Unfortunately, there are too many very good bands going unheard in this game that major record labels are playing - "do the tighten-up", I think it's called. Spend as little as possible on developing new talent...
Fortunately, the internet, and particularly myspace and youtube, are enabling indie and unsigned artists to get their music heard, and if the artist and music are worthy, to develop an under-the-radar cult following.
California's 24E is such a band. From what I've seen on myspace, they have a large number of fans (true
"fanatics") and from what I've heard of their music on myspace, it's well-deserved. Now, enter, stage-left, the CD herein reviewed...
I recently received 24E's 'Live From Jupiter' (on the indie label Jupiter) for review, and, as TAP editor Matt Rowe has said so many times, we don't do negative reviews here at The TAP, so you can pretty much guess that I like what I hear. The band liken their sound to U2, Matchbox 20, Train and the Goo Goo Dolls. Save for the U2 reference (which mostly hints at the Edge-like playing of lead guitarist Travis Tingley, who is also capable of even more excellent guitar playing than that label might suggest), I say they're selling themselves short - way short.
These guys have a strong undercurrent of many a better artist than these references to their sound might suggest. They have managed to eek out an original voice in this age of mix'n'match sound-alikes...and these days, that is something special. The four members of 24E are obviously accomplished, experienced musicians, not just pretty faces.
Within the 15 tracks on 'Live From Jupiter', 24E unveil an almost timeless sound - a great appreciation and knowledge of rock'n'roll and the ability to use dynamics (whether within a scorcher or in the cause of a good ballad). Bassist Steve Adler and drummer Bryan Auer are very good at what they do, but, as usual (and I can say this as an ex-professional bassist/guitarist), the accolades will, undoubtedly, fall upon lead singer Chad "C-blime" Fergerstrom and the aforementioned lead-guitarist Tingley. (I do appreciate bassing and drumming more than most of the general public [having played live and in the studio for many years], and their contributions to 24E's sound should not be overlooked. I'm so particular, I notice things like Adler's bass fills when necessary and more melodic bass lines when they fit the song, and Auer's "perfect-fit" drumming, neither lacking nor over-the-top. Also, and this is the real particularist in me, his drums are tuned "tight", no overhang or annoying ringing here. Props where props are due. And so it is...)
Of the 15 songs here, all are written by various band members (save one, U2's "Desire"), and they're damn good! Fergerstrom's lead vocals are strong and confident, with plenty of swagger, at times recalling various famous progenitors: a bit of Van Morrison on "Can't Let Go", Mick Jagger on "She Move's Me", Tom Petty on "Love Is"... Tingley's lead guitar playing makes it obvious that he's a student of the guitar, displaying an excellent knowledge of the past and present. He loves the instrument and "uses" it in many a fine way, whether making it scream, march staccato notes, fly fast and tastefully, or bludgeoning the hell out of excellent chord-play. The man knows guitar!
Few popular, MTV-VH1-recycled "modern" bands of today strike my fancy...impress me in any way. And expecting something original these days is pretty much laughable amongst said popular outlets. 24E impresses me, and that's saying alot! In a perfect world, 24E will be picked up by a major label and be all over
MTV-VH1 like white on rice.
Search out this live disc. If you can't find it, go to the band's website and click on "thislittlepiggy"
to buy the disc direct for $12.00, or go to their myspace page (see both below) to hear four songs for free. I think you'll really like what you hear. I certainly do! There's still hope, music lovers, still hope...
In the world of today's new music artists, 24E's 'Live From Jupiter' is a solid 4 stars and recommended!