5 songs, 15 minutes; Self-released (2014)
Murder for Girls crank the volume, angst and estrogen up to ‘11.’
This four-piece group of Pittsburgh rockers do garage rock right with their self-titled release — five songs in a blistering 15 minutes that leaves no time for second guessing. Equal parts hypnotic and vitriolic, this offering is at the crux of vocal harmonization and clashing grunge-chord dissonance.
The ladies (plus bassist Jonathan Bagamery) demonstrate a knack for strong, dynamic songwriting. And the raw, under-produced approach to recording is perfect for this style of music.
Society’s most dominant female themes and stereotypes seem to center around either the mild homemaker or stiff corporate climber.
It’s good to hear from some ladies who know how to let their hair down and rock ‘n’ roll.
Adjustments Pt. 2
10 tracks, 41 minutes
The music I’m most accustomed to involves stringed instruments and raw vocals. For that reason, synthpop is pretty far out of my comfort zone.
It would have been easy to dismiss Color Theory — brainchild of Huntingdon Beach, California, resident Brian Hazard — as disposable contemporary. But there were plenty of pleasant surprises.
The opening track, “Headphones,” is the best example. The obligatory hook is nice, but the tongue-in-cheek Weird Al-esque verse lines really sold it, as Hazard complains about people who don’t respect the privacy of those who jam out with their earbuds in: “The neon cord dangling from my neck/But somehow this less than subtle clue/Appears to have no effect on you.”
“Adjustments Pt. 2” is a sonically refreshing release that manages to wedge in a cover of the Barry Manilow single, “Could It Be Magic.” On the back end of the album are some EDM-rendered remixes that would be right at home in a darkened, glimmering mass of glow-stick wielding teens and 20-somethings.
Electronica music isn’t for everyone. But when it’s well-done, anyone with an open mind should still find something to appreciate.
13 songs, 49 minutes
It’s not every day that you hear a power trio from Perth, Australia, in western Pennsylvania.
Not unless you happen to be a fan of Ragdoll. And if you’re into up-tempo rock ‘n’ roll, you might want to educate yourself on these guys.
It’s pretty clear that this group is heavily inspired by all things guitar-driven, from the classic to contemporary. On “Ragdoll Rewound,” the songs conjure a variety of artists ranging from Nonpoint to Thin Lizzy. There’s even a pure power ballad: “Could It Be Love.”
There’s a lot to like about the groove these guys hit, especially on the smoothly assembled “Heaven Above” and feel-good anthem “Overnight Sensation.” But maybe the best part of this band is the impressive vocal range of bassist Ryan Rafferty, who reaches those higher-altitude notes like a boss.
The band can be heard – and seen, via music videos – at www.ragdollrock.com.