Folio Weekly - Super Famous Review
Gazing at the Reverbnation press kit page for Miami alt-rock quartet The Super Fuzz, my aging eyes were drawn to a stat chart I didn’t even know existed: a demographic breakdown of the band’s listening audience. Now, I get that these numbers are derived from some cheeseball space-age algorithm based solely on who logged on to the band’s Reverbnation page, not a random survey of the band’s audience on the last tour or even a unit-by-unit assessment of CD or download sales. But let’s entertain the numbers briefly, just for fun’s sake.
First, of The Super Fuzz’s 2,459 Reverbnation fans, 71 percent are male. Are they D&D players or single dads? Who the hell knows? But according to the algorithm, 71 percent have a penis. The majority flew in (virtually, anyway) from Facebook; a few others trickled down from Twitter. And almost all of them are from Florida.
The most alarming stat, though, is the age breakdown. A small percentage of listeners fall into the 25-34 and 35-44 group, but a huge number clock in at an ominous 45+. OK, I most certainly fall into that category, and the guys in the band are probably hitting that mark themselves (if they haven’t already). But I thought people with penises approaching 50 stopped listening to music and focused on things that really mattered, like golf carts and hair replacement treatments.
Yet as stated clearly on their press page, The Super Fuzz make no bones about drawing heavily from classic rock and ’90s hit lists. They cite The Beach Boys, Jellyfish, Cheap Trick, Weezer and Foo Fighters as influences, so it makes sense that graying, hunchbacked, mosh-phobic Floridians would be attracted to the band and their new album, Super Famous.
Hearing album-opener “Surprised Your Boyfriend’s Still Around,” I’d put The Super Fuzz in the Cave Dogs/Smithereens camp, hard-driving and raw, yet melodic and decidedly poppy. Track two, “Hooked,” is more playful and Weezerlike in a late-’60s sort of way, ironically documenting lyrically the social networking phenomenon and its effect on the ego. Both songs are sing-alongable, which is good for old bastards like me; the lyric repetition makes the song easy (or, more accurately, easiER) to remember.
A few songs in, “Promises” pops up, a mid-tempo near-Beatles ditty that bemoans the tragic loss of love. Something akin to a midlife crisis anthem, “Promises” benefits from big organs and a reverby guitar solo. It all harks back to ’70s rock balladeering. You know, like Cheap Trick used to do. Which is to say, just like The Beatles.
Maybe we should take a moment and address the obvious. Every non-Beatles band listed above was essentially a new rendering of The Beatles. Weezer, Cheap Trick, Smithereens, Cave Dogs, et al, drew deeply from The Beatles’ rock catalog. It’s frightening the influence the four Liverpool lads had on all of us, regardless of age, and I can attest the influence is still alive. My daughter’s favorite record right now is Abbey Road. She literally knows every word on the album (excepting those of “Something” which, she says, despite her love of George, is her least favorite Beatles song).
Please forgive the digression: I’m old, and I have a penis.
Moving on, “Lover’s Homicide” is too bluesy for my taste, and the lyrics (“Hey, you keep licking me the wrong way … you keep fucking me the wrong way”) come across as an aging rocker’s attempt to sound edgy. But, having spent the last decade playing local dives, I know plenty of 45+ers who would probably find this tune a splendid erectile dysfunction aid.
“Love Everyone” falls right back into Beatles camp, a slow, moody pop ballad with the Big Build before the chorus. As much as I want to hate this song, I like it. It’s formulaic and melodically predictable, but damn if it’s not catchy as hell and, thus, very likable. Jumping to the album-closer, we have an apropos big rocker, part bluesy barn-burner, part Cheap Trick at Budokan shouter, called “Speedball.” Super Fuzz even tips their hat, both lyrically and melodically, to Cheap Trick’s “Clock Strikes 10.” Can you hear the crowd holding up cell phones in appreciation?
If this comes across as somewhat derivative, well, it is. But remember, The Super Fuzz doesn’t care. They just want you to get your old bones out to a show and shake what you have left, before it falls off. And this is the kind of music you can do it to without too much worry. Just make sure your healthcare premiums are paid in full.
Pop Geek Heaven - Super Famous Review
Chris Alvy’s new band, like his previous, is Pop Rocks covered in beer, crunchy and sweet, redolent of the road house. Alvy’s fuzzy, flaming guitar struts out front like a break-dancing drum major. The chomping “Surprised Your Boyfriend’s Still Around” cedes to the aptly named “Speedball,” with its chiming doorbell anthem. “Promises” recalls the Rembrandts with its inchoate yearning that lies at the heart of most great pop. “The Music Has Gone Away” belies its title, mixing Turtles, Beach Boys, and Davenports-like elements. Alvy’s guitar is up front and center on the jagged “Lover’s Homicide,” which Taylor Swift would kill.
Musicscribe - Super Famous Review
Taking a page from the way-out-front, exuberant playbook of Cheap Trick (“Speedball” even musically quotes Rockford’s finest), The Super Fuzz play a sort of glam-inflected, power-chording rock that puts strong emphasis on melody, groove, vocal harmony and roaring-guitar-centered performance and arrangement. One might detect hints of Fastball and Redd Kross in the grooves of Super Famous. Song titles like “Surprised Your Boyfriend’s Still Around” make it clear that this isn’t deep philosophy. What it is, is fun, fist-pumping rock that will have most listeners singing along. But please keep a hand on the steering wheel. Find this and buy it.
Baby Sue - Super Famous Review
Miami New Times - Super Famous Interview
Chris Alvy ranks among the most accomplished musicians South Florida has to offer. Born in Cuba, he’s been making music on his own and with others for the better part of the past twenty years, most recently with his band The Super Fuzz. The group – Alvy on vocals and guitar, bassist Darrell Killingsworth, drummer Todd Taulbee and guitarist Eric Sanchez – released the first Super Fuzz album Art Noise in 2012, and recently announced the release of a new effort entitled Super Famous, slated for May 19. Like its predecessor, it’s a high energy set of songs, infused with catchy refrains, effusive harmonies, relentless riffing and a penchant for power pop as strong as any outfit before or since.
Alvy’s trajectory is unusual to say the least. He began his career as a professional baseball player, initially with the Chicago White Sox, then with the New York Yankees, the Detroit Tigers, and the Houston Astros. He played various positions – first base, third base and left field – before an injury sidelined him permanently and turned his attention to making music.
These days, he looks back on that part of his life with fondness, but insists he has no regrets about what could have or should have been had he stayed in the major leagues. “My passion was always music, so sports was never my number one love,” Alvy insists. “I am very grateful to have gone through all those intense experiences you go through in such a competitive business, and a lot of those skills I learned in dealing with stress and competition I constantly apply to the music business. Believe it or not, the sports and music business are very similar in many ways.”
Alvy should know. He’s made a decent chunk of change writing songs for and performing with an impressive roster of big names – Chayanne, Maria, Conchita Alonso, Alto Reed of Bob Seeger’s Silver Bullet Band and others. He’s been signed as a staff writer to Sony ATV Publishing company since 2011 which has given him inroads into the Latin music scene. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Alvy’s commitment to power pop is unequivocal, as the two Super Fuzz albums attest. Echoes of Jellyfish, Squeeze, Redd Kross, the Raspberries, and other pop pundits are clearly evident throughout. There’s little doubt however that Alvy and company bring plenty of their own effusive enthusiasm to their efforts, ensuring they labor in no one else’s shadows.
We recently sat down with Mr. Alvy and asked him to share some facts about Super Fuzz.
New Times: How did you come to write the songs for this new album?
Chris Alvy: About a year into the promotion of our previous album, I started getting the itch to start writing again for the band. I write for different genres and artists, but I felt it was time to start focusing on the rock material once again. I knew I wanted to do another Super Fuzz record since we had such a blast recording and performing the first one. I wrote around 20 to 25 new songs in a four to six month period and started demoing the tunes in my studio and sending them to the band and our manager for feedback. In that batch of songs there were some that were mellow acoustic tunes as well as the more hard edge, upbeat stuff we are known for. In the end, we ended up keeping and recording thirteen new songs and we condensed the record to ten. The leftover material will eventually get mixed and released as The Super Fuzz singles and the mellower tunes will also eventually get released, although most likely not as a Super Fuzz project.
Music Musings and Such - "Hooked" Review (Single)
WHEREAS a lot of my time is spent (in particular musical areas)…including Canada; Indie music; some predictable stuff (when it comes to Rock music), today at least, there is something new- and genuinely curious. There is scant fun- when it comes to new music- as everything seems to be serious. I am not suggesting there should be a party-party (or PART-AY) atmosphere: what is wrong with lifting the mood; brining in some bonhomie- and creating smiles? Puvlic expectation enforces sounds/moods: they look for something gripping and nuanced- a lot of times, this involves serious subjects; a more downward sound. New bands- particular Rock/Pop acts- focus on traditional issues- love and heartache; personal introspection- which can be quite somber (or at best, not particular uplifting). Bands that do things differently- and have a sense of adventure and cheer- go a bit further: inject some colour and swagger; uplift the listener. I am not ‘down’ on most music: a great deal of bands/acts (I have reviewed) are very upbeat and cheery- and infuse plenty of humour (into their songs). From the U.K. (to Canada), I have heard a lot: I have experienced nothing like The Super Fuzz. Their name alone elicits smirks of insinuation: your mind theorises images and scenes- few are anything less than X-rated. Yesterday- and today to be far- I am in a bad mood: remembering the legacy of Jeff Buckley (who died on 29th May, 1997) I have been rather upset- remembering his music has made me reflect. My all-time music idol, I have been listening to his music: wondering just how he can be gone. In need of redemeption- and some essential energy- The Super Fuzz are up the challenge- one of the most immediate acts I have encountered. Based out of Miami, the guys- mature gentleman if they’ll excuse the tip-toe side-step are as follows:
Chris Alvy : Guitar, Lead Vox
Darrell Killingsworth : Bass, Vox
Todd Taulbee : Drums, Vox
Eric Sanchez : Guitar : Vox
“Described by one morning TV show host as “Scooby-Doo meets The Blues Brothers”, The Super Fuzz makes no apologies about wearing their classic rock sensibilities on their sleeve while infusing 70’s-style production reminiscent of the post-punk movement. With influences from Jellyfish and Redd Kross to The Beatles and The Beach Boys, the group’s debut CD, Art Noise, is a 12-song reflection of the their unabashed love of guitar rock and indie pop. These Miami natives have relentlessly toured their home state of Florida since their inception last year. They have performed at the Sunfest Music Festival, International Pop Overthrow, and supported touring nationals like Soul Asylum, The Smithereens, Sister Hazel, Green Jello, and a bunch of others…”
The comparison to The Blues Brothers is quite apt: the band (in photos) have that ‘look’- cool and ‘80s-inspired; Jazz-cum-Soul brothers- in search of a good time. With cigarettes hanging (from mouths); facial hair sitting proud; hats perched atop heads- they are a traditional act; good ol’-fashioned boys- guys who know how to make (good music). New names to my mind, I have been keen to check them out: see exactly why they are so good; how their pasts have progressed. In terms of Florida-based music, I am in the dark: with the exception of ‘N Sync (who was based in Orlando), who else is there? If you are American, you are more familiar: we in the U.K. get drip-fed U.S. music; great acts tend to pass us by- a lot of great music is being hidden away. Building a great reputation, the lads have a fun and crowd-uniting sound: that is not to say they are not serious contenders. Influenced by everyone from The Black Keys to The Beatles- you can hear a little (of both acts) in their songs. Few people can resist their charm and potency: The Super Fuzz is a band on a mission; crafting songs that marry vintage with brand-new; contemporary with older- thus ensuring they attract a wide array of followers. Knowing of/having reviewed Fernando Perdomo- another south Florida musical hero- I am not shocked (The Super Fuzz) are so good- this area is spawning some awesome musicians (that we all should be aware of
Mixing Beach Boys and The Beatles- that fun, ‘60s vibe- The Super Fuzz look back at the past: make sure their music has beach-set bliss; plenty of Power-Pop grace- mixes in a modern-day centrifuge. Inspired by the early-days (The) Beatles; the Florida band put your mind (somewhere bygone and wonderful). In terms of (more modern) influences, the likes of (Ohio’s) Black Keys come through: essences of their El Camino period (shows itself across Super Famous). Sparring Blues-Rock guitars with uplifting harmonies; tying them around memorable lyrics- the Super Fuzz boys are every bit as equal (when it comes to potential and potency). Inspired by- perhaps half-jokingly; stylistically in a sense- by The Blues Brothers, there are influences of ‘50s/’60s Blues: that swing, swagger (and dance-ability) comes out in their music. Essentially, The Super Fuzz is their own band: they are one of the most distinct I have come across. They take (little shards) from the local scene- fellow musicians Fernando Perdomo count as influences (Perdomo used to be in the group- before embarking on his solo career)
When looking at their current album, it is worth looking back: to see how far the boys have come. Art Noise (their debut L.P.) was a terrific start: the 12-track collection is filled with contours, shades and emotions- packed with different themes and dreams. The title track is a perfect kick-off: heavier guitars sit with determined vocals; the song is focused and direct. This Summer’s Day is more alacritous: it has melody and relaxation- together with Rock sounds- that tempts this listener in. Songs like Something’s Missing and Born have sensitivity and introspection; Inside Job is perhaps (the album’s) finest moment. Having released A Super Fuzzy X-Mas, the band arrives with Super Famous: their second L.P. Their new material retains their core personality: all the same themes and sounds; influences and styles- yet expands upon the theme. Having developed and augmented- since their debut- the band bring in new subjects (the writing and production values are improved and at their peak); the performances are tighter too. Having upped their game- the lyrics are more addictive and memorable- the boys have fresh confidence: each track radiates and shines; there is greater depth and diversity. Whilst retaining their core- and not compromising their ethics and unique sound- the band sound stronger and more electrifying- which is guaranteed to recruit new supporters and fans. Too many bands do not make big leaps- or really make improvements from release to release- yet The Super Fuzz have grown and solidified- their music gets stronger with each passing record. If you are a fan of the aforementioned- the likes of The Beatles and Beach Boys- you will find much to love. Plenty of modernity lies in their music: from U.S. Blues-Rock to current-day Pop (the band has a kaleidoscope of sounds). Essentially, the boys mix fun and romance; drama and Rock- plenty of sunshine is in there too. Super Famous is a perfect representation of the band: an album intended to be loved by all (which it will be).
Beginning with a fuzz of guitars- a brief and blissed-out coda- the (album’s lead song) gets underway. With Alvy at the microphone, the morning routine is afoot: “I wake up in the morning/and I check that my computer’s on…” Letting his words tumble and spiral, there is a great sense of pace and urgency: in the initial stages, the band do not let the listener reflect- consequently (the album as a whole) makes an instant impression. Having a youthful vibe (to the vocals) – reminding me of Fountains of Wayne-via-Blink-182- our hero is “feeling fine.” A subject- and routine- that is close to us all; it is a song we can all relate to: how long from the time we wake, to checking emails/social media? That idea of being ‘hooked’- stuck on social media; powerless to resists its inane charm- is explored: all of us (in our own way) rely too heavily (on Facebook and social media). Not often explored (by other acts), there is that sense of Stockholm Syndrome: being hooked, but feeling at ease and unbothered. The infectious delivery is bested (only by) the vocal: Alvy delivers his words with spirit and upbeat chirp. Backed by the band- who supply a tight and delirious swirl- the song becomes seriously addictive. As it progresses, the subjects is (expanded upon): sharing his photos online, our hero is doing what he does- a life with little human contact. Having a slight edge of The Offspring- that Dexter Holland-esque sound- the band mix together ‘80s-‘90s U.S. sounds; infuse 1960s Beach Boys- top it off with modern vibes and superb production. A terrific blend of humour and pathos, the song is designed to be remembered- its simplicity and directness burrows into the brain. Our hero- after sharing his photos online- seems destined to (repeat the process) – there is that sense of necessity and dependency. Fusing together Sunshine-Pop and Punk; a little bit of Rock and you have a hypnotic smoothie- a multifarious blend of flavours and sensations. Insatiably upbeat, Hooked does what it sets out to do: have the listener hooked in; make sure you repeat (the song) over and over. Wanting to walk away and surrender- the chorus is that which is not only memorable; it is a calling-out for help- our hero is powerless: the likes (of Facebook) has him drugged. Dispensing its message in an economical manner- the song is 2:11; the link (for the track) includes the song Surprised Your Boyfriend’s Still Around– it is impressively impactful. Both fun-filled and meaningful, it is not a disposable and throw-away track: here is a song that is hugely impressive and purposeful. A personal confession- and warning sign to social media addicts- you will find yourself hitting ‘repeat’- going back and listening to the track. Pairing a catchy chorus with a nuanced composition, Hooked is apt (in every sense).
Praise must be given (to the entire band). Alvy’s vocals are light and breezy; soulful and distinct: you are hard-pushed to compare him with another. Containing shades of Power-Pop/U.S. Rock singers- without being too heavy-handed- and you have a unique sound- that does a great service to the track. The delivery is consistently impressive: filled with urgency and spirit, it adds conviction to every line. His guitar work is impressive throughout: never overpowering or encroaching, it adds great weight to proceedings- at times light and summer-like; at others heavy and squalling. Todd Taulbee’s percussion drives the song; leads from the back and keeps the spine steady: always focused and sharp, it is the heartbeat of Hooked (he also contributes backing vocals). Daniel Killingsworth lets his bass snake and strike; groove and dance: it is both authoritative and unifying. Showing himself to be an incredible player, the bass player features heavily in Hooked– and the album as a whole- making memorable impressions.
Having spoken with the band’s manager (Roman); listened to their music- and sought out their biography and influences- I am a dedicated fan. With their Power-Pop mandates- reminding me of The Beatles and The Beach Boys- together with some Blues-Rock swing (The Black Keys at their peak), you can’t go wrong- investigate the boys now. I have been busy in the U.K./Canada- and reviewing musicians here- it is nice to be back in the U.S. One of my favourite (countries for music); and exploring a new region (I hope more Florida acts step forth- not TOO many, mind). Being overly-familiar with music’s (more introverted) sounds: it is wonderful to experience sunshine and wit- something very much here-and-now. Mixing their vintage influences; together with some modern vibes- The Super Fuzz boys are on a mission. Celebrated (in their native U.S.), the band has a unique artistry: one that more should follow. I will leave with a brief thought: that which concerns new music in general. Too many bands- especially in this country- are too concerned with force (and heaviness) – there is little regard given to sunshine, humour- and something altogether lighter. Few acts manage to lighten the mood; get the people dancing- without resorting to same-same subjects; love and heartbreak etc. Employing original subject matters; going that extra mile- the Florida sun is much-welcomed here. Disintermediating their influences- by only nodding to their idols- the band whip up a summer-time feel. With (predominantly) U.K.-based acts- that play Rock and Pop- tending to play it safe (bar a special few), we need a shake-up: look towards U.S. shores; take some of their potential- and use it here. It would be good- if The Super Fuzz played here- as London would welcome them in: they are guaranteed to blow away homogenised scenes; bring their magic to the capital. Super Famous is accessible and nuanced: filled with fascinating tales; sensational scintillation- maker sure you investigate its wonders. With few weak moments; plenty of fun and glory: this is an album (we should all here). Perhaps ironically-titled, the boys are keen to keep going: play like they always have; enjoy their relative anonymity- that will not last long. When the L.P. travels abroad- and reaches us here- the band will find new faces (and great support). In a weekend that provides intermediate sunshine- and uncertain weather- I am clinging to The Super Fuzz- capable of banishing the British blues. When you consider that it is…
A very refreshing change of pace.
Backstage in South Florida
Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: A cool quartet of home brewed offerings.
There's been a flurry of superb local releases lately, proving that South Florida's hitting some right notes. Four albums in particular offer cause to celebrate the wealth of our diverse sounds. These include a bunch of guys you've probably heard of, scene staples, if you will. And though we may not get the attention we deserve down here all of the time, there's an abundance of really listenable music being made on this peninsula that isn't Rick Ross.
As always, at the top of the local list, one finds Fernando Perdomo, omnipresent musician, local entrepreneur and the singer/songwriter who helms the prolific outfit Dreaming in Stereo. Fernando apparently lives in California these days, but considering his involvement in the local scene and his ongoing musical presence, we'll still consider him a homeboy. On his latest offering, and, remarkably, first solo album ever, Home Is Wherever You Are, he takes ;a dramatically different tack than he pursued under the Dreaming in Stereo banner. Whereas his work with the band tends to glean from British rock forebears -- the Beatles, ELO and the like -- these sounds veer more to the mainstream, given its symphony of strings and orchestrated arrangements.
On opening track "Home," Perdomo adopts a soaring, wide-eyed wail, while the enticing "Lazy" gives ample cause to stay in bed and shut out the world. Still, despite its brevity, this is an ambitious venture to be sure, one that spotlights Fernando's finesse when it comes to crafting larger than life motifs. Here's reason to give a fervent welcome to home.
If ever there was an apt title for an album, then the Lee Boys' latest -- Testify -- would have to take the prize. A revved up and celebratory set of songs, it affirms their penchant for old school soul and a gospel-tinged attitude. The sextet, led by three Miami-bred brothers who, of course, share the last name Lee, sparks an instant celebration from the get-go -- thanks to opening tracks "Smile" and "Going to Glory" -- and doesn't let up from that point on.
Spiking the proceedings with ample dashes of funk and frenzy, they punctuate the proceedings with whoops, rhythm, and harmony. Oftentimes they bring to mind Robert Randolph and company, thanks in large part to their use of pedal steel in a similarly knowing delivery. There's no way to keep still listening to this gem, and even if one's a non-believer, it's all but impossible not to suck up the spirit regardless. Testify indeed.
Chris Alvy could be considered a veteran of the South Florida scene, with a resume that stretches back well over a decade to the 1990s. Since his signing with Fernando Perdomo's Forward Motion Records label, he seems to have stepped up his game by effectively reinventing himself as a reborn rocker. Not that he's never laid claim to that status before, but his recent efforts have clearly amped up his intents and retooled his hooks to evoke a prime power pop approach.
His new album, Art Noise, previously released in an abbreviated version under the aegis of the Chris Alvy Band, has him sharing the marquee with a band dubbed the Super Fuzz, but with Alvy taking the role of guitarist and lead singer -- as well as prime co-composer -- his imprint is firmly etched all over. Happily then, Art Noise not only lives up to its description, but Alvy's brand as well, given its abundance of effusive rockers and melodies that yield to old school indulgence. The title track, for example, sounds like Cheap Trick operating on all cylinders, and "Love" purveys a faint psychedelic sheen. Likewise, "Something's Missing" resembles nothing less than a Badfinger track that's been lost to the ages. A fine effort by Alvy and crew, it's easy to consider Art Noise his best noise yet.
I can never resist the temptation to tease Roger Houdaille and company about their communal handle, Ex Norwegian, although I console them with the fact I felt their earlier incarnation, Father Bloopy, sounded equally odd. At this point, my comments have become more than redundant, given that the music contained on the band's recent series of fine albums more than make up for my misgivings about their moniker. And indeed, Ex Norwegian's latest, simply titled House Music, finds them amping up their musical muscle and boldly coming into their own.
Houdaille's obvious fondness for retro rock devices doesn't so much dominate the proceedings, as it serves to affirm his own instincts when it comes to brash, high energy, over-the-top indulgence. There's a time-tested feel to the set overall, beginning with "Original Copy," a track that sounds like it was culled from the Velvet Underground's initial outings and ending up with "Have a Coffee on Us,' With its pervasive jangle. "Join the Fray" and "Tong As In Pete" heighten the intensity level and significantly add to the tumult. All in all, this makes for an explosive display, even prior to delving into the half dozen bonus tracks that extend the set. Suffice it to say, this Ex Norwegian makes the former brethren proud.
The Chris Alvy Band Performs on Studio 10
Check out the Chris Alvy Band's appearance on Studio 10 in Tampa from June 14th.
The Chris Alvy Band Performs on Good Day
CHRIS ALVY BAND “ART NOISE”- POWERPOPAHOLIC
After a wild debut EP last year, The Chris Alvy Band is back with a more realized full length album. Joined by Fernando Perdomo (who also produced and engineered) it re-does a few of the previous EP tracks and adds several more. Not an easy band to categorize, they have a loose guitar rock style with snappy melodies (sort of like an updated version of The Spin Doctors) but they also have a touch of Badfinger in there too.
The band opens up with the title track, a party styled anthem that reminds me of those 90′s comedy movie soundtracks. ”Can’t Get You Off My Mind” has some great harmonies in the chorus, and Alvy’s strong power chords take over from there. A funky beat starts off “This Summer’s Day” and the middle eight takes the band to the next level, here the guitar solo is just as impressive. Then we get “Something’s Missing,” it’s a wonderful mid-tempo ballad which reminds me of Pete Ham’s “It Had To Be.” The band certainly knows how to write a sticky chorus, both ”Inside Job,” and “The Fall” qualify with swirling hard guitar leads and solid hooks. It takes a delicate balance of guitar theatrics and solid melodic composition to make it all work right. The band does a great job till the last few tracks, where they kind of channel Extreme and the harmonies fade away. Overall, a really excellent album that will appeal to many fans of hard driving melodic rock.
MUSOSCRIBE ALBUM: The Chris Alvy Band
Naming an album is no small matter. Choose wisely, and you succeed in distilling the contents of the record into a few words: call it Dark Side of the Moon, for example, and we know to expect something a bit trippy. Name it Never Mind the Bollocks and you’ve telegraphed to listeners that the music might be a tad abrasive, confrontational. Choose poorly and you run the risk of misdirection.
I must admit that from my point of view, theChris Alvy Band has chosen poorly in titling their new album. When I hear or read a title such asArt Noise, a few thoughts immediately come to mind. Art rock (a la Roxy Music, perhaps), noise rock, and then The Art of Noise, the 80s Trevor Horn project now inextricably entwined with the Max Headroom character in many listeners’ memories.
But guess what: none of those mental images has the least in common withArt Noise. It’s neither particularly arty nor especially noisy, and the straight-ahead power-rock / pop-rock / power-pop approach won’t remind you of that overused “orchestra hit” sample form the 80s.
No, Art Noise is sturdy rock of the sort that will appeal to anyone who digsRaspberries, Jason Falkner, Greenberry Woods…that sort of very high quality, emphasis-on-melody thing. The double-tracked lead guitar licks on “Something’s Missing” sounds a bit like Pilot, Badfinger, or a Wingsouttake. There’s a little lick in the song that I’d swear was lifted from aKlaatu deep album track; whether it was or wasn’t is beside the point: it’s clear that Alvy and his bandmates have absorbed that sort of music into their systems, to good effect.
“Inside Job “swings and swaggers like prime Redd Kross; the song’s infectious chorus and stomping bridge reminds listeners what was so damn fine about bands like Cheap Trick and Shoes. The muted guitar chording on “The Fall” gives way to a near-anthemic arrangement; it’s exuberant, top-down-driving music.
One of the most effective qualities about Art Noise as a whole is the manner in which “soft” keyboard textures – strings, etc. – are employed in the delivery of “hard” arrangements. It’s a subtly effective approach, one rarely found in rock records. The mid-tempo yet rocking “Love” is an especially fine example of this; doomy Mellotron-style strings provide a warm melancholy to the song.
The band rocks hard-n-riffy on “Before You Burn and Fade.” A tasty guitar solo (shades of Thin Lizzy) and handclaps are among its highlights. “This is Your Life” ups the ante, and the close-harmony dual lead vocal conjures memories (again) of Redd Kross, specifically their 1993 tour de forcePhaseshifter. And the band provides further proof that they can rock with subtlety on “Born,” a dusty, windswept ode that manages to evoke concurrent thoughts of The Beatles‘ “I Want You (She’s so Heavy),” the 21stcentury stomp of Wolfmother, and the impenetrably weird 80s TV seriesTwin Peaks all at once.
Don’t hold the title against the Chris Alvy Band – Art Noise is prime melodic rock of the timeless variety. Swimming at the more rocking end of the powerpop pool, the Chris Alvy Band has crafted an all-killer-no-filler winner in Art Noise.
Review: Chris Alvy Band "Art Noise"
The Chris Alvy Band is back with their new album, “Art Noise”, which follows their “Anything Goes” EP (both on Forward Motion Records). We’ve been eagerly awaiting this full-length effort since being blown away by the EP (review here). The Chris Alvy Band casts the classic sound of vintage 70’s rock in a contemporary light – much like Jellyfish did back in the 90s. The band sites influences that include the Beatles, Bowie, The Beach Boys, Todd Rundgren, andJason Falkner (Jellyfish, The Grays). In fact, the band set out to make a record that “delivers an enjoyable listening experience reminiscent of the days when people bought records to listen to them in their entirety, not just for one or two songs”.
The band line up consists of Chris Alvy (lead vocal/guitar), Darrell Killingsworth (bass), Todd Taulbee (back vocals/drums), Fernando Perdomo (back vocals/guitar), and Ana Valenzuela (keyboards). People familiar with the “Anything Goes” EP are going to recognize some of the tracks, as some have been duplicated for “Art Noise” (this includes “Inside Job”, “The Fall”, and “This Is Your Life”, all of which are outstanding). The title track kicks things off with great pomp and circumstance, quickly quenching our thirst for the crunchy riffs and catchy choruses Alvy teased us with on the preceding EP. The title track sizzles with spicy lead guitar work, a groovy organ, and tasty backing vocals – a tune that can help kick start your day for sure. Another round of sophisticated harmonies and compelling chord changes come at you in the splendid “Can’t Get You Off Of My Mind”. And that’s not all – the band shows us that they can still make an engaging song when slowing things down – “Something Missing” is simply gorgeous, and “Born” is epic in a “House of the Rising Sun” kind of way.
“Art Noise” is available now and should be put at the top of your “to buy” list!
iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9
POP GEEK HEAVEN, Mike Baron: CHRIS ALVY BAND
NEW REVIEWS UK: "Anything Goes EP"
NEW REVIEWS UK: "Inside Job" Music Video
CITYLINK: "They'll Give You Fever"
AN INSIDE JOB
On his new single, "Inside Job," Chris Alvy revisits an unpleasant experience in the music business. "I have been exposed/Someone broke the silence, broke the code/I wrote a six-chord song/Now, the label's asking questions, asking what is wrong," sings Alvy, whose real name is Jesus Alvarez. "I told the bitch it looks like an inside job/Deep within the ranks where no lines get crossed/I told the bitch it came from the inside/From deep in the heart, man/She said my problem was inside/Now, don't wanna write no more." (Watch the song's video here.)
While inside job typically refers to a crime committed by a trusted source, in Alvy's song, it means digging deeper as a songwriter, and the crime is the absence of that. "The song is inspired by a true event that happened to me while writing songs for artists in the Spanish market," Alvy explains. "Basically, some collaborator I write with complained to certain people about my arrangements being a bit too complicated for the market."
The song appears in on the Chris Alvy Band's new EP for Forward Motion Records, Anything Goes, which can be heard at Reverbnation.com/chrisalvy. Alvy will perform 9 p.m. Saturday at the Poor House, 110 S.W. Third Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Call 522-5145 or visit Poorhousebar.com.
Contact Colleen Dougher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Songs: The Devil You Know
While not everyone believes in the Devil, it’s a concept many people use to describe the interior voice that tempts them to do things they want to do but know they shouldn’t. That’s the impish demon explored in the following songs written by South Florida musicians.
Anyone who has ever acted spontaneously without considering the consequences may relate to“The Devil’s Playground” by Miami singer-songwriter Chris Alvy. In his song about resisting temptation, Alvy pleads, “Don’t go down to the devil’s playground/Don’t go down to the devil’s playground, please/… I wanna go down to the devil’s playground.” “We all have ventured into ‘the devil’s playground’ at some point in our lives, especially when we are young,” Alvy explains. “That playground is where all the things that tempt you are. So the person is telling himself not to go into it, but at the same time, he wants to.” To hear “The Devil’s Playground,” visitReverbnation.com/chrisalvy. Alvy, who will release an album on Forward Motion Records this spring, will perform March 29 at Van Dyke Café in Miami Beach.
Local Songs: Rocking In The Sun
“I’m sitting here waiting for the sun, bring me a sunny day,” Miami’s Chris Alvy sings in “Waiting for the Sun.” The singer-songwriter explains, “The lyrics are a bit abstract, but in the opening lines he’s talking about a relationship gone wrong. … He basically has given up and is again just waiting for the sun — something good — to happen to him. It’s a bit depressing at times, but it’s a feeling we all go through, when things just don’t go the way you want.” To hear “Waiting for the Sun,” visit Reverbnation.com/chrisalvy. Alvy will release an EP on Forward Motion Records in early 2012.
Local Spotlight: Chris Alvy Band
Capturing the essence of 70′s vintage rock and coupling this sound with a modern edge, The Chris Alvy Band has taken fans on a musical journey through 4 full length albums and generated over 10,000 independent sales in a short amount of time. Through catchy choruses and sophisticated harmonies it’s simple to see that their latest album Art Noise is definitely of the timeless variety.
Where do you find the inspiration for your lyrics and style of music?
Chris: I think my inspiration most likely comes from the bands and sounds i grew up with around my house. My parents always had the beatles,david bowie,jethro tull,the stones…..all the classic stuff from the 6o’s and 70′s was always in the background when i was a kid. That upbringing is what inspires my music sense of arrangement and melody, as far as lyrics, my inspiration has always been my surroundings and what i am personally going through at the time.
You guys seem pretty opposed to the norm. So what message are you trying to send by playing covers of other local bands music?
Chris: If the norm is the crap I hear on the radio or I see at these lame award shows, then yes, I am totally opposed to it. We have no message in our music, our only message or goal, has been to write timeless songs. Good music is our focus always…I think we’ve done a pretty job on our cd ART NOISE and I believe we can only get better. As far as covering the locals, well, again, we are not only a local band, we are also fans of many of the bands around town. So I came up with the idea to cover some of our favorite artist here in Florida. I must admit, we’ve slacked a bit, just because we’ve been very busy performing, but we will eventually get back on that. We managed to do Dreaming In Stereo’s”Lazy,” and we did Kim Drake’s “Modest Man.” Soon we’ll have another one out.
Fernando, how do you manage to juggle a record label, tour, and be in two bands at the same time?
Fernando: Music is my life. I have no day job, so I produce bands and work with my artists. I’ll sleep when im dead. Im a card carrying member of 2 bands right now Dreaming in Stereo and Chris Alvy Band. Chris Alvy Band is the rock band I have always wanted to be in which lets me take Dreaming in Stereo into more of a singer songwriter vibe wihch suits my voice better. Aside from playing a lot I produce and the label is an easy job to run being that we don’t really have a lot of money at our disposal.
Not many bands pay attention to charities let alone hold full-on charity benefits that tie into their shows, why is it so important for the band to do this?
Chris: We need to give back to the community and help those in need, it’s a human thing. Our celebrity helps to make people listen and bringing entertainment to the people is a charity all its own.
Having performed at the International Pop Overthrow last year, what was the difference between touring in Miami and touring in California?
Chris: In California, people actually go out to see music. In Miami people go out to party. We prefer playing to people that want to listen and not talk over the music. Plus the International Pop Overthrow people eat us up because we make traditional power pop music that has a classic sound. Beatles, Cheap Trick, Todd Rundgren, Big Star, Elvis Costello , Jellyfish, and The Grays are our faves and our fans favs.
Your latest album Art Noise is very melodic and is not the average rock and roll album, how has living in South Florida influenced this?
Chris: Living in Florida has not influenced our sound or our way of writing actually. If it did, we’d probably be doing more dance/trance or latin vibes.,oh I forgot reggaeton. Our influences come from the 60′s – 70′s and actually even 80′s. I mean I love The Knack, The Romantics, The Pretenders, etc. I find no inspiration or influence in our music that I can attribute to living here in South Florida, not to say I don’t love Miami, and Florida.
Finish this sentence. Support local music because…
Chris: I happen to be a fan of many of the local bands around town. If i did not like the music I could’t support it.I love the fact that there are some cool sounds coming from our own neighborhood. Off the top of my head I know I dig The Deadly Blank (which we’ve done many shows with) Space Between Words & Radioboxer also come to mind.Very original sounds. Always liked Fernando Perdomo’s Dreaming In Stereo.These bands being more on the rock vibe. On the more pop or r & b one of the best on the scene would be Robert Elias & the Revenge, and of course Jacob Jeffries band has always impressed me. I really like whats going on in the scene at the moment. I feel there’s a momentum going on that certainly was not here a year or two ago, and Chris Alvy band is happy to be right in the middle of it. Proudly announcing that “there is rock & roll in Miami.”