Bill Jasper Acoustics
(Acoustic Bridge Records)
While acoustic guitar is the center and soul of this five-song EP, it's by no means an unplugged album; Bill Jasper provides hard rockers with a Southern edge throughout. Each song is seemingly crafted from an acoustic-guitar base, then overlaid with electric guitar and a rhythm section, all by Jasper himself (a punk veteran who hasn't put out an album for seven years). It ranges from happy-go-lucky folk (as on the title track) to heavy, almost stoner rock (on the opening track, "Earthquaking Blues"). Jasper's gruff vocals sometimes feel a little affected, but he's a capable singer, and clearly feels the songs.
BILL JASPER ACOUSTICS CD RELEASE with BOTTLE RAT, PLAYOFF BEARD, NO MOVEMENT. 9 p.m. Fri., Dec. 12. Howlers, 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. $5. 412-682-0320
This debut full-length from a trio that includes the bassist from now-defunct locals The Beauregards brings jazz-inflected emo-indie rock reminiscent of, among others, Karate. A little math work here, some discordant notes there; complex but cathartic. As is often the case with young bands, the music outpaces the vocals, both in theory and execution; interesting instrumental rhythmic work on many of the songs is overlaid with vocal parts that lack a degree of nuance and variation. That having been said, it's flawlessly recorded and shows real talent, and the songwriting in terms of instruments is top-notch.