INDIE MUSIC DIGEST
CD REVIEW: Jacob Acosta - Chants of Diplomacy
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Jacob Acosta
CD: Chants of Diplomacy
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Americana, Folk, Singer Songwriter, Psychedelic Pop
Sounds Like: Paul McCartney, John Mayer, Deep Blue Something, Dave Matthews Band
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Empty Praises, Archetype
Weakness: A few short sided songs, EP release
NOTE: 10 star rating are reserved only for Full Length CD’s.
Jacob Acosta the artist from Race You There and Roll Acosta is officially releasing his first solo project ‘Chants of Diplomacy’ April 20th, 2013 at Plush in Tucson. (tickets are available on his website). His previous works include, ‘Acts of Treason’ (2009), ‘The Dawn EP’ (2010), ‘The Dark EP’ (2011), and most recently ‘This Dreamt Existence’ (2012) with his first producer, indie wizard, John Vanderslice. He has been featured on NPR with his band ‘Roll Acosta’, been on compilations and features for Zia Records, and has played many AZ festivals.
The CD kicks gets off the ground nicely with No Taxes a smooth flowing intro piece that serves up slamming Americana groove meshed against thought provoking lyrical content and effective harmonies from Acosta and company. Track 2 “Normal Life” keeps things moving in the right direction with earthy flute driven intro against steady flowing rhythm, well placed acoustic guitar chops painted against a hooky chorus making for an impressive follow-up statement. Track 3 “Limbs” is another impressive groove that dishes out dynamic rhythm, impressive vocal feel that flows and ebbs its way through to motional fruition. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 amazing songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. I would classify this music as classic Pop, Americana, with brief touches of Earthy Folk, even Saloon Jazz, R&B to Psychedelic Funk of the 70’s. Music is reminiscent of classic Paul McCartney, John Mayer, Jason Mraz, and even Dave Matthews to Deep Blue Something. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive horn sections, strings, impressive rhythm guitar and percussive accents, solid guitar solos, well placed percussion, impressive Horns, lush harmonies layered everywhere all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Acosta – as for his vocal abilities well he’s a great advent. His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timber that is simply infectious. At times he really reminds me of Paul McCartney behind the mic. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board – world class songwriting. This CD from Acosta delivers 6 solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of Jacob Acosta has everything you would expect from a world class musical production. From slamming “Empty Praises”, to melodic “Need Someone” this EP has something for just about everyone. The EP ends with Track 6 “Archetype” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
It’s hard to find any serious weaknesses with this release. Many of the pieces are a bit short sided as well. I typically don’t give 10 star ratings out to EP releases. The Full Length release is a more complete snapshot to judge an artists by at any given time.
From start to finish Chants of Diplomacy by Jacob Acosta is an amazing collection of music. The songwriting – the gold standard, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of Acosta and company are rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old fashioned no holds barred R&B-Pop-Rock swagger. At the end of the day Jacob Acosta brings the mojo and is clearly a marquee talent based out of Arizona. One would be wise to keep a watchful eye on him as this Summer unfolds.
Jacob Acosta: Chants of Diplomacy by Joshua Levine
Of his first solo EP, Chants of Diplomacy, Jacob Acosta has stated (via press release) that his intentions were to break the invisible fourth wall between the artist and the audience, capturing an inviting and intimate photograph that is as much a lesson plan as it is a record.
Recorded so you can hear every breath and sigh in between Acosta’s warmly sung lyrics, Chants of Diplomacy has the ambiance of a campfire group hootenanny where the vibrations are both celebratory and sentimental. The sound here is light, acoustic roots rock, with the detours into folk and almost-gospel that one might expect in the genre. “Normal Life” has some rousing backup vocals from familiar faces Vanessa Lundon and Keli Carpenter, and “Need Someone” is an end-of-the-night drunken love fest.
Many of the songs open with Acosta counting in the song, and raucous cheers and “hey”s populate the tunes elsewhere, reinforcing the communal spirit of the record. “No Taxes” is maybe the only rousing slice of libertarian rock yet recorded.
Chants of Diplomacy is an exciting blueprint for Acosta’s upcoming national tour, and it would be a good idea to learn the words now because you’re probably going to have to sing them at his concerts
ROCK N’ ROLL VIEW
Jacob Acosta – Chants of Diplomacy
About the Artist: Tucson, Arizona based Singer/Songwriter Jacob Acosta just released his latest 6 song EP Toaster entitled Chants of Diplomacy. Of his first solo EP, Chants of Diplomacy, Jacob Acosta has stated (via press release) that his intentions were to break the invisible fourth wall between the artist and the audience, capturing an inviting and intimate photograph that is as much a lesson plan as it is a record. I have to say I was extremely impressed with the opening 3 tracks “No Taxes”, “Normal Life” and “Limbs” They made quite the first impression with me. Each one possessed my full unadulterated attention, and had me eager for what was ahead. To be honest: I expected cheesy Singer/Songwriter Pop. Not that there’s anything wrong with that style – like most listeners out there I just want to hear something new and different. What I discovered delivered was amazing and fresh. The whole CD is full of what I would call catchy Acoustic Pop energy with a hooky pop-style that appeals to so many different senses on so many different levels. It reminds me of State Radio, Virginia Coalition and a bit of Parachute. I can also hear the slight Psychedelic-Blues influence in there as well. What I really like about Jacob Acosta is it never manages crossed into Poppy Territory and there‘s no attempt to deliver what I call over the top pop. Cheezy music with a handsome face via top flight sampling, cookie cutter songwriting via a mix that sounds more like a commercial than a piece of music. Chants of Diplomacy appeals to both advanced and novice listeners alike. It even will appeal to old rockers as well because at times it reminds me of the Beatles. Whatever kind of listening level you’re on – some will identify with things while others will not. Like a three layered cake Chants of Diplomacy is one EP that can take you deep and has so much to offer. Weather it’s musically, lyrically, inspirationally, emotionally, spiritually – if you feel like music is taking us in the wrong direction than rest assured Jacob Acosta is taking us back in the right direction with “Chants of Diplomacy.”
Top Tracks: Empty Praises, Normal Life, Need Someone.
Final Word: Jacob Acosta will affirm your faith in good music again. He represents all that is magical, real and good in music and this latest EP delivers a highly passionate 6 track set via Gold Standard musicianship, amazing chops, impressive songwriting and music that covers all the bases: Rock, Pop and Psychedelic-Blues.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
by Michael Keith edited by Joshua Beach. Posted by Senior Editor Drew Blackwell.
AZ OVERLOAD Artist Interview: Jacob Acosta
Occasionally you cross the path of a person so incredibly passionate about what they do that it’s hard not to feel inspired. While inspiration can be hard to come by for many of us, Jacob Acosta is definitely an exception.
So what’s up with this guy?
“Right now, I find myself plenty busy with Roll Acosta and Race You There. Does the future hold anything more? Maybe, I used to be in three bands, and my mind usually is overflowing with musical ideas. Keep a watchful eye, I would say.”
|Race You There’s New EP Catalyst Available April 2nd|
If he’s not writing, recording, or performing with AZ bands Race You Thereand Roll Acosta, he’s recording original pieces or popular covers, adding his unique twist. It sounds busy to us, but thankfully he was able to take time and answer some of our questions via email:
AZO: Is this a plan or a hobby?
JAKE: Most people think of my work with Roll Acosta and Race You There as side jobs or hobbies, but I think of it as an investment in my art. I am just waiting for it to slowly blossom.
AZO: Any formal training?
JAKE: I’m officially now trained in Music Education, degree-wise, though I used to be trained in hostage negotiations too…I think I am better at saving lives through music .
AZO: What instruments do you play?
JAKE: I play competently: Saxophone, piano, and guitar.
I can whip out at least 2-3 scales on: Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Violin, Cello, and
Can’t do a Bassoon, the fingerings are too tough to remember.
AZO: Do you have a defining moment—where you knew that this is what you were supposed to be doing?
JAKE: As cheesy as it sounds, I do. And believe it or not I was at a Mass for a catholic university when I realized it. That was the day I changed my major from Political Science to Music Ed.
AZO: Which hat do you prefer to wear (writing, playing, vox, production, etc)?
JAKE: I have to say I really love the songwriting process. I love performing my music. I mean it’s kind of a combination of those two really.
AZO: If you were to make the big time, would you stay in Arizona?
JAKE: I might, though I love the beach. So I would probably buy an overpriced house as cost-affordable as I could, closest to the sea.
AZO: Who would be your dream team (living or dead) and why?
JAKE: Rock band Dream team would be, Jim Morrison, the whole band Yes, Neil Peart, John Lennon from the Beatles, Keith Emerson on keyboards, Yo Yo Ma on cello, and Freddie Mercury of course.
AZO: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
JAKE: Hopefully, doing interviews like this from my next touring location in Europe. Maybe opening for a big group like U2. We’ll see though lol.
AZO: What are you currently listening to (in your car/mp3 player, etc)?
JAKE: Totally diggin the new Strokes CD Angles
AZO: What’s your favorite soundtrack?
JAKE: Forrest Gump, hands down, love the classic rock
AZO: Do you have a guilty (music) pleasure?
JAKE: The random catchy Justin Timberlake song.
Jacob Acosta of Race You There has been all over the place. The lead singer of the Tucson indie band is only 25, but he’s worked a stunning amount of odd jobs: a landscaper, a licensed pest-control technician, a newspaper salesman for theArizona Republic, a docket person at a mail department, a law firm employee and an office assistant at a residence home. He’s also worked at New Beginnings for Women and Children and multiple churches, and he’s now a student teacher.
Acosta plans to graduate from the University of Arizona this semester and make his way up in the music world. Race You There will host a CD release party at Plush Jan. 29 to celebrate the arrival of their album “Acts of Treason.” (All the participating bands will donate half of their earnings to the Red Cross’ effort in Haiti.) To get ready, Acosta sat down with us at Plush one night and discussed life over a vodka tonic.
What is your favorite Tucson restaurant?
Just recently I’ve really gotten into Feast. It has the most unique menu—it changes a lot. The atmosphere is really cool—as far as there’s wine—but if you don’t want to hang out with the wine, there’s a more casual section. The people there were really good, the service was good, the food was great: I had a crusted duck salad. I’ve never had that before.
What is your favorite bar in Tucson?
It’s a twist between O’Malley’s and The Shanty. Mostly because we’ve played a lot of great shows at O’Malley’s, although there has been a dude-bro scene that occurs every once in a while there that we have to get away from.
Anywhere on Fourth is kind of like a staple. Sky Bar just opened—I’ve gone there twice, so I can’t classify it as my favorite, although it could be on the way. I already played there on open mic night once. Anybody, regardless of ability, can just go up there. That’s kind of cool in a way, but in other ways it kind of hurts your ears. You have to be open-minded about it.
What’s your favorite place to play a show?
My favorite venue is Plush, mostly because it kind of started out as something we were gonna work up to when we started as a band. We kind of got a gig early on with Kris [Kerry, Plush's booker], but that fizzled out and we were kind of disappointed. But then we got a huge gig with Holy Rolling Empire and that shot us off into, well, we like Plush now. And we’ve been booked here often ever since. The sound is definitely one of my favorites—it’s one of the most intimate.
What’s your favorite place to see a show?
I frequent going to Plush and [Club] Congress just to see who’s playing. Those are the ones I think pull in a lot of good acts. The Rock—it does pull in big acts, but the sound system has always been harsh for us. We played with Marcy Playground, we played with the Plain White Ts there.
What’s your favorite coffee shop in town?
I think this one’s kind of obvious: Epic [Café]. I go there for coffee, I go there for food. I’ll usually go toSafehouse if I just want the coffee, but usually I want both. The fruit bowls are amazing, the salads are amazing…The atmosphere is probably one of my favorite things. I run into people all the time there.
What’s your favorite place to buy books, music or movies?
I think this is kind of universal for a lot of people—Bookman’s. It’s affordable, the kind of atmosphere is where they’re just normal people. No one’s really trying to sell you anything. I think most people there are just overflowed with all the work that’s coming in. My girlfriend loves Bookman’s—she reads like a worm. I don’t know if worms actually read. It’s just a stupid saying. That was my cheesy joke for the night.
What is the most underrated place in Tucson?
I can think of an overrated place. We’ve played there a couple times, but I still think the Living Room is one of the most overrated venues in all of Tucson. The sound just sounds like bouncing volumes all over the place. I understand they’re open for a certain cause, but from a band standpoint with lots of musicians and instruments, it just doesn’t work. If you’re a solo artist, it can sound OK.
The most underrated…There’s a few restaurants here, one called Tania’s. They serve top-notch Mexican food. You can get like a pound burrito of meat for like five bucks. Also, I think Mama’s [Famous] Pizza is great New York-style pizza. I love New York-style pizza; I used to live in Jersey and I loved going. I could go on for a while. There are so many underrated places here.