On and off the record
By Michel Cicero 03/01/2012
Sharks and Cobras
Sharks and Cobras
If one of the songs from this record were used in a musical greeting card, the visual elements would no doubt include at least two of the following: naked female (with or without tattoos), electric guitar, animal print, spilled bottle of booze. A newish collaboration of musicians from various local bands, including TheAttriks and Suspect 6 (formerly PILE), satisfactorily pays homage to ‘80s-era Sunset Strip cock-rock with recognizable riffs woven into original music with a cover of “Danger Zone” from the movie Top Gun (which we can only hope is meant to be tongue-in-cheek ). If you like guitar-driven songs about sex and drugs and drugs and sex, then you’ll want to give Sharks & Cobras a listen. The band plans to follow this up with a full-length in the near future.
Available through the band, which will perform at Billy O’s on April 7.
The Western Score
In the era of the short attention span, the concept record is a rarity. To attempt such a feat on a debut release, and make the first track instrumental, is a bold move. But that’s in part what makes this record great: the abject insanity of it. A tightly wound assemblage of seven manic songs tells the story of a tortured man driven to madness by love. (Or is it the other way around?) The sound is roots rock at a galloping pace interspersed with pretty melodies and vocals that could pass for primal scream therapy. The Western Score is like one long peel-out from a desert roadhouse at sundown, the driver hopped up on power chords and heartache. When it’s over, you can’t adequately describe what happened, but you’re pretty sure you’ll never be the same.
Available at www.thepullmen.com.
D on Darox and the Melody Joy Bakers
Agonizing Sad Beauties
Was it Louis Armstrong who said the blues weren’t necessarily intended to be an expression of sadness, but rather a cure for it? In that spirit, Agonizing Sad Beauties is the perfect soundtrack for the new depression — the fiddle parts alone could replace a week’s worth of Prozac. Soulful, poignant and skillfully executed, this recording is at once nostalgic and refreshing. Imagine young Tom Waits cradling an accordion on Bourbon Street with a full band beside him and a fifth of whiskey at his feet. The band calls it dirty gypsy — indeed, it seems to leave a gritty residue on the listener. A sample of its well-crafted and memorable lyrics: “You pushed me up against the glass of the Nicholby’s thrift shop, which used to be an antique store and before that it was another thrift shop, and you smiled a smile that you don’t hand out too often.”
Available at reverbnation.com/dondaroxandthemelodyjoybakersband.
Dan Grimm Band
When you merge So Cal beach culture with blues-based folk, you end up with some dirt between the toes and happiness between the ears; or what Dan Grimm likes to call “flip-floppytonk.” The general vibe of Corvus Crow is lazy danger. The groove is languid, rocking-chair-on-the-front-porch-with-an-ocean/mountain-view blues, but next to the open guitar case is a loaded shotgun. Among Grimm’s cache of weapons are guitar demigod Jonathan McEuen and a handful of Ojai’s other finest, including Bruce Kimmell, Rick O’Shay and Jesse Siebenberg. Take the eeriness of Robin Trower and the likability of Tom Petty with the sparkle of Mark Knopfler and, well, you get the idea. A great little record by a stalwart local artist whom we’ve been watching for some time.
Available on iTunes. Dan Grimm will be performing on Friday March 2, 6:30 p.m. at Bell Arts Factory and Sunday March 11 at Zoey’s for the MB Hanrahan fundraiser.