For those of you who know me in real life, you’d know that I’m a huge MJ fan. This cover brings both the original intensity and a new twist on the classic, “Smooth Criminal.”
It is not frequent that I go to a show and I enjoy an opening act more than the band that I intended to see, but this happened just this past Saturday. Golden, a local Atlanta band, is touring with Sister Hazel to promote Hazel’s latest CD, Release. After the show, I picked up Golden’s latest album, Night Reminds the Day. The album unfortunately does not translate Golden’s enthusiasm nor their fiery solos on the stage, but it does offer some new sound that could, with time, be comparable to Dave Matthews.
The biggest mistake that Golden makes is the same of the Silversun Pickups: they do not know when to end a song. Tranceish tunes like “Gravity” and poppy jingles like “When It’s Over” both come close to six minutes due to their long solos and drawn out conclusions. Both tracks, when performed live, should take their time to flaunt Knight and Golden’s guitar abilities, but such lengths on an LP are inappropriate in this situation.
And that is the summary of my complaints for this band. In an Andy Davis opener, Joshua Golden establishes his bluesy vocals as Jerry Loch plucks out gospel chords on the keyboard. “Seasons” is a great synopsis of the band; it’s fast-paced, fun, and groooooovy!
The following track, “Listen,” is more mainstream than “Seasons.” The made-for-radio track is both bluegrass and rock, cutting in and out of sweet solos and clickish drums. Swelling chords and harmonies build up to a climax of piano celebration. It’s a road trip song, celebrating the open road and the sweet enjoyment of being alive. “Listen” is worth listening to.
“Lauren,” which comes a little later in the CD, is a mellow acoustic Matt Nathansonish ballad. The corny lyrics somewhat ruin the effect of Golden’s love confession as the guitar chugs on.
Lauren likes to leave me wanting more/She turns her back to me and then I see she’s walking to the door/She fixes her sleeve/And she slips into her coat/And she picks up her keys/She moves so slow/Baby hold on.
I suppose every band needs a ballad on their rock CD, but Golden needs to work on theirs.
“Carnival” is my favorite track on Night Reminds the Day, probably because Dave Barnes could have written it. The Chattanooga swing and celebrating blues guitar allows for plenty of solo space for their saxophone, (though, Golden’s jazzy voice dominates the end of the track). This is the epitome of good southern rock.
After “Carnival,” Night Reminds the Day begins to lull. “Shine” is sole track worth mentioning after, but solely because it’s so cool. Golden once again shows off his bluesy vocals as he belts, “Let your love shine through!” and “Won’t you let me shine?” The excitement of the lyrics is found in the tight hits and snappy full band chorusing behind Golden’s voice. It’s beautiful.
Frankly, Night Reminds the Day should only be a seven or eight track set, or Golden needs to learn to edit their music before releasing it for mass consumption. These guys are great live, and I can only expect greater things from this indie southern rock band as the group grows musically and professionally.
Recommended Songs: Carnival, Listen
Toss These Tracks: Depends on if you like long listens. If you don’t, half the CD.
Before YouTube I was just a skinny white kid/That thought he was funnier, & cooler/Than he actually was/Now, not much has changed/But I have a shitload of money
Bo Burnham, the internet sensation, has recently signed his soul to Comedy Central Records. The 19-year-old Massachusetts resident came out with Bo Burnham, celebrating his comedic music humor that started with “I’m Bo Yo,” the YouTube video with almost ten million hits. The poppy piano and guitar lead to easy listening, but the lyrics, granted intelligent and humorous, grows old after the second listen.
Nowhere near the musical and comical genius of Tom Lehrer, Burnham repeats the same chords over and over (see “Rehab Center for Fictional Characters”) while rapping/singing over them. Nonetheless, Burnham uses clever modern pop culture references and puns (“I treat my objects like women”) to litter his music. The first time around, Bo seems very witty, but after a while his jokes seem tasteless.
From “The Perfect Woman,” an ode to Helen Keller as the perfect woman, to “Dictatortot,” the story of Hitler as a baby, Burnham only fails to offend one group of people: rich white straight northern males, just like him (though heterosexual is a might bit questionable, considering how hard he insists that he’s straight). Now for those of us who can take the 19-year-old’s subject matter, his lyrics are fantastic. The young white yank raps in “Bo Fo’ Sho,’” “Like a tampon thief, I had to pull some strings,” and “I’m circumcised ’cause I don’t come from the hood.” Funny? Yes. Funny the third time? Eh.
What comes with Bo Burnham is what makes the CD worthwhile. It comes with a DVD of Burnham live and some of his YouTube clips. Burnham is far more personable when you can see his puppydog face with priceless expressions. I say, save the music for visual and audio stimulus. Bo Burnham is definitely best the first time around, so don’t spoil the surprise for yourself if you’re planning on seeing him live. He’s certainly entertaining, but not as good as Demitri Martin and Dane Cook.
Recommended Songs: I’m Bo Yo, High School Party
Toss These Songs: Klan Kookout, Rehab Center for Fictional Characters