While I wasn’t able to attend The Dewey Beach Music Conference this year, the Ballbuster website got some exposure thanks to our friends at Black Thorn Entertainment, who placed some of our stickers on their table. They also set up a small space for us so that people were able to submit their CD’s to this site for a possible review. They also did that for the Millennium Music Conference as well. So, many thanks to Black Thorn Entertainment for the exposure. Be sure to stop by their site to find out who they are and what they do.
Having said that, I’m gonna start off this issue by going through some of the releases that were submitted to this site through Black Thorn Entertainment. Between the two conferences, they hooked me up with a nice sized package and the first two releases that quickly caught my attention were DJ Smallz & Chyna Whyte’s “The Whyte Out” and “The Whyte Out 2: Prelude To War.” These releases feature some of the best rap music that I’ve heard in a long time. Now, I’ve always said that the greatest rap album of all time is “Straight Outta Compton” by N.W.A. and I still believe that. However, “The Whyte Out” rises up to that level. It’s a very aggressive, hardcore, high energy release and most of the songs are permanently etched into your brain from the moment you hear them. I like the “Prelude To War” disc as well. It’s good. It’s just that the tunes on the first record seem to come at you a lot faster and there’s more “bounce,” if you know what I mean. Hell, there’s more energy in the first seven tracks than some artists have on a full length album…and that’s only the first half of “The Whyte Out,” there’s another eleven tracks that you need to go through. Anyone who’s a fan of rap music should own this release and, while you’re at it, you should check out the second disc as well.
Band Radio’s “Airwaves Volume II” is a compilation album that features music from Detroit Mutant Radio, Hewit, Amusia, Pete Schmidt, More, Paradigm, Broken Iris, Liquid Blue, Dalivaa, Jesse Payne, Matthew James, Robin Horlock Band, Stacie Rose, John Tumminello and Hush. Can’t say that I’m familiar with any of these artists. But, there are a few that caught my attention and that’s what compilation CD’s are supposed to do, right? Give you a taste of what’s floating around out there by way of a song and, if you like what you hear, contact information so you can get in touch with the artist(s) you liked. My personal favorites were More with “Loosely,” which is a fantastic song. It’s hard to believe this is an independent band I’m listening to. These guys are really good…better than a lot of the major stuff that’s currently popular. Paradigm’s “Heaven” was another cool tune. I was kind of bummed out when I went to their website and it wasn’t there. This is a band I would have liked to hear more from. “High As The Moon” by Stacie Rose was a soft rocker kind of tune that has a singer/songwriter vibe. She has a nice voice, which is one of the reasons why her song stood out for me. She sounds like an exceptionally talented artist who has a lot to offer. Wouldn’t mind hearing more. Anyway…for a compilation CD, this one was pretty good. Some interesting stuff on here. It’s worth checking out.
Since a three song sampler CD was all I got from the artist known as Goat, I thought it would be best to simply quote from his bio, which is much more interesting than anything I would probably have to say. Goat is actually Andrew Scott Rosen, the song of baseball great Al Rosen. He signed a deal with Interscpe and released his critically acclaimed debut album, “Great Life,” (Ruffhouse/Columbia) in 1998. His songs were featured in movies like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Supercop,” as well as the television show “CSI.” So, chances are, you’ve heard his music. LA Weekly said that his voice is like that of Al Green & Randy Newman. The sampler I got featured the tunes “Two Sides To Love,” “Churchbells” and “Find Somebody,” with the best of the three being “Churchbells,” as it brought Tom Petty to mind.
I just spent the past 47 minutes going through a 14 song CD by Fat Daddy Has Been and, I’ve gotta tell you, they seem like a band for all occassions. I mean, there’s a little bit of everything in their music. Rock, hip hop, ska, punk and, on top of all that, throw in a lot of energy and you’ll have some idea of what Fat Daddy Has Been is all about. Also, I just noticed that this album was released back in 2003 and the tunes that are featured on their MySpace page come from this release…and they’re still active. In fact, they recently won a battle of the bands contest that will send them to a concert in South Africa next year. You can find out more about that by reading their current blog post. Anyway, when you’re in the mood to have a good time, let Fat Daddy Has Been provide the soundtrack. There’s no way you can sit still listening to this release.
While you’re not able to download the four songs that make up Mythica’s debut EP, “Dangerous Little Monster,” you can listen to them on their MySpace page, which is a good thing because, before you decide to buy, you know what you’re gonna get and, for those of you who will click on the link below to pay them a visit, you know that you’re gonna get an interesting combination of rock/alternative/folk/celtic music. Sure, there’s only four songs. Not really enough to form an honest opinion of the band. But, they’re off to a good start. Opening track, “Don’t Be,” is the best of the bunch…at least as far as my personal taste goes. They kind of bring New York’s Pharaoh’s Daughter to mind…and that’s a good thing because I really like that band. Mythica delivers some real high quality music, which shouldn’t come as a suprise since the musicians that make up the band have been classically and professionally trained in their instruments and/or studied in the University of Delaware’s prestigious music program. In other words, they know what they’re doing. Don’t take my word for it though…stop by their website and have a listen. If you have an open mind when it comes to music, I believe you will enjoy what you hear.
It should come as no suprise that, if you go to The Illuminati’s MySpace site, they don’t have a label for their music at the top of their page like most artists do. That’s probably because the band doesn’t limit their sound. Although, I like to keep it simple when I write…especially when I’m talking about music that I can’t quite understand…and if I had to describe The Illuminati’s current release, “Love & War,” I would say that they remind me of U2 and Pink Floyd, at least during the first few songs. They also blend in some psychedelia, reggae, some singer/songwriter vibe and pretty much everything but the kitchen sink…and if they could find a way to actually use that, I’m sure the kitchen sink would also find a way into The Illuminati’s sound. Why listen to the radio when you can listen to The Illuminati…and get the same amount of variety on a single disc?
Hyjinx may be a band that you’re already familiar with. No matter where they go, they create quite a buzz with their self-titled, debut release, which is a ten song album that combines rock, pop, funk and a damn good time. Dance music, party music, whatever…call it what you want. The music of Hyjinx is something you don’t simply listen to, you get involved with it. I’ve had the opportunity to see the band…twice…and I missed ’em both times, which is something I regret because I heard they put on a very high energy show, one in which you can’t simply sit at the bar and enjoy…you’ve gotta be up in front of the stage, gettin’ down and gettin’ your groove on. They seem to come to my area on somewhat of a regular basis and, the first time I’m able to make a show…I’m gonna be there. On a side note, one thing I found very impressive about this band is their street team. Okay, sure, almost every band in the world has one. However, Hyjinx has a very well organized team…or should I say teams. They have five that I know about…New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts…and the people who run them are very involved and they actually work hard to help spread the word about this band. That’s why I said they’re a band that you may already be familiar with. If they’re not, you should check them out now to see what all the hype is about. I think you’ll find their music highly enjoyable.
Scarlet Fade is a band that I quickly became impressed with. In order to give you the complete picture on who they are and what they have to offer, I think it would be best to simply quote their bio and include my opinion at the end. Okay, so, Scarlet Fade is made up of four siblings. Ali, (17 – lead vocals, bass, keyboard), Jordan (15 – vocals, electric & acoustic guitars), Jaimee (13 – backround vocals, keyboards) and Jake (10 – backround vocals, drums). It all started back in 1996 when the three girls, ages 8, 6 and four at the time, started singing to backing tracks at churches, convalescent homes and various other events. At the time, Ali was taking piano lessons. A couple years later, Jordan decided to start with the guitar while Jaimee became interested in the piano and they both began to take lessons. Soon, voice lessons started for the three girls and Ali & Jordan began to accompany the voices with the keyboard and guitar. Slowly, Jake started to sing with the band and, at age six, he became interested in the drums and began taking lessons. He soon began to accompany the band as well. Ali then became interested in the bass and eventually took lessons while Jaimee took over on the keyboard. This all evolved into the band Inspire, which remained their name until early 2005, during which time gigs increased as did their audience. The next phase to the band was the new name of Scarlet Fade, which is “inspired” from Isaiah 1:18, “though your sins are scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” During that year, the first two originals, “Free” and “More Like You,” were written and performed in public. Scarlet Fade has been together now for 4 years, they have 14 originals, with many more in the making. The inspiration to write these songs comes from real life experiences and the desire to give people a hope in God for the future.
At the end of the bio, there was a little extra note that said, and I quote, “Although we are satisfied with this demo, it doesn’t represent us as we are now. We made this demo in February and since then have greatly evolved musically.” The demo in question is a five song, 17 minute EP called “Believe,” and, in a word, this release is fantastic. I’ve had this release for a short time, but, it’s all I’ve been able to listen to…it’s just great. Uh…a little backstory I guess…first of all, with all the un-requested material I get on a weekly basis, I usually don’t contact someone new on my own unless they really capture my attention. A friend of mine sent me an out of state magazine and I was flippin’ through it, didn’t see anything special. Then, a small article on Scarlet Fade caught my attention, which I saved. I figured, if I ever got around to it, I would go to their website and check ’em out. About a week later, the article was sitting on my desk and I thought, okay, let’s go see what they sound like. From the moment I heard “Believe,” the song, I was hooked. It was a positive, upbeat song that kind of brought The Runaways to mind. I quickly contacted the band and, a few days later, a copy of their EP arrived in the mail and it’s pretty much all I’ve been listening to. The energy and the message blend together to make a highly enjoyable listening experience…and, to think, this is only the begining. I can see this band getting much, much better in the years to come. Actually, they have some more recent live video on YouTube that you can check out, which will give you some idea of where they are now. Be sure to check that out and, while you’re at it, make sure you purchase a copy of their EP. Besides the title track, which you can hear on their MySpace page, I think “More Like You” is another amazing song. “Ask Me” is the mellow song on the album. It’s got a nice keyboard sound. “Faithful Friend” is a pretty laid back tune. They get back into the swing of things with “Everytime I Fall,” which, once the song is over, it leaves you wanting more. That’s when you hit the repeat button and listen to it all over again.
Keep your eye on Scarlet Fade. I’m sure the best is yet to come. But, for now, they’re off to a really good start.
Clashing Plaid is a band that continues to pump out rock ‘n’ roll music. Last count, they have three full length albums and a holiday EP and, while I’ve been a fan of all their previous efforts, I believe their current release, “Play It Loud,” is, by far, their best…and, yeah, I know that’s the “expected” thing to say when a band comes out with a new album. But, in this case, it’s the truth. The first three tracks, “Waiting For The Wrecker,” “Somewhere Down The Line” and “31 Of Those Days,” are just what the doctor ordered. They have a raw, bar/garage rock feel to ’em, with a slight hint of punk thrown in there to give it some kick. “Pretty Things” kind of brought early Rolling Stones to mind. “Renee” and “Walk Around The World” are straight ahead rockers. I’m not really sure what to say about “Werewolves In The Dark,” other that it was a cool song…and they wrap it all up with another shot in the arm called “Disconnect.” Although Clashing Plaid’s musical well is far from running dry, they’re gonna have a pretty rough time trying to follow up this release. I mean, dude, “Play It Loud” flat out rocks and I’m sure most of these songs are already crowd favorites. So, pick this one up and, like the album title suggests, “Play It Loud!”
Got a three song preview disc from a band called Nostradamus0014. I’m not really sure what you would call their particular musical style or how you would even describe it. So, instead of trying to figure it out, I’ll just tell you what I hear and you can form your own opinion. First of all, their music is all over the place. It’s very chaotic and, at the same time, it’s controlled. In other words, it doesn’t seem like random noise. It’s both brutal and aggressive with a pretty good sound quality, which was kind of a suprise. You don’t usually get that with this kind of music. So, that’s a plus. There’s some raw, heavy bass lines flowing through these tunes and, on top of everything else, the vocal style is kind of a hardcore/black/death metal scream and, if I’m not mistaken, these tunes are featured on a split CD with a band from New York called Neck. If this sounds like something you’d be into, check the website for more information. Listen with caution though…this band will make your ears explode.
Well, that should be enough to keep you busy for now. I guess the next time I talk to you, it will be a new year and, believe me, I’ve got a lot of music to tell you about. I also sent out a few e-mail interviews and people are starting to send them back. So, you have that to look forward to as well. I have no idea what the new year will bring. However, there’s one thing you can be sure of and that’s this column…it will only be found here, on the Ballbuster website…the place where the music matters.
Rock on, people.