Kyle Lardner, Sail Among the Stars
For a more effervescent pop experience, try piano-playing songstress Kyle Lardner (mentioned above). With a teenager's sweet vocal purity, Lardner does shimmery but sophisticated pop that's a little bit Disney and a little bit rock and roll - nothing too new, but it'll put the rouge on your cheeks. Songs like "The Blanket Song," "Aways Away," and the scintillating, Abba-like "Perfume" feel like elevated teen angst tunes, while "Moral Amnesia" and "When We're Gone" show an admirable social and philosophical conscience. As a singer Lardner doesn't have the vocal heft to fully bear her ambitious musical vision, but her songs, couched in these majestic arrangements, show her off well and hold a good deal of promise.
Talk about anti-image. This experiment-minded, female-fronted band makes alternately atmospheric and metallic industrial rock. The song titles are just numbers, and all the printed materials are written backwards, as if to say, Don't worry about reading this stuff, it's all about the music. Kinda cool, actually, although it might have been nice if they'd compromised their principles enough to print at least the web address rightways. But it is all about the music - and the experiments. (In concert they match up the audience's heartbeats with the beat of the music). I'd like to have a chance to catch this group live in the new year. Listen up.
Fronted by the gravelly-voiced baritone of singer-guitarist Eric Strickler, these thrashy Brooklyn punkers seem to be as influenced by sixties garage rock as by late-seventies punk. Sometimes Strickler sounds as if he's going to vomit; other times he growls like Shane McGowan. Or is it the same thing? Either way, the band's take-no-prisoners rhythms and catchy songs add up to a big panful of rugged rock.