Yes Indeed, The b-sides, Quite
Something about The b-sides is strongly reminiscent of the offbeat band Cake.
The unsigned local band, which boasts the best-selling local release at School Kids Records, has the same strange lyrics and upbeat music as the more widely known Cake.
With the release of their second album, Yes Indeed, The b-sides, Quite, The b-sides has succeeded in putting together a catchy album that anyone can throw on to relax after a long day.
The tunes are mellow enough to chill out to without being depressing and lively enough to keep someone from falling asleep at the end of a long day.
The CD starts with a short track of chimes that seems out of place and then kicks into peppy songs that are heavy on band harmonizing and crescendos and decrescendos.
"I wore it 'till it broke" and "Japan" are two of the more clever songs on the CD that make better use of lyrics by not singing about love or girls but rather self-deprecation. These tunes also are quick on the tempo changes instead of being monotone like some of the other songs like "Megan" and "Idiot proof pt. 2."
The band is blessed with the presence of former Squirrel Nut Zippers bassist, Ken Mosher, who adds mature talent to the group. Another band standout is drummer Eric Kuhn, who is solid musical backup for the group and the only one of the five members who doesn't sing.
The members of the band are relatively young, the original members all being under 20 when they formed in 2000. They could benefit from practice and experience to fine-tune their skills, but they have a strong base to build a successful career.
But they rocked as one of Ben Folds' opening acts last week and they have a tour under their belt, the 100% Geek Rock Tour, and are planning a European tour for next year which should give them much-needed real world practice.
The b-sides are potentially an up-and-coming band if they continue to hone their musical skills and lyrical talents.
By Tiffany Fish
Billy & Liza
It's About Time
Once upon a time, a folky boy (Billy Nershi) met a girl who liked to rock on her own (Liza Oxnard) and they got together and made what they thought was beautiful music.
Um, not so much.
It's not that Nershi and Oxnard don't sing well together -- they do -- but the tracks on this CD are a mixture of her original songs with his; hers rock pretty hard, but his don't.
Oxnard has a clear, melodic voice that sounds like a combination of Bonnie Raitt and Jewel, so in the pieces where she's the main vocalist, she's great.
She sticks to a rock/folk genre, and she's got some good guitar backup to complement her vocals.
But the songs Nershi either wrote or serves as the main vocalist on run the gamut of styles, so it's hard to figure out what he's trying to do. His instrumentals are decent, but they give each track a totally different and unoriginal feel.
Some sound reminiscent of the Beach Boys, some of Santana, and still others have a blaring similarity to the simplistic lyrics of Sharon, Lois & Bram music. It's dentist office/elevator music, and it's devoid of any cute country funkiness.
By Allison Rost
Jettingham is being hyped as the next big thing in adolescent pop-rock. In a target market where creativity and talent increasingly play second fiddle to image, they stand a good chance of succeeding.
Everything about Jettingham screams average except their glossy image. They play average power-pop songs with average lyrics and an average amount of musicianship. Similar to Green Day and Blink-182 in both style and substance, the group's self-titled album comes equipped with 12 bite-sized, easily digestible songs of about three minutes each.
The hooks are nursery school-esque in their simplicity, and the lyrics are mind-numbing. "Cheating" contains alternating choruses of "No, no, no (pause) no, no, no" followed by "Yes, yes yes (pause) yes, yes yes." Heady stuff.
The quartet of Fort Wayne, Ind. natives simply plays juvenile, easy songs which are punctuated by lyrics like "We don't go to bed/ We just have sex." In many ways, Jettingham is like a more serious version of The President's of the United States of America.
The band's sound is driven by bassist Beav (who's definitely not famous enough to be going by one name yet) and cymbal-happy drummer, Jason Berry. Vocalist Dave Schmoekel is reminiscent of Billy Joe Armstrong minus the emotion and the sneer.
Schmoekel and the band are at their best when they are telling stories, as they are in "Fred's Bus." This song abandons the driving guitar and quick tempo present in almost all of their other tracks in favor of funk flavor that is similar to early Red Hot Chili Peppers. The result is one of the best tracks of the album.
Unfortunately, not all of their attempts at diversifying their style are as successful. "Enjoy" is some sort of a pop/reggae hybrid. During the reggae sections the band seems lost and eager to get back to the standard pop sections that begin and end this disjointed song.
Lucky for them, their accessibility will probably secure the band some success.
By Trafton Drew
Puddle of Mudd
When MTV VJ Carson Daly declared one August afternoon on an episode of TRL that he liked Puddle of Mudd, that was one strike against the band.
And the quartet lost any further chances to redeem itself with its lackluster debut album, Come Clean, produced by Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst.
As the first band signed to Durst's record label, Flawless, Puddle of Mudd attempts to join the ranks of angry-yet-pensive rock bands like Fuel and Creed. But they forgot one thing -- emotion.
On most tracks, lead vocalist Wesley Scantlin's flat voice sounds as if it's being filtered through an oscillating fan. Even when he's muttering angst-ridden things like, "Ignorance spreads lies, how much will money buy/Well, I'll take my time as I drift and die," Scantlin just doesn't sound like he really means it.
Scantlin, who wrote or co-wrote each track, rarely strays from tired "everyone's trying to bring me down" songwriting. This only works well on "Control" --there's something enticing and naughty about singing along to "I love the dirty things you do, I have control of you."
But for a band under Durst's tutelage, listeners ought to get something a little more distinctive, a little more shocking. Puddle of Mudd probably showed more initiative when they bum-rushed Durst with a demo tape and convinced him to give them a recording contract.
Sadly, the band's first efforts seem to cement them in mediocrity.
By Harmony Johnson
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