Asylum Street Spankers "My Favorite Record"-Bloodshot Records-
"I'll be a Marxist, communist, pacifist, anarchist, democrat, red white green or blueMY FAVORITE RECORD, the newest by "God's favorite band" doesn't break any new ground musically, although it gives a healthy dose of classic Spanker madness (no pun intended). The album starts with the sound of a scratchy 78rpm record. I know this effect has been overused over the years, but when you consider the genre of Asylum Street Spankers music, it somehow works.
The songs solely written by Wammo are only so-so. But, he just put out a kick-ass solo album, so he is forgiven. "Antifreeze" has twisted lyrics and "Wingless Angels" is a humorous autobiographical (?) song by Wammo. But, "Wammo's Blues" is Wammo's best offering, as a showcase for his blues harp and a hilarious Black Sabbath section. Christina is featured on more than half of the 12 tracks and her trademark vaudevillian voice saves this album from being a mediocre effort. "Monkey Rag", with vocals by Christina is the Spankers at their classic vaudevillian best. Also impressive are "Breathin'" (sexy blues...complete with heavy breathing by the band), "Smile", "The Minor Waltz"(a musical saw song) and "No Song Sad Enough" (a song that coulda been straight out of the bar scene in Casablanca). The sole Stanley Smith penned song on the album is "Mountain Town", a dreamy ode. Stanley's songs have always reminded me of '70s Dylan! The Willie Dixon's song "Insane Asylum" is given classic Spankers treatment, with the end result sounding like New Orleans old-style jazz.
Two songs truly shine on this CD, the best being the hilarious "Whatever". It is a great satire piece that pokes fun at the political views of the young, with lead vocals by Guy Forsyth. The song ends with a "Strawberry Fields Forever" type fade-out complete with backwards sounds, finally leading to a parody of "I Am the Walrus" with the lyrics "everybody smokes one" instead of "everybody's got one". The second best song on the CD is the title track, "My Favorite Record". The song is a perfect synthesis of classic Spankers and Wammo's recent solo album. Christina & Wammo share the vocals on this destined-to-be Spanker classic. The song is catchy as hell, with a great Hawaiian guitar, and the song unexpectedly goes into a section, which is reminiscent of Wammo's solo album. The song skips at the end, completing the "effect" started at the beginning of this CD.
Although there are some very memorable songs on MY FAVORITE RECORD, it is not MY favorite Spankers record (that is still HOT LUNCH). The album begs one question. This year saw excellent solo albums by Wammo and Stanley Smith...so, when are we gonna get one from Christina?!
Rob Halford"Crucible"-Sanctuary Records-
You have to love anyone who refers to himself as "The Metal God", especially given the band name is his name. Such was the over the top nature of 80's metal and Rob Halford isn't content leaving it behind. In a world where a Detroit DJ can don himself Kid Rock and say he plays punk rock why the hell not... "The Crucible" plays out like a warning to all the metal boy band equivalents like Creed to get the hell out of town. "Cowards are unholy, Parasites that hide, Detonate the human bomb, Hands are all awash in blood", let's see one of those nu-metal bands deal with that!
From beginning to end this album is rife with violent images of an impending apocalypse with song titles like "Wrath of God", "Trail of Tears", and "Golgotha" (the site where Jesus was crucified). With Halford's band unmercifully laying down a torrential downpour of fire and brimstone sure to make Tipper Gore's panties bunch and your youth minister cringe, I think (hope and pray) that this is the first signs of metal regaining some much needed BALLS. Radio friendly it isn't. Parent friendly, not a chance. But if your ears have been possessed by the demons of mediocre Kid Rock-Creed metal or nu-metal rap madness then lock your bedroom door, turn this CD on, turn the volume up to eleven, and refuse to answer the door when your parents, neighbors, the police or any other square with shite for taste tries to kill your sonic buzz. You'll thank me.
Tommy Keene"The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down"-spinArt Records-
From the opening guitar of “Begin Where We End” to the cocky swagger of “The Fog Has Lifted”, Tommy has produced an exciting and subtle CD for the faithful. Hopefully the world will listen as well and give this artist the respect he is due. For those who have not heard Keene’s music, Paul Westerberg and Matthew Sweet are some frequently mentioned reference points, but really Keene has a style all his own. With help from guests such as Jay Bennett (ex-Wilco) and Jesse Valenzuela (The Gin Blossoms), Keene branches out from past releases adding horns and keyboard flourishes that lend a distinctive flair to the tracks. The opening song-“Begin Where We End” is the closest that Keene has got to a “should-be a hit in a perfect world” since “Safe In The Light”. But we still get new, soon to be pop classics as well. “Technicolor” and “Big Blue Sky” rock with authority and after the rollicking guitar solos are done on the 17 minute epic “The Final Hour”; you are literally gasping for air. With many people’s lives filled with rejection, disappointment, and another story of love lost forever, Keene’s songs project a light at the end of the tunnel. So run, don’t walk to your nearest CD shack and pick up “Merry”. It will quickly find a special spot in your rotation.
4 Fourty "I Am Human"-Indie Release-
The story as I understand it this band from TN. passed through town and left their CD for review. Very brave. I missed the show but I WON'T next time. These guys rock. I like the style. There is no one to compare this to. It's a heavy groove metal/rock. I like it. Very professional and well written material. Nicely recorded too. I'm impressed. It's heavy, it's metal, it grooves, the vocals are fitting, etc. I didn't have any problem with it. They have a nice website (always a plus) and the players look the part. I always wanted my metal bands to look like metal bands. Does that make any sense?
If you're lucky enough to find this CD in a record store, buy it. If not, I guess catch a show then buy it there. It's worth it. It's currently in auto-repeat in my CD payer. Good job, guys. Keep up the good work. We'll catch ya next time through Atlanta. LOVE the CD.
Various Artists "Making God Smile (An Artists' Tribute to the Songs of Brian Wilson)"-Silent Planet Records-
This album will only be interesting to diehard Brian Wilson fans and those who enjoyed "Stars and Stripes, Vol. 1" (the Beach Boys 'Country' tribute album). The main problem is that too many of the songs stick too closely to the original arrangement. This sets the artist up to the unfair comparison to the original! The best example of this is Phil Keaggy's version of "Good Vibrations", which mimics the original but falls flat. Phil Madeira's instrumental rendition of "Heroes And Villains" is just plain boring. The original, vocally complex song does not work in this simplistic instrumental format. A techno-mix of "Help Me Rhonda"? That approach can work (see our review of the "In Bed With Brian Wilson" tribute), but not in this Kevin Max & Jimmy A version.
What I can say positively about this CD is that it turned me on to some artists that I've never heard of that really impressed me. Tom Prasada- Rao & Amilia K Spicer gives "Your Imagination" an interesting R&B treatment! "Add Some Music To Your Day" by Kate Campbell is a really cool country version. Dolour's cover of "This Whole World" is great, showing that a modern interpretation CAN work. One of the most interesting songs is "Vegetables" by Terry Scott Taylor. This song has only acoustic guitar, harmonies and of course vegetable "crunching" sounds. It's different harmonies from the original, which are really interesting. Rick Altizer "Surf's Up", while close to the original, adds some great harmony parts in a powerful interpretation. Jazzier horns than the original with free-form percussion that really drives the song. Finally, Aaron Sprinkle's version of "I Know There's An Answer" is phenomenal! He gives the songs a modern feel with a catchy, recurring piano riff and heavy guitars too. Cleverly, he alternates the "I know there's an answer" lyric with the original lyric "hang on to your ego". Easily the best song on this collection!
I know this is nitpicking, but why the parody of the SMILE album on the cover when there are only 3 SMILE songs included ("Good Vibrations" being a single that was recorded before the Smile sessions)? There are more songs from PET SOUNDS represented! Cool artwork though (at times the most interesting part!) and you can download some screensavers of the cover from the website below.
To go to the Silent Planet web page for this album click here
Frank Cotolo "The King Of Monkey Island"-Ampcast-
I was given this CD because I was told that it sounded like SMiLE. Which really is a silly thing to say since no one truly knows what SMiLE sounded like. For all we know Paula Abdul's remix album sounds closest to it. But any, I can sorta see where one might make the comparison. But to these ears, The King Of Monkey Island sounds more like Danny Elfman's demented circus music. Think The Nightmare Before Christmas only less catchy. In fact therein lies the main problem with these CD. While the instrumentation and arrangements remain impressive, I had a hard time telling one song from the next. When "Love For the Boys" finally popped on, I was momentarily excited by the sparse pipe organ backing, finding it a refreshing change of pace ala "The Butcher's Tale" from Odessey & Oracle by the Zombies. But soon enough the cacophony of calliopes and glockenspiels overwhelm the song and I forget where I am.
Another major drawback to this album is Frank Cotolo's voice. While a very good singer (the backgrounds vocals are the part of the almost that most reminds me of the Beach Boys), upfront and center his voice is plain, bring and lifeless. He may have a technically flawless voice (although one of his multi-tracked vocals sounds seriously off-key on the a cappella "Every Man Is An Island") remember, Bob Dylan has been singing for nearly 40 years now and hasn't hit a note yet. What compels a listener to a voice is a certain amount of attitude or personality. And Frank just doesn't convey that.
Not that I would recommend leaving the vocals duties to Frank's son or nephew or step-brother or whoever that little kid is who sings "Harbor Days". From XTC's "Dear God" to Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall" children's voices can be used to convey everything from innocent naivete to a spooky "Children Of The Corn" type vibe, but this is just painful. And double tracking him makes it sound even more like a 3rd grade musical recital you have to endure solely because you love your offspring. Even fans of The Langley School Music Project should watch out. And I don't know how old this Jake Cotolo is, but given the lyrics and sophistication of this song I hardly think a solo writing credit is warranted.
On the plus side, it is a very complex and layered CD. One must be impressed by that. Usually and all computerized bands means one of two things. A.) the guy is anti-social and doesn't play well with others. Usually because he is too strict or demanding of what he wants the other to play. or B.) Given his limited funds and large-scale ambitions, this is what he has to do. At least until he can afford the orchestras, choirs, mariachi bands, and alphorns his vision requires. To Frank's credit I think he's more of a B-type. I could go on about how I generally cannot stand synthesizers, and I must say that when the first "real" instrument (and electric guitar, natch) comes in by the fifth or sixth song it is audibly jarring, but all things considered it didn't bother me that much.
So if you're looking for SMiLE, than go buy SMILE. There are plenty of bootlegs out there. (And if you already own all the bootlegs, may I suggest getting a life). But if you want to get a textured and deep (if seriously disappointing) disk by some guy that I've never even heard of - then this is the one for you.
To go to the AMPCAST web site click here
Note: In keeping with the Brian Wilson/Beach Boys tribute album theme (The aforementioned two reviews.), I have included last month's review of "In Bed With Brian Wilson" by Monkeys Uncle. This is what a tribute album SHOULD be!
Monkeys Uncle "In Bed With Brian Wilson"-Aroma Records-
I love parody albums, especially when they are done WELL! Monkey's Uncle presents a glowing tribute to the Beach Boys' Smiley Smile album. They have taken painstaking steps to re-create the cover art of the original album, all the way down to the Capitol "swirl" on the CD label! Now, about the music...Although there are only 6 tracks clocking in at just over 21 minutes, what IS here is refreshing! Four of the tracks are Beach Boys tunes and two are originals. The originals actually fit the style of the Beach Boys originals. IN BED WITH BRIAN WILSON is like a modern psychedelic techno-interpretation of Smiley Smile. If you have ever heard the Sgt. Pepper Trance Mix, you will get an idea of the music contained in this CD.
"Good Vibrations" gets a MISSING PERSONS treatment, with a DEVO accompaniment. Evoking a Syd Barrett aproach, "Vegetables" sounds like a Syd out-take circa 1967. Which seems fitting since Syd's disintegration into LSD psychosis coincided with the time of Smile's demise. With a real SMiLE feel, "Cabin Fever" is an original instrumental, which fits the flavor of the Smile-era psychedelic tunes. It is also very Kraftwork influenced. Smile fanatics will enjoy the "elements" section of the song at the end (air, water and earth). With a gospel-like organ riff, "She's Goin' Bald" has its own little fun groove, with vocals reminiscent of David Bowie. "Surfin' On Acid" is another original, a trippy-tune which again brings to mind some of the instrumental tracks on the SMiLE album, with an authentic “surf” guitar riff thrown in. Yoko does "Wonderful"? Well, that’s what the first vocals on this tune sounds like. It starts out with the techno-treatment, then breaks into Yoko-like vocals, a Bowie-like chorus and back to the techno mix.
My only complaint is what ISN'T here! Where is "Heroes & Villains"? Maybe they are saving it for the next release, MONKEY'S UNCLE'S "A SMiLE with Brian Wilson". Now that would be COOL, their interpretation of the unreleased SMiLE album! Oh well, I can only wish...
HiFiDriveBy "Life's Not This Book You've Been Sold"-The New Beat-
Damn! Sometimes you DO get what you ask for?! Since I first became aware of the Lovejoys (later called HiFiDriveBy), I noticed that they had great songs, just bad recordings! Not many bands can transcend bad recordings, but the Lovejoys sure did! Now we have a full length HiFi (no pun intended) recording by the band. A mixture of re-records of classic Lovejoys tunes, along with new songs that are sure to please those familiar with the band. They have all the elements of power-pop here: catchy & melodic songs, an emphasis on brevity and amphetamine-like, energetic delivery. Add to this a smidgen of authentic punk and you have the recipe for HiFiDriveBy. Now I just wanna see these guys in a celebrity death match with Green Day...HiFiDriveBy would wipe the floor with those Green Day poser-asses! Better yet…MORE CD’s like this!
To go to The New Beat web site click here
Henry Rollins"The Only Way to Know For Sure"-Sanctuary Records-
FINALLY! Rollins has decided to capitalize on what I consider one of his strongest assets, live performance with his new(er) band. This dual CD was recorded at The Metro in Chicago, which is an awesome venue in which to see a show. The acoustics show up in spades on this recording.
The set list goes all the way back to the genesis of the Rollins Band with "Do it" through songs off the last studio album "Nice". What makes this recording remarkable is the sound changes Rollins has had over the years. The "Do it" album being more punk, the nineties albums "End of Silence", "Weight", and "Come in and Burn" showing a jazz influence, and "Get Some Go Again", and "Nice", recorded by Rollins current band (Jim Wilson, Jason Mackenroth, and Marcus Blake), having a straight ahead rock flavor. The band is able to take these varied sounds and tweak them to their strengths without compromising the essence of the original vision and vibe. The resulting sound is a stripped down rock with one hand in classic rock the other in GOOD metal. Guitar solo's are generous and virtuous at the same time. No guitar excesses, just the right amount for each song. Highlights of the 28 songs include the spoken work driven "Illumination", the infectious riff-laden "Starve", the bass groove of "Your Number is One", and the rock treatment of the Rollins classic antidote to apathy "Do It". CD number two is enhanced and contains videos of "Get Some Go Again", "Illumination", "Your Number is One", as well as a myriad of photos.
For anyone who is already a Rollins fan this double CD will confirm what you already know, Rollins is a world-class performer. From the opening notes of "Disconnect" to the sounds of "Marcus has the Evil in Him" these CD's leave an accurate sonic portrait of the intensity that is a Rollins show. A great starting point for those who have not listened since "Liar" hit heavy MTV rotation in 1991 or those who haven't yet given Rollins a listen. A must buy for Rollins fans, music fans, and bands who know their own show could use some work. Put the CD's on, play all the way through, then repeat. Often.
Jeniphoria "Jenisessions '01"-Indie Release-
Not an official release, but rather a "sampler" of the band. Sometimes moody hard rock with a distinctive female lead voice. The techno-synth sounds add an interesting touch to the songs. "Kava Flush" simply shreds! The band is tight, the songs are catchy, so where is the full-legth CD? Well, never fear, I hear that it is coming soon. With this 'teaser' CD, I can't wait for the real deal! I have a feeling about this band.
The Border Collies "The Road from Swannanoa"-Indie Release-
The Border Collies don't so much stand out in traditional Celtic music, but rather help to define excellence in playing it. Their instrumentation is your basic acoustic guitar, fiddle and mandolin. However, the Collies can blaze away on jigs or inspire melancholy on a slow sad song. Add to this Caeri's vocals, which have a haunting, floating quality that gives the band a distinctive sound.
The band has come a long way from their live debut CD in 2000. THE ROAD FROM SWANNANOA displays a healthy balance between originals and traditional songs. Although a dramatic improvement on the sonic quality of recordings (to be fair, their debut was a live album), some of the songs are only mediocre (I am by no means slagging the playing or singing- they just aren't strong songs). And there are three instrumental tracks, which I think is a little much.
Now, what I really like: there are five songs, which are heads and shoulders above the rest. "Three Drunken Maidens" is a traditional tune. However, the Border Collies kept the lyrics, discarded the old tune and wrote new music to it; the result being a contemporary sounding Celtic tune on which Caeri shines on vocals – simply fantastic. "Jack Haggarty" is a traditional tune with convincing vocals by Howard Williams. The traditional "Willie Taylor - Shawn's Lament" has great syncopated vocals by Caeri and very hypnotic fiddle work! Katherine and Caeri share the vocals on the traditional "Sovay, Sovay". I wish they would do more songs together, their voices meld very well! Finally, the strongest song on the CD, "Lassie Like That". A Howard Williams original, the uptempo song features vocals by Howard and harmonies by Caeri. Sounds like a traditional-classic almost! Destined to keep your toes-a-tappin’.
Although traditional Celtic music isn't a genre that is open for a lot of variance in style, the Border Collies are at the top of the field in traditional Celtic music. Now that the Border Collies proved that they can cut it in the studio with an impressive album, it will be interesting to see what they can come up with next!
Elaine Summers "Sparkler"-ESP Records -
Every now and then you come across a CD that demands you to take notice. You wonder, "where the hell did the album come from and why haven't I heard of this artist before?" SPARKLER, by Elaine Summers is just such a disc. Of course I LOVE power-pop and I love this CD. But, its not that clear cut because I've seen a lot of power-pop discs come through the offices of EAR CANDY that better serve as a beer coaster! This album boasts a barrage of classic, textbook power-pop songs. Brilliant in their catchiness and their execution. And, if that wasn't enough, the record’s only cover, "Just Can't Take It Anymore", is a recently unearthed Gram Parsons’s song. Power-pop AND Gram Parsons? I'm in heaven.
Some reviews have compared Elaine to Sheryl Crow or Liz Phair, but I find Elaine to be more of a purist when it comes to power-pop. Sure, the album is reminiscent of the golden age of the '60s, but SPARKLER is no mere exercise in retro-rock. Before I knew it, I'd played the whole thing three times. Although it was released last year, this is definitely my happy "summer of 2002" disc! Pure power-pop ecstasy that will have you humming the songs all day! Damn, I sure home she’s touring…
Sunder "Self Titled"-Indie Release-
I heard that these guys rock live, but you couldn't tell it by this CD. Although it is packaged like a regular CD on the outside, the CD inside is basically a 'demo'. The sound is just mixed and recorded badly. The drums sound like tin cans, the bass is almost non-existent and the guitars are too distorted. However, you can hear the vocals, although they have been given an annoying amount of echo. But when harmony vocals come in, they too are distorted. There are glimmers of good things on this CD - but - the sound quality gets in the way! Sometimes Sunder goes a little overboard in its Creed emulation. But, on the fast songs, Sunder comes into their own and there is some good stuff happening. Strong lead vocals (considering the recording) and interesting lyrics. Although the band is Christian, they don't get preachy in their lyrics.
My advice is for these guys to record themselves playing live, since at this moment they seem too uncomfortable in the studio environment. Possibly good material, but bad presentation. I just hope these guys stick with it.
Milo "Smell the Parade"-Gloomy Tunes-
Milo is a singer songwriter who writes songs about everyday incidents that happen to normal people. That is, if normal for you is writing to women in prison you meet on the Internet. But this CD does have a few humorous moments. “Roach Under Glass” preaches to respect life, even the life of a cockroach by taking him out in the yard instead of killing him. “New Panties” describes a time when Milo knew his woman was cheating on him by all the new panties that were showing up at home. “New panties-you never wore them for me/fine and fancy/made in London or Paris? Does he peel them from your body and gently fold them on the bed? Or does he grip them in his teeth-savagely tearing them to shreds?” And “Open Minds Open Sores”, well I think you can figure that one out on your own. This was all recorded in his living room and it sounds like it especially when the 1980’s Casio keyboard kicks in. But if you are looking for oddball music, Milo may be your man.
To go to the Gloomy Tunes web site click here
Trik Turner "Trik Turner"-RCA/BMG Records-
Trik Turner, a six-piece rap rock act from Phoenix, Arizona, occasionally push the boundaries of their genre and show signs of brilliance and innovation. Unfortunately, these moments are few and far between and leave the listener bored and accustomed to repetitiveness. They are known for their modern rock hit, "Friends and Family," which focuses on the importance of love and unity in the wake of national tragedy. It is set to acoustic melodies and hip-hop beats and is the highlight of the CD.
"Friends and Family" comes early in the CD, and leads into more songs about unhappiness, partying, life, etc. They cover a wide array of topics, but so do other rap rock acts. "Father" and "Not Like You" are the only other songs that seem insightful. The album almost comes off as manic depressive; it has crunching guitar riffs ala Staind, Limp Bizkit, and KoRn. It has hip-hop beats and turntable scratches ala Nappy Roots, Method Man, and Ludacris. This looks good on the surface, but it sounds clumsy and awkward; their sound never comes together. If you enjoy the music of Linkin Park mixed with P.O.D. and Jay Z, this record is for you.
The Miss "No Radio"-Morphius Records-
The Miss deliver big city Saturday night post punk with no frills or apologies. This is a good thing. However, it is a bit overdone. Don't get me wrong I'd rather hear these guys at CBGB's then that metal farce I heard in April but the problem is there are so many bands that sound this way. When this happens the band MUST do something to step up and away from the pack. Unfortunately, this album offers nothing in the way of new ground. Not a terrible or bad album, I'd even pay $3-5 to see them play my local punk rock dive (Bernie's Distillery, Columbus, Ohio) but I wouldn't rock that T-shirt out just yet. They need to infuse their music with something new. Average record, definitely shows potential but they just aren't contenders yet... back to the gym little Mack...
To go to the Morphius Records web site click here
Amy Pike & the Last Cold Beer "Just a Sip"-Indie Release -
You might have heard Amy Pike and not even realized it. That is her voice on the Ford TV commercial singing Johnny Cash's "I 've been Everywhere". I remember the first time I heard that commercial, saying to myself, "damn, that girl has a voice!" This is a 5 track "sampler" of the band really whets your appetite. They show that OLD Country is still superior to that poppy "new" country and western. The band reminds me of Gram Parson's Fallen Angels backing band - they are HOT! The guitarist is especially noteworthy; give me this kind of guitar playing anyday, with substance over speed! Amy's range is amazing, from sweet to sassy. Authentic honky-tonk at it's best, from heartfelt ballads to two-step country.
I can't wait for the full-length CD!
Joel Tuttle "Self Titled"-Gloomy Tunes-
Joel is a musician from Roswell, GA who waters plants at a Wal-Mart. Unfortunately I think that some of that water may have ended up in the mixing board at the studio. With fairly sparse back-up including a cheesy sounding drum machine, Joel sings about lost love and the troubles it causes. Produced by label mate Milo, it sounds like the studio was shut down before a real mix could be done. Some of the guitars and vocals seem to be out of tune, but on “Smile” Joel sounds like he can kind of keep it together. The CD feature three covers, the lowlight being “I Will Always Love You”. Even with the help of guest vocalist Ingrid, it still sounds like two cats fighting in the back alley. Hopefully Wal-Mart has a lot of plants to water, since I don’t think Joel’s CD will be knocking Eminen out of the top slot anytime soon.
To go to the Gloomy Tunes web site click here
To see Joel's visual art click here
X "At Home With You"-Morphius Records-
No, not the one from Los Angeles! This one hails from the former English penal colony, the land of kangaroos, Men at Work, and those scrumptious Vegemite sandwiches, YUMMY! These Australian punks more or less began about the same time as the legendary L.A. band so there really is no shady going on, and besides they have become somewhat of legends in their home country as well, so take that X from L.A.
For the uninitiated, X sounds a lot like the Pixies and the The Cramps had an orgy over top of Kim Deal's bass while all digging on her heroin and of course Frank Black screaming bloody hell in the foreground. The album is very easy to listen to and has a great pace, one song slipping by after the other until BAMM, you are out of tunes and brew at the same time. No song really sticks out as they all kind of blend into one another as one tapestry, which, in this case, is a good thing. You can start at the beginning middle or end and still come away with the same feeling. I recommend this for road trips across the outback or the trailer park, though at my park the eminem hoodlums may just key your car for bumpin' punk.
Definitely a good album for those of you who have been converted to punk by the pop bands of the last decade. This is the next step for you Greenday, Blink 182, Offspring fans in your road to ultimate coolness. Baffle the hardcore punkers of your community by jamming out the X they haven't heard of and reap the social rewards. Maybe, just maybe, your social standing will rise from punk poser to the genuine article. Enjoy kids.
To go to the Morphius Records web site click here
The Color Red "Clear"-RCA/BMG Records-
The Color Red's latest offering, "Clear", is their best work since the California-based group formed in 1994. The mostly rock oriented record kicks off with the explosive track, "The Other Side," in which singer Jon Zamora croons "just for a moment, make it go away," while the band supports him with inspired guitar riffs and melodies. Perhaps the most effective part of The Color Red is their pure musicianship in an age where three chord rants are accepted in mainstream rock. This experience and skill most likely comes from the long time the band has spent touring and recording before being signed. A good example of the band's effects-laden gems is "Season," which opens with an instrumental before moving into more powerful vocals and guitar playing.
The only drawback to "Clear" is the similarity in the songs. The Color Red pushes their tried-and-true formula as far as it will stretch by the end of their album. The similarity in the tracks is not necessarily a bad thing if you are a fan or like their style; but, for those who have more eclectic tastes, the disc can become boring after a few tracks. A song that breaks their verse/chorus/verse/double chorus pattern is the final track, "Miracles," which features strings and beautiful lyrics. Overall, this is a good rock record; it's definitely one of the best of its kind for 2002.