From the press kit, “With Irrepressible energy and an outrageous sense of fun, Cleveland’s beloved family musician Jesse Jukebox (A.K.A. Jesse Friedberg), celebrates a positive message of high hope in his third kids’ album, Awesome! Packed with lyrical wisdom born of Jesse’s experiences growing up with ADHD…”
As a child, Jesse felt misunderstood and different from other kids because of his ADHD. Here, he sets his sights on making sure that others like him know that they’re not alone, and that there is, in fact, a whole community of similar-feeling kids and adults.
This six-song e.p. is all kinds of fun, and the only thing I was disappointed with was its brevity. Jesse sounds a bit like, and sings with the enthusiasm of, Jack Black, which is a good thing in my book. The arrangements are snappy and sparse, Awesome and Incredible Shoes stylistically remind me of Violent Femmes. Listen To Your Gut, which implores kids to listen to their inner voice when dealing with difficult situations, is my fave of the set. I like this disc a lot.
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Tiny Bit Of Giant’s Blood
Boy, was I excited to finally get my mitts on Gigantosaur. The band Tiny Bit Of Giant’s Blood is made up of musicians that I already admire, so loving this was almost a forgone conclusion.
Lead vocalist Tony Rogers fronted Chicago band The Good for years, a group that produced one of my all-time favorite records of the 90’s, Milky White. Also hailing from The Good, guitarist John Scholvin, whose savvy playing so impressed me that I nicked him for my own band, The Bradburys. On bass is Jackie Schimmel, a rock-steady musician who was also in my favorite lineup of Brad Elvis’s Big Hello. Drummer Larry Beers is new to me, but you don’t get into an outfit like this by being a slacker. ‘Nuff said.
Gigantosaur is an apt description of this assembly, as meaty, muscular guitar is the order of the day. This is impossibly-catchy rock that weighs in far too heavy to ever be described as pop. Girl Over Here features a riff that’s pure Jimmy Page, with a middle section that fiercely gallops like a team of black Nazgûl stallions.
Other standouts include the pithy All Hail The Opening Band, an ode to a status that is both coveted and reviled, and a bravado-inspired cover of AC/DC’s If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It). While I mention these few particular favorites, the entire disc brings the rock in a way that is equal parts bombast, joy and purpose. I humbly throw Tiny Bit Of Giant’s Blood the horns.