Various Artists

There’s a good reason most self-respecting local music fans won’t set foot inside Abe & Jake’s Landing. Actually there are seventeen, all found on Sound Check Vol. 1, the first and presumably last collection of forgettable Heartland frat-bar tripe from the Lawrence watering hole. The self-proclaimed homeboys in Pomeroy kick suburban ballistics on “Elevate,” blending all the irksome qualities of 311 and DC Talk into four and a half minutes of sheer musical hell. Chris Bryan’s “Turning Circles” blatantly apes Eagle Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight,” as if anyone needed to revisit that blemished bit of lite rock. Illinois native Bryan also appeared on a recent compilation from Handpicked Records, the vanity label operated by none other than Hootie and the Blowfish. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Hootie and company had a hand in the Sound Check selections, too, evidenced by the quantity of singer-songwriter acoustic drivel fighting for airspace. There are a few bright moments buried in the dreck, including Gooding’s computer-funk workout “And So It Goes” and a hair-gel folk submission, “Mirage,” from Texas singer-songwriter Ryan Cabrera. But if E Double, No Lessons and their ilk were the best this area has to offer, the local music scene would be on its deathbed.

Categories: Music