Ladies and gentlemen, boils and ghouls . . . if Edward Scissorhands started a band with Robert Smith, it might sound something like Creature Feature. Inspired almost exclusively by cult horror films, a minor obsession for duo Curtis Rx and Eric X, The Greatest Show Unearthed is a bloody valentine to all things delightfully spooky. Conceptualized in a parallel universe of perpetual Halloween, Creature Feature’s gothic carnival ride consists of updated ’80s electro riffs and maniacal vocals with campy effects and guitar accompaniment. Though hardly noticed in Ventura, where they first emerged, Creature Feature has developed an impressive following elsewhere. They were featured in Rolling Stone magazine’s “What the Interns are Listening To,” and at one point they reached the No. 3 position on the MySpace electro chart.
Avalilable on iTunes at Hot Topic and most record stores.
You don’t hear too much straight-ahead rock these days, which is why the Semantics, though not particularly unique, are nonetheless refreshing. A solid song with heartfelt vocals, decent instrumentation and sweet guitar solos, “Run” gets better with each listen. Lyrically, one might expect a little more from a band called the Semantics, but they do a good job evoking male coming-of-age angst. On this and other songs, like “On the Line,” classic AOR arrangements and tempos feel like they could almost cross over into country. It may not be groundbreaking but it has its moments, and there’s definitely a place on the table for meat-and-potatoes rock. One imagines the Semantics pack a meaner punch on stage than on record, and that’s not a bad thing. See them Feb. 2, at the Beachcomber Tavern.
Available exclusively on MySpace.
Worst Kind of Way
A fixture on Ventura’s singer-songwriter scene for a few years, the baby-faced chanteuse with well-developed pipes has rightfully received a ton of press and numerous awards, including a MAVRIC. On this, her first full-length CD, Gibson showcases her vocal and songwriting range. From the Fiona Apple-ish, cabaret-style title song to the silly, spare “I Think I Might Be OCD” and the country-tinged “More Than Always,” Gibson covers a lot of ground, which, though impressive, may work against her in the long run. Sure, she has talent to spare, but casting such a wide net is unnecessary when her best stuff is so glaringly good: the “OCD” song, “Worst Kind of Way,” “Chicago” and “Champagne and Cyanide.” Gibson is Grey’s Anatomy-ready, she just needs to narrow her focus. See her Jan. 30, at Zoey’s Café.
Available on iTunes, MySpace and record stores everywhere.