. Wrapping up the album is Now And Then, and I have to say it was the best way to end the album. Like the opening track Now and Then has a real soulful Motown feeling with a hint of gospel.
All in all the album was good, although I believe that album would have been stronger if Matt was able to keep that gospel/Motown sound that was displayed at the beginning and the end of the album. With well written lyrics and a strong backing band Matt was album to construct a audibly pleasing contribution to the pop/rock/folk. As I eject the CD, it leaves me with an itch that I could only scratch with artist Michael McDonald or possibly even the Blind Boys of Alabama. I highly recommend this album for those who enjoy Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Jose Gonzalez etc.

It's Chris James Bitch.

on the Attack! Attack!

When I first hit play on Attack! Attack!'s self titled 2008 release I thought for a second that they had tricked me with a Fall Out Boy album and I was piiiissed! As soon as the instruments kicked in though the vocals lost some of their FOB flare and the music stole my heart.
I've been known to go through phases when it comes to the type of music I listen to:
One day I'll love my pop punk to death.
The next I'm screaming gangsta rap all up in yo face.
After that you'll hear me sobbing along to Rufus Wainwright's version of Hallelujah.
And to cheer myself up I'll have a dance party to the Hairspray soundtrack...!
If given the attention span I would probably have 10 different songs playing at once just so I could get enough music packed into each day (so many songs, so little time) and so I could combine all the genres I was itching to hear all into one....

With Attack! Attack! there is no need for those 9 other songs. This new age/post punk/grunge/dance etc etc etc group combines aspects from every which genre to form a frenetic yet subtle masterpiece. It's almost impossible to compare them to other bands, although they remind me of so many that I love they remain so completely unique. Their sound is all over the map yet everything works together to form one with near perfect ratios.
The music can only be described as gutsy, anxious and manic and if you like your music just like your sex ... rough and aggressive ... then you'll love this album. Their only slow song, From Now On, is far from the typical acoustic piece most bands like them pop on their albums to spice things up, yet it's the only number you'll hear them show more of an intimate side to their dramatic ways. A solid effort the whole way through, the band knows how to play with timing, building up and winding down the songs perfectly. A little bit dancy and a little bit rock'n'roll, each member displays their talent as each instrument plays a predominant part in this disjointed work of art. With great back and forth play with the vocals and guitar, the harmonizing tickles an eargasm in me which peaks as the singer belts out each lyric with all his might and all his heart.
Don't be stupid.
Check this band out... right now.
(not to be confused with the other 2 bands with the same name...)

I'm Sarah. I do what I want.

Uncharted but Undeniably Good (part one)

We've all heard more than our fair share of singer/songwriters on the scene in the past few years, and the number of them trying to push their way to stardom is only growing ... yet few stand to measure up to these two young men, both of which made me stop dead in my tracks after hearing their beautiful voices, actually startled at the undeniable talent exuding from them.

First let me introduce you to Nevershoutnever!, aka 17 year old (holy crap!) Christofer Drew Ingle, who has been making music under this name only since September 2007. By far one of the most compelling storytellers through his soft, sincere vocals and cute, yet coy guitar riffs. The mastermind is teaming up with Forrest Kline (Hellogoodbye)for his debut album, set to release in May. Sounds similar to The Early November's Mother album, part of The Mother, The Mechanic, and the Path 3CD.
For more information and tour dates click here.

Second-of-ly is Carter Hulsey, the main ingredient in my daily playlist and the only man with the ability to make me smile simply with the sweetness radiating in his voice! I don't know what it is about this boy, but when I am listening to him it feels like I'm floating in a dream and I never want to wake up. What a big powerful voice for such a small, pretty boy!
For those of you familiar with local Toronto/BC act Birds of Wales, Carter has a very similar, beautiful sound. As he sings the build up in his voice makes you shake with anticipation of him hitting those high notes that your ears are craving to hear... you know he has it in him but he teases you and stays soft and low... but eventually as the song comes to an end he finally gives you a taste of what you've been dying for... let's just say it's basically orgasmic, bottom line, especially in the song Before We Go Down (video below!). Hot. That's all I can say. Pants-wetting hot!

Both boys, although competing in the same genre with endless rivalries, bring something new to the table... something different... something unique... with original melodies and verses to keep you guessing, their music leaves you wanting to hear more, never blending in with other artists of its kind. Not to mention both are amazing lyricists, writing words that will make you weak in the knees.
Check them out, if you don't I can guarantee you'll be hearing them everywhere very soon, and you'll look like a huge asshole not knowing all the words!

I'm Sarah. I do what I want.

Caustic Casanova

Hailing from Washington DC, one of the latest three piece post rock experimental bands, Caustic Casanova has some big shoes to fill. Up against other hometown heroes like Minor Threat, Bad Brains and Fugazi, CC come out strong with their first full length studio album Imminent Eminence.
Although this is an ambitious album, with incorporation of experimental rock, bossanova beats and a dash of classical finger picked guitar, Caustic Casanova put forth a valiant effort. Taking cues from bands like Queens of the Stone Age, CC uses the back and forth play of ominous ambient sounds and crunchy driving bass lines which kept me interested throughout.
It also contains some tracks that take me back to the days of minimalist moody rock (tracks 2, 6..etc), and I can't help but think that these guys had The Cramps on repeat in the studio while recording the vocals.

After having a full listen to the album, I can't help but feel a little emotionally unstable. Imminent Eminence was a big album with lots of sound. I think CC should have taken a little more time before heading into the studio, taking 7 out of the 14 songs and perfected them to the fullest. Instead of 14 good songs there was potential for 7 GREAT tracks. Not saying that there are not any redeemable qualities about this album, I can tell that these artists care about what they do, there is emotion in every single song. But, with the opportunity to record in the studio, they should have narrowed down the song selection which would have allowed the album to stay a bit more linear.

All in all Caustic Casanova’s Imminent Eminence was an emotionally charge 72Min's of experimental rock, in which I have never experienced. For those of you that like Queens Of the Stone Age, The Cure, Pixies.. etc should definitely take a listen, it will be worth your time!

I'm Chris James Bitch!