Jason Bean. Black Then Blue Then Gray (Mudfish Records). Jason Bean is a lyricist at heart, immediately apparent in this revealing CD. Waxing poetic, his lines for “All We Have” showcase wisdom about living in the moment, holding on and letting go, as he sings against a wash of guitar and cymbals above a walking piano line: “When tomorrow’s all we have today/ to make things right to make a change/ tomorrow’s all we have today/ we seek it out we change our minds/ we hope there’s something left to find/ tomorrow’s all we have today.” The CD’s songs move along with the same musical backbone, with guitar, bass, keys, drums and harmony vocals from Kate Crawford and Doug Moncrief (who also plays bass, keys and guitar), keeping true to the pop core of the album.
Bean also keeps true to his singer-songwriter roots reminiscent of artists like Howie Day or 1990s-era pop acts such as Goo Goo Dolls or Savage Garden. While some might find the album slightly redundant, others will find an endless pool of lyrics that seemingly tell personal stories. On “It Will Be,” Bean allows listeners to contemplate his inner struggles: “You can change your mind/ you can lose your heart/ I can lose my way/ I could fall apart/ It will be hard/ but it will be ours/ It’s a break in the clouds/ It’s a stall in the wind/ It’s a shot rang out from a war within.”
This Syracuse Area Music Award-nominated album is a solid reflection of Bean’s heartfelt storytelling, one that fans of lyrical poetry will find engaging. For more information, visit reverbnation.com/jasonbean.
Born Again Savages. Pro Bono Publico (Conniving Scoundrels Records). Self-proclaimed uncivilized music for an uncivilized world, this hard-rock outfit certainly lives up to its motto. It’s the kind of music that provokes as much as it pleases, full of power, drive and attitude. Riff-heavy and steered by Tom Carpenter’s aggressive lyrics and vocal delivery, every track is full-steam ahead.
Carpenter sings it all with conviction, while guitarists Joe DiRienzo and Nathan Angell, bassist John Thomas and drummer I.M. Illin’ help sell the raw, rough and commanding sound. “S.G.M.H.” stands for secret government monster hunter, while “Undercover for the FBI” is a wild favorite. And Carpenter sings on “Can’t Escape You”: “You can’t catch me because I’m having too much fun/ without you there to chase me. . . ten years you chased me you’ve been tracking me down/ I wanted posters up all over town/ thought we’d be married/ thought I’d make you my wife/ you post rewards now to take me alive.”
“I.E.” is another standout, a gut-churning track that takes off like a rocket. And “Happy Pill” is a perfectly prodding opening song, as Carpenter spits to the listeners: “I can’t believe the stupid shit they’re preaching on TV/ a billion scattered images/ far too much to see/ you’re buying all their products/ practicing their views/ spewing all the rhetoric they’re spewing on the news/ let me take my happy pill/ I’m sick of all of this.”
Engineered, recorded and mixed at Moletrax East with Jeff Moleski and mastered by Jason “Jocko” Randall at MoreSound Studios, the album captures the band in 10 songs, including a key closing track that features The Simpsons’ theme. For more information, visit bornagainsavages.com.