Music Reviews: Fivespeed, CBFL, Hard-Fi

Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat.


Morning Over Midnight

Music: This Phoenix-based band has shared the stage with Breaking Benjamin and other alum from two Warped Tours, so we know they can rock out. Take for example Morning’s opening track, “Fair Trade”—loud, crunchy, and cool. Vocalist Jared Woosley, though, sometimes gets a tad angsty-tender (damn it, real men don’t cry), particularly on the ballads “Misery Loves Company” and “Blame It on You.” But he saves face—and gets a few make-up points—for adopting a Gavin Rossdale–like howl on the excellent tune “Lost Vegas.” 

Drumming: Shane Addington is by no means the second coming of Thomas Lang, but he well serves each song in a quietly smashing way. Fond of sloshy, open hi-hats on most of the album, he gets a hip and tight sixteenth-note groove going on “Wait Forever.” Check it out.

The Straight Poop: If you’re looking for grinding guitars and catchy choruses, Fivespeed takes you where you want to go. Just watch those downshifts.

Chambers, Berlin, Fiuczynski, Lavitz

Boston T Party

Music: Dennis Chambers can play anything, even simple(r) stuff, which is sometimes hard to believe given all the notes he usually beats out. On his latest outing, accompanied by Jeff Berlin on bass, Dave Fiuczynski on guitar, and T Lavitz on keys, the heavyweight stickman pulls his punches, letting the rest of the band take most of the licks. Even right from the opening track, the enticingly titled “D’funk’d,” Chambers holds back, hammering some straight quarter-notes on the hi-hat. And it still sounds great. Besides the usual fusion fare (which is tasty), the foursome also serve up a playful plate of American roots music with “I Hate The Blues … (But Here’s One Anyway).” 

Drumming: What’s black and blue and whimpers in a corner? Your bashed-up ego after trying to play the ghost-note grooves on “Deff 184.”

The Straight Poop: No, you probably won’t ever be this good. But at least you got that GED to fall back on.


Stars of CCTV

Music: Americans were still recovering from that whole Beatles thing when Coldplay hit, and now we’ve got to contend with this cheeky bunch of Brits. Hard-Fi combines quirky pop sensibilities with punk energy and raw, dirty production values. Somehow, it all comes out really, incredibly well. Tunes range from the Clash-ish “Middle Eastern Holiday” to the soul-influenced “Unnecessary Trouble” (complete with horn section) to “Move on Now,” which slows down the album’s tone and energy without sapping it.

Drumming: Fittingly, drummer Steve Kemp plays with more attitude than technique, more feeling than actual skill. He’ll rip an imperfect fill every now and then, but the groove is so good, the songs so perfect, you won’t care. Listen to how he keeps it solid while being sloppy on “Tied Up Too Tight.” Dig on the fat snare sound driving the funky “Hard to Beat.”

The Straight Poop: Superb music made by guys who prob don’t care even a tiny bit about wearing clean underwear.

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