ThislatestSchoolkids' Records release by Steven Springer, guitarist for the Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band, is an eclectic work of Caribbean music. Although most cuts are heavy on reggaecalypsolatin rhythms, each tune projects this feel in a different way . Some tunes are aggressive, searing, and groove-laden , while others are laidback, derivativo and pedestrian. This CD is almost two recordings in one. First there is Springer the ensemble player. He adds the tasty riffs and melodie lines to the rhythmic and percussive dominances of some marginal material. For nstance, Springer takes hotellounge tunes like "Mama Used to Say" and Islands in the Carribean," and tums them into good, passable numbers. Then there is Springer the soloist. His work on songs like "Lost in the Voodoo" and the excellent David Dean composition "Who Cares" is powerful and noteworthy - demonstrating a Santana-like control with a blistenng electric guitar wail. The result is a recording where we are not overwhelmed by Springers technical bnlliance but instead by his musicianship (although his work on Sonny Rollins'"Every where Calypso"and "Snakebus"beliesthis statement). This recording is recommended both to those who like exotic Carribean music and to debut-recordingconnoisseurs. Hopefully on subsequent releases Springer will find material that will let him stretch out and demónstrate the full range of his considerable talents. This recording merely whets our appetites and leaves us wanting more. whirlingRoad "whirlingRoad" Skillet Records Thisdemo CD by whirlingRoad is a great introduction to this very strong rockgroup. The band members are Ann Arborites Nick Hamilton (bass), Kevin Gill (vocals and guitar), Chris Peters (guitar and vocals), and Drew Peters (drums). The first three cuts of this fivecut CD - "Whispering the Words," "Die," and "Comes Down" - are neariy perfectrocktunes. Theproduction is solid, with a good, even balance between the guitars, drums and vocals. The playing is crisp and shows that these fellows have the chops to take on other styles of music besides rock. Kevin Gill's vocals are pa rticularly suited to this genre. They're powerful, clear, and precise, plus you can understand the ly nes. And, believe t or not, Gill sounds like a young Elvis - dominating yet with a little nervous vibrato. The last two tunes - "Linden Yours" and "Raglán" - are not as strong as the others. Although the performance here is more than competent, the mix is not quite clean and even. This EP, however, shows thatwhirlingRoad has the talent and versatility to handle othermusic styles besides Rock. I can hardly wait to see them live. The Melba "Medicine" Skillet Records The Melba is an Ann Arbor band comprised of James Baluyut on guitarvocals, Mark Dundon on bass, and Drew Peters on drums. This EP has two new cuts and one from their 1993 tape "Ropebum." On the whole, The Melba is a good garage-band. The vocals intonation drifts a little, the lyrics are incomprehensible (except on "Nineteenth Year") and the guitars are noisy and heavy on the feedback, but the tunes are a combination of catchy rock and power pop mixed with youthful angst-filled lyrics. This sets them a step ahead of many other Ann Arbor alternativo bands. With the proper production, they could be great. Ten High "Gimme One" Happy Hour Wendy Case (vocals, guitar) is the front person for this hard rock'n'roll group which consists of Wolfgang Diablo (organ), Sugar Bonaducci (bass), Maverick Montana (drums) and Smokey Links (lead guitar). This 45 rpm disc, recorded in Detroit, consists of "Gimme One" (side one) and "Bom to Make You Cry" (side two). "Gimme One" showcases Case's powerful alto voice. The sound of this tune is veryearly'70s with great power chords, a nice subdued organ riff, and an anthem-like refrain - "gimme one." Kim Foley's "(I Was) Bom to Make You Cry" has excellent hardrock-mass appeal. It is noisy, energetic and fun, yet angry and rebellious. Although there is a tendency for this type of music to be pigeonholed as youth music, this record clearly demonstrates a mastery of rock'n'roll, a genre which is at the heart of much of poularmusic. Nowlet'shaveafulllength CD. We and Ten High deserve more.
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