Automatic Loveletter: Truth or Dare

RIYL: Pink, Alison Iraheta, Paramore

Rock band Automatic Loveletter is a bit of an anomaly. On the one hand, this sounds like one of those Warped Tour, Fuse-era bands that winds up on those tween TV shows. But on the other, this female-fronted outfit is just a damn good rock band with a singer that is clearly gifted. That singer is Juliet Simms, who has one of those voices you just can’t peg – it’s equal parts Janis Joplin and a female Butch Walker. Sound interesting? It is. But it’s more, because this young band has some killer songs on Truth or Dare, their debut album on Sony’s SIN (Sony Independent Network). That said, Simms’ voice can be shouty and one-dimensional at times, and that can distract a bit. But for the most part, this one is worth checking out. Among a solid set of 12 tracks, the best of the bunch are the opening anthem “Heart Song,” which is like one of those Pink/Butch Walker hybrids; “Fade Away,” which sounds like one of those teen summer romance songs; and “Day They Saved Us,” which is a combo power ballad/balls-out rocker. Yes, at times Automatic Loveletter defies description – you just have to hear it for yourself. But it’s all good. (Sony Independent Network 2010)

Automatic Loveletter MySpace Page


Shirock: Everything Burns

Nashville rock band Shirock (the last name of front man Chuck Shirock) is a bit different than most of the bands coming from anywhere in the country, let alone Nashville. Their unique brand of anthem-driven rock is way too cool for the Warped Tour crowd, though that’s where they may find most of their fans. In fact, Shirock is more like U2 than any other band – both melodically, musically, and lyrically – as they try to convey positive messages of hope and the desire to make a difference with their music. On the band’s sophomore effort, Everything Burns, each song soars with giant hooks and the vocals of Chuck Shirock as well as female singer Pap, and the instrumentation and arrangements accent each track instead of getting in the way. Really, the best part about Shirock is that they don’t seem like they’re trying too hard to get in everyone’s collective face, and they don’t have to. Standout tracks are the anthemic “Time Goes By” and the Pap-driven “I’ll Take Rain,” as well as the powerful title track, which is about the fact that we should all put time and effort into the things that matter, like relationships and making a difference, and that everything else just burns. Well said, Shirock. (LABEL: self-release)

Shirock MySpace Page