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Self Release

So who is Frank Hoier? Beats me, but don't believe what he says he sounds like on his bandcamp page. Blues? Country? Pop? Rock & Roll? Brooklyn? What the hell is Brooklyn? Again, beats me, but if Brooklyn is what I'm hearing, give me a case of it. This guy is in another world, that being the 1950s, and he's dragging me back there more with each listen.

Self Release is a five-song EP full of fifties values in both songs and recording techniques. Straight off, he takes you on forty miles of bad road on Look Around (and if you don't get the Duane Eddy reference, you aren't as much of a fossil as am I) with heavily tremeloed and reverbed guitar over which he lays down vocals reminiscent of a Ritchie Valens or a J. Frank Wilson, warts and all. He loses the Duane Eddy sound on the remaining tracks but keeps the reverb and tremelo and it works like you won't believe. Think Chris Montez on the slower Insecurity, a perfect backup to the first track. Listen has a sound reminiscent of one of my favorite Neko Case songs, Star Witness, the guitar sound bridging the gap between then and now. Time Flies echoes the sound and feel of Elvis's I Want To Be Free without trying to be that song and sets up the closer, a mid-tempo ballad titled What Do We Do To Love, When We Talk About Love which has a chorus of one line and which I wish could go on and on. I know it's nothing groundbreaking, but I don't care. I just like the way it sounds, you know?

Is it perfect? Hell no, it isn't, but neither were any of the truly great songs of the fifties. That's what I mean when I say values. There is something in the feel and the sound that captures the period and I love it. Thing is, I'm not even sure Hoier wanted to capture it. Talked with the other day, a folkie who sounds a bit like Gordon Lightfoot, and swears he has never heard him. I asked about the influence Byzantium had on his outstanding Green Gates album and he asked who Byzantium was. Influences? Maybe not, but I can't deny the similarity in style and sound, can I? And for my money, , had he recorded in the fifties, could have been huge!

A lady asked me one time where I come up with all of the music I review. Well, I sure don't come up with it all on my own. This time, Hoier was pointed out by Randy Burns, who must be hearing what I'm hearing. Now, Randy is one of those really nice guys who would find it hard to say anything negative about anyone short of them being a conservative Republican or serial killer, so I take what he says with a grain of salt. That said, I follow every link he passes along because now and again he uncovers real talent and, in this case, a gem of an EP. And you know what? You can download it for free!!! I'm not saying you should, just that you can. Just click on the album title above and it will take you to his bandcamp page. Listen (being sure to give it a fair chance) and if you like it, download it. If you like it a lot, send him some money. That, my friends, is how the new music industry paradigm works. Pay for what you get. And this is a great place to start.

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