Album Review :
My Other Band Vol. 1 (Mono Vs. Stereo)

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Band: Various
Title: My Other Band Vol. 1
Label: Mono Vs. Stereo
Release Date: 6/27/06
Review By: Josh IndieVision

Tracklisting:

01. My Red Hot Nightmare – Hold Fast, Hold Strong
02. My Red Hot Nightmare – The Worst In Me
03. My Red Hot Nightmare – Weight Of Another
04. Matthew Thiessen & The Earthquakes – The Calendar, The Energy (If This Is You Then Woe Is Me)
05. Matthew Thiessen & The Earthquakes – The Warmth Of The Sun
06. Matthew Thiessen & The Earthquakes – Faking My Own Suicide (Demo)
07. Tyler Burkum – The Goodbye Blues
08. Tyler Burkum – City Under The Sea
09. Tyler Burkum – Better Part Of Me
10. Agnes – Gravity
11. Agnes – The Brakes
12. Agnes – Privileged Few
13. Royal Empire Music – Down Strokes
14. Royal Empire Music – God’s Vast Ocean
15. Royal Empire Music – Big Valley

I have to commend Mono Vs. Stereo on putting together this album and using this unique way of advertising new groups and side projects. Most will just throw one track on a 20 band compilation mixed with some others but MVS opted not to go that route this time. My Other Band features 5 groups, playing 3 songs each.

The first band up is My Red Hot Nightmare, which is the project of two former O.C. Supertones members, Dan Spencer and Ethan Luck. They have dropped the horns and gone straight for a punk approach this time. Think The Clash, The Ramones, and The Descendants. The band is “very part time right now” so I’m assuming that this might be your only taste for awhile. Check out their myspace for a cover of the Clash’s “Straight To Hell”.

Matthew Theissen, vocalist for Relient K, is up next. His project is dubbed Matthew Theissen and The Earthquakes, although I’m not quite sure why, because you will not find any ground shaking, thundering material here. Instead what you do come upon are tracks that will show you why his main band has become so huge. He brings more of a poppy piano driven stuff, similar to Ben Folds, on “The Calendar, The Energy” and again keeps things quiet on “Faking My Own Suicide”. A cover of the Beach Boys’ “The Warmth Of The Sun” is definitely the standout track and shows his ability to branch out. A release by this side project would certainly do tremendously well and can easily stand on it’s own apart from Relient K.

Folk must be the new emo, since it’s the thing to do these days. Joshua Moore of Beloved and Josh Scoggins of the Chariot both have solo stuff on myspace and now comes Tyler Burkum. If you don’t recognize the name, Tyler was the guitarist of now defunct Audio Adrenaline. His tracks here are the standouts of the album by far! A mixing of Johnny Cash, Wilco, and Dylan. Simple melodies that pack a huge amount of beauty!

Agnes, is Dave from Relient K heading back to his older punkier days. It reminds me alot of older Tooth & Nail punk groups like Ace Troubleshooter and Hangnail. As to be expected, from his work in RK, he knows what he is doing and presents some really catchy upbeat, pop influenced, punk here. There sure is potential here but with his schedule with RK I’m not sure how much you’ll be hearing from him.

Davy and Jared from Bleach have formed Royal Empire Music and let me tell you this band is great! “Down Strokes” brings a great early Weezer vibe and is probably the catchiest song on the album. “God’s Vast Ocean” is a quiet ballad, with not much musical work at all. “Big Valley” starts off similar to the previous track but gradually builds itself, piece by piece, to become an epic work. Instrument is built upon previous instrument, and then another is added. Horns even appear, though not the ska variety. A perfect way to wrap up this album!

Overall Rating: Since I didn’t feel I should review as a whole, because it’s not really a whole album, I have put the rankings behind each artist instead. The normal categories (Lyrics, Marketability, Production, and Vocals) are taken into the overall rating for each group.

Individual Ratings:

Album Art/Design: Asterik Studios handled the artwork on this disc and it came out pretty well. It’s basically just black shadowed musical instruments over a gold cover but it fits the release. Obviously for a sampler going huge into artwork and stuff doesn’t make sense. Simple and sweet was the best route.

Matthew Thiessen Myspace
Agnes Myspace
My Red Hot Nightmare
Royal Empire Music
Tyler Burkum

Mono vs. Stereo

Buy:
Mono Vs. Stereo at Zambooie