Michael Miller: I Made You Up

April 19, 2009

Michael Miller: I Made You Up

Artist Name: Michael Miller
Album Title: I Made You Up
Release Date: June 16, 2009
Genre: Rock
Location: California
Label: Self-released
Band Members: Michael Miller (guitar, vocals)
Website: www.MichaelMillerCrusade.com

Michael Miller’s music is pretty, and sometimes slightly melancholy. I Made You Up is made up of ten moody songs, which are colored with Eric Heywood’s prominent pedal steel work, even though country is the last label you’d slap on this collection. Instead, tracks like “Carolina Skyline” give it more of a life-out-in-the-country feel. Read more

Heidi Siegell: Us Lonely People

March 2, 2009

Heidi Siegell - Us Lonely People

Artist Name: Heidi Siegell
Album Title: Us Lonely People
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Pop
Location: New York
Label: Self-Released
Band Members: Heidi Siegell: vocals, piano, trombone, and programmed virtual harp, er-hu, strings, brass, etc.; Rolando Gori: piano, guitar, pads and programmed virtual bass, drums, percussion, etc.; Mustafa Ahmad: percussion on “She Smiles” and “When Will Springtime Come, Maggie?”; Dana Lyn: fiddle on “Katy”’ Orlando Rodriguez Powers: “all male vocals” on “Us Lonely People”; Michael Siegell: saxophone on “She Smiles” and “Fear”
Website: http://www.musa212.com/hi_d/home.htm

Heidi Siegell draws comparisons to artists like Tori Amos and Kate Bush. But these names come to mind more for Siegell’s confrontational approach, rather than her musical style. It’s been famously said that there’s nothing to fear but fear itself, and that emotion is faced head-on with the aptly titled track, “Fear”. With this particular one, Siegell takes on fear as though it were a living, breathing being. The song also sports a wailing saxophone solo from Michael Siegell. Michael Siegell’s saxophone also appears on another track called “She Smiles.” Read more

The Shake Ups – Breathing the Flood

December 29, 2008

Artist Name: The Shake Ups
Album Title: Breathing the Flood
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Rock
Location: San Diego, CA
Label: Gelatinous Productions
Band Members: Patrick O’Connor – lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, percussion; Eve Gross – lead and backing vocals, keyboards, glockenspiel; Albert Lu – bass guitar, percussion; Kathie O’Connor – drums and percussion.
Website: www.TheShakeUps.net

Perhaps nobody loves power-pop music more than me. So when The Shake Ups mention influences like The Shins, The New Pornographers, and The Apples In Stereo, my appetite is immediately whetted. Nearly any combination of choppy guitars and sing-able melodies will turn my head in that favorite sound’s general direction. Unfortunately, Breathing the Flood is not exactly what a diehard power-pop aficionado usually bargains for. Instead, this CD has all the right elements; but somehow these weren’t mixed together correctly. Read more

Wendy Darling – Half-Told Bedtime Stories

December 15, 2008

Artist Name: Wendy Darling
Album Title: Half-Told Bedtime Stories
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Folk-Rock
Location: San Diego, CA
Label: Easta Green Music
Band Members: Vocals – Cori Rush; Guitar/back-up Vocals – Nate Heller; Bass – Jon Freeman; Drums – Hector Verdugo
Website: WendyDarlingBand.com

Wendy Darling is named after the female protagonist in Peter Pan. You know, the girl that didn’t want to grow up. But this San Diego band, fronted by Cori Rush’s authoritative vocals, is clearly comprised of worldly-wise grownups. Read more

The Roseline – Lust for Luster

December 1, 2008

Artist Name: The Roseline
Album Title: Lust for Luster
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Alt.country
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Label: Self-released
Band Members: Colin Haliburton, vocals and guitar; Ehren Starks, keyboards; Jenny Davidson, bass; Jeff Jackson, guitar and pedal steel; and James Storms Piller, drums.
Website: http://www.myspace.com/colinpepper

The band The Jayhawks was from Minnesota, while the University of Kansas mascot is a Jayhawk. But The Roseline unites these disparate points of separation by combining Jayhawks-inspired music with geographic Kansas roots. The Roseline’s Lust for Luster can be loosely categorized alt.country music, primarily because of Jeff Jackson’s inspired pedal steel work, which gives even the group’s rocking-ist moments a sincere touch of twang. Read more

Veiled – Within

November 24, 2008

Artist Name: Veiled
Album Title: Within
Release Date: 2007
Genre: Rock
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Label: 844 Records
Band Members: Chris Freeman: bass; Charlie Kim: vocals, keyboards, guitar; Ali Nikou: guitar, keyboards; Greg Panciera: guitar, keyboards, programming; Blair Shotts: drums, percussion, programming, keyboards
Website: www.VeiledMusic.com

This group Veiled certainly veils any easy description of its music. There are moments when surf rock seems to fit it, but then a track like “Killing Fields” comes along with its Middle Eastern feel and totally blows up that whole theory. But no matter what label you slap on contents within Within, it’s impossible to get away from the fact that Veiled is a guitar rock band. And a good one, at that. Read more

A 750ml Affair – A 750ml Affair

November 16, 2008

Artist Name: A 750ml Affair
Album Title: A 750ml Affair
Release Date: 2007
Genre: Rock
Location: Spokane, WA
Label: Kettle Black Records
Band Members: Gregory A. Rogers
Website: www.A750mlAffair.com

The very moment Gregory A. Rogers mentions in passing how his “wife is at home awaiting the sunrise,” right after lavishing sweet nothings all over Miss Sexy Target of his extramarital affair, the Afghan Whig’s lecherous and spooky Greg Dulli comes immediately to mind. Simply put, Rogers is a smooth talking devil, in the sleazy Dulli mode, throughout this oftentimes troubling CD. And while his words may be appalling, he is nevertheless simultaneously quite compelling. Read more

Siggy: The Absinthe Effect

November 9, 2008

Artist Name: Siggy
Album Title: Absinthe Effect
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Rock
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Label: Shot Time Productions
Band Members: Galen Buckwalter vocals, Ryan Howes guitars, Deborah Buckwalter bass, Paul Netherton drums
Website: www.SiggyTheBand.com

Siggy’s sound hearkens back to classic David Bowie ‘70s glam rock, especially the way vocalist Galen Buckwalter sings in a wavy, emotional manner and evidenced by how a Mick Ronson-inspired guitar lick introduces “WWGNRD?”. Yet Buckwalter is by no means your typical glitter rocker. Please note that this front man is also known as Dr. Galen Buckwalter, and is a former professor at University of Southern California. Furthermore, guitarist Ryan Howes has studied clinical psychology, which gives this four-piece a brainy edge – for whatever that’s worth — over much of the Los Angeles rock scene. Read more

Frank Tribes: Gallery

November 3, 2008

Artist: Frank Tribes
Album: Gallery
Genre: Rock
Location: Chicago, IL
Label: S.E.N. Records
Band Members: Frank Tribe (vocals, guitars, organ, and autoharp)
Website: www.FrankTribes.com

Derivative is nearly always a pejorative term. When used to describe a musical artist, it suggests a lazy performer who is unwilling or unable to sail uncharted waters. And while Frank Tribes’ music is undeniably derivative, this factor only heightens the enjoyment in listening to Gallery, his third full-length release. In other words, derivativeness is a compliment in this instance. Read more