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Jason Rubero: Press

I’ve been following Jason Rubero’s musical exploits since 2003 when I reviewed several of his songs for the now-defunct site Gods of Music. Most of the artists I covered back then have slipped through the cracks, but with music so filled with pop smarts as Rubero’s, it was impossible not to continue to follow everything he did, even as his music remained masked in obscurity. Frequently dubbed “Beatlesque,” Rubero has built his sonic palate upon the classics, reworking and modernizing this pure pop music into a style uniquely his. From the experimental album Mercywheel in 1999 to 2010′s exquisite The Furious Bliss, he’s proven time and time again that he’s not afraid to push the envelope of what listeners expect from pop music in his search for sonic perfection.

It, therefore, remains a surprise to me that Jason Rubero’s music has not found broader appeal. His latest track, “Song For The Seance Girl,” may appear on a later album, but he’s chosen to release it by email to his fans directly. The song, as he describes it, is “loaded with a double-helping of atmosphere, layered ambiance, creepy lyrics, and strange sounds.” But the song’s “melancholy laced with laughter” will definitely lure you into its depths, and this is a song unlikely to let you go once it gets the hooks in. The arrangement is epic, with ethereal piano and chimes coupled with haunting vocals and ambient sounds, creating a soundscape which throws you out of your comfort zone.

This is the kind of music which draws in fans, new and old alike, reaffirming what a talent Jason Rubero is. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it. Then, once you’ve officially had your mind blown, visit his website’s “Music” page to dig your way into his back catalog. I can guarantee it’ll be the musical highlight of your day!

ARTIST: JASON RUBERO
SONG: WINTER OPENED MY EYES
GENRE: ELECTRONIC / EXPERIMENTAL POP
SIMILAR: THE CURE, FIONA APPLE, CAKE

I've been listening to "Winter Opened My Eyes", by Jason Rubero, for the past two weeks. This is the type of song I love to review - confident, chill, yet full of emotion, rooted in the classic, yet somehow managing to remain new & refreshing.

If you're looking for something encapsulating all the chill and attitude of the beat generation, yet smooth & warm like a velvet blanket, "Winter Opened My Eyes" will bless your playlist with the cool textures and steamy groove you crave. The beats are delectable, and the instruments and samples "float like a butterfly" & "sting like a bee". Jason's voice is wonderfully suited to the mood in this song, and the only thing I find wanting in this piece is a matter of personal taste - I would have expanded the range of the existing vocal melody in a couple places near the end of the song, and I'm not sure about the sample of the child near the end.

Other than those minor details, this song is a groove-walk firedance through a winter wonderland, wearing the absolute classiest in designer shades. Simply Sweet. This song is now a permanent addition to my music library.
ARTIST: JASON RUBERO
SONG: GOD
GENRE: ALTERNATIVE / N/A
SIMILAR: KENNA ("HELL BENT") WITHOUT THE BREAKBEATS

Jason Rubero has something here that could be a success. "God" is a well crafted track that sounds good when I listen. With continued upward progression in his recordings, I'd expect to hear more from Rubero in the future.

However, it needs work to get to that point. For one, there's a bit too much wah-wah guitar in this track. It tends to overpower the vocalist, who as best I can tell, should be the focal point of this song. The other sounds are well mixed though, so just dropping the wah-wah guitars back a bit should do a lot to even up the sound.

Vocally, this is a success. Rubero has a voice for quiet pop music, and it shows throughout this track. He doesn't overdo anything, his voice just comes through evenly, reminding me a bit of Kenna's "Hell Bent". As far as the vocal aspect goes, I'll definitely keep an ear open to Jason's page.

As a whole, like I've said, "God" is a solid track. It is cleanly written and performed, and the production is quite decent. With a little work in the mixing department to even up the sound, this will be a sign of things to come for Jason Rubero.
Jason Rubero
"Skyhouse and Scarlet" CD Review (4 stars)

Jason Rubero is a talent to keep an eye on. His album Skyhouse and Scarlet is a seminal listening experience, traversing many different sonic styles to create an album that plays as a whole better than most I've heard in a good while. This is the kind of blend that makes the best music, and I have a feeling Rubero is just getting started.
Opening with the catchy harmonics of "Look At Me", the album comes out blazing. With a slight tinge of Pink Floyd in the background, though it certainly isn't the mainline of the song, you can't help but enjoy this one, and it gives you a good glimpse of what this album is going to become. You are quickly led into the gentle soothing sounds of Beatlesque title track "Skyhouse and Scarlet", one of my favorites on the album. This song has everything from a catchy hook to timewarp vocals. It's almost like we're hearing a blend of the best of Rubero's many influences combined with his very formidible skill as a songsmith. If you like "Strawberry Fields" you'll love this one.
And while I'm on the subject of Rubero's tenacity as a songwriter, I feel I should mention his excellent lyrics. On "Meet The Artist", he sings Still, I would like more than the glimpse / I caught since I first saw the mercywheel / I want to meet the Man, the perfect Artist / Who can summon all I see, hear, feel. And this theme continues thoughout the album, this man's need to be able to take what he feels and detail it. He writes in "Asphalt and Glasses", that My hopeless words are cold and pale / Like lifeless heroes so perfectly flawed and human. But as the album winds down, he writes of faith and reality and how we seem to find these to be mutually exclusive things. He writes It isn't faith that makes me nervous / But religion engineered by man / Folding God like oragami / Until He fits so neatly in our hand / And we don't want to think / We don't want to feel / Believe all we touch is all that's real ("Feel")
When the album is done, these songs form something complete. We can appreciate the wonderous way the music blends and bends to move us through a sonic dream world. And the lyrics give the album a real sense of meaning. Skyhouse and Scarlet is the kind of album you don't come across often, a series of songs that will remind you upon every listen what truly is real. It's worth every minute.
ARTIST: JASON RUBERO
SONG: SONG TO THE CITY
GENRE: ROCK / FOLK ROCK / ACOUSTIC ROCK
SIMILAR: CROSBY STILLS & NASH / GRAHAM NASH

It is pretty rare that a song causes me to become pensive and apprehensive simultaneously. It is more rare when that song causes my skin to prickle with the bumps of emotional exuberance and anticipation. Such is the case as I sit and listen to Jason Rubero’s sensitive folk rock pop inflected Song To The City. That is until the production falls apart three quarters of the way through the recording.

Elements of Crosby, Stills and Nash abound in this song. Particularly in the Graham Nash sounding vocal treatment, that carries with it both the pop sensitivities of Nash’s work with the Hollies, as well as the vocal harmonies and folk rock sound of Nash’s partners in CS&N era music of the early seventies.

For such a young looking artist, this music is mature beyond his years. Jason’s musical influences are as old as the Beatles and as new and refreshing as Oasis or Moby. [I[Song To The City demonstrates Jason’s ability to perfectly balance those influences.

I think I am listening to an artist who could easily emerge as a spokesman for his generation, as wonderful as first hearing the raw and unaffected work of Bruce Cockburn, Bruce Springsteen or John Lennon. There is lyricism here that creates vivid pictures, melodies that speak to the heart, and singing that is as exquisitely performed and orchestrated as CS&N’s "Marrakesh Express."

The one and only flaw is the arrangement and production towards the end of the song. Jumping from the delicate folk nature of the arrangement, Jason adds an uptempo element to the song that at first appears incongruent to the beauty he expresses in the beginning. Perhaps it’s the production itself that creates this imbalance. Given the thick lush sounding vocal harmony work and delicate acoustic guitar I first hear, the song jumps almost unnaturally to an open studio sounding production, making me wish he had concluded the recording of this song earlier.

What really bothers me more is the guitar solo and sound of the drums towards the end. They seem like afterthoughts. Something I’m sure would have been more carefully constructed under a more seasoned producer’s hands.

Jason Rubero is an artist not to be taken lightly as someone here today and gone tomorrow, but rather thought of as someone whose intelligence and insight is well worth listening to for years to come. Song To The City could easily establish him as such an artist.
"Instead of sounding like a jaded musician trying to unearth what's left of his sensitivity, Jason Rubero's music seems to be built on a tower of emotions and pensiveness. Quiet acoustic songs allow Rubero's near-whisper to take the center stage."
-Listen.com

"Think of the last place you might hear killer pop? Moscow, Idaho, maybe? Canadian-born, Jason Rubero composes smooth, yet funky additions to the tribute to Sgt. Pepper in chocolately-sweet dancing guitars and swelling vocals in these well-produced works." - -Radiowired.com

"For fans of true pop melody."
- Bill's Toupee (MP3.com radio station)

"I know you didn't ask about this tune, but I just checked out Feel and that totally has a great groove to it as well ... I like that Lennon progression that comes in about 1:30 and again later ... Cool bass line, nice break with the ringing bell ... good vocals ... I like it a lot! Great arrangement of the entire piece. I really dig your stuff, man!" (boydrj)
- MixingBBS Website

"Hi Jason, I listened to Winter Opened My Eyes. Very well done, for sure, sort of Electronica, or, music for a movie or something (the horn or trumpet sounds make it a bit too Showtime movie, I think, just my opinion). Still, you're arranging of the sounds is very good. I also listened to Feel and Asphalt And Glasses. Being a Beatle fan, I can appreciate those (more). Very well done nice tunes. On Asphalt, though obviously Beatley/Lennony, you sort of sound like Donavan (or even Rufus Wainright (sp?) ). Also kinda Beach Boyish at the end, nice vocal harmonies." (Macle)
- MixingBBS Website
Various Authors - Miscellaneous
First song:

* She’s a Flier by Jason Rubero

This track is from a 2003 CD titled “Plug Into The Real”, you an purchase the CD from CD Baby. The track is described as film music, which I always find an odd category but that’s just me. This is a gentle, moody track that grows on you the more you hear it. Jason does all the singing, plays all the instruments and engineers and produces the music all by himself. He describes his music as a hobby but I read on one site that he spent two years on his previous album, Skyhouse and Scarlet, so I don’t know if that’s really the right word for it. He clearly has massive talent and I hope to hear more of his evocative style...
ARTIST: JASON RUBERO
SONG: HEAD TRIP
GENRE: POP / POP VOCALS
SIMILAR: POSIES, MATTHEW SWEET, BEATLES

Head Trip listed as more than a "Guitar Rock" effort and immediately displays a relationship to the writing styles of David Bowie, with Beatles like harmonies and matures as a truly inventive songwriting effort.

The Dillon esque lyrics and English pop sound is impressive when the multi layered harmonies come into play, again calling to a production era when flamboyant mixes ruled the pop rock scene and were comprised of more than electronic bass throbbing and click track musicianship.

Head-trip begins with an irreverent "hear ye hear ye" anthem intro, with effects on the vocals to emphasis the thematic view of the material by the artist reminiscent of the more theatrical sound that were popularized for example by the revolutionary stage and latter film performances in the play "Hair" and even "Rocky Horror Picture Show" or "Ziggy ,Spiders from Mars" all classic pop culture pieces.

Does it necessarily fit in today’s music scene? Well this isn’t the thing that radio jocks are spinning now, it’s almost too "smart". Again they sound more English pop or American pop culture more than guitar rock although there is lots of guitar in it stays with mainstream songwriting methods common to pop and lighter alternative efforts.

The dynamics of the track even approach Jeff Lynns "Electric Light Orchestra" in places showing a mature well trained talent.

Suddenly when you think this track has shown its colors, it concludes with a catchy time signature change that makes you wonder what else is hiding under the flower power, peace sign covered hood.

Maybe this will appear in bright lights behind the next Monty Python inspired film…
She's A Flier [play]
Band: Jason Rubero
Genre: Alternative Rock

I'm Sailing Away:
Spacey intro, nice piano sound, i like the wind effects too, im not crazy about the voice but it isnt really irritating and sounds abit like roger waters so its okay i guess
- uti_mp from Subury, Ontario, Canada on 24Jan2007

Laid Back:
Very laid back song. Doesn't make me jump out of my seat but its far better than a lot i've heard. Decent vocals.
- Fred_Nice from Hartford, Connecticut on 22Jan2007

Puts the "M" in mellow:
Very nice piano and layered synths. A nice change of pace from the guitar heavy stuff. Excellent audio and vocals... very rich. My only critique would be that it takes a little long to get to the "build-up" where the drums come in. It detracts a bit from the lyric since an anticipation is there. Dreamy section near end is nicely done and moody. Same for the lyric. A mix of happy and sad that doesn't really bring you down.
- Veturbo1 from South Bend, Indiana on 20Jan2007

Light and relaxing but plenty of interest:
Beautiful start to this song, liked the bass piano chords. This song has a good stereo image which was used to good effect with the incidental phrases making appearances throughout the song. Effective backing vocals, not too intrusive. Plenty of space throughout this track which doesn't require layers and layers of instruments - testament to the strength of the track. The song builds nicely and just when I thought it was fading (as I was also drifting) another vocal phrase bringing the song to a definite conclusion.
Comments required on vox lyrics and production. Hey guys- you must know it's all good...i'm not going to flatter you any further if that's what you're after!
- Marineboy from Nottingham, United Kingdom on 20Jan2007

Chill-Out:
this was very chill-out... before i listened to the second half of the song i wasn't sure if it's rock music, but anyway i liked it. also i liked the ascetic arrangement (especially remote guitars). The vox and production are good, maybe so are the lyrics - i'm not sure cause my english isn't good :)
overall - this is professionally done
- the_mosquito from Kiev, Ukraine on 20Jan2007

Love it!!!!:
Great song. Great trippy mello vibe. Piano is cool, and little background noise is cool too. I love it. Singer sounds on key and good.
- jordanbarnett from Monroe, Michigan on 19Jan2007

There's something about listening to Jason Rubero that gives you a real picture of what indie music should be about. Based in Moscow, Idaho, Rubero is one of the few indie artists I've had the chance to review who actually keeps improving his sound, album for album, and the attention he's put into his third independent album, "Plug In To The Real" is a testament to how good his meticulously crafted songs sound.

Take the harmonies of the Beatles and mix in the ear catching grace of a Coldplay melody, and you have a good picture of what a Jason Rubero track sounds like. Then consider that he plays well over a dozen instruments throughout the album's length, and through layering and experimenting, Rubero creates songs that actually rival the bands he cites as influences.

Songs like "The Radio Girl" would be perfect on just about any radio station these days, though it sounds like very little that is being played. The chorus, built with layer upon layer of vocal tracks, sticks in your head and will make you think he's channeling the vocals of John Lennon with every line. And as the album progresses, Rubero builds on these influences . . . crafting his melodies with the obsessive grace of Rufus Wainwright, while holding his own well enough to make every song sound distinctively his.

The album has many standout tracks, though I personally feel it all sounds the best when the songs are all heard in succession. "She's A Flier" is yet another ear catching radio friendly number, while "Wonder Bread" develops its melodic structure from the use of middle eastern instruments, making it one of the album's best individual tracks. Then toward the end of the album, "Sparkle While You Fade" features a shuffling beat and a melody that gently pulls you along as Rubero sings, offhand, "Loud, the world's so loud but I'm not listening ... no, I don't hear a thing." Much like the rest of the album, it sounds like the songs Rubero creates simply develop naturally. Feeling no need to follow trends of the day, Rubero is a confident studio performer, letting his well crafted songs speak for themselves.

Trust me, folks, I've been reviewing the best -- and the worst -- music on the Internet for well over three years now, and there was no more enjoyable accident than when I stumbled upon the early work of this fine artist. From the bare elements of 1999's "Mercywheel", which is unfortunately out of print now, to the stunningly evocative melody's of his 2001 release "Skyhouse and Scarlet", Rubero has continued to hone his studio skills while creating indie pop that most signed artists would kill to record. With his third indie release, the songs are all honed to perfection, and one can't help but wonder why no one's snapping their fingers and handing him a record contract.

Though between you and me, it's almost nicer to know we've got ourselves a well kept secret. When you hear "Plug In To The Real", you're getting a glimpse of the best indie artist that no one's listening to, hands down.

Rating: ****