Thursday, November 16, 2006

Finer Things Magazine Reviews: Part I

What follows below was my submission to Finer Things Magazine for their Fall Issue. It's reproduced here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.

Finer Things Magazine Reviews: Part I

Hi everyone, I’m Joe from On the and welcome to the first in what I hope to be a long series of music reviews for Finer Things Magazine. For our first time out we’ve got three discs for your listening pleasure. First, we’re going to start off with something a little heavy, Phobia, the new album from Breaking Benjamin. Second, we’re going to find out about “Texican Style” with the sophomore effort from Los Lonely Boys, Sacred. Finally, to cap it all off we’re going to get ready for the new fall TV season with a look back at volume one of the Scrubs soundtrack series…and away we go.

Breaking Benjamin – Phobia

Breaking Benjamin first showed up on my radar when they contributed the song Blow Me Away to the soundtrack for the amazingly successful Xbox game Halo 2 in 2004. Now, two years later they have returned with their third studio album, Phobia. Made up of thirteen songs plus an acoustic version of the albums first vocal track, The Diary of Jane, Phobia is full of heavy guitars playing intricate rhythms, a tight rhythm section and vocals that, as a rule, remain melodic over the alternative metal underpinnings that comprise the sound of Breaking Benjamin. While heavy, the album as a whole hangs in the mid-tempo range with the occasional burst of speed as dictated by the material. If you’re a fan of Breaking Benjamin or the alternative metal genre as a whole, Phobia is definitely worthy of a listen.

Los Lonely Boys – Sacred

If you think you’re not familiar with the work of the Garza brothers, you probably just don’t know who plays that song Heaven you’ve been humming to yourself for the past two years. Sacred, the second album by the San Angelo, Texas trio Los Lonely Boys picks right up where their 2004 self-titled album left off. Stylistically, it’s a seamless blend of Latin inspired rhythms, blues, pop and just a dash of the Spanish language thrown in for flavor. Musically the album is excellent. Henry, JoJo and Ringo Garza (guitar, bass and drums respectively) can, in a word, play. When artists try to blend styles, rarely does it work at all much less work so well. The difference with Los Lonely Boys is that they don’t have to try. They so obviously live the music they make, that they can draw from a seeming endless well of influences to express themselves in what can only be called, as one of the songs on Sacred is so aptly titled…Texican Style.

Scrubs Soundtrack: Volume One

The musical interludes during the sitcom Scrubs were always striking to me for their choice of music, so…I was thinking that since Scrubs is going to be starting its new season soon and they just released the second volume in their soundtrack series it might be fun to go back to where it started for the show musically. The Scrubs Soundtrack: Volume One is led off by the show’s theme, Superman by Lazlo Bane. It’s definitely interesting to hear Superman, the song, in its full and unedited state as opposed to Superman, the Scrubs theme song, in the bits and pieces you hear over and over again each week. The orchestration of Superman is eccentric, containing all the usual instruments you would expect, but topped off by a Banjo and what sounds to be either a Theremin or Tannerin playing those lovely woo-woo-woo-woo-woo sounds you hear in the chorus of the song, ala Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys. You could, if you were so inclined, actually use Superman and its instrumental eccentricities as a good read of the remainder of the soundtrack and, by extension, the show itself. The Scrubs Soundtrack: Volume One album plays home to fourteen other entertaining and very listenable songs from the Eels and The Shins to the Butthole Surfers and Colin Hay, best known for fronting the 80’s band Men At Work. The mix of artists is eclectic, but the material included is all similar enough in feel so as to not be overpowering…just fun.

So there you have it, your first three reviews. I hope you found them helpful and that they gave you a couple of new listening ideas. If you liked them and can’t wait for the next issue of Finer Things Magazine, check out all of my other reviews at

Until next time, have fun and keep listening.


1 comment:

Gina said...

Hey Joe- I heard a really great interview with Los Lonely Boys on XM/NPR yesterday.