Andy Bopp “Blisters and Thorns”
Veteran alt. rocker Andy Bopp (Myracle Brah) showcases his formidable songwriting skills here with the mid-tempo gems “Cannibal” and “Lowe.” The music retains Bopp’s signature ‘90s style and each one is perfectly pleasing. A few gems standout; the earnest “Hello” has a wonderful melody with nice twangy guitar and “Every Word” has a well textured arrangement. Those wonderful harmonies come out under the chorus of “Barely Hanging On,” so plenty stylistic variety through 15 tracks.
The country elements stand out here, from the banjo on “Simple Thing” to the steel lap guitar present on several songs, notably “Broken Highway.” The Rickenbacker guitar leads other gems like “Broken Ties” and “Grey Matter.” Overall, a solid collection of tunes that stands up to repeat listens and deserves more attention. Highly Recommended.
The James Rocket “Thrust”
Brooklyn rockers James William Roy (songwriting, vocals, guitars, bass) and Markleford Friedman (drums, production) give the James Rocket its fuel. The sound is like Guided By Voices mixed with The Replacements. “Musicbox” and “Clothers Make The Man” have melodic energy and a touch of punk that makes it compelling. The punk elements are upfront on “Money Rope” and brisk tempo of “The Things I Saw.”
The James Rocket does mix it up stylistically with simple bass-driven “Call to Hearts” and catchy “Melt Away.” You also hear the influence of The Who (a major GBV influencer) throughout the album. A nice character study “The Bartender’s Boyfriend” ends things. No duds here, and definitely worth a listen.