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Confront the Truth

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Album Review

Tony Molina shot to the attention of discerning indie rock fans with the release of 2013's Dissed and Dismissed, a 12-tracks-in-12-minutes album that featured double-tracked heavy metal guitar heroics, timeless Teenage Fanclub-style melodies, and Molina's unassumingly perfect vocals. It was basically a perfect record, but it didn't present a complete picture of everything the former, sometime-hardcore punk singer Molina could do. The Sub Pop single that followed the album gave a clue to his range, with a couple of acoustic tracks mixed in among the tightly wound rockers. It harkened back to his previous band Ovens, and some of his earliest solo work, which always had some quieter acoustic songs in the mix. His eight-song, 11-minute single for Slumberland heads almost entirely in that direction, while adding some subtle keyboards and showing off Molina's abiding love for the Beatles. At least two of the songs, "I Don't Want to Know" and "Hung Up on the Dream" sound like his reinterpretation of "Strawberry Fields," and "See Me Fall" borrows the melody and more from "And I Love Her." The rest of the single is gentle and sweet, with the ghost of fellow Beatles lover Elliott Smith hovering over Molina's shoulder as he strums (especially on "No One Told Me"). The only track that seems connected to Dissed is the instrumental cover of Thin Lizzy's "Banshee," which closes the single with some welcome dual guitar leads. Molina could have cranked out Dissed and Dismissed parts two through ten and his formula wouldn't have gotten stale, that he took a risk and made his first appearance on Slumberland so quiet and unlike the music that earned him recognition is a daring move. It shows there is more to Molina than initially met the eye, and sets him up to take future releases in almost any direction he chooses. Wherever he may go, lovers of short and to-the-point pop songs with subtle emotions, smartly played guitars, and earnest vocals should be sure to follow.

Biography

Born: 1985 in Millbrae, CA

Genre: Indie Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

California native Tony Molina spent years working in the punk and hardcore scenes before venturing out into his much poppier solo work. Living in the Bay area, Molina played in various D.I.Y. hardcore acts starting in his teenage years, such as Dystrophy, Lifetime Problems, and Caged Animals. In 2013, while still fronting the much more aggressive Caged Animal, Molina released his solo debut, Dissed and Dismissed, a collection of 12 short and fuzzy tunes that took notes from '90s indie and power pop...
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Confront the Truth, Tony Molina
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