Friday, March 26, 2010
THIS ALBUM KILLS CANCER REVIEW
TAKEN FROM JERSEYBEAT.COM
Indie Musicians Rally To Benefit Shayne Miel, lead singer of The Future Kings Of Nowhere, fighting cancer without medical insurance.
VARIOUS – This Album Kills Cancer (blowupradio.tripod.com/shayne.html)
When our good friend Lazlo heard about the plight of Shayne Miel, the lead singer of The Future Kings of Nowhere, who is battling cancer without adequate medical insurance, he sprang into action: Lazlo used his resources as the guru of BlowUpRadio.com to help put together this benefit compilation; but much to his surprise, his idea for an album exploded into a 3-disc collection of top-rate folk, pop, and indie rock from musicians from both New Jersey and across the country. Shayne himself fittingly kicks things off with an acoustic rendering of The Future Kings' "Let's Be Pirates," a rollicking fun pop tune that inspires the rogue in all of us. Next, a big huzzah to Scruff and his band The Tea & Whiskey, who perform what I believe is the only original specifically written for this compilation, "Pray For Shayne." A rallying cry not just for Shayne but for the rights of musicians everywhere, this instant folk/punk classic rallies our passions and rails against the injustices of our healthcare system. Lazlo scores a major coup next with a contribution from none other than The English Beat, who contribute a live version of their "Dem Call It Ska." Other highlights of Disc 1 include the indie rock kick of Red Flag Fleet's "Quotidian Oblivion," The Winter Sounds' melodic, REM-esque "Bird On Fire," the romantic angst of Fairmont's "Oh Your Bitter Heart," Rich Conroy contributing an acoustic version of Grover Kent's sentimental (yet funny) "Running Out Of Ramones," the late, great New Brunswick folk/punk group Cropduster with "Giving It All Away," and Asbury Park singer/songwriter Rick Barry's passionate "Audrey There You Are." Teenager Kaitlyn Raido showcases her ukelele skills and lovely vocal on "Hating You," North Carolina's The Good Graces chime in with the indie-pop "Pepper," and the ageless NJ pop combo The Cucumbers provide a rocking high point with the rollicking, funny "The Boss' Song." There's more here too, a total of 21 quality tracks just on Disc 1. - Jim Testa
This is the second of the three-disc set to assist musician Shayne Miel with the cost of his cancer treatments. 100% of the money raised will go to this worthy effort. And so many bands and performers signed up to contribute that the project rapidly expanded to a three-disc set! That says a lot about the NJ/NY music scene. Disc 2 contains 22 tracks of primarily acoustic, contemplative tunes, some with a bit of alt-county twang, others sounding more like singer-songwriter fare. The disc starts with DREW & THE MEDICINAL PEN (www.myspace.com/drewandthemedicinalpen) with “Baking in the Sun,” a toe-tappin’ country-tinged track. Next up is JOHN RAIDO & FRIENDS (www.johnraido.com) with “I Don’t Mind,” an easy relaxin’ kind of song, with harmonica, acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, and tuba. This makes for a good ‘ole down-home feel. The vocals sounding a little gruff, sort of like Tom Waits fits right in. BRUCE PIEPHOFF (www.brucepiephoff.com) offers up “Rosalita,” another acoustic track with guitar, violin, and harmonica. It’s just beautiful, full of memories of better times. HEY TIGER (www.heytigerband.com) is next with “Say Nothing,” another quiet, reflective acoustic track. There’s just acoustic guitar and a male-female vocal duo, very understated, very soulful. CHRISTIAN BEACH (www.christianbeach.net) contributes “Baby’s Back In Town,” an acoustic, yet edgy track with guitar and vocals that pretty much soar and glide, dive and climb. PETE JAGER’s (www.myspace.com/petejager ) “Day and Night” reminds me of a cross between Flogging Molly and some of Chicago’s great punk bands like the Bhopal Stiffs (acoustic version). I an imagine this track either being done with full-on wall-o-guitar punk sound or with traditional Irish arrangement – both would work. THE RAVING KNAVES (www.myspace.com/theravingknaves) give us the first real rock’n’roll track of this disc, with “Black & White World,” a punky, lo-fi track. It would have been nice if this one was a little quicker tempo and had better production quality, but it’s a pretty solid garage punk sound. THE HESHERS (www.myspace.com/theheshers) provide another electric blast of pop-punk with “Cloud.” OK, now I need to be very careful here, because the next contributor is none other than our fearless editor, JIM TESTA & the W.E. FESTERS (www.myspace.com/jimtesta) . “The W.E. Fest Song” is an alt-country-punk song, with acoustic and electric guitar, plenty of twang, shouted chorus back-up singers, electronics, and everything you always wanted to know about W.E. Fest. JONATHAN ANDREW (www.purevolume.com/jonandrew) is next with a depressing live track, “I Am No Longer Important To You.” This one brings things back to full acoustic mode, and has an angry edge to it, even with just acoustic guitar and vocals. The lyrics are brilliant, yet very troubling, begging the question, what did you do to this person you’re addressing to so thoroughly trash your relationship? KEITH MONACCHIO (www.myspace.com/keithmonacchio) gives us “Dynamite,” a track we can all relate to. It’s about a guy whose mother is trying to fix him up with a woman she knows, but he has some specific things he’s looking for in a woman. He’s looking for a woman with guts, gumption, someone who backs him up, someone who’s courageous and romantic. He finally gets a date, and tries to keep it quiet, but mom finds out and quizzes him incessantly about her. Of course, mom only wants the best for her son, wants him to be happy. MATT COLLIGAN (www.myspace.com/mattcolligan) is next, with “A New Day.” More simple, singer-songwriter fare with just acoustic guitar and voals. POSSUM JENKINS (www.possumjenkinsband.com) provides the most in-your-face country track of the disc, “Burn These Leaves.” Loads of twang and a bluesy roots feel make this much better than your average country tune. JASON DIDNER (www.jasondidner.com) gives us a light, bright, sparkly pop tune in “Salt and Sand.” It’s a very optimistic one, describing how the salt and sand on this icy highway will become the salt and sand on a sunny beach. Quite a nice sentiment. BRETT HARRIS’ (www.brettharrismusic.com) “Perpetual Motion” has almost a retro 80s feel to it, sort of like a slowed down disco tune when it hits to the chorus. THE BREAK EVENS (www.thebreakevens.com) are next, with their demo recording of “Crime Spree,” a reasonably solid indie-pop track with a dark lyrical content about the glories of a life of crime. RIK MERCALDI (www.rikmercaldi.com) comes up with “Sliding,” an almost dirge-like track, full of emotion, featuring mandolin as the lead instrument (other than the wailing vocals). “It’s a Shame” is another alt-country track, and indie feeling song with plenty of twang, served up by JOE WHYTE (www.myspace.com/joewhyte.) THE WIGG REPORT’s (www.olivejuicemusic.com/thewiggreport.html) “Good Times” is a bit jazzy, due to use of saxophone, though is mostly a driving rock track. JON CASPI (www.JonCaspi.com) provides “Smile (Song for My Son),” a rocking track about how Jon’s son sees the world and how it makes him smile. “Jersey Blues” is the contribution from COLIE BRICE (www.coliebrice.com), and is a basic blues-rock track, a little muddy in production, but with plenty of soul. Disc 2 closes out with TONY TEDESCO’s (www.myspace.com/tonytedesco) presentation of “Shine On,” an easy acoustic indie-pop tune. So, not only is this an enjoyable listen, it’s a really worthy cause. Please do take a few moments of your time and visit http://blowupradio.tripod.com/shayne.html and purchase this compilation. You get hours and hours of good music and help contribute to Shayne’s healing. – Paul Silver
The indie rock world came together recently to assist the battle of a comrade. Shayne Miel, leader of North Carolina’s The Future Kings of Nowhere, was stricken with stage IV lymphoma in November of 2009. This Album Kills Cancer features fifty-four original pieces of music and every cent of the money generated by the sale of this record benefits Mr. Miel’s health care. What makes this such a remarkable record is not just the impetus for its being, but the quality of material found within. Over the course of the fifty-plus tracks, listeners are treated to metal, punk, folk, and any form of indie rock one can imagine. I am fortunate enough to have disc three in front of me, and it is a wondrous collection of eleven varied styles from gifted performers. An additional treat for me is the fact that I have either never heard or know very little about the artists here. The giant rock sound of “Unabomber Blues” from Montagna and the Mouth to Mouth begins the disc uproariously and I am anxiously waiting what will follow. What does follow is a multitude of genres, from the Joy Division style darkness of “Hiding in the Woods” from The Bronzed Chorus, to the straight ahead pop rock good ness that is The Lawn Darts (“Tell Me Why”) and the Successful Failures (“Sinkhole” - my favorite tune of the bunch). The disc seems to become more emotionally charged as the music becomes more subdued. The poignant “Music Only We Can Hear” is a love song of staggering beauty performed solely with the vocals of Julian Peterson, while the dreamy pop of Mimi Cross’ “Nitelite” is majestically serene. Kristen Leigh’s “Stouffer Chemical Company” and The Wag’s “Setting Sun” are warm, folksy, acoustic pieces that only reassert the dizzying array of talent compiled here. This is clearly a wonderful tribute to Shayne Miel and a larger example of the power of music. Buy this for the purposes of helping a man defeat cancer and treat yourself to incredible artists as well. - Rich Quinlan