TonyDoug's CD Reviews
by tonydoug wright
Dutch Elms, Music for Happiness (Jigsaw Records, 2004)
THE BAND: Brian Willett (Drums, Guitar, Bass, Keys and Vocals), Terry Picknell (Guitar, Bass, Keys and Vocals), Anna Lange (Vocals, Graphics, Keys and Things That Shake) and Jay Chilcote (Drums, Guitar, Bass, Keys and Vocals).
THE REVIEW: One of my CD-reviewing pet peeves is band names or album names that deceive. Example: If I am sent an album by the Northside Skull Crushers, I expect an album filled with loud, fast and angry rock songs. If I am sent an album titled Beautiful Songs For Girls Who Hang Out At The Library then I expect an album of laid-back love songs dedicated to the lovely ladies keeping it real down at the library. But in my experience a group that calls itself the Northside Skull Crushers gets my rock hopes up only to disappoint me with their Celtic-Techo-Zulu blend of craptacular music. Or there is the Beautiful Songs For Girls Who Hang Out At The Library CD that turns into an avant-garde experiment gone horribly wrong. It should be a crime to deceive music reviewers.
The Dutch Elms CD Music For Happiness put my deceiving band name/album title pet peeve to the test and they passed with flying colors. I was expecting happy music and I was not at all deceived. Music For Happiness has that Elephant 6, Brian Wilson-influenced happy indie rock vibe that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
'Cleopatra', an Apples In Stereo-influenced track, opens the album and sets the happiness pace for the Dutch Elms. Although Music For Happiness is all about the happiness and good feelings, there are a couple of "downers" that need to be discussed. First, there are some good vocal harmonies on the album but there equally some flat and slightly out of tune vocal moments. Secondly, although the music is upbeat with some catchy rhythms it lacks a certain "punch" that makes the music sound somewhat flat. Overall, I would say that the Dutch Elms Music For Happiness CD is a decent release that will please the Elephant 6 lover in you.
The Original Mark Edwards, Rewind Tomorrow (Princess Records, 2004)
THE BAND: Mark Edwards
THE HISTORY: The Original Mark Edwards is a Minneapolis-based musician and former member of The Domo Sound. Rewind Tomorrow is the debut release of The Original Mark Edwards.
THE REVIEW: When I saw The Original Mark Edwards CD for the first time, I had a Spinal Täp flashback to the scene where the band was explaining to Marty DiBergi how they were once The Originals but soon changed their names to The New Originals. I wondered why this Mark Edwards had to be The Original Mark Edwards. Is there another famous Mark Edwards out there that could cause some kind of confusion? After a few minutes of online investigating I discovered the following Mark Edwards: A photographer from Cary, NC; A violin maker in Louisville, KY; and a bunch of Mark Edwards involved in the movie business but none of them at an "A list" status.
Now that the Mark Edwards confusion has cleared let me take this opportunity to review his debut release Rewind Tomorrow. The album opens with '20th Century Boy', a Neil Young-meets-The Flaming Lips experience with a little bit of Madonna's 'Don't Tell Me' thrown in for the hell of it. From there we are treated to some acoustic guitar blended with dreamy electronica goodness with 'Can You Believe?' and 'Sleepy Memories'. 'Circling Around Clementine', an extremely catchy track, gives us The Original Mark Edwards groovy journey into psychedelic rock. Rewind Tomorrow takes elements of rock and electronica and creates an accessible sound that is enjoyable.
Tiger Mountain, Get Along Like a House on Fire (Lucky Cat Records, 2005)
THE BAND: Aaron Conte (Drums), Mike Jackson (Vocals and Guitars), Tyler Lenane (Vocals and Guitars) and Dean Rispler (Bass and Vocals).
THE HISTORY: Tiger Mountain is a four-piece band from New York City and features ex-members of Murphy's Law, Girltoucher and Nada Surf. Get Along Like A House On Fire is the band's follow-up to their debut album Analog Heads Gone French.
THE REVIEW: Valentine's Day is coming and there is a good chance that you or someone you know will receive a box of assorted chocolates. I prefer the ones that have a chart or listing of the various candies because there is nothing worse than opening a box of chocolates to find that someone has bit into the various chocolates to see what flavor they are. It's OK to use a knife or fork to check the chocolate but biting into the chocolate and leaving it in the box is wasting good chocolate. After writing a few sentences about a box of chocolates I want the members of Tiger Mountain to know that I am not going to "Forrest Gump" their review. Calm down guys.
The reason for the assorted chocolate reference will make sense when you read more of my review of Tiger Mountain's CD Get Along Like A House On Fire. On this album we have an assortment of tunes: The Modern Rock Truffle ('Century's Gone'), The Chocolate Covered Rolling Stones Cherry ('She Played Me Too'), The Noisy Bon-Bon ('Hold On To Planet Earth') and The Rock And Roller With The Caramel Center ('Superintendent #9'). Get Along Like A House On Fire does offer a wide variety of rock selections and maybe it will take a few bites for you to find something you like but it's all worth it when you find what you are looking for.