Jag Star: Static Bliss

RIYL: Letters to Cleo, Katy Perry, Saving Jane

It’s hard to believe Jag Star has been making music for a decade now, but this Knoxville-based band has returned with its fifth studio album, Static Bliss, and it’s more of the same ear candy that has garnered much success for them in the MTV world of TV placements. Fronted by singer Sarah Lewis, Jag Star’s sound is so tailor-made for those MTV shows that it’s almost like they were written specifically for them. It’s melodic, teen-anthem edgy pop that just jumps out of speakers, and Static Bliss is a continuation in that vein. And though Jag Star has achieved all of their success and notoriety to date without the support of a record label, their stuff measures up to anything out there. Part of the reason for that are the songs themselves, and the band’s tightness and delivery – but it doesn’t hurt that they commissioned producer Travis Wyrick (P.O.D., Pillar, 10 Years), who is known for delivering made-for-radio recordings.

Lewis and the band jump out of the gate with a trademark hook-fest in “Talk to Me,” and the same goes for other upbeat anthems such as “Rewind” and “Shine,” as well as a heartfelt song about Lewis’ daughter, “Sofie.” But they also know how to change things up, as they do on the hypnotic closer, “At the End.” You may not have heard of Jag Star, but it’s very likely you have heard their music, and with Static Bliss, the band has clearly delivered their strongest effort yet. (Jag Star 2010)

Jag Star MySpace Page


The Damnwells: One Last Century

For Alex Dezen, who for all intents and purposes, IS The Damnwells, to release an entire album for free download on the Paste Magazine website was a stroke of genius. It’s not like the guy isn’t already revered in sub-radar pop/rock circles, but now he’s given those in said circles every reason to preach the gospel of the Damnwells to anyone who will, you know, damn well listen, and for them to spread the word with no repercussions of piracy. But by no means is One Last Century devalued, nor is it a bunch of crappy B-side recordings that Dezen dug up from his basement. It’s more of the same brilliant melodic, heartfelt and smartly arranged songs we’ve come to expect, a continuation of sorts from 2006’s Air Stereo. He only wanted to release this one for free a) because he wants more people to discover the band, b) because today’s economy makes free stuff attractive, and c) because he can. On One Last Century, you’ve got the gamut that runs from sugary pop (“Bastard of Midnight” or “55 Pictures”) to beautiful acoustic (“Soundtrack” or “Say”) to riveting mid-tempo (“Like It Is” or “WWXII”). Go ahead, try and find something you don’t like here – you won’t find a better value anywhere. (LABEL: Paste Magazine)

The Damnwells MySpace page

Link to Download One Last Century for Free


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