Last spring I profiled Gabrielle Ross and Danny Ross as my two Long Island artists on the rise. This spring I profile two new Long Island artists on the rise. St. James’ Michael Korb is a singer/songwriter who released his debut album Ghosts while battling pneumonia. No lie. The entire disc was recorded while Korb was under the weather. The somewhat lengthy disc is a solid debut for a DIY artist but its hour running time certainly leaves the listener heavy-handed. Title track “Ghosts,” runs a total of eight minutes. His music is very much akin to the loop-and-swirl effects of Howie Day and Radiohead, with a dash of earnest folksinger. The disc’s production is spotty, as it sounds exquisite on some songs and on others is a bit rough. Can’t fault the kid though, after all he was sick. Korb’s solo show is really where his power lies. Armed with a gorgeous Martin guitar, he projects his voice into all corners of the room and boasts a presence that certainly needs to be heard to be realized.
Farmingdale-based quintet Paging Grace are on the verge of super-stardom. They recently had a song featured on the MTV show The Hills and consistently draw well in the tri-state area. Vocalist Chris Trentacoste has a restrained, controlled voice that proves to be the band’s strong point. Whereas many Long Island vocalists tend to oversing or go beyond their limits, Trentacoste seems to know his limitations and never outdoes himself. There are numerous times on the EP when he sounds a lot like Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas and considering that band’s success, this isn’t exactly a bad thing. What’s most refreshing about Paging Grace is that the band’s music is Top 40-based pop/rock. There’s a good bit of a classic rock influence on the album too, which is refreshing and highly listenable. In an area inundated with emo, hardcore and the like, Paging Grace is a promising step forward and is certain to see their name on marquees in the very near future.
Another pop/rock effort that deviates away from the emo-hardcore scene is Rockville Centre’s Danny Rocco, who was recently signed to Lobster Records/Ooort Records, out of Santa Barbara, CA. The label was once home to the on-hiatus pop-punkers Yellowcard and a few others. Rocco’s album will be recorded this summer and should hit stores this fall. Last year Rocco released songs on his Myspace that showed confidence, maturity and a polish not expected of a 20-year-old. He’s definitely a name to look out for in the coming years.
I expect 2010 to be the Danny Rocco coming out party.