Review Round Up #61

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Two Sheds' "Two Sheds," Victor Bravo's "Sky Full of Messages," Various Artists' "Ten out of Tenn Volume 2," Mtley Cre's "Saints of Los Angeles," and Various Artists "New Arrivals: Volume 3."

Two Sheds

Two Sheds
“Two Sheds”
(Filter U.S. Recordings 2008)

Two Sheds have a light, rustic sound perfect for drinks at sunset on the front porch or easy nighttime car rides through country backwoods. In the driver's seat is singer Caitlin Gutenberger, cooing gently over drifting strains of acoustic guitar. Unassuming to a fault, the lazy pace comes across as a lack of ambition. It's no surprise that the best track on this EP is "WTF," the only time Two Sheds rise above a flatline-inducing pace.

Sounds Like: Laid-back, soulful folk

Key Tracks: "WTF?"

B-
Sky Full of Messages

Victor Bravo
“Sky Full of Messages”
(Self-Released 2008)

You certainly can't accuse Victor Bravo of overcomplicating their sound. "Sky Full of Messages" is seven songs worth of straightforward, raucous punk rock. Collin Daniels revels in belching out the same handful of lyrics per song, while blaring through noisy guitar chords. It sounds as if it was recorded in a basement in about three hours tops, but that's just how Victor Bravo likes it. And if you're into loud, dirty music, you might too.

Sounds Like: Skuzzy garage rock

Key Tracks: "Make the Escape"

C+
buy it!
Ten out of Tenn Volume 2

Various Artists
“Ten out of Tenn Volume 2”
(Ready Set Records 2008)

Even though all ten artists featured on this comp are from Nashville, don't expect any gun toting, dog and truck lovin' country music. Singer/songwriter pop-rock is the theme here, inflected with Music City flavor. Most of these songs are the overly earnest, plaintive odes to lovers that are tailor made for shows on the CW. The quality is fairly good across the board, though these artists are full of the wide-eyed optimism of musician that have yet to see their dreams ground into dust by the music industry.

Sounds Like: Indie rock by way of Nashville

Key Tracks: "Pony (Go On)," "All of the Things"

B
buy it!
Saints of Los Angeles

Mtley Cre
“Saints of Los Angeles”
(Mötley Records 2008)

Apparently, ten years of face lifts, reality shows, and sex tapes haven't catastrophically hampered the Crüe's ability to rawk. While this certainly isn't "Dr. Feelgood," it is the sharpest Mötley has been in a long, long time. "The Saints of Los Angeles" is pure cock-rock: sleazy, arrogant, and loud. The main flaw, though, isn't lack of focus, talent, or determination; it's that there aren't any of the truly anthemic, memorable songs that Mötley Crüe built their name on.

Sounds Like: Exactly what you’d expect a modern Crüe album to sound like

Key Tracks: "Saints of Los Angeles," "Welcome to the Machine"

B+
buy it!
New Arrivals: Volume 3

Various Artists
“New Arrivals: Volume 3”
(MPress Records 2008)

"New Arrivals: Volume 3" is part of the continuing effort of singer/songwriter Rachel Sage to shed light on unknown artists, while at the same time giving all of the proceeds to charity. Giving to a good cause is easier when the music doesn't suck, so Sage wisely picked an array of solid tracks. There are nineteen of them, so getting some stinkers in there is inevitable, but you won't need to hit the skip button too many times while exploring this diverse group of indie acts.

Sounds Like: Indie music of all stripes

Key Tracks: "Know When to Walk Away," "Nighttime in the City"

B
buy it!