I bought this CD based on the artwork and a possible Star Wars reference.
The verdict: A three piece electropop combo, the sound of the band was appealing from track one. But the vocals on most tracks were so heavily processed with a vocoder that it put me off. About halfway through there was an unexpected cover version of "Into The Groove" that I enjoyed. The next track was also decent, but by the end, the wretched vocoder was back.
Janet Bean - Dragging Wonder Lake (2003)
This one came in a box lot. The cover looked interesting so I thought I'd give it a spin.
The verdict: Wistful Americana. Perfectly pleasant, a little bit sleepy, just not my kind of thing. I was hoping for something a little more quirky. A Randy Newman cover ("God's Song") is disappointing, but then again no one performs like Randy.
Blanche - If We Can't Trust The Doctors (2004)
I can't remember buying this but it comes in a nice digipak (I have a soft spot for digipaks!) and is on the V2 record label. I'm expecting maybe a dynamic pop/rock combo.
The verdict: Wrong again! Dusky, mandolin ridden folk music with alternating male/female vocal lines. I think I might like this with a few listens. But for now, it doesn't reach out and grab me. The vocals seem to stray too much to the edges of the melody which make it harder to listen to.
Mezzanine Owls - Slingshot Echoes (2006)
I liked the name. And it was cheap. Self-released, so not expecting too much here.
The verdict: Much more like it. Very strong opening with gorgeous guitar lines. In the Coldplay mold perhaps, but doesn't sound too derivative. I listened to the first three tracks all the way through, and had a hard time picking a favorite. Today's clear winner. Excellent production and sound considering it's not on a major label. Well done!
Worthy download: Mezzanine Owls - Coyote
Bonus download: Medic Droid - Into The Groove (low quality, download the proper version here)