Pete Molinari and Crystal City

Pete Molinari “Theosophy”
I’ve not heard Pete Molinari before, but this new LP is a great introduction. Pete’s influences are vast; ranging from Bob Dylan and The Beatles to John Coltrane. The opening track “Hang My Head In Shame” is a flawless mix of rock and blues that compares well with early Oasis and the rolling strum on “I Got Mine” recalls classic Beau Brummels crossed with Dylan and its totally infectious. “I Got It all Indeed” is another richly layered pop gem with 60-era percussive accents and Molinari’s crisp vocal is similar to Phil Everly or Ricky Nelson.

The slower ballads like “When Two Worlds Collide” and “Dear Marie” are also well done, as Pete’s folk and blues-training bleeds through each chorus. Fans of Rick Nelson will gravitate to the highlight “What I Am I Am” with its bass accents and sweet harmonies, as the spiritual chorus sings “Find my way back to you, Lord.” Cooler than cool blues finds its way on “So Long Gone” with a slow heavy tempo and wicked guitar solo. Highly Recommended to fans who enjoy a blend of folk, blues, pop, and country flavors.



Crystal City “Change”
Crystal City is the fruitful collaboration between Iowa musicians Dave Helmer and Sam Drella. The bands sound is best described as a mash-up of The Replacements, Wilco and Lana Del Rey. The opener “The Best Way” is the most energetic, fast paced rock tune. The lyrics are well written and the albums theme is about the ins and outs of a love affair. “Dynamite” is a brilliant turn for vocalist Drella, as she melts through this torch-rocker singing “I’m not trying to be so wicked/I’m just trying to fall in love.”

“Change” is another gem, with a 90’s styled garage riffs and laid back attitude. Helmers midwestern lovelorn approach is influenced by Paul Westerberg and Tom Petty mostly, as “Give Me A Kiss” and “Where The Treasure Is” rely on a simple strum to get us started. Thankfully, “Change” has variety as “Pink Bayonet” introduces horn accents and a hook in the chorus, and “Little Italy” is a great example of loud/soft dynamics in a catchy rock song. Only a few missteps here, like the slow “Tangled Down” but it doesn’t take away from the effective narrative built up by this charming duo.

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