Kelly Carvin And The Future
Kelly Carvin is an artist that has weathered the learning curve and has come through the other side to shine brighter than ever on her latest self-titled offering, Kelly Carvin And The Future. Lively and full of traditional class, Kelly steps away from the pack and hits this one out of the proverbial park. Only the musicians match the material that she has picked to wow her fans here.
I love that her band isn’t comprised from the same local musicians that everyone seems to be relying on in the scene nowadays. Because to me, that trend of using the same 10 guys in 10 different bands isn’t fooling anyone and is actually watering down everyone’s individual brand.
The Future is different. Mario Dibartolo tosses out blazing chicken pickin’ on opener “Heart Strings,” a song that throws down Nashville strong and utilizes lightening quick runs that would make Brad Paisley sit up and take notice. Carvin steps into the country-tinged limelight with the seasoned moxy of Shania Twain and it works really well for her. Fluid and perfectly pitched, Carvin’s powerhouse vocals demand, and get the attention they call for.
Songs like “Kills Me” take the ballad formula and spin it on its ear. Upbeat and full of sweet harmonies, “Kills Me” winds through interesting passages, never sounds boring, and gets the toe tapping from start to finish. The bridge digs in deep, enhancing the chorus and putting this song into the “strong contender for a hit” category.
“Pain” utilizes Carvin’s smart sense of background harmony, never going over the edge and using just enough emotive layering to strike a sense of relative understanding in the listener. The bass work of Andrew Kosek lays way back, catching the breezy backbeat of drummer Johnny D’Angelo and buffeting Carvin’s thematic attack like a rhythm section that’s been together for 20 years.
“Time For Goodbye” sees the band slipping into mainstream rock territory as vocals plead and guitars rise into crunching crescendos of tube-driven power rhythms and dirty, blues-rock leads. Once again Dibartolo’s talent at switching styles proves that he has the goods as he and Carvin blast dual guitar chores all over this rough and tumble gem. Kelly doesn’t fall back on time-tested vocal tricks here either, soaring way above the band with the smooth power and precise understanding of dynamics that should snag her a vocalist of the year award for sure. If you love rock and roll, this is the top song on the disc.
“So Alive” shows Kelly doing what she started out doing in the first years of her career, namely playing solo acoustic. There are some songwriters that never graduate to playing with a band but Carvin is one of the fortunate few that can swing it ether way and still get her passionate point across. Storytelling panache mixes imagery with the fingerpicking nuances of clean acoustic guitars.
“Don’t Lie To Me” swings with a Chris Issak-meets-Alannah Myles vibe as the band hits rock and roll hard on choruses and bridges. The middle-eight kicks into a full on progressive rock odyssey that drops the listener into the middle of Woodstock before musical teleportation brings them back into the seamless chorus. Passionate and full of lethal playing, “Don’t Lie To Me” lays waste to all the current crop of blues momma’s and rock and roll queens on the scene.
“Fire” is a completely live track tagged on the end of the disc. Leveled out and matching the volume levels of the other tracks, “Fire” burns across its 4:10 time frame without incident. Kelly may have stuck this track on to show that this band can reproduce what they do quite well in a live setting and it’s a smart decision. As with a lot of live stuff, it was a bit thin but nonetheless, it comes across fairly well.
If you’re a rock and roll fan looking for a bit of country twang, give Kelly Carvin And The Future a shot. This is a great band with something constructive to offer, and you wont be disappointed. For more info, head over to kellycarvin.com.
Frankenstein 3000: Method To Our Madness
Frankenstein 3000 is one of a handful of true-blue rock and roll bands out there today. While everyone concentrates on folk, Americana and being as nerdy as possible, FS3K does what they do best. American-made punk and blues-rock. If you dig The New York Dolls, The Vibrators, Dead Boys and old Aerosmith, you’re going to love FS3K’s latest disc, Method To Our Madness.
Keith Roth and the boys are no slouches when it comes to doing their old school homework. With a gigantic 16 cuts, Method To Our Madness takes the listener on a fully explained journey through the center of their tradition-soaked minds. Long-time fans may recognize titles like “Going Away,” “Everybody Else” and “Panic In Needle Park,” but the band feels that this is the first time these songs are being properly represented.
“We decided to polish up some old gems, quite a few we had played live for a long time but never released” explains guitarist/vocalist Keith Roth. “We always get a great response at our shows, but so many people have said our records haven’t done the material justice. I think everyone will agree this is the closest we’re gonna come to our live sound and it just so happens this is my favorite of all our records.”
Method To Our Madness includes songs that Frankenstein 3000 contributed to the film Let Me Down Hard. “Revolution (Coming Of Age),” which opens both the movie and the album, sets the stage with a catchy sing-along chorus and a set of grinding guitars, thundering drums and bass that beg for major label attention. Roth’s raw, junkyard dog vocal approach rivals anything Paul Stanley ever caterwauled about in the ‘70s.
As they said, there are a few re-releases on the disc and the one that hit me was the latest version of “Going Away,” an old school Roth penned number that finally seems to be where the band wants it to be. One of Roth’s oldest songs (I remember him playing this back in the early ‘90s) it has evolved into a livelier survivor and features cool, new background vocals and interesting, Marshall-driven guitar work, courtesy of lead axe-maniac Tommy Tafaro, who always makes my Top 10 list of guitarists. He understands style and know how to use it to each songs advantage.
“What Goes On” is a raunchy, rock and roll vehicle that features more over the top guitar bends, octave jaunts and clean jangle as Roth serves up simple, catchy ‘60s pop melodies in the vein of Bad Finger’s Pete Ham. The overall catchy choruses could go on forever and I love the “dig down deep” bass and drum work of Eric Hoagland and Clint Gascoyne as well.
“Independence” is another favorite of mine. Fast, furious and downbeat strong, this is the epitome of rock and roll on the record. Roth’s voice breaks up fabulously as he howls over the top of four on the floor drums, bass and guitar antics. Simple back ground ‘ahs’ and ‘las’ get the rough point across as the band races for the finish line and a dead stop.
Although the disc counts 16 songs, there is a bonus track not listed. And of course, as all good bands that know how to pick a cover, FS3K doesn’t disappoint as they close it with “Meat In Your Mouth” by the illustrious Dead Boys. This is savvy, rock and roll that belongs in every aficionado’s collection. Hear and see what Frankenstein 3000 is up to over at frankenstein3000.com.