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CD Review: Antler

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Although the band Antler hails from Boston, they sound more like they should be hanging out on Austin’s 6th Street than in the cold Northeast.

They style themselves as “roots rock,” and while there’s a flavor of folk, there’s more rock than roots in most of their music. The band’s debut, self-titled album Antler sounds the way good beer tastes: smooth and flavorful with just a little bite. Even when lead singer Craig Riggs is really belting it, his voice remains unstrained. But don’t take that to mean he lacks passion or range; he’s got plenty of both. He’s just able to display it without roughing up your ears. In fact, again like good beer, the band warms its listeners.

Antler harmonizes beautifully, and Antler is incredibly well-mixed for something the band considers a “homegrown experience.” The band recorded in its own studio with Riggs and bass player Quinn doing most of the tracking themselves before having Andrew Schneider mix the album. The final outcome blends together in a very listenable way.

The band cites Lynyrd Skynyrd, CCR and Marvin Gaye as some of its influences, although Antler certainly doesn’t lean too heavily on those sounds, instead only appropriating them to create something that is uniquely their own. Antler is a dark album, suited to a long drive in the middle of the night. Songs like “Tombstones and Cigarettes” and “Blood on the Moon” belong on soundtracks to movies like Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead and From Dusk ‘Til Dawn.

The only drawback to this album comes from the CD design itself, which uses a metallic silver printing on a brown background, making the CD and liner notes incredibly difficult to read. One has to hold them up and turn them in the light to decipher them.

Antler becomes available from Tortuga Recordings on October 26, 2004, and the band is touring through early 2005. There’s a possibility they will make a stop at SxSW in March–which they absolutely should, because they’ll fit right in. . . And yet undoubtedly stand out at the same time.

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  • len gore fride, bi wars!

  • Corrie

    Russ Schneider’s debut cd “Friday Night” is a heavily fueled return to the fun of 60’s balls out rock with Brit-Rock sensibility when it was all about the song. It takes a life time to write your first album and there are twists and turns within these 20 songs that reflect on what everyone feels sometime in their lives. Recorded Under The Dome and produced by Herb Eimerman, melodies and sound blasts bounce through the strong driving rythmn tracks.

    Produced by Not Lame fave Herb Eimerman, this DIY release is a modest little gem filled with 20(!!) short `n sweet 2+ minute histro-jangle-punchy pop gems. What hands strongly into this jubilant debut is its echoey Everly Brothers, Dwight Twilley Band vocals that recall the work of Denny Cordell with both Twilley and early Tom Petty. The material most reminds me of “Sincerely” from Dwight Twilley Band and, boy, is that a compliment. The spirit of Buddy Holly shines in here, too. There`s a spirit of early 70`s AM radio(think Monkees, Mickie Most) to make things even more interesting. Very Highly Recommended.

    Bruce Brodeen Not Lame Records

    “Russ, get your Grammy speech ready, you got a good album here!” Alan Haber’s Pure Pop 3/05

    New for 2005. This is classic 60’s style power pop. Produced by Herb Eimerman formerly of Nerk Twins, his influences are heavy on the cd as he plays and sings on it as well. (In other words , Herb Eimerman fans will love this cd.) The opening track “Run To Him” reminds us of the 60’s classic “In the Year 2525” by 60’s duo Zager and Evans. The 3rd track “Only Lover” has a heavy Shoes sound to it. The amazing thing about this cd is that Herb and Russ both have vocals that blend perfectly together. It’s really hard to tell which one of them is singing at times. In conclusion, the cd has faithfully captured the pure pop/rock spirit of 1969. For further proof just listen to track called… “1969”! If you like classic 60’s, this is A MUST! Well done and carefully crafted!

    Jeremy Morris-Jamrecordings

  • This review was chosen for Advance.net. You will be able to find it on newspaper sites including Cleveland.com.