Dave Birk “Speed Queen Mystery Date”
Minneapolis, MN based Dave Birk’s self funded debut is a lot of bouncy melodious fun right from the opening notes of “Hey Jody.” Influences are squarely in the Gin Blossoms meets Fountains of Wayne arena. With earnest vocals, the early gem is “Roller Coaster of Love, Hate and Tenderness” with a wicked guitar solo during the break, and lyrics about “the never-ending test” of romance.
It kinda jumps into faux funk with “Love and Devotion,” and then a touching slow ballad “My Sleeping Beauty.” But then we enter FOW-land with the title track and “All Things Retro” with a ton of pop culture references. The remaining tracks just as fresh, especially “Country Music 101” with a dead-on instruction of how to write a hit country song. A great debut!
The Honey Wilders “Singles for Singles”
This San Jose band sure loves 70’s classic rock, just listen to the Big Star riffs on “Life In Stereo” and the catchy melody on “Summertime” which recalls Tom Petty. It’s got sound alike tracks for Led Zeppelin (“Sugar Mama,”) Thin Lizzy (“”Geneva Ave.”) and The Stones (“Sweet Alice”). The remain tracks all have that instantly recognizable guitar sound, like of like a cross between Mick Ronson and Slash. And while highly derivative, its also enjoyable fun, like a classic mix tape from that era.