Music Reviews:
SEPTEMBER 2005

Jimmy Webb,"Twilight of the Renegades" (Sanctuary)
A very tiring and depressed album; or The Sims soundtrack missing irony. There are some high points: the horns and lyrics on "Class Clown"; the chorus of "Spanish Radio," no matter how restrained it is. There are also a few good songs hiding under the lack of energy and tension. Unfortunately, the fine lyrics don't make up for the music ("High Rent Ghetto").
www.jimmywebb.com
Rating:

Review by Christopher DeCrocker


The Nein,"Wrath of Circuits" (Sonic Unyon)
A quote taken from their labels website states, “THE NEIN'S debut full-length, Wrath of Circuits, is an album that reveals more with every listen. With substance and creativity, melodies shine through a mass of artful discord, capturing the listener's attention”, and I couldn’t agree more. This tasty new release from Durham NC band “The Nein” is hands down one of the best I’ve heard this year. They create a dynamic musical landscape across the breadth of this disc using a minimalist approach to their individual parts fusing fuzzy bass lines, textured guitar styles, smart effective drumming, and dreamy sometimes commanding vocals. On top of that, the samples and sound manipulation throughout the song structures add an interesting and abstract feel. The song “The Vibe” slowly builds tension and comes back into a slow hypnotic mood, back into absolute mayhem and ending with faint subtle chanting of an Indian woman. “Jim Morrison In Desert” is exactly what you think it is, a slow trippy ride with a drumbeat that has a groove 5 miles wide and includes some piano, trumpets, woodwinds, and droning bass. Anyone who is a fan of throwing on some headphones and disconnecting from the outside world needs to check this one out. You won’t be disappointed.
www.thenein.com
Rating:

Review by JRumbass


Garfields Birthday,"Mr. Newton E.P." (Pink Hedgehog)
Garfields Birthday is back with their first release in quite some time. While it is only 3 songs, hopefully a new full-length album will follow, because this is primo power-pop! The title track, "Mr. Newton" is pure power-pop brilliance, catchier than any song deserves to be. "Memories Fade" has a syncopated rhythm with an Alarm-like guitar riff. "The Bastion Of Teenage" has some damn clever lyrics, which are either social commentary or sarcastic observations. If this is any sign of the future of Garfields Birthday, there place as the bastion of power-pop is secured. They are one of the best-kept secrets in the power-pop genre.
www.garfieldsbirthday.com
Rating:

Review by Ronnie


Nashville Pussy,"Get Some" (Spitfire Records)
13 songs from a band that’s guaranteed to scare the hell out of your parents so bad that they’ll be signing your ass up for the next season of Brat Camp. Armed with the stunning and talented new addition of Karen Cuda on bass and backing vocals, Nashville Pussy is back without missing a beat or spilling their beer for that matter. Down and dirty, in your face rock n’ roll is their claim to fame and they damn sure deliver. Any album that leads off with a song titled “Pussy Time” should leave no doubt of what type band your about to experience. Other killer tracks include “Going Down Swinging”, “Good Night For A Heartattack” and “Hell Ain’t What It Used To Be”. This time around there’s even a few covers to shake things up a bit like “Nutbush City Limits” which has always been a favorite of mine as well as “Snowblind” from the spacemans very own solo songbook. Lots of kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll with just the right amount of humor to turn an ordinary night of drinking into one rip roaring fun-filled night of inebriation.
www.spitfirerecords.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Simon Felton,"Talking About the Weather" (Pink Hedgehog)
If there were a power-pop hall of fame, Simon Felton would certainly be inducted. Not only does he run Pink Hedgehog records as well as being a member of Garfields Birthday, but also he has released his second solo album, showcasing his songwriting prowess and distinctive, 'airy' vocals. Combining both the full band approach to power-pop as well as ballads, Felton has delivered a sometimes joyous and sometimes haunting CD. "Slowing Down" and "On My Knees" are simply beautiful! These two songs alone make this CD worth checking out-ballads CAN be great power-pop songs! "Paisley Man" has techno power-pop used to great effect that is reminiscent of McCartney II. A superb effort by a true unsung hero of modern power-pop!
www.pinkhedgehog.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by Ronnie


George Elliot,"The Naked Mind" (Heliocd.com)
Two words for you, aural bliss….This new release from mind bender extraordinaire George Elliot, will you have running scared or running free. This 20-song disc has the wackiness of Zappa, folkiness of Simon and Garfunkel and the charm of Ween with a spacey 60’s and 70’s feel but lacks the inner song schiz of a Zappa or Bungle tune. This man utilizes many instruments and crosses many music genres. The layering and texture of each song is fantastic. There is so much going on and the lyrics stand alone as entertaining. The song “Androgyne” reminds me of an old George Harrison song gone completely wrong as well as “Ing-Ly” which feels like a Simon and Garfunkel b-side but he adds such dimension or should I say dementia to his songs. “The Look” feels like a piano bar song mixed with reggae beats and some cute chic backup singers. Most of them run from 2 to 4 min a piece which is a nice single dose of crazy wacky fun. Over all this cd is wonderful and I am happy to add it to my collection.
www.heliocd.com
Rating:

Review by JRumbass


The Stooges,"The Stooges (Deluxe Edition)" (Elektra/Rhino)
The Stooges first album was produced by ex-Velvet Underground John Cale. This deluxe edition is fully remastered and sounds great. It also comes with a second disc that includes Cale’s original mixes as well as alternate versions of “1969” and “Ann”. To me, these original mixes sound as if Cale was trying fit the Stooges into some sort of Velvet Underground cookie cutter mold. He kind of took some of the steam out of “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “1969,” “Little Doll,” and “No Fun.” This seems very apparent after listening to both versions. Disc one is a much more exciting experience but it’s nice to have all this in one neat little package. The booket is excellent and includes some rare photos and liner notes by Ben Edmunds. If you don’t own anything by the Stooges then this would be a perfect and appropriate start.
www.rhino.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Various Artists,"Vol. 1 Get Out of My Garage, Punk!" (Illbilly Records)
Standard compilation of punk songs played like Nuggets. Garage fans will enjoy the rough sound. Overall this is similar to a lot of the rock/garage "revival" stuff on the radio, but much less stylish and grating and with a more overt hardcore influence. Standouts include the deviations "Been Winded" by Willie Vanilli, "Killer Nocturne in San Pedro" by The Fury...Heat!, "Missing Buttons" by Black Forest Locomotive, and "Hooked" by The Black Jets (sounds just like The Standells).
www.geocities.com/illbillyrocks
Rating:

Review by Christopher DeCrocker


The Stooges,"Fun House (Deluxe Edition)" (Elektra/Rhino)
If you’re a big fan of the Stooges then you probably already have all the out-takes featured on this Deluxe Edition, two disc set. The Stooges – 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions box set took care of those particular rarities but it was a limited release of only 3000 copies so many missed out. I wasn’t fortunate enough to own the box set so I was very pleased to get this release for review. Now considered one of the best rock albums of all time by many critics even though it was harshly criticized when it was originally released, The Stooges' laid down the foundation for punk with their self-titled debut and this release. If the music wasn’t enough to assure their place in punk history Mr. Pop was always willing to take it to a whole other level with his well documented on stage antics. The cd booklet includes lots of rare photos and interesting liner notes that paint a picture of the Stooges during that time. This is a perfect history lesson for the thousands of kids out there that think punk was invented by Green Day.
www.rhino.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Laura Day,"It’s You" (Indie Release)
This five song EP is fresh mix of country, rock and jazz. Day has a great voice that carries a certain amount of class and beauty that you don’t hear very often. She’s also done her fair share of playing bars and coffee shops across Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin so she’s paid some dues. This is a nice album that would fit perfectly into a romantic evening with one’s significant other.
www.lauradaymusic.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Keesler,"Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Pieces" (Indie Release)
The Vallhalla, NY based quintet Keesler rock out with the kind of modern punk rock energy of bands like Thrice, My Chemical Romance, and Open Hand on their five-track exhibition. Clever songwriting enriched with the proper measures of melodic crunch and gut wrenching wails find songs like “The Way You Say Goodbye” striking chords with adolescents everywhere, while the melancholic merger of hard rock and emo on “Last of Me” give The Used something to worry about. Keesler’s solid delivery, sturdy chops, and impressive songwriting prowess should catapult SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PIECES into the hearts and minds of The Warped Tour contingent everywhere.
www.keesler.cjb.net
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Man In Gray,"No Day/ No Night" (Serious Business)
Brooklyn-based Man In Gray’s six-track offering is a super charged indie rock affair from the word go. Armed with a female lead vocalist whose raspy wails and expert phrasings profoundly emanate the female NYC punk point of view, tracks like the rhythmically creepy “Neighbors” channel the Misfits through the mouth of Blondie, while “Multiply” sounds like the bastard concoction between Sonic Youth and The Pretenders. Blasting out of the gate, the driving guitars and intriguing beats define Man in Gray’s hard yet refined style, which keeps your ears busy with flurries of dissonant beauty throughout NO DAY/ NO NIGHT.
www.maningray.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Bloodroot,"Deep" (Menagerie)
Bloodroot’s latest endeavor provides 10 tracks of substantial yet radio friendly hard rock. From the shuddering opening riff of “Save Me”, this Brooklyn-based quartet conveys that they mean business. Armed with glistening hooks beneath the heavy rhythmic artillery, songs like the bass-driven groove of “Into the Black” successfully combine the wares of Mudvayne and Godsmack, while the snarling six string sting of “My Mistakes” sound like CKY jamming out with ZZ Top. Properly titling the new release, DEEP distinctly tells what Bloodroot has in store for your ears, emanating sturdy hard rock that goes the distance.
www.bloodroot.net
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Skarp,"Requiem" (Alternative Tentacles)
Music designed to scare the bejesus out of you and it does a damn good job. A mix of hardcore, grind, crust, and metal, Seattle's Skarp have created a sonic assault that their fans have dubbed “Blackout Grind”. Formed in 2000, the band has toured heavily and in 2004 Jello Biafra caught their show opening for the Melvins. He knew he wanted them to come aboard the Alternative Tentacles mothership and with that came the release of 2005’s “Requiem”. For fans of Choking Victim, Neurosis and Ludicra.
www.alternativetentacles.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Gabriel James,"In The Hands Of Fools" (Grass Root Records)
An alternative singer-songwriter from Minneapolis, James puts his music first and lets everything else fall into place. An equal mix of pop, jazz, rock and folk is about the best way to describe this release. “Music that speaks to the soul” is how his website describes it. I can go along with that. If you dig your music on the acoustic side with a bit of jazz flavor then you need to help yourself to a taste of “In The Hands Of Fools”.
www.gabrieljames.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Julie Gribble,"So Typical" (Indie Release)
Gribble sounds as though she’s been doing this for decades. A very polished and talented singer-songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia whose armed with a voice that’s rich and convincing. She’s truly a force to be reckoned with. Her backing band is right on the mark as well with their brand of hard driving acoustic rock. They compliment each other completely and that pushes her songs to a whole new level. I think Miss Gribble is going to do just fine in this business.
www.juliegribble.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver


Nausea,"The Punk Terrorist Anthology Vol. 2: ’85-‘88" (Alternative Tentacles)
New York City punk band Nausea was one of the first bands to combine punk and metal with social political lyrics. "The Punk Terrorist Anthology Vol. 2: ‘86-‘88" is a 30 song collection that includes demo tracks as well as live and unreleased tracks from their heyday. With the dual attack of Amy and Neil on vocals, Nausea packed a double punch that’s quite infectious. Songs like 'Smash Racism', 'Right To Live', 'Divide And Conquer' are all great songs that seem to work just as well today as they did in the eighties. I love their song ‘Sacrifice’. It’s such a powerful track with an almost Black Sabbath intro, Amy’s Wendy O. vocals and a reggae tinged bridge. This is some really exciting music that deserves to be heard!
www.alternativetentacles.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver


Chris Bono,"Ten Senators And The Rebel Son" (P Squared Records)
Two parts Jeff Buckley, one part Springsteen, a dash of alt-country flavor topped with a generous helping of top-forty rock radio. Former Seattle Mariners draft pick, Bono sustained injuries that ended his baseball career before it really got started. While recouping from several surgeries he decided to learn the guitar. He started writing songs and the next thing you know he’s working on dream number two. That’s what most young guys want isn’t it, either a career as a professional sports star or a rock star. Hopefully Bono will have better luck with his musical career and it looks as though he’s off to a great start with this album.
www.chris-bono.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Witchcraft,"Firewood" (Candlelight)
Holy retro rock! Swedish purveyors of the ghosts of rock ‘n’ roll’s past Witchcraft have brought forth a 10-track release chock full of psychedelic blues, heavy metal soul, and foundational stoner rock. Influences such as Black Sabbath, Cream and countless classic rock icons of the ‘60s and ‘70s are vicariously channeled on songs like “If Wished Were Horses”, as this band sufficiently showcases its jamming know-how on tracks like “You Suffer” as well as its deep appreciation of the early days of doom metal on “Queen of Bees” and their take on Pentagram’s “When the Screams Come”. Attentive pupils of the golden age of rock, everything down to the actual lo-fi recording is as authentic as a release from the early 1970’s, a trait that many bands wouldn’t even attempt in the age of studio trickery. FIREWOOD is an album that lovingly recalls a time when bands took massive quantities of drugs and played with undaunted passion, and is a must have for the older folks that have lost their faith that music doesn’t sound like it used to anymore.
www.candlelightrecords.co.uk
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Borgo Pass,"Nervosa" (Indie Release)
Long Island sludge metal masters Borgo Pass return with a fist-pumping, take no shit 11-track release that from the opening riff of “Wrong Man” takes you on a white knuckle ride into the viscous backwoods of hard rock. Armed with a wall of sound that tears through your speakers with gale-winded force, tracks like “Dead Summer” gives COC and Crowbar a run for their money, while “Last to Know” tread the same roads where Down and Black Label Society pick up their alcohol and firearms. Heavy hooks, startling guitar work, and flawless rhythms allow songs like “14 Days That Killed Me Slow” to grab you by the throat and thrash you around like a rag doll, while the whiskey soaked vocals on tracks like “Acedown” and the eerie Vietnam-inspired “American Horror Story” showcase a versatile lead vocalist who can throw down with the best of them. NERVOSA is the perfect blend of Pantera’s crushing dominance, Down’s groovy musings, and Black Sabbath’s metallic melodies, and finds Borgo Pass in fine form as usual.
www.borgopass.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Subterranean Masquerade,"Suspended Animation Dreams" (The End)
Have you ever wondered what a mixture of Opeth and Steely Dan would sound like? Wonder no more, as the avant-garde troupe Subterranean Masquerade’s myriad of instruments concisely answers that burning question on SUSPENDED ANIMATION DREAMS, a lofty eight-track affair whose broadened appeal goes from the prog rock fanatic to the free-form music audience in the matter of minutes. Featuring members of Orphaned Land and Novembers Doom, this revolving cast of musicians has created a buffet for your ears to feast on, as any instrument you could think of is used at one point during these ambitious songs. Drawing parallels to unique acts like Pink Floyd, this project’s lack of boundaries and adventurous spirit is unlike anything you’ll hear this year, or maybe in the next 10, and is recommended for those who like a challenging listening experience.
www.theendrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Totimoshi,"Mysterioso" (Crucial Blast)
The crushing grooves coming from Oakland, CA trio Totimoshi are not to be taken lightly, as this outfit’s hypnotic assault yields an eight-track sinewy sonic brew. Tracks featuring earth-shaking bass such as “The Bleed” are fine fodder for Melvins fans everywhere, while the sludgy guitar swagger on cuts like “Oblivian” and “Horselaugh” are right in line with High on Fire and Mastodon in terms of resounding heaviness. Melding the riff rock aesthetic with an artistic flare, MYSTERIOSO is an unsettling album exploding with brute force and experimental expertise.
www.crucialblast.net
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Redemption,"The Fullness of Time" (Sensory)
Redemption’s prog metal precision shines across the quintet’s eight-track entity, as a longtime vocal fixture in the scene lends his chops to the fray. Ray Alder, singer best known for his work in the seminal group Fates Warning, puts his sturdy voice to work against the band’s grandiose guitar and keyboard infrastructure on tracks like the 16-minute “Sapphire”, showcasing just how this type of music needs to sound. Tastefully extending to music’s far reaches without being overwrought, Redemption keeps the virtuoso antics purposeful and serve these songs with musical muscle and an eye on cohesive songwriting. If you’re a fan of progressive metal, Redemption wholeheartedly delivers a compelling collection.
www.lasercd.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Kids Against Combs,"Sean Hannity (631) 673-8003" (10-34)
Kids Against Combs are on a crusade of sorts to expand the vapid minds of sleeping Americans everywhere via their bohemian meets hipster sound. On the band’s 11-track endeavor, they go so far as to title it after loathed right-wing talking head Sean Hannity’s home phone number (printed here, but changed on future pressings to avoid lawsuits), truly embodying the revolutionary spirit of change through chaos. Musically, they also attempt to break barriers, throwing in cello, flute and electronic manipulations to subsidize their shoegaze meets lo-fi indie rock boot scoot. Sounding like a cross between The Cure, Cursive, and Bright Eyes with a dollop of Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan’s ‘60s protest rock aura, this collective is aiming its grass roots campaign at a popular figure in hopes to (of course) garnish some exposure. However, in this band’s heartfelt diatribes about the decay of America, they seem a lot more concerned than your average guy in a rock band, so maybe Kids Against Combs attempt to alert and convert is more of an authentic outcry than a clever marketing ploy.
www.10-34.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Cristalix,"Cristalix" (Indie Release)
The Queens metal troupe Cristalix blaze through its five-track release with vigorous guitars a la Slipknot and a multi-layered keyboard assault that sounds straight out of Sweden. This punishing quintet display a knack for creating dynamic landscapes that change from mild mannered piano tinklings to full-out nu metal rage on “Inevitable”. Mixing the melodic elements of bands like Taproot with harder edged metallic nuances utilized by bands like In Flames and Mudvyane, this outfit unleashes an aptitude for concocting aggressive anthems like “Blast Thru” that allow you to sing along and bang your head to, making metal fans utterly satisfied along the way.
www.cristalix.net
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Man On Earth,"Disposable Sounds for the Fickle Mind" (Forward Thinking)
NYC’s Man on Earth plays the kind of melancholic music you’d expect from a British outfit, yet this quartet wraps their offerings around mid-tempo atmospheres that contain ample dollops of angst-ridden Americana and soulful alternative. Sticklers for creating sounds, bare yet lush arrangements on tracks like “It’s Alright, We’ll Be Fine” evoke Elvis Costello jamming out with Wilco, while the neo-soul sounds of Sade meets Prince prevail on “Mirror” before it melts into oblivion and the huge rock guitar riff from “Lazy” reveals the band’s affection of Pink Floyd at their most arena rockiest. Smart bands are hard to come by, and bands that are musically ambitious and smart are even more rare, so finding Man on Earth is both refreshing and reaffirming.
www.forwardthinkingrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Blood From Stone,"Blood From Stone" (Indie Release)
Blood from Stone’s six-song sojourn is a haven for hooky hard rock, as this Queens, NY based outfit take pieces from Nirvana, Breaking Benjamin, and Staind to comprise its heavy-handed sound. The driving “Falling” has a Southern California punk rock vibe to it, while the moody “Breakdown” displays all of the nuances of a radio ready single a la Puddle of Mudd. Chugging along on “When I Needed” with the acumen of Life of Agony meeting Sugartooth, Blood from Stone has seemingly cut its rock ‘n’ roll teeth on the best of ‘90s rock radio, making their catchy tunes hard for a fan of no frills meat and potatoes rock to resist.
crankitupent@aol.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Divide the Day,"Pretty Girls With Ugly Boys" (Pluto)
Screamo crew Divide the Day’s 14-track release find the upstarts ripe for the Warped Tour, as this Southern California quintet’s sound falls somewhere between The Used, Taking Back Sunday, and Lostprophets. Tracks like the somber “Those We Love the Most, Never Truly Leave Us” exhibit the band’s softer, more introspective side, while the raucous “My Yellow Pages Girl” suggests that theses guys know a lot more than their prayers. Using the sing/scream method throughout the entire disc does get a bit weary, but they make up for it with chaotic exchanges like the ones found on the skate rock of “Totally Outrageous Por Favor” and the Everytime I Die-esque ode to Sin City “Vegas Baby Vegas”. PRETTY GIRLS WITH UGLY BOYS is by no means a groundbreaking release, but it does showcase a band that merges punk, hardcore, and screamo well enough to keep the crowd intrigued.
www.plutorecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Pro-Pain,"Prophets of Doom" (Candlelight)
The resilient hardcore metal band Pro-pain continues to trudge on with PROPHETS OF DOOM, the quartet’s 12th release. Refusing to bow down to the music industry machine, this fiercely independent troupe bring their brand of punishing low-end mayhem back with a discernible wartime theme abound. Tracks like the headstomping “Hate Marches On” and the groovy thrash of “Operation Blood for Oil” have got the vintage Pro-pain wallop with a slab of social commentary thrown in. Three chords and the truth? It has served this NYHC-inspired outfit for over a decade, as Pro-pain comes back stronger and more meaningful than ever on PROPHETS OF DOOM.
www.candlelightrecordsusa.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Facing New York,"Facing New York" (Five One)
The five member outfit known as Facing New York’s jazzy discordance takes a while to grasp at first, but after the soothing keyboards, soaring melodies, and slacker meets hipster vocals kick into high gear, you can easily see the musical prowess oozing from this band. With a scope of influences ranging from Genesis to Fugazi, songs like “Fly on the Wall” dazzle the listener with the airs of both Steely Dan and The Mars Volta, while “Full Turn” finds the band pushing the prog rock aesthetic into a punk rock package. Startling and subversive, this self-titled endeavor has got that universal appeal feel, despite the band frequently going off in strange yet wondrous tangents. If you’re a sucker for melody and love a band that jams out, this eponymous debut with all of its peaks and valleys will undoubtedly sustain your interest for a long time.
www.fiveoneinc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


A Perfect Murder,"Strength Through Vengeance" (Victory)
Canadian cripplers A Perfect Murder return to the moshpit with an 11-track metalcore affair whose influences are easily deciphered. Pantera plus Lamb of God times Bay Area thrash guitars sums up what this quintet bring to the table, as tracks like “Body and Blood” and “Wake Up and Die” are laden with lyrical angst and venomous twin guitars. There’s nothing overly flashy or jawdropping on STRENGTH THROUGH VENGEANCE, just some mid-‘90s power groove metal that aims for the gut and hits with convincingly doses of brute force.
www.victoryrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Iron Maiden,"The Essential Iron Maiden" (Sanctuary)
What can you say about one of the biggest metal bands on the globe that hasn’t already been either said or proven? THE ESSENTIAL IRON MAIDEN, the latest collection of the English institution’s greatest hits, takes the listener through all the periods of the sextet’s glorious career, even the dark days when best known frontman Bruce Dickinson skipped town. Timed to coincide with the appearance of the group on this year’s Ozzfest tour in mind, this double disc is a great start for the novice fan unfamiliar with Eddie and the boys’ epic metallic swagger, but if you own all of the discs, you can skip this one and buy another ubiquitous t-shirt instead.
www.ironmaiden.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


HC3,"What About Your Life" (Indie Release)
HC3 is a hard rock trio from the Czech Republic whose post-grunge sound and nu-metal dynamics sound ready for the mall. Nestled somewhere between Seether, Breaking Benjamin and Cold, this band is armed with huge choruses and an eye on residence on Planet Rock’s premier community, but sadly don’t do more than take a ride down the assembly line of cookie cutter derivatives. If you like your rock safe and sanitized, check these guys out.
www.hc3.cz
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Unshine,"Earth Magick" (Crash)
Female fronted Finnish Goth rockers Unshine’s eight-track offering is a keyboard-laden, emotionally charged release that liberally borrows from bands like Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, and The Gathering. This quintet’s mid-paced metal seems a bit half-baked, almost sounding like a vocal mismatch with the music. Lethargic even by Goth rock standards, and a tad annoying vocally to boot, EARTH MAGICK is merely a retread trying to cash in on the female singer meets tortured musician factor that is almost beaten to death.
www.crashmusicinc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Gentleman Callers,"Don’t Say What It Is" (Wee Rock Records)
Sixties garage rock classics fresh off the press. Like a ripple in the space-time continuum, the Gentleman Callers keep pumping out a near perfect mix of garage rock. It’s as if they fell into some kind of time warp in 1967 and landed in 2005. I love this cd a little more every time I listen to it. They’re pretty much a household name in the world of garage rock but most of the general public has never heard of them. It’s a damn shame too. What a great improvement it would be to today’s radio if bands like this were added to the play lists. Favorite tracks are “Hey Little Girl”, “Hurt On Me”, “Treat Me So Bad” and “She Blew My Mind”. Very highly recommended.
www.weerockrecords.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


The Jena Campaign,"The Jena Campaign" (Hearts and Stars Records)
Slow, moody, folk / roots, tribulation rock. This is the perfect album for the person that has the blues but doesn’t like listening to traditional blues music. Interesting to a point but not really my cup a tea. I like my songs at 140 beats per minute. The kind of songs where the big blue vein pops out on the singers forehead. This is more like Quaalude speed. Very relaxed and laid back. If your into mellow, sad songs then this is exactly what your looking for. They sound a bit like the bastard acoustic brothers of Love And Rockets.
www.heartsandstars.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver


Rock ‘N’ Roll Monkey And The Robots,"Detroit Trauma" (Drastic Plastic Records)
This is a mess of collaborations by former Cold Crank bassist and singer Craig Campbell. Recorded in basements and apartments with whomever he could put together. This was supposed to be a collection of song demos to play for bands that he auditioned for. Campbell soon felt that this was indeed his next project instead of a means to land a new gig. That’s when Rock ‘N’ Roll Monkey And The Robots were born. The songs are lo-fi at times but they’re definitely catchy and interesting and well worth the listen. The songs are sort of punk, pop, emo, psycho-delic and garage all rolled into one convenient package.
www.drastic-plastic.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver



Thee Fine Lines,"Looking Everywhere" [7” vinyl ep] (Licorice Tree)
Another fine slab of garage rock vinyl from a band that’s never been one to disappoint. Jason, along with brother Justin and newly recruited bassist Johnathan, belt out four grade-A garage punk nuggets. “You’re For Me” and “Looking Everywhere” make up the A-side here and both songs are uptempo Billy Childish style rockers with loads of attitude. Well worth the four buck price tag and we’re only halfway through this thing. The B-side shakes it up a bit by slowing down ever so slightly on “One Thing Will Always Be” before kicking into the caffeine fueled frenzy of “You’re Heartless”. Highly recommended.
www.licoricetree.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver


Barcode,"Showdown" (Nuclear Blast)
Barcode is Europe’s answer to Hatebreed as this Danish extreme entity aptly rolls out 16 tracks of adrenaline fueled hardcore with no holds barred. This quintet may not be the most groundbreaking, but can you really deny the Merauder meets Madball rage spit out on tracks like “Showdown” and “Bad Standing”? Not if you’re caught in between a circle pit you can’t, and this album is bursting with those kind of explosive moments where chaos can ensue at any moment. If you dig any of the aforementioned bands and have to quench a thirst for more blood boiling, lose your mind, chugga-chugga hardcore, look no further than SHOWDOWN.
www.nuclearblastusa.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Kids Like Us,"Outta Control" (Eulogy)
Clocking 13 tracks in a little over 20 minutes, Florida’s Kids Like Us take their straight edge hardcore stance with a side order of sarcasm and a dash of goofiness on OUTTA CONTROL. Tracks like the whiplash rhythm of “Don’t Fake the Punk” and the fat riff booming from “Monster Squad” are surefire people movers, while “Gator Smash” revives the age-old quarrel between punk and authority with a decisive crunch that lets loose at the end with a supercharged Southern rock outro. OUTTA CONTROL offers some diversity, some shout out loud choruses, and above all, the opportunity to let all the skaters, punks, and hardcore kids let it all hang out.
www.eulogyrecordings.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Peccatum,"The Moribund People" (The End)
Norwegian electronic metal act Peccatum’s three-song endeavor offers the listener a multitude of aural stimulus, from the overly orchestrated verses in “The Moribund People” to the angelic female vocals that blanket the collection. Drawing from everything from today’s synthetic club music to the more ethereal versions of progressive black metal, Peccatum’s blend of dark symphonic rock should enamor fans of Opeth, The Gathering, Lacuna Coil, and the like.
www.theendrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Relentless,"Tempest Of Torment" (Crash)
A Swedish band emulating American death metal? How’s that for a twist? Ask the trio Relentless, whose nine-track growl-a-thon sounds as if it rose from the swamps of Florida or the cornfields of the Midwest rather than the confines of the most copied metal in recent memory. TEMPEST OF TORMENT is a nine-track manic ride, chock full of Cannibal Corpse-esque guitar runs and Obituary-like chop ‘em up rhythms. Tracks like the gore-infested “Scraped Off the Wall” and “Lethal Apparition” radiate the kind of foreboding elements that all death metal should involve, making this disc perfect for the connoisseur of death metal’s aural carnage.
www.crashmusicinc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Life Of Agony,"Broken Valley" (Epic)
Life of Agony’s latest release is not only a triumphant musical comeback, but marks a spiritual rebirth for the groundbreaking Brooklyn quartet, who reformed in 2004 after a less than amicable breakup nearly five years earlier. BROKEN VALLEY is a 12-track reclamation of past glories and a look ahead to future promise, as the hard rock seeping through “Love to Let You Down” and “Don’t Bother” shape a new, more accessible dimension for the band. Retaining the penchant for drawing from deep emotional places, lead vocalist Keith Caputo’s visceral lyrical outpouring on tracks like “Wicked Ways” and “The Day He Died” is top notch, as is the bombastic rhythm section of Alan Robert and Sal Abruscato, while the ever-steady Joey Z. churns out the kind of riffs he could never find while away from LOA. Now seasoned veterans of the rock world, BROKEN VALLEY depicts an outfit poised to re-embark on the journey they left behind before stronger and more determined than ever.
www.epicrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Dark New Day,"Twelve Year Silence" (Warner Brothers)
The members of Dark New Day comprise an impressive pedigree, playing in notable acts as Sevendust, Skrape, Virgos Merlot, and Creed, while their debut 11-track disc takes the nu metallic grunge blueprint into the 21st century. TWELVE YEAR SILENCE is an album laden with epic fretwork, shimmering yet heavy choruses, and a plethora of angst-ridden metallic melodies that fans of self-loathing and Alice in Chains will have a ball with, as songs like “Healin Time” could pass for Layne Staley light and “Brother” display the bark and bite that much of today’s hard rock acts lack, while the cascading melody line of “Free” could pass for a collaboration between Coldplay and Chevelle. Melancholic with a smattering of hard hooks, TWELVE YEAR SILENCE marks the continuation of mid-tempo mope metal sans the red baseball hat and ridiculousness.
www.darknewday.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The New Electric,"The New Electric" (The Perpetual Motion Machine)
Instrumental gold, indeed. The New Electric’s jazz background, coupled with the band’s love for heavier music a la Led Zeppelin and Fugazi, makes this music schooled quartet’s eponymous release one of the most engaging four-song releases without vocals heard to date. Encompassing the melody of classic rock ‘n’ roll with the mind blowing virtuosity of guys that have spent years in their bedrooms practicing, songs like the elegant and enchanting “Don’t Send Me Home” and the manic “Circus Metal” will have you pumping your fists in a righteous rock rage while shaking your head in wonderment as to how these guys can make something sound so complex and rock so damn hard.
www.theperpetualmotionmachine.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Various Artists,"Taste Of Chaos" (Image)
The inaugural Taste of Chaos tour, which is basically The Warped Tour done indoors on a smaller scale, has been documented via this 15-track CD with a separate DVD available for your viewing pleasure as well. The disc features live cuts by such luminaries as Atreyu, Killswitch Engage, Unearth, and The Used, showcasing these rising act’s ability to whip the crowd into frenzy and hash it out live, rivaling the best in the business. If you missed the tour, attended but were too drunk to remember any of it, or are a sucker for live screamo and hardcore, then this collection is right up your alley.
www.image-entertainment.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


FM Bats,"Everybody Out…Shark in the Water" (Vinyl Dog)
Bringing the noisy punk rock straight from the garage, this California quartet unleashes some left of center action on this seven-track disc. FM Bats are a disheveled bunch with a dissonant streak, as songs like “Young Man’s Glory, Old Man’s Blues” display a fine love for both Misfits and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. These Long Beach natives, whose original guitarist was recently replaced for his current stint in a Nevada state prison, undoubtedly have a checkered musical past, confirmed by the bevy of influences like the surf guitar meets minimalist punk rock vibe on “”Cat Brats Theme” or the old Cali punk rock sneer found on ”All You Do is Jerk”. EVERYBODY OUT…SHARK IN THE WATER is an album that puts the unpredictability back into a punk rock frame of mind.
www.vinyldogrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Ritual Carnage,"Infidel" (Osmose)
Japan’s answer to bands like Forbidden and Destruction is the long-running metal troupe Ritual Carnage, whose latest release is a 12-track album determined to put your neck in traction. Performing with the fires of ‘80s thrash and death metal in the forefront, the dual guitar attack flawlessly executed on burners like “Thirst for Blood” will reel you back to the glory days of the Bay Area and Tampa scene, while the progressive transitions and unstable rhythmic patterns of “Do Not Resuscitate” sound like the perfect homage to Death. Wielding the power and fury of the predecessors of the extreme metal genre without plagiarizing or bastardizing anything, I, INFIDEL is an unwavering display of technical metal that fans clamoring for the sounds of the old school should take note of.
www.theendrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Nachtmystium,"Eulogy IV" (Southern Lord)
American black metal band Nachtmystium make it sound authentic on its nine-track evil endeavor, as this trio rear back and open the floodgates of their personal hells on EULOGY IV. Rounding out its supernatural sonic assault with a hearty helping of melody, tracks like “Bleed for Thee” sound like a cross between Danzig and Emperor, while the feverish din made via speedy percussion and a slew of effects on “You Get Nothing” is an unsettling listen. Bonus materials contain three cover tunes by heavyweights Burzum, Von, and Earth, as well as a live cut makes this CD a good bargain for the concerted black metal shopper interested in getting the most bleak for the buck.
www.southernlord.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Small Towns Burn a Little Slower,"Mortality As Home Entertainment" (Triple Crown)
From a quick listen this band may sound like a zillion others, but Small Towns Burn a Little Slower’s substance, a trait debated in the scene from the opening lyric of the first track “Forget the Fashion”, helps them stand a cut above your typical melodic punk rock quintet. “There’s no room for substance/ when you’ve got abundance” is the mindset that the outfit decries through the course of its 12-track offering, teetering between nostalgic waxings on “Last Blast Off” and melodic condemnations like “Millstones and Milestones”. Keeping the pace upbeat, the lyrics intriguing and at times biting, and the music sturdy and candid, STBALS fall somewhere in between Brand New, Starting Line, and Hawthorne Heights, exerting the proper balance of power punk prowess and pop-rock melodics to get the kids in a tizzy.
www.triplecrownrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Drunk Horse,"In Tongues" (Tee Pee)
The hard rockin’, ass shakin’, smoke-filled arena rock circa 1978 riffs that pervade the new release by Drunk Horse, a 10-track encounter of unapologetic Southern rock boogie played like the Dixie flag’s future depended on it, steal the show on the band’s latest. Going retro while the ghosts of Thin Lizzy, The Who, Black Oak Arkansas and Lynyrd Skynyrd give their posthumous permission, tracks like the slide guitar showmanship of “Strange Transgressions” and the thumping rocker “Grinding Teeth” take charge, setting the time machine to 1977 as the rollicking and deliciously titled “Nice Hooves” actually features a drum solo. A freakin’ drum solo, you ask? Yeah, they go there. If you’re big into the preservation of whiskey soaked redneck rock ‘n’ roll, IN TONGUES is an album that a rowdy barbecue or a crowded front porch will gladly appreciate. Just make sure you wear something you don’t mind getting ruined when enjoying.
www.teepeerecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Blessing the Hogs,"The Twelve Gauge Solution" (Goodfellow)
Blessing the Hogs is a punishing quartet featuring incomparable heavy music producer guru Billy Anderson in its ranks on vocals and guitar. This San Francisco juggernaut slay through 13 tracks of dropped down madness, menacing vocals, and outright musical chaos. With a resume as impressive as Anderson’s production credits (Unsane, Sick of It All, Melvins, Neurosis), you can only imagine what kind of unsettling metallic offering this band brings to the table. As vicious as you can stand, yet rich in thunderous melodies a la Mastodon, songs like “Let’s Play Doctor…Kevorkian” and “Son of Sanford” move with the viscosity of hot magma off an exploding volcano, while tracks such as “The Carrier” pack the wares of Today is the Day, old school Korn, and Eyehategod into an explosive powder keg, THE TWELVE GAUGE SOLUTION exhibits the band’s penchant to push the extreme envelope in ways you’d never think possible. Easily one of the most forward thinking heavy bands gracing the scene today, Blessing the Hogs maniacal melding of stoner, sludge and grind metal denotes yet another landmark release from Anderson; only this time, he’s predominantly on the other side of the control board.
www.goodfellowrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Mistress,"In Disgust We Trust" (Earache)
Did you ever wonder what a cross between Entombed and Hatebreed with shards of Cathedral would sound like? Well, wonder no more, as the British quintet Mistress has beaten you to the punch on the outfit’s 10-track collection. IN DISGUST WE TRUST is the name of this crusty low-end monstrosity, and with song titles like “Fucking Fuck” and “Happy Ever Disaster” in tow, you can expect a range of metallic blasts that vary from heavy to really heavy to painfully heavy. If you’re looking for a disc to wreak havoc to, allow the lads in Mistress to assist your thrashing by providing a more than ample soundtrack of groovy downtuned mayhem.
www.earache.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Epica,"We Will Take You With Us" (The End)
Symphonic metal maestros Epica’s grandiose offering WE WILL TAKE YOU WITH US sounds like the merging of Lacuna Coil, Opeth, and Evanescence, as this collective of Holland’s finest have re-released their debut with a few added bonus tracks here. On the nine-track offering, a smattering of hard rock nuances and orchestral devices collide head to head, creating a huge sound capable of overtaking Broadway at any given moment. Hell, Epica even throws in a cover of “Memory” from the famous play CATS for good measure. If you’d like some female fronted heavy metal with a penchant for melody and laden with symphonic glory, Epica is your dream disc.
www.theendrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Impaled Nazarene,"Death Comes in 26 Carefully Selected Pieces" (The End)
Impaled Nazarene has decided to celebrate its career with this 26-track live endeavor spanning the outfit’s 15-year run. This veteran Finnish act has successfully bridged the gap between punk rock and black metal, and it’s never been more evident than hearing “Armageddon Death Squad” and “The Endless War” live, as witnessing the furious firepower of both genres working in cahoots is truly captivating. Live albums are usually not this thrilling, but then again, most bands aren’t as intriguing as Impaled Nazarene.
www.theendrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Dark Funeral,"De Profundis Clama Vi Ad Te Domine" (Candlelight)
Swedish death metal forefathers Dark Funeral are renown around the world for their impressive albums and mammoth sound, and the clan’s first-ever live album captures the mayhem masterfully. DE PROFUNDIS CLAMAVI AD TE DOMINE is the title for the 15-track evil endeavor, a blast beated, throat ripping, riff roaring effort that finds the band in South America, churning out all of their wares to a rabid fan base. The best part of the disc? The end, when the traditional soccer chant adds in “Dark Funeral” after three “Oles”, a sign that this monstrous metal unit and their tumultuous tunes have gone far beyond global.
www.candlelightrecords.co.uk
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Horna,"Envaatnags Enos Solf Esgantaavne" (The End)
Finnish black metal troupe Horna takes the traditional approach on this eight-track offering, on which the titles of songs and lyrics are all in Finnish. While this may detract purists that seek to understand every word sung, the sheer underground rawness of tracks like “Vala Pedolle”, coupled with a minimalist molten melody, make for a fine listen when yearning to thrash about. Like most in the genre, this corpse-painted sect who’ve been around since 1993 keeps the vocals high pitched and screeching and the rhythms low and pounding. Yet the guitar riffs are flexible and fluid, setting the tone and commanding the pace of the tracks with vicious execution. Exploring more grooves than most, Horna’s latest sojourn into sacrilege is ripe for the death metal fan looking for unadulterated aggression.
www.theendrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Ramesses,"The Tomb" (Invada)
British doom mongers Ramesses return with a thunderous three-track offering whose sludgy residue leaves your ears begging for Q-Tips. Produced by heavy rock guru Billy Anderson, this trio meticulously pours on the syrupy riffs and dollops of droning down tuned rhythms, awaiting the aural avalanche to follow. And, if that’s not enough for you, the bonus track changes the pace and provides some acid rock flashbacks inside of the cavernous cacophony. If you’re a doom freak, you need this disc on the double.
www.invada.co.uk
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Kult Ov Azazel,"The World, The Flesh and the Devil" (Crash)
Florida has been well known for producing some of the most sick-ass metal ever heard, and you can add the blasphemous blastbeats of Kult ov Azazel to the long list. Produced by Hate Eternal’s Erik Rutan, this corpse-painted quartet’s nine-track offering of suffering hails Satan in the most notorious of ways with speed metal’s riffs, death metal’s screams, and black metal’s unholy rhythms. While the right wingers are clutching their chests, Kult ov Azazel is laying down some seriously Satanic stuff that bridges the gap between Dimmu Borgir and Emperor.
www.crashmusicinc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Dew Scented,"Issue VI" (Nuclear Blast)
German metal machine Dew Scented may sound a bit more Swedish than you’d expect. This blistering 12-track release righteously secures its place amongst Scandanavia’s heaviest hitters, emitting a solid hunk of hostile metal from the rabid opener “Processing Life”. Much like fellow countrymen Kreator, this quintet knows how to pound out punishing riffs like “Turn to Ash” with pummeling precision, while the stunning percussive attack throughout ISSUE VI is a must hear for all metal drummers worldwide. Mixing the wares of The Haunted, Arch Enemy, and Lamb of God, Dew Scented’s crippling, chaotic take on the new wave of thrash metal is yet another blistering release for ardent metal fans to acquire.
www.nuclearblastusa.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


YOB,"The Unreal Never Lived" (Metal Blade)
The ethereal sounds of the doom rock trio YOB continue to entrance and confound. The latest offering by this Oregon-based clan is only four songs long, but unlike most doom acts, provides a bevy of dynamic nuances which keep songs like “Quantum Mystic” intriguing and enchanting. Picking up where bands like Sleep left off in pure rock density, Yob’s space rock subtleties, organic attachment to the riff, and mighty use of metallic elements makes THE UNREAL NEVER LIVED an album of epic proportions. Colossal and essential, any fan of doom metal needs to add this one to their collection.
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Nicaea Room,"Bulletproof Benny Takes on the Yuppie Brigade" (Hold True)
The Nicaea Room is a caustic quartet whose off the wall five-track release keeps your ears on guard and your body in contortions. This New Hampshire unit brandish the kind of vitriolic versatility of bands like Between the Buried and Me, The Red Chord and Candiria, utilizing jazzy riffs, monstrous breakdowns, death metal phrasings, and whatever the hell else they get their grubby hands on. What’s most surprising about this group is how easy they lapse into a memorable musical passage after blowing your head off with technical savagery on tracks like “Sleeping with the Piranahas”. If you’re looking for left of center aggression, The Nicaea Room is your kind of band.
www.holdtrue.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Black Dahlia Murder,"Miasma" (Metal Blade)
Hailing from the murder capital of the United States, Detroit’s The Black Dahlia Murder’s aural onslaught is a veritable wall of sound encompassing 10 tracks that clock in at over 30 minutes. No strangers to the Swedish metal sound, MIASMA continues the band’s love affair of At the Gates and the like with surging guitars, siren shrilled to disturbingly growled vocals, and a flurry of drums that really accentuate the entire collection. Tracks like “A Vulgar Picture” and “Miscarriage” melodic maul your senses, while “Flies” find the quintet at its most beautifully brutal. If you appreciate the second wave of Swedish metal, as well as a relentless metal assault, MIASMA is an album to check out.
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Divining,"Reprisal" (Dressed To Kill)
This five-piece outfit from Philadelphia took the Darkest Hour template and ran with it, creating their version of Swedish metalcore by way of America. Showcasing solid chops on tracks like “Beyond the Point of Return”, this bunch of upstarts are no slouches in any department, especially when it comes to laying down some mean guitar solos. Nine tracks of unadulterated metal is what REPRISAL delivers, albeit very derivative of the countless other bands emulating the bastardized Gothenburg metal sound. Undaunted, The Divining’s wailing guitars like the ones found on “Final March” and “Forsaken by the Light” allow this burgeoning group the wares to give bands like Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall a run for their money.
www.thedivining.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Flotsam and Jetsam,"Dreams of Death" (Crash)
Flotsam and Jetsam is probably best known for being the band Metallica plucked bassist Jason Newsted from after Cliff Burton’s tragic death, yet the tumultuous Arizona quintet has also had its fair share of success. On the comeback release DREAMS OF DEATH, the old school thrash assault of “Straight to Hell” and the prog-rock styling of “Bathing in Red” work effectively on opposite ends of the spectrum, showcasing the outfit’s versatile wares quite well. While the songs are on the money, the shoddy production values, as well as the band’s well documented inability to stay as a cohesive unit, work in tandem against DREAMS OF DEATH, tarnishing what otherwise stands as a solid offering.
www.crashmusicinc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Rod Lee,"Vol. 5: The Official" (Morphius Urban)
Lyrically, Rod Lee's album leaves something to be desired, but its repetition has a certain draw. And he is a producer, so the use of vocal bits as instrumentation sounds good rather than just simplistic. The main appeal of this album is in the sound and the way each track easily blends into the next, though. "Watch My Ass" becomes "Watch Em Go" and "What They Gown Doo" so naturally, even if they have little to do with "Get Up On It" or "Bass Drop." And almost every track is only a minute or two long, so it's like a series of choruses. Pretty brilliant move, appealing to both the obsessive and ADD listener at the same time.
www.morphius.com
Rating:

Review by Christopher DeCrocker


Alicia Keister,"Distant Light" (Indie Release)
Holy cow…. So I get this cd to review for the illustrious online mag Ear Candy hoping it was a good piece of work to suggest to friends and family. Well I threw it in the cd player and walked out to the kitchen to get some coffee. When I returned I saw that my stereo had caught on fire!!! I recover the disc from that charred piece of electronics that was once my cd player and lucky me it came out unscathed cause I was really, really looking forward to listening to this. On my way to work I threw it into my truck’s cd player to try to give it a listen again and the same thing happened but this time it caught my whole truck on fire!!! So the fire department had come put the fire out and I called the insurance company, etc. I was thinking of buying another car sooner or later anyway, old girl was ready for the junk pile heaven. And I also had to hitch a ride to work. Son of a bitch!!! So I thought, something crazy is going on here?!?!. It must be the work of the devil. So I threw holy water on my home computer so I could take a gander at what was causing so many problems and behold my unholy soul, it was a 4 song ep from singer songwriter Alicia Keister who sings about churchy things like old men begging for bread, empty hearts, dead souls, praying jebus, and serving two masters… whatever that means. It sounds like a porno I watched one time. Anyway … It's like Slayer but different…
www.aliciakeister.com
Rating:

Review by JRumbass


Margaret McClure,"Tears for Jack" (Indie Release)
This six song album from singer songwriter Margaret McClure is a story of love and longing, breaking up, and making up. This woman has been through it all and she pours her heart out for us all to see and that takes a lot of guts. The high points of this album are “Brick Wall” and “You’re Not Gonna Break My Heart” but the true gem of this album is the drum and bass version of “The Story is Still the Same” which is excellent and a nice crossover. Overall it’s a nice happy singsong album with lots of strumming acoustic guitars and pop melodies reminiscent of Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan and a bit of Susanna Hoffs from the Bangles fame. The breathy vocal style is a bit nervy and grating at times but needed to get her point across. If you’re into this thing go get it, buy it up….
www.margaretmccluremusic.com
Rating:

Review by JRumbass


Mistic Rein,"Cobwebs" (Indie Release)
When I think of Mistic Rein I think of Mystic Fruit Juice taking over the world or some Sufi mystic mind control. But in actuality Mistic Rein is a NJ band that comes across as a modern day Fleetwood Mac. The song “Oh Lover” reminds me of a nice chill cruising song. The reverb on the guitar is dreamy. Dark Cloud reminds me of an Eric Clapton/Peter Frampton leftover. “To Be Free” sounds a bit like a Pat Benatar crooning. You can tell they pull from old roots, which is cool. This is a strong band musically with quite a bit of depth. What’s missing is some stronger backup singing to fill in the empty spots and also the mastering of this disk is a little off. Both versions of Reiny Day distort when turned up loud… But not bad.
www.misticrein.com
Rating:

Review by JRumbass


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