Money Makes You Boring – The Monte Vista

the monte vista let loose to roam the wild brooklyn streets!

by DJW

When I get handed CDs of bands I know absolutely nothing about, there’s always a nervous anticipation about it. You hold in your hand something new, something loaded with potential.

Of course, that potential can go either way, it could be horrible, or it could be great.

Lucky for my precious ears, Money Makes You Boring by The Monte Vista landed firmly in the latter arena.

I liked them from the opening of their first song. The Monte Vista’s rock-pop vibe is all at once their own and also tinged with a bite of the Beatles, a sliver of Cake, a shot of Nirvana, a shake or two of the whole indie vibe over the past decade or so, and, for some reason for me, just a crushed crystal of Pete Doherty and his bands.

The tunes are the kind of catchy that stay in your head (in a good way) and you find yourself singing at unexpected moments. The slower numbers are voluptuously seductive. And then there are songs like “Beautiful Lawn”, that are so infectious they could almost be put into quarantine.

Their sound is indicative of bare-bones Melbourne pub (the stuff legend has been born of Down Under), the kind of places where an audience doesn’t care about names or egos, only the quality of the music. And we’re talking Melbourne, Australia, not Melbourne, Florida. Basically what you hear on disc is actually what you get live. Good, clean sounds and the only surprises will be good ones.

The Monte Vista makes great music. And great music is like coming home. It doesn’t mirror or copy something else, but when you hear it it strikes a chord deep within you that’s immediately right and familiar.

And that’s how it should be.

The feel is Neil Diamond temperament, the vocals are raw silk and chocolate. A crooner who knows the value of everything and also the cost. Bittersweet, uplifting, with that almost undescribable edge of an exceptionally well-written story.

It is, like all good albums, the kind of thing that gets better and better, and they hint at a great live performance.

Speaking of live, I am there on Friday night. That’s the 27th of March. at the National Underground in NYC at 10.30pm. So should you.

The Neil Diamond Seal of Approval? 4.45 out of 5 stars.


Zander Bleck & Studio E at The Canal Room 03/07/09

by LLI

The evening began with a $10 cover charge. Never cool, especially in this economy, but it was Saturday night in the city and my buddy’s birthday, so I shelled out.

Studio E was the opening band. I’d checked them out earlier on the interwebs whilst sipping a glass of cheap red zinfandel, getting all tarted-up at my apartment ( fine two glasses! and okay fine! One was a bit of a wine bomb. If you don’t know what a wine bomb is then make sure to tune in on Youtube to watch the upcoming behind the scenes segment covering this marvelous drink on The Neil Diamond Cooking Show!), and they seemed worth a listen

I was definitely down with their bluesy folky vibe and was ready to enjoy a chill show. It had been a while since I went to a laid back show and I was anxiously anticipating reliving my high school hippy days. Little did I know that I would be going back to that time and then some!

The band began and within 60 seconds of listening thoughts of 1991,’92 and ’93 jumped into my head….was I just drunk or did they sound like Rusted Root and a splash of Hootie? The music was infectious, I found myself liking it and I hated 90’s rock!

After a few songs they announced special guest Bridget Morrissey and up trotted a fresh faced American Idolish girl. This is when the show heated up. They played Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love”, Wilson Philips’s”Hold On”, and lead singer Jason started free styling TLC’s “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls !”, broadening the scope of their previous early 90’s hits and bringing them right up into the tragically hip late 90’s…..abSA-fuckin-lootly! Studio E was amazing!

Now, I was primed and more than ready to see what Zander was gonna bring to the table. I’d heard an electro track online that he did with Jaimie Fanatic and I loved it but I just couldn’t imagine him performing with a band. Plus, I’d heard flack on the streets that he was just a pretty boy because he models and as much as I suspected this stemmed from an ultra hater or a scorned ex-lover I secretly wondered if he was gonna pull an Ashley Simpson and fall flat on his face? Before I could stew on this negativity too long, the band came on, they looked great and immediately started to r-o-c-k.

Zander’s voice had a hint of nostalgia, like a fresh brewed sweet tea on a hot day. If you want to be transported out of the daily urban grind, come to a Zander show. His voice has just the right level and inflection that makes you want him to sing for you all night long. A tall confident presence on stage as the front man, the whole band gave off a good aura and Jayden and I found ourselves being drawn away from the bar (can you imagine?) and onto the center of the crowded dance floor.

The music was a great blend of classic rock with perfectly placed times of electronica. Zander seemed very comfortable on the stage as he teetered and danced around giving off a modern Steven Tyler vibe.

Zander Bleck is an artist with an edge, and I don’t just mean the edge on his stone chisled abs (but those are nice too). Definitely keep an eye on this one. Also, rumor has it that he may be performing live at Winter Music Conference (WMC) at Rok Bar, Set, Louey or Florida Room.

The Neil Diamond Seal of Approval Rating? 3.5 stars out of 5. For both.

Skin God at Trash Bar 3/4/09

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