Well, it's been awhile since I've written something.
It's a fitting time because I would like to officially announce
the new day that my show airs: Wednesday nights at midnight, right
after Maurice Robertson's "Accent on Jazz." So, after
hearing the cutting edge of jazz music, push the limits of your
musical palette with the best in local, independent artists from
the tri-state area. Also, I'm happy to announce that this summer
represents the 2nd Anniversary of my career here at WWUH. In commemoration,
I've decided to introduce some new features to the show in order
to better serve your listening needs:
1. Weekly independent/local band website reviews. 2. WWUH on assignment
- periodic journeys to other independent music scenes, or order
to share and compare, like an indie-music exchange program. What
more can you ask for? Got any ideas? Let me know: Dr_Longhair@hotpop.com.
In the spirit of continuing to spread the love that is our local
music scene, I decided to review an album that I've been playing
now nearly non-stop since it came out in April: The Screwdrivers'
self titled debut. It's a collection representative of this versatile
band; capable of penning a good solid rock song and delivering catchy
pop numbers. A four piece of two guitars, bass and drums, this northern
CT band is anything but the typical rock band. Its depth comes through
especially in the vocals. Many of the songs feature three part harmonies,
lush rich harmonies - a signature of the Screwdrivers' sound. It's
a characteristic often lacking in modern rock music. The vocals
are smooth, never whiny or contrived, never forced or aggressive.
Lead vocalist Nate Harris delivers effortless melodies that are
clear and seem to float over the music. In them I hear shades of
Tom Yorke (Radiohead) and Jacob Dylan (Wallflowers). And to make
them better, the lyrics are curiously poetic, slipping in fresh
metaphors, and at times gritty.
If there's such a thing as "chemistry" in musical ensembles,
the Screwdrivers have it. The best way I can tell to measure chemistry
is the way the players in the band coalesce to create something
greater than the sum of its parts. To start, the bass, played by
Mose Snyder, glides almost randomly between playing in unison with
the guitars and in harmony or the occasional walking line behind
the lead instruments. The effect is a unique layered sound that
is found throughout the album and is the ear-catching motif of the
standout, opening track "The Internationale." Another
example of this layered sound is between the two guitars. The lead
guitar provides complementary guitar lines, rather than succumbing
to the temptation to just play power chords in rhythm all the time.
Particularly inventive is the use of feedback looming over several
of the songs - as if it was its own instrument. Check out the angry
ending of the rocker "Me on Top" or the extended finale
of "I Could Make You Wild."
Perhaps the most intriguing song of the album is the subtle, almost
dreamy journey with "The Asthmatic Tourist." Laid upon
a bed of a faint organ sound, the song builds with an ascending
clean rhythm guitar, under the near breathy vocals of Harris. The
drumming is equally understated, chiming in the occasional light
symbol crash, in keeping the beautiful vocal melodies at the forefront,
in a spacious song that could easily be perverted by an over zealous
kit player. Eventually an eerie reverb slide guitar enters and provides
an almost Pink Floyd like ambience. Overall the song brings out
a bit of the Radiohead influence from the band.
Other standout tracks for me include "I Don't Want to Love
You," with its retro Elvis-eske vocals and Smithereens feel.
A haunting guitar arpeggio introduces the album's longest song "Together."
And, "Easter Island" shows more diversity with a slight
The Screwdrivers' debut full-length album is a must have for anyone
frustrated with top 40 radio. You don't have to sacrifice musical
diversity to get catchy melodic tunes. Check out www.thescrewdrivers.com
for tour dates or to sample the music yourself.
Don't forget: tune into me every Wednesday night at midnight for
the best new independent music around.
Copyright©WWUH: July/August Program