All Done in Good Time
For anyone not familiar with Greg Summerlin from his late 90s band, The Quinsonics, his latest album, All Done in Good Time (The Life and Times of Polly Shields), may come as something of a pop revelation.
Although early reviews drew comparisons to The Who, my initial thought was mare along the lines of Matthew Sweet. Although not as confectionary as Sweet, Summerlin has a similar gift for pop hooks and melody. Upon further listening, however, it does become obvious that Summerlin is more a student of Pete Townshend's storytelling and song structures than a pupil of The Beatles and Beach Boys, as is the case with Sweet.
Instead of wading into the headier waters of later Who/Townshend experimentation, Summerlin keeps his song structures simplified, reaching occasionally back to High Numbers territory and no further forward than the origins of Townshend's foray's into rock opera with Tommy.
Not all is steeped in The Who, as other reviews may lead you to believe, however. There's enough classic pop and 80s influence involved to keep things hipster-cool. Stinging guitars on "The Paintaker" are again reminiscent of Matthew Sweet, but rhythm parts and vocal cadence also recall 80s bands like The Proclaimers.
While Summerlin has said that his new material draws from "classic alternative" like New Order, many of these songs would have fit well in a classic John Hughes movie along side Psychedelic Furs, Simple Minds, Flesh for Lulu and Jesus and the Mary Chain. These are pop gems perfect for a summer drive.
Once you dig into the lyrics and liner notes, the album folds out as a story: i.e. "The Life and Times of Polly Shields," but the track listing is not in sequential order, assumingly for sonic flow. An outline is provided, however, for anyone interested in listening to the story in sequential order. Pretentious? Possibly, but it surely adds to Summerlin's indie credibility while retaining his unabashed love of pop hooks. All in all, it's a forgivable move if it lets him straddle the line between credibility and pop mastery without being viewed a sell-out.
Most importantly, All in Good Time is something we rarely see anymore: a joyous return to pure pop conventions, unfettered by song doctors and overproduction. In turn, it's a disc that's destined to be stranded in my car until the weather turns cold and dreary again. -- Gary Hizer
Greg Summerlin will be at DFest's McNellie's stage at 7pm on Friday, July 25
2008 Homegroan CD
Z104.5, The Edge Compilation
Roughly 10 years after the last compilation from Tulsa's premier local music program, The Edge has stepped up to the plate, in part to promote its online initiative, TulsaOriginalMusic.com, with a new disc showcasing local talent. With a dozen songs by as many bands, the disc doesn't really acknowledge the blossoming indie scene, but it does show love to a batch of worthy local acts.
Of course, the expected culprits are here, as they should be: Admiral Twin with its pop confection "In My Veins," The Effects' modern twist on retro-rock "Turn On the World," PDA with "Dwell on the Past," and an alt-rock turn with My Solstice and "Rock Bottom". (A nice addition, but I'd have rather heard something new from the band's forthcoming disc.)
Modern hard rock is even well represented here with one of Amber's favorite children, Violence to Vegas, and the band's latest single, "Poison." Incidentally, Violence to Vegas is currently getting enough attention and airplay for the single in Japan that rumors are astir the band may be making a trip overseas this fall.
Surprises on the disc include the stirring "Ballad Unknown," which reveals Bait to have substance more behind it than first glance may indicate a pop-punk ringer from First Lady Assassins, "Dan's Song," and proof that the hook in "Cocaine" was no fluke with another stick-in-your-head rap hook form Kawnar in "Emancipation."
The only real misstep on the disc are "No Restraints" by Left Lane, which just falls flat, and Eighty Proof's "Secular Humanistic Theory." I understand that Eighty Proof brings representation of the local scene's hardcore and metal movement, but it really doesn't fit the flow of the disc or the station's format, especially if excluding the local indie scene, whether it be by design or default from lack of quality submissions.
The ringer of the bunch, however, is the inclusion of Tulsa's best unsigned pop band, Stars Go Dim, and the band's single "Come Around." Between the quality songwriting and the band's work ethic, it should only be a matter of time before this band takes off.
Finally, left field inclusion on the disc is "All I Want," a radio-ready alt-rock single by a band I'm not familiar with, Laron. The question is: is this a one off, experimental single or an initiation to the next band that will try to lay claim to Tulsa's rock crown? Either way, it's a band I'll keep an eye out for.
Overall, the compilation is a fairly good summation of Tulsa's current music scene, with a few glaring exceptions. Besides missing a sampling from the local indie-rock landscape (Callupsie, GHOSTS, and Black Swan are three that come to mind immediately), the disc could also stand to represent the Southern/Americana rock movement (aka Brandon Clark Band, John Moreland and the Black Gold Band) and it somehow overlooked a couple of the scene's most heralded modern-rockers, Congress of a Crow and RadioRadio. Perhaps that will come with Volume II.
That's being picky, though. For now, it's nice to see The Edge step up again and revive the Homegroan disc, especially since the station is giving them out free at Cherokee Casino and local remotes to spread awareness of local music. That alone is worth praise for supporting our local musicians. -- GH
Edge Homegroan artists appearing at DFest are:
Admiral Twin -- 9pm Friday, 7/25, Blank Slate
Bait -- 8pm Saturday, 7/26, Oklahoma stage
The Effects -- 8pm Saturday, 7/26, Hadaly stage
First Lady Assassins -- 8pm Friday, 7/25, Exit 6C
Kawnar -- 8pm Friday, 7/25, 1974
My Solstice -- 12midnight Saturday, 7/26, Oklahoma stage
PDA -- 10pm Saturday, 7/26, Blank Slate
Stars Go Dim -- 9pm Friday, 7/25, Oklahoma stage
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