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CD Review Marashino - The Picture of Us All

Marashino

The Picture of Us All
Record Label: Self Released
Review by Kristen Winiarski
April 2008

Deriving their name from a delicious and similar-sounding sundae topper, Milwaukee’s Marashino are no cherries. Since their inception in 2002, the band have performed hundreds of shows from local clubs, county fairs, Summerfest a few times, and even a few jaunts around the country. Having opened for the likes of Crossfade and Shinedown, the band appears ready for a new challenge.

This year welcomes a new release from the band entitled, “The Picture of Us All”. Their self-released album mixes rock with impressive guitar lines as well as unique vocal styling.  Their rockin’ alternative style permeates throughout the entire album. Something really attention-grabbing about the band is the voices. Four out of the five band members sing vocals throughout the album. This exposes the listener to a greater vocal range than otherwise demonstrated by bands with a single dominating lead singer. The power of each voice has its own intensity that is felt through each lyric that is sung. This is especially evident in the song “Dilemna” as the beginning showcases a voice without music. The gravely voice is able to stand out on its own without other musical accompaniment. The listener is able to feel the desperation melt into their own soul. This demands attention to the voice alone until it is joined by the guitar and other instruments. The different periods of silence throughout the song also act to emphasize the different lines of lyric. As you listen to this album, the angst of self-discovery is combined to form a story.
This band proves to be more than just the topper and is a stand-out against others. It is, in fact, the entire sundae.


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CD Review Egypt Central - Egypt Central

Egypt Central

Egypt Central
Record Label: East West
Review by Kimberly E. McDaniel
April 2008

I had never heard of Egypt Central, but their self-titled debut is actually very easy on the ears and could find a happy home on modern rock radio stations.  There is something similar to Linkin Park about this band, as they rap a little and in truth, being radio-friendly can be as much a curse as a gift these days. 

Opening tracks “Different,” “You Make Me Sick” and “Taking You Down” are probably the most interesting tracks and are likely to be heard on the radio. Their style is catchy modern rock which is well-played as well as being well-written. If they can get past the hard-rock stigma, they might be able to get somewhere.

The problem that they need to overcome is that they aren’t particularly original sounding.  They remind me of several different bands, and sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes it is not. If you like catchy, radio-friendly material, then Egypt Central is worth checking out.


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CD Review Testament - Demonic

Testament

Demonic
Record Label: Prosthetic
Review by Kimberly E. McDaniel
April 2008

Testament is undoubtedly one of metal’s hardest working acts, releasing both “Demonic” and “The Gathering” in 2007 alone. The sheer output of this band is quite impressive, and for those who like the super-heavy, crunchy guitar sound and a growling vocal styling, “Demonic” is sure to be a hit.

The first track, “Demonic Refusal,” builds to a wailing frenzy, with guitarist Eric Peterson wrenching sounds from the instrument, which seems slightly tortured.  Drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Derrick Ramirez keep up with this crazy pace throughout the album. Vocalist Chuck Billy growls menacingly from song to song; with the one exception being “Hatreds Rise,” where he does actually sing a little.

Truthfully, I am not the biggest fan of this sort of metal. However, I did quite like “Hatreds Rise” and there is some fairly impressive guitar work present throughout the entirety of “Demonic.”  Certainly any Testament fan already owns this. Since it seems fairly representative of their work and sound, if you are curious pick up a copy of this and get “Demonic.”


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CD Review Repertoire - Moving On

Repertoire

Moving On
Record Label: Self Released
Review by Kristen Winiarski
April 2008

Singing out of the lands of Milwaukee, WI, comes Repertoire. This fusion of the styles of Jack Johnson and Dispatch has recently unleashed their second album, “Moving On”. Just from the title alone, the album is meant to give hope. Through the music, they tell you to “dream on dreamer.”  Whether or not things will get better, they make you think that it will. The album is meant to make you believe and give you hope in the world as well as hope in love.

The band was originally formed in 2001 and released their first album, “Even Sleep” in 2003. Even after the lead singer, bassist, and keyboardist left the band in 2005, songwriter Michael O’Donnell and drummer/vocalist Michael Jaklich, were able to pull back together and assemble a new group of players to release “Moving On” in November, 2007.

The music is also similar to Dashboard Confessional in the themes represented through the music. Throughout the album is the unique mix of vocals, guitar, drums, piano, saxophone, and violin. This mix allows the listener to both relax and identify with the wish to dream or love. The song “Moving On” showcases that violin sound at the beginning as well as throughout the piece. Their style can be described as a mix of Indie, Pop, and Alternative.

You may have already heard their music on Milwaukee radio station, 103.7 KISS FM. Repertoire was chosen as the KISS Superstar of 2008 and their song “Dreamer” has been added to the station’s playlist. If you haven’t heard them yet, give them a listen if you’re looking for something uplifting with a fun mellow beat.


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CD Review Carrie Newcomer - The Geography of Light

Carrie Newcomer

The Geography of Light
Record Label: Rykodisc
Review by John Noyd
April 2008

A marvel of melody and metaphor, Carrie’s enlightened, “Geography,” quietly advocates the central values of community, casually gathering parallels between nature and the human condition. A soft spoken rebel that dabbles in sophisticated folk and literate country, Newcomer combines questions and conclusions with elegant allusions and persuasive sentiments. Both reverent and relevant, “Geography,” mixes history with poetry and everyday dramas with uncommonly common sense. An old soul with fresh eyes, Newcomer is a rare example of a musical talent serving her virtues with honor and respect while tackling life’s recurring obstacles. As she has on numerous other recordings, Newcomer uses Madison favorites Mary Gaines and Chris Wagoner to flesh out her glorious stories, empowering solid words to deliver musical goodwill, collaborating to craft a masterpiece of hope.


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CD Review British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?

British Sea Power

Do You Like Rock Music?
Record Label: Rough Trade
Review by John Noyd
March 2008

Or more appropriately, do you like grandly ambitious Rock music? A gutsy, atmospheric disc of rumbling panoramas, caressing epics and invigorating inquires, “Do You Like Rock Music?” balances awe with irony for a sublime combination of youthful triumph and revolutionary transcendence. Distilling a turbulent world view into tenacious fables of personal politics, BSP’s edgy eloquence preaches over bristling riffs, bashing guitars, expansive arrangements and vacillating dynamics.  Churning and melodramatic, BSP’s smart mouths, nimble fingers and savvy minds suggests early Radiohead folded around desperately earnest Bowie and socially conscious Pulp. Deliberately forthright and emphatic, BSP’s conniving conundrums of post-modern perspectives makes, “Do You,” a masterful exercise in pushing boundaries while staying the course, making waves guided by the stars. BSP plays Chicago’s Empty Bottle March 24.


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