Month: October 2007

The Born Again Floozies – 7 Deadly Sinners

Upon first listen to 7 Deadly Sinners by The Born Again Floozies, you might think you have returned to the early 90s ska era, except these guys rock a tuba instead of trumpets and utilize tap dancers for added percussion. While this idea is great, it’s not only been done, but defeated. Tilly and the…

Sound The Alarm – Stay Inside

Punk rock died when Johnny Thunders bit the dust in 1991. Green Day attempted to revive the fuck-all spirit of the former New York Doll three years later with Dookie; that release presaged the second demise of the scene as every acne-wrecked teenage boy who struggled with an instrument in a high school imitated newly…

Readnex Poetry Squad – Social Issue

Social Issue is a collage piecing together different sounds, issues, words, and allusions. The album is very in touch with history, and has an educated basis. I was first given hope by the subtitle “poetry squad” on this album. To me, this signaled an emphasis on lyrics. I was proven right by poignant writing, with…

Keith Murray – Rap-Murr-Phobia

Longevity is a subjective concept in hip-hop nowadays, and based solely on the innumerable, watered-down offerings on the shelf at the record store, any artist who releases two decent albums can very loosely be said to have achieved permanence. There are still a few rappers who have truly been in the game for more than…

Parkway Drive – Horizons

One of the most labor-intensive parts of being in a band is the grueling, rarely democratic, and often fight inducing process of choosing a great band name. After all, a band without a name that screams “Hey, we’re a band!” isn’t a band at all really. And hence my confusion when I got the new…

Mountain – Masters of War

Tribute albums and cover bands usually conjure images of middle-aged, monochrome make-upped garage band rockers coping with a midlife crisis, but there are exceptions to every generalization, and Mountain’s Masters of War is one of them. Masters of War “pays homage to (Bob) Dylan’s song writing genius,” the band claims on its website. Mountain succeeds…

Milton and the Devils Party – How Wicked We’ve Become

Milton and the Devils Party’s latest album, How Wicked We’ve Become has just left the record player, and has left an uninterested and totally distracted feeling with its listeners. Every song has the same really dreary, monotone vocal by singer/bass player Daniel Robinson. The song structure is decent in terms of instrumentation, however. Mark Graybill…

Small Sins – Mood Swings

I forgive you, Beck. No seriously, I forgive you for your talent. I forgive you for your business savvy. I even forgive you for being a Scientologist. But I swear to God, it’s getting harder and harder to ignore the plague of mediocre crybabies with keyboards and drum machines that you’ve unleashed upon us. Honestly,…

Melody Club – At Your Service

Being likened to ABBA is an outwardly questionable-at-best comparison, but in the case of Swedish rockers Melody Club and At Your Service, it’s a complimentary measure. Melody Club is a badass, contemporary version of ABBA without the prancing, leotarded visions of Mamma Mia! So what warrants the comparison? Because Melody Club plays catchy, fun music…

Mass Shivers – Ecstatic Eyes Glow Glossy

Give the Chicago-based band Mass Shivers credit. Not only is its latest CD Ecstatic Eyes Glow Glossy short (a mere 29 minutes long) but the band has released one of the more obscure rock recordings of the year. So kudos go out to this band, because it has the guts to spit in the face…

The Holloways – So This Is Great Britain?

This record may not be revolutionary, but it is a solidly good record. The first song to stand out was “Generator” with catchy guitar riffs and upbeat lyrics. The album contains the music video for this track which is just as quirky and amusing as the songs themselves. The video even adds aspects to the…

Bedlight for Blue Eyes – Life on Life’s Terms

Former grandiose pomp-rock nimrods Bedlight for Blue Eyes have kicked out a burdensome former singer, gone through several other line-up changes since the uneven and equally oppressive 2005 debut The Dawn, and re-emerged bouncier than a Super Ball. The follow-up, Life on Life’s Terms, is a totally revamped pop-oriented endeavor with a cache of radio-responsive…

Nu Cultures – Butterflies, zebras, and moonbeams

When a double CD release comes across my desk from an unknown band, I’m as enthusiastic about listening to it as I am about opening my credit card bill after Christmas. But Philly newcomers Nu Cultures have left me pleasantly surprised with this ambitious release of masterfully produced downtempo. Their blend of music is Radiohead-sounding…

Daniel Bon – Walking Backwards Thru the City

There’s nothing really wrong with Walking Backwards Thru the City, the debut CD by Boston’s Daniel Bon & the FUTURE ghosts. The playing is capable, recorded with booming, live-sounding production. Bon churns and croons, changing up the pace enough to keep from settling into the same groove for too long. And Bon has clearly studied…

Landon – Defying the Stereotype

Despite its title, this album defies no stereotype. Landon is the equivalent to a combination of Pink, Amy Lee from Evanescence, and Jo Jo. Landon has a strong voice and can hit high notes, but this does not negate the unoriginality of this album. Remember when Britney Spears did “Stronger” on her album Oops, I…

Awake and Alert – Devil in a Lambskin Suit

Rich, thick, and somber, Awake and Alert’s Devil in a Lambskin Suit is moody and subtle in its execution. Finely crafted with deep and sometimes haunting landscapes, the album’s only shortcoming is its repetition. The Arizona quartet’s deep and atmospheric feel is initially striking. Minimalist instrumentation weights every note and tone with importance as Awake…

Sweetbird – Shine

First impressions are hard to overcome. For someone who is not really into religion, the Heavenly Father and all that jazz, it’s difficult to give an honest opinion about a record for music’s sake when it was recorded in worship of the Lord. Lyrical content is a large part of the entire concept of a…

Grayshot – Waiting Days

Not anyone can be a musical genius, and as such, there are very few artists out there who manage to do something new and totally unexpected. Instead, what happens is this: one band comes up with a sound, and then facsimiles of that band start appearing all over the place; imitation is the sincerest form…

Hip-Hop Victory in Miami – M.I.A and The Cool Kids

M.I.A. and The Cool Kids Heat Up Miami By Shaun Flagg I am exhausted from last night; it is a struggle to function and coffee is the only thing holding me together right now. But it is worth the pain, a long workday of lethargy is a small price to pay. The show at Studio…

Alvin Lee – Saguitar

Now this is blues-rock for real blues enthusiasts! I am of course referring to Alvin Lee’s latest album, Saguitar. Those of you yearning for a Ten Years After fix might be disappointed, for this latest effort is a lot less rocking and bit more bluesy than Lee’s previous incarnation. Think more Scotty Moore, less Yard…

Impending Doom – Nailed.Dead.Risen

Blast beats, metalocalypse themes and the guttural bellowing vocals of Brook Reeves take the listener to the darkest corner of the subterranean world, and this is where you will find Impending Doom. Although the band hails from sunny and affluent Corona, California, Impending Doom sharetheir demonic inclinations with standout tracks of irony such as the…

Cipes and the People – The Conscious Revolution Has Begun

“We can free the world”, sings Greg Cipes in “Free Me”, the first single from The Conscious Revolution Has Begun. The debut album from Cipes and the People is a powerful mix of reggae, hip-hop and rock. The album may not be pioneering any new music frontiers; however there is no shortage of love, passion…

Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew – Spirit If…

Broken Social Scene may be presenting Kevin Drew, but this is not a BSS album. Like many BSS compositions, each song is quietly tripped into, and then builds to a symphony of horns, flutes and other orchestral instruments. But there’s something different about Spirit If… The difference between could possibly be due to the host…

Les Sabler – Sweet Drive

Guitarist Les Sabler called on heavyweight studio cats to help create Sweet Drive. But while all of these players have seriously fine jazz chops, this disc is little more than an instrumental pop album. With a light guitar style, which brings to mind George Benson’s pop heyday, these thirteen soft exercises allow Sabler play breezily…

Shantel – Disko Partizani

Shantel has evolved from DJ Shantel, primarily an electronica purveyor, to a music creator who also incorporates Romanian ethnic elements into his grooves. And some of the instruments included on Disko Partizani are quite exotic, indeed. These old world accents include oud, lauto, tzouras, diatonic accordion, and helicon. More familiar instruments, such as trumpets and…

Axe Riverboy – Tutu To Tango

Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Tahiti 80 front man Xavier Boyer, now know as, Axe Riverboy, has created a collection of smart lyrics and winsome melodies on his new album, “Tutu To Tango”. The arrangements are concise, the embellishments are well-placed and the production extremely well-done. Axe confesses that he “could be somebody else” in the tune…

Immortal Souls – Wintereich

Finnish band Immortal Souls has embarked on an ambitious project. Though I am not a hardcore fan, I was impressed with the beauty (yes, you did read that right) of the lyrics and the artwork of Wintereich. This album is Immortal Souls’ third full-length album and its second US release on Facedown Records. Immortal Souls…

Carnifex – Dead in My Arms

Dead in My Arms is the debut metal album released by San Diego based Carnifex on This City is Burning/Uprising Records. Is there such a genre as “metal soundscape?” This 10-track offering is best described as just that. The “scape” is thick with blistering drum fills and guttural chants intended more to add texture than…

Jay Eff Kay – America: Suicide Notes Vol. 1

The context for Jay Eff Kay’s America: Suicide Notes Vol. 1 is best captured by the image included on the back cover of the CD jacket: you, my friend, are stuck sniffing the butt of “the man.” Jay Eff Kay uses 14 tracks of hip hop and rap to fight back. “Den of Rats” takes…

The Peaces – Is/Are/Was/Were

I’m envious of the money somebody in this alleged 3-piece band must have to be able to spend all that time in the studio, overdubbing and layering all those vocals. What I’m hearing is a highly professional, painfully polished attempt at creating a 21st Century America or Bread, or at times perhaps an uninspired Brian…

Working For a Nuclear Free City – Businessmen & Ghosts

While their name carries certain assumptions the boys of Working For a Nuclear Free City maintain they are not “a bunch of tree hugging hippies” but merely liked the visions of “secret bunkers hidden just underground ” after seeing the slogan on a street sign. Strangely enough, the name makes perfect sense upon listening to…

The Rosewood Thieves – Lonesome

The Rosewood Thieves return to the country tinged, Brit-pop sound that first caught the world’s attention last summer with its debut album From The Decker House. Although the New York-based quartet’s reputable influences shine through unashamedly on the new EP Lonesome, The Thieves display a rare comfortability in its songwriting not usually seen in such…

Enamel – Stray This Way

Hailing from Springfield, the capital of Illinois, Midwestern power-rock trio Enamel has self-released a dramatic sophomore album. Stray This Way serves up more of the trademark alternating patterns of bone-crunching intensity and wistful balladry, juxtaposed against commanding melodies, soaring harmonies, solid songwriting and tight musicianship. The flawlessly self-produced Stray This Way wears its diverse influences…

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery (Remastered)

The fourth studio album from English progressive rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) is by far one of their most ambitious, if not successful, albums to date. The H.R. Giger artwork should be your first clue that this particular album has more of a science fiction theme than previous works. Peter Sinfield, the lyricist for…

Justin Martin – Chaos Restored

Born in West Hartford, Conn. but transplanted to San Francisco, Calif., Justin Martin exploded onto the house/techno scene in 2003 after being noticed by film producer/DJ Barclay Crenshaw- A.K.A. Claude VonStroke- with his single “The Sad Piano”. Martin has since been a frequent contributor to Buzzin’ Fly Records and recently a cofounder of dirtybird records…

Corporate X – Surrender

If Corporate X is as business-minded as its name suggests, then Surrender finds this dance-rock act easily settling in for a little casual Friday behavior. It contains no lyrical equivalents to flow charts. Instead, it features songs about real life. This act’s central player is Christine DeLeon, who fills these six tracks with eeriness that…

A Burst of Rock n’ Roll Recklessness

An Interview with Jacob Sproul of Rose Hill Drive By Martin Halo They are young, humble, and unspeakably impressive as the acting conduits of groaning bass-driven distortion fused with psychedelically charged rhythmic zeal. If Jack Bruce’s Cream and Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys caught each other’s eye hanging around the sexually charged atmosphere within the darkest…

Joe Bonamassa – Sloe Gin

Taking the album title and leading track from Tim Curry’s 1978 Read My Lips (Written by Alice Cooper alumni Bob Ezrin and Michael Kamen with Dick Wagner (A.C. alumni also) on guitar), Joe has given a good unrecognized tune a new ballsy, blues life. Mixing bluesy originals like Dirt In My Pocket and the ballads…

Ari Gold – Transport Systems

Ari Gold’s third studio album Transport Systems is classic hip-hop-influenced dance pop. The melodies feel nicked from Britney and the boy bands of the last decade, but without the catchiness. Ten years ago, few could help singing along with Brit and the boys–whether at the club or in the car on the way to work.…

Sergeant – Midnight to Midnight

Warning: If alone and depressed tonight, you do not want to listen to this album. If, on the other hand, you’re a sucker for straight ahead rock with an extremely moody powerhouse female vocalist/guitarist/pianist heading up the pack, then here’s your Huckleberry. Sergeant’s Midnight to Midnight is the darkest thing you’re going to hear in…