Local roots songwriter Jonathan Terrell amplifies his Mr. Hyde with Not in the Face, a raunchy twopiece detonating a minor blues explosion with snarling odes to one-night stands and "Yuppie Monday." His bleary-eyed hiccup peaks early on garage-bop opener "Way To Go Baby," leading to a Kings of Leon-paved AAA money shot, "Downtown Girl," but works just as well in the smokehouse boogie of "Brass Tacks" and the closing fire escape of "Good Night So Long."
Much like local contemporary Alpha Rev, Sounds Under Radio elevates sincere melodrama to grandiose realms best suited to network television and film soundtracks, evidenced here by the American Idol-copped lead single "Sing" and overreaching piano ballad "Fire Escape." WMCHMMCM takes chances (lo-fi plea "Surrender") and skews favorably toward the angst of modern alt-radio with "The Arsonist" and "Effigy."
Copping the name from Orson Welles' last major motion picture, marijuana law educator and lawyer Charlie Roadman returns to F for Fake after owning The History of the Peloponnesian War with Athens v. Sparta. New Hieroglyphic sets Americana sketches to programmed beats and scrambled electronics, with the live title track and a modern revision of Skip James' "Lazy Bones" as highlights.
Featuring former members of longtime locals Joe Jitsu, Closet Drama illustrates an ever-growing genre trend: Pro Tools power-pop. The quartet's debut, Dream State, lacks a certain spark, sounding too mechanical and precise – in short, like every other act aspiring to Warped Tour inclusion. That's a shame given the band's promising dual-guitar dynamic and the ambition exerted in six-minute closer "Faux."
Motel Aviv nips and tucks the 1980s post-punk canon for its debut, Post Modern Nation, most notably the Smiths ("Lack Lust") and Boy-era U2 ("The Unknown"). With additional keyboards from Speak's Troupe Gammage, the neo-romantics have the polished, rhythmic strut and inclusive zeal to work over local dance floors, but the material rarely rises above nostalgic tribute.
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