Review Round Up #33

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Minipop's "A New Hope," ASG's "Win Us Over," Copeland's "Dressed Up & In Line," Watts' "One Below The All Time Low," and Tyler Ramsey's "A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea."

New Hope

Minipop
“New Hope”
(Take Root Records 2007)

Damn Minipop! They know exactly what they are doing. First they pique interests with their soft but still engaging indie rock sound. Then, once they have gotten your attention, they reel you in with dreamy melodies and delicate, echoing vocals that are just this side of pop. It is a cruel formula that works all too well on their debut album, "A New Hope." Sweet and graceful with a hint of added intensity, Minipop make it impossible to not like them.

Sounds Like: An indie rock music box of soft pop melodies

Key Tracks: "Generator," "Butterflies"

B
buy it!
Win Us Over

ASG
“Win Us Over”
(Volcom Entertainment 2008)

ASG challenge fans on their newest album "Win Us Over." The North Carolina band contrast thick stoner riffs with overly clean melodic vocals on their fourth full-length release. It is a combination that takes away from the band's heaviness but their instrumentation, which constantly chugs and churns, keeps listeners head banging and playing air guitar along while singer and guitarist Jason Shi keeps things edgy with some occasional screaming.

Sounds Like: Stoner and hard rock with a punk edge

Key Tracks: "Low End Insight"

B+
buy it!
Dressed Up & In Line

Copeland
“Dressed Up & In Line”
(The Militia Group 2007)

Put too many ballads and slow tunes together and you could quickly find yourself unintentionally creating an album of lullabies. But somehow Copeland manage to highlight their strength for creating gentle melodies on "Dressed Up & In Line," a seven year retrospective, as the album focuses on ballads with a few up tempo tunes tacked on the end almost as an afterthought. Included in the collection are rarities and unreleased tracks including an updated take on The Police's "Every Breath You Take" and a cover of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" that strips away some of the song's inherent creepiness.

Sounds Like: A melodic indie rock retrospective tailored to Copeland fans

Key Tracks: "Chin Up," "Black Hole Sun"

B+
buy it!
One Below The All Time Low

Watts
“One Below The All Time Low”
(Self-Released 2007)

With odes to girls, the demise of punk and having a good time, Boston band Watts are pure rock 'n' roll from their lyrics to their blistering guitar riffs. These guys are pulling no punches and playing no tricks as they deliver up tempo feel good rock tunes. While the vocals on "One Below The All Time Low" may leave something to be desired, you know that Watts just do not care. They are too busy rocking.

Sounds Like: Straight-up rock ā€˜nā€™ roll

Key Tracks: "20 to 12"

C+
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A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea

Tyler Ramsey
“A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea”
(Echo Mountain Records 2008)

Tyler Ramsey is a gifted guitar player who makes his acoustic instrument sing with beautiful and often familiar melodies. But Ramsey is about more than just country melodies as he hints ever so slightly at a heavier side. Occasionally solid drums kick in and build the rhythm and intensity as a contrasting sound on the soft tunes. But Ramsey makes his rambling guitar-led instrumentals, which pop up from time to time, the gems hidden within the album as he lets himself take have some real fun.

Sounds Like: Acoustic guitar led alt folk/country

Key Tracks: "Chinese New Year," "These Days"

B+
buy it!