The disc "Diversions," from an artist called Azwel, arrived
in a clear plastic jewel case, with song titles scrawled in ballpoint pen on
the label. You never know with stuff like this: If the guy can't be bothered to
make his disc look half-way professional, what will the music sound like? Then
again, the music is what matters, not the packaging. So I put the disc in my
It turned out to contain 11 wonderfully pretty, sad, evocative songs.
Azwel, otherwise known as Jason Perrillo, a 24-year-old living in Dix Hills,
sings and plays every instrument on these mostly keyboard-based tracks, which
were produced in his home. But you wouldn't know it: The tracks are full of
gorgeous harmonies, resonant piano lines and romantic strings. Occasional
xylophones and odd sound effects help create a melancholy atmosphere, like a
sunny day cut by a cold wind.
The opening track, "mm," skips along on a lilting piano while Perrillo
sings in an earnest, gentle voice about fighting a mysterious battle: "We will
need everything that it takes to fight them over." He switches to old-fashioned
organ for "This Works Out Like a Charm," recalling the off-kilter cabaret of
Kurt Weill. He even fashions an odd kind of dinner jazz on "Taking Notice,"
with its swinging rhythm and groovy bass.
But "There's Got to Be Some Proof" is the album's standout track, a
five-minute ballad that dips and rises beautifully. It even hides an entire
sub-melody in its dramatic middle section. A close second is "A Ship Called
Who," a chilly mood piece with new-wave keyboards and weirdly revved-up vocal
Perrillo calls his music "interesting melodic pop," an understatement to
say the least. That's like calling Jimi Hendrix's music "unusual rock." Then
again, Perrillo isn't much concerned with marketing: Drop him a line at
braindoll@ usa.net, and he'll send you a disc, free of charge.
Anterrabae's first on Triple Crown. On the other end of the sonic spectrum
comes Anterrabae, a five-piece punk band that's been kicking around Long Island
for a few years. The group recently signed to Brooklyn's Triple Crown Records,
and its first album for the label, "Shakedown Tonight," is a terrific slice of
post-hardcore with horror-movie vocals, metallic guitars and even little
shards of melody here and there.
Anterrabae is angry but still having fun: The first track, "How Joey Got
His Groove Back," begins with a gleeful, collective "Whoo!" from the band, then
shifts gears repeatedly, from galumphing metal to speedy hardcore. On
"Curfews, Alcohol and Other Jealousy Related Incidents," Neal Carter interrupts
the plaintive verses with bursts of ragged screaming. Other songs throw in
tuneful hooks and tricky rhythms; there's even an old-fashioned, Oi-style chant
Since the album was recorded, the band's lineup has shifted: Guitarist Matt
Gorton has left, replaced by bassist Ryan Polker. New bassist Mike
Dellasperanzo comes from the Long Island band Regarding I. Anterrabae is
touring with From Autumn To Ashes and Atreyu; they come back home May 27 to
play Irving Plaza.