The Black Rabbits – The Black Rabbits EP
The Black Rabbits are a high-energy rock outfit from Ashville, North Carolina. Their debut EP is full of the type of catchy, pop-rock music that is so universal, it sounds familiar even the first go-round. While that might sound like a slight, it sure isn’t! Making that type of thing sound fresh and likable, which The Black Rabbits manage to do on each of their five tracks, is no simple feat. There are a few reasons it works, one of which is simplicity. In the same way that The Beatle’s early music is characterized by short, flawlessly produced catchy rock and roll beats, so too is The Black Rabbits. Now, they don’t sound like The Beatles, but that’s the idea. Nothing too grandiose, no conceptual checks written that this 4 piece can’t cash. Vocalist Jetson Black has an appealing sound, unique but not polarizing, which is best characterized on the EP’s only slow jam, “Painter, Poet, Prophet, Priest”. Otherwise, it’s the least memorable of the lot. Luckily, there are four other peppy pop-rock tracks to love.
Sounds Like: A cheerier Eve 6 or Harvey Danger dragged through the early ’60s
Listen To: For Way Too Long Now, Emotion
Grand Canyon – The Hits
One theme of the many music submissions to SFCritic (yep, there are many! And yes, there are some themes!) is “non-traditional” releases. It seems popular in this day and age to not only forgo the more traditional record label route, but to do away with tradition all together. Grand Canyon, out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has done just that. Billing themselves as an “indie/alternative/punk/country/whatever band,” they released their debut album “The Hits” (ironic?) on cassette tape (what ARE those, right?!). Well, they sold through all 50 of those right quick, but thankfully the album is also available for digital download, free, on their website. Now, creative marketing ways aside (or gimmick, for all the haters out there). On first listen, it’s an interesting album! There are horns and harmonies. It has a solid Western feel, vaguely reminiscent of Johnny Cash. Songs like soaring, vaguely hobo-lament “Hole in My Shoe” beg to be heard in a smoky bar clutching a cold beer. However, there is nothing to be gained from the album’s length. The sound is neither distinct, complex, nor broad enough to bother listening to more than a few tracks, enjoying them, and moving on.
Sounds Like: The Hold Steady’s less lyrically-gifted cousin from the Southwest.
Listen To: From the Westside, Demons