Sunday, May 05, 2013

Cleveland Jones Sings from the Heart

Soul artist Cleveland Jones wears his heart on his sleeve in his debut album, Ace of Hearts. And that’s not a bad thing. Jones’ deliciously raspy, elastic tenor inspires, soothes and despairs throughout.

It’s an extremely well-arranged collection of songs that relies more on immediate emotional impact, rather than traditional pop hooks, to suck the listener in at first go round. With tracks ranging from the aching “Heart Breaks” and “To My Father,” to the funkily cathartic “Free Yard Sale,” it’s clear these songs have been building for some time.

The Berklee-trained Jones brings a much-needed shot of old-school flavor back into his genre. In an industry and audience where most ears have become accustomed to programmed beats, digital instruments and auto-tuned vocals, this album is a breath of fresh air. Arrangements including rich horn accents, warm organ fills and swelling backing choruses are a welcome change. There’s nothing like hearing musicians doing their thing, and doing it well.

Ace of Hearts is available this Friday, May 10.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Derek Evry: All Rock Video, No Chaser

If you’ve been to a show at IOTA, chances are you’ve come across insomniac rocker Derek Evry working the door sporting his signature mutton chop streaks or Grizzly Adams beard.

This past September, Evry released his new record, Here’s to Better Misery, a catchy collection of lean power/pop/punk, in the vein of Jimmy Eat World and early Green Day. The album reaches a peak with the gorgeous “Tonight Our History Will End,” featuring Margot MacDonald on harmony vocals.

Evry and his Band of Misanthropes can really bring it live, and the new music video for the chugging, riff-driven “When We Get Home” wisely takes advantage of that. No abstract concepts, no fancy outfits. Just some stage lighting, a little visual static effects here and there, and four dudes rocking their hearts out in the corner of a warehouse. And that’s exactly how it should be. Evry’s eyeballs rocket around his vitreous humor with a paranoid urgency, like an Arlingtonian Billy Jo Armstrong, as he pours his heart out. And the band, fueled by the muscular drumming of Ben Tufts, powers its way through the high-energy track.

Catch Derek Evry next at the Velvet Lounge January 10th, 2013.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Beasties Make Some Noise

Lovin' the new Beastie Boys first video off of their upcoming album Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2. It's a virtual star-fest, with a crazy ensemble of actors getting together for the old-school flavored track, "Make Some Noise." Elijah Wood as a young Ad-Rock? Winning!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Got My Knives and My Heart Up My Sleeves..."

Former Metro-area indie-poppers Jukebox the Ghost return to DC this Saturday, April 23rd, at the Black Cat. Yeah, the band is made up of three guys, but they’re not the typical “power trio” line-up, having ditched the usual bass for a piano. And it works quite nicely, thank you very much. Their newest album, Everything Under the Sun, is a remarkably catchy slice of herky-jerky piano pop, and they're is able to deftly shift between bouncy rave-ups (“The Popular Thing”) and sweeping grandiosity (“So Let Us Create”) without losing a sense of melody and hooks.