Ben “Jammin”: Winter Music Reviews

Reverend Horton Heat

For 25 years Reverend Horton Heat has been an active band, and for 25 years they’ve been persistently chugging out albums, no small feat for a non-mainstream artist. Reverend Horton Heat plays a genre called rockabilly. For those of you who don’t know what that is, rockabilly is a mix of rock and old-fashioned country (Think Elvis and Johnny Cash). Not only does Reverend Horton Heat play this kind of music, but he’s often regarded as the person who pioneered it, so if you want to hear the honest-to-god soul of this genre, you’re in the right place. Rev, his latest album contains his classic old-time rockabilly, complete with searing electric guitar riffs and driving rhythm, provided by the double-bass. While his lyrics are often arguably light (not a bad thing for everyone), Rev does venture into more serious territory. Not too serious though, Rev is definitely what I would consider a fun album; one that you can listen to while you work out, if that suits your fancy. It’s adaptable. If you’re a fan of classic rock, you should really check out this album. As for you country listeners, if you’re looking for a harsher sound and a more on-edge, classic feel and don’t mind some truly amazing electric guitar melodies I would totally recommend this for you.

Sir Dzl/MC Del

West Coast underground hip hop MC Del the Funky Homosapien (also known as Sir Dzl), released his first album, I Wish my Brother George was Here in 1991. Since then, he has released 10 other albums and collaborated with several other artists, notably the Gorillaz and Deltron 3030. His most recent album, Iller Than Most released on Jan. 2. It can be downloaded for free on his website, and is full of Del’s funk-infused hip-hop and futuristic beats. One second he’s mocking the mainstream rap culture, and the next he’s rapping about the boogeyman, interweaving serious themes while keeping a lighthearted tone to the album.  The song “Mental Fitness” really stood out to me, with its catchy bass line. “Mental Fitness” also is a great example of Del the Funky Homosapien’s stinging lyricism. If you’re used to modern rap, Iller Than Most will return you to the glory days of 90’s hip-hop.

The Gaslight Anthem

Coming from Jersey, like many other famous bands, The Gaslight Anthem is a relatively recent band (Formed in 2007), that is honestly one of a kind. Blending 60’s soul, 90’s grunge and 50’s rock into soften comfortable, laid back songs, their unique tone gives them a very uplifting feeling. The lyrics often evoke a sense of nostalgia, amplified by leading vocalist Brian Fallon’s soothing voice and smooth guitar playing. Their most recent album, The B-Sides, is a collection of covers and acoustic recordings of some of their own songs. The acoustic tracks on this album really breathe new life into some of their older songs, such as “The 59 Sound,” giving them an entirely different feeling. I’ve even spent some time trying to learn them myself. The B-Sides has quite of bit of Brian Fallon’s solo work, which is remarkably reminiscent of the early days of Against Me due to the folk guitar. The B-Sides is a great album, especially if you are looking for a classic feel to more modern rock.