Jordan Andrew Jefferson “The Only Way Out Is In”
This artist was pretty high on David Bash’s 2015 list and I had missed it. Jordan is a singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist from West Virginia. A variety of influences can be heard, most from the mid 70’s and Jordan has great ear for melody and a killer falsetto when he needs it. Mostly this is heart-breaking love songs that stick in your head. Starting with “Ghost By The Water” it has a gentle keyboard, rising, melody and inspiring lyrics similar to Gerry Beckley (America) or Jeff Larson.
The harmonies are the big highlight on “White Light,” and “Beyond Words” sounds like it fell off America’s Homecoming LP with its echoing strums and multi-tracked chorus. “One Step At A Time” is a unique song with some nice jazzy guitar lines, and “It Is What It Is” has that Surf’s Up styled Beach Boys balladry that soars. Each song is a wonderful mix of melancholy and relief, even the 5 minute plus “The Party’s Over” is compelling. Highly Reccomended.
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Bertling Noise Laboratories “The Flehmen Response”
Chicago musician Nick Bertling’s solo project Bertling Noise Laboratories has an album called The Flehmen Response named after the behavior of animals who grimace and bear their teeth. It starts with the dramatic piano melody “my opening remarks” which is similar to Ben Folds in style, but then we get “Radio,” a catchy single with a neat hook in the chorus.
The next several songs are mid tempo rockers that plough along, bringing to mind Toad The Wet Sprocket in spots. Some interesting chord shifts on “You Won’t Know Me” keep it interesting, and the rhythmic work of “I Don’t Want to Rock” is a Rundgren-like repudiation of a Led Zeppplin trope. “For Roy, Jefferey, and I” is a wonderful Move tribute full of lyrical and melodic references. Not everything works, but enough keepers here to rate this as a recommended pick-up.
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