500 Word Review: Jeff Caudill “Voice/Wishing Well”

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For those who might not be familiar with Jeff Caudill, he is the frontman for the notable punk band, Gameface.  Singing for the band since the early 90s, and also being apart of the group, Your Favorite Trainwreck, since 2012, Caudill has established himself as an accomplished artist within the punk scene for decades.  However, it’s the recent release of two tracks as a solo artist that has caught my attention.  The tracks “Voice” and “Wishing Well”, which are Sense Field and Black Sabbath covers, have been recorded to fit the style of Caudill’s solo material with all proceeds earned from the two singles being donated to the family of Jon Bunch.

Photo by Todd Fixler

After listening to the 2 song project entirely, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the instrumental tracks embodying a soothing and well recorded sound.  The vocals from Caudill himself are very clear in quality and intertwine well with these superb instrumental tracks.  Starting with “Voice”, in Jeff Caudill’s version of the song, the track starts off very bland, but begins to steadily improve as Jeff fleshes out the track further and further. The use of multiple electric and acoustic guitar tracks, keyboard, bass, and percussion tracks, and even doubled tracked vocal sections that slowly emerge as the song progresses truly strengthens the song. In a similar way to how Sense Field originally recorded the track, Caudill starts off with only a handful of individual tracks and builds upon this base gradually as the song goes on.  Even though Caudill’s version is very similar to Sense Field’s original recording, I actually like Jeff’s version a little better, as it is able to embody the distinct power that the original track features without bombarding the listener with noise.  The use of varying acoustic instruments and better recorded vocals give it a more fuller sound that is not heard on the original version. Essentially, “Voice” is a song that starts off simplistic and gradually adds different parts brick by brick until you hear the true, full sounding composition.

“Wishing Well”, the Jeff Caudill version that is, starts off in a very similar way that “Voice” does.  An intricately strummed acoustic guitar matched with a vocal track, that I have mixed opinions about, are the only two instruments heard when we initially hear the first few measures of the song. “Wishing Well” also fits “Voice’s” structure of gradually adding parts, but instead of constantly adding more layers of instrumentation, “Wishing Well” adds a single piano track, a single percussion track, and only double tracks the vocals in sections where Jeff sees that it is necessary to fit the delivery of the specific lines sung. The rhythmic flow of the song itself and the calm, melodic guitar riffs give the song a dreamy sound that I really enjoy in “Wishing Well” that also reminds me of mid to late 90s Bush material. This is slightly different from “Voice”, which has more of an upbeat, sing-a-long structure that is also something I’m fond of.  When comparing Jeff’s version to the original Black Sabbath track, it’s clear that the two versions are polar opposites, as the Black Sabbath recording is more harsh and in your face, and at some points, even reminds me of Creedence Clearwater Revival, which is fairly odd considering this song was written by one of the first metal bands to exist.  There are some notable similarities, however, as the chorus in Jeff Caudill’s version matches the melodic, close to anthem sounding, structure heard in the original and each version features a powerful delivery of the meaningful lyrics that make up “Wishing Well”.

Even though I am really not a huge fan of the vocal melodies heard on these two songs, how Jeff uses the powerful lyricism in the original tracks to relate to his personal life is fantastic and helps explain why he chose to cover these two tracks.  The purpose behind this project is to pay tribute to Jeff’s late friend, Jon Bunch, who was the vocalist of Sense Field.  After his death last year, Jeff Caudill has put together these two songs, which lyrically are dedicated to him, in order to pay tribute to the singer and close friend while also donating the profits made to Bunch’s family.  Hearing the somber, sincere sadness in his voice mix with the powerful lyricism in both “Voice” and “Wishing Well” elevates this project to something truly memorable.  Lyrics like “And I want to hear it again that it’s going to be all right” and “Look in the water, tell me what do you see reflections of the love you give to me” truly resonate with the listener and help connect with the emotions Jeff is expressing in these two tracks.

Overall, while I was not a huge fan of the overall sound of the covers, their meaning and how they were recorded are truly phenomenal.  I give the project a 7.5/10 and highly suggest that you take 6 min out of you day to listen to and appreciate this release from Jeff Caudill.  The songs are attached below and check back in later this week for more reviews due out very soon!

 

“Voice”:

“Wishing Well”:

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Track of the Day Tuesday: KILL SURF CITY Weird World

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Late last week Kill Surf City (aka Grey Gordon) released a surprise new single called “Weird World”.  The first new material from the lo-fi indie act since his phenomenal EP “Wreckage”, “Weird World” is a catchy new track with stellar lyricism.  Using an upbeat, cymbal riding drum beat with an instantly memorable guitar riff in each verse that is reminiscent of early 2000s and even late 90’s alternative punk, “Weird World” is the great evolution of Kill Surf City’s sound, and it is, without a doubt, the “Track of the Day Tuesday”.

Starting off with a hazy acoustic guitar strumming a constant chord and the iconic, reverb filled vocals of Gordon himself, the track can easily be determined as one of the best releases by KSC.  Listening through the short track I was pleasantly surprised to hear multiple solos with a dream pop, almost shoegaze-esque, guitar tone that was present in both the verse and the chorus.  This perfectly complimented, not only the choruses that sounded reminiscent of something you would hear on “Hyperview”, but also the song structure of modern KSC songs themselves, and I hope it is something that is mixed into more Kill Surf City songs in the future.  It’s hard to say if this is my favorite project from Kill Surf City, as I absolutely love “Wreckage” and really enjoy “Split Yr Head”, but I guarantee this new track makes a strong argument as to why it deserves to be considered one of the act’s best releases.  Overall, if I was to give this single a rating, I would give it a 9.7/10 and it is easily one of my favorite new releases of the year so far!

Like usual, you can stream the track below.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of KSC’s short discography, and while you’re at it, give “Wreckage a listen here.  Let us know what you think of “Weird World”, the track you absolutely need to give a listen to today, and send us any tracks you think should be on next week’s “Track of the Day Tuesday”

Breaking News: New Nine Inch Nails EP Out This Friday

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This Friday, iconic industrial rock titans, Nine Inch Nails, will be releasing a brand new EP.  The upcoming EP, titled “Not the Actual Events”, will be released on their website (http://www.nin.com) on December 23rd and is the group’s first release since 2014.  The new material will also be the first project to feature the group’s newest member, Atticus Ross.  The duo of Ross and Reznor have worked on numerous successful scores in recent years, like “Gone Girl”, “Before the Flood”, and “Juno” to name a few, so their collaboration on new NIN materials will be very interesting to hear!

Unfortunately a single for the upcoming project has yet to be released.  With the project recently being announced, it is very unlikely we will hear any previews before the EP’s release date Friday.  However, a review of the project will definitely be posted once the EP is out!  Visit the site regularly to see more updates about the new Nine Inch Nails EP along with all other music news and content!

“Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” Turns 21 Today

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Exactly 21 years ago today, The Smashing Pumpkins released their third and legendary studio album, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”.  “Mellon Collie”, which features instant classics like “1979”, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”, and “Tonight, Tonight”, became one of the best selling The Smashing Pumpkins albums ever, selling over 5,000,000 copies in the United States (certified Diamond by RIAA) alone since 1995, and causing the group to top multiple charts like US Billboard 200 and Australian ARIA Albums Chart.  Along with seeing outstanding record sales, the album itself would also go on to be one of the most influential releases of the 90s, helping establish The Smashing Pumpkins’ place in rock history while also shaping the sound of 90s music all together.  This album and its predecessor, “Siamese Dream”, are usually the first two things you think of when you hear the name, The Smashing Pumpkins, and are widely acclaimed as the group’s two masterpieces.

Personally, The Smashing Pumpkins will always be a band that I look up to and think highly of, and “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” is one of the reasons for this admiration.  I encourage everyone reading this to listen to at least one track off “Mellon Collie” and appreciate the significance the album has had on both rock music and individual music fans alike.  I know for a fact that “Tonight, Tonight” will be on repeat in my music library for the rest of the day!