Ransom and the Subset “No Time To Lose”
One of the glossiest power pop debuts this year, the Seattle based band is led by singer-songwriter RanDair Porter, and he’s enlisted heavy hitters Brian E. King (OranJuly, Parks) and Ducky Carlisle (Mike Viola, Major Labels, Taylor Locke) to help play and produce the album. Each song is finely crafted rock, “Anna” is a compelling dramatic melody about an anxious fan and “Leaving With You” is just awesome with its shimmering guitar lead and multi-tracked harmonies. Porter also recruited Mike Musburger (The Posies) on drums and Mike Squires (Harvey Danger) on bass guitar for this track. You’ll hear Ducky’s fingerprints all over “Million Out Of Me” with its Bleu-like arrangement and quick tempo hand-clap rhythm section.
While Porter’s vocal range is limited, his songwriting more than makes up for it, the title track is a narrative about a the plight of a desperate woman. And his style isn’t that easy to categorize; “Sticking Onto You” goes a bit overboard, adding the kitchen sink with Blue Swede’s “Ooga Chaka” in the verse. But its not about arbitrary genre definitions, its about the music… and the music is very good. “Questions” is an emotional piano based melody, and “Girl I’m Not Afraid” has a bit of Rockpile in its DNA. Overall, this is a solid debut with more than enough gems demanding repeat listens.
Brandon Schott “Verdugo Park” EP
As a preview to his next full length, the talented Brandon Schott gives us some sweet melodies with “Verdugo Park.” On the title track he channels Harry Nilsson, and then gives us a mellow Beatlesque sitar instrumental “Lapiz Lazulli” and a cover of Richard & Robert Sherman’s 1962 song “Castaway.”
It’s also worth noting that Schott had a sober single ballad “You Take My Breath Away” last year, the other side being the Beach Boys styled “Now” and proceeds of this A-B single go to support The Benjamin Center in Santa Monica, CA – a branch of the Cancer Support Community. I can’t wait for the new LP and this just increases the anticipation.