sound check

June 30, 2011 |

By Michael Swanger


Jessica Lea Mayfield

"Tell Me"

Nonesuch Records


I first heard of Akron, Ohio-based singer Jessica Lea Mayfield when she performed "Things Ain't Like They Used To Be" with another Akron-based band, The Black Keys. On her debut solo album, "Tell Me," Mayfield has the good fortune of working yet again with Dan Auerbach (producer, engineer) at his own studio, and the results continue to prove that they are a good musical match. Auerbach's knack for dramatic, dark instrumentation and arrangements serve as the perfect compliment — sometimes contrastingly so — to Mayfield's appealing slacker vocal timbre that is equally effective with pop ("Blue Skies Again," "Grown Man") as it is with dark rock ("Somewhere in Your Heart") and darker ballads ("Sometimes At Night," "Run Myself Into the Ground"). CV

(Jessica Lea Mayfield plays the Kum & Go Free Stage at the 80/35 fest on Saturday, July 2 at 6:45 p.m.)


Gold Motel

"Summer House"

RedEye Distribution


Chicago-based Gold Motel is an indie-rock amalgam of members of The Hush Sound (Greta Morgan), This is Me Smiling (Dan Duszynski, Matt Minx, Adam Kualtenhauser) and Yearbooks (Eric Hehr) with a penchant for performing bouncy tunes that seemingly channel Elvis Costello, Blondie, Motown and Lesley Gore all at once. While the band provides clean instrumentation, Morgan lends her deft, cheery voice to good effect on catchy, cruising songs like "We're On the Run," "Perfect (In My Mind)" and "Summer House," as well as highly effective, lonely ballads like "Fireworks After Midnight" and "Who Will I Be Tonight?" The album's first single, "Safe in LA" is a love letter to Morgan's former hometown, though the whole album has a California vibe. CV

(Gold Motel plays the Kum & Go Free Stage at the 80/35 fest on Sunday, July 3 at 3:45 p.m.)