This six-song disc is a brave and weird debut from local rock trio Maestro demonstrating the trio's penchant for oddball time signatures, guitar noise and effects, and sleepy-eyed conceptual ideas. The mix of Chris Patterson's freaked-out guitar reverb and the rumble of syncopation from bassist Taylor Nelson and drummer Jordan Herschaft on opening track "Zombie Western" sounds like a collaboration between Jethro Tull and Morphine. "Wax On" moves at a slightly slower pace, shifting in dynamics from raging full-on to barely audible. The more anthemic "Walkers & Wheelchairs" swings on a peppery 6/8 time; its low-tone harmonies resemble those of Alice in Chains. Is "Genta Man" in 5/4 or 5/8? It depends on who's counting ...or not. "Chasing Cannonballs" is perhaps the strongest rock track in the bunch, with the drums and bass locked in tightly and Patterson's grungy guitar work.
These Streets Alone (independent)
Guitarist Ed Blanton, bass player Aaron Lawhon, and drummer Phil Capron released this well-polished and aggressively executed album over the winter. The self-produced (mostly by Blanton), 13-song collection falls right in line with a lot of the guitar-heavy, melodic "punk-pop" of late. There's an innocent toughness to the band's overall sound that propels many of their best songs, however. While many of the tunes — including the title track — owe a debt to the grinding four-chord rock sounds of Social D and Green Day and the hoarse vocal delivery of Joe Strummer, some grandiose standouts like the power anthem "The Opportune Moment" and the rapid-fire heartbreak song "Just Walk Away" really make their point. —T. Ballard Lesemann