Music Reviews:
February 2005

Phame,"Chapter Four Verse 15" (Noble Casa Records)
Latin hop-hop? It might sound strange, but Phame rejuvenates the often-tired genre of hip-hop with an ingenious originality that just might prove to be the much-needed "next thing" in hip-hop! Mixing English and Spanish, plus Latin-styled musical elements, this CD is a breath of fresh air and could possibly turn on those unbelievers of hip-hop to this style of music. Sure, there are some "standard" hip-hop presentations (such as "In Tha Heat", "Make Way", and "Erray") but it is ultimately Phame's fresh approach and new sounds that make this CD so tantalizing. The CD also features guest appearances by L*Roneous, Gennessee, and El-Rock. Songs such as ""E La Cuna Hasta La Tumba", "Arriba", and "Para Ti" elevate hip-hop to a new level. "I Love Hip Hop" and "V.I.P." are simply screaming for radio play!

Take notice because Phame's CHAPTER FOUR VERSE 15 is nothing short of a hip-hop classic!
www.phame1.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by Scott H. Platt


Jon Fritz,"When It's Over" (Indie Release)
Pearl Jam goes alt-country? Although most of the songs follow the alt-country formula, I can't get over Jon Fritz' Eddie Vedder-like vocals-it just annoys me. Some of the songs rock out, like "Bitch", "Cold Hard Rain" and "Over". These songs sound even more like Pearl Jam rejects.

The "parental advisory-explicit lyrics" on the cover intrigued me at first, until I realized it was only included because of one song: "Bitch". They must think this is a great song, because it is included twice, in an un-edited form and a radio "friendly" edit. The song starts out like a classic Rush song, with varied time signatures. Then you get to the real meat of the song: a repeated theme of a relationship gone sour with bad rhymes and teenage rants against how bad this woman is. There have been thousands of songs which tell about the angst and bad feelings of broken relationships and every single one of them do it better than this tripe. Can't help but laugh because the woman got the last word - she must be thinking, "THIS is the best song you could come up with to try and slam me?"

Back to the drawing board guys. You are missing the whole point of rock 'n roll.
www.jonfritz.com
Rating:

Review by Scott H. Platt


Duff,"400 Miles" (Indie Release)
Duff delivers a polished combination of crafty pop and straight-forward rock that sounds like a mix between The Replacements and Wilco. Although there are only 5 tracks on this CD, the songs bear repeated listening simply by the quality of the songs and the performances. A great representation of Duff and makes you look forward to a full-length release.
www.allduff.com
Rating:
and 3/4
Review by Scott H. Platt


Distance,"8 Miles to Empty" (Indie Release)
While the playing is heartfelt on this disc, the hardrock contained within is simply like every other band out there today. Nothing new; Nothing original; and most importantly nothing memorable.

Creed-lite for those who want "less filling" music.
www.distanceband.com
Rating:

Review by Scott H. Platt


Bludshot,"Another Day" (Indie Release)
While most of Bludshot's music is cookie-cutter hip-hop, there are a few songs on this CD that make it stand out above the norm. "Shake It" samples the guitar riff from "Secret Agent Man" to unique effect and "Sunshine" is the most interesting track. Too bad more tracks aren't up to the quality of these songs.
bludshot.com
Rating:

Review by Scott H. Platt


Uru,"Uru" (Tantrum Records)
This is an annoyingly bad faux hip-hop/blues travesty, marketed as "artsy and intelligent". Somewhere along the way, there was a cruel injustice inflicted upon the musical world - that was the moment when someone told Uru that she could sing! Uru's singing and songwriting makes Yoko Ono seem like friggin' Mozart!

Oh, there is more. There is a "hidden" track that hits you like a gunner from the "grassy knoll" called, "Wrap Up:The Condom Song". Don't get me wrong, I think there should be more AIDS awareness. But to market your career based on such a song reeks of dishonesty. It is like Uru is saying, "Yes, my songs are crap, BUT listen to my AIDS awareness song, it is SO important! You MUST now take me seriously".

Sorry, I not only don't take this "music" ["music" being very generous description on my part] seriously, but find it is flawed on every single level. Look on the bright side Uru - you can always market this CD on late night TV - "Guaranteed to rid your home of rodents and insects after just one play!"
www.tantrumrecords.org/uru
Rating:

Review by Scott H. Platt


The Yuppie Pricks,"Brokers Banquet" (Alternative Tentacles)
Not since the “theme” band The Upper Crust has there been a band as ingenious as The Yuppie Pricks. While Upper Crust applied their theme of the privileged class to hard rock while wearing powdered wigs and period clothes (picture Mozart rocking out singing about the woes of being rich), The Yuppie Pricks apply a similar method to punk rock in the guise of yuppies! So you have songs about coke parties, hummers, spas, the stock market and Rolls Royce’s. The Damned song “New Rose” is given new life and new lyrics in “New Rolls”. And if you need an authentic punk “stamp of approval”, there is even an appearance by Jello Biafra. The packaging of this CD is a must see – featuring a parody of the artwork for the classic Rolling Stones’ “Beggars Banquet” album complete with a gatefold picture which parodies the Stones banquet.

What better way to show what punk rock is really about, while at the same time executing a brilliant inside joke! And those who don’t get the joke (yes, there can be intelligence in punk music) can still gasp in awe at what GREAT punk sounds like. The Yuppie Pricks have delivered the first classic punk album of the 21st century, pure and simple.
www.yuppiepricks.com
Rating:

Review by Ronnie


Peter Lacey,"Songs From a Loft" (Pink Hedgehog Records)
This time, dear reader, please let us skip the allusive detours to Hawthorne, California or Liverpool, England. Instead let us rush headlong to the soothing environs of West Sussex, where the musical artisan, Peter Lacey, has fashioned his latest triumph, Songs from a Loft (Pink Hedgehog Records) His 4th creation stands as a stunning demarcation point between the present and everything that has gone before; Lacey has sonically reinvented himself, surprising the long-term fans who thought they had the Lacey-style pinned down.

For sure, the listener does receive the reassuring goodies that we’ve come to expect: the gilded harmonies brushing the ultra-smooth “Sandman (Of The Southern Shores)” coupled with the heart-grabbing signature lilt that ends certain lines. This piece, to my ears, feels as close to a self-portrait of the artist as we’ll ever get.

The cover image seems metaphorical to the whole venture – a hummingbird slaps its wings feverishly against the backdrop of a moon; while the world sleeps, Peter Lacey conjures up magical tunes in the sacred peace of his loft. When the world awakes, there are 15 little masterpieces resting on the nightstand. Go on, pick them up; they are yours.
Songs From A Loft Website
Peter at the Pink Hedgehog website
Rating:

Review by John Lane

Note: This is a condensed version of the Jensen Bell review - for John Lane's extensive review of "Songs From a Loft" Click here


Jensen Bell,"Modern Dating Tips" (JB Standard Media)
The debut album by long-time Los Angeles musician/songwriter Jensen Bell -- called "Modern Dating Tips", incidentally - will be, in all likelihood, an instant classic in the oft-uninspired power-pop genre. Fans of the Three B's - Fountains of Wayne, Owsley, and Teenage Fanclub - will certainly find the music comprising "Modern Dating Tips" to be thoroughly entertaining - if not downright comforting -- for all of the hallmarks of classic power-pop are present and accounted for: jangling 12-string guitars, effervescent Vocal melodies, and lots of lovely, layered background vocal harmonies, all driven by a pulsing backbeat. To call it "catchy" would be an understatement; to call it "inspired" would be much closer to the truth.

The album is a song-cycle of sorts (okay, call it a "concept" album) detailing the finer aspects of the trials and tribulations of dating. Lyrically, Bell really reaches out and takes chances, as some of the scenarios detailed on "Modern Dating Tips" are quite personal and revealingly intimate. Most people will easily relate to the feelings – which can range from crippling confusion to sky-spiraling exhilaration -- that often go hand-in-hand when attempting a connection with the object of one's desire. It makes for quite an interesting listening experience, with Bell never taking a heavy-handed approach, instead letting his well-crafted lyrics speak for themselves.

All in all, "Modern Dating Tips" is an amazingly cohesive musical and lyrical debut, one that proves this emerging artist not only has a comprehensive grasp of the melodic rock idiom, but is also uniquely able to imprint his own original spin on the genre. Four out of five dentists.
jensenbell.com
Rating:

Review by Kerry Chicoine

Note: This is a condensed version of the Jensen Bell review - for Kerry Chicoine's extensive review of "Modern Dating Tips" Click here


The Green Fields,"Melodies for Afternoon" (Triple-B Records)
The Green Fields give us a fascinating “what if” for the history of rock ‘n roll. “What if “ the Byrds had expanded on their original theme of “SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO” instead of the half-hearted “DR. BYRDS & MR. HYDE”? The Green Fields’ MELODIES FOR AFTERNOON show what could have been if the Byrds hadn’t been diverted down a slow road of mediocrity. The original theme of the Byrds SWEETHEART album was to incorporate not just country-rock, but also brass and other progressive sounds and that is just what the Green Fields do, with amazing results. Plus the Green Fields add an interesting array of other instruments and harmonies, making this album almost seem like a country rock version of the Rolling Stones “AFTERMATH”.

Sure, there are some classic Byrds sounds (pedal steel and mandolin) plus spot-on Roger McGuinn vocals on some songs. But don’t think that the Green Fields are merely another alt-country band. I consider them PRE-alt-country as their music sounds authentic and not bandwagonesque. So, if you want to hear a “classic ‘60s album that never was” pick up MELODIES FOR AFTERNOON.
www.soundclick.com/thegreenfields
Rating:

Review by Ronnie


The Stepbrothers,"Baby It’s Over" (Licorice Tree Records)
This thang is just dripping with soul. I mean, it’s got the whole garage rock vibe but there’s a damn lot more to be found here. Everything on this disc, from the funky Stax / Volt rhythms down to the “Get Off My Cloud” ripoff of “Baby, It’s Over”, will have your ass moving. And the vocals, hell, they’re just as electrifying as the music. I’m not sure if it’s Pat Pestorius or Sean Morales since both are credited with vocals but whichever one it is singing lead on “All Over Town” can do a better Paul Stanley than Paul Stanley. There are no bad songs on “Baby It’s Over”. Take “Straight Up” for example, it’s as much a classic as one of my all time favorites “Ball Of Confusion”. So, what it really boils down to is, five white guys that know how to lay the shit down have done just that and if you don’t get your copy it’s gonna be your loss.
www.licoricetree.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Andrew Octopus,"In Search of John Titor" (Indie Release)
Andrew Octopus is a writer, painter, musician and host of the weekly radio program "Mental Illness as a Technology (and Vice Versa). He is also a musician, and this CD represents his musical aspirations towards the artistry of music. While strictly the avant garde version of hip-hop, this CD suffers basically from a lack of fidelity. It sounds like it was made on a cheap sound system. While that is not bad in itself - I've seen bands overcome this and put out a great CD - it is the lack of sound quality and the jumps of sound levels that distract from whatever musical message Andrew Octopus is trying to put across.

Sounds like there are some great ideas here and I really look forward to a disc from Andrew where the sound quality matches his artistic vision!
www.soundclick.com/bands/5/andrewoctopus.htm
creativegoals.com/linksfromhome/andrew/andrew.htm
Rating:

Review by Scott H. Platt


The Donuts,"Buckley" (Chapter 7 Records)
The Donuts deliver pop punk similar to bands like R.E.M. and Elvis Costello. This is contagious stuff. You’ll find yourself trying to sing along even though you don’t know the words. Like that drunk guy at every party that sings along to the stereo but only knows a couple of words and isn’t shy about shouting them out when the time comes along. The two catchiest songs for me are the first two on the disc, “Hey John What” and “Let Jones Go”. These songs are definitely lurking in Elvis Costello territory. A fun listen that fits well into any fan of pop punks collection.
www.thedonuts.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Cult of Luna,"Salvation" (Earache)
Sensational Swedish septet Cult of Luna returns with SALVATION, a gallant eight-track, 73-minute affair. Juxtaposing the ethereal vibe of Neurosis with the sonic crush of Isis, tracks like “Vague Illusions” morph from aggressive bits of vocal shrapnel to atmospheric guitar interludes. While some may argue that the album is overall weighty and overwrought, tracks like the bone chilling “White Cell” showcase just how mighty Cult of Luna can be when the death metal world meets the prog rock realm in a battle for earth shaking metal’s coveted crown. As Axl Rose once sang, you just need “a lil’ patience” (and perhaps some good drugs), to fully appreciate the Gothic doom and metallic mope which Cult of Luna pristinely deliver.
www.earache.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Helmet,"Size Matters" (Interscope)
Page Hamilton has embarked on a comeback with SIZE MATTERS, but, like Dave Mustaine, he keeps the band name yet changes the entire lineup sans himself. Armed with Frank Bello (Anthrax), John Tempesta (White Zombie), and Chris Traynor (Orange 9MM), the ’04 Helmet lineup reads like the New York Metal All-Star team, yet gone are the pummeling offerings of days gone by. Instead, Helmet opts to take away the hammer and replace it with a chisel, fine tuning many of the album’s tracks with the greatest of care. Tracks like “See You Dead”, while still retaining the unabashed heavy-handed punch you’d expect, is ultimately overshadowed by the most melody the band has displayed to date. And while you’d normally expect the fillings in your head to rattle after a few tracks, it’s not the rhythms that are jagged anymore. Instead, it’s in the lyrics: the roaring disdain, utter disgust, and discontented dissonance that made Hamilton’s guitar roar and the band’s rhythm section sonically challenge any room they played in are found in songs like “Enemies”, “Speak and Spell”, and “Smart”. Showcasing a darker, damning, and all together more sinister side to Hamilton’s brain, these words attack with the impact of past album’s bass and drum explosions, while the sinewy alt metal jazz grooves laid down beside it all keep it both heavy and smart throughout the entire 11-track experience. Is it the Helmet of old? No way, but it is a band full of vitriol, primed to reclaim its pole position in the metal genre.
www.interscope.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Breetles,"Don't Smile" (Shuss/No Fault Records)
At first I thought this band was a clever take-off on "The Beatles" name. Upon further inspection I found that the band is actually named for band leader, Chris Breetveld. Mix the Who, the Beatles, Byrds, some Nazz and a little Todd Rundgren and you get an idea of the sound of The Breetles. Catchy infectious pop with sometimes even catchier lyrics ("Love Handles") abound on this disc. While you can hear the various influences in the playing (really dig that drummer-he has the Keith Moon style down!) the lead vocals are unique. That's what really makes this music stand out, the singer is not trying to "be" someone else. If you aren't totally convinced, you will be by the last track - a cover of Keith Moon's "Girls Eyes", guaranteed to drive you over the edge of power-pop overload!

Also, there is a bonus disc which is almost an experimental/avant garde on power-pop ala Frank Zappa meets the Bonzo Dog Band. There is some interesting stuff here: a cover of "I Only Want To Be With You" (which kicks the ass of the Bay City Rollers cover), a reggae version of "Girls Eyes", and "Lesbian Angel"- a hilarious spoof on '50s doo-wop songs.

Great power-pop that combines ability with humor!
www.breetles.com
Rating:

Review by Ronnie


The Haunted,"Revolver" (Century Media)
The Haunted return, with an old friend in tow, as former vocalist Peter Dolving comes back to the fold on REVOLVER, a scolding blend of Swedish aggression and menacing metallic might. 13 tracks deep of impenetrable metal is what tracks like the ominous crawl of “Abysmal” and the uplifting anthemic guitar work of “All Against All” bring to the dance, which is actually more like a mosh when you consider this quintet’s penchant for chugging riffs and hyper speed percussive work. The Haunted have undergone many lineup changes throughout its career, yet at this time, songs like the Pantera-esque slow burn of “Burnt to a Shell” and the mutated hardcore piece “Who Will Decide” (complete with vocals from Sick of it All’s Lou Koller) finds the band sounding effortlessly brilliant. For a metal wake up call, check out REVOLVER and feel the fire firsthand.
www.centurymedia.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Tartharia,"Abstract Nation" (Crash)
The dynamic death metal duo Tartharia come back to us from Russia with scorn on ABSTRACT NATION. Mixing in elements of power metal with a gloomy yet guttural feel, tracks like “At Every Step” cross Children of Bodom with Jag Panzer, while the riffs found on “Warlife” sound as if they were lifted straight from the Carcass songbook. Experimenting with orchestral movements on “DI” as much as they are creating molten metal on the scolding “Stand in the Wind”, Tartharia’s bold visions leave extreme metal purists out in the cold. But, those that can appreciate melodic death metal with a twist are in for quite the treat.
www.crashmusicinc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Pharrah Phosphate,"Pharrah Phosphate" (Indie Release)
Here’s a band that mixes Britpop with Classic Rock and peppers the whole thing with a bit of Goth flavor. They sound somewhat like the Psychedelic Furs, Echo & The Bunnymen and The Only Ones crossed with U2 and the Cure. Twelve tracks of finely crafted pop with soaring harmonies tailor made for indie pop radio. If your in to dreamy type songs full of hooks then check them out.
www.pharrahphosphate.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


John T. Baker,"Rough Skeleton" (Disgraceland Records)
This is John T. Baker’s side project away from The French Broads and you can tell he’s having fun experimenting with it. To go from a song like “King Of Saturday Night”, a funky romp that would make the Meters stomp their feet, to the heavy haunting sounds of “Rough Skeleton” is pretty impressive as well as daring. Baker reminds me a bit of John Hiatt. I can’t put my finger on it exactly but the two are very similar somehow. This is a thinking man’s cd and that’s what probably brings to mind Hiatt. A great cd to throw in when you’re alone drinking and contemplating life.
www.disgraceland.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver


Chris Robertson,"Here We Are" (Ninefoot Records)
Robertson was formally in the band Feed with Tim Butler of the Psychedelic Furs. He later fronted Punch Havana before deciding to concentrate more on the writing end of it than the performing end. “Here We Are” is the fruit of his efforts. A very captivating array of songs in my book. His bio describes the record as combining elements of Elliot Smith, The National, Badly Drawn Boy, and Pink Floyd with vague references to Sonic Youth, Jeff Buckley, and 10cc. It’s pretty fun listening to it and trying to find everything on the list. I found most of them.
www.chrisrobertsonmusic.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Sick Of It All,"Outtakes for the Outcasts" (Fat Wreck)
Sick of it All have become the elder statesmen of hardcore through sheer perseverance, and the New York quartet’s latest release of B-sides, live cuts, and rarities celebrates the outfit’s longevity. Cleaning out the closets, the band uncovered 15 tracks for all of its fans to enjoy, ranging from the Sham 69 classic “Borstal Breakout” to the gritty punk rock of “My Little World”. While some of these tracks can be found on tribute albums and film soundtracks, the majority of the material has been released for the first time for both longtime fans and newcomers to enjoy, and makes for a nice complement to your Sick of it All collection. Spanning a 12-year timeframe, OUTTAKES FOR THE OUTCASTS fills in the gaps and properly unleashes the unheard aggression by these hardcore pioneers.
www.fatwreck.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Annihilator,"All For You" (The End)
Jeff Waters is revered as a virtuoso guitarist, yet Canada’s Annihilator have rarely risen from its glory period of the early ‘90s. On the band’s latest effort, the 10-track ALL FOR YOU, Waters decided to change up the lineup yet again, adding drummer Mike Mangini (Extreme, Steve Vai) and vocalist Dave Padden (Theory of a Deadman) to the fracas. The results are mixed at best: while tracks like “Bled” have a truly shredding instrumental part, the unmatched vocal delivery and sophomoric lyrical content are both too contrived. Yet, the overall experimental vibe produced by Waters and company may not make for a settling or familiar listening experience, but is very spirited and while clumsy at times, covers musical ground like no other Annihilator album to date. And the riffs spit out by Waters, heard on the psycho-thrash of “Rage Absolute” and the sinister groove of “Demon Dance”, are still badass, no matter who sings over them. Uneven, unexpected, but definitely not uneventful, ALL FOR YOU is a departure for the band, and is a real grab bag collection for the adventurous listener to absorb.
www.theendrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Society’s Dogs,"Up All Night" (Indie Release)
Long Island rock outfit Society’s Dogs play rock with the kind of fervor that you can only find when seasoned musicians collaborate together. The 10-track offering combines hard rock’s driving guitars on “Outlaw” with the Springsteen-esque storytelling lyrical delivery of tracks like “Play the Game”, making a sturdy slab of no frills, meat and potatoes rock ‘n roll. While Society’s Dogs isn’t afraid to rip it up with a bluesy rock shuffle on tracks like “Hiding Away, cuts like “Raise the Roof” display a different side of the versatile group, featuring an acoustic guitar shuffle as well as a stylish saxophone that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Rolling Stones album. Society’s Dogs combine mature grooves and well-textured songwriting, making an album that any fan of good old fashioned rock ‘n roll is bound to enjoy.
www.societysdogs.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Kevin K,"New York, New York" (In Cold Blood Records)
Kevin K rocks as hard as his heros. The fact that he’s still putting out great albums being the only difference between him and Johnny Thunders, the Dead Boys or the New York Dolls. “New York, New York” is a collection of could have, would have, should have been hits and every track hits dead on with me. “Losing Hurts”, “Dead Boy Running Scared”, “A Little Taste”, “Sealed Works” and “Bon Voyage” being my personal favorites. Seems there is one thing about France I like.
www.13th-Street.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver


Kevin K,"Mr. Bones" (Realkat Records)
“Mr. Bones” gives me nine more tracks of pure rock n’ roll to add to my growing Kevin K collection and this one has a little dirtier edge to it. Songs like “Steel Rain”, “White Trash”, “Crackhouse” and the AC/DC cover of “Up To My Neck” make it real easy to sink your teeth into it. Mr K has hit the mark again.
www.13th-Street.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Firewood Revival,"Peep Show" (Rock Is Dead Records)
This reminds me a bit of the Rolling Stones “Some Girls” album, or maybe The Band playing songs from the Rolling Stones “Some Girls” album. This is pretty cool shit. I love the loose Robbie Robertson / Levon Helm feel of all the songs from “Peep Show”. It’s funny that this was released on Rock Is Dead Records because after listening to it you almost believe that rock is dead and it doesn’t really matter. This is real, honest to god, alt-country.
www.rid.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Darkthrone,"Sardonic Wrath" (The End)
Norway’s black metal masters Darkthrone have returned with a raw, stripped down black metal assault with SARDONIC WRATH. While many of the other bands in the genre are trying to out-style each other, this demonic duo puts away the make up case and sweats in the studio, pounding away at nine tracks bursting with simple yet massively effective aggression. Songs like the battle march ode “Straightening Sharks in Heaven” and the near-hardcore punk anthem “Hate is the Law” maintain a bleak feel and hypnotic groove throughout, loading in just as much impact as the new school’s technically rich batch of tunes. Not losing any of its ominous feel, Darkthrone’s crawling rhythms and trance-like riffs meld the doom, black, death, and punk genres into one evil entity capable of any bad thing you could possibly muster. While other bands may play faster and look scarier, no one actually strips it down to the bare bones of fear quite like Darkthrone, the death metal version of AC/DC and Motorhead when it comes to sheer reliability.
www.theendrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


King’s X,"Live All Over the Place" (Metal Blade)
Hard to believe, but after 23 years of underground accolades with minimal but effective mainstream exposure, the veritable hard rock workhorse known as King’s X have yet to release a live album. Until now, that is, as LIVE ALL OVER THE PLACE chronicles a plethora of live shows (some dated back to 1994) on a twin disc collection guaranteed to put you in the crowd of the Texas trio’s captivating gig. Featuring an acoustic and two electric sets chock full of quality rock performed with all the skill you’d expect from Ty Tabor, Doug Pinnick, and Jerry Gaskill, the 25-track album is as close as you can get to the band responsible for such rock staples as “Over My Head”, “Dogman”, and “Summerland”. Want to experience being in the front row at a King’s X show without leaving your room? LIVE ALL OVER THE PLACE flawlessly delivers that experience, with some surprises (like a jam on Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” with Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam) to boot.
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Glory of This,"Adoration" (Indianola)
Glory of This is a Florida based quintet whose palatable punk rock has a very muscular frame, thanks to the production of Jeremy Staska (Poison the Well). ADORATION contains 10 tracks with hook happy choruses, which morph into furious yet melodic hardcore breakdowns. Falling somewhere between Finch, Lostprophets, and Thursday (especially on “Flip For It”), tracks like “Uncomfortable Silence” have equal parts of savage barking and snarling guitars, which give way to bouncy refrains that will suit both the vitriol filled guys and the swooning young gals. Perfect for the Warped Tour (where the outfit actually played this past year), the mixture of bruising melodies and contagious vocal lines found on ADORATION puts Glory of This in fine company and potentially in the I pods of teens everywhere.
www.indianolarecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


One True Thing,"Finally…" (Play the Assassin)
One True Thing’s latest 12-track release further solidifies the current Long Island band gold rush that many record companies are perpetuating, as the quartet plays an undeniably catchy brand of rock not too far off the mark of neighboring bands Taking Back Sunday and Brand New. Only difference is that OTT employs a female lead singer whose delivery falls somewhere between Mazzy Star and Cranberries, a device that gives FINALLY… an edge which most of its peers bands lack. Songs like “In a Whisper” sounds like the perfect background music for a love scene in a tender teenage romantic comedy, while the teeth gnashing bounce of “Do You Remember” and the sinewy groove of “Monster” will give throngs of maladjusted youth something to pogo to. One True Thing’s melancholy dream pop meets vibrant mod rock style is refreshingly different, yet fits right along your dime a dozen emo and screamo bands crying in their beer.
www.playtheassassin.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Adrian Belew,"Side One" (Indie Release)
Adrain Belew is one interesting fellow as well as guitarist. From touring with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, The Talking Heads and King Crimson, to producing the Elvis Brothers, to his work with his own band the Bears as well as his solo efforts and painting, Belew does what is needed of him but only if he finds it interesting. Somewhat of a gun for hire but a gun for hire with taste and a conscious. His latest solo offering, the first in a series (side two and three are to follow at a later date) is no less interesting. It’s got Les Claypool on it for Christ’s sake! Nine tasty tracks of twisted guitar acrobatics like only Belew can stick.
www.adrianbelew.net
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


The Rockin’ Pontoons,"Beautiful American Dust" (Indie Release)
This falls more into the traditional country / country rock vein of bands like the Flying Burrito Brothers, The Birds, Buffalo Springfield and Micheal Nesmith’s solo stuff. “Mean, Mean, Mean” has a low-down, ho-down feel to it, “Rattlesnake” has all the bite of its namesake, “Not Far Away” will take you quite far away with its pedal steel refrains and “Lady Of The Lake” has a folksy bluegrass gospel flavor. There’s sixteen tracks here that will quench any alt-country fans thirst.
www.rockinpontoons.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


The BellRays,"The Red, White & Black" (Alternative Tentacles Records)
Maximum Rock N’ Soul straight from Riverside California. Lisa Kekaula’s soulful vocals are part Steve Perry, part Tina Turner, part Geddy Lee and part Chaka Khan. Some of the songs even have a real Mothers Finest feel, like “Street Corner”, “Sister Disaster”, “Revolution Get Down” and “Some Confusion City”. This cd bridges the gap between punk and funk and paves over it with straight out rock n’ roll. I bet this band can kick out the jams live.
www.alternativetentacles.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver


Sixty Miles Down,"Sink or Swim" (Indie Release)
New Jersey metal clan Sixty Miles Down are big on dark, heavy hooks a la Alice in Chains, Il Nino, and 40 Below Summer. On the quintet’s 12-track disc, it’s hard not to stumble upon thick, rollicking guitars like the ones found on “Dead Weight”, “Resolution”, and “Broken Down”, but there’s a lot more to SINK OR SWIM than one mood. In fact, the ominous piano performance on “Raise the Dead” gives the track an eerie glow, while the contagious melody of “What You Never Had” sounds as if the band could be featured on mainstream radio. Overall versatile, (but at its best when the tone is considerably bleak), Sixty Miles Down combine the wares of Down, COC, Staind, and Godsmack with all of the melodic crunch you crave.
www.60md.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Lost Soul,"Chaostream" (Wicked World)
Polish death metal troupe Lost Soul may not be reinventing the wheel on CHAOSTREAM, but the quartet sure are getting the most mileage possible by displaying some dazzling death metal chops. “Godstate” takes the evil of Cryptopsy and throws in some Meshuggah-esque time signature madness in for good measure, while the foreboding dirge “Christian Meat” features the maximum amount of sludge allowed by a death metal band, churning out a six-minute epic. Technically sound and unmistakably devastating, CHAOSTREAM is a veritable addition to your death metal collection, fitting in somewhere between Zyklon and fellow countrymen Vader.
www.earcache.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Strychnine,"Born in a Bar" (TKO)
Oakland, CA’s Strychnine has crafted the perfect hardcore punk sound on BORN IN A BAR. Sounding like a cross between Murphy’s Law, Black Flag, and Zeke, songs like the self-titled rocker (complete with piano) and “Follow Yer Leader” emanate with the street punk sensibilities you can’t get from the punk rock today. The buzzsaw twin guitar assault on tracks like “Lil’ Duvel” and “Idiot for You” are bound to raise the ire of any moshpit, while the Motorhead meets Ramones stomp of “Icons” is a simple pleasure that will assist you wrecking any room you see fit. Strychnine will appeal to everyone sick of what gets passed down as punk today, as BORN IN A BAR gives two middle fingers and a kick in the ass to every pretty boy punk band on the landscape.
www.tkorecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Perfuma,"Humans are Dangerous" (Radio Breakdown)
Cross-pollinate Weezer, Ben Folds Five, The Beach Boys, and angst-ridden rock from every age group and you’ve got the sticky sweet sundries of New Jersey’s Perfuma. This five-track EP is remarkably diverse, spanning guitar rock to sweeping melodics to quirky love songs that every kid with a broken heart can relate to. Candy coated vocals, flavorful synths, and ’77 style punk guitars duke it out on “Sleeping + Screaming”, while a more Beatles-esque, beat driven affair can be found on “The Story of Michael”, complete with contagious backing vocals. Perfuma’s expansive array of sounds places the band far ahead of many of its peers, and ultimately may be what garnishes them the attention the group deserves.
www.perfumaonline.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Fieldmachine,"Long Night’s Journey Into Day" (Indie Release)
Cheap Trick for the Gameboy generation. I look forward to the “Live At Budokan” release but this one really doesn’t do anything for me. Not that that means anything. There’s tons of stuff I don’t get that’s hugely popular and to be completely fair, I’d rather hear this on the radio than most of what’s played.
www.fieldmachine.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Clouds Forming Crowns,"Clouds Forming Crowns" (Morphius Records)
Indie rock with a pop edge from the Tobias brothers. Tim and Todd grew up in Akron, Ohio. You know, Ohio, the State that gave us Devo and the Dead Boys. Tim was a former bassist for the band Guided By Voices, his brother Todd doesn’t tour with the band prefering to work only in the writing / recording end of it. The brothers have given you sixteen tracks on their debut full-length release. Clocking in at a fuzz over forty three minutes there’s plenty of music for your money here.
www.tobias-music.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


The Matics,"The Matics" (World Records)
Hard hitting punk from a band I know very little about. This showed up in the mail with no info but a return address. Seven tracks that have a definite edgy feel. Sometimes they sound a bit like Fugazi or at least like a band on the Dischord Records label. Interesting stuff. I wish I knew more about them but they don’t seem to have a website or even a webpage anywhere on the evil information superhighway.

Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


The Killer,"Better Judged by Twelve than Carried by Six" (Organized Crime)
Seething with hardcore might and muscle, the five guys that comprise The Killer sure do a bang up job pouring out their aggression into nine tracks of skull shattering punishment. Armed with an obvious tough guy hardcore mentality and a heavy handed, chugging guitar attack, tunes like the NYHC beatdown inspired “Where Will You Go” and the anthemic yet brutal “I Know What I Am” are perfect extensions to your Hatebreed and Madball album collection, while the faster songs like the angry “The Confessions of an Escape Artist” sound as if they could present some trouble in moshpits across the country. Metalcore at its most basic, BETTER JUDGED BY SIX THAN CARRIED BY TWELVE smacks you in the head like an errand combat boot and leaves you with the scars to prove it.
www.organizedcrimerecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Nine,"Killing Angels" (Deathwish)
Swedish melodic death metallers Nine wield a mighty riff, aptly displayed on the 10-track release KILLING ANGELS. Melding the unlikely tandem of the low end of Entombed, the savagery of Carcass, and the raw rock release of The Hellacopters, tracks like the blistering opener “Inferno” contain demonic grooves that only a well-versed Swedish outfit could muster. Bold choruses and over the top vocals are some of Nine’s strong suits, as songs with the deathrock feel of “The Strategy of Fear” and the QOTSA meets The Haunted onslaught of “Discontent O.D.” are laden with such attributes. Twisting the metal, stoner, and rock genres into its own concoction, KILLING ANGELS is sonically solid and provides a righteous listening experience to those that enjoy the sounds of a true example of crossover metal.
www.deathwishinc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Plan of Attack,"The Working Dead" (Organized Crime)
Straight ahead hardcore with bite is the style played by the Chicago quintet Plan of Attack, whose 18-track offering wouldn’t sound out of place in between a Youth of Today and Gorilla Biscuits double bill. Getting down and dirty with some fast paced old school fashioned tunes like “Where Do You Get Off” and the cleverly titled “Goodbye, Fuck You”, you can tell that these folks have studied their Minor Threat and Bad Brains albums cold. Dropping 18 tracks in 19 minutes is also quite the accomplishment, juxtaposing the spirit of youth crew hardcore with a sarcastic sneer not unlike Billy Milano’s work (MOD, SOD). Lyrically juggling personal hardships with political views as the band valiantly trudges through pertinent hardcore riffs, Plan of Attack’s latest is a effort laced with pride and ripe with old school flavor.
www.organizedcrimerecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Various Artists,"Sacto Scene Report" (TKO)
TKO Records has always been true to keeping punk rock about the music and not the intangibles that go along with it, an admirable pursuit for certain. The label’s recent installment of the collection they dub as The Scene Report is yet another example of the care they take for the genre, as this volume showcases five Sacramento, CA based punk rock bands with five different punk approaches. From the street punk of Whiskey Rebels and Pressure Point, to the harder, in your face delivery of Killing the Dream, to the garage-esque rock stomp of The Secretions, to the lace up your boots and slam into someone inspired stomp that The Roustabouts prompt, TKO once again gives the listener a solid cross-section of music as well as a good bang for the buck. An affordable alternative to MTV’s mall punk, these compilations are perfect for the novice looking to dig deeper, or for the experienced fan looking for new thrills.
www.tkorecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS



Jim-Jims / Trixie And The Merch Girls,“Shakes, She Knows How” / “Going Far Away” [7” split] (Wee Rock Records)
The Jim-Jims kick things off with a Sex Pistols meets the Cars ditty called “Shakes” that is my favorite track from the split. They follow it up with the more straight ahead punk rocker “She Knows How”. Trixie And The Merch Girls, on the other hand and side for that matter, have a more stripped down acoustic folk punk approach with their song “Going Far Away”. Both sides are quite enjoyable for what they are.
www.weerockrecords.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver



Antiseen / Electric Frankenstein,“Weight Of The World” / “Burn Bright, Burn Fast” [7” split] (TKO Records)
Antiseens “Weight Of The World” has that good ol’ Motorhead tempo driving it along and as if that’s not enough there’s the brutally intense vocals and in your face lyrics that’ll have you picking your jaw up off the ground. Electric Frankenstein is just as intense with “Burn Bright, Burn Fast”, a straight out rocker with live fast, die young lyrics and the whole thing comes in radioactive green vinyl. Two punk rock n’ roll heavyweights on one slab of vinyl. How can you go wrong?
www.tkorecords.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver



New York Rel-x,“No Way Out” b/w “Summer Of ‘81” [7” vinyl] (TKO Records)
Taken from their upcoming album titled “Sold Out Of Love”, “No Way Out” is a slice of pop punk that deserves a listen. It reminds me a bit of Les Hell On Heels. The flipside is a cover of the Violators “Summer Of ‘81”. This has that eighties feel, appropriately enough, of an early X song and the vocals have that whole Exene vibe. Limited release on blue/pink vinyl!!!
www.tkorecords.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver



A.P.A.,“Lights Out”, “One Law For Them” b/w “Go Home” [7” vinyl ep] (TKO Records)
“Lights Out” has a cool guitar intro with Lemme style vocals. “One Law For Them” has more of a old school punk feel like something off “The Decline Of Western Civilization”. The flipside, “Go Home”, has more hooks and has a Social Distortion vocal style. The rhythm guitar has a real cool Clash feel. All that from a band from Atlanta, Georgia. Limited release on blue/black vinyl!!!
www.tkorecords.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver



Bloodstained Kings / Radicts,“Ordinary Man” / “When All Is Said And Done” [7”split] (TKO Records)
The Bloodstained Kings is Todd Radicts new outfit and “Ordinary Man” is one damn cool song with one damn great guitar sound. Kinda Husker Du meets the Clash and catchy as all get out. The flipside offers up some American street punk with the Radicts “When All Is Said And Done”. Half Joe Strummer, half Mike Ness and previously unreleased. A must have slab for Radicts fans. Limited release on pink/yellow vinyl!!!
www.tkorecords.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver



Shock Nagasaki / Straitjacket,“Palisades & Renegades” / “Won’t Say Sorry” [7”split] (TKO Records)
New Yorks very own Shock Nagasaki gives us, “Palisades & Renegades”, an American punk rocker reminiscent of some of the Professionals work. This is their debut release so I’m expecting to hear lots more from these guys. The flipside gives us an Adolescents sounding ditty called “Won’t Say Sorry” by Straitjacket. Their debut full-length release will be coming out on TKO this May. Limited release on red/black vinyl!!!
www.tkorecords.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Genghis Tron,"Cloak of Love" (Crucial Blast)
The first impression you get from the first thirty seconds of CLOAK OF LOVE will most likely be…what the hell is this? And that’s fine, because the death metal techno dance party has just begun. Juxtaposing grindcore metal riffs with ambient techno grooves, this upstate NY trio’s sonic output is jarring, mind bending, and inexplicably delicious. Despite the short length of this disc (only five tracks), there’s enough sounds cascading throughout tracks like “Arms” and “Laser Bitch” to keep your ears occupied for quite a long time. If Mindless Self Indulgence, DJ Shadow, and Pig Destroyer were locked in a studio, this may be the result. Genghis Tron’s massive musical assault is surely not an easy listen, but it’s definitely something you’ll remember long after it’s over.
www.crucialblast.net
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Anthrax,"The Greater of Two Evils" (Sanctuary)
Unlike other bands that rip off its fans by releasing sub-par rehashed trash with a new studio cut which inevitably sucks or puts out a re-tracked collection of past glories with new mixes and Pro-Tools trickery, Anthrax started a web campaign to change it up a bit by actually (gasp) see what the band’s fans wanted to hear. THE GREATER OF TWO EVILS is the result, and the rules are simple: the band listed all of its pre-John Bush era material on the site and encouraged the fans to vote for which songs would make the re-recorded release. Instead of treading the same old ground which automatically placed many of its peers in the nostalgia bin, the boys in ‘Thrax put a new twist on an old theme (and recorded the whole deal in a two day span in a NYC studio to boot). Encompassing a greatest hits collection, a new release, and a live album in one shot, the boys blew the dust off of 14 songs like “Be All, End All” and “A.I.R.” and recorded them live to tape. Not a bad concept, huh? Truly a treat, this disc breathes new life into these timeless metal tunes, and is the closest thing you’ll get to the live show experience barring sweating it out in the front row. John Bush’s vocals put the badass stomp and delete the expiration date on many of these gems, while Rob Caggiano totally shreds out the Anthrax catalog as he wrote the riffs himself. 14 tracks that predate SOUND OF WHITE NOISE, classics like “Caught In a Mosh”, “Indians”, “Madhouse”, and much more are here, thanks to the fans and their ballots. And of course, Anthrax, who never cease to challenge themselves or give its audience what it wants. Anthrax has set itself up to continue to be pioneers in the game for as long as they see fit.
www.sanctuaryrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Breaking Benjamin,"So Cold EP" (Hollywood)
Breaking Benjamin’s latest five-track EP contains an acoustic version of the song you’re sick of (“So Cold”), two studio tracks, and two live cuts. Essential? Unless you’re a huge fan, a 16 year-old girl, or want to document in full detail how a band can rip off Sevendust so well and still manage to sound like Simple Plan (“Ladybug”), it’s not.
www.hollywoodrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


District,"Don’t Mess with the Hard Punx" (People Like You)
Despite hailing from Germany, District could pass for an old school British punk band, right down to the sneering vocals on “Goodbye Chastity”, gang choruses that pervade “Pop Stars”, and biting melodic guitars all over this disc. In fact, this 13-track, 32 minute release is the most retro punk rock album you’ll hear this year barring a Sex Pistols reunion. District really rips off the seminal UK punk rock bands, but they do it so well, you won’t even care, just as long as they keep writing tunes with the attitude of “Telephone Song” and “My Baybeez Number”.
www.peoplelikeyou.de
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


World War IX,"Panic Attack" (Elis Eil)
Looking for a no-nonsense, no frills garage punk rock band? Check out the 11-track endeavor from World War IX, whose brand of nervous punk rock has a discernible old school gloss. Tracks like the opener “Thank God It’s Monday” echo a common theme over a jumpy beat, while the groovy bass in “Body Dump” has a Misfits feel. Harkening back to the days when punk rock was dirty and unrepentant, PANIC ATTACK is ripe with attitude, from the invigorating title track to the GG Allin cover “NYC Tonight”. Frenzied without being overpowering, World War IX’s latest collection is worth it for the people that still incessantly spin their Buzzcocks and Black Flag albums.
www.worldwarix.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots,"Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots" (Alternative Tentacles)
Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots is an eclectic country and western act whose 15-track release is anything but run of the mill. Led by a member of the radical country act Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Munly and crew expose a love affair with dark music, folk rock and Americana, and manage to combine the three, creating an enthralling listening experience. Creepy, atmospheric, and stunningly performed, there’s a definitive Gothic texture to tracks like “My Second Salvation Army Choir” and the shuffling “Ragin’ Cajun” that give off a Nick Cave/ Peter Murphy meets Chris Issak and Neil Diamond vibe via the rested soul of Mr. Johnny Cash. Profound and prolific, tracks like the sweet banjo pick of “A Gentle Man’s Jihad” and the hypnotic string arranged “River Forktine Tippecanoe” are just a few of masterfully arranged and incredibly well textured songs here, as the verbose instrumentation (thanks to the string section and wide array of vocal pitches used) further enhance the already stoic listening experience. This disc is boundless work of genius and needs to be heard to believe.
www.alternativetentacles.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Clockcleaner,"The Hassler" (Manic Ride)
Putting the punk back into punk rock seems to be the Philadelphia trio Clockcleaner’s mission statement, as this band is hellbent on creating organized chaos, both on and off stage. Known for outrageous antics like pissing on their fellow band’s merch and getting into fights at any given time, these guys are hell bent to reclaim punk rock’s dubious distinction of being against the grain. Luckily, the seven-tracks that comprise THE HASSLER comply with the band’s ideals: these tracks are loud, obnoxious, dissonant, jerky, and borderline dangerous. “Shingles”, armed with a sloppy structure and dependent on attitude over accuracy, rocks like a Jesus Lizard song done by Nirvana, while the pounding bass line of “The Houseguest” leads the trail to noise rock luxury. Clockcleaner’s anti-establishment musical stance and invigorating disregard for everything around them work well together, presenting an unsanctioned punk rock package firmly denouncing the mediocre mainstream.
www.manicriderecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Through the Eyes,"Election" (Indie Release)
Through the Eyes utilize a sound that mixes AFI, Funeral for a Friend, and Thumb on its five-track EP. Fast, catchy riffs, melodic choruses, and impassioned vocals help songs like “Lumbar” move with the kind of fervor that many of today’s mod punk outfits use. Even though the disc is a bit under produced, it manages to capture the outfit at its most raw. The breakdowns are surprisingly tight, and the group’s strong sense of dynamics, shown especially on “Brimstone”, include a full-on, horned hand rock out section that only the most defiant can deny. Through the Eyes have got everything in place to rock you, and do a stellar job on ELECTION.
www.throughtheeyes.tk
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Alliance,"Time Heals Nothing" (Tribunal)
The Alliance is a Michigan-based quartet whose bruising blend of metalcore is relentless in its assault on your unsuspecting ears. Swinging at you with full force, tracks like the aptly titled “Survival of the Fittest” live up to its claim, as the chugging riffs and violent rhythms persuades you to step up and guard yourself from the carnage. And Lord knows, this band knows how to dish out some punishment, as tracks like the devastating groove of the title track, the foreboding staccato riffaging of “Best Wishes” and the ruthless battering brought forth from “Hard Luck” will open up a fierce pit at your next shindig in no time. Fans of the East Coast hardcore scene are really going to feel this one.
www.tribunalrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Guns Up,"All This Is" (1917)
Guns Up is an explosive youth crew hardcore quintet that arrives via the burgeoning Massachusetts underground scene. The outfit’s latest nine-track visceral assault on both your eardrums and conscience contains all of the nuances you’d expect from a hardcore troupe barely of age to buy beer: tight breakdowns, yelped vocal cries, and tons of buzzsaw guitar riffs mixed together into under three-minute snippets of aggression. Liberally claiming the slugfest NYHC sound as its own (especially on the Madball-esque “Foolin’ Who”), Guns Up exhibit the kind of lineage that could take the band out of Haverhill, MA and onto bigger and better things.
www.1917records.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Exies,"Head for the Door" (Virgin)
Major label rock usually takes a bad rap, and for the most part, for good reason, as talent and taste are usually substituted for style and trend. The Exies fall prey to this formula to a certain degree on the outfit’s latest release, the 12-track HEAD FOR THE DOOR, yet the huge sounding output that booms out of the speakers thanks to the masterful production of Nick Raskulinecz almost washes away this realization. The drums and guitars on tracks like “What You Deserve” and “Hey You” are enormous, and almost help you lose track of the fact that The Exies sound like a cross between Hoobastank, Puddle of Mudd, and The Vines. But, with songs like “F.S.O.S.” and “Dear Enemy” leering around the bend, post grunge anxiety settles in quick, and The Exies cannot escape the unfortunate fate of being second rate no matter how huge sounding the guitars are.
www.virginrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Boobie Trap,"Look Inside" (Indie Release)
Old school punk rock with a dash of sultriness is what Orange County’s Boobie Trap delivers on its 15-track release. LOOK INSIDE is reminiscent of Blondie in many ways, from the infectious choruses to the obvious female-fronted point of view, but there’s a definitive So Cal punk vibe permeating through tracks like “Darkness Falling” and “Amino Lawal” that instantly places Boobie Trap out of the eye candy only category. Rocking hard on tracks like “Hey You” (complete with chaotic punk rock guitar solo) and the anthem of affirmation “I’ve Come Into My Own”, this quintet proves that you can be gritty and look damn good doing it. For a female fronted band with bite a la The Distillers, look no further than Boobie Trap.
www.boobietrapoc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Kill Your Idols,"From Companionship to Competition" (Side One Dummy)
Kill Your Idols is a long running NY hardcore punk troupe whose latest 15-track CD exemplifies hardcore in the truest sense. Relentless and unforgiving, KYI attack your ears like a bulldozer leveling a building, leaving nothing behind in its wake. Angst ridden and devastatingly merciless, this veteran band works from the foundation of bands like Poison Idea, Sick of It All, and Cro-Mags, and puts its definitive stomping stamp on tracks like “15 Minutes” and the aptly titled “Only Dicks Don’t Like Black Flag”, creating a maelstrom full of fierce riffs and a flurry of furious rhythms. Quite possibly the most crushing hardcore punk record you’ll hear from a band currently active, FROM COMPANIONSHIP TO COMPETITION is a failsafe album capable of mass destruction and finds Kill Your Idols not only at the top of its game, but on top of the hardcore genre as well.
www.sideonedummy.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Defiance,"Rise or Fall" (Punkcore)
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Defiance’s 10-track release is a proud punk rock proclamation, as RISE OR FALL showcases these mowhawked menaces and their loud brand of straightforward punk rock. Tracks like the melodic crunch of “Doing What You’re Told” and the Rancid-esque “Still Got Fuck All” expertly capture the desperate angst of youth across the globe, while the meat and potatoes punk rock of “Screwed Up” meshes the So Cal and UK style into a punk rock power punch. Looking for the real deal without the women’s jeans and whiny vocals? RISE OR FALL is a good place to start.
www.punkcore.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Cheap Sex,"Headed for a Breakdown" (Punkcore)
Cheap Sex is a street punk clan whose name is way more offensive than the band’s 13-track offering laden with social commentary. This quartet play hard nosed, fast paced, and full of angst, choosing to lash out at the perils of American life from “Reality TV” to “Raped By the FCC” with both a distinct bark (thanks to the throat of Mikey Virus) and vicious bite. Featuring snarling guitars and a hearty vocal delivery, HEADED FOR A BREAKDOWN mixes the old school punk rock vibe with a touch of East Coast hardcore for a much-needed lesson in Punk Rock Sociology 101.
www.punkcore.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Downtown Brown,"Downtown Brown" (Chocolate Stain)
Quirky would be a compliment to give to this eclectic Detroit trio whose 13-track endeavor runs the gamut from the epic power metal of “Welcome to the Acropolis” to the funky melody of “Orange Bitch”, to the silly sappiness of “Mangina”. Downtown Brown throws convention, genre, and sometimes good taste out the window, but always retain its virtuoso musical ability, as the massive range of music covered here (despite the comical nature of much of the lyrics) is a marvel to behold. Well, that and the Lorenzo Lamas cover “Smooth Talker”. Teetering on the fine line between stupid and clever, Downtown Brown’s undeniable musicianship and tongue in cheek sense of humor puts them in the league of bands like Mr. Bungle, NOFX, and Gwar, where the listener isn’t sure if the joke is on us or them. Whichever the case, be prepared to laugh, rock, be grossed out, but above all, be thoroughly entertained.
www.dtbmusic.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


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Almost perfect...
Moments of brilliance...
Slightly redeaming...
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