Newly-established local recording studio Charleston Sound is ready to unveil a new 11-song compilation titled I Got Music. The homegrown disc features top-quality production of songs by 11 local artists, including Ryan Bailey, Mac Leaphart, Part-Time Heroes, Dangermuffin, Skye Paige & the Original Recipe, The Plainfield Project, Graham Whorley Band, Firework Show, Milhouse, Gaslight Street, and Jamie Resch & The Kentucky Shoes. Over the spring, every band recorded one song in the studio with chief engineer and owner Jeff Hodges.
The first of two CD release parties is set for Sun. Aug. 30 at the Windjammer. Starting at 6 p.m., several acts from the compilation with hit the stage, including Skye Paige & The Original Recipe, Mac Leaphart, Part-Time Heroes, Gaslight Street, and the Plainfield Project. No cover charge.
The second I Got Music CD release party (a.k.a. "Unleashed") takes place at the Pour House on Wed. Sept. 2 with sets from Dangermuffin, Milhouse, Firework Show, Jamie Resch & Kentucky Shoes, and Ryan Bailey. Music starts at 8 p.m. No cover charge.
Here's a track-by-track rundown of the I Got Music compilation:
1. "I Got Music" — The Plainfield Project
A medium-tempo soul tune from the popular up-and-comers The Plainfield Project, featuring a killer electric piano solo and lead singer Ben Fagan's Caribbean-tinged rappin'/singin' style. It's where Charleston Sound got the comp title. This positive funkiness would work well on an episode of Fat Albert.
2. "When it Rains" — Mac Leaphart
Fuller-sounding than singer/guitarist Leaphart's usual bar gig, this twangy anthem kicks off with some soaring pedal steel from Charlie Thompson and a grinding 4/4 beat. The Americana man sounds like he just got over his hundredth break-up and stepped toward something better.
3. "UFO" — Graham Whorley Band
Pure-joy Whorley weirdness with the vocals way up front. The Folly-based soul/funk/rock veteran climbs inside his brain and battles aliens with this amusing rocker. His band sounds tight and his solo in the break might make the Meat Puppets blush (Is that him testifying about a U.F.O. sighting as it fades, is it a sampled recording ... or is it something unearthly?)
4. "Paint the Town Red" — Skye Paige & The Original Recipe
One of the heaviest, sludgiest songs we've heard from the otherwise peppy Paige in a while. The singer/guitarist sneers, "I'm gonna paint the town red with the blood of your broken heart." A bit of a bluesy "piss-off!" in the vein of early-era Pretenders, Concrete Blonde, and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion with saxophone accents from Louis Dixson.
5. "Still Alive" — Ryan Bailey
An acoustic guitar-based ballad in 6/8 time with plenty of atmospheric effect from harmonica, tambourine, and reverby guitar fades. Bailey's deep-toned singing voice and mellow vibrato comes through crystal-clear.
6. "Angry Ocean" — Dangermuffin
The Muffin men get a little jazzy on this 2/4 shuffle-beat snapper, thanks in large part to drummer Steven Sandifer's sizzly ride cymbal and crisp snare work and lead guitarist Mike Sivilli's chiming chords and twangy solo. It's nice to heard a little more extra reverb/echo than usual on Dan Lotti's strong voice.
7. "Kentucky Shine" — Part-Time Heroes
For the Charleston scene, singer/guitarist Luke Cunningham seems to be a sometimes thing these days, but his solid combo here with longtime bassist Brent Pace and guest drummer Joe Good sound very together on this anthemic alt-country-tinged rock song. Cunningham's vocals are front-and-center from verse to chorus.
8. "Echoes" — Firework Show
Braxton Brown's heavy piano chords opens things on this slightly schizo start-and-stop prog-rock track from one of the scene's weirdest and most original quartets. The studio's slappy drum sound leaves plenty of sonic space for all the extra keys, bass solos, and guitar freak-outs.
9. "Lullaby" — Milhouse
Lengthy crescendos, deep cello notes, 16th notes on the drums, terrifically choir-like annunciation on the vocal mic ... this captures pop-rock Milhouse at their most dramatic. Coldplay meets Arcade Fire.
10. "The Frozen Road" — Gaslight Street
Singer Campbell Brown belts it out in a sleepy, ghost-like howl on this slow-grooving Americana rock number. The studio pans the dual guitar work left and right and leaves plenty of room for drummer Brooks Dubose's beefy tom fills. This straightforward track contains the best-toned guitar solo and smoothest fade-out of the collection.
11. "Settle Down" — Jamie Resch & Kentucky Shoes
Singer/strummer Resch and her band keep it nice and quiet on this sweet but melancholic album closer. Additional cello, pedal steel, dense harmonies, and percussion help build up each additional verse as the song gains momentum before easing back down.
Check back this week for a feature interview with Charleston Sound's Jeff Hodges and audio samples from the 11 artists.