Thursday, July 28, 2011

27 Jul 11 - CD Review

Hey, blogspot readers, new music keeps arriving to SouthSide's home office this week! And there's more on the way for review. In the meantime, she higly suggests checking out the following CDs.

Home To Roast
Jesse W. Johnson

Front man and guitarist of hard rockin' Jet W Lee band embarks on a solo project that completely demonstrates a completely different side of himself and the band, Jet W Lee as he shows off his skills as a storytelling singer/songwriter. And what insteresting yet realistically somber tales does this artist weaves throughout his debut CD - Home To Roast, blogspot readers. Don't expect pretty or flowery prose, this is little slices of life at its darkest moments of despair amidst upbeat tempos (at times) and vibrant sounds of Americana/folk rock which highlights Jesse's dynamic vocal tone. This ten-track CD features tales of sadness and depression while suppressing pain deep within one's self in Jennifer Green (track 3 - "...with a smile on her lips/a syringe in her fingertips/Jennifer Green/she's got blood in her eyes/she keeps it all so well..." to chemical dependancy with suicidal thoughts in The Pills (track 6) and cold-blooded murder in Forty Below (track 8). This reviewer enjoyed how each track carefully brought a different range of emotions heard in Jesse's falsetto voice especially during the title track (track 5) and The Pills featuring Yoo Soo Kim on back vocals. SouthSide also recomends checking out the rockin' hint of acoustic country heard in track 7 - My Moonshine Shoes. She'll be reviewing Jesse W. Johnson when he performs live on stage July 28 at The Abbey Pub.

It's All A Show
The Prep School Tragedy

School is now back in session, blogspot readers, at this rockin' prep school of hardcore industrial/electronic music. Come attend class with the lyrical MC faculty, cheer squad, students and of course Wolfie of The Prep School Tragedy while listening to their debut CD - It's All A Show. This twelve-track CD features two of SouthSide's favorite songs Sedqution (pronounced "seduction" - track 2) and Thought I Toldja (track 8). Though not really featuring the entire band on this album, this CD still rocks with its two main members Tran Q (Benn Guy) and Ignited (Michael Hodes) but TPST live shows certainly have rocked the local stages around town with the painted zombified students (the band behind the metal-tastic hardcore sound and music) and cheer squad. Real school was never "fun" with tracks like 5 - What Have I Become (featuring hardcore metal riffs within the energized industrial sound) and 6 - Smokin' That Genius (Sippin' That Bird and 10 - Tearing Me Apart (both tracks featuring hardcore hiphop/lyrical rap with a metal twist). Screamo/metal fans will enjoy listening to track 9 - Watcha Wanna Do.

2011 I AM Fest Official Compilation CD
Various Artists

A local festival featuring independent artists (photography, videography, abstract, modern, et al) and music - hence the I AM Fest name - is the brainchild of Brian Bender (The Branded's front man, Elbo Room's Talent Buyer and Sound Guy, Jack of all Trades) and the original Chicago Noise Machine bands in which the first show featured 25 musicians/bands on two rockin' stages at Congress Theatre in June 2009. Now returning to House of Blues again for its third anniversary show which will feature eight main bands plus the two winners of this year's Battle of the Bands as well as local artisans and crafters during this one-day all ages show. The 2011 Compilation CD gives the listener a tiny two-track sample by each of the eight main bands such as Finley Knight (experimental/ambient rock), Workout Music (pop/alernative), Jip Jop (Soul/funk/jazz rock fusion) and On Your Marx (contemporary reggae/ska) ... a variety mix of what's rockin' Chicago's local scene (and SouthSide's adventures) around town. This fee compilation CD will be available during I AM Fest (happening Saturday Aug 27 at 2p) and at Elbo Room afterwards.

Grayson (Australia)

Currently in the middle of his "66 Days on Route 66" tour, Aussie singer/songwriter Grayson recently rocked the Elbo Room acoustic stage with a few songs off his latest CD - Chronology. Blogspot readers can read the interview/review here - This thirteen-track CD features the amplified side to songs The Rock 'n' (track 1), The Runway (track 12) and Time Machine (track 13) while introducing her to others like Better (track 4) and Hurry Up November (track 11) in which SouthSide couldn't wait for that month to come when she listened to it during last's weeks heat wave. Grayson's song also feature upbeat tempo and energetic rhythms within catchy pop/alternative sound however the three songs mentioned earlier sound better (in her opinion) in their acoustic form since his falsetto vocals emotionally expressed the words behind the lyrics. Still, within the recorded version, this artist does retain that sense of sincerity and believability in his voice especially during Ship (track 5) as well as a sense of romantic tenderness in Don't Just Close Your Eyes (track 9). Visit his Facebook page dedicated to his Route 66 tour for the latests news about his American travels at

SouthSide has more CD reviews on the way, blogspot readers. So stay tune...

Until next time, support your local scene,

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