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Artist: Derren Raser
Song: “Home in This Direction” (from the CD Home in This Direction)
Heard by: Jason B., Normal Heights
The song had a lot of warmth and immediacy to it. It was almost like he was performing that in a bedroom for you. Typically, it’s not what I’m into as far as that softer style goes, but he at least has a good ear for melody. Some of the tones on it were really nice. There was spare percussion and a good twang on the guitar. There’s a fraction of alt-country in there, but overall, it’s singer-songwriter stuff. The lyrics were about running away and escaping and figuring out if that’s the course of action for him. There were certain moments that made it worthwhile, but, ultimately, it’s tough for me to get into stuff like that.

Artist: Trophy Wife
Song: “Crashing into Walls” (from their two-track sampler CD)
Heard by: Miguel Estrada, Normal Heights
I liked the good rhythms that it had. The bass line kicks in real good, and the drums are nice and solid all the way through with the cowbell. It starts off with an older style, almost like country, and then it flows into something edgy like it just wants to go full blast. It mellows out real nice at the end. The guitar reminded me a lot of older Santana. It has that upbeat rhythm and an almost Latin flavor. The only negative thing I could say is that the music drowned out the vocals a little bit, but I’m pretty sure live that could be fixed. It has that quality where 91X could pick it up. I’d rate that song a solid 8 out of 10.

Artist: The Verso
Song: “Stay the Course” (from the CD Crime of Love)
Heard by: Nick Leutza, Normal Heights
I liked it a lot. The first band I think of is Fugazi, but this definitely has more of a popular sound to it, whereas Fugazi is more “punkish,” for lack of a better word. It was like a mixture of slowed-down, post-hardcore music with some of Morrissey’s work. It had a constant beat that was very good, and it changed up a little bit. It didn’t have a climax or crescendo to the song, and I thought if they had that and pushed it a little more, it could be catchier. I could see them getting radio airplay but not anything that would be as big as a band like Shinedown. I’d give that song an 8 out of 10.

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