Posts Tagged ‘off-kilter sense of humor’

Every day, there is less and less people out there produce rock and roll the way it should sound. Most of the music out there today comes more from producers than it does from bands that are there simply to create music for the sake of making music. One band out there today that is making rock and roll that sounds real and authentic is Seattle-based rock band Custom.

Custom consists of Jacque Hartless – Vocals, Corey Petro – Guitar, John Norton – Guitar, Paul Yarnold – Bass and Brandon Wilsey – Drums. The band is celebrating the release of their new CD entitled Flat Out Fast.

Flat Out Fast from Custom begins with the track “Stop”. The driving beat of the track mixed with the power of the guitars from Cory Petro and John Norton creates a track with lots of energy. The interaction between Petro and Norton helps to add a lot of energy from the guitars to the music of the song and that energy makes for a perfect way to begin the release.

The album continues with the song “Buzz Zone”. With this track, the band kicks up the energy of their music and also adds just a touch of humor to the band’s release. The lyrics “Well, I lost my mind. I never used it much anyway” lets you know that while the band seems to take music seriously, they still have a sense of humor. The driving pace of the music gives the music a lot of energy to go along with the humor that comes with every one of the unfortunate events that the singer sings about. After listening to “Buzz Zone,” you feel a lot better that it isn’t you going through all the bad luck that Jacques Hartless sings about in the song.

The album continues with the song “Because of You”. The track begins with music produced exclusively by bassist Paul Yarnold and drummer Brandon Wilsey. The interaction between just the bass and drums creates a strong base for the rest of the band to build the music on. Once the rest of the group joins in, the resulting track feels like a Classic Rock track from a band that knows how to make use of their influences. The track brings back the feel of rock and roll and gives the listener just a glimpse of what music should sound like.

The title track of “Flat Out Fast” brings to mind someone like Bon Jovi or other rock bands from back in the eighties. The vocals stylings of Jacque Hartless that bring to mind the sounds of strong rock vocalists like Robert Plant. The strong rock feel of the music and the strong pace of the song along with those vocals from Hartless create a track that rock lovers who miss the sounds of power rock will really enjoy. The title track for Custom’s new release of Flat Out Fast is just what you want for rocking out to.

The track “Punching Sand” starts off slow as the music has and easy and light feel to it. That doesn’t last long as Custom picks up the energy and the pace of the music. The heavy feel of the music goes along with the lyrics of a person looking for a way to release a lot of anger. The track once again shows off the energy that Custom produces in its music.

The band slows things down with the final track on the release, “Say Goodbye Again”. The slower pace of the music just seems to intensify the band’s music. The band works well on this track as they prove that faster is not necessarily better. Even with the slower pace, “Say Goodbye Again” proves to be one of the best tracks on the new release from Custom.

From beginning to end, Custom’s new release entitled Flat Out Fast proves that rock and roll is still alive, as long as you can find it. The Seattle-based band takes the listener on a musical journey that will bring back memories of the rock and roll bands that really knew what music was supposed to sound like. And because Custom is currently creating the same type of music that seemed to have all but disappeared, the band’s new album of Flat Out Fast is just the thing if you have been looking for something new for your rock and roll collection.
Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)

To check out the music from Custom, check out the band’s ReverbNation profile.

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David E Johnston is an artist who works between performance, motion graphics, and original music who creates electro-percussive music under the moniker of Gift of Tongues. To help bring his music to life, Johnston called upon several musicians who added their talents to the project. The rest of the group consists of Steve Elliot, Brian Wolfe, Craig Levy, Emiliano Valerio, Mike Shobe and Tom Swafford. With each member of the band having a different background, the resulting band of Gift of Tongues contains many different styles coming together to add depth to the music of David E Johnston. The new album from Gift of Tongues is entitled Songs of My People.

Songs of My People from Gift of Tongues begins with the “Preamble”. While “Preamble” is mostly vocals, the sound and feel of the piece brings to mind the track “If I Had a Rock Launcher” from Bruce Cockburn; the helicopter sound effects on the track matched with the angry vocal quality of the narrator while the words on the track themselves have a slightly humorous feel to them.

Once the “Preamble” is over, the real album of Songs of My People from Gift of Tongues begins. The second track, “The Universe,” features a techno feel to the music while also incorporating the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem The Song of Hiawatha into the track. The combination of the two ideas creates a very unique (and unusual) track. The music of the track takes on a stronger dance feel a little later in the track while the lyrics of the song seem to say that you need to speak up if you have something to say.

David E Johnston and the rest of the group prove they have plenty of talent to go around as the album continues. The track “Home” takes on a country/jazz feel while also containing some of the techno approach from “The Universe”. The dobro-meets-techno feel of the track creates another very unique sound on the Songs of My People release. The resulting song has many different aspects to it and stays interesting throughout the three-and-a-half minute play time.

While the music of the tracks is the first thing that catches your attention when listening to the new album from Gift of Tongues, it is hard to ignore the lyrical quality of the songs, as well. The track “Big Bad Wolf” is the perfect example of the quality of the lyrics on the album: The track seems to take a fairytale approach to the words and makes them appeal more to the adult section of the listening audience; it’s like listening to the original text to the Brothers Grimm stories- dark and unforgiving. The music of the track brings to mind the dark quality of a band like Nine Inch Nails. The combination of the dark quality to the lyrics and the music creates a track that will appeal to fans of Goth-like music and those bands that make that style of music.

The off-kilter sense of humor that permeates through nearly every track on Songs of My People from Gift of Tongues adds a lot of substance to the album. One of the tracks that are helped from the sense of humor is the song “I Am a Large Man”. While the words of the song may contain a little darkness to them, the humor seems to decrease the sting a bit. Ultimately, “I Am a Large Man” is a track that is very reminiscent of the style of the music that was created by Michael Nealy and Jock Blaney who were known as a band called 2nu back in the nineties. As “I Am a Large Man” brings to mind visions of songs like “This is Ponderous” from that band “I Am a Large Man” from Gift of Tongues would have fit with 2nu’s music very easily.

Every so often, there comes a band that feels the need to create something just a little different. If you are the type who likes something unique from time to time, Songs of My People from David E Johnston and the rest of Gift of Tongues is just the album for you.

Check out some of the music from Gift of Tongues at their Reverbnation profile.