Locals Only: : Disc-O-Mania

A look at some recent notable local releases

Mar 5, 2003 at 2:06 pm

· Moonlight Graham is the new band from local singer/songwriter Chris Bailey. On the group's debut EP, Caught Running in the Rain, Bailey and band — bassist David Hisch, drummer Michael Sams and sax-man Mark Heiple — display an organic, reflective approach that should perk up the ears of fans of like-minded local, Ryan Adcock. Bailey's intimate, heartfelt songwriting is the cornerstone, but what makes MG more inviting is the way they flesh the tunes out with a creative, ethereal plethora of sounds. For example, on "Everywhere," keyboards and chiming guitar swells add to the Folksy grace, while Heiple's economic, crafty sax parts avoid E Street Band or Pink Floyd clichés, something few who have attempted have ever been able to pull off. Caught Running in the Rain is an enticing starting point for these promising newcomers. For more info, check the band's Web site: moonlightgraham.org.

Moonlight Graham plays Friday at Plush.

· Right Before Never is the debut album from Oxford-based Rock foursome Koyl. The CD — produced by Scott Mathews, who was part of the late '70s cult New Wave/Power Pop band The Durocs and has worked with the likes of Beach Boys, Keith Richards and Dick Dale — has a quirky Pop/Rock flow that is akin to The Samples or even Barenaked Ladies, thanks largely to singer Rob Morvillo's pronounced vocal style. For a band only together a couple of years, Koyl sounds incredibly accomplished on Right Before Never.

Melodically engaging, appropriately groovecentric and impressively dynamic in all the right places, Right Before Never moves with the confidence of industry veterans and the optimism of musicians not yet jaded by it all. More on Koyl can be found at koyl.net.

See Koyl live on Thursday at Pachinko (in Oxford) and March 27 at the Barrelhouse.

· The D.I.Y., home-recording facet of the local music scene is producing some of the finest music out there, as evidenced by everything from The Minor Leagues' amazing debut last year to the ongoing success of the datawaslost lot. New Equations for the Simple Mind, the new CD from The Spectacular Fantastic, is another great entry into the field. The SF is the solo work of Mike Detmer, member of the local group Folk?, and New Equations is his second release for Philly-based Ionik Records. A bit more "fi" than most lo-fi offerings, Detmer mixes inviting Pop molds with an experimental bent that never trounces the song's impact. Detmer is a clever, imaginative songwriter who keys in on the "catchy melody" aspect of Pop, but doesn't limit himself, often sliding comfortably into Roots Rock, Folk and even Country motifs. Some of Detmer's songs have a scrappy Neil Young quality ("Depression"), and he never shies away from a psychedelic tinge when the mood strikes. Awesome stuff. Highly recommended.

Check ionikrecords.com for more on New Equations.

· The raw buzz of The Socials' Narrow Minded Entertainment for a Close Minded America instantly conjures images of '70s prototypical Grrrl Punk icons like The Slits, Poly Styrene and maybe even The Raincoats. That's largely due to Socials' singer/guitarist Miss Communication's sassy, attitudinal vocal style, which struts and spits with the best of 'em. Narrow Minded is the band's first release, collecting earlier demo recordings they did with Andy Slob of local heroes, The Slobs. There's a distinct looseness to The Socials' approach — let's call it "swagger" — but even when things don't exactly synch up, it's a group effort and more often than not it works. Songs like "Tunnels Under the City" work best, utilizing a more staggered slanted Post Punk vibe that befits Communication's elastic vocals. And the group has an endearing non-cookie cutter approach to song structure, loading tunes up with unexpected bends and curves. The Socials (which also features drummer The Juice by Jerry and bassists Shawn Obnoxious) are currently readying a follow-up, which may be a better representation of where they are now. Still, there's a dirty charm to this warts-and-all debut. You can e-mail [email protected] for more on this and other Socials happenings.

The Socials play March 28 at Cody's Cafe.