Month: November 2007

Somobe – The Great Communication

Ever wonder what happened to hard hitting intelligent hip-hop, without the excessive use of the “n-word”? Back in the day that trail was blazed by hip-hop legends like KRS-1, De La Soul, and a hand full of others. Today’s hip-hop generation of misogyny, cribs, and 24” rims is about to wake up to the debut…

Earlimart – Mentor Tormentor

Less than a year after work began on Earlimart’s latest album the Los Angeles-based band released Mentor Tormentor, a 15 track album about relationships and self-discovery. The record kicks off with “Fakey Fake” a nice blend of guitar, percussion and breathy vocals, courtesy of Aaron Espinoza, which all develop into an almost anthem-like melody. Equally…

She Wants Revenge – This Is Forever

Wanna party like its 1985? In the best traditions of industrial/electronic Brit-Pop, California’s own She Wants Revenge carries on the legacy of Depeche Mode to the darkness and debauchery of dance floors across world. Their sophomore release, This Is Forever, from She Wants Revenge [SWR] gets your juices flowing with a mood molding intro that…

Various Artists – Now That’s What I Call Music 26

So how does an artist know when they have crossed the line from mainstream to pop music? That would be when their song appears on this CD. Now That’s What I Call Music has been an awesome outlet for the labels to put 12 — 20 of the hottest and most commercial music all on…

Gallucio – All For You

All For You Gallucio’s debut album on the Cornerless Records label features solid lead vocals and fine guitar work from Anthony Gallucio, strongly backed by a talented band and guests. Gallucio definitely has its own sound and it works particularly well where the band shows a bit of edge and rocks out on stand-out numbers…

An Interview with Martin Sexton

Another Song, Another Mile By Martin Halo Touring in support of his seventh full-length LP, entitled Seeds, Martin Sexton is rounding out an American tour leg at New York’s Roseland Ballroom in early December.   Fusing acoustic shake with the richness of Americana, Sexton has delivered a pressing of uplifting compositions that cut to the…

HIM – Venus Doom

Frontman Ville Valo and his four henchmen are in fine fettle on HIM’s new album from Sire Records. The title Venus Doom conveys the feel of the new album well–darkly voluptuous. While Valo has commented that the new album is “heavier, doomier and gloomier” than its predecessor Dark Light, Venus Doom is considerably more sprightly…

Street Spirit – Take What You Want From It

What motivates an artist to write songs? Where do they get the inspiration to grab a pen and leave their heart and soul on a piece of paper? San Jose-based rap artist Street Spirit transforms his life experiences to create one of the best hip hop CDs to cross my desk in 2007. Smart and…

Lyken 21 – Mindstream

For fans of precision, technical hard rock and metal, I strongly encourage you to check out Lyken 21. This New Jersey-based quartet seems to draw from influences such as Megadeth and Dream Theater — but they do it in a modern way. Lyken 21 is surely not an 80’s metal tribute band of some sort.…

Random Touch – A True Conductor Wears a Man

Random Touch’s A True Conductor Wears a Man from Token Boy Records is a remarkable album–a brilliantly crafted collage of sounds with its own internal structure and beauty. Powered by conventional, electronic and exotic instrumentation and featuring distorted voices, True Conductor has an exquisite starkness to it, managing to seem both distant, as if piped…

Richard Gsottschneider – Somewhere in Baltimore

Richard Gsottschneider is a folk/Americana artist based in New Hampshire. The songs seem influenced by legends such as Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Johnny Cash. The lyrics tell stories — stories that are vivid and take you everywhere from the inner city to the bayous of Louisiana. The CD is based on folk and has…

John Dyer – Gostayplay

John Dyer’s CD came across my desk and immediately caught my attention thanks for the beautiful graphic design of the front cover. As I began to play tracks from this record, I was as impressed with the music, as I was with the artwork. Dyer writes in a style closer to that of a poet…

The Dangerous Summer – If You Could Only Keep Me Alive

Fresh out of high school, The Dangerous Summer offers a forgettable EP that gets lost in the emo sea. All seven of the songs on If You Could Only Keep Me Alive are interchangeable, and they each include references to writing songs. You’re writing songs. I get it. It’s clearly a cathartic effort that doubles…

Sacha Sacket – Lovers & Leaders

After listening a few times to Lovers & Leaders it is a total pleasure to write this review. This CD is simply incredible and every song on this piano driven disc is well crafted, as the songwriting is top notch and arrangements are refreshingly unique. Many of the songs have keyboard or loop sample for…

The Sadies – New Seasons

With an unusual and versatile combination that infuses bluegrass, surf, rock, and funk, The Sadies breakthrough from Toronto in a style that is undoubtedly American with their release of New Seasons in 2007. This disc is beautifully composed with an un-manufactured sound, mainly eluding from overuse of modern recording technology and getting back to the…

The Cult – Born Into This

This disc was surprisingly, well in a word, surprising. A refreshing “Non-rehash” of material, there’s a lot to like here. The band has rebounded with a heavier rounded sound that would fit being on a live bill with someone like U2 or Velvet Revolver. The title track “Born Into This” and “Citizens” are rockers with…

Crosby Loggins – We All Go Home

I caught Crosby opening for Joe Bonamassa (to whose label he’s signed). Playing solo live with a rack of acoustic guitars and a massive pedal board, he usually tours with a band as ‘Crosby Loggins And The Light’. At one point he thanked his parents, David Crosby and Melissa Etheridge. Opening for one of the…

New Monsoon – V

They sure picked the wrong cat to review this new album by New Monsoon. I accidentally referred to it as “happy garbage” to the editors here at Skope, but what I meant to say was “hippy garbage.” It really works either way as long as you keep the garbage part in. Growing up in New…

The Forms – The Forms

The Forms self-titled follow-up to 2003’s Icarus, starts off with a shoegazer blast. The album opener, “Knowledge In Hand” is a refreshing noise considering the stale soundscapes of late. But by track two it becomes apparent that the Forms are a one-trick pony. Nirvana producer, Steve Albini’s work on the album is evident in the…

Leo – Nightmares

Nightmares is a bit of a misnomer. Leo’s recently released CD starts off with a short intro track that sounds promisingly creepy and dark, but the sound quickly morphs into muddled rock/pop. Some of the guitar work reminded me initially of Godsmack but with vocals more reminiscent of Incubus, the overall balance was wobbly. Little…

Yellowcard – Paper Walls

Yellowcard returns with its third major label release, Paper Walls, showcasing once again that this young band from California has the chops to make a career out of singing about love, of loss and getting it all back again. Riding on the wave of the so called emo revolution, Yellowcard has distinguished itself from among…

West Indian Girl – 4th and Wall

The sophomore release from West Indian Girl puts a modern twist to new wave without provoking the inevitable comparisions to the artists that have saturated the industry today as the ‘new wave’ of modern rock (Killers, Interpol). This album is a masterpiece; each song blends seamlessly into the next – from the psychedelic meanderings of…

The Last Goodnight – Poison Kiss

The first single off of Poison Kiss, the radio friendly “Pictures of You”, leads you to believe that The Last Goodnight is just another band trying too hard not to sound like Maroon 5 and Blue October and failing miserably. The single is nothing extraordinary, perhaps picked strictly for its ability to encapsulate the yearnings…

Tegan and Sara with Northern State

Fort Lauderdale Gets Cultured By Shaun Flagg Northern State opened with brazen feminine, hip-hop swagger tossing line after line of lyrical flows over a background of heavy beats. These ladies evoke the images of Luscious Jackson but edgier; it doesn’t surprise me that their latest album was co-produced by Beastie Boys member Ad Rock. They…

J. Holiday – Back of My Lac

It’s obvious that Capital knew what they were doing when they discovered J. Holiday, who oozes with sexy smooth vocals and a strong catchy urban R&B flavor that can compete with the best of the best. His vocal prowess is reminiscent of Usher meets D’Angelo with an R. Kelly feel to it. When I first…

Modena Vox – Transportation

At its very best, Modena Vox’s Transportation is boring. Like warmed over Oasis or Interpol with no hook or energy, Vox is a perfect example of why Yanks shouldn’t try to sound like Brits. Even though some songs, like “L.F.A.S.” and “Show Me” seem to promise fast rocking bits, those songs always peter out in…

Just Surrender – We’re In Like Sin

Just Surrender is back with their sophomore full-length album, We’re In Like Sin. The quartet’s latest release by Broken English Records consists of eleven new tracks ranging from melancholy tunes to songs that’ll get you shouting their lyrics at the top of your lungs. Besides having an amusing title, “If I Wanted to Cuddle I’d…

Justin Currie – What is Love For?

I can’t figure out why Justin Currie would put a song like “What is Love For?” on this album, much less make it the title track. With wince-worthy lyrics such as, “What is love for, Does it wash good people ashore, Does it keep the wolf from the door” I was ready to chuck this…

Umphrey’s McGee – Live at the Murat

As someone who generally despises jam bands, I was surprised to find that Umphrey’s McGee’s Live at the Murat is actually enjoyable. McGee keeps the endlessly overwrought improvisations that plague their peers under control and focuses instead on clever composition. The first four tracks comprise a single song, “In the Kitchen”, which begins acoustically, descends…

An Interview with Jonathan Davis of Korn

A Solo Harvest By Martin Halo He stands as arguably one of the most explosive front men in the history of overdriven distortion and hard rock for that matter. Jonathan Davis is volatile, reckless, un-predictable, and, for the last ten years, stone cold sober. With a few months off from extensive roadwork on the Korn…

Ginger Does Austin City Limits

Attack of the Monster Line-Up By Ginger Hebert   It seems after all the musical hype it generates; Austin really confirms itself to be all about the tunes. Each year Austin plays host to several huge music festivals in which swarms of people journey to central Texas, like zombies in search of flesh, for the…

Black Suit Youth – Our Future is History

Our Future is History isn’t too bad as far as Screamo/Modern Rock goes, there just isn’t anything all that remarkable about it. The punk influence is obvious in the fast, frenetic pace of “Fight Plan” and “We Are Lions” as well as in the urgent, angry lyrics in “Sceneager” and “Midnight,” but its pretty standard…

LCD Soundsystem – 45:33

Interesting. Before you even pop the CD into the player you notice it’s different. The first six songs are combined together under one title, which is also the title of the CD, 45:33. Being lumped under one title is pretty much all they have in common. Those six songs as well as the other three…

Intodown – Brave New World

Michael Clark leads the psychedelic decent into the rabbit hole with a variety of drummers, bass players and multi instrumentalists. Brave New World is a skillfully executed instrumental rock album that reverberates below the radar of mainstream pop with Clark making exquisite us of power chords, riffs, and improvisation. Clark has studied the blueprints of…

Christus & The Cosmonaughts – From Atop This Hill

This album evokes the vibe of Pink Floyd but without the pleasant harmonies and vibrant complexities. There is a layered sound built on vintage analog synths. The music is atmospheric and can take you on some journeys of the mind, but be warned, this is not an easy listen. It possesses a depth that requires…

Stoli Razz & Farewell’s Marshall Davis

Hanging out with Marshall Davis From Farewell This right here is one of the coolest bands Stoli has ever interviewed. Farewell is a band off Epitaph Records. They have a new album, ‘Isn’t This Supposed To Be Fun?,’ in stores now and have been touring for years. Check out what their lead singer, Marshall Davis…