San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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February 24th, 2009
Tuesday reviewsday: Two more bands

By ASHLEY CASS
Scene Reporter

This week, we put two more local bands and their recordings under the listening test.

Olive Street
Olive Street
www.olivestreetrecords.com

Beginning as house mates in San Marcos, Olive Street formed in 2006. The inspiration behind the band’s name came from their living location’s side street name.  The band consists of Kyle Mylius on keyboards, Lindsey James on vocals, acoustic guitar, organ, Jah Wilkinson on drums and Bel Stuart on bass guitar and backing vocals.

The self-titled EP, released earlier this year, features four tracks. Bringing a new detail to folk-rock, Olive Street’s front man Lindsey James sounds hauntingly like Connor Oberst, while the band’s resonance is reminiscent to that of the Counting Crows.

The first track, entitled “Dealbreaker,” is a soft tune resounding guitar pickings, slow drumming, and melancholy piano haunting through the quaver of James’ voice. The pain behind James’ voice is not only evident in the quivering of his vocals, but through the thoughtful lyric writing — “I didn’t know what I was putting you through… I don’t think I could be with you, it was a dealbreaker baby.”

In the EP’s second track, “Sea of Mesquite,” James’ tone is more aggressive and mildly suggestive of Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas’s husky voice, droned with background guitar and a piano suggestive of a lounge theme. “They Grow Like Weeds” includes more upbeat piano, easy drumming, and solemn guitar lines hemming the underlying theme of solitude for the characters in the song.  The album’s concluding track, “Shapeshifter,” cultivates a sorrowful mood and incorporates an unnamed female vocalist echoing on some lyrics. Towards the end of the song however, the song becomes faster paced and louder, only to return to its slow, dawdling pace in the last 50 seconds.

Henry & The Invisibles
Henry & The Invisibles
http://www.myspace.com/henryinvisible

More notable for his live performances, Henry Roland, front and sole member of Henry and the Invisibles, produces live loops on the spot to create a soulful, funk-tastic experience that guides the crowd through an orchestration of electronica and fusion.

The one man band’s Prince-like vocals suit the incorporation of looped guitar, bass guitar, percussion, keyboards, and household items such as pots and pans, coffee-cans, and water jugs.. With serviceable falsetto funk and glassy-eyed soul rock, Roland’s unhinged 1970’s nostalgia meets with non-stop dancing and grooving.

The self-titled 6 track-EP is featured on Roland’s site, http://sonicbids.com/epk/epk.aspx?epk_id=14383.

Sounding almost identical (with a more down-tempo element) to Jack Johnson’s intro to “Upside Down,” Roland’s “Power of Ten” transforms after a few bars of the recognizable beat into something more funky and fresh with Roland declaring that “it’s getting funky, it’s getting funky, it’s getting mother funky.” The second track entitled, “How You Livin’,” is a slower tune that recalls the Purple One’s sexy sultriness. Roland’s originality and experimentalism entwined with a rhythmic element becomes more and more prevalent throughout the progression of the tracks.

“Only Humans,” is resonant of alternative rockers the Pixies in its down-tempo alt. guitar riffs, vibrating bass and echoing vocals. “Sing a Song,” the standout track of the bunch, is a live performance that includes tambourine jingling and soulful cooing. Almost like church, “Sing a Song,” list life’s importance’s “one world, one heart, one love” and asks, “If we can all sing a song, then why can’t we all get along?” Midway, Roland rips into a funky bass guitar solo. The last track, “LoveJam A.K.A. The Gospel,” is also a live track and the longest at 8:21 minutes. The encompassing theme of love is ubiquitous and central not only through Roland’s repetition of the word, but in the lyrics.

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