New Music Reviews
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Second Player Score – Glorified
After hearing the first release from Second Player Score, I was lulled into a sense of knowing where these guys fit. Kind of a carefree, gamer, nerdy but who cares attitude (check out their cover art for “Fortress Storm Attack”) and that’s fairly refreshing now days. But then “Nobody’s Hero” happened. You got this feeling that there was something boiling under the surface.
That something just erupted.
“Glorified” takes the band to the rarefied atmosphere of timeless classics. Like Rush’s “2112” territory. Not only because it’s a concept album, but also an incredible, believable tale of a futuristic vision focused around the main character Gloria. From the first attack of “Eye Of The Needle”, Brian Tashima’s vocals are right on the edge with a sense of urgency that sets the tone for the rest of the story. By the end of the first track, you are drawn in, wanting more. Wanting to know Gloria. Wanting her to be real. Wanting her to realize redemption. That’s the only preview your going to get here. That should be enough to motivate you to get the album. Musically, “Glorified” is everything you expect from Second Player Score. Incredibly tight harmonies with Kyle Gilbert (drums/vox), Daniel Downs (bass/vox) and Brian Tashima (guitars/vox) operating as one mind, flowing seamlessly thru each of the twelve tracks like their souls are somehow connected and this is their mission.
But Wait, There’s More
Second Player Score raises the bar with the release of “Glorified”. There is also a manga style illustrated booklet masterfully crafted by Jenny Ho that breathes life into the character of Gloria. Theater of the mind just took on a new dimension. The first one for “Eye Of The Needle” is available now with hints of more to come. This release is next level thinking and one that just may put rock back on the forefront of musical preferences. Nerd Punk? Yes, please and thank you. Find Second Player Score;
Craving Strange – Careful Of The Landmines
The long awaited new release “Careful Of The Landmines” is set to be unleashed on March 21st, 2017. To say I’m excited about this would be an understatement. To be honest, after reviewing “A Life Exceptional”, I thought this Long Island powerhouse had reached it’s peak, that everything that followed would move sideways and not up. Craving Strange have once again thrown down the gauntlet and proven that their songwriting, recording and musical prowess are as sharp as ever and only getting stronger.
Careful Of The Landmines…The title track is so lyrically inspiring that you picture yourself standing on a rock at the edge of an angry surf shaking your fist at the sky. We all put landmines in our way that trip us up thru life. This is a declaration of independence.
My Enemies Look Just Like My Friends…The title sums it up pretty well. Some relationships need a second look, as painful as it might be. Move on. This track was my first pick for a single, it has so much texture and the dynamics keep you glued for that classic soaring Craving Strange lift. It’s the kind of music that you crank in your car and the guy next to you is wondering if you’re having a seizure. Air drum the shit outta this one.
Like A Wave…Bursting with positive energy, “Like A Wave” has the band digging in their heels and pounding out a rock solid rhythm behind some killer vocals and harmonies. At this point in the album you really get the feeling that lead singer Jimmy G is taking the listener on a journey of self realization and the need to move forward. Also, is drummer Jimi Tassone human? The man is pure meter.
Go…On the surface it seems like Go is a lighter track to give COTL some dimension and depth but there is still that great build up the end that gives Craving Strange their identity. The lyrics are pretty heavy tho, aimed at the self righteous who can’t see the world thru their own narrow views. “You’re needy and greedy and try to keep the world to yourself”. ‘Nuff said.
Dissolve…For pure musicianship this track just shines. Everything is so well placed it’s advised to put on the headphones and crank it. You got a wonderful funk jam going on at the beginning with guitar wiz Frank Junior Guertin, bass player Chris Monte and drummer Jimi Tassone playing off each other in total sync. It’s beautiful. Later on singer Jimmy G rails on a note that will make the hair on your arms stand up. No kidding, it’s that good.
Nothing But A Chance…Is it so hard? To believe that everything you say is nothing but a chance to stop us? Toxic relationships can drive you crazy and sometimes you need to call em out. I feel better already just by listening. A great finish to the album, this has it all. Huge production feel and a sense of urgency. Craving Strange just crushes it here.
This release confirms my belief that Craving Strange would be at home in any arena. In fact, the bigger the better. Pick up Careful Of The Landmines and savor the pure rock energy that is Craving Strange.
Craving Strange is;
Jimmy G – Vocals/Guitar
Frank ‘Junior’ Guertin – Lead Guitar
Jimi Tassone – Drums/Percussion
Chris Monte – Bass
Album: Beautiful Surround
Release Date: March 2016
Trying not to gush all over this release by RedBelt is almost humanly impossible. Remaining objective gets buried by the simple fact that this is one of the strongest albums I have heard in a very long time. And the textures available on “Beautiful Surround” are so rich, picking a favorite song will change with each listen. I guess my favorite thing about this album is the honest, sincere rock presented to the listener. The recording is fat with tone without over the top production that dooms a lot of recording projects. 13 tracks of pure awesome rock you need to have in your collection.
A Close Call
“Beautiful Surround” almost didn’t happen. After the initial tracks were laid down, the band went on a self imposed hiatus with no plans for the future. Fate intervened however and the project was resurrected with the understanding that guitar player Mike Mann (who also owns MusicMann Studios in Milwaukee), would take the time to re-record and produce the album. It was about a five year process but good things come to those who wait.
When presented with some tracks for airplay I was stunned, and I’m not exaggerating. Taken by complete surprise by “Crossed Wires”, this song opens the album with a full blown guitar attack and a hard driving rhythm that is fully capable of melting some serious face. Followed by the incredibly melodic “American Mercy” the listener now knows they are in for a treat, everything is where it should be and the planets have lined up for a stellar listening experience. My personal pick for major airplay is “30 Seconds” an uber hook driven tune with razor sharp guitar work and a snare snap that will produce a sore neck if you aren’t careful. The vocals are tight and the bass drives it all home. I’m not going reveal any more tracks because I hope I have enticed you enough to purchase “Beautiful Surround”. This is the real deal, a masterwork of American Rock.
Kevin Brown (vox/guitar)
Mike Mann (guitar/vox/keys)
Ricky Ganiere (bass/vox)
Jeff Holden (drums)
Raw, Naked and Awesome
Every once in a while a band comes along that reminds you of the raw power Iggy was talking about. The Lovebuzzards take the genre of rock, kicks it in the nards, shakes off the shiny stuff and presents the skeletal remains for your listening pleasure. Unabashed volume junkies, this Atlanta three piece rocks so hard that you have to be aware of the danger your slam dancing air guitar acrobatics present to your surroundings. Walls, furniture, pets and small children will suffer the wrath of this sonic brutality while your brain goes into full gonzo overload. When a song like “I Love Chaos” is finished you’re left in a whimpering pile on the floor next to a pool of well earned slobber. I shudder to think of what would happen if you combined driving and listening to The Lovebuzzards together. A speeding ticket for sure, a full blown high speed chase would be more likely. Fran-Vocals of Death, Guitar, Freddy- Drums, percussive mayhem and Wally- Bass – low end from hell, are three guys who “get it”. This is what rock is truly about. Check out The Code Zero Radio Interview