The Chaining of America
Mindpower: Political Backyards
CD REVIEWS [Seven-Inch Reviews]2 Live Crew Greatest Hits Vol. 2 Lil' Joe Records Ah, the good old days. Who can forget singing along to "Do Wah Diddy" and "Me So Horny?" The 2 Live Crew is back with their Greatest Hits Vol. 2, which includes such unforgettable romantic staples like "Sex, I Like It, I Love It," "We Want Some Pussy" and "Baby Baby Please Just a Little More Head." Of course, the First Amendment anthem "Banned in the USA" is included as well. 16 tracks in all, featuring the hilarious new track "Bill so Horny." Pop this one in your CD player, cuddle up with your favorite girl and enjoy some good tunes.
6X Kung-Pow! Daemon Records Infectious pop punk with excellent female vocals, I am impressed. It's a great cd for anyone - regardless of musical taste.
78 RPM'S New World Chivalry Dill Records This is a super great release! The Hammond alone wins this one over for me. 78 RPM's are ex-members of Skankin' Pickle, but play much better music and write tons better songs. Check this out if you've been searching for an exceptional fast paced ska album to lift your spirits.
Amorphis Tuonela Relapse Records This Finnish quintet blends elements from 70's progressive rock, modern metal, Finnish folklore and medieval folk song influences with remarkable musicianship. They take their name from the word amorphous, which means "with no definite form or shape." This becomes evident in their music, as they flirt with death metal and then hypnotize you with rich layered keyboards. This is an impressive album for heavy metal fans to enjoy.
Angry Samoans The 90's Suck and So Do You Triple X Records I have one old Angry Samoans cassette and its worn fairly thin from extensive use. When I got this disc, I was amazed to find that they sound a bit mellower than they did in the days of yore. They are still definitely the Angry Samoans, but they sound like the Irritated Samoans. Don't misunderstand-- it's good, but it's not great.
Armchair Martian Hang, on Ted Cargo Music Good rock sometime bordering on punk, sometime bordering on a country influenced sound. Vocals sound quite a bit like those of Social Distortion and that is certainly a good thing.
A-Set The Science of Living Things Tree Records Albert Menduno appears to be the main man behind A-Set. Menduno plays guitar, bass, drums, organ, and sings on the record in addition to writing all six songs. The tunes have a folky indie rock feel similar to Portastatic.
Badawai The Heretic of Ether Asphodel Records This is not just music put on some plastic. This is a journey through time and yourself. Instruments ranging from the Zarb (classical drum) to the piano were used in the making of this truly amazing album. Its melodies are both eerie and spiritual. Take a musical chance and add this to your CD collection.
Belloluna Livid and Loving It Daemon Records I really like this. A lot. It is strange music. It is good music. They sing a song called I Wanna Be Like Martha Stewart. Writing about music is hard without comparisons so here I go (forgive me) but they remind me in a small way of The Barenaked Ladies. Not in a rip-off way, in a stylistic way. This is a super-cool disc.
Black Attack Rep Da R.I. 12" Real Deal Recordings DJ Honda bailed on the majors to start his own indie and this is a great example of the stuff he's releasing. Black Attack is solid hip-hop with bop-your-head beats and a great flow to let you know BA is no joke. The samples used work and aren't overdone and the beats aren't another Wu-Tang rip-off, this is some original wax to get a party going.
Black Sheep Sacrifice Rocks' Cool Records Sorry, but I'm really not impressed. Four tracks which are just too melodramatic to be metal. This is overproduced and just lacking. This band has hosted some very famous members but it just does not live up to its potential. Try again next time.
Blinder Mienakusuru self-released Here's a Bean-town band that seems to have a nice thing going. This EP is new rock full of off-time licks and tight arrangements. The high point, however, is the female singer's beautiful voice.
Blue Yard Garden No Good Sundays Empyrean Records Turn the radio on. Have you heard Blue Yard Garden? Not yet, but you probably will before too long. BYG is a band that has the sound of a great pop/rock/blues independent band but also the sound that mainstream America loves. Good CD -- they have more talent and staying power than Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind (they would have to). Maybe mainstream America needs these guys.
Bombshell Rocks Street Art Gallery Sidekicks Records Highly energetic and slightly gritty punk rock from Swedish quintet. Pretty typical tales of angst and disappointment, backed by powerful guitars and beats. The singer sounds a bit like the guy from Rancid, but without the ska influences.
Burning Airlines Mission-Control! DeSoto Records Welcome back J. Robbins, we all missed you. The great musician from Jawbox (and Government Issue before that) is back with Burning Airlines, which includes Jawbox bassist Bill Barbot and Robbins' Government Issue co-star Peter Moffett. The result is awesome, striking, and captivating. Jawbox never had the of "Mission Control!" Obviously, this is a different band, but the comparisons will be made nonetheless. Combining Robbins' vocals with a melodic, indie-rock feel, the outcome is a work of art. The creativity of this record goes off the scale, combining simplistic beauty with complex emotional intensity. Words will never describe great music properly, they can only encourage you to partake in the experience. You have now been encouraged.
Chicken Dog The Other White Meat Sin Klub Entertainment Exactly how much distortion can you get out of one guitar? I think the answer lies within. Chicken Dog is different. They really don't adhere to one style. Instead they alternate between punk, hardcore, grindcore and even metal. And they don't alternate between tracks, they do it within each song! Little. Yellow. Different.
Chisel Drill Hammer self-titled Hefty Records With songs that rarely exceed 3 minutes, Chisel Drill Hammer work their way through post grunge experimental art rock without bothering to record vocals. Their self-titled debut, recorded by Steve Albini, sounds similar to Blonde Redhead, while keeping its own identity intact.
Colleen Coadic & The Next Twelve Scream of Consciousness Badoo Toonz Music Coadic's voice is sweet and strong one minute gritty and powerful the next. The musicians backing her are a perfect compliment to her vocals and intimate lyrics.
Defari Focused Daily Tommy Boy Records If you're into rap you already know Defari, a.k.a. The Hip-Hop Scholar. Defari is a high school teacher in California, who has his master's in teaching from Columbia University. Yeah, that's right, you might learn something if you listen to him. I admit I'm no rap aficionado, but his CD is solid. Defari likens his style to some "higher echelon hip-hop like Gang Starr and Pete Rock," and that's pretty accurate. If you're into rap and haven't gotten this yet, you're cheating yourself.
Deviate Darkened World I Scream Records Stand far away from your speakers and absorb this. This is what metal is all about. Seriously fierce music that stills remains melodic-- not losing itself to speed or overproduction. This is raw gut clutching sound.
Diane Izzo One Sugar Free Records Diane Izzo sounds very familiar. Her voice is an amalgam of a lot of the women singers out there, as are her songs. She sounds very akin to Abra Moore, Shawn Colvin and Amanda Marshall. It's nothing you haven't heard before but it's every bit as good. If you're sick of the listening to those aforementioned discs, Izzo will be a fresh breath of air.
Doctor Explosion The Subnormal Revolution Get Hip Imagine the 60's hits "Wipeout" and "Louie, Louie" mixed with some very potent acid and you have the sound of Doctor Explosion. Its wacky, its rock, its punk. It is completely insane. I love it.
Ensign Cast the First Stone Nitro This is serious hardcore. Fast and powerful will a really full sound-- this will make you get your sorry ass up out of the chair and head for the pit. There are a lot of songs on this disc and they are all quite nice.
Epperley Sophomore Slump Triple X Records Sophomore Slump is the second effort from Epperley. The Tulsa, Oklahoma quartet's straight-ahead rock and witty lyrics are reminiscent of Harvey Danger, with melodies that stick in your head like a pencil in the ear. There's no sophomore slump here, my friend.
F.Y.P. Incomplete Crap Vol. 2 Recess Records Turn up the music and start movin' -- this is a great punk rock album. With 43 uptempo songs on it there is a little bit of something for everyone. FYP has been around for over eight years and they are still as punk as ever.
Faraquet/Akarso split CD 404 Records Each band plays four-tracks. Faraquet is a three-member D.C.-based band with D.C.-like stylings, such as creative, intricate music, complex, yet minimalist sounds, a focus on the instruments minus vocals and an underlying emotional basis for the end result. Akarso delivers a bit more aggressive music that includes vocals that slap you in the face. The music, I think, is best described as jazzcore-- intense shifts within each song that are bad-ass to say the least.
Floraline self titled Minty Fresh This is a nice CD, with electronic instrumentation used to build a better pop song. The female vocals are wispy and soothing. This is pretty music for pretty people, with interesting sounds and smart lyrics.
Gaza Strippers Laced Candy Man's Ruin Punk-n-roll, baby. This is a mighty disc of mighty music. Good sound and catchy riffs make this a disc which you will find yourself going for again and again. Good Stuff.
Golden Super Golden Original Movement Slowdime It's fair to say that Golden certainly fits into the eclectic Slowdime roster. The words original' and movement' are on the title, giving the impression of an agenda that drives this band. It is made up by members of Trans Am, Royal Trux and Six Finger Satellite. They take their instrumental experimentation to the next level, meddling with ambient overtones and unusual percussion. Fans of Don Caballero should like this one.
Goober Patrol The Unbearable Lightness of Being Drunk Fat Wreck Chords These four punksters are pretty cool. They just look like guys you'd like to go have a few beers with. And, hey, their music ain't half-bad either! This isn't real fast punk, it's more like power pop meets punk. Very addicting and a helluva lotta fun.
Groovie Ghoulies Fun In The Dark Lookout Records Long live the Ramones! It seems like the Ramones sound will never die, as long as bands like the Groovie Ghoulies keep imitating their sound. Although I have to admit that "Fun In The Dark" is one of the better ones I've heard. For one thing, the guitars are a bit meatier. Lead singer Roach sounds remarkably like a teenage Joey Ramone growing up in the 90s. I enjoyed their cover of Sonny Bono's "Laugh at Me" and really dug the creepy Dr. Seuss-meets-Halloween cover art by S. Britt.
Hayden Moving Careful Sonic Unyon Records I bought my first Hayden CD (Everything I Long For) and thought he was brilliant. I mean, he still is brilliant I guess, I just can't take that much Hayden. This CD was recorded in April and May of 96 but still has the Hayden flavor of his later CD's. It's very brooding, very dark and quite beautiful. If you haven't heard him before, his acoustic stylings are worth your time.
Hell on Wheels Alpha Phozz and the Beta Hustle Urinine Records Do the Beta Hustle to this six-song ep from Hell on Wheels. The trio plays indie rock that is at times reminiscent of early Pixies, with an emphasis on lo-fi melodies and strained vocals. Good stuff.
Inlantic self-titled 404 Records What started as experimentation has turned into some amazing keyboard-driven jazz. Mostly comprised of unique keyboard implementation and jazz-oriented percussion (and the occasional bit of guitar work), Inlantic conjures up tunes that are always beautiful, sometimes very emotional and always captivating. This is one of those records that you never would have thought you'd like, but after a listen you're drawn into it and it won't let you go.
Inspecter 7 Banished to Bogeyland Radical Records Even a sax player named Lord Skoochie (complete with King Diamond type make-up) can't save this SKA combo from a weak sound. The music seems to be lacking some spark. It starts off okay, but it doesn't go anywhere.
Jim O'Rourke Eureka Drag City If you have zero expectations of Jim O'Rourke, you may find this CD tolerable, enjoyable even. If you are familiar with Jim O'Rourke by way of Sonic Youth, well, this contains no noise experiments. What you get is an expansion of his abilities in the realm of soft music and singing. He's able, but it's not very exciting to listen to unless you're into soft jazz.
Jimmy Eat World Clarity double LP Big Wheel Recreation JEW is leading the pack of beautiful, emotionally charged rock bands. This double LP (on clear blue vinyl) is their latest album (in CD form on Capitol-- support the indie label, buy the vinyl). The harmonies are sincere, solid and sharp. They'll catch your ear and make your heart dance. Vocally, Jimmy is a wonderful singer with lyrics that are smart and thoughtful. JEW combines simple, sweet sounds with complex intensity like no other band.
Joydrop Metasexual Tommy Boy Music Some of you have heard of Joydrop by now, as they're finally gaining some airplay on decent radio stations (NOT Orlando). I absolutely love this band. They sound like Garbage and G vs. B wrapped into one f'ing awesome ball. Tara Slone's voice is amazing and the band is wicked-good. This CD is a little mellower than their last but it's worth every penny.
Kittens The Night Danger Album Sonic Unyon Records They should change their name to Growling Lions. Their sound is somewhere between metal and hard rock. No purring on this album. I dig it.
Limp Guitarded Honest Don's Limp is another melodic punk band with a hint of ska from California. The songs are tight and the production is good; it just sounds like you've heard these songs before somewhere. Must be something in the water out west.
Link Protrudi and the Jaymen Hit and Run Get Hip Records Get out your flowered shorts and way up your surf board. Here is a disc that will make you think you're an extra on the old Batman show. Surf guitar and smooth beats set the tone for your very own beach party. This is cool stuff.
Low Secret Name Kranky Low's back with another album of their minimalist pop. Secret Name is more upbeat than some of their previous work, but still retains their distinctive less is more style. It's the perfect soundtrack for those sleepless evenings when you're lost in your own thoughts and don't really mind.
Lower East Side Stiches STAJA 98 L.E.S. NG Records Punk, man, punk. Big, fucking mohawks and kilts and boots. This is punk as it is meant to be. It is raw, it is fast, it is great. Catchy melodies infuse this pure punk extravaganza. I sang my sorry self to sleep last night with their tune Naked A. It is great.
Man or Astroman? Eeviac Touch and Go Records Hop on your outer-space surfboard and catch some intergalactic waves with the electrofied, guitar-happy tunes on Eeviac, a thirteen-track experience sending you to far-reaching parts of lesser-known galaxies. If Dick Dale were an alien with a computer and a Casio, he would fit right in.
Manual Scan All Night Stand Get Hip Recordings Despite aligning myself with modernism, I've yet been able to endure much of retro-inspired mod rock, all the less bands that have ties to the late 70s mod revival. With that bias stated, I don't see much of the point of getting this disc if you have the chance to pick up records by the Small Faces or Otis Redding. But bias aside, there are some good power pop moments here. Give it a listen. These guys loved what they did, and they did it well.
Me First Supertouchyfeely Broken Rekids Me First is back with their follow up to Awful Friendly. After a few lineup changes, they are no longer an all girl band. Their melodic rock sound still packs a punk rock edge, while Denise Campanaro lets herself experiment with the vocals in a way we had not experienced before.
Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies Are A Drag Fat Wreck Chords Awesome! Punk rock show tunes - listen to it and your friends will think you have some culture. With their version of Evita, Madonna may have some competition to worry about.
MK Ultra The Dream is Over Artichoke Records It says to file this under experimental pop and that's about as good as I could say it. This band open a few dates for Sunny Day Real Estate and I'd call it a perfect fit. They sound a lot like Sunny Day but not as much crunch. Nor are they as guitar driven as SDRE but they have some strong emo-tendencies. It didn't really tickle my fancy but it might yours.
Moa Universal Tommy Boy The underlying music on this is amazing. Great bass loops and driving beats. Moa- the namesakeartist- sings in an Eartha Kitt style that works. It's nice to hear this, as the vocals and music serve one another to create a sonic experience greater than it's parts.
MU330 Self-titled Asian Man Records I first heard these guys years ago and I really liked them. I bought two more of their discs and I was unimpressed. Now, I'm impressed again. This is really good SKA-punk full of catchy tunes.
Mustard Plug Pray for Mojo Hopeless Records This CD is a must listen for those in need of a pop punk or ska-punk fix. They run the gamut of said styles yet keep it all fun. Pick this disc up, because Mustard Plug show a maturity and versatility few ska bands have been able to grown into.
Neglected Sheep Ghostman On Third Livestock Music If you are looking for a good pop/rock band but are tired of all the crap that is on the radio then pick up this CD.
Neurosis Times of Grace Relapse Records Preparing themselves for the Apocalypse (and us with them), Neurosis assaults the senses with their musical onslaught. Times of Grace is both emotionally dark and rhythmically diverse, both extreme and subtle. A good example of this duality is the track "Away," first sung almost at a whisper, backed by piano and rushing wind, until the guitars kick in and the screaming starts.
New American Shame Self-titled Will Records Remember the hair bands? Big hair, spandex and mascara? Do you want to live that sound all over again? Here is the band to help you do it. Eight hard-rocking tunes that will teleport you back to the mid-eighties.
Nobodys GenerationXXX Hopeless Now we're talking about doing some rocking. This is good punk. Almost every song is about getting laid or groping some gal's dairy set-up. 25 songs of pure punk joy and mayhem. This is good, good music.
Of Montreal The Gay Parade Bar None Records Imagine They Might Be Giants, but sillier. This is a collection of songs influenced by the Beatles and Brian Wilson, among others, in a style lead singer Kevin Barnes calls "innocent songwriting." Boy, is this silly music. Just check out some of the titles: "Advice from a Divorced Gentleman to His Bachelor Friend Considering Marriage," and "A Man's Life Flashing Before His Eyes While He And His Wife Drive Off a Cliff Into the Ocean."
Paul K. & the Prayers Saratoga Alias Records Before the first verse of the first song is over you know that Paul K is a great songwriter. His lyrics pull you in and keep you there. The rock and folk are apparent with the use of his guitar, the harmonica (in some tracks) dabbles with the blues. Put it all together and you have a dynamite combination.
Pete Krebs and the Gossamer Wings Sweet Ona Rose Cavity Search Records If this is the first time you've seen Pete Krebs' name, you've been missing something great. Krebs was the leader of the pop/punk band Hazel, which released two fantastic albums on the Sub Pop label. But this time Pete has set aside the loudness and put out a great acoustic pop album. He hand-picked this band (including John Moen of Dharma Bums and Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden) and they've put out a great pop CD. He threw in some horns, some piano...whatever he could find, and the result is staggering. Soft power pop at its best.
pH Balance self-titled Daemon Records Pam Howe (pH, get it?) and company strike a wonderful balance between the poetry of hip-hop and the roots of jazz and soul with sweet sensual melodies with their self-titled debut. To quote Howe: "If Portishead is the dark side of trip-hop, then we're the light side.
Potshot Rock N Roll Asian Man Records For those familiar with Potshot, this might be a bit of a change. Yes, it's still the same punk influenced ska that you enjoy, but this release sounds a bit more polished, more mature (as mature as a ska band can be!). Pretty fast, and you can sing along with it. In fact, the first track, "Sing along with Potshot" urges you to do just that.
Prince Paul A Prince Among Thieves Tommy Boy Records Prince Paul presents an audio movie on this CD. As the producer, Prince Paul enlists the help of Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, Everlast, Chubb Rock, Sadat X, De La Soul, and Xzibit to set the stage. The story involves two friends and it breaks down like this: Tariq wants to be a rapper; he's got an audition with the Wu-Tang Clan but doesn't have enough money to get his demo finished; True is a hustler and gives Tariq an introduction to crime to make the money, but things don't go as planned. In the end evil conquers all.
Propagandhi Where Quantity is Job #1 G-7 Welcoming Committee Records The Canadian political punks are back with a compilation of tons of stuff you've probably never heard, at least not in the form on this CD. It's a compilation of rare, hard to find, live, old recordings, and previously unreleased material. Propagandhi puts intelligent lyrics before music-- but somehow create music equally as impressive as their brilliant socio/political lyrics dealing with subjects such as sexual orientation, racism, nationalism and government corruption. Formed in 1992, Propagandhi play uptempo, melodic, catchy punk rock energized by a true commitment to the music and the message. There aren't too many bands that can reel you in with great music and then teach you a thing or two-- Propagandhi can.
Raised Fist Fuel Burning Heart Records Sucked in to the pit of anger. Thrust forward, backwards with new fits of rage, audibly displayed through crunching guitars, ferocious drums, deep, pulsating bass and screamed vocals. The tempo-breaks instantly create a rhythm, ever changing, shifting, driving. These four Swedish men play heavy, hard, infuriated music infused with creativity, separating it from the other new school hardcore bands out there.
Research (Almost) Nothin Yet 12" Stickshift Records Research combines pop charm with computer savvy. Female vocals (on 2 of 4 tracks) shimmer across programmed beats and sounds. Some of the mid-song changes in sound and/or tempo are strikingly good. This is a really good record to kick back and chill to-- except for side B which is a long glorification of computer programmed sounds and samples. Side A is great, though, and makes up for it.
Road Rage Nothin' to Declare Radical Records I did not like this the first time I listened to it. The second time I listened, I couldn't figure out what I didn't like about it. This is a good disc. Lots of kick-ass punk tunes like Fuck Em All Bar One and Bollox to Him. This is good stuff.
Roadsaw Nationwide MIA Records This is some cool shit. Bass-heavy grooves set the tone for this killer disc from a bunch of Bean Town guys. This is what rock is all about. It's so good, we'll even forgive the bass player for wearing flip-flops on stage.
Shannon Wright Flightsafety Quarterstick Records This new release features folksy pop/rock with unique female vocals. A great CD to chill back and listen to on a hazy summer night.
Shuggie self-titled Cargo Music This is 90's rock with a 70's flair. If you are tired of the pop/alternative crap that the radio shoves down your throat and just want some straight up rock, then this is the cd that you need. It proves that rock is definetly not dead.
Sianspheric There's always someplace you'd rather be Sonic Unyon After almost 2 minutes of sub-decibel feedback, the river of drums and guitars swells to high tide and the sensations of incoherence sought through the pipe and the needle are within earshot (rather than armshot). Dense layers of sonic splendor continue for another 66 minutes as my persistence for the Buddha begins to unravel. I'd tell you whether or not it was a good trip, if it was better than a gram of smack, but that doesn't seem much to the point here. Either you're inside the Sianspheric or you're not. They held me in the stream of distortion for the duration, and that's all you can ask of a musical drone.
Sick of It All Call To Arms Fat Wreck Heck, if you're already a fan you already own this. If you've never heard Sick of It All, this is the one to start with. It's a bit more melodic hardcore than their prior releases without sacrificing any aggression. The production work here really impresses me. I'm a sucker for clean sound, thanks to Minor Threat and Judge. Gosh, Sick of It All has given over a decade to embracing hardcore, and this is perhaps their best disc yet!
Songs For Emma 11.12.98 Broken Rekids Rock with a message that is commemorating one person and her beliefs. If you're into music that carries some weight with its lyrics then this CD is for you.
Sonic Joyride Breathe Anomaly Records Don't let the first couple of tracks fool you. They start off with a bang of guitar-driven rock, but then they go on a long string of softer, sometimes acoustic stuff that doesn't work quite as well. If they had made 10 songs like the first two I'd be driving their bandwagon, but the disc kind of died out for me.
Spear of Destiny Religion Amsterdamned Records I picked this CD from the pile because it looked life a metal disc and I was in the mood to bang some heads. However, it turned out to be another power pop offering. Spear of Destiny is heavier than most pop bands, and they sometimes get almost a grunge thing going on. It's not bad but the singer's voice just didn't do it for me. Sounds like Ian Astbury with no range.
Stone Nowhere Man Thigke Richard Music Can you say Blind Melon? Of course you can. These folks not only say it, they are it. This is kinda hippy type music that you might want to listen to if you liked hippy music, which nobody does so don't really bother.
Testify Crack the Mind Van Richter Records Hard-core industrial metal at its best. Turn it up, its time for some serious head banging. Featuring five new tracks and four remixed tracks, this is intense at the least.
The Avengers Died For Your Sins Lookout! Records If you are at all someone who considers themselves a punk rock fan or a music fan in general then the CD is a must. Classic old-school punk from the 70's - it doesn't get much better than this. It deserves a reserved spot next to the Ramones (yes it is that good).
The Boom Any Day of the Night Slowdime Blending elements from Jazz, Blues, Ska, and Latin music, The Boom explodes from your speakers with the opening track "Pow Wow." The third track, "Shag," will keep all Medeski, Martin & Wood fans happy with its head-bobbing groove. "Sacrifices" has a double trumpet jam that borders on the experimental rather than on the traditional. All in all, Any Day of the Night is a great record that should satisfy fans of jazzy, instrumental music.
The Capitol City Dusters Simplicity Dischord Records The three guys making up this rock outfit descended from the roots of Severin, The Delta '72, and Please. Now in their third year of existence, they're already on their third drummer. One per year isn't too bad. The music they have crafted is a driving force that will keep you tuned in from track one to eleven. It's rock and roll, baby, melodic, the way I like it. They may hail from DC, but they don't necessarily represent the "DC" sound. Originality is the name of their game. Emotional, intense, solid music is what they deliver.
The Chamber Strings Gospel Morning Bobsled Records This bears the mark of the Beatles, in a less obvious but still apparent influence in the melodies. This release covers a lot of ground in popular music, and is a lot more upbeat than the pasty faced guy on the cover would have you believe. If you like Beatles influenced bands, check this out.
The Creatures Anima Animus Instinct Records Siouxsie Sioux's new musical effort sans the Banshees. It's good -- her voice fused with contemporary dance beats works well. At times I wonder if she's ever grown outside of the specific range for the twenty odd years she's been doing this, but whatever. Fans want what the fans get.
The Dinner is Ruined Band A Maggot in Their Heads Sonic Unyon Records A Maggot in Their Heads is the fifth release for these Canadian college radio favorites, who have opened for acts such as Sonic Youth, Beck, and Vic Chesnutt. The Dinner is Ruined Band plays a driving, somewhat twisted, rock. Apparently the cold Canadian winters have warped these guys, and we're all the better for it.
The Dwarves Free Cocaine Recess Records Though I really dug Lick It, this sounds like shit in comparison. It covers them from 1986 to 1988. Obviously they moved to a more punk rock sound. And well, punk rock was rather generic at this point in time. You can lead a healthy productive life if you aren't in the know of this CD.
The Dwarves Lick It (The Psychedelic Years) Recess Records These recordings originate from 1983-1986. Heavy heavy garage rock of psychedelic lore. Really brilliant, I must say. Think the Cramps if you don't know the Dwarves. It's very abrasive, with massive distortion on the guitars and bass. Ahhh, it's love! Too bad 13 years had to pass before I was exposed to this. GET THIS!
The Gloria Record self-titled Crank! Still bummed about the untimely passing of Mineral? The Gloria Record consists of former Mineral singer/guitarist Chris Simpson and bassist Jeremy Gomez with a new supporting cast. Their new cd ep features six songs of mellow emo/indie rock, which reveal the influence of 80's college rock darlings such as R.E.M. and the Cure.
The Hellacopters/Gluecifier Respect The Rock USA Man's Ruin If there is anyone out there who has become disgruntled due to the fact that no exceptional rock bands have come out of the 90's, your disgruntled days are over. These 2 bands are straight up down and dirty rock'n'roll. Out of the 2 Hellacopter won out as my favorite, but then again anyone that can cover a Lynyrd Skynyrd song as good as these guys do gets my approval.
The Judas Factor Ballads in Blue China Revelation Records This CD starts off with brutal riffs and raw edge vocals. Then mid-way through, it goes to soft indy rockish music and vocal stylings. Then back to the hard stuff, yet this whole CD has a different tone and sound than the chugga chugga of other folk's hardcore. The Judas Factor is a band you'll want to hear, with lyrics you need to read. You might find a personal anthem here.
The Lillingtons Death By Television Panic Button/Lookout The Lillingtons have a lot to live up to. Fortunately, they do it. This is good, melodic pop-punk that does indeed have that Queers, Ramones type of feel to it. Catchy riffs and cool-ass lyrics make this a definite must have.
The Lords of Algol Disciple of the Mysteries Medea Records Death metal. Loud music, growling, screaming vocals. The music isn't speed-death metal, just death metal. In fact, I kind of like their music --they sound like Type O Negative. There are about three tracks on there that will make your head spin though. I'm not a big fan of death metal but this isn't bad.
The Mekons I have been to Heaven... Quarterstick Records This is a retrospective of The Mekons, volume one of an intended multi-CD set. Not being familiar with this band, I was happy with the ordering of the tracks and political bent to the lyrics. The booklet comes with nice comments about each song and photos (and music) dating back to 1980. Despite some tracks being nearly two decades old, most of the songs don't bear the scarlet sonic letters of early progressive/college rock.
The Metalunas X-Minus-One American Pop Project This is surf music a la Man or Astroman? In fact, it's very similar, down to the space references. If you like them, I suggest you get this one. If you've never heard surf music, then you ought to.
The Neatbeats Far and Near Get Hip Recordings Originating from Japan, the Neatbeats appropriate American pop music from an era where melody and harmonizing were king. I really dig it! They do some nice covers- Hi Heel Sneakers- and all the music is super catchy, guaranteed to get a smile on your face and head bopping along.
The New Grand Incognito Sonic Unyon Records In case you haven't noticed, power pop is making a comeback. You may have also noticed that not many bands are doing it well. If you have noticed this, you'll be happy to know The New Grand is out there. This band plays great music and displays tight harmonies. They aren't as hard as Creeper Lagoon or Treble Charger, but they hold their own nicely.
The Saints Everybody Knows the Monkey Amsterdamned Records This is pretty basic rock and roll. A little on the sappy side, at least musically, for my tastes. There are a few good tunes, but these guys have been playing since music was invented and each disc seems to be a devolution in ability.
The Streetwalkin Cheetahs Live on KXLU Triple X Records Something that I have noticed lately is that discs recorded at college radio staions generally sound really good. This disc is a fine example of such discs. The Streetwalkin Cheetahs are a good band who play fast punk that is also good punk; always a good combination.
The Wedding Present Singles 1989-1991 Manifesto Records This two-disc release compiles their first five BMG singles, including all b-sides, unreleased tracks, compilation tracks, and nine live recordings made in Leeds in 1990. Fronted by the wonderful David Gedge, TWP has been around since 1985. If, in those fourteen years, you haven't heard TWP before, you're missing out on some incredible British guitar-oriented pop rock. Gedge's vocals are awesome, not the same as fellow Brit Billy Bragg, but equally infectious. The music can go from hypnotic to aggressive, all the while holding on to melody. This is a must for all TWP lovers and those who want to expand their horizons to include a classic British band that is still alive and kicking.
Three Finger Cowboy Kissed Daemon Records Who ordered the Juliana Hatfield on rye? Your order's up! Katharine McElroy's voice is so similar to Hatfield's it's scary. Especially on Comin' Around. Not that it's a bad person to sound like. The band is OK but they need a little work. The next one could be big.
Three Mile Pilot Songs From An Old Town We Once Knew Cargo Music This double CD collection is a dream come true for 3 Mile Pilot fans. Their unique, meandering indie rock sound drifts along incorporating creative arrangement and instrumentation while maintaining a grounded folk rock thread. There is more than an hour and a half of hard to find singles and unreleased tracks from various recording sessions-- some studio, some homemade. It all comes together in an introspective and emotional outpouring of melodies and harmonies. Definitely worth the price of admission.
Throwaway Generation Alive in the Streets of American Decay Unity Squad Records These guys all have great hair. I'm very jealous. They also, incidentally, play really good punk music. If you have a pulse, you will like this stuff.
Thrush Hermit Clayton Park Sonic Unyon A little Weezer and a lot of rock. You will be jumpin'around and singing before the first song is over. Definetly worth buying and listening to over and over.
Tony Tidwell & the Scalded Dogs Out of the Way Ghostmeat Records Pop/rock/Country - sometimes a dangerous combination but this time these guys pull it off perfectly.
Tricky Woo The Enemy is Real Sonic Unyon Records Turn it up and let your hair down - its time to rock out. Loud and raw, exactly what the music of today needs.
Trip the Planet Trance Maelstrom Music Trip the Planet is coming into their own. They've been around in the Western US for quite a few years but their particular style of grindcore/funk-metal had yet to gain popularity. Now it has and TTP are on the verge of stardom. They've got some real solid hooks and meaty riffs. If there's one shortcoming it's that lead singer Brett Soliday doesn't seem to know which style he wants to sing in. On the first song he goes for a deeper, guttural approach that doesn't work. When he really sings though, he's has the chops. Definitely worth a listen.
Urban Dance Squad UDS Sampler Triple X Records You know their name. You know what they can do. This is a great disc for a nice variety of UDS. Most of us know them from the way cool "Deeper Shade of Soul," but songs like "Prayer For My Demo" and "Demagogue" show their range. Still one of the hippest, funkiest groups around. Bar none.
Bo Bud Greene Las Olas 4 Alarm Records Oh, the abstractness of rock is such a hard thing to grasp, but these boys have figured out a way to present catchy, dandy tunes with a strange quirkiness. The vocals are often very matter-of-fact and the music is perfectly inconsistent in concept, but right on target in sound-- keeping you on your toes with unexpected changes within songs and from song to song. This is rock and roll with an attitude-- a fun one.
Various Artists Asphodelic Asphodel Electronic music lovers rejoice! Asphodel has put together a great compilation of dance, hip hop, and ambient music from their roster which includes Mix Master Mike, DJ Spooky, Tipsy, Rob Swift and the X-ecutioners. Pick this up, if for the two DJ Spooky and single Rob Swift tracks alone.
Various Artists Forward Till Death Lookout Records Lookout Records' latest sampler features tunes from each of their 1998 releases, as well some previously unreleased material by bands such as Pansy Division, the Mr. T Experience, and Squirtgun. Forward Till Death is a great introduction for the uninitiated to Lookout's roster of pop punk acts.
Various Artists Hot Curly Weenie - Vol.#2 Recess Records Raunchy loud punk sometimes bordering on being obnoxious - what more could you want from punk compilation album. Definitely worth listening to - several times. Bands include FYP, Quincy Punx and tons more.
Various Artists Now We Are 5 Sonic Unyon Some adequate tracks here. Mooney Suzuki, The New Grand, The Dinner is Ruined, Chore, Danko Jones, all acceptable, non-offensive, Indie Rock. Smoother, with "Black," is far more impressive however. Instead of simply playing what sounds like indie-rock, they make independent music that rumbles with a sneer. Moments of cuteness, speed chords, Duncan Sheikness conclude the rest of tracks here. Yawn.
Various Artists Of Things To Come BYO Records A compilation disc to destroy all other compilations... VooDoo Glowskulls, Anti-Flag, Hatebreed, Bouncing Souls, are you getting the picture yet? This is the best of the best in a disc that you will want in your collection unless you are stupid.
Various Artists Old School VS New School Jive Records The Old School of Jive records doesn't sound all that old. Well, I suppose it's a question of how old "old school" has to be. In this case, Kool Moe Dee, A Tribe Called Quest and Boogie Down Productions are at least 10 years past "New," and the "New" in this case means Rabbit in the Moon, Grooverider, DJ Icey, the DJ's and Electronica artists of the Now. The CD works because each Remixer has an obvious love for the Old. Hang on to the oldies, history repeats itself in the eyes of school.
Various Artists Post Marked Stamps Tree Records This is a compilation of emo/indy rock bands that participated in the Post Marked Stamps 7" series. The kids should be happy to hear tracks by Braid, the Get Up Kids, Compound Red and Giants Chair. Since finding the original 7"s is quite difficult, treat yourself to the CD if you're a fan of this style of music.
Various Artists Ritalin Riot ADD Holy Mackeral! This is one swell compilation of pop punk, punk, and hardcore music. And not just a compilation- there's fun intros to most of the tracks. Bands include Dillinger 4, Brand New Unit, Hankshaw, Big Wig, Discount, plus a multitude of others you've heard of but maybe never heard.
Various Artists Serial Killer Fearless Records Boy! What a Comp! Twenty-eight tracks by standout bands like REO Speedealer, Blink 182, Bigwig, 30 Foot Fall, and 1-45 w/ Cult Ceavers giving us a pedal power song. I was skeptical about this one, but the music is aggressive and the tracks flow quite nicely together.
Various Artists Spirit of '99-- A Hardcore Competition Go! Team I'm a big opponent of compilations -- mostly because they end up having one good track and twenty crappy ones. Alas, a comp CD that breaks the mold, many more good tracks than bad. Some of the better bands featured include Pistis (pretty, sappy emo), Carlisle (emocore with dueling vocals, well-sung and screamed-- sometimes the screamed vocals become overwhelming), Song of Kerman (politicore), Shyster (intricate, melodic indie/punk rock), Peterbuilt (emo a la Braid with more anger), Backhand (poppy emo a la Gameface), Kills Competition (speedcore). Also featured on this impressive album is a twelve-minute quicktime movie for your computer that satirizes the hardcore scene. Between the music and the movie, this is a great release.
Various Artists Still Screaming - A New Noise/Hardcore Compilation Burning Heart Records Noise, indeed. This is really good hardcore. I'll admit that I had my reservations about it, but I really love this disc. 11 bands and 22 songs that are really good. These bands are definitely a bunch of dudes who can play. Included are Raised Fist, Refused, Within Reach and more.
Various Artists Throwing Nickels: A CCR Tribute Urinine Records Four indie-rock bands covering Creedence Clearwater Revival??!! The dead Fogerty brother is probably rolling over in his grave (if he wasn't cremated). Anyway, this is a really cool disc. My only complaint is that it isn't longer. Where's "Proud Mary" and "Down on the Corner"? Hopefully there's a volume two in the works.
Water Closet Time is Cool Broken Rekids These guys are Japanese. I caught on to that fact when I realized that I couldn't figure out what the hell they were saying. It's English; barely. It is also good. They have a chick singer with a gorgeous voice. The songs are good, the sound is good, the lyrics are strange-- but you can't understand them so who cares?
Weä Square Root of Negative One Asphodel This is some damn good American-Made Drum N Bass. Not all of it is at breakneck speed, though. Square root of negative navigates through tempo changes -- fast, then slow in an almost ambient-like sound. Definitely recommended for the electronically inclined.
(Young) Pioneers Free the (Young) Pioneers Now! Lookout Records This is the soundtrack for the Spring! First off- they remind me of Make Up in their channeling of the energies of R&B and vocals that might not fit elsewhere but with that respective band. (Young) Pioneers are more gruff and bass oriented with a steady groove to get you in the revolutionary mood. This is a great rock and roll record so you must march down and get it!
Cease/Clairmel split release ADD Records This 7" comes with issue #5 of ADD for $5. The Clairmel side has two tracks that sound good in their emo-punk ways (not emo as the indy debasement of the word). Cease contribute a loud rocker that features talking and then the devil throat singing of lyrics. The song is a bit too long, but these evil core kids will torture you anyway possible. This 7" is not so bad when you consider a zine comes with it.
Cigaretteman/Discount split release Suburban Home I never understood the draw of Discount but this re-release of a 1996 7" set me straight on their pop punk ways. Cigaretteman is amazing poppy stuff with female (and male) vocals. Pure beauty! Get this now! Makes me sad I missed it first time around.
Decay Back in the House Suburban Home This is a decent hardcore release which begs the question -- what'd they do to get kicked out of the house in the first place? Jokes aside, this 7" works as it should -- a blast of hardcore rage to get your adrenaline going.
Donnas/Toilet Boys split release Lookout Records One song by each band. The Toilet Boys contribute a cock-rocking track that's kind of a guilty pleasure. Hark back past the '80s metal scene, and you arrive at Donnas territory. They play '70s style garage rock with sweet lyrical simplicity. Heck, theyıre movie stars, too! The Donnas are the only reason to see "Jawbreaker."
Ghosts & Vodka Memento Mori Lookout Records One song by each band. The Toilet Boys contribute a cock-rocking track that's kind of a guilty pleasure. Hark back past the '80s metal scene, and you arrive at Donnas territory. They play '70s-style garage rock with sweet lyrical simplicity. Heck, they're movie stars, too! The Donnas are the only reason to see "Jawbreaker."
Les Savy Fav Our Coastal Hymn Desoto Records Chew on this slab of indie rock and roll. It's rather delicious. There's a big punk attitude in the vocals and the music compliments it with deep basslines and sharp, noisy guitars that don't intrude on the solid melodies. The B-side is infectious.
Roads To Space Travel Before, Before Now Desoto Records Travel down their road to guitar-driven rock and you'll find great melodies and tempo changes with a slight garage feel to it. Two songs, three guys and a future in outer space.
The Sea and Cake/John McEntire split release Hefty Records The Sea and Cake, as usual, deliver a sweet, soft, melodic, graceful track. It flows like a river -- combining underlying beats with soothing vocals and a pop appeal. John McEntire's track (he's in The Sea and Cake) is instrumental, trippy and comparable to the other side minus vocals.
The Zillionaires/Throwaway Generation Major Disturbance Unity Squad Records The Zillionaires are beer-influenced punk rockers. They're a bit sloppy and rather typical. TG are more solid and have better vocals than The Zillionaires, but itıs along the same lines. If you're into aggressive, old style (maybe even Oi-ish) punk rock, this may be something you'd dig.
RECORD LABEL ADDRESSES
4 Alarm Records, 660 West Lake St., Chicago, IL 60661