Bo’s Mini-Spins

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, Artist Feature,   From Issue 709   By: Robert 'Bo' White

12th August, 2010     0

Brett Mitchell-Falling Apart at The Seams

On his third disc Brett Mitchell comes out shooting from the hip with the help of genius pop-minister Andy Reed. Hallelujah. This duo is a match made in power pop Heaven.  With a heavy dose of Mitchell’s vision, Reed was able to fashion an irresistible collage of vaguely familiar sounds, brought to full sonic brilliance through his analog recording technique.  Reed was behind the board twisting the dials and bringing out the best performance from Mitchell’s already brilliant tenor.  Mitchell and Reed play all the instruments with astonishing results. Through a collective knowledge of harmony, melody and craft, Mitchell and Reed created an almost perfect disc. This disc ranks up close to some of the best works of the Raspberries, Big Star and Badfinger. Standout tracks include Falling Apart at the Seams, the Moog/Strawberry Fields vibe of Disappointing the Dancers, the raucous rocking Dead End Lover, and the good time Simon & Garfunkel influenced You Could Be My Hat.

The Ruiners – Happy Birthday Bitch

Led by monster guitar god Justin Ruiner, The Ruiners are on the standing on the edge of national recognition. They recently signed on with Chicago-based record label Pravda Records and released this hard rockin’ disc of instant garage punk classics.

The Ruiners play it fast and hard and take no prisoners. This is high energy screeching guitar party time music. The drums are out front pounding the insistent unforgiving beat. This is amphetamine fueled party time music with a get with it or get outta the way attitude.  The singer sounds like Reg Presley of the Troggs with a dose of George Thorogood. He snarls, barks and moans like he’s possessed by the spirit of Iggy Pop. 

The Ruiners have been around in various configurations for over ten years and they’ve never compromised their punk vision. They have toured extensively across the United States and Europe. They have paid the dues. Described as the most dangerous band in Detroit, The Ruiners instinctively know that any press is good press, especially in this business. They wear the mantel quite comfortably. They may have been banned from clubs, beat up and left bleeding but they’ve never been out for the count. Standout tracks include the title track Happy Birthday Bitch, Suburban Cop, and Beer Time.

Nick Piazza - Evolution

Piazza seemed to come out of the ether to create one of the most satisfying discs of the year. The lyrical themes go past the typical boy meets girl, love and breakup crud that gums up the airwaves.

Though Piazza can write introspective songs about personal experiences, he also reaches deeper into social issues such as war and poverty. He possesses a diverse musical vision that combines ballads and loves songs with reggae rhythms and straight up and in your face rock and roll. He walks the talk.

His smoky tenor stretches and soars above the music as a perfect match to the sounds produced by super-producer Andy Reed. In fact, Reed contributes expert lead guitar, bass, keys and percussion throughout the disc. Donny Brown of Verve Pipe fame provides the spectacular drumming. He’s right in the pocket whether snapping off time perfect riffs on the snare, pounding the toms or accentuating the feel with his economical cymbal play. Standout tracks include Last Night of Freedom, New World Order, Try and Meet You.

The Legend of Xero – Better Off

The Legend of Xero is the brainchild of Christian singer/rapper Jashae Slaughter. Slaughter is a fine singer with a tenor that recalls a younger Stevie Wonder with just a hint of Michael Jackson and he gets a little help from his friends Beacon of Light, Elohin, Crucified and Street Alert beats.

John D’ Agostino wrote and sang on the chorus of Salvation. Slaughter’s vision is all encompassing without borders of race and class that exclude and diminish his message. The music is created by samples and electronic beats along with an occasional acoustic guitar. The lyrical themes are based in Christian theology. The disc is an extended prayer of singing praise and rapping the gospel truth. Slaughter’s heart is pure and his aim is true.  He’s been on the other side and he gives clear counsel on avoiding the traps of coveting wealth and escaping through drugs, sex and violence.

A central Christian theme circles the disc as Slaughter reveals God’s love, proclaims His glory and seeks salvation. This is a message for any thoughtful person that has experienced spiritual longing. Standout tracks include Never Go Back, Salvation, Dreamin’ and a  powerful and perfectly executed The Master Plan.

“This is why we stay together” – Jashae Slaughter

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