Gary Douglas- Quill- The Giraffes

Gary Douglas
Keepin' Faith

(Self released)

If you haven't heard of Douglas yet, knowing that his band opened for the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Bumblefoot and Gary Hoey on the Guitar Gods tour should be enough to get your attention; Douglas will certainly have you rapt when Keepin' Faith starts spinning. Douglas has a "from the heartland" kind of voice and songwriting style and the obvious comparison here is to John Mellencamp, with cuts like "Faith (Renewed)" sounding especially Mellencamp-ish, and others like "Out on the Highway" demonstrating a real talent for wrapping catchy vocals around hooky guitar riffs.

Brush with the Moon

(Self released)

This is the first worldwide release for this established band from the U.K. which now features Bev Bevan of ELO on percussion. The record is a tribute to Ben Brain, the band's late bass player, who wrote all the songs within, and his wife Joy Strachan-Brain handles most of the lead vocals throughout. The band's sound is an understated folk-inspired pop, buoyed by Strachan-Brain's vocals which recall those of Christine McVie's with a little bit of Marianne Faithful thrown in.

The Giraffes

Silver Sleeve

This six-song EP from the Brooklyn-based Giraffes starts off with "Blood Will Run," a cut that, with its slow burn intro, initially recalls Nine Inch Nails. But when the song does burst into action it is more attuned to the guitar-heavy sound of grunge rock, with a little Black Sabbath-style sludge in the mix too. There are no jokey lyrics here but the guys make some barbed social commentary on cuts with titles like "Facebook Rant" and "Product Placement Song" that, like the others here, are delivered by singer Aaron Lazar with assured coolness.

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