Local CD Reviews 

Michael Gross, Marinade, The Weekenders

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Michael Gross & the Statuettes, Sunset Beach

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Sunset Beach is an accessible collection of ornate guitar anthems and the band’s familiar pop-rock. It’s appealing but not predictable. The melodious waves that crash are heard best within “Don’t Let Me Down” with its lush, building textures and cutting guitar lines. Later, “Come Together/Fall Apart” croons with break-up sentiments and fragile piano and guitar harmonies. On most of the tracks, Gross muses about the significance of a rockstar life that never takes off: What becomes of dreams never attained? Who are we then? How do others view us? With the closing track, retro alt-rock gem “Black Is Black,” Michael Gross & the Statuettes successfully summon an attentive listen, from cover to cover. This second release demonstrated a more finely tuned sound and a matured approach. Catapult Records, Aug. 14.

Marinade, Soak Your Meat in This …

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Every track on this spicily titled album is soaked in a thick layer of reggae, blues and jam. With passionate lyrics peppered on top of meaty American rock, Marinade sounds confident. Admittedly, the release doesn’t quite capture the power of Marinade’s live performances, a feat that proves out of reach on many jam-band records. Still, the five-piece has put out a strong collection of tasty and flavorful grooves to whet fans’ appetites. The album’s opening track, “Me,” showcases a punchy sense of rhythm. Vocalist Talia Keys’ stylings are especially saucy on “Gemini Dream” with strident vocals as she leads her band in a grooving rhythms—the band is always deeply in the pocket. It’s a noteworthy debut for the burgeoning local musicians who have played for years without a proper release. CD Release Show: w/ Brian Ernst, The Pour Horse @ The State Room, 638 S. State, Sept. 12, 8 p.m., $10.

The Weekenders, Don’t Plan On

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Don’t Plan On is attention grabbing, primarily due to the expressive vocals—influenced heavily by Jack White—constantly at the fore. They’re raw and angst-infused, effectively conveying the collection’s theme: the singer’s legal trials and tribulations. Coupled with complex, aggressive drumming and searing lead guitar, the trio also takes cues from rock staples like Led Zeppelin and Wolfmother. One highlight comes halfway through with “65 Dove Street,” which provides an acoustic blues-rock respite from the potent headbangers that precede it. “Somatic Spirit,” near the end of the album, serves as the one of its peak moments, balancing the band’s attack with restraint, their emotion with composition. Don’t Plan On is unquestionably an ambitious effort that showcases the fiery passion with which The Weekenders make their first foray into local record stores. Self-released, June 26.
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