Double Play: Job For a Cowboy & Casey Desmond

Two reviews for the price of none! This week's double-shot mixes metal and electro-pop. 

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Job For A Cowboy

Gloom EP

Metal Blade Records

Job For A Cowboy are a band that have managed to claw their way from the primordial ooze of being an average metalcore band. Though they’ve recently churned out some top-notch work, sadly some still dismiss them as metalcore. The band’s latest EP Gloom should do a lot to slap the wagging fingers of the uneducated metal masses. Gloom delivers four songs that clock out at just over fifteen minutes. Locked within those minutes is a violent mix of rage and bitterness translated through unhinged guitar work powering the riffs via robotically perfect drumming. Gloom isn’t just a conversation piece or something to keep people interested in the band until a full length can be released. This is a full on, four-song assault, that’s as good as anything currently being slung in the world of metal.

One thing is how Job For A Cowboy trims the fat for this album. Most bands in the genre, even ones who dabble in the EP, love to get evil or flowery with what they do. Long acoustic intros, dark and quiet passages meant to focus us on how evil they are, all the bells and whistles you can think of. Gloom has none of that; it’s just pure adrenaline from stem to stern. Some bitches in the “metal community” will claim that’s why the record is so short but to me it’s all about leaving people wanting more. If you skip through songs on an album, much less an EP, something isn’t right. Job For A Cowboy unleashes way too much and then crunch it into a time frame that whips past. It’s the same type of thing that makes the Ramones so good. I’m not, on any level, saying Job For A Cowboy are anywhere near the Ramones. They just capitalize on the idea of spinning through it all so fast you’re left confused but with a notion you want to hear it again. I found myself listening to Gloom over and over and constantly finding new things that interested me.

I also enjoyed the testament Gloom is to how far the band has come. This isn’t the band’s first foray into the EP, that title belongs to their post demo release Doom, (Doom and Gloom how clever). When I first heard Doom I was unimpressed and wrote Job For A Cowboy off as another failed metalcore band attempting death metal. I was proven wrong by the release of Genesis and then Ruination. Gloom is a step ahead of what Ruination accomplished, meaning that what follows next should be as good if not better.

Being the nitpicky bastard that I am I will say that the vocals don’t do much for me. Founding member and vocalist Jonny Davy screeches and growls with more style than most death metal bands, but it still lands on the boring side. I guess my issue is, if you’re the singer, if that’s your instrument in the band, then explore things that turn people on their ear, don’t take the easy way. Nitpicking aside, Gloom is a pretty visceral experience. It’s an EP that makes Job For Cowboy’s music just as awesome as their name.



Casey Desmond

Casey Desmond EP

Sound Museum Records

In a completely different and much more upbeat side of the neighborhood, I give you Casey Desmond and her electro-pop self titled EP. You know that hot girl who went to art school? She was beautiful, talented and slightly off kilter, a fact that made her even more attractive. Casey Desmond is that girl in spades and she’s decided to try to get the world dancing to her beat. Casey’s record is full on dance music, the kind of unabashed good time that makes cynical old men like me feel weird for liking it. The entire EP is upbeat but not bubble gum, danceable but not soulless. If Katy Perry is the high school queen with the awesome voice, Casey Desmond is her way cooler younger sister who’s elected to be more eclectic.

As with most dance EPs, Casey Desmond’s album is a couple of originals, and a batch of remixes. The angles of the songs are about love and relationships and all those things that people love to sing along to while getting their boogie down on. I can just see thousands of high school girls driving around town blaring Casey’s music and looking up to her as a plateau of cool they strive for. I can also see college kids and twentysomethings hitting the club scene and jamming harder when the new Casey Desmond song drops. This is a radio friendly album to the nth degree.

The album kicker is “Rendezvous”, an epic club banger about an affair under the dark of night. The thumping backbeat is accentuated with 80s synths galore. Casey’s smart with her lyrics, they’re sexual in nature without being too explicit. Talking To God is a more straight-ahead pop tune about the ultimate male fantasy. It’s one that doesn’t exist but all girls dream up. From that point on the respective DJs take aim at remixing and upping the dance vibe for each of her original tracks.

If Casey seems familiar to you it’s because, like all good pop divas, she’s had a bit of controversy in her young career. Appearing on the TV show The Voice, Desmond’s considerable talents put her in the thick of the battle round. Sadly, she lost out to a country crooner with a sad tale to tell, but not before proving she had the pipes to back up her pop sensibilities. Oddly the folks over at LA Weekly and Billboard had some harsh things to say about Desmond, which is funny considering what drivel they tend to bathe in the given-not-earned title “artist”.

Regardless of all the controversy, Casey Desmond is a solid songwriter with a great voice and happens to be easy on the eyes without ever seeming like a fraud. None of the music in this genre is ripe with incredible depth or sudden bursts of experimentation, that’s not what it’s there for. In the world of pop music Casey Desmond has as much right to stand atop the mountain as Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears or whoever holds the top spot these days. Given half a chance girls will eat up her infectious tunes because they want to be like her and guys will buy it because they want to date her.