Review Round Up #3

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Deas Vail's "All The Houses Look The Same," Grand Champeen's "Dial 'T' For This," Atlantic Manor's "All The Best Girls Have Winter Hearts," "His & Hers, Volume 1" and Hourly Radio's "History Will Never Hold Me."

All The Houses Look The Same

Deas Vail
“All The Houses Look The Same”
(Brave New World Records 2007)

The debut album from Deas Vail comes rushing out with a whisper. "All The Houses Look The Same" is an album of gentle and often falsetto vocals set to delicate and carefully orchestrated melodies. The church choir-like arrangements gives the emo meets indie Deas Vail a dreamy and understated sound that they rarely break out of.

Sounds Like: A softer, more thoughtful version of Kill Hannah without the soaring power pop choruses

Key Tracks: "Anything You Say"

B
buy it!
Dial 'T' For This

Grand Champeen
“Dial 'T' For This”
(In Music We Trust 2007)

With their classic rock influences clearly displayed throughout their fourth full-length release, Grand Champeen are all about rock 'n' roll. Claiming to have avoided any recording trickery while making "Dial 'T' For This," the Austin-based band keep rhythmic, upbeat rock coming with each track on their album. And while they might zigzag all over the place, incorporating horns one moment while piano is added to highlight melodies the next, Grand Champeen's mixed bag might seem confusing at first but in the end it all comes together and pulls you in.

Sounds Like: Multi-faceted rock that does a bit of it all, from melodic sing-alongs to edgier driving riffs

Key Tracks: "Nice Of You To"

B+
buy it!
All The Best Girls Have Winter Hearts

Atlantic Manor
“All The Best Girls Have Winter Hearts”
(Do Too/3950 Club Records 2007)

Atlantic Manor's lo-fi, DIY attitude comes across crystal clear on the band's eighth release, a fact of which the band is extremely proud. "All The Best Girls Have Winter Hearts" is an instrumentally driven EP that has no patience for those who just want to rush and get straight to the chorus. The lonesome sounding vocals add extra emotion to the slow, brooding songs that, aside from the misstep of a duet that is "Sadder Than You Seem," have a dark and sad appeal.

Sounds Like: Lonely lo-fi songs that slowly reveal themselves to you

Key Tracks: "Desperation"

B-
buy it!
His & Hers, Volume 1

His & Hers
“His & Hers, Volume 1”
(Thrive Records 2007)

One wouldn't think that Amanda Scheer Demme would need another outlet for her creativity - what with being a music supervisor for some of the most popular films and television shows in recent memory (like "Garden State" and "Mean Girls") as well as a self-appointed "lifestyle producer" with two popular clubs (The Tropicana and Teddy's). But Demme is collaborating with producer and DJ George Augusto on the "lifestyle compilation series" entitled "His & Hers." The first volume is full of "it" indie names like Daft Punk, Goldfrapp, Ryan Adam, The Sounds and others.

Sounds Like: Slick, sexy tunes to add atmosphere to your cocktail parties

Key Tracks: Ian Brown - "Corpses In Their Mouths," Ryan Adams - "Wonderwall"

A-
buy it!
History Will Never Hold Me

Hourly Radio
“History Will Never Hold Me”
(Kirtland Records 2006)

Mesmerizing you with their swirling melodies that hint at the sinister side of pop, The Hourly Radio's "History Will Never Hold Me" is an engaging and fascinating album. The tracks are full of quick rhythms to set your pulse racing and your toes bouncing. But The Hourly Radio also showcase depth with "Means to An End," an acoustic guitar led ballad, and the weighty instrumentation of "First Love is Forever."

Sounds Like: Sugar-coated rock with a touch of the mysterious

Key Tracks: "Crime Does Pay," "Not A Victim"

B+
buy it!