One of the realities of a modern newspaper is the veritable flood of promotional CDs, movies and various forms of self-aggrandizement that are received from producers trying to promote the latest and greatest movie or band. The Campus Times is no exception to this rule. We try to review some of the best of it, while much of it – for humanity’s sake – we deny ever receiving. After a while, however, we build up a supply of CDs that are not really deserving of a review, but seem to warrant a listening and a brief description. Here are eight CDs from last semester that caught our eye.Eastmountainsouth, EastmountainsouthThis turned out to be an excellent album, with a twist on the quickly-becoming-clich singer/songwriter genre. In an attempt to explore folk roots to a degree most modern bands would never try, Virginians Kat Maslich and Peter Adams really emphasize the melodies and harmonies of their sound – including an emphasis on instrumentation – that make the music more important than the artist. This is a very solid debut album. The Isley Brothers, Body KissNo one can question that Ronald Isley is good at what he does. This album is good, but completely undistinguished – there’s neither a bad nor a particularly catchy song on it. Guest appearances by The Pied Piper, Lil’ Kim, and Snoop Dogg do little to make this album stand out, and Isley’s great voice quickly fades into obscurity, like this album probably will.ZZ Top, MescaleroFor those who don’t know, Mescalero is an old cowboy term from the Spanish word for “way too much distortion on the guitars.” This album is one long, completely incoherent and scratchy guitar cord. ZZ Top have made some great albums in the past. This is not one of them. Avoid this disc.Darryl Worley, Have You Forgotten?This disc is comprised of a few new tunes added with some of the better songs from his latest two albums. The title song is excellent, and leaves you with a sense of pride in America – he has a real sense of pride and avoids Toby Keith’s aggressive “boot in your ass” mentality. The rest of the songs are pretty solid. If you don’t have any of his older stuff, this would be a good addition to a country collection, otherwise just find the title single.Jessica Andrews, NowThis is Jessica Andrews’ attempt to put out a good crossover album, but she really should have stuck to country. The lyrics are very thoughtful, and the melodies are strong, but this album could have been twice as good had she continued to emphasize her country roots. Translating the backgrounds to piano and trying to cover her twang make it sound a bit forced.Between the Buried and Me, The Silent CircusBad headbanger music. We couldn’t even finish one song, and sampling the other tracks brought more of the same. Even more distortion than “Mescalero.” Don’t even bother. Die Trying, Die TryingThis Sacramento, Calif. quartet didn’t put out the strongest album we’ve heard, but they show some promise. If the song were to play a few times on the radio, we could see it growing on people. The band is trying to develop the current trend of a hard rock sound with softer vocals, stealing a bit from emo bands. Lead singer Jassen Jensen has the right voice for the genre. If this is your style, this might be worth a second glance.Story of the Year, Page AvenueThis was the strongest album in the lot. The St. Louis-based band knows how to build on a theme, and their songs carry you with them. It’s a strong album, and it is what emo should be – unafraid to be heavy, musically and thematically. We really liked this album, and we think that future albums will continue to be strong. If you have no plans for tonight, catching their show at the Water Street Music Hall at 8 p.m. might be one of the better last-minute decisions you make in your life.Brown can be reached at cbrown@campustimes.org.Borchardt can be reached at jborchardt@campustimes.org.



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