by Frank Ippolito
“Middle of the Night”
Very Scary throws everything it has at “Middle of the Night” and this raucous rocker is a burner to be sure. The roaring guitars, rockabilly beat and a blazing lead guitar at the break keeps the tension throttled through the roof. The only thing scary about Tempe’s Very Scary was the overuse of shouting the lyric, “Ow!”, throughout the song. That, and the lack of contact info on their Bandcamp (bands, please include this info). Other than that, I’d like to hear more from these cats. Listen here.
“Love Me back” (Acoustic)
Tucson’s Nineteenineties (1990s, I figured it out after about ten minutes but I’m slow…), are Bryan Adam Castillo and Ali Castillo, husband and wife now, but dating when they recorded “Love Me back”. Lemme tell ya, this is a wonderful single. The vocals, provided by Ali Castillo, are light, airy and believable. While the music is very straightforward, it should be, so not to get in the way of the lovely melody and songwriting. This was so well done I searched out more and was not disappointed. Check them out here.
Melodic and lush, Porch Lights (from Provo, Utah) hit a sweet spot with their single, “Cabin in the Woods”. The lyrics in this coming-to-regret story are much a part of the song as the dream-like music. You can hear their inspirations, noteably, Bon Iver and Blind Pilot, in their songwriting, but only if one nitpicks will it get in the way. The production value is extremely high on this and another track available, “Seaside Eyes”, which is another gem, and I kept thinking to myself, “Maybe too much production…” Maybe not, since I gave it three more rotations and heard something new each time. The light is burning bright on this porch. Visit here.
“Rock Salt and Nails”
At first blush, 4:43 for a single, from a folk singer, is usually 4:43 too much.. well, folk. Especially from an unknown singer. But Abel Grace, a singer/songwriter from San Antonio, Texas, gives a performance worthy of a grizzled folk veteran. Let’s skip the music for a second (that, by any account is straight-up blues on a single acoustic guitar, but who cares), this girl can write and sing.
“Rock Salt and Nails” is a tale of hurt, and a plot of revenge, that is so lyrically rich, it would be an insult not to listen to it less than a half a dozen times just to get a full understanding of the story. But the story is only rivaled by this young singer’s voice, a voice that is dripping with sincerity. Sincerity we haven’t heard since a young girl named Tracy Chapman came onto the scene.
I have only one thing to say to Ms. Grace, more please. Head here to listen to “Rock Salt and Nails”.