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ALBUM CAPSULES by Mark E. Waterbury

by Mark E. Waterbury

Daemon Records Label Manager Andrea White

indie and national artists CD Reviews

compiled by Sandy Serge

the latest and greatest music industry products and services

Xcarnation - Grounded
Muse-Wrapped Records
Highly respected Turkish guitarist/vocalist Cenk Eroglu has created an intense debut, injecting his talents into various incarnations of futuristic modern rock with a few choice wafts of prog and World. Think of the electronic based throb of Marilyn Manson and NineInchNails, twisted with the snarling rock power of Velvet Revolver and a subtle inflection of Waters era Floyd. Enlisting some collaborative assistance from notable U.S. musicians including Kip Winger, Pat Mastelotto, Rod Morgenstein and Reb Beach, Cenks prowess in songwriting, vocals, and multi-instrumentations bursts forth like a supernova, augmented by thought-provoking lyrics. The feverish rock pulse of Personal Antichrist, powerful soul grasping ballad Without You, and the Mid-Eastern tinged synth pop of Lucky Day are just a few examples of why this is an imaginative modern rock force to look out for. URL:


Elisa Korenne - Favorite
With the recent glut of female singer/songwriters, you need something special to stand out. Brooklyns Elisa Korenne may have found that formula, combining the soulfulness of Tori Amos, the gritty pop sensibility of Sheryl Crowe and her own distinct personality. Listen to the bluesy rocker Marrow and then the heart rending Gaelic tinted Instead and you get an idea. Wonderfully emotive vocals and stunning songcrafting both lyrically and musically strengthen the appeal. URL: E-mail:



Marshall Star - Uncontrollable
Furry Records - KCF114
Imagine the Eurythmics with a more modern pop slant but a healthy respect for doing something distinctive and you will begin to understand this British act. Trippy psychedelic passages and pulsing backdrop beats fuel the intense vocals that do smack of Annie Lenox. There is a slight tug of pop sensibility here, but the atmospheric instrumentation and prominence given to the vocals in the mixing really inject life into this cutting edge effort. URL: E-mail:


Scott Berendt - Dont Look Back
Drummer for Midwest music icons Bad Boy and US Project, Scott Berendt proves to have a deep well of songwriting talent with this debut solo album. Also possessing a surprisingly soulful voice, Scotts music toys with the jazzier edges of adult contemporary rock. The breezy rocker Will You, emotive folk edged Cold Dark Nights and the frenetic funk grove of Tomorrow are real stand-outs. A slick combination of music that is both fun and mind stimulating. URL: E-mail:



Taylor Roberts - This Weather
Taylor Roberts has an interesting and enjoyable perspective on folk music. Along with his robust deep timbered voice, Taylor adds untraditional folk instrumentation including exotic percussion and violin into the acoustic guitar fueled musical backdrop. Elements of various other styles slide in delectably, from the island feel in I Am The One to the flamenco flourishes of Crush and unplugged prog rocking In The End. A highly fresh slant on acoustic music.





Johnny Neel- Gun Metal Blue
Breakin Records
Former member of Dickie Betts band as well as a member of the Allman Brothers lineup that produced Good Clean Fun, Johnny Neels veteran songwriting abilities and musical talents shine on his latest solo effort. With a voice that does sound a bit like a deeper resonating Greg Allman, Johnny infuses his soul into his words, enhancing them with good ole Southern fried blues rock. The nasty boogie of I Found It and home spun power ballad Carolina are two stand outs. URL: E-mail:



Rachel Garlin - Big Blue Sky
Tactile Records - RG-CD-3
Based in Berkeley, California, Rachel Garlin is a reminder of a time when the college town was the capital of poignant folk musicians. If a song like the sweetly melancholy October doesnt tug at your soul, check to see if you still have a pulse. Instead of singing everything the same way - a mistake many singer/songwriters make, Rachel mirrors the emotions of her lyrics with her vocal portrayals. Stripped down but complimentary instrumentation lends further strength to the songs. URL: E-mail:



G3 Rap - Still Groovin
Inner City Music Groove
A veteran musician in the Detroit music scene, G3 a.k.a. Mario Gordons debut rap CD leans more in the retro direction, while keeping a modern slant dealing with present day street based subjects. Not as profane as some rap but nonetheless lyrically topical and penetrating, G3 was obviously weaned on the old guard like Ice-T and Eric B. & Rakim. Backed with more modern beats laced with a touch of his R&B roots, this is the type of rap that needs to make a comeback. URL: E-mail:




Chris Katris - Songs From The Basement Vol. IV
The fourth effort by songwriter, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist Chris Katris shows that he has a rather large bag of talent tricks to pull from. Retro yet modern funk is displayed in Nice Try, while Lets Play Charades melds a Beatles influence with that of more modern Brit pop rockers. Then out of nowhere The Land Of Gold knocks you out with its hillbilly stomp and sardonic lyrics. Another solid and pleasing effort from a DIY guy you just have to respect. URL: E-mail:




The Rusticators - Talking With the Dead
Southern California folk duo composed of Chris Amsler and Abbey Linfert create a retro stew that has enough modern Americana ingredients to seriously spice up the dish. You can feel the effects of the Carpenters or the Mamas and the Poppas, but also Sarah Vaughan and Rodney Crowell. The vocal feelings range from haunting to impassioned, joyful to sorrowful, emulating the topical lyrical subjects. The acoustic backdrop is superb and embellishing. URL: E-mail:



Drayton Michaels - Low Stress In the Deep End
K9 Son Records
Drayton Michaels voice is the first aspect you notice on the debut from this New Yorker transplanted to Seattle. He procures a subtle depth that doesnt drive itself into you, but lets you immerse yourself in the enthralling timbre. You can let yourself into the music, featuring intellectual lyrics and well crafted songs. Sticking with a mostly acoustic feel ranging from mellow folksy ballad to lightly plugged alt rock, Drayton has created easygoing but delicately intense music. URL: E-mail:



Ken Kaufman - Seasons of Tranquility
Relax With Swan - RWS-0672-2
Emmy award winner Ken Kaufmans main ideal is to create music that is soothing and relaxing, leading you to unwind from whatever stress you may have experienced. Seasons of Tranquility accomplishes that and more, as it also offers a stunningly beautiful montage of new age and World keyboard, flute and string arrangements. So this music will relax you, but it will more than likely put you into a relaxing, meditative state rather than lulling you to sleep. URL: E-mail:



Versailles - Believe
Evileye Records
If you put Coldplay, Evanescence and maybe a touch of Depeche Mode in a blender, it would come out sounding like this L.A. trio. This four song glimpse at their upcoming second release combines graceful and ethereal keyboard melodies with a more tempered but still potent guitar attack. This is a more than adequate vehicle for Versailles breathless vocals that simmer with a sultry ardor, while retaining a touch of painful innocence. Keep an eye out for this trio. URL: E-mail:




Thomas Truax - Audio Addiction
Psycho Teddy - PT-1009
New Yorks Thomas Truax is an innovator in several avenues. First, he invented a unique device to sing into called the Hornicator. Second, he uses the Hornicator to full effect, producing vocals that sound like a cross of Bowie and David Byrne. Third, he creates music that is wondrously bizarre, combining everything from jazz to acoustic punk, from various world beats to twisted alt folk. Deliciously creative and refreshing music. URL: E-mail:



The Michael David Project - self titled
Rouge Records
A gutsy Heartland feel with plenty of intricate guitar plucking mated with crunchy cords set the theme for The Michael David Projects particular brand of alt rock. Unique vocalizations by Michael balanced with harmonic chorus, and the whole machine is driven by a rock solid rhythm tandem. Strong songs include the mushrooming grove of Vocal Graffiti, the vibrant folk blues of Cancun Grain and the grungy power ballad Sender. URL: E-mail:


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Copyright 2005 by Music Morsels,
a Serge Entertainment Publication.
Editor: Sandy Serge
Contributing Columnists/Writers:
Mark E. Waterbury, Scott Turner