Wednesday 30 Jul
CD reviews

Power Pyramid - The God Drums

Power Pyramid doesn’t have much patience for nonsense. That appears to be the takeaway from the Oklahoma City quintet’s last 10 months, which brought The God Drums in September, the Insomnia EP in January and its latest, self-titled effort in July.

07/29/2014 | Comments 0

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Wonderful 'Wondervisions'

By Stephen Carradini November 12th, 2010
If the emergence of two bands signals the start of something bigger, I'm really excited about the move toward playful prog rock. I've always hated the stuffy certainty and seriousness of the music that most technically astute musicians create. Giddy guitar heroes Fang Island kicked off the sound, and recently tapped sonic brethren Delicate Steve to be their support on their current tour.

Delicate Steve's debut album, "Wondervisions," is probably the only prog album I've ever heard that I wish were longer. In addition to the austere music, the unwieldy length of most tunes turned me off to prog. Delicate Steve, also known as Steve Marion, doesn't have that problem. The guitar wizard knocks down 11 instrumental tracks in 29 minutes. Four of them are intros or interludes, leaving seven full tunes here for your smile-inducing enjoyment.

And boy, are these tunes enthusiastic. Delicate Steve prefers major keys and exuberant melodies. Standout track "Don't Get Stuck (Proud Elephants)" pairs a twinkling keys with a twangy acoustic guitar run through a mess of pedals, creating an incredibly bright and unusual sound. On highlight "Butterfly," Marion stacks guitar tracks like he's building a skyscraper, resulting in a complex but not esoteric tune that ebbs and flows into a towering conclusion. The payoff is the recurring guitar theme backed by a massive chord riff that follows the pedigree of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Bright Eyes' "Road to Joy" in high-drama entrances.

It is incredibly clear that Delicate Steve has massive songwriting skill, and that positive creates the only frustration with this album. At 29 minutes and seven full songs, it feels like he's holding back a bit. "Flyin' High" fades out at its apex, "Z Expression" leads the listener to believe something is coming that never arrives, and each of the four mini-tracks seem to foreshadow something.  

Delicate Steve has only given us a taste of what he can do. It's a brilliant strategy, if that's what it is; dropping "Butterfly," "Don't Get Stuck" and "The Ballad of Speck and Pebble" on listeners creates the desire for more Delicate Steve, which Delicate Steve promises ... later. I thought cliffhangers were only for the video segment of our audio/visual entertainment.

"Wondervisions" is a great CD, featuring piles of ideas, unique riffs and an overall positive attitude. It establishes that Delicate Steve has the technical chops and the songwriting skill to make a name very quickly on the indie-rock scene. Here's to hoping he's prolific, so we get more of this excellent music ASAP.

As for "Wondervisions," you'll have to wait till Feb. 1, 2011, but you can check out some tunes from the album at his MySpace now.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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