Recorded @ Zippah, 1999
Produced by Jaime d'Almeida with Pete Weiss

 

 

I knew the during the first listen that the Timbre Project's Free Souvenirs would not cause me any aural injury. Free Souvenirs' deft melodic workmanship was able to pass my rigid domestic purification administration (or "housework" in common parlance) test . Does this CD have a languid but not overzealous opener ("Ho-Ho's Legacy") to inspire you out of your TV-facing La-Z-Boy and towards the cleaning supplies? Are there songs which enable you to pause for reflection by virtue of their poignancy and sing-a-long impact? Yes, the acoustic number "Plane Food Sucks," with lyrics like "It's tough when the ones who give you love, are the reason you don't want to stay", easily qualifies. Does the track sequence allow you to maintain cleaning momentum? Absolutely. The Foo Fighters-esque "Ship Wrecked" is perfect for tackling the toilet bowl with gusto, while the bass-heavy, spunky, infectious "Rock Garden" makes emptying a habitually reused vacuum bag a pleasure. Frontman Jaime D'Almeida (of Boston's Five Dollar Milkshake) sounds like a Trent Reznor who is still able to believe in the basic goodness of people. His melodies, which are similar to REM's earlier work or 10,000 Maniacs during some of their more ebullient moments, sweep the listener along, making it easy to overlook the album's acrid humor (and all the more delightful to discover it on later listens). The Timbre Project easily doubles as the cleaner's companion or the Sunday afternoon driver's delight.
-- Deirdre Devers

 

 

Five Dollar Milkshake frontman Jaime d'Almeida steps out with an absolutely delightful solo LP. Poignant and wry, confident and relaxed, Free Souvenirs compares favorably to such great American song writers as Mark Eitzel, Jonathan Richman, Jackson Browne and Randy Newman. Bet you never thought you'd see those five in the same sentence, but it applies to d'Almeida. Outstanding tracks include the melancholy "Stole All You Wear," the rocking "Ship Wrecked" and my personal fave, "Rock Garden," a bouncy, R&B-influenced portrait of a would-be rock star confronting his fears: "I can't believe we're not going to play for teenage mobs/I can't believe we won't be able to quit our day jobs/I can't believe we're not going to play live at Budokan."

 

 

A gentle blend of acoustic tinged alt-rock, and whimsical songcraft, led by Jaime d'Almeida, frontman for fIVE dOLLAR mILKSHAKE. There's a homey feeling to this album, sometimes verging on the drowsy. "Stole All You Wear" has a nice pedal steel groove going for it. "Listens" is a well produced ballad. If you're patient with this album, you might find some subtle indie rewards inside. -Jim Esch

 

 

The Timbre Project plays an eclectic style of pop-rock. It's very unique, not exactly the type of stuff you're likely to hear on the radio. It's more of the indie rock eccentric free-style kind of music. Very entertaining and creative...especially the artwork on the CD booklet. It's full of little notations and quotes which show how the band's personality is reflected in their work. They also play quite a variety of instruments, everything from the pedal steel guitar to the xylophone to cotton ball holders. Can't get much more inventive than that. I liked "Plane Food Sucks" (plane food sucks/I'm eatin' trail mix) with its acoustic feel and intrinsic lyrics- it's really about a girl and a broken heart, not about plane food. All in all a fun album from a fun band. -Daina Kazmaier

 

 

Some impressive acoustic pop balladry on this CD, but it doesn't stop there... moves right on into some rawkin' backbeat-oriented heavier rock stuph! Flawlessly executed & very tight compz that will have ya' doin' more than just tappin' yer' lil' toezie-wozies! This is a great recording, not sure why it didn't jump outta' th' stak a lil' earlier at me - I mean, this kinda' music is somethin' you'll find yer'self goin' back to.. & back to... & back to! VERY high energy, lyrics that have a bite (but don't gnaw yer' leg off). Th' odd beats on "Junkie Disco Girl" (trak 7) will keep ya' guessin' (that's why it was my favorite track)! Another thing that was mighty attractive to these aural appendages is that they MIXED th' styles up, won't LET you get stuck in any ruts. Only complaint (recordingwise) is that the vinyl album (or so it seemed) used for the intro/outro had too many scratches in it. All in all, though, comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those who dig on acoustic/electric folk/kowboy/rawk that'll keep yer' blood pumpin'! Contact at POB 426006, Cambridge, MA 02142, or via email to malcom@fivedollarmilkshake.com -Rotcod Zzaj

 

 

These are smart, interesting tunes. The intelligence of this band shines forth even before the music begins as they decorate their CD cover with convention-defying witticisms. Then they give you bluesy, countryish (but don't let that scare you away) ballads about the people in your neighborhood, and make you nod in agreement with the truth of their lyrics.

 

 

The first half of this album is pretty damn close to perfect pop. Clocking in at a Weezer-esque 32 minutes, Free Souvenirs is a solo project from Five Dollar Milkshake frontman Jaime d’Almeida. Quickly spanning 11 tracks, the album is a mix of experimentation and tradition, comedy and drama.

“Plane Food Sucks,” composed with a guitar and a dobro, is a perfect example. A brooding guitar riff is complimented with the opening line “Plane food sucks / I’m eating trail mix.” What follows is a discourse of how even that goes wrong when the raisins are all gone, rendering the trail mix unsatisfactory as well. A joke song, right? Think again. The airline food is a distraction from the very real problem at hand: returning home. “Now I remember why I headed so far away / It’s tough when the ones that give you love are the reasons you don’t want to stay,” sings d’Almeida. The back cover states that the perfect pop song is 3 minutes long, then listens this one’s time as “-0:19”. Short and wonderful. You’ll be reaching for the repeat button.

But if you don’t get to the repeat button on time, you’re on to the next track. In this case, the next track is “Shipwrecked,” which is a plea to a man who can’t see that his love is lonely when he’s away all the time. This is a fuzzy alternative romp, followed by a pop piano ballad (the wonderfully titled “Bovine Intervention”) that, at +1:35, is the album’s longest track, reflective and sad.

“Fair E” is another charmer, a feel-good number that puts a mellotron and two piano players to good use. “Stole All You Wear” again goes in a different direction, serving as a better vehicle for d’Almeida’s vocal range and even has a wistfully twangy pedal steel that adds a strange, somehow fitting dose of country to the song.

And even though the album doesn't quite maintain the dazzlingly addictive pace of the first six songs, Free Souvenirs is unquestionably worth the price of admission. This is emotional songwriting without being angsty or emo. There is a raw honesty to both these words and this music, embedded with a wonderful sense of humor that’s apparent all over the packaging and also in songs like “Fair M,” which is an outtake of “Fair E” that features the background singing of d’Almeida’s dog and the added line “No barking!” to the lyrics. At –0:04, it’s the closest he gets to the official perfect pop song. He’ll get there one of these days...

Visit the official site at http://www.fivedollarmilkshake.com/timbr... , where you can listen to nine songs from the album and read other reviews. Or visit http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/timbre to purchase the album. Best $10 you’ll spend today.

-Adam McKibbin

 

 

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More a treasure than a souvenir
by Kurt Hernon

Some albums just have to have a space to themselves, this happens to be one of those - ed.

There comes a point where honesty in music is moot. It can be faked, processed, even mocked. But there is the flipside of all of that. There is the point at which music can be performed beyond any pretensions and the heart fall right off your sleeve and lay at the feet of someone who is more than ready to stomp that twitching little organ completely bloodless. I don't have to point out all of the bullshit that swirls dizzyingly on 5 inch silver plastic in this world. With so many performers trying to squeeze their bloated precious asses through a keyhole to stardom, it's amazing we don't all collectively puke on rotation with popular radios formatted Hell. It's usually a good sign when some piece of work, some songs, or an album puts me in such a bleak/pissed/depressed/fucked-up psychotic mood. The Timbre Project works such magic on me this time around. I won't even start into the old "why...what on fucking Earth is going on that these guys don't get all the recognition they very clearly deserve" spiel, you all know that one by heart now. What I will say is...uuuuuuuggghh!! This record has got to be heard, by someone, anyone. Tell me - please tell me that these guys are getting just desserts. Off of that soapbox...gotta stay away from that shit cuz people think you're stark raving fucking mad, or even stoopid. The Timbre Project is an offshoot/sideproject/thefutureof the keen Five Dollar Milkshake. $5Milkshake put out a couple of finely diverse and scraggily attractive discs in the past few years and that bands lead-guy Jaime d'Almeida along with Shake Drummer David Zimmerman and other friends make up The Timbre Project. The Timbre Project present The Name of This Album is Free Souvenirs in a loose but thoroughly captivating fashion. It is an excellent collection of songs that are whimsical, wondrous, and simply superb. Ranging across jagged weirdness (Junkie Disco Girl), fantastically incisive pedal steel (Stole all You Wear"), J. Richman geek freakdom ("Rock Garden"), pop perfection (Ship Wrecked" - whew is this a solid one), and every other conceivable scrap of leftover in the late-nigh-drunks-rummaging-through fridge. When Mr. d'Almeida sits down at the piano for the emotive and challenging manifesto "Bovine Intervention", I almost break. It's high personal drama on a level that nobody seems to want to take shots at these bleak days (although, this may be what Westerberg was trying to do on his last disaster). In fact I'd probably break down (probably will one of these days I play this) if I didn't listen and wind up in that place I was when I started writing this review: pissed and disenchanted. I am glad as fuck that this music exists for me, but I understand that more people NEED to hear this - today, tomorrow and forever.

 

 

Geoff Wilbur's Renegade Newsletter

The debut CD from this band brings a wide range of styles together and some really talented musicians.  With earthy, almost grungy vocals an acoustic driven music, the songs hint at influences from Bob Dylan and Neil Young to Pearl Jam and Ben Folds Five.   While primarily acoustic, the Timbre Project makes good use of banjo, pedal steel, and even accordion on this record. - Mike Farley

 

 

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Taking a peek at the cover-art on Free Souvenirs (a picture of somewhere on the Cape(?) with a creature on the cover that resembled a levitating samurai soldier), I honestly had no clue what I was in store for but I was pleasantly surprised as I was treated to a really good laid back album. Free Souvenirs is an album deep in blues and plenty of cool pop hooks and quirky themes. I have to say that I enjoyed this for the fact that Jaime d' Almeida (pretty much the force of this disc) added some themes that are familiar with most of the musicians in Boston like ‘I’m not going to be a rock star’ in "Rock Garden," as the scene here dwindles to being about sex and image (Oh BOY!). ‘It’s over now, it’s over now – I’m not going to be a rock star.’ Basically that speaks so true to me and should to most of the mindless ones. Then he turns you onto a fantastic pop song with "Ship Wrecked," where the guitars slowly gaze between two chords during the verse, but in such an uncanny way that you can’t help but to be drawn in. When you start to settle into the groove, the change comes in with a 4 bar chorus to turning back to the hook (verse – in my opinion – brilliant!).

The production is very good as the guitars sound lush and very vintage, i.e. old school rock. The same goes with the vocals, as they sounded like a real human singing rather than hearing a computerized robot pounding note for note as flawless as well…. a computer! The catch for me was "Fair M," which sounded like a 4-track recording with a dog on backing vocals (literally). Jaime started getting pissed at the dog and telling him in a stern way – ‘Stop that! No barking!’ – but the dog just can’t help it as I think he secretly knew that he would make it to the album…. : ) Overall, this disc will be for you if you like old school rock mixed in with a nice laid back feel. This album is meant for hanging out on the Cape and I think I understood what the cover was all about when the album finished….The man on the cover is me levitating through the world of bliss after listening to some great pop songs! (Shoegazer) ****


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A gentle blend of acoustic tinged alt-rock, and whimsical songcraft, led by Jaime d'Almeida, frontman for fIVE dOLLAR mILKSHAKE. There's a homey feeling to this album, sometimes verging on the drowsy. "Stole All You Wear" has a nice pedal steel groove going for it. "Listens" is a well produced ballad. If you're patient with this album, you might find some subtle indie rewards inside. - Jim Esch

 

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Alternative. Like a lot of alt rockers, they know how to Play, but they resort to the subjects the Beatles and Who somehow missed. The first track is static, with a short intro about the superior quality of the recording. One of the best tracks is 'Ship Wrecked', which according to the cd booklet was recorded on a Sunday morning, so they tried to play it softly so they wouldn't wake up the neighbors, so they suggest you turn it up. Thus, the good sense of humor that dominates the music and words both in this band. They also have a few good rules - 'bass is not required on every song. old mixing consoles can survive 3 minute hailstorms' and etc. 'Bovine Intervention' is simple, but beautiful in its weird way. Piano and half-awake vocals and etc. And the voices are very good throughout. Now they just need to work on making a longer cd. This is 32 minutes, but even if these short songs won't be played on Howard Stern, they have a restrained wickedness that sometimes carves itself off the Head soundtrack.

 

Babysue

The Timbre Project - Free Sourvenirs (CD, Ice Cream Headache Music, Pop)
Nice organic (mostly acoustic-based) pop music. Fronted by Jaime d'Almeida (also with the band fIVE dOLLAR mILKSHAKE), this band features very free flowing pop music that is accentuated by pedal steel guitar and other less conventional instrumentation. Almeida's nice husky vocal style is perfect for the type of music he writes. The music is upbeat, but there's a definite seriousness thread running through these tunes. Our favorites are "Stole All You Wear", " "Fair E," and "Junkie Disco Girl." A thoroughly entertaining and well executed batch of tunes. Check out the web site: (Rating: 4)

 

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I was most impressed with Jaime D'almeidas' solo project: The Timbre Project. Not only was the production quality of the CD exceptionally good but the lyrics were catchy and the music was quite innovative as well. The musical accessories from pedal steel, dobro, piano, and accordion added excellent textures to the solid foundation the percussion, guitar, and bass were laying down. The vocals were solid although they didn't blow me away and, if I had to compare, reminded me of a cross between sting and the Counting Crows. Last thoughts: interesting effects and recording techniques on Junkie Disco Girl, and a very happenin' bio- ask for a copy.
Overall_rating: * * * *     Lyrics: * * * * *      Music: * * *     Song_Writing: * * *      Best_song: Stole All Your Wear      Worst_Song: N/A