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Phoenix at Examiner.com runs down David Serby and The Latest Scam

Examiner.com – Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Exhibits – David Serby’s ‘David Serby And The Latest Scam’

January 22, 2014

California-based indie singer-songwriter David Serby is off in a new musical direction with his latest release David Serby And The Latest Scam. The double CD contains 20 tracks culled from an original 50. On this audio offering Serby (rhythm guitar and vocals) is assisted by producer Edward Tree (lead guitar and keys), Gregory Boaz (bass) and Dale Daniel (drums).

The first disc opens on “True Love”. It’s a high-energy track with effective hooks on an album that blends his former Americana music with retro-pop. The second selection is “Amnesia” which was inspired by a conversation with a friend.

“I ran into a friend at a show one night who I hadn’t seen in awhile. I asked him where he’d been and he said he had a new girl who he had been spending time with . . . and you know how that goes. I got to thinking about it and I realized that a lot of times a guy or girl will get a new squeeze and they’ll kind of forget about everything they’ve been doing and all the people they’d been hanging out with before they met that person. That night I went home and wrote a song about a guy who falls in love with a girl named ‘Amnesia’ and forgets everything.”

“When Couples Fall In Love” carries on the themes of communication and relationships here. It’s followed by “Waiting Out The Storm”. This musical metaphor is already an early favorite of online critics.

“Ain’t No Way To Live” is also included here as Serby continues to show listeners what he’s got. “You’re Bored” is a common sense cut that many should take to heart and is also an early fan favorite. “I’ll Meet You There” is one of two ballads on the project.

It’s one of his most effective efforts. Serby says it’s “about being able to connect with someone emotionally that you can’t actually connect with physically any longer. How you each have a place saved in your heart that will always belong to that other person.”

Also included on the first disc are the critically-praised “Those Ain’t My Dreams”, the significantly-questioning “Do I Still Need To Worry?” and lyrically- interesting “Pharaohs”.

The consistency continues on Disc 2 with “What She’s Running From” as the lead-in. “Breaking News” follows but is perhaps overshadowed by the more direct, early fan favorite “I Still Miss You”. “Rumor of Our Own” follows the overall ideas here.

“Everybody Loves a Fool” is also already receiving kudos from online critics. “Critic’s Choice” though goes to “Pretty Little Kitty”. It maintains Serby’s signature sound and works well for those who likes curling up with a little kitty.

“Better With My Hands” is one of the best tracks on the disc. It has a night-universal message. Serby explains that the song “is about how men and women communicate differently, especially when things are not going well. Men have a tendency to climb into a dark hole to process their confusion and anger. They’re struggling to find words that’ll fix the relationship. The irony is that a lot of time women don’t need the words.”

Disc 2 also includes the decidedly non-religious “Gospel Truth”, the appropriately blues-tinged “Tumbleweed Blacktop Blues” and the closing cut “Like She Was Never Here”. Overall, it’s a multi-genred musical mixture that makes it clear that Serby both knows what he’s doing even if he has deservedly over-indulged himself a bit here. “Breaking News”? If “You’re Bored”, check out David Serby’s David Serby And The Latest Scam.

My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.


Lonesome Highway digs David Serby and The Latest Scam!

Lonesome Highway – David Serby and the Latest Scam – Self-Release

DateTuesday, January 14, 2014 at 03:07PM

There’s something slightly tongue-in-cheek about why Serby has called his band here The Latest Scam, as over a series of album He has given us honky-tonk, roots rock and acoustic based music. He has recently also been playing bass in the band Heymaker. He has credited Rockpile – The Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds’ band – with the inspiration to make this roots rock/beat country double album. Which is part British Invasion, part twang but always vibrant and hook filled. Song like Amnesia and When Couples Fall In Love are testimony to that. Over the twenty tracks that feeling is reinforced. Some are closer to a country feel than others but whatever direction Serby takes the song he does it with conviction.

The album was produced by West Coast veteran Edward Tree who is also the lead guitarist here. Tree is accomplished at both tasks and is joined by former Hacienda Brothers drummer Dale Daniel and bassist Gregory Boaz, who played with Dave Alvin amongst others. A top notch band who sure sound like it here.

The diverse nature of the songs is underlined by the electric sitar of You’re Bored or the ballads I’ll Meet You There and Better With My Hands, the Sixties sounding I Still Miss You or the twangy Everybody Loves A Fool and Gospel Truth. Serby continues to explore the many aspects of his muse and he has shown himself to be a versatile and prolific writer who, more than anything, is concerned with getting it right and making music that he is proud of.

Never more so than here with a set of songs played with a sense of fun that seems imbedded into the heart of the music. The skill is obvious and the sound infectious especially to anyone who remembers Rockpile’s similar energy and enterprise. But this is not music that just looks back, rather it offers a path that can be further explored. There is no sham in this scam which provides much more than a few seconds of pleasure.


Liverpool Sound and Vision gives David Serby and The Latest Scam 4 stars!

David Serby & The Latest Scam. Album Review.
Published on January 13, 2014 by admin in Music
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Not only does David Serby have an affinity, a sort of undisputed empathy with the emotions of humanity; the desire to get deep down and dirty in the psychology of what drives us all, but his way of getting that affinity across is almost pure and full. He has that great skill of being able to hear without speaking, for listening with full attention and giving a song of great humour and emotion in return in the album David Serby & The Great Scam.

His change of direction from his previous album, the wonderful Poor Man’s Poem is marked, the look away from the collective pain felt by a nation under stress, physically and economically, is replaced by a collection of songs that deal in some way with the art of communication, or indeed the lack of communication in some cases and thirdly in how we can same the things as someone else but mean an entirely different thing. It is the ability to converse in many different ways that has set humanity apart from the rest of nature and the way David Serby’s folk-roots mind plays with language and the dishonesty and honesty reflects this perfectly.

With 20 songs spread over a double C.D. set there is never a dull moment in which the music might wash over the listener and find them reflecting on anything other than the great tracks that fill this album to the brim. The ease in which the enjoyment of each song fills up the room, the beauty of lyrics that don’t just fill the brain but take it on a long ride through the complexity of desire and emotions, is remarkable.

Such stunning simplicity should not really be possible but David Serby, with supporting musicians Edward Tree, Gregory Boaz and Dale Daniel, makes songs such as Amnesia, Walking Out The Storm, the fantastic You’re Bored, Those Ain’t My Dreams, I Still Miss You, Everybody Loves A Fool and Better With My Hands, feel as though the musician and lyric writer has been taking down notes from your private diary and inner thoughts and taken them to his own heart, treated them with care and turned them into a collection of songs that really gets down to the point of humanity, the basic fact of wanting to feel love and the fear of what happens when that love is revealed.

David Serby & The Latest Scam is an album in which life feels affirmed and which should be celebrated, even when love kicks you in the teeth, you have still felt something very special. Very cool and very enjoyable.

David Serby & The Latest Scam is available from January 21st.

Ian D. Hall


Dan MacIntosh talks about the new record at The Examiner

Examiner.Com Arts & Entertainment Music

David Serby rocks

December 27, 2013

David Serby is best known for his Los Angeles colored roots music, which always includes plenty of tasty country elements. With his new band, The Latest Scam, however, Serby explores more of a rock & roll vibe. And naturally, music aficionados want to know why he’s made this stylistic change.

“When I was writing “Poor Man’s Poem” [Serby’s most recent full-length], that was a very specific, concentrated project,” Serby recalls. “All the songs had to go together and it was this historical thing; it was trying to look at the world of today through that prism. I had written “Poor Man’s Poem,” the title track, and I had gotten it into my head that that was the best song I was ever going to write in my life, and I would never even be able to finish this record because I couldn’t come up with anything that good. I think I wrote “Rumor of Our Own,” which is one of the more country songs on this record, and I might have written “Waiting out the Storm.” They were just sitting there, and when I was done with [the album] “Poor Man’s Poem,” I kind of went back and revisited those songs. I thought, ‘It might be kind of cool to do more of a rock & roll record.’ I had happened to be listening to a lot of Rockpile, and Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds at the time and so I said, ‘Let’s see if we can pull this off.’

The result is not just a fine rock & roll album but — rarity of rarities — an honest to goodness double-CD, too.

“I like the idea of doing a double-CD,” he explains, “because when I was a kid I loved records, and nobody does double anything anymore because you can fit so much content on one CD. Certainly, I could have put all those songs on one CD; it’s a little under an hour’s worth of material.” Some of Serby’s reasoning might also have more than a little to do with nostalgia, as well. “Some of my favorite records, that I have on CD, were initially released as double records, like “Exile On Main St.,” “London Calling,” or things like that.

The Nick Lowe connection to this project goes even deeper than its sound because the band’s name was inspired by a lyric to the Lowe song, “Half a Boy and Half a Man.” “I was looking for a phrase in a Nick Lowe or Rockpile or Dave Edmunds song that would be a good name for a band,” Serby explains. “I heard that and that name worked on that level, but also I thought that being a musician is a little bit half a boy and half a man. It is kind of a racket. You’ve figured out a way to get paid a little bit and have fun. It is a little bit of a scam. It also worked that I’m cluing people in that this is going to be different. It’s not going to be historical folk music like last time, or even honky-tonk. “

Serby is so consistently good that even when he has the nerve to call his group The Latest Scam, you don’t at all feel cheated in any way. Instead, he’s just having a little fun with his music and image. Think of this as an unexpected wrinkle in the ever-evolving tapestry that is David Serby’s continually expanding style.


Roots and Branches reviews David Serby and The Latest Scam

Roots and Branches / The Beat

Playing catchy roots rock with an at times uncanny resemblance to an American Gerry Colvin, Serby’s a California singer-songwriter with a strong pop sensibility and a clear awareness of the power of ringing guitar that should appeal to those with the likes of the dBs, Matthew Sweet and early Tom Petty in their collection.

The cheery summery pop and chiming guitars of True Love kicks off a double CD set that puts the emphasis on the uptempo, the likes of a chugging Amnesia, 60s beat pop flavoured When Couples Fall In Love, and Creedence tinted rockabilly rolling Waiting Out The Storm and the tumbling Do I Still Need To Worry? particular highlights of the first disc. The second disc (which, coloured blue with the first red, suggests he may have a bit of a Beatles affection) has more of a twangy country flavour with Rumor Of Our Own ,nodding to George and Merle Everybody Loves A Fool evoking Buck Owens (via Dwight Yoakam) and country blues strutter Pretty Little Kitty borrowing the riff to Pretty Woman while Better With My Hands is a Willie Nelson honky tonk weepies and Gospel Truth, Tumbleweed Blacktop Blues and Like She Was Never Here all sound like vintage Dave Edmunds. It doesn’t turn over any new ground but it makes strolling down familiar paths well worth the journey.

Mike Davies


Music Morsels Reviews David Serby and The Latest Scam

Nice review here from Music Morsels. Thanks, MW!

Music Morsels Reviews

David Serby & the Latest Scam

California singer-songwriter steers a bit more in the roots rocking direction with this double CD effort. A higher energy level is evident right from the first snappy guitar hooks of “True Love,” although the Americana/folk feeling is still felt in the overall vibe here. There is a pop sensibility to the music; “Waiting Out the Storm” has the feel of a crossover hit, but David avoids being what I would called commercial country or rock with the right type of edginess primarily from a retro feel with both the rock and country influences. This is sort of a comfortable mid-ground between the rock of Tom Petty, the country of Dwight Yoakim, and maybe just the right amount of rockabilly intensity. While most of the songs are uptempo, for those who loved David’s mellower-folksy side, there are tracks such as the honest crooning of “I’ll Meet You There” and the sweetly emotive “Better With My Hands” to whet your appetites. David has one of those voices that is excellent in its subtleties – he doesn’t have to push the envelope or over-sing to convey his feelings with his natural pipes. The musicianship is tight and has enough high-end talent to make you notice within the confines of even the strongest songs. This is just a collection of good rock/country/Americana hybrids that, while not being ground-breaking by any means, is still very enjoyable because it seems like David and his cohorts had fun making this music, and they allow you to experience that fun with the way they transpose it into their own tunes. – MW


Midwest Record reviews David Serby and the Latest Scam

Check out the super cool review we just got from Chris Spector at Midwest Record…


DAVID SERBY and the Latest Scam

Loading up his roots deck with some stuff from closer to the middle, Serby goes in for some skewed pop taking root among the roots on this double cd of songs he didn’t really want to pare down from the 50 he originally came up with. First class anti pop for those who don’t like the mainstream but aren’t too comfortable straying too far from it, this might be what Lou Reed could have sounded like if he took shock therapy on a regular basis. Fun stuff for the decidedly left of center taste.

“…this might be what Lou Reed could have sounded like if he took shock therapy on a regular basis.”

We love it. Thank you, Mr. Spector!


David Serby and The Latest Scam in the Pasadena Weekly

Local music scribe and singer/songwriter Bliss Bowen pecked out a nice piece on the new record, and our show that’s scheduled for this Wednesday, November 13 at Firefly Bistro in South Pasadena.

Riding the border

Riding the border

David Serby and The Latest Scam rock Firefly Bistro Wednesday
By Bliss 11/05/2013

David Serby is nothing if not prolific. The San Gabriel songwriter always has more material than he can use when sequencing his albums — and that was never more true than with his fifth album, the just-released double-disc “David Serby and The Latest Scam.”

“I wasn’t really sure what I was even doing,” Serby confesses. “I probably wrote about 50 songs. I’m not saying all of them were good; I’m not saying that by a long stretch. But I went over to [producer/guitarist] Ed Tree’s and we put down acoustic demos. I was really into listening to Rockpile and my initial thought was, ‘I’m gonna put together a trio.’”

What he wound up doing was cranking the amps to 11 with a rocking four-piece comprised of himself, Tree, bassist Greg Boaz (Dave Alvin, Tex & the Horseheads) and drummer Dale Daniel (Hacienda Brothers). The new tunes bolster Serby’s reputation as a literate wordsmith, and the heart-wrenching “Better With My Hands” (an older song that didn’t fit on either of his last two albums) stands as one of the most emotionally potent songs he’s ever composed. Musically, the new album straddles the line between old-school rock ‘n’ roll and the honky-tonk for which he’s best known.

“I wanted to make a more energetic rock ‘n’ roll record,” Serby says, “but I didn’t want to absolutely reject everything I had done before. I was absolutely trying to ride that [rock/country] border so people who like that stuff and those songs could find something on the record that they would enjoy.”

Worrying about fan reactions is a quality problem for an independent artist, especially one with a demanding day job who finances his own recordings. He’s enjoying the opportunity to mix things up at songwriter nights — and potentially attract new listeners — especially since he started out playing punk. (“I didn’t know how to play an instrument then; I barely know how to play one now,” he says with a laugh.) But he strives not to alienate fans who have supported him. The steepest challenge facing independent artists these days, he says, is “cutting through the sonic fog” presented by myriad competing musical options.

“The key is convincing somebody that somebody thinks you’re somebody,” he says. “You’ve gotta get somebody [tastemakers] to think you’re worth listening to. If you can create that interest or buzz, then you’ve got something. … Creating material is not the difficult part.”

Serby says writing and running keep him sane. “If I can’t do either of those things, I get super super depressed,” he explains “Once I posted on Facebook, ‘creating content creates content.’ If I’m not purging and trying to puzzle out things, I feel like I’m not really living.”

David Serby and the Latest Scam play Brad Colerick’s Wine & Song showcase at Firefly Bistro, 1009 El Centro St., South Pasadena, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is free. For more information, call (626) 441-2443. davidserby.com, wineandsong.com


David Serby and The Lastest Scam on iTunes

7.122 billion people in the world now have another place not to buy the new David Serby and The Latest Scam CD…but do you want to be like the rest of those sheep? NO! So, go to iTunes and download the record…please.


Jolenes at The Cinema Bar

Jolenes Cinema

I’ve been hanging out with a couple of my favorite songwriters, bandleaders and buddies, Dan Janisch and Grant Langston. We’ve been drinking beer, writing songs, drinking scotch, writing songs, smoking cigarettes, and writing songs…and drinking beer. We lassoed Latest Scam panhandler, Dale Daniel and booked a show. We’re the JOLENES!!

Join us on November 9 at 9:30pm at the Cinema Bar and someday you’ll be able to say, “I was at the very first Jolene’s show ever…and it was awesome!”