Cherry Poppin' Daddies – Susquehanna
The Daddies hodgepodge of musical stylings is in full effect with Susquehanna – a Spanish-infused take on the band's oeuvre. With the number of genres on display, it is very easy to pick the winners and losers.
The big band swing and ska plays well to the band's comfort zone. Songs like "Tom the Lion" and "Wing Tips" are immediate highlights. The flamenco injections are easy to pass over. Otherwise, this is a pleasant addition to a career verging on 20 years old.
Original Soundtrack – My Blueberry Nights
In a movie that took a couple notable risks – Wong Kar Wai's first English language film starring the non-actor Norah Jones – the accompanying soundtrack takes very few. The expected Jones track leads off an album of slow R&B and jazz. A mixture of classics (Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness") and new tracks (a healthy heaping of Cat Power and Ry Cooder) round out a pleasant, unassuming soundtrack.
J-Henry – Code Red
A long lost Van Zant brother grew up in New Jersey. J-Henry – not actually a Van Zant – is an effortless southern rocker with a knack for writing songs specifically for the working man. The kind of effortless rock riffs and down home lyrics, that places him firmly between rock and country. His song titles should say everything – "I Love My NASCAR Weekends" and "Tequila Time" should be hints enough.
A cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" is faithful, even if it does not fit the bar band vibe of the rest of the record.
In Flight Radio – The Sound Inside
My initial response is that In Flight Radio is geared towards introspective, female U2 fans, but that may provide an unfair assessment for a band that deserves better. The batch of songs for The Sound Inside is compelling, but they cannot shake the shadow of that one Irish band. Chiming guitars and galloping drums. A female voice is a nice change of pace though. The band is organic enough that the obvious influences are not overwhelming, and they use it well enough that it is hard to slight them for it.
It is a nice record; I would not be surprised if a track from The Sound Inside makes it onto some teenage television drama.
Jason Yudoff – Tragic Hero
Jason Yudoff worked as a session player and a voice over actor before forming his own band and taking center stage. With his second studio album, he wrote a collection of songs surrounding a relationship. This is keyboard pop/rock with a story to tell. The story is typical – guy meets girl, loses girl and cries about it – and the songs are plain.
Yudoff is obviously accomplished as a musician and vocalist, but his writing, specifically the lyrics, is forgettable.
At a scant five songs, Numa provides a taste of their electro-tinged rock on this self-titled EP. They have the big rock riffs with an electronic polish that smoothes any rough edges. Five songs are plenty – hear one and you have heard all five. On their side is the benefit of songs such as "Like a Bruise," "Black Turning Blue" and "Darkest Hour" that are bland, and darkly romantic enough to appeal to Evanescence fans.
Rustic Overtones – Light at the end
Rustic Overtones have a difficult, and unfortunately familiar, story. They start to generate some buzz but once the album hits shelves, the record label goes down in flames. Blame evil Clive Davis for the set back of another promising band. The drama broke up the band, but they are back together and back on track with a new record.
The band dabbles with a funk rock sound that is pleasant, but will not make much headway in the musical climate of 2008. As long as the label stays afloat, Rustic Overtones could move on to bigger and better things, eventually.
Glenn Patrick – Mr. Blues Jr.
This is Blues 101. Glenn Patrick has the easy voice and style tailor made for singing the blues. He does not offer anything new or exciting, just a faithful dedication to the blues. Absolutely faithful. Faithful to a fault.