Special to the Register
Friday, April 8, 2005
By ROBERT KINSLER
Special to the Register
In the wake of
the momentum provided by the fourth annual Orange County Music Awards last weekend
at the Grove of Anaheim, there are countless new CDs that celebrate the local
music scene - notably a new compilation disc that is bold enough to feature the
O.C. moniker in the title itself.
Various Artists, "Orange County's Real
Alternative" (FOAM) - Drawing tracks from some of Orange County's most talented
power-pop, punk and modern-rock artists, San Diego-based FOAM (Future of Alternative
Music) has issued a collection filled with some of Orange County's best talent.
song selection is a smart and accessible introduction to the region's far-flung
sonic pool, but chances are, most listeners will like a good portion of the proceedings.
Highlights include Beyond 7's inspiring "Light of Day," Two Million
Minutes' driving "I Wanna Be Romeo" and the thrilling post-punk of Mind
Driver's "December Daze."
Modern rockers Halfwayhome and folk-rock
tunesmith Maya Marin also deliver memorable entries on a disc sure to please fans
of modern rock. Information: www.foamcd.com.
You might like if you enjoy:
"Of Hands and Hearts: Music for the Tsunami Disaster Fund," discs by
any of the artists on "Orange County's Real Alternative."
"Vale" (independent) - With the exception of the Cure and the Church,
Ican't recall hearing a band that mixes up driving guitar, reverb-drenched vocals
and a haunting aura as well as local underground heroes Vale. Formed in fall 2003,
the band - with singer-guitarist Dave Johnson, lead guitarist Dillon Fuller, drummer-programmer
Robert Vogel and bassist Brian Fritz - has somehow fused the goth-rock instincts
of Bauhaus with the indie rock of Snow Patrol.
From the accessible "Lifeless"
to the forceful "Seasick," this is music for dancing, dreaming and listening.
Based on the strength of the six songs on Vale's self-titled debut, I can't believe
the world won't be hearing more from the masterful quartet. And that can only
be a good thing. Information: www.valeband.com.
You might like if you
enjoy: the Cure, Interpol, Snow Patrol's "Final Straw."
Johnson, "View From My Room" (Chaortic Music) -Blending alt-country,
pop and folk with an ease that defies cliché, singer-songwriter Charlene Johnson's
"View From My Room" is a 10-song disc that richly explores love, loss
and anger in lyrical and musical layers almost as large as life itself. Whether
dealing with self-doubt and insecurity (the intoxicating "Invisible")
or the renewal of the human spirit ("Blossom"), Johnson and her husband,
guitarist-songwriter Greg Johnson, have written an array of songs that delve deep
into the human spirit and reveal their forceful themes and secrets with each successive
In addition to the Garden Grove-based Johnsons, the lineup
of skilled players on the CD includes vocalists Kerry Getz, Steve Carson and Marnie
Ann, dobro player Don Reed, guitarist Randy Rusk, pianist Carol Roman, bassist
John Bazz (the Blasters) and drummer Jon Mattox (Young Dubliners). Produced and
engineered by Paul Stebner at Stack Boy Studios in Tustin, "View From My
Room" provides an accurate look into all of our worlds.
You might like if you enjoy: Sixpence None
the Richer, Shawn Colvin
Obsolete Heart, "Taxidermy" (Heirloom
Records) - Looks are deceiving. And in the case of Obsolete Heart, so is listening.
While the trio's dozen-song collection "Taxidermy" has a raw and sparse
approach, the songs soar behind the powerful delivery of guitarist Sean, bassist
Mike and drummer Brittney. Whether blistering through "Southern Belle"
or delivering the tender minute-long "Lullaby,"
is a band that mixes furious and melodic rock colors with authentic vocals that
recall the approach of early Nirvana and Dinosaur Jr. Obsolete Heart will perform
a free show at the LAB anti-mall, 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, on May 4. Information:
You might like if you enjoy: Dinosaur Jr., Pixies, Minutemen,
Robert Kinsler has written about music for the Register since 1992.
2005 The Orange County Register