From his early days on major labels to the rare and highly touted session work he did with the late Tom Dowd, Feiles has a story or 10 to tell about the industry, his life and the unique people he’s met along the way. The outcome of his experience comes through in his craft. His delivery is road worn, his demeanor is humble and his ability as a storytelling songwriter is rock solid. From theaters to roadside bars, boardwalks and sidewalks, he’s played them all. And in that grass roots tradition, Arlan and company blow into this little coffee shop in Asbury Park about once a month to dazzle fans and friends of the Cookman crowd.
Arlan’s Army consisted of two great new additions to the music scene in the form of Johnny Lisco and a guy who simply goes by TJ. Stylistically, the two are from very different sides of the planet but their talents are both equal and diverse. TJ plays a be-bop-influenced style complete with heavy syncopation and all interwoven with smooth vocal melodies ala ‘70s Doobie Brothers or Steely Dan. He played selections from his latest disc entitled Take A Seat and is probably one of the only guys around that can boast of having world renowned sax man Bill Evans on their disc. Like Feiles’ relationship with the great Tom Dowd, TJ has enough talent to attract the interest of this killer sax man. His CD rocks and I could imagine he can do that with a band. TJ has also played with Dave Mason and Blues Traveler (Blues Traveler has asked him out again) and we hope he returns to the area soon. It’s a nice change from the norm here. tjaymusic.com.
Johnny Lisco is a darker and more ambient writer—his vibe is ethereal and his tenor is steady and uniquely phrased, almost like a combination of Tracy Chapman and Jeff Buckley; short bursts delivered to say the most. His uses of effects and acoustic setting produce synth-like shimmer and glassy harmonic overtones as he shoots succinct vocals out and over the top. Johnny is an L.A. transplant who we gladly welcome back to the New Jersey scene. myspace.com/johnnylisco.
Arlan always plays from the heart and his choice of co-hosts are always well-matched and that’s what brings us all together time after time to see this guy. Arlan also runs his own open mic every Wednesday at Rockin Joes in beautiful Westfield, NJ. Come on down and sit in, the vibe is easy and the music’s top notch. For more info go to myspace.com/arlanfeiles.
Impulsive Decision—Far From Thru
Blackwood, New Jersey, is a quite Camden County suburb whose main claim to fame is the giant fiberglass Uniroyal Tire Girl; recently transformed to the superhero Nitro Girl that dominates the landscape along U.S. Hwy 30. That alone turns my head, but there’s also Impulsive Decision, a five-piece guitar heavy group of rockers that survive in this dystopia of the Jersey Devil.
When I first heard the name I figured I was in for the usual dose of sensitive male crying, girl jeans and mascara but was pleasantly surprised when I broke out this latest disc entitled Far From Thru, an independent release featuring 10 cool tunes of varying timbre and tone. Far from pretentious, Impulsive Decision look like a bunch of normal dudes playing traditional, albeit heavy-duty rock and roll in the vein of Blink 182 or Third Eye Blind and they prove that you really cant judge a book by its cover.
The vocals impressed me as much as the writing on this disc. This singer really doesn’t sound like the myriad of vocalists that are deep in the typical teen quagmire that’s already so overdone in America. Impulsive Decisions’ bold, thought out sound supports Murtaugh well, blending monster tight guitars, drums and bass in the heavy punkish vein of AFI and the composition style of Sunny Day Real Estate.
A few of my faves on the disc were the standout radio potential of “For What It’s Worth,” an octave-spewing monster that uses dynamic space well in combination with a guitar-heavy army, blaring to the edge and shutting down fast for vocal support during verses, building into the bridges and blowing up the choruses. Other interesting tunes were “Lady Black” as well as disc closer “Not So Solid,” the “pop” cut on the disc if you can call it that as it breaks the monotony with its tempo and melody changes in an almost two-song-in-one thing.
“Far Away” is another sleeper that seems to start off in ballad territory but winds up being the wild card on the disc with its twists and turns. While I’m not crazy about the cover band-type name, the highly original vocals of Brian Murtaugh and a solid grasp on writing put Impulsive Decision on a sure shot at a real career. For a mascara-free experience, check them out at myspace.com/impulsivedecision and go check out the Uniroyal girl at roadsideamerica.com/news/16083.