Song of the day: Jasko – "The Memo"

June 14, 2013

Some time ago my new friend Todd (Hi, Todd!) sent me a musical coincidence that I posted here.

Well, I’m pleased to announce that The Man They Call Todd is not only a coincidence-spotter, but he’s also a musician who has recently recorded an EP, Thirty Forty.

Toddling Toddler Todd asked me if I wouldn’t mind having a listen to his shiny new EP. My automatic answer was “Yes!” (it’s always “Yes!”), so off I went a-listenin’.

Incidentally, before I got to play any of the tracks on the EP’s Bandcamp page I read the mini reviews that appeared there. They were supplied by Todd’s family and friends, and I thoroughly enjoyed them:

“I can’t understand your lyrics, Todd.” – My dad

“The fourth song is okay.” – My brother

“This is better than your band. That stuff is too heavy.” – My mom

“Dude, I want to hear some synths!” – Pete L.

“You write music? Is this you?” – Jack T.

“I like 80’s music. Are any of your songs more like that?” – Jill B.

“How do I put this on my stereo system? Is this the I-toons?” – My aunt

And now for the EP in question (i.e., the one I’m going to listen to):

Jasko – Thirty Forty (2013)

1. “A New Start”

This starts off with a nice little bit of bass guitar. Thanks, bass player.

Now that the song has started properly, I’m mildly enjoying the main melody. Unfortunately, I’m not enjoying Todd’s voice very much. It sounds like he’s double-tracked his voice, but the two voices aren’t nearly enough in tune with each other to constitute a pleasant listening experience. Putting it more simply, I’m not enjoying Todd’s occasional out-of-tuneness. But the song itself is fine. It doesn’t totally appeal to my tastes in pop music, but I think it’s good for what it is.

Incidentally, Todd’s vocal intonation settled down as the song progressed. The first couple of verses were the least in tune, but after that the pitch problems were much less noticeable. Either that, or I just got used to his voice.

2. “Valentine”

Hmm. Vocal dodginess continues. (You can really hear it at 0:18/0:19 when Todd sings “…made me…”, at 0:26 with the not-entirely-harmonised “check”, from 0:39-0:42 when Todd and his background vocal sing “Let’s put the bat away”, and most of all from 1:11-1:13 when Todd and himself sing “why”.)

I don’t mean to harp on about Todd’s singing, but because the instrumentation is fairly sparse, the vocals are the main focus of the songs. As a result, I can’t help but pay most attention to the singing.

3. “Over It”

A zippy little number, one that is helped along by some enjoyably frisky drumming. I’m coping better with the vocals in this song (except for “on” at 1:24) because they’re not as prominent in the mix.

Production Gripe: I don’t think the guitar solo (1:43-1:59) is loud enough.

I enjoyed the fun floor tom from 2:13 that helped bring the song to an end.

4. “The Memo”

The rhythm of this song reminded me very much of “Testament To Youth In Verse” by The New Pornographers:

Back to “The Memo”:

I liked the bass lines.

5. “Blackout Drunk”

A fast rock’n’roller. I can use the term “rock’n’roll” here because of the amount of echo on Todd’s voice. I think it’s a deliberate evocation of the late Fifties, when vocals were drenched in reverberation.

Random Notes:

1:35-1:56 – In this chorus, the bass player (Hi, Mary!) has trouble keeping up with the rest of the band.

1:57-2:20 – I think the guitar solo is at a much better volume than the one in track 3 (“Over It”).

2:25 – I’m not keen on the swearing here. It is bleeped out, but still… This track has swearing in it. Grrr.

6. “Hungover”

I liked how this song began with a gentle strum of a chord on an acoustic guitar. What I liked most about it is that at the end of the strum, when Todd’s guitar pick hit the body of the guitar, it sounded like Todd broke a string.

As for Todd’s vocal performance, I thought it was the best of all the songs on the EP. This is because Todd’s occasional out-of-tune-ity suited the nature of the song. (The nature of the song being “not quite sober”.)

***

And that was Todd’s EP.

Thanks, Todd, for telling me about your shiny new EP!

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