Mindpower: Taking It Back
All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors Turning Into Small Gern Blandsten Utilizing elements from emo, indie, space rock, and new wave, All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors creates an ethereal, dreamy mood. Swirly guitars and pulsating keyboards provide the backdrop for the mellow, Radiohead-esque vocals. Fans of Ebeling Hughes will love this.
Anti-Nowhere League So What? Cleopatra Records The old school just won't die. Anti-Nowhere League, kings of punk rock in the early '80s are back with a live recording of some of their greatest hits. Their single "Streets of London/So What" actually reached No. 48 on the UK charts before it was deemed obscene. Anyway, if you missed the League, it's time to catch up with 'em. Fifteen tracks for your listening pleasure, including: "Pig Iron," "Working For The Company," "I Hate People," and more.
Belvedere Because No One Stopped Us Two-O-Six Records Four guys, thousands of tempo changes, an abundance of melody, solid vocals -- mix in bowl. Serve up loud. This record from the 1998 winners of the Bad Religion Warped Tour contest is a solid piece of melodic, power punk.
Bickley Kiss the Bunny Fearless Records I love it. Okay? I'll admit it. I like The Ramones, Screeching Weasel, The Queers -- I love all that pop punk stuff. Bickley seems poised to become heavyweight contenders in that world. This is really stupid stuff and I love it. The songs are catchy and fun with just the right amount of punky goodness. Buy it and send it to me then buy yourself a copy.
Black Ocean Drowning Vegative Life Medea Records Hailing from Michigan, this five-piece gothic metal band creates an encompassing sound that wraps itself around you and squeezes. It's heavy, dark and powerful. There's a Sisters of Mercy kind of thing going on, but with a uniqueness all its own. This record features seven tracks and a total running length of nearly forty minutes of sheer pleasure buried in a cloak of dark, deep, metal roots.
Blackstar Barbed Wire Soul Prosthetic Records Metal from England -- could you ask for anything more? It's intense, scary and, well, metal. It's making my head hurt.
Buck Wild Full Metal Overdrive Lobster Records Ex-Lagwagon guitarist Shawn Dewey is back with his bad boys delivering uptempo melodic punk rock not unlike the material he did with Lagwagon. It's got great hooks, awesome vocals and incredible tempo changes. Another fine release from four guys way too fascinated by heavy metal.
Cause for Alarm Beneath the Wheel Victory Records This is a melodic hardcore release that features singing--not growling--and more involved musicianship and great messages and lyrics. As many hardcore bands of the 80's turned metal when they gained mastery of their instruments, it's inspiring to CFA continue to develop hardcore over a decade of playing. It took a few listens to get adjusted to their clear sound but once accustomed I was hooked. Give "Cleanser" a listen and decide for yourself.
Class First Double Agent Peter and Leigh have class and are Class. They deliver supersonic pop gems that have both male and female vocals and subtle, but supportive, music to back it up. Throw in the space-age noises and you have incredible avant-garde pop music.
Corrupted/Noothgrush split CD EP Reservoir Chunka-chunka-chunka goes the guitars. Roar-roar-roar goes the vocals. Corrupted is heavy, heavy metal. It's slow, painful and angry. There are some great melodies buried in the sickening ooze. Noothgrush caught my eye because they have socially aware lyrics dealing with both human and animal rights. The music is much like Corrupted, slow, heavy and screamed.
Cursive/Silver Scooter split 10" Crank! Buy this record if only for the incredible packaging. Or, simply buy it for the quality rock and roll. Cursive presents driving, emotional power pop that some may call emo, but it's better than that. There are unique intricacies that truly set them apart. Sharing space on the record is Silver Scooter, rockin' out some perfect pop rock. Their music speeds along delivering tight, catchy melodies filled out by great vocals. This may be the best 10" ever released.
Custom Made Scare The Greatest Show On Dirt Side 1 Wake Up and Smell the Gunpowder, baby. This is some serious kick ass rock 'n 'roll with a heavy rock-a-billy groove that will make you want to put on your shit kickers and drink cheap beer out of an ash tray. This is rock for convertibles and Texans. ZZ Top goes to hell.
Dälek Negro, Necro, Nekros Gern Blandsten It seems like all hip-hop deals with anymore is money, cars and women. What happened with the politically infused beats of groups like Public Enemy? Dälek wants to remind us of the importance of this musical genre, and takes advantage of its popularity to put forth his opinion about this world in which we live. Samples and digital clipping abound, layered over rough beats that are balanced by soothing horns, or Middle Eastern instruments. The album is pretty much mid-tempo, with "Images of .44 Casings" actually being narrated, not rapped.
Darkest Hour The Prophecy, Fulfilled Art Monk Construction This band would be so fucking awesome if they used the ever-so-popular "evil voice" stylings more selectively. They hit such inspired grooves and they have interesting lyrics on the first song, but the vocals don"t fit. However, on the next track it works perfectly. Oh well. This wins me over with the brutal stuff and the inclusion of an instrumental, so skip track one and rock out!
Dayglo Abortions Stupid World ... Stupid Songs God Records These dudes scare the shit out of me. This is a greatest hits assortment, if you will, spanning songs from the last 18 years. This is a band that does not seem to have evolved at all, but has, inspite of itself, continued to refine and unrefine punk. This is some good stuff for people who like pure punk -- hearkening back to the very roots of punk -- mohawks safety pins and everything.
Dimmu Borgir Godless Savage Garden Nuclear Blast America What is it with Sweden and Death Metal? Must be an adverse reaction to Ace of Base and ABBA! These guys play Death Metal with a bit of a theatric style, using organs and such. Two of these tracks are re-recorded versions of songs found on Dimmu Borgir's first album. There is also a cover of "Metal Heart" by Accept, as well as three live tracks.
oc Hopper Zigs, Yaws & Zags Go Kart Records "Zigs" features some older material from this uptempo, melodic punk rock three-piece. The music is fun -- the kinda stuff that makes for a great live show. On occasion you could draw similarities to NOFX or Big Drill Car. This is definitely worth checking out and tappin' your toes to.
Five Dollar Milkshake A Part In The Middle Ice Cream Headache Can you feel the groove? I can. $5Milkshake play cream-of-the-crop college rock that is very rootsy. They combine all those traditional elements -- funk, pop, country, rock, soul -- but they do it well. You could very easily imagine their style music on the radio following a Matchbox 20 tune.
Floorpunch Fast Times At The Jersey Shore Equal Vision Get past the standard blah blah fast fast hardcore stuff on the first two tracks and this band hits it's stride with some pretty damn good music. Sure, the lead singer suckerpunched Duncan (ex-Endpoint) after he questioned their crew mentality, leading Duncan to resign from hardcore as the enemy was now within the scene. "The Answer"seems to be their shaky reply. Nevertheless, the music is pretty good even if the lyrics are a bit oversupportive of stubbornheadedness.
Flotsam and Jetsam Unnatural Selection Metal Blade I got their previous CD and was entirely unimpressed. But F&J have had a slight line-up change and it seems to have made a world of difference. This is power metal. Nice, almost groove beats set the backdrop for an aural onslaught that never slows down. They sound a bit like Megadeth at points, but that's not such a bad thing either.
Fuckemos Can Kill You Man's Ruin Records This is a direct quote from the press kit that came with this CD: "Sales Points: Satan, Drug Use, Sexual Perversion, Nazis, Casio Keyboards. How can you resist?" This is the funniest thing I have heard in a while. If you are familiar with voodoobilly group Deadbolt, then you have a pretty good idea what this guy sounds like. His voice is deeper than deep, backed by mediocre mid-tempo punk riffs, and the occasional lazy sounding horn. I don't know if this album is tongue in cheek or not, but with songs like "80 Gay Sailors," where all he sings is "80 sailors went out to sea / 40 couples came back" over and over, you gotta wonder.
Gob How Far Shallow Takes You Fearless Records I heard their last disc and thought it was pretty typical pop-punk. They have the same feel but it seems to be a little more their own now -- not just a generic punk sound but something that they can say is their own.
Grey Area self-titled Victory Records This starts off with Fat Wreck pop punk then moves to 80's style progressive rock melodies in the later tracks. It was as though I was taking a trip down alternative musical trends lane. The lyrics on "Before Me" are awesome, but everything else here doesn¹t measure up to those words.
Grip Inc. Solidify Metal Blade Records Solidify is the third release from Grip, Inc. This quartet plays bass-heavy, riff-rich metal. At times they fall for a cliché or two, like using special effects to sound like the devil in the middle of "Amped." You can probably get by this and enjoy the energy put out with their speed and dynamism.
HADES Savior Self Metal Blade I can't figure out all the religious crap on this disc. Do I really need to hear some schlub sing The Lord's Prayer at me? No. These guys come off as a bunch of preachy goons. Y2K? Could there be a more overdone (or less inspiring) topic for a song? There is some talent among these guys, and having a message is not necessarily a bad thing -- unless it eclipses the rest of the disc -- which it does. Try again guys.
Hellbound Hayride Sinner Slip Records If you're into hot-rod music, you'll want to check out Hellbound Hayride. This is a mix of rockabilly, swing and country/blues, fronted by Eddie Wilson's bluesy, raspy vocals. "Why Can't I Be Dreaming?" sounds like a failed attempt at a pop love song, while "Relentless" has a swing boogie to it. This is an overall decent record.
Houseboy 1465 Tamarack Street Press Room Stiff Pole Records Pretty good pop-punk with alternative overtones, high production values, and polished vocals. This CD touts that it was recorded live in one take. If this is true, I'm impressed. No obvious mistakes were to be found anywhere. It only makes me wonder how many takes they discarded before getting a good one (they said one take, not the first take!)
Ink and Dagger The Fine Art Of Original Sin Initial Records Comparisons, or even descriptions, of guitar-driven growly rock are meaningless. Ink and Dagger have made things somewhat less routine than wall of scree, verse, chorus, even louder wall of scree. They are philosophical-politico consciousness rockers (woop dee doo!). Which to be honest does little to dissuade this reviewer from hearing them as a group with an agenda they can't quite fit into their standard sound. It's somewhat unfair though to say they aren't a very good rock group, because they are dynamic on the percussive low end, the guitars soar with decible debilitating power, crunch like mis-wired amps and the male-female back and forth vocal parts maintain a healthy interest. Yeah, I think in spite of their familiar territory, they remain within the head after the CD ends.
Jejune This Afternoons Malady Big Wheel Recreation Subtle and sweet melodies drift by, often rising to an emotional, energized crescendo. The parts create the whole when this three-piece play. Female and male vocals split duties in a beautifully perfect way. Pretty and soothing, this CD will get under your skin and eat at your soft insides.
Jesuit self-titled Reservoir Records Screamy metal core with samples. Not really heavy, not really melodic, Jesuit is dissonant with jackhammer beats. A more brutal Sonic Youth if they screamed with torn vocal chords. It's not anything I haven't heard before, but heck, most folks don't come to metal core seeking originality.
John McEntire Music from the Motion Picture "Reach the Rock" Hefty Records "Reach the Rock" is a character driven drama about a troubled youth at a crossroads in his life. To score the film, Music Supervisor John Hughes III turned to John McEntire, who has played drums for Tortoise, The Red Krayola, The Sea and Cake, and Bastro. The sound is very different from traditional film scores. McEntire plays all bass, guitar, and keyboard parts himself, while recruiting bands Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, Bundy K. Brown, Polvo and Dianogah to provide additional tracks. This is great background music for relaxing.
Kill Allen Wrench My Bitch Is A Junky Devil Vision Records I really was not terribly impressed by this, though for all appearances, Mr. Wrench would twist my head off my neck if he could find my narrow ass. This seems like the kind of thing that a bunch of high school guys would do. Lots of kicking ass and buttfucking and alcohol stuff. Normally this is good, but it seems so forced here -- saying it just because he can.
L7 Live -- Omaha to Osaka Man's Ruin Where else in the world are you ever going to hear a high school marching band open for L7, playng a medley of their songs? Nowhere, baby. And that's probably a good thing. This is good music, I like L7. My chief complaint here is actually with the production value of the disc. I like a raw, live sound, but this almost sounds like a bootleg. It really lacks the sound definition that it needs. The music is good, the band rocks, but the recording kinda sucks.
Lord Sterling Your Ghost Will Walk Chainsaw Safety Records In a style that is sure to be repeated as the millennium approaches, Lord Sterling analyze our place on this earth. From man's creation through our present time, and on to the end of the world, this quartet covers it all. Bink Ryan's vocals range from pleading whispers in "Sworn to Secrecy," to all out screaming in "First Test Pressing." The rest of the band keeps the appropriate tempo, giving Lord Sterling a dynamic feel.
Mankind Liberation Front Center of the Universe 12" AlphaStateRecords Concept: alien theories, religious conspiracy, world take-over ... throw it onto vinyl with some cool beats, vocals, loops and unusual sounds ... remix it a couple different ways and deliver it to earthlings.
Metroschifter/Shipping News split CD Initial Records I'm not too ashamed to say that I had never heard these bands before. This Initial Records release has convinced me that these bands are indeed bad ass. The Metroschifter songs are hard-rocking and beautiful, with some electronic arrangement, which I found to be both spacious and gracious. The Shipping News songs were recorded live and exude a strong energy on top of creative songwriting. Check them out live and on this record.
No Motiv And The Sadness Prevails Vagrant Records No Motiv deliver skilled melodic, power punk in the same vein as Face To Face. Actually, the sound similarities are shocking. If you're into FTF, you'll totally love this energetic new album. It's eleven tracks of non-stop, in-your-face punk rock.
Noam Chomsky Prospects for Democracy Epitaph Records Thomas Jefferson once said that the country was "moving toward a single and splendid government of an aristocracy founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations." If this tendency continued it would "be the end of democracy and freedom." Undoubtedly, this has already become so. In "Prospects for Democracy," MIT Professor Noam Chomsky discusses U.S. "Democracy" and the impact that corporations have had on our individual freedoms. The mainstream media is also indicted for their role in fueling the propaganda that controls democracy.
Noam Chomsky The Clinton Vision: Old Wine, New Bottles Epitaph Records In his never ending attack on the American hierarchy, Noam Chomsky sets his sights on Bill Clinton and his pre-election actions regarding NAFTA, health care, crime, labor relations (or lack thereof), foreign policy and the economy. According to Chomsky, not many of these policies achieved what they pretended to. In one example, he concludes NAFTA was a failure, allowing companies to high tail it to Mexico, where labor is much cheaper. Free trade this is not. Noam Chomsky will make you open your eyes to the realities of our country today.
Nuclear Rabbit Intestinal Fortitude Beach Recordings This is simply amazing. Imagine the bastard sons of Mr. Bungle, Primus and Eskimo getting hold of some instruments and making a CD. This is one of the tightest bands I've heard in a long time. Funny, scary, fucked-up ... there's something for everyone. This is really good stuff, full of tempo and time changes, crazy rhythms and whacked out lyrics. GET IT.
One King Down God Loves, Man Kills Equal Vision Records Though the first track has the pauses of a Helmet, they drop the stop starts and take their time to distinguish themselves from the metal hardcore crowd. The title track is a particularly potent channel for your aggression. It's slowed down but so heavy. The following tracks continue with progressively more interesting instrumentation without sacrificing the heaviness and/or watering down this release's all around head bang-ability. Everything after track 4 rules, so skip the first three and rock out to the hereafter.
OS101 United Brotherhood of Scenesters Victory Records This release has been around for over a year now, but in case you've passed on it, well, there isn't much you've missed out on. Granted, I'm taking this from a different viewpoint of a listener not in high school. If you're in high school, or junior high for that matter, you might appreciate their lyrics and back in the day nostalgia and their technical proficiency. Personally, I can't stand it. Sounds great, says nothing. Listen to Good Clean Fun instead--they're funny without being stupid.
Pinehurst Kids Minnesota Hotel 4 Alarm Records Filled with lead as a child by a greedy mining company, lead singer/guitarist Joe Davis has overcome all obstacles and puts his heart into this three-piece rock band. The guitars are melodic and gritty at the same time, while the music pounds a furious, emotional energy. The hooks are right on time and lyrics are smart enough to make you think. This band will capture you with a style of music they can claim as their own.
Pneumershonic Frequencies of the Beast Tray Full of Lab Mice Meet Paule Bourre, a homeless nutcase who will drag you by the ears into his soft, fuzzy demon infested world. Paul is actually quite a lyricist, improvising a wide variety of poignant tales with which to blow your mind and carry you away whistling and tapping your toes. Join Paul in his world. Contribute to his coffee fund. A portion of the proceeds go right to Paul's coffee cup. This is super cool stuff.
Porn Flakes The Number of the Beef Sin Klub Records Six sick indivuduals come together to hurt you, audibly. They've played with just about everyone, from Gwar to the Bosstones to Pennywise to Rollins. Take ska, add tons of metal, fast vocal delivery and some kookiness ... watch out.
Quincy Punx Nutso Smasho Recess Records This is punk in the grand old style of Jerry's Kids and FEAR. Four angry guys (two of them black -- something you don¹t see often in the punk world ...) who really play the hell out of tunes like Beer Run, Beer Shits, and Ugly American. This is a good disc full of fast and furious stuff.
Random Too Stoned To Sneeze Without Regretting It Evil Teen It's a great title to accompany some great, over the top, electronic music that focuses on the drum and bass genre. The beats are fast and furious with obscure, creative sounds tossed in at will. This is the kind of electronic music that will hurt to dance to, but definitely won't bore you.
Rob Swift The Abilist Asphodel Skills displayed, spray a ray of turntabilist skills. Fill your ears with beats and scratches. Reaching to the top of the DJ pyramid. Attained. Not the traditional, cause that shit is whack. And Swift knows where the real deal's at -- throw in some vocals and you know it's gonna be phat. With the swiftness, one track will have your mind doing flips. Let your ears get smacked by Swift's turntable attack.
Rosa Melberg Portola Double Agent Rosa has a charming and beautiful voice. This eleven-track album includes various tracks compiled over the past five years. If you're familiar with the band Tiger Trap, then you know Rosa (she's now in the bands Go Sailor, Softies, and Gaze). Her acoustic melodies will make you weak in the knees and feel free again with a delightful pop feel flowing through your body.
Screeching Weasel Beat Is On The Brat Panic Button Screeching Weasel covering, in its entirety, a Ramones album. What can I say? The sound is there. The songs haven't been fucked around with. This is about as good a cover album as I have ever heard. As an added bonus, there are also 4 Screeching Weasel songs at the end of the disc. It's hard to tell where the Ramones stop and S.W. begins, but it's still a killer disc.
Screeching Weasel Self-titled VML/Liberation Records This is the first official re-release of Screeching Weasel's debut record first pressed in 1987. That's TWELVE years ago. It's not that bad either. I'd heard it a few years ago on a tape and thought it was awful. But this is better than I recall. It's definitely signature SW with Ben's vocals crooning punk rock tunes and poppy (and on this release, a bit sloppy) punk rock music to back it up. And there's the patented high-pitched guitar work that no SW song would be complete without.
Sean M. Quinn Waterclock self-released Quinn wrote it all on this ten-track release. The music has a college rock feel with classic rock, pop and folk overtones. The vocals sometimes tremble like Bob Dylan's, but not all the time. Being a one-man show, this is an decent release with cool melodies and some catchy hooks. The recording quality could use some work, but it's a self-released record and not everyone can afford a big recording budget.
Shoutbus Ain't That America Art Monk Construction These guys play nutty, funk-infused rock that can bust into tight-ass power-pop melodies in a heartbeat or switch to a more hardcore feel. Sometimes it reminds me of a Mr. Bungle or Primus kind of thing (that is not a judgement of the whole record -- only in some instances). The lyrics are socio-political, making it more than just a listening experience; it's a learning experience too.
Studbull's Disco Buscuit Hairy Potato Sin Klub Records I had know idea the B-52s had a circus metal band with a Beastie Boys influence. Wacky vocals, dark, metal music and some general nuttiness rounds out this wild release. Eight tracks, six guys, a song called "Spanking Machine" and tons of beer.
Subincision Self-titled Beach Recordings The four guys in this band love to play punk rock. The music is somewhat silly, sticking to the East Bay sound of such bands as Grimple and so many others. It's fast-paced but laced with melody and angst.
Tarot Bolero Vaudeville Rising Ace Fu Records I remember the good old days when Satan only showed up in heavy metal music. It seems that the horned one is diversifying into other types of music to reach the largest amount of impressionable youths. If you thought the devilish ska sounds of Mephiskapheles was weird, then let me introduce you to Tarot Bolero. Vaudeville + Satan = Gimmick. At least you have to give him credit for trying. What's next? Beelzebub does Beethoven?
The Bollweevils History Of The Bollweevils Part II Dr. Strange Records If you're not familiar with the fast-paced, in-your-face sound of the Weevils, you're outta touch. This is the second installment of their singles collection -- compiling tracks from compilation records, split releases as well as some unreleased material. The music is damn good as is to be expected with these guys, melodic, speeding fast and always keeping your ears awake. Wake up!
The Cady Way Four Songs EP Every Poor Sucker Records The drive of the music on this CD is captivating. It flows, slowly reeling you in with rising melodies and powerful female vocals. It has a dark feel while delivering a melodic and, occasionally, poppy sound. The five-piece is based in Orlando and will probably be playing live at a bar or club near you.
The Candy Snatchers Human Zoo! Go Kart Records These guys are pissed off and they let the punk rock speak for 'em. Snotty, dirty, aggressive and coming out you head first, the Snatchers are here to hurt you. Searing guitars, throaty vocals and beer; they're like Sloppy Seconds but sloppier.
The Grand Island Naughty French Spot Super 8 Records Very good modern rock in the vein of Fugazi, Archers and Raymond Brake. The music is recorded and performed very well, using guitar, keyboard to achieve that relentless pursuit of disonance without becoming annoying. The vocals are tough and interesting but sometimes create the illusion of monotony. A very good record.
The Gurus Ritual Dance Maelstrom Music This is some of the most mediocre soul/pop rock I've heard in a while. File this under "Radio hopeful." However, I'll crush all hopes and say "not a chance."
The Lapse Betrayal! Gern Blandsten Records Born from the Van Pelt, comes Chris Leo and Toko Yasuda with a CD that comes off more like spoken word rock than anything else. And that is superb. The poetry is brilliant and the music is driving, melodic and inspiring. It's a great companion to the awesome lyrics. The two fit together and compliment each other -- neither is more important than the other, yet each could stand on their own.
The Milwaukees Sunset and Sunrise self-released A lot of bands release their own CDs, but they normally suck. Not these three guys. Combining emo, pop, indie rock and a subtle country twang, The Milwaukees have created a very unique, catchy sound. The melodies are infectious and the vocals are complimentary. Most of the lyrics involve a lost love or other heartfelt experience, but they are well written, unlike the zillion other songs on the same subject. Every time I listen to this record my legs bounce up and down. It's not nerves; it's just great rock.
The Monsignors Are You There God? It's Us ... Harmless Records Chop Your Head Off leads us into the world of The Monsignors, a group of guys who really seem to like what they do. What they may lack in talent (and the talent seems to be intact) they certainly make up for in insightful lyrics ... Jebb's Master Poop, 10 Wheels for Jesus ... and so on. This is pretty cool stuff -- worth a listen.
The Tank There Is No 'I' In Band Dr. Strange Records Combining the talents of two great, broken-up pop punk bands (Welt and Brown Lobster Tank), The Tank is all about badass melodies and catchy hooks. You'll be tappin' your toes and bobbin' your head in no time to the thirteen uptempo tunes featured on this album. The vocals are clean and powerful, delivering heartfelt lyrics. It's time to dive into the tank.
The Vices self-titled Maelstrom Music The Vices do an interesting job of combining various musical styles all of which seem rooted in the '80s. This record swings from gloomy gothic to back-beat reggae-influenced to punk and pop. Somehow the Clash is introduced to Danzig and they create a dorky-pop love child.
Too Many Gods Lullaby EP Medea Records Don't try to stop the metal, cause it'll keep coming. This four-song EP has enough heavy metal to sink a ship. It's tough, hard and corrupting with deep, throaty vocals to fill out the pounding music. This is definitely the kind of stuff to bang your head to.
Unbunny Analog Tray Full of Lab Mice Box Goiter Boy. I Hate Rainbows. I Guess I Like You. These and 18 tracks of similar intent are digitally imbedded in this 4 inch plastic disc. I love this. How can I put it more strongly? If the hole were bigger, I'd hump it. This is music for people who want something different. The closest big name that I can liken it to is Ween, but this is infinitely better. The songs are melodic and catchy in a truly bizarre way. Don't miss it.
Unisex Deadlock Double Agent Guitar rock never seemed this poppy before. But Unisex can take traditional guitar rock and roll and add hooks and catchy choruses to make it work. Sometimes it's a bit too much rock and roll for my tastes, but maybe not for yours. Either way, their British accents make me swoon.
Various Artists Big Fish Music Sampler Big Fish Music What struck me first was that the CD is a CD-ROM. Second, there was absolutely no documentation whatsoever, except a printout from their web page. How does Big Fish Music expect to sell anything this way? Not that you'd want to buy this, mind you. This comp of Japanese artists sucks like no other I've ever heard. It ranges from disco to adult contemporary, with some pseudo-techno thrown in. It has a very cheesy feeling throughout. Only one song, "Snake Lunch" by Bom'boco, was any good. It reminded me of the instrumental songs on the Beastie Boys' "Check Your Head" and "Ill Communication." Try to find this CD anywhere ... dare you!
Various Artists Deeper Concentration OM Records This beat-oriented album features eighteen tracks from such artists as Sole & JC, DJ Spooky, Ill Media, Mix Master Mike and many more. The sounds progress from smooth to hardcore, some with vocals, others without. Most of the tracks are super dope and will make your ears dance. A bonus: the CD includes a copy of Mixman Studio, remixing software for your computer.
Various Artists Four on the Floor Panic Button Four bands are featured on this sixteen track (4 per band) release: Screeching Weasel (pop-punk the way it should be), Moral Crux (more great pop-punk, as good as SW, with great choruses), Enemy You (melodic power-punk with a Fat Wreck feel), Teen Idols (more pop-punk ala the previous mentioned bands). In closing, this is a four-band sampling of some of the best melodic, pop-punk out there.
Various Artists Music to Kill For Side 1 Dummy Recordings This comp starts off good with some driving rock n roll by Custom Made Scare, and follows it up with a must-hear pop punk tune by 22 Jacks that has a great chorus. Truly a classic. Other bands on this comp are Odd Numbers, Bouncing Souls, The Independents, The Pilfers and the Blue Meanies, amongst others. Worth getting for its range of punk, mod, power pop, and ska tunes.
Various Artists Possessed To Skate Pessimiser Records This is a collection of speedcore bands, including Charles Bronson, Spazz, Pretentious Assholes, Unanswered, Despise You and two Florida bands: Palatka and Asshole Parade. The music is fast and furious. In case you care, there are nearly forty tracks.
Various Artists Reich Remixed Nonesuch Records Steve Reich has influenced a generation of electronic musicians, from the Orb to Aphex Twin, and everything in between. His phase-shifting work has delighted and amazed those who have listened to his work. As a tribute, acts like DJ Spooky, D*Note, Tranquillity Bass, and Howie B, among others, remixed some of Reich's pieces. When listening to this, you become relaxed by the repetition of voices and musical breaks, placing you in a trance-like state. Waves of sound will bring you up and down, back and forth, changing ever so slightly, so that the end of the song is very different from the beginning, without you ever realizing any change had taken place.
Various Artists Satori--A Tribute to Bauhaus CreativemanDisc Satori is a Buddhist word meaning enlightenment, or an awakening. Awakened you will be when you slip this disc into your player. Ranging from heavy metal to industrial techno, Satori maintains the gothic feel that Bauhaus was famous for. Each song is distinctly different, yet all thirteen tracks blend together seamlessly. Testament to Bauhaus¹s influence is the fact that all the bands in this release are Japanese. Whether you're a Bauhaus fan or not, even if you¹ve never heard their music, you should enjoy this disc.
Various Artists Six Ways To Sunday Soundtrack Will Records Talk about a diverse soundtrack! You could easily use these songs for 10 different movies, 10 different moods, 10 different radio shows (or should I write, 6?). Issac Hayes and Debbie Harry toss out the vast gamut, from remixed proto hip hop (Blondie and Girls Against Boys?) to classic soul, there's love for the street kid and lust for the bedroom jockey. And then there's the humor, Swing from the Barry Sisters tingles the funny bone with their Yiddish (!) harmonics, Schooly D (who some say is the original one-character MC) reinterprets the 60's girl classic "Mr. Big Stuff" with the kinky suggestion that the "D" stands for ... well, the movies about sex and the ghetto, so, you get the idea. Hilarious samples from the movie round this soundtrack out to memorable effect. Can't wait to see the movie.
Veteran Flashbax Living In A Bubble Two-O-Six Records These guys play great hardcore/punk with fast tempos, sing-along choruses, soaring guitar solos and deep bass lines. Some songs have an old-style, skate-rock kinda feel. This is surely a live band to behold.
Weston/Doc Hopper The Stepchildren of Rock Go Kart Records Live records are sometimes the most awful thing a band can do. But these two bands put on great live shows and the recording quality is top rate. Weston plays some great melodic pop with a strong punk rock influence while Doc Hopper delivers a more uptempo, punk rock sound. Both bands compliment each other. And with nearly 30 total tracks, you can't go wrong.
SEVEN INCH REVIEWSFar Apart Hazel Crank! How many hooks would a real music listener want if a real music listener could request hooks? This stuff is loaded with 'em, catchy as hell and downright awesome -- put together for your listening pleasure by four Swedish kids. You'll be swept away by this three-track piece of vinyl the first time you listen.
L.E.S. Stitches Jungle Man One Foot Records These guys are soooo punk rock, at least they think so. It's got that "scary" punk thing going on, but I think it needs to get lost. The music is garage, glam punk of the most typical kind.
Mescaline Muslims Fuckadoodledoo Thatsperfectwonderball Records These four fellas sure know how to have fun. Incorporating a Farfisa keyboard into their mid-uptempo garage punk adds a super unique sound. This is some toe-tappin', groovy stuff -- four songs worth.
Sheilbound self-titled self-released This is a very delightful emo record from three Cleveland guys. Two-tracks that remind me of Braid meets Modest Mouse -- now ain't that just awesome. Don't fight the urge, you'll eat this up.
Silver Scooter A Tribute To Phone Calls Peek-A-Boo Industries The pop intricacies of this two-song release are so sincere and delightful. The harmonies are crisp and the vocals are simple. The B-side is a cover of The Cure's "In Between Days" and it's awesome.
The Foxymorons self-titled Foxyphoton Records Three guys, a mediocre recording and some darn good garage-pop-rock. Wish the recording was better. But for the four songs, it's worth it.
RECORD LABEL ADDRESSES
4 Alarm Records, 660 West Lake St., Chicago, IL 60661