Nashville Pussy, "High As Hell"-TVT Records -
With their first album since being booted from Mercury, Nashville Pussy returns with a fiery vengeance! You would wonder how they could improve on the "in your face" rock of their first album ("Let Them Eat Pussy"), but they have. "High As Hell" proves that a band in the hard rock genre CAN progress from album to album. You've got the standard Nashville Pussy rockers, but there is so much more on this record. Ruyter Suys plays like a shaman possessed, invoking the spirit of Angus Young! Her riffs are catchier and more biting that the band's first record. And Blaine's lyrics have reached a new plateau in humor! I keep repeating "Shoot First, Run Like Hell" to hear his Moses remark (you'll have to hear it yourself to understand)! "High As Hell" gives you what was best about 70's hard rock without sounding one bit retro - its pure Nashville Pussy sound here! Accept no substitutes and see this band live…
Motorhead, "We Are Motorhead"-International Records -
After a quarter century of existence, Motorhead has released an album that proves that they can still rock harder and better than most of the new bands around! I'll put these guys up against Limp Biskit or Korn anyday. Unlike a lot of new bands, you can tell that Motorhead "walks the walk", not just "talks the talk". It takes a few listens to catch on, but the songs slowly creep up on you. Two seconds into the first song, you know it can only be Motorhead, with Lemmy's distinctive voice and the sonic onslaught that defines the band. The album shows that the band hasn't slowed down one bit since their "Ace Of Spades" days. Plus, there are a few surprises. They cover the Sex Pistols; "God Save The Queen"-a feat that few bands can pull off, but Motorhead succeeds in spades (no pun intended). And there is even a ballad, "One More Fucking Time", or at least as close as Motorhead gets to a ballad (but don't expect to hear it covered by Celline Dione!). But this album and see that rock and roll is truly timeless. Just beware of playing it in your car while speeding down the highway. You'll be going 90 before you know it!
Peter Lacey, "BEAM!"-RP Media -
In 1967, Brian Wilson came very close to pulling off his "teenage symphony to God", the Beach Boys unreleased Smile album. In 2000, Peter Lacey has given us "BEAM!", his "adult symphony to God." No, this is not a Smile-wannabe album; it's not even a son-of-Brian album. But it does invoke the spirit of Brian Wilson, and Paul McCartney for that matter. Those Wilsonesque harmonies and McCartney-like melodies. This aside, Peter Lacey's lead vocal is his own, neither reminiscent of Wilson or McCartney. Plus, Lacey's lyrics are not in the style of either artist. They are more poetic and esoteric than the two Gemini bass playing pop icons. I listened to the album a couple of times before I bothered to read the lyrics. The songs are purely enjoyable on a subconscious level, maybe its just their textured, lush "vibes" (sorry to use another Wilsonism, couldn't help myself). But, when I finally read the lyrics, the songs had new meanings. Lacey himself says he is "more than happy for you, the listener, to gauge their meanings".
But, back to the "adult symphony to God" comparisons. What I mean is that the album is more adult-theme oriented. Looking back on youth; the puzzlement and perplexities of life; relationships and love; the wonder of nature. In the liner notes, Peter gives a hint of the concept of BEAM: "songs…borne out of my own bitter/sweet experiences and many times arise from my 'romance' with the land…of my native Sussex, England, a place where the sun tries its best to shine but, as from wherever you are, the metaphorical sun can always shine." In this spirit, BEAM truly shines!
But, BEAM! is not, I repeat is NOT "Smile Part II". Dissenters of the beauty and craft of this album seem to fall into one of two categories: the rock star martyr syndrome and the Salieri Syndrome. The rock star martyr syndrome could best be described by saying, "how dare you be compared to one of the greats?!" Kind of like the anal retentive John Lennon fan who heaps tons of criticisms upon any new movie on the Beatles, whether is be fictional or not. By being listed on many Beach Boys/Smile message boards, the album was set up for this kind of criticism. The second is the Salieri Syndrome, also known as frustrated musician syndrome. Anything which points out the mediocrity of some peoples lives and they have to crush it. Being a musician myself, I am simply amazed by BEAM! To achieve this on a porta-studio is simply amazing.
Hanging Francis, "Changes"-Indie -
Power-pop-punk is alive and well in Atlanta. Hanging Francis has been described as a "punk ass power pop four piece…picture a 77-era Clash fronted by the Replacements Paul Westerberg". In the bands CD, "Changes", I hear more of a revved-up, maximum melodic overdrive reminiscent of the Romantics and the Plimsouls. The first four songs on the album (Glamorous, Changes, Baby Can I Hold You and Nothing Could Be Finer) are the perfect representation of pristine, power-pop gems. You've got: guitar cranking, driving rhythm section, cant-get-them-out-of-your-head melodic songs. The rest of the songs on the album suffer by comparison, only because these first four songs are so damn good! Don't get me wrong, they aren't bad songs, they just don't stick in your head like the others. Johnny (lead vocalist) is one of the best new vocalists I've heard in awhile, being familiar yet original. That description seems to fit Hanging Francis as a whole…familiar, yet original.
Athfest 2000 Compilation, "Athfest 2000"-Ghostmeat Records -
This CD corresponds with AthFest 2000, serving as a snapshot of the internationally renowned music scene of Athens, GA. For three years now, Ghostmeat Records has released AthFest CDs to help promote the annual Athens Music and Arts Festival. This year's CD includes nationally recognized artists as well as some of Athens' best kept secrets. The musical styles represented include rock, pop, jazz, country, swing, punk and more.
With that said, one question remains…will this CD make me wanna go to AthFest 2000? The answer is a resounding, YES. Out of the 21 artists represented on this year's disc, I like more than half the tracks (13 songs). Of these 13 songs, there are 5 that I LOVE! These 5 are the bands that I will not miss at AthFest (based on this CD): Little Red Rocket, Ceiling Fan, Duraluxe, The Lures and Le Guano. I just hope these bands will play Atlanta soon! Here is a list of the remaining artists that I liked, and will see as second priority to the above 5 bands: Jackpot City, Dimes, Rob Veal, Redneck Greece, Barbara Cue, Flood City Shootout, Squat and The Confidentials.
So, if you still haven't decided to purchase the ridiculously cheap wrist bands for AthFest, give this CD a listen. And I'll see you in Athens...