Like a hot bath with all the suds at the end of a hellish week or a bad breakup, the debut release from the nouveau pop trio The Postmarks is a soothing (if a bit melancholic) album. This collection of songs has a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel attitude in both the lyrics (delivered via soft coos by vocalist Tim Yehezkely) and the elegant melodies. There are elements of Burt Bacharach and The Smiths, and, although the instrumentation is complex, the record never comes close to sounding overproduced.
Tennessee tough guys The Showdown have a lot of testosterone, to be sure, but in the case of their latest, overly ballsy effort, the group may have been too ambitious. Their part hair-band, part mall-metal sound is big, but it probably should be bigger. The vocals could use some bulking up (perhaps with multiple tracks) and the guitar leads are technically impressive but lack originality. However, for those desperately searching for a band to carry on the ’80s metal torch, or for avid fans of the cowbell (used on half the album’s tracks) this could be what you’ve been missing.
Philpot could perhaps best be described as the poor man’s Brian Jonestown Massacre. It’s not that there aren’t things to like about the band’s hybridization of classic rock and the dirtiest of grunge (in fact, Kentz Ward’s Scott Willen-ish vocals are the biggest positive), but the group seems unsure of who they are and are too comfortable trying to be other bands—coming off as more of an homage to rockers of old than as true pioneers.