Review Round Up #14

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Casey Brandt's "The Day I Marry The Sea," Kevin Regan's "If You Only Knew," Jeff's "Castle Storm," The Pomonas' "When You're Electric," and Tom Leach's "7 Song Tape/Thank You For The Coffee."

The Day I Marry The Sea

Casey Brandt
“The Day I Marry The Sea”
(Mungler Winslowe 2006)

There is always a healthy mix of punk and folk in Casey Brandt's music and "The Day I Marry The Sea" is no different. Brandt's straight-forward and understated style matches twangy acoustic guitar riffs with outspoken lyrics for a startlingly honest result. His seventh release for his own Munger Winslowe Records is edgy and a bit distant as it lures you in with hints of melodies and hooks.

Sounds Like: Minimalist punk rock meets folk

Key Tracks: "The Day I Marry The Sea," "Drink Away Your Freedom"

B
buy it!
If You Only Knew

Kevin Regan
“If You Only Knew”
(Self-Released 2007)

The debut EP from teenager Kevin Regan leaves something to be desired. With cheesy synths for background instrumentation, Regan tries to offer some power ballads and pop hits on "If You Only Knew." Regan's obviously got the creative itch and smooth melodies drive each of the EP's four songs. But the music comes across as forced. Chalk "If You Only Knew" up to experience and move on.

Sounds Like: Home brewed pop music wannabe

Key Tracks: none

D+
buy it!
Castle Storm

Jeff
“Castle Storm”
(Infinity Cat Recordings 2006)

Brothers and ex-Be Your Own Pet members Jake and Jamin Orrall started a pet project of their own and its name is Jeff. Like the band they were founding members of, "Castle Storm" has a flailing grunge meets noise rock sound that pays large debts to Sonic Youth. But patience is a must for "Castle Storm" as the songs see-saw between loud and soft, with intermittent hints of what the Orrall brothers were aiming.

Sounds Like: Noise rock with no rules and a twist of grunge

Key Tracks: "Steamship"

B-
buy it!
When You're Electric

Pomonas
“When You're Electric”
(Self-Released 2006)

Kansas' The Pomonas are really working their bass player overtime. Bass heavy riffs do more than simply add an underlying rhythm to each song on the band's "When You're Electric;" they add another voice. With an upbeat sound that is likable as it often offers a melodic guitar sound complemented by background vocal harmonies, The Pomonas are easygoing. But it is the band's final track, the Beach Boys influenced "Lightposts in Bloom" that shows that they were holding back and can do more.

Sounds Like: Bright and likable rock with a poppy edge

Key Tracks: "Lightposts in Bloom"

B
7 Song Tape/Thank You For The Coffee

Tom Leach
“7 Song Tape/Thank You For The Coffee”
(Self-Released 2006)

Tom Leach might be heavily rooted in the country style of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, but he has managed to work influences to some beloved folk singers, like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, into his music. Leach's "7 Song Tape/Thank You For The Coffee" is lo-fi country music that places the focus squarely on his expressive vocals as they are backed, generally, by acoustic guitar. The beauty of "7 Song Tape" lies in the simple and understated melodies and songwriting that Leach uses.

Sounds Like: Lo-fi country

Key Tracks: "Free of Heartache," "#04 (Go On Home)"

B+
buy it!