New Kevin Max EP SERVE SOMEBODY drops July 7th on Gotee Records

From the moment that DC Talk member/former-Audio-Adrenaline-frontman/ever-evolving-solo-artist/poet/writer Kevin Max leaked the demo for his cover of Larry Norman’s “Righteous Rocker” on his Soundcloud page, my interest and enthusiasm for the upcoming cover project SERVE SOMEBODY skyrocketed! With fuzzy bass, thick, crunchy guitar, and production assistance in the able hands of Nashville rock music star handyman John Mark Painter, the track breaths and grooves with heavy classic rock strides that grabbed me immediately from the first listen and haven’t let go.

Max then leaked another demo version through Soundcloud that fully affirmed and solidified the high level of anticipation sparked by “Righteous Rocker.” The second being a cover of Bob Dylan’s 1979 classic, “Gotta Serve Somebody,” again flaunting a spot-on classic blues rock vibe that fits the song like a well-worn, but, form-fitting leather biker’s boot. “Gotta Serve Somebody,” also features soulful, textured layers background vocals provided by Painter’s wife and longtime musical partner, Fleming McWilliams.

The first impression of this yet-to-be-released covers project, based on these two unfinished songs, is resoundingly positive and I expect that the other tracks that will be included on the EP will not fail to satisfy, either.

The EP is scheduled for release on July 7 from Gotee Records.servesomebody

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“Muzick is Magic!” Takes The Shadow By The Horns

 

MuzickThe unfolding of the newest project from the enigmatic dcTalk singer, former-Audio Adrenaline frontman, and always independent (in one way or another) artist Kevin Max, PLAYING GAMES WITH THE SHADOW, has been an absolute pleasure to behold (read my brief review here). With eight tracks currently available through Max’s Pledge crowd-funding site and iTunes, and the possibility of a few tracks yet to see the light of day on an eventual extended version of the album, the album feels more like a living, breathing entity than a static collection of songs.

While I’ve certainly got other favorites, one song, in particular, definitely adds “…and kicking!” to the “…a living, breathing…” descriptor that I just mentioned for the newest Kevin Max record: “Muzick is Magic!”

“Muzick is Magic!” reminds me of the intensity and dynamic that Kevin Max achieved on his 2004 collaboration with Erick Cole, “21st Century Darlings,” but, resonates loudly on its own terms, too. The thundering drums of The Choir‘s Steve Hindalong, and the guitars and bass of Lynn Nichols and Dwayne Larring riff an appropriately throbbing, rock and roll canvas for Max to scribble his punk-apocolyptic lyrical interpretations of the state of the world upon.

Whether Max is offering a prophetic critique of American culture’s desensitization to the stark realities that exist in the rest of the world or just scratching an itch to lay down a scorcher decrying the industrialization of art, I don’t claim to know. But, the song rocks at a gut-level that I can’t help, but, to love. While other songs on PLAYING GAMES WITH THE SHADOW succeed on their own terms, on “Muzick is Magic!,” Max masterfully swung his magic wand around, channeling an angst and passion similar to that of “White Light, White Heat, White Trash”-era Social Distortion and “Accelerate”-era R.E.M. — punk passion intermingled with the wisdom of experience…and I’m thankful for his wisdom.

That said, the lesson we can glean “Muzick is Magic!,” seems to be this: COLOR LOUDLY! – OUTSIDE THE LINES!


Check out PLAYING GAMES WITH THE SHADOW on Pledge Music and keep up with all things Kevin Max at www.kevinmax.com, on Facebook, and Twitter.

Go Cheap

Poor Old Lu is one of my favorite bands of all time. Within the context of music, their run through the nineties was a rare blend of legitimately skilled, creative musicianship and a Christian lyrical perspective. The band released their last titled The Waiting Room a few years ago and since, disbanded in favor of other creative opportunities (e.g., the band Fair).

By far, the Poor Old Lu song that left the biggest impression on me was, “Speak Soft,” which was a cover of The Swoon’s original version. It hit me hard because it so articulately describes the struggle I was going through in the mid ’90’s. It continues to resonate with me today because, while I’ve sought and found peace, so many (including friends and family that I love dearly) have not.

Its difficult to effectively convey peace-laden satisfaction to someone who prefers to quarantine themself from the possibility of such a concept. Instead, they rely on a long list of well-recited defense mechanisms that prevent them from getting their feet wet, getting their hands dirty, and living abundantly.

Jerry had some beers and started to sing
he knows just what he means he don’t mean a thing
he waited for the wisdom years would bring, to him
on the refrigerator door
are the words he had written moments before
it says ‘i hope i never have to go to war’
speak soft, baby don’t you talk to me
he goes to the dance and falls in love
years later it’s still her he’s thinking of
she never spoke once or even looked up, enough
speak soft, baby don’t you talk to me
Houdini closed himself inside of a box
he didn’t have a trick to spring the lock
off the stage the people watched, the clock
prison could be a nice place to live
the bars on the window like bars on a crib
freedom is the least desired gift, to give
speak soft, baby don’t you talk to me
Jerry had some beers and started to weep
it’s time to turn away, it’s his time to sleep
don’t trouble yourself with seeking peace, go cheap

“Speak Soft” from the EP Straight Six by Poor Old Lu