Mike Tichy
(self-titled) 2003
When ex-Mooney Susuki bassist Mike Tichy left the MS to pursue his own muse, he logged some time playing around the metro area as a one-man acoustic act. Now, he's got a band together and on their first CD, these guys prove their mettle by ably tackling Tichy's workingman's pop for the musician's musician. Make no mistake, Mike Tichy is the real deal. If I had to guess, I'd say he has Elton John's Greatest Hits, the White Album, and Heavier Things in his car right now and his music pays homage to these influences unabashedly. But Tichy's also one hell of a guitar player…the real standouts here might be those featuring just him and his axe. The acoustic fretwork on "Bottom of the Hill" and "Palatine" is nothing short of amazing. Strong honorable mentions must also go out to a few of the full-band numbers: the slow builder "Crisis," the dreamy/groovy "Only Looking"(with a way cool snakearound bass line) and the Elvis raveup "747." Tichy's finest vocal delivery is reserved for closing track "Out Of Control," where he pulls off a plantive falsetto against a sitar-driven acoustic durge. In the end, a quality disc by some extremely talented musicians that would be worth your while to acquire. (Mike Doktorski, 11/03)

Welcome Home Travis
What Moms Need To Know About Sons (EP)
With a steadfast and endearing conviction that it is nothing less than their manifest destiny to ROCK, young emo-leaning bands like Welcome Home Travis perform night after sold-out night in the KoC halls of Jersey (and beyond) to a truly 'underground' scene that's basically ignored by the older indie rock cognescenti. Why? Well, there's no beer. But there's also no lack of fast and furious chord progressions like those found in ample quantities on What Moms Need To Know About Sons. With music that echoes Weezer, Jimmy Eat World, the Get Up Kids, and Sunny Day Real Estate, and vocals that sound eerily like Davey Von Bohlen's, WHT are obviously still at that stage where imitating their heroes is what it's all about…not that there's anything wrong with that. These guys are great players and performers, and while they may or may not discover that inchoate spark of informed inspiration at some point during their journey, they're gonna have a blast either way.
(Mike Doktorski, 2/02)

Z. Wheeler
(4 song demo)
NYC power trio Z. Wheeler's recent demo is a pleasant-sounding effort that you will warm to immediately if you like your rock music not too hard, not too dangerous, and ultimately not too far removed from the latest WPLJ adult alterna-hit. Think Everclear meets Counting Crows meets Better Than Ezra…and the fact that all of these bands had their heyday in the mid-90s may or may not have anything to do with the price of tea in China. Whatever. In this reviewer's humble opinion, bands of such ilk are best sampled one song at a time, and Z. Wheeler's "Everything's Not Okay" is NBU's pick from this batch 'o four. A great chorus and catchy guitar part provide a convincing backdrop for Brian Fenske's impassioned vocal on the tried but true subject of lost love. Bottom line? Z. Wheeler have the chops and the hooks for a hit or two, but so do most of the bands currently vying for audience share in the overcrowded field of mature modern rock.
(Mike Doktorski, 2/02)

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