Monday, August 28, 2006

Press Release Rock

There's so much new music competing for listeners' attention that even this humble blog receives emails offering promo copies of new CD's. I recently accepted a few of these offers, and thus I was sent an EP by New York band the Compulsions. One quote stood out from their press release. The Compulsions singer and songwriter, Rob Carlyle, said, "Originality is not nearly as important as authenticity." I think there's an argument to be made for the opposite; and one might say just as convincingly that both are equally important for any art form to remain vital.

If authenticity trumps originality, then what would be more authentic than a tribute band? And what if the artists you are emulating are themselves derivative of earlier influences? The Compulsions claim the Stones, Guns & Roses and the NY Dolls as influences. Here's an overly simplistic musical genealogy: the blues begat Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry, who begat the Stones and the Yardbirds, who begat metal bands from Aerosmith to Zeppelin, who begat Guns & Roses. Which of these artists is most authentic? Taken to the logical extreme, authenticity would begin with the field hollers and work songs that evolved into the blues. Or you could seek the beginnings of human song.

Nothing against the Compulsions, who perform original songs in a familiar but convincing style: swaggering, raunchy hard rock. They have a particularly talented lead guitarist in John Andrews. It's great to hear some well-played electric slide guitar! Four of the tracks from their EP are streaming here.

The other promo offer I accepted was for Scott H. Biram's album, Graveyard Shift. The longer I listen to it, the more I disagree with the reviewer who pegged Mojo Nixon and Horton Heat as influences. Biram is no clown, and his songs explore the territory where the blues, country, and gospel overlap: the music of black folks and white folks in the rural South. These influences are evident in his lyrics, too, where he dwells on the conflicts between man's spiritual and carnal desires: the opposing forces of salvation and sin that have concerned artists from Robert Johnson to Hank Williams Sr., Gram Parsons, and Prince. Scott Biram performs as a one man band, accompanying his raw vocals and bluesy guitar with the rhythm of his feet stomping on the floor. It actually sounds more like a Fat Possum release than something on the Bloodshot label. I'd say he's both original and authentic. And I'm giving away a copy of his latest, Graveyard Shift, along with the new album by the Meat Purveyors. Details of the giveaway are here.

Scott H. Biram: Been Down Too Long


At 9/07/2006 4:00 PM , Anonymous Chris said...

Is Underneathica UnderTheWeatherca? What is wrong blog boy? Not a very prolific blogger you.

At 9/11/2006 12:10 PM , Anonymous piehammer said...


What he said.

At 9/12/2006 9:41 AM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

Heard ya missed me, well I'm back! I have to compete with the wife and kids for time on the PC. Seemed like whenever I could get logged on, there were problems either with Blogger or FileLodge.

At 10/15/2006 7:09 PM , Blogger Pick 3 Turbo Player said...

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