Short Takes on Five Releases

Sydney Parade

“If You Ever” CD single

Nomadd Records

Irish quartet Sydney Parade’s CD single for “If You Ever” starts out interestingly enough. The first few strains of the song have a modern rock feel, but then the vocals kick in and the music, well, changes. And changes again. And again. The result? I’m just not sure where these guys are trying to go with their music. Companion songs “Only the One” and “Anodyne” are more of the same – sort of garage rock and pop oriented, but with a personality disorder that is going unchecked. I get the sense that Sydney Parade is trying too hard – and that kind of strain isn’t good for anyone.


Dw. Dunphy

Side One EP


Dw. Dunphy needs a good band. His songs (especially the vocals and lyrics) give off a psychedelic rock vibe, but the hollow drums and keys just don’t mesh. I feel like there are two very contradictory things happening here. The second track, “Election Year”, gets a bit more aggressive near the end and makes me think of some of the quirky things Ween has created with keyboards – only Dunphy hasn’t quite hit the mark of quirky and fun yet. I think I’d actually like to hear Dw. Dunphy replace the keys with guitar and other sounds in a bid to realize his potential.



Calypso Shakedown



I had no clue there was a band out there – releasing original material no less – that was creating disco, soul, and retro-funk. Really. Bronze isn’t a wedding band or the house band at some washed up resort either. Dylan Ryan and Scott McGaughey, the core of the group, call Chicago home. The songs on Calypso Shakedown are so tight they could have flown right in from the 70s. Think Bee Gees. No lie. This is lots of fun, but is there a future for a band like Bronze?


Halcyon High

To Be Infinite EP


Roger Anderson’s Halcyon High offers up warm, deeply pulsating refuge from a cold, shallow world. The songs on this EP are lovely and tranquil without being boring. Anderson has an excellent grasp on song arrangement and his hypnotic creations are nothing short of superb. To Be Infinite is mostly instrumental and I understand Halcyon High performances often include video projections featuring clips from the stellar Qatsi triology, among other material. How fitting! Pop this one in the next time a dreary rainy day rolls around and you’ll rediscover the beauty in even the grayest of days.


Frank Turner

Campfire Punkrock EP

Xtra Mile

Former hardcore singer moves on and records folksy songs with an edge. It’s not a joke – it’s the story of Frank Turner, formerly of hardcore band Million Dead. Campfire Punkrock couldn’t be a more appropriate title for this collection of seven songs. Although it’s been awhile since this disc was released, Frank Turner deserves more time in the spotlight. His British accent comes through on his vocals, and his lyrics are quite brilliant. Songs like “Thatcher Fucked The Kids” and “I Really Don’t Care What You Did on Your Gap Year” make me think of a younger, less tongue-in-cheek Hamell on Trial. Great stuff!