Last month we looked at bands from a limited number of genres, ranging from Hardcore and Metal to Indie. This month we shall look to discover some music of a wider background. The bands last month, Titans Eve, Hyperion, Coax Rhino, Victor Gann, and Mutant Culture were, I hope, well received. Judging by the increase in each band's play count, UG is still able to relate to this column. I'll be taking any suggestions or advice seriously, so do get in touch with me. I get a lot of mail, so if I don't reply the first time you write, keep writing! You'll hear from me soon enough!One Ton Tomatoes is powered by vocalist and guitarist, Mike Mazzotta, bass guitarist Ej Rosentel, and drummer Jeremy Anthony. A good three-piece band is something I've always liked, and One Tomatoes don't fail to disappoint with their brand of American Rock. One Ton Tomatoes sounds redolent of Nickelback, but are fortunately not their formulaic siblings. If Nickelback isn't to your liking, don't worry about that. There is more than enough to this band to ignite your interest. In their lyrics Ton Tomatoes explores such topics as drug addiction, suicide, and the doubting of one's faith. Michael Mazzotta is a man of passion, and he channels it through his music. Just listen to Geraldine, a song relating to the tragic suicide of his mother, an event brought about by a morphine overdose. This band has a story, and although the band's name may or may not mean anything serious, the subject matter and delivery of these songs is more than serious. You can find One Ton Tomatoes in New York, and maybe they'll find you too! Listen to Geraldine and Got Your Way, the latter being an upbeat track with a nice staccato guitar rhythm that goes a long way to proving that when it comes to music, less is sometimes more. It's a fantastic song worthy of airplay.Surface Below is a Danish band with pop-friendly melodies and Jazz sensibilities. In Joan Westgate Jensen this band has a voice to melt butter. She brings a gliding quality to these songs, and although the band's quality wouldn't necessarily be less than average, but the band wouldn't be quite the same. Vocal quality aside, the musical capabilities on show here are not to be neglected or overlooked.
The thing I always find with jazz is that it sound so easy to reproduce, but in reality the difficulty of the genre is to have that very quality. So much credit must go to Ismir Mulalic (guitar), Janus Steen Moller (bass), and Chris Perkins (drums) for providing the quality behind the voice. Just listen to the guitar solo on Surface Below (the song).
Distance in Your Eyes is the first song I listened to, and fortunately it isn't the only one of quality. Given, the recording sounds slightly amateur at times, but I was warned that this is just a demo, and for a demo this is more than decent. Surface Below, the band's self-titled song is a track with a twist, perhaps even the horror equivalent of what psychobilly is to rockabilly! Included in the band's influences are artists such as John Legend and Erykah Badu.I'm not yet sure if Painted Soul sounds too much like their idols, or if I'm just being hyper-sensitive to originality. Aaron Berry is bordering upon sounding a little too much like Robert Plant, but I like Painted Soul's style enough to overlook their obvious inspirations and influences, which they wear on their sleeves. In any case, Swing is a fantastic classic rock song, with a guitar tone so full of fuzz that Hendrix would be proud. Once I got over the capital letters in which everything on the band's myspace is written, I realised that Painted Soul is a band worthy of a mention here, if not for originality, then for their musical skill. To be fair to them, they don't always remain so loyal to their influences, Mannequin being the most obvious case of this. It is an eerie song, and the riff at 02:07 is a worthy high point of the band's songs, particularly when it turns into a short-lived solo. This song is different, because of its electronic, gothic stylistic leanings. It might even be likened to some Manic Street Preachers or The Cure material. In fact, I hear some Joy Division too. It looks like I have back tracked on my statement that Painted Soul is too much like their influences. In fact, I'm surprised by just how diverse this band sounds, and I definitely love both Better By Design and Mannequin, two songs I'd like on my iPod. This is a Californian band that doesn't sound quite like a Californian band, but would you really want them to? Now if only they can get rid of all those capital letters...When I first cast my eyes upon Bridgette Oliver (vocals), Andy Hopkins (lead guitar), Vince Lindstrom (rhythm guitar), Jesse Slone (bass), and Brandon Fields (drums), I was immediately struck by their rock star image and attitude. The band members from Oklahoma City stand (power stance) on a roof somewhere overlooking the city skyline, and Siva Addiction as they are known, can only hope that their music goes some way to scaling the same heights as the photograph.
With over one million myspace plays, one might question why this band needs exposure from UG. Should I be focusing on bands with a lower play count, without the benefits of being photogenic and photoshop savvy? The answer is probably yes, but I'm also reviewing Siva Addiction to serve as a lesson to other bands. Yes, it is important to have an image as this band does, but I feel that the recorded music on show here tends to be quite passive, bordering on mundane. This is perhaps the fault of how the music is largely recorded. I found myself rather disappointed, because there have been a plethora of bands featured here that have had less than 10,000 plays on their myspace pages with better recorded music. The answer to this peculiarity remains ambiguous until the song Artifice is heard. This is a powerful song, recorded in the right way. It's loud (without being Death Magnetic loud), and really captures the tone of the band, and how I imagine they would sound live. The abrupt end of the song is another highpoint: let it surprise you. Karma is another track that follows the lead of Artifice, developing the band's improved recording. I just hope that they can continue to record with that level of quality, with particular reference to capturing the bite in Bridgette's voice.
With influences such as NIN, Megadeth, and Black Label Society, one might be hoping for a band less geared for the big time. They are a bit poppy at time (as poppy as metal gets), but Bridgette's screams and the bellowed backing vocals on Karma more than compensate for this qualm. Overall, this is a band that needs to continue in the right direction, focusing on their aggression.
This brings an end to another month of unsigned bands. Keep your suggestions coming to email@example.com, and add me on myspace. I'd like to challenge all the terrible bands out there to do their worst: send me your band's worst/most embarrassing songs, and I'll see if I can do a worst of the month section to next month's article!