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Marsden New Album 'Tune It Out'

The title cut to Marsden’s album, “Tune It Out,” likely speaks for many of us. We all live in the information overload age. He complains on it about how his head is spinning around from everything he’s seen and heard. No matter what side of the political and/or cultural side of the fence you come from, much of what passes for ‘news’ these days can seemingly cause brain damage due to over exposure. Thankfully, Marsden’s music is far healthier for the mind and soul. It’s smart hard rock.

Marsden is a Madison, WI guitarist/singer/songwriter, and his music leaves him sounding like he’s incorporated all the good stuff from ‘90s rock. Yes, there are some obvious grunge influences, but grunge was so much more than a mere sound. Like punk, it was also an attitude. Also, like punk, it was about passion. People are quick to stereotype grunge artists as bulky, beardy guys from the Northwest wearing flannel. Yes, there was that. However, this movement also provided some of the best, most sincere rock sounds in music history. Marsden gets especially loud during some of the album’s loudest tracks. For example, one that’s simply titled “Doubt” includes a wonderfully rowdy electric guitar solo

and a memorably persistent bass line.

VIDEO for "End on End":

With “In This Zoo,” which comes off like a gentler take on some of the same principles explored with “Tune It Out,” Marsden quiets the sonic down. Over a picked guitar pattern, rather than pounding electric chords, thumping bass and thundering drums, Marsden sings thoughtfully

and sensitively. It rocks a bit, but not nearly as much as so many of the other tracks on the album. “Running In The Dark,” also begins with acoustic guitar, before a driving electric guitar riff takes hold.

Actually, acoustic guitar plays a big role in the overall sound of Tune It Out. It’s heard during “American Dream,” which is one of those ambitious songs where Marsden takes on a huge, nearly indefinable,

topic. Everybody wants to attain the American dream, but just what it actually is, well, it’s difficult to find a consensus about what it means.

Speaking of acoustic guitar, this instrumentation can be heard within “Obvious.” Like half of the album’s song titles, this one has a one-word name. When it comes to naming his songs, Marsden consistently goes for brevity, as “Running In The Dark” is the longest song title – at a mere four words long.

The album closes with a real curveball, instrumentally speaking. It begins with an extremely long, keyboard-centered intro. Unlike a lot of what comes before, this one has a touch of progressive rock running through it.


Tune It Out is the sort of album you almost expect to come out of the Midwest. This region is known for its salt of the earth, time-tested values. Marsden has created a strong album that doesn’t sound like it

was made in either New York or Los Angeles, where trendiness is too often worn like a badge of honor. Instead, it’s a collection of sincere songs, performed sincerely. The picture on its cover displays a TV with

a crack in its screen, as though Elvis had just shot it out. You’d be far better off listening to this music than getting glued to the boob tube, without a doubt.

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