Saturday, July 16, 2016

Berwanger Demonios High/Dive Records 2015

Berwanger Demonios High/Dive Records 2015 CAT# HDR016

Josh Berwanger is apparently just going with his last name least according to this 6 song EP put out by High/Dive Records.

Demonios is Berwanger growing fonder of the power pop treasure trove he discovered when making his self-titled debut. These six tracks find him trying to master his own brand of the genre. In addition to late-70's skinny tie sounds, he is attempting to mix the swagger of 80's hard rock and the groove of 70's jam bands. It's a decent mix, but he can't drop the influences of his work in the Anniversary, there's still a lot of Weezer and 90's alterno-rock hiding in the corners of his songs.

As catchy as his solo debut was, you could tell it owed a lot to others. Demonios finds the songwriter finding more of himself in his new power pop hooks. He's still the goofy character with a backward baseball cap and outlandish fashion, but his version of the american teenager culture starts to grow on you, motorcycles, heartache, and suburban punks start to make a lot of sense on these tracks.

Live Radio Performance

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Kevin Morby Still Life Woodsist Records 2014

Kevin Morby Still Life Woodsist Records 2014 CAT# WOODSIST075

This was Kevin Morby's 2nd solo LP and is a collection of songs he wrote as part of his band the Woods as well as some after leaving the band as the inner indicates the songs were written between 2012 and 2014.

The title of the LP isn't clear as the inner states, "Still Life A Collection of songs Written between 2012 and 2014", the cover however states, "Still Live With Rejects From the Land of Misiftoys", yet, the spine and LP state the simple title, "Still Life". The titles seem to indicate what the album is; a collection of tracks Morby couldn't fit onto his prior LP, "Harlem River" and tracks he didn't see fitting onto his next album which became "Singing Saw". This was his second LP released in 2014 and the front cover states "Misifitoys" (yeah, it's misspelled) which would indicate this is just a collection of tunes Morby didn't know what to do with other than record them.

For the most part, "Still Life" feels like a collection or a compilation. There's incredible tracks, some of Morby's best, but there's no feel to the album. He jumps from aggressive Dylan-esque rockers, to sprawling alt. country experiments. Overall, it's an amazing mix-tape presented by Kevin Morby, the highlights being when he channels Dylan's thin-mercury sound as it's a step away from his other two albums.

Full Album

Dave Perryman Sincerely Yours Pearce Records Year Unknown

Dave Perryman Sincerely Yours Pearce Records Year Unknown CAT #7632

Dave Perryman looks like quite the honky tonker on his album cover and his LP starts out that way, although its the heartbroken kind of honky-tonk. Pretty typical of regional country that's removed from Nashville, the LP is all covers and depends on the school of Hank Williams.

However, Perryman blows the door off a traditional song, "Hookin' on Crawdad," that employs some sounds not found in country music. There's a fuzzed out blues guitar riff and a moog line that runs throughout. It's a highlight and in a sea of sappy covers, makes the album for a collector.

This album was put out on the Kansas City custom label, Pearce Records. It's was also produced by the "caveman" at Cavern studios in Independence, MO. It appears that Perryman is actually closer to Springfield, MO than he is Kansas City, though. The address to reach Perryman lists Niangua, MO which is south and in between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Alice Weiss By Popular Demand Edelweiss Productions 1986

Alice Weiss By Popular Demand Edelweiss Productions 1986 CAT# CR-1086

Alice Weiss is a multi-faceted soprano, at least that's what the cover reads. As far as being a good one, I have no clue, it sounds operatic, so that's something. I assumed if she was great, this wouldn't be on a private label run by her dad or some other family member. The label name, Edelweiss and the back page lists Robert Weiss as the President of Edelweiss productions.

The backside does indicate she did gigs in Europe and throughout the States. There's a big deal made about a New York City performance and quotes from her NYC teacher. But, again, if she was really great opera singer, I think she'd be recording somewhere other than Chapman Studios in Kansas City.

The backside also indicates Alice Weiss grew up in Missouri and attended the University of Kansas before traveling elsewhere to focus on her craft. She has connections to the Lyric theater, but there's nothing out there anymore on Alice Weiss. I'd like to think she's still involved in the KC opera scene or someone's opera scene, but the name Alice Weiss doesn't get many returns. Maybe she got married.

Either way, I don't know, this sounds okay, but opera isn't my hobby.

Casket Lottery Survival is for Cowards Second Nature 2002

Casket Lottery Survival is for Cowards Second Nature 2002 CAT# SN031

Fantastic Casket Lottery LP, but, they're all great. So much aggression, screaming vocals, screaming guitars, and huge drums. It's strange how At The Drive-In became so popular while Casket Lottery had the same feel and in comparison, stayed only Zine-Famous.

This was the band's third album and until Real Fear showed up 10 years later, was thought to be their last. Had it remained their final LP, it would have been a good way to go. Classic emo, teenage angst turning into adult anger and frustration. One of the final golden era of emo albums, before it turned into a scene about trendy jeans, combed hair and suburban malls.

Survival Is For Cowards

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Fullbloods Mild West High/Dive Records 2015

Fullbloods Mild West High/Dive Records 2015 CAT# HDR013

Millennial Dad Rock is my new favorite genre. Seriously, these Kansas City dudes are slick and weren't afraid to use the studio as an instrument. Which is nice to see in indie-rock, it's okay to layer up sounds and seek that clean Fleetwood Mac perfection, although, people got Pro Tools now, Fleetwood Mac just had tape and lots of cocaine to get things perfect. But, yeah, these kids in the Fullbloods evoke groups like Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac, albeit, the lite version, but the clean sound is there.

And they don't go full yacht rock, the Fullbloods would rather flirt with all the smoothness, they still have their indie-rock moments. But man, the track "Anima Mundi" is so Steely Dan-ish, it's hard to think of anything else when you play this LP.

The whole album, even at Steely Dan-lite status, is great. Chill vibe, not as jazz heavy as the Dan, but the light blues rock guitar riffs and vocal gymnastics are what draw you in.

Anima Mundi

Pat Metheny Group First Circle ECM/Warner Brothers 1984

Pat Metheny Group First Circle ECM/Warner Brothers 1984 CAT# ECM1278

As easy as it is to get lost or bored of a Pat Metheny's Jazz Fusion (it's just an acquired taste), this album's opener, "Forward March," kind of gets you excited. It's an out of tune, abstract, march song that still sounds familiar. It gives you hope this album will give you more than the slick production and jazz fusion forays into rock and world music.

After that, it's like all most the other Metheny albums. Well done jazz fusion. Very intricate and impressive musically without being a challenging listen.

First March