* Gasoline Silver — Gasoline Silver (Victorian Pictures)
His nasally vocals and wheezy harmonica playing bring to mind Bob Dylan, but Gasoline Silver‘s Ron Franklin (who also sports a frizzy Dylanesque ‘do) hasn’t painted himself into a folkie corner with his latest band, the Minnesota-based Gasoline Silver. There are garage and punk elements to the trio’s self-titled debut album (out now), and Josh Misner‘s synth lines provide a nice contrast to the fuzzy guitars. Standouts include “It’s All Over But the Cryin’ ” and “Indianapolis.”
* Ryan Montbleau Band — Heavy on the Vine (Blue’s Mountain Records)
Conversational singers are either melodic or monotone, and thankfully, Ryan Montbleau falls on the more listenable side of that line. Even better, Montbleau’s casual vocal style suits the many sounds and moods throughout the Martin Sexton-produced Heavy on the Vine (out now). Montbleau and company glide effortlessly from reggae (“Songbird”) to country (“I Can’t Wait”) to funk (“Love Songs”), among other styles, on this 14-song effort.
* Death in the Park — Death in the Park (End Sounds)
Andy Jackson, who enjoyed a pretty good run with Hot Rod Circuit, briefly considered making his next project a solo effort. Instead, he put together a new band called Death in the Park, and the pop-punk quartet’s self-titled debut (out now) has its share of punchy, shout-along songs. Paramore singer Hayley Williams sweetens the chorus on “Fallen,” the album’s first single and best song.
— By Chris M. Junior