Sunday, July 3, 2022

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Sound Check


cd Aesthetic PerfectionAesthetic Perfection

“’Til Death”


Emo-pop is still a thing. Don’t write angry letters to the editors: I assure you, they haven’t messed up and accidentally re-run a review from 2003. Nope, it’s 2014, and here’s Aesthetic Perfection (a.k.a. Daniel Graves), clinging to the idea that all you have to do is take a Depeche Mode B-side and sing it through a rapidly spinning, metal-bladed fan and — viola! — you’ve made yourself a hit album. The whole endeavor is devoid of any emotion that isn’t sold at Hot Topic pre-packaged with a razor blade and a set of daddy issues. (God, I sound like a tired, angry old man here.) But what Graves has done with “’Til Death” is nothing more than create soulless, faux-angry electro-noise for the kind of asshole who still thinks “Donnie Darko” was the greatest film ever made. CV



cd death_in_the_valley_cover04ADan Tedesco

“Death in the Valley”


For a man who, at one time, referred to his act as “folk-rock on steroids,” “Death in the Valley” gives us a look at a surprisingly subdued Dan Tedesco. It’s a good look for him, too: The acoustic guitars and light keyboards of “Death in the Valley” allow Tedesco’s songwriting to stand front and center and really shine. And it’s the songwriting that is Tedesco’s real strong point. He’s an affable, emotionally-pure storyteller, and it’s difficult not to come along for the ride when he sings about life’s tired hardships in songs like “Rubber Left to Burn.” The album’s biggest weakness is its lack of a track that really picks up and soars. This is an understated and somewhat lonesome affair that insists upon reflection. This isn’t necessarily Tedesco’s most fun album, but it might be his most honest. CV

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