Monday, December 30, 2002

Album Reviews 2002

Fun 100/The Hand - Split ep
Ambulance Recordings

Anyone familiar with either of these bands live shows will of course instantly be picking up this little sonic dessert. With 4 tracks from each band, you can't go wrong for $8. Things start off with Fun 100's "Computer" song, a hopelessly catchy New Wave diddy followed by the poppy "Nintendo Golf" and the spastic "There Goes the Sun". Fun 100 ends their segment with the best song ever written, "Kimmy Gibbler is my Girlfriend", catchy, hysterical and of course destructive, it's a rollercoaster in one track. The Hand takes over from here with what is probably their best written tune, "Smells Like a Prawn", the power violence portions are beautifully grinding, but what really sets this track apart is the main guitar riff. One definite bonus to having the cd is being able to hear Josiah's wails of lament. (ie. his vocals) In a live setting they're often difficult to hear, but on the cd they're right there, scraping your ear drums nicely. The band grinds their way through "Already/Not Yet" and then the keyboard-catchy "No Payneth, No Gaineth" with equal aplomb, the band certainly isn't lacking in any technical aspect with each musician doing a standout job. They conclude the disc with the same song they end all their shows with, the brief but nevertheless entertaining "Reverend Jerry Falwell". The disc is a short ride but a very fun one, the art layout is great, and the production isn't going to win any awards but it's better then many or even most independent recordings, worth your cash for sure. -Dustin

My Spacecoaster - EP2
Lujo Records

Another bright release from Lujo records showing a fantastic coordination of smart and catchy rock musicianship. With subtle electronic implementations, the forcing indie-emo alterna rock has its ups and downs during the five songs of this release. The opener, "I Don't Care" rushes quickly through melodic hooks and energy only to pause occasionally to regain emotional composure and then continue again with yelling gang vocals and distortion. "Virgin" is a more than pleasurable instrumental track displaying a smart edge for indie-pop writing that is very much an invitation to indulge in its inspirational qualities as keyboards scream along to its train of thought. The song "Round" is not one of my fondest, sounding as if it may have been a indie-rock ripoff of some unknown Creed song. I would not recommend this song as an accurate display of this band's more outstanding talents. Second to last, "Surprise" is a soft, almost borderlining cliche, but nice acoustically played love song. It leads up to the ending and most exciting track "Everything Is As Though It Never Was", a perfect finisher to showcase a flawless work of excitable energy, melody and musical climax holding good memories to this bands creativity. -Stu

Stillwell - Don't Face a Problem... Burn It
Forge Again Records

Stillwell is a brightly innovative band. The obscure commotion of the sounds on this new record are rightly reminiscent of an abstract and mathy Blood Brothers, holding even much more than any common intruder by actually demonstrating talent as opposed to falling back on pop cluttered and desperate emotional padding. Very unapparent twists and blind corners continue to surprise the listening ear and unmelodically pirate distracted attention that is rightfully theirs. The catching technique of entertaining the short spanned listeners by coming up with witty and clever song titles is carried on here as well, such examples including the titles "What's Going on With the Word 'Fuck'?", "Quit Quitting Only to Quit Again" and "Okay, man. Sure. No Problem. Um, Thanks." All of which is a quick demonstration of raw talent, Stillwell should be hoped to continue what they have done with this release. -Stu

Bats & Mice - Believe it Mammals
Lovitt Records

Lovitt usually has a good ear for bands and they hit the nail on the head again with Bats and Mice. A nice combo of pop, emo and straight forward rock, "Believe it Mammals" is one of those albums that is just great to listen to on your headphones all alone late at night or on the way to work. Somewhat depressing in a very pleasurable way. Familiar building melodies and powerful plateaus that are very involving and enjoyable. Creative indie rock for a change. catchy too. Now to make all you scenesters drool, includes members of Rah Bras, Milemarker, Sleepytime Trio, Four Hundred Years, In Return, Mens Recovery Project and more! -Bullsheet

the Blue Letter - The Benchmark of Our Reality Was Never a Story At All
Take Roadside Monument, Frodus, the third Ninety Pound Wuss album, add some electronic beats and you get the Blue Letter. The vocals at some points seem to miss their mark but overall this is a quality demo worth listening to. -Bullsheet

Engine Down - Demure
Lovitt Records

Engine Down aren't quite emo, not really post rock... they don't really fit into any certain genre perfectly which makes it hard to review their album. I guess I'm kind a lazy reviewer (well, I've done almost all the reviews in this zine, so I'm just tired) and I like having some really nice comparisons to fall back on. The only one I could grasp for would be the Dismemberment Plan which falls into the same sort of musical boundary, but still, they are not very similar. So now I'm forced to explain to you why I like this album. I like it because it is intelligent music but still quite energetic, progressive but still listenable. There are female vocals on a couple of the tracks which work nicely to add atmosphere and heighten the mood. The song structures are interesting which lead to an overall pleasurable listening experience. -Bullsheet

Exhaust - Enregistreur
Constellation Records

After getting 20 albums that all sound the same, it's nice to get something like this, completely different. Exhaust sounds exactly like something you'd hear on Brave New Waves late at night on the way home from a show. This three piece that includes the drummer from Godspeed You Black Emperor! plays drum and bass with a reel to reel tape. They record sounds around town and late at night and manipulate them to fit into the rhythms being played by the other two. They change things up a lot and do some completely unexpected things which is nice in the era of oh-so-predictable music. Lots of experimental music doesn't really do it for me, but this album is definitely a keeper for it's ability to challenge as well as entertain. -Bullsheet

Milemarker - Anaesthetic
Jade Tree

Despite a bright pink layout with a white flying horse on the cover, Milemarker is actually quite dark. Playing post punk intertwined with haunting new wave with trade offs between male and incomparable female vocals. This sounds like music from the future. I know that is cheesy and cliche... but there is hardly anything you can compare this to. There is of course the Faint and the whole no wave uprising, but I feel that Milemarker doesn't rely on the retro catchy dance factor as some of these other bands instead creating original music that comes across as catchy and still somewhat retro. Milemarker is beginning to make a name for themselves because of their talent to make original and catchy music, and in the future people will look back on this album as the start of something. I don't know what yet...because it just started. -Bullsheet

Milemarker - Satanic Versus
Jade Tree

Milemarker seems to have hit the mark with this one. Everything seems to work. I like it better than Anaesthetic, it seems like certain parts were awkward and while being very creative, something was lost. Whatever it was that wasn't there for that album is present for these six tracks. They are all really intense and energetic while still maintaining that new wavey-ness that everyone loves so much. The first track is quite reminiscent of Kraftwerk, and the whole vocoder theme carries out through out the rest of the album especially on a new version of "New Lexicon" which is very dark, heavy and almost goth like. Like pretty much every cd these days, this is enhanced and features three videos, a bio and, if you're lucky and have track mixing programs, you can do re-mixes of two of the tracks. Milemarker has been called pretentious before, mostly due to albums with no song names or lyrics, but this is a rather refreshing idea, letting anybody who wants alter their art and make it their own. Experimental while still being listenable, this is a great album. -Bullsheet

Projektor - Red Wolf Glass
Endearing Records

I guess it's kinda prog-ish. It wasn't bad really, its was fine. It wasn't emo, but it was emotional, and not all cheesy either, it was decent. The cd kept on skipping in my cd player, probably because it was a CD-R, so I didn't get a full listen, but what I heard was good. Dark and moody, creative. It didn't necessarily sound like anything else I've heard, but it wasn't super original. It was good.(Matt) -Bullsheet

Saso - My Brain Hurts
Melted Snow

Amazing. Usually when I get a cd to review it comes in a yellow envelope with a couple poorly photocopied pieces of paper inside to inform me of how great they are supposed to be. The folks over at Melted Snow know how to get tired cynical zinesters excited with the amazing packaging and design the envelope was shiny and silver, and included was a beautifully designed full color book that got me so excited to listen to this album. Luckily Saso delivers. Their music is as beautiful and creative as the design. Mellow and sparse pop that still is interesting and intimate sounding. I have to compare this to Mogwai, but I don't think they're copying in any way, it just happens to sound kinda the same. This CD is a short run of 500 copies and contains two different versions of one song, plus two more songs and a hidden instrumental track. They put a lot of work into this release which shows that they really think this band is something special. The title track is "My Brain Hurts" and luckily after I listen to this it doesn't. -Bullsheet

Suffering and the Hideous Thieves / The Hush Hush - Split EP
Lujo Records

My oh My! It's 12:30 and I have to review this album so I can finish this friggin zine! Aww, screw it, I'll do it tomorrow. Well, it's tomorrow, well, today... yeah. I have to review this album now. We'll start off with Suffering and the Hideous Thieves, disc one of this two disc split EP. Jeff Suffering has been one of the most musically influential people in my life. Through all the different incarnations of 90 LB. Wuss to Raft of Dead Monkeys Jeff has always blown my mind and seemed to always be one step ahead of everybody else. Jeff works with 11 other amazingly talented individuals in this project all whom have been a part of some equally influential bands as well, such as Roadside Monument, the Prom, Red Stars Theory and more. I can see Jeff posting flyers around town that say, "Influential musician looking for 11 other influential musicians to create ultimate post punk uber group." Anyway, track one sets off with a piano and a whole host of classy instruments, what sounds like a cello and viola (but what do I know?) And Jeff's abrasive but loveable and personal voice. The next track "Apologies" starts out more like a pop song, and maintains it's upbeat poppiness, while the lyrics bound into deeply personal. At this point you begin to realize how much they've improved over their first release. "Creation" is a very ethnic sounding song, tribal beats, chanted lyrics that are all very gripping and draw you in and while remaining deceitfully low key, they whip you up into a frenzy. I wonder what that one would be like live. "St. Elizabeth" is dark and sophisticated with beautiful melodies. The last track "Woman" seems to be the angriest track of them all which is strange because as far as I can tell it's a worship song. Personally I hate most worship music because it's usually very cheesy, overly simplified and unoriginal. Jeff seems to be one of the only people who write worship songs that I can enjoy these days. So the Hideous Theives did a great job with their side, now lets flip over to the Hush Hush. I'd never heard anything by the Hush Hush before this EP. Their lead singer has an amazing voice. Very pretty. I heard somebody compare them to Bjork, and I can see where that comes from, but I don't like Bjork that much and I like this album. Hush Hush make very elegant and moving pop music. They have a talent to make slow and sparse songs that are still gripping and never stray into stupid and over done personal emotional cheesiness. A viola and keyboards add a lot to make the songs very textured and layered. The Hush Hush put together a worthwhile companion to Suffering and the Hideous Thieves. All in all a great split Ep. -Bullsheet

Three Inches of Blood - Battlecry Under a Winter Sun
Teenage Rampage Records

Too many bands play so called "metal" and get away with it. This is metal the way it was meant to be. Loud, fast, scary, insane. Two vocalists belt out epic lyrics while guitars wail and drums crash. These guys are easily on my top five metal bands of all time list. Maybe it's because of their non-pretentious, straight forward rock n roll approach. It's so classic, yet it just seems so fresh compared to the over produced, over angry, over played metal that is oh-so-popular these days. It seems like it might be heresy, but this is comparable to early Iron Maiden. Three Inches' first full length display their amazing abilities, with mind blowing metal mayhem. They have wahooohhs, gang vocals, and even an acoustic ballad (with a ukulele), everything that makes up a good metal album. Buy it, and then grab your spatula and head for their next show. -Bullsheet

Young and Sexy - Stand Up for your Mother
Mint Records

WOW. This is the kind of cd where all I want to say about it is "it's damn amazing, just go buy it," but to give you readers a bit more to chew on, I'll tell you why it's so great. To start off with, and I know this is a lame one but, these guys are from Vancouver. This means they're "local" and even though there are more than two million people in the Greater Vancouver area, I do feel kind of cool to know that I live in the same general area as these great musical artists. Now, it's hard for me to make comparisons with this kind of music because I don't really listen to any acoustic stuff, with guitar, bass, piano, synth, drums, and male and female vocals. But I can tell you about the feeling I get when I listen to it. I feel like these guys are playing real songs about real emotions and real people that they know, but it's not hard and heavy, it's rather soft and comforting with absolutely no cheese factor. I guess there are some elements of folk music here, listening to it almost makes me feel as though I'm watching friends perform on a low stage at a cozy little café, and when they're finished, I'll chat with them and tell them how rad their set was. This music makes me feel like I know the band members. Basically, it's very intimate down to earth music, music that can be related to, not some high above, "you don't know how I feel," rock music crap. This is art, made by real people that are humans just like you and me. This is real, and I just love it.() -Bullsheet

Gappa - The Triphibian Album
(demo) With the usual predictability that a homemade recording will lower the level of excitability by a band, local instrumental jam rockers, Gappa, have put out this demo tape at just the time when their talents piqued, and following then by their breakup. All the general hits of the classically influenced trio found their place on the tape, cleverly confounded by the instrumental genius of guitargasms and rhythmical delight. At the end of the tape there's some crazy experimenting... so WATCH OUT! -Stu

Sunday's Best - The Californian
Polyvinyl Records

There's so much I'd like to get out of my head about this record, but words keep on failing me. It's no out of the ordinary creation as far as style goes, but the level of song writing and melodic construction surpasses many of the other struggling artists this band competes with. I'd have to throw in comparisons to Grandaddy, new Plankeye and as well as many other pop-drenched classic rock references that still fail to come to my mind's surface. -Stu

Logh - Every Time a Bell Rings an Angel Gets His Wings
Deep Elm Records

Out pops another outstanding European atmospheric rock group, this time from Sweden. With obvious influences or comparisons pointing toward Mogwai and Sigur Ros, Logh provides a more meek yet catchable blend of delay effect, dreamy organs and strings along with their indie rock backing. The similarities are as close to Mogwai as anything else though, but the vocals are a more outstanding calibre than what may have been heard from any other group of this kind. Maybe not traditional to indie-instrumental music, Mattias Friberg's voice is clean, strong and stable, and induces a studio or radio attachment to the band's quality. -Stu

Manifesto Jukebox - Remedy
BYO Records

Manifesto Jukebox is from Finland and play tough and emotional punk rock comparing to Hot Water Music and Rites of Spring. Not many of the songs stick out though, all having been built from a basic formula of overheard riffs and transitions. The vocals are catchy though, and one song, 'Signs of Life' runs as being one of their better works but is still lacking with a weakness that the rest of the album does as well. -Stu

Fun 100 (demo)

Local lo-fi rock clowns have emerged into a form of astonishing quality that this disc brings to your wondering ears. Catchy and witty- while listening to everyone's favourite, 'Computer', you'd have only but to proclaim this the song of the millennium. Included also are the hits 'The Goes the Sun', 'Internet Girlfriend', 'Kimmy Gibler is My Girlfriend' and the super rad nintendo golf theme. Their songs are funny and smart with a go-get-em attitude, aided entirely by electronic lounge interludes and powerviolence. -Stu

Guerrilla Funk Monster - Triptophonic
Absurd Machine Records

A classic example of funk-rock, authenticated and comanionated by modern and well developed techniques of electronic tweaking, comes right alive off these tracks to commence inanimate objects' dancing. Funk, reggae, jazz, hip-hop and rock all take turns at their leads on these two discs of over a dozen song each. The sound is smothered with fullness and licked all over by a majority of original sounding jazz-funk bassline backbones. Quite the level of experimenting that could and does point to the supernatural influence of George Clinton's psychadelic orchestra is stationary throughout, and speaks its own voice of dance music. The quality and mastering could be better, most of the guitar is week sounding, but then again this isn't Rage Against the Machine. -Stu

The Red Light Sting - Our Love Is Soaking In It!

Hey, scenesters! Yeah, i'm talking to about instead of getting the latest Hot Hot Heat, you get this. Fantastic new-wave dance-party similar to all of those California bands your friends are always talking about. Duelling male and female vocals rocking out to frantic new wave madness that makes you wanna dance or do aerobics or something. This is much more technical than the RLS's previous ventures. Not to mention the production...Jesse Gander (dbs, Operation Makeout) does his craft well, and produces this album perfectly. You will not be disappointed by this release. -Josiah (The Hermit)

The Witness Protection Program - Boom! Jam! EP
Teenage Rampage Records

I think it's safe to say that the WPP have found their sound and they're going to stay there. While previous releases certainly rocked out, they sometimes hinted at a lack of unity. This ep filters out the crap of their first album and builds off of the better tracks. Yet, even as they mature and explore more conventional aspects of music like melody, they still bring on the rock, the chaos, and the noise. This pressing is very limited due to a lack of funds, so you might have to wait a while before you can hear it. -Josiah (The Hermit)

Various Artists - Dynamite With a Laserbeam
Three One G
Again and again, the Threeoneg and GSL labels continue to push the envelope of modern hardcore and avant-garde. This release is no exception. A collection of Queen songs interpreted by some of the strangest sounding (and looking) bands out there. Some of my favourite tracks include the Blood Brothers' rendition of 'Under Pressure,' the Oath's 'We Are the Champions,' Weasel Walter's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and the Locust's 'Flash's Theme.' My only complaint was that I didn't know enough of the Queen songs to experience the largest effect from the covers. Nonetheless, this comp is well worth picking up. -Josiah (The Hermit)

Zao - Parade of Chaos
Solidstate Records

*sniffle* The last Zao album ever (aside from the re-release of their first CD with the latest line up). At first this release might throw you for a loop, especially if you're familiar with older Zao material. Sure, Dan's vocals still grind your face off (and I mean RIGHT OFF!), but the music itself takes another evolutionary step from the last album. Many of the tracks feature guitars and drums far more rock and roll orientated then anything they've written in the past -"Angel Without Wings" specifically is a strange blend of upbeat music with unbelievably harsh vocals over top, somewhat discordant, and yet Zao forces it to work, bending sub-genres to their will. There are only a couple songs that could fit onto other Zao albums, most likely "A Pirate's Prayer" which looks back to the renowned Zao metalcore sound, and perhaps "Free the Three", Dan's political gambit thrown in the mix here. "Man in the Womb" is a soft and haunting dirge with acoustic guitars and some eery background synth, and fearful clean vocals. Actually, a lot of the tracks feature portions of clean singing, something Zao has tended to stay away from for the most part, but in every case here they compliment the songs. Maybe the most interesting song on the album is "The Ballad of Buddy Bigsby" , an experimental track of bizzare electronica, comparable to some of the sounds Radiohead have made on their more recent releases. That's one of the things that made Zao so great, most bands on a final release would just put out an expected disc of their "classic" sound, Zao decides to keep on experimenting, right to the end. A fitting note to exit on. -Dustin

Falling Cycle - The Conflict
Facedown Records

Facedown has become very respected for putting out some of the most top-notch "Tough-guy" hardcore records in the last couple years by bands like Figure Four, xDisciplex A.D., Dodgin' Bullets and Point of Recognition, but now they're finally expanding the types of bands they sign. Falling Cycle (named after TFU's original ep?) is not really anything like a regular hardcore band, in fact when you break it right down, Falling Cycle is really a metal band, plain and simple, most comparable to Darkest Hour, except with sickening breakdowns, sickeningly good that is. The lyrics are more like whiny emo stuff though about shitty relationships, but that's OK because unless you're following along with the lyric sheet you won't be able to understand the throaty screams emerging from the speakers anyway. This is the best release from Facedown yet in my opinion, but then I'm far more into metal then old school hardcore. Pick it up if you love metal. \m/ -Dustin

Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends
Victory Records

Most people associate tough guy and/or straight edge bands with Victory, but Taking Back Sunday is basically a rip off of Saves the Day. That being said, they're a damned good rip off. I don't really see how they have much in common with pop punk, to me they're basically just typical Get Up Kids-ish emo, but with 2 lead singers. Anyway, despite the recent emo-backlash, I can't get enough of this disc, extremely catchy, every single track, and it's soaked with emotion. The vocals make me want to go home and slit my wrists, excuse me. -Dustin

Dimension Zero - Silent Night Fever
Century Media

Featuring 2 members of In Flames and some guy from black metal hero's, Marduk, Dimension Zero will rip you a new asshole. It's not really melodic death metal, although I'm sure it'll be thrown into that scene just because of who is in the band, but really though Dimension Zero is a much thrashier version of death metal. Abrasive to the ear drums, they would fit more comfortably with bands like Carnal Forge, The Forsaken or maybe even The Haunted. The vocals are like sandpaper of the soul and the guitar and drum work is simply outstanding. If you're a metal head then go out and buy this cd right now! \m/ -Dustin

Atreyu - Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses
Victory Records

I wouldn't really call myself a fan of Victory Records, especially since they seem to be becoming trendy lately, signing bands left and right within a certain sound. Anyway, regardless of what you think of the label, this review is about Atreyu's new album, and how much ass it kicks... which is a lot. Now I know that screamo/melodic hardcore/emocore or whatever the hell you want to call it, has become fairly exploited in recent months, but these songs sound good, bottom line. Most reminiscent of Poison the Well and perhaps From Autumn to Ashes, Atreyu takes a more metal approach, more akin to Darkest Hour or Bleeding Through (Wow, that was a lot of name dropping). I guess the best way to simplify it would be to say Poison the Well getting it on with Iron Maiden. The tracks, are catchy, brutal, and emotional, which to me = bliss. Nice gravelly/screamo vocals, lots of double bass hammering into your soul, and great dual guitar melodies. \m/ -Dustin

Raft of Dead Monkeys - Joey the Pigfucker
Download it here...

Many of Raft of Dead Monkeys' unreleased and unheard earlier material from their time between albums are now available. The noises of post-math-punk of the first album, to the straight up classic influenced rock can be seen in transition here on this outcoming disc of yet to be released material of this now defunct and ridiculously under-rated band. The different rendition of 'What Are You Doing It For' is hilariously catchy as Jeff screams little catch phrases such as 'Let's Party', 'Forget Your Mom', 'Ow', and other unheard material can be heard as a serious influence from such acts as Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. -Stu

Aloha - Sugar
Poly Vinyl Records

Xylophones can really add a calming effect of fantasy to such quality indie-math-pop as Aloha's. Out of all of Poly Vinyl's exciting new releases, this record hits me the hardest with so much appreciation towards this new and refreshing sound. I'm actually and unreluctantly happy about listening straight through this magically capturing album, as it creates an undefinable melodic atmosphere comparable to Grandaddy and The Julianna Theory. A few tech and noise effects are included with these well constructed pop songs, only to enhance the emotional environment and modernize jazz aspects of the groups music. With enough maturity to catch the ears of mainstream radio, experimentation keeps them more down to earth and provocative. -Stu

Edie edgwick - First Reflections
Mud Memory Records / Dischord

Two players, Justin Mayer (bass, vocals, incidentals) and Ryan Hicks (drums, percussion), complete the formation of this very intriguing act. A few things to notice at first would be the consistency of each song being named after some celebrity (ie Sean Connery, Winona Ryder, Tom Cruise, Jane Fonda) with the final track being 'Edie Sedgwick'. I also noticed that the making of the recording was assisted by an Edie Sedgwick, making things more inquisitive from my wondering point of view. On to the music -which is quite a lo-fi and experimental brand of indie math rock- the listening of each song as predicted would seem to have to be some odd tribute to their title, but the bass ridden post-funk and jazzy instrumentals distract you from any sort of the artsy and abstract lyrics that come through. The time signatures are impressive and musically witty as the bass and drums play against each other desirably well, completing only part of an interesting aspect that gives to an outstanding performance of mysterious and compelling phases. -Stu

El Guapo - The Geography of Dissolution
Mud Memory Records

The two sets of tracks on this 2000 release are from two recorded live shows that El Guapo has played. Compared to newer material I believe I've heard from this band, this older project seems a lot more experimentally abstract of atmospheric noise-jazz consciousness. Most tracks are hard to follow and are filled with English horn, glockenspiel, oboe, accordion and keyboard jumbling over a stuttered drum line. Small soft vocals come around once in a while, off key and underconfidant, perfecting an artistic ordeal. Most of the tracks run from one right into the other, each lasting only a couple minutes, like one long improv jam. One song that I really enjoy though, titled 'Go For It Like Xtreme! Sports', seems to have a followable structure and working melodies with bells, keyboard and a really slick drum and bass go-along. Then it ends up going back into more fidgetting noise of the guitar and atmospheric art jazz. Other tracks of instrumentation improve as well, showing a more intense second live show with the band a bit tighter and more clever with their creations. -Stu

Friction - Hours of Operation
Poly Vinyl Records

If you're a fan of Friction, this discography of their 1991-94 history will become to you a nostalgic necessity. Including every track they've ever recorded, there are also live snippets and unreleased material on this two disc set of this early 90's Chicago scene indie-emo-punk band. The disc booklet is filled with pictures, lyrics, personal notes and a list of shows played. Sharing the stage with Jawbreaker, Samiam and even growing up with Cap'n Jazz, Friction releases their final after being broken up for some time now to remind us all of the glory days off that time and music. -Stu

V/A - Cavity Search Audio Resume
Cavity Search Records
The first half of this "audio resume" is pretty weak, except for the track by the Helio Sequence. Once you get to track nine, everything starts picking up, with an exciting Jazz song by Wayne Horvitz and Pigpen. This comp is selections form the last ten years of recordings by Cavity Search records, who are proud of the fact that they discovered Elliot Smith. They have a very diverse selection here but my favorite stuff was the Elliot Sharp & DJ Soulslinger track, Doghead, Steve Lacy Trio, and Pete Krebs. Overall, this sounds like you're listening to a college radio station (without all the quiet lefty mumbling by a art student DJ) lots of diversity, some you like, some you don't. -Bullsheet

The Out Circuit - Burn Your Scripts Boys
Independent Frodus bass man Nathan Burke fronts this new project with duties of guitar, vocals, keys and bass. Along with three others this new groups of his unearths atmospheric space tones and softly gliding breaths of indie pop that all seem futuristic in the sense of being very smooth and durably intact. The vocals fit very well and carry on an originally captured and heartfelt inspirational soundm backed at moments by female accompaniment. A right amount of effects are used on this disc to capture the futuristic space pop that will every so often drag you on an upscale of rising harshness and screaming. Through eight tracks, different remedies of their style shine through at perfect measurements of artistic aura. -Stu

The World/Inferno Friendship Society - Just the Best Party
International Smashism!

This is the 8th release by 'Brooklyn based cabaret punk outfit' that has me hearing from worlds of swing, polka, traditional folk, classic pop and carnival punk in stride with quirky catchiness and an amazing and confidant male vocal style. It has me wondering the chances of such musicians coming together as this to create a smart a refreshing concept to be played with utmost talent. The vast cast in play brings us all of these sounds with instruments of horns, guitars, drums, organs, pianos and many other tools I'm sure. 'Friend of the Friendless' is a song that I swear came right from the gypsy version of Nightmare Before Christmas- creating new versions of Danny Elfman's genius and ability to sustain fantastic moods. Many songs continue to convey European vigor and an indescribable level of potential compatibility with every listener. The vocals are familiar to me but can't be singularly placed, although comparisons to swing crooners of the fifties and At the Drive In come to mind when hearing such strength and vibrato. -Stu

Lewis - Even So
Deem Elm Records

Listening to this record reminds me a lot of earlier Radiohead. It's mostly the vocal similarities, but the melodic passion and overall maturity and cleverness of these songs is a close enough comparison as well. There's not as much of the atmospheric tragedy that comes from Radiohead, but there are honest vibrations that stick to you from the very first listen. Even with more of an underground alternative sound that is unique and captivating, moments remeniscent of the experimental brit-rock legends still fall subtly. This is a release that has come to me by suprise, as it grows dearer to me while listening to it. -Stu

A Radio With Guts - Beat Heart Sweet Stereo
Knock Knock/Stardumb

For a 'sound track to your depression' this 12 song disc comes out as more of an angry/poppy excuse to be called emo, even though that's what they aren't or even claim to be. It's really just like the Black Halos, vocals and everything, but without the spockrock players and Billy Hopeless' fuck you attitude. -Stu

V/A - Location Is Everything vol. one
Jade Tree

I've been putting off this review for some time now. Not because I don't like this CD, but because each and every band/artist on this comp deserves a review of their own, and it's quite a task to write reviews for 17 different bands, especially such a diverse crowd. This CD flaunts Jade Trees stunning roster plus it gives the fans seven unreleased tracks from the likes of Milemarker, Pedro, Jets to Brazil, and the Promise Ring. My personal favorites have to be New End Original's upbeat pop rock, Mighty Flashlight's fun but lo-fi acoustic crooning, Strike Anywhere's exciting hardcore attack, Euphone's mellow instrumental, plus both of Pedro's songs. I highly recommend picking this one up, because if you haven't heard any of these names yet you are missing out. -Bullsheet

Sweep the Leg Johnny - Going Down Swinging
Southern Records

My brother believes that saxophones have no place in music. The gentle crooning of a romantic and epic sax solo makes him want to vomit profusely. For the most part I agree with him. But then there's Sweep the Leg Johnny who overcome a horrible band name to blow away any preconceived notions about how a saxophone should be played in a rock band. Owing something to free jazz and avant garde styles of music, Sweep could almost be classified as an instrumental band, but sparse, desperate, haunting singing keeps them from falling into that category. There is a jammy feeling on some of the tracks, due mostly to long song lengths and the way the songs plod around. The song structures, though, destroy that feeling letting everybody know that they did indeed plan ahead to set up intricate stops and build moods. Oh yes, and the saxophone only intensifies the ferocity or the melancholy of the song depending on what they were going for, thus dispelling the initial feeling that it was just a gimmick. But when it all comes down to it, I enjoy listening to this and that is why I recommend it. -Bullsheet

Stereo 360 - Quadruple
Baby Pea Records These guys can make some well crafted pop songs. There is nothing sub par about the four tracks on this EP.. It sounds like they are shooting for major label stardom, but yet it is not as unoriginal and fake as most of the crap on the radio. Some of the lyrics were kinda dumb, ("I control you like I do the TV"... did you get a redneck to write that one for you?) but in a stack of CDs I received to review for this issue, this one was actually a joy to review. -Bullsheet

Revenge of the Egg People - The Gummie Bear Murders
Stumble Records

I'm sorry, but I can't recommend this at all. It's ok, I guess, but there is so much better stuff to listen to that it would be a crime if you bought this. At some points it's sort of enjoyable to listen to, but then it begins to just sound like a rip off of Face to Face or some other big punk band with a funk loving bass player. They say "guitar!" before lame guitar solos. It sounded like they were serious too! Also, I don't want to sound superficial, but the band photo they sent makes them look like a rap metal band, which is not a good thing at all. Is that where punk is headed? Oh, and one more thing... remixes...why? I don't understand. Maybe this is the stuff that's manufactured for the Warped Tour. Bands like this soil the good name of punk rock. -Bullsheet

Piltatope - You're Floating Down the Rye

Homemade cd's are rarely well packaged, this one is no exception. Computer printed inserts, half sized cases and burned disks really take away from the enjoyment of buying an album. Most of this EP is simple emo with a couple tracks of acoustic worship. For such a new band they are surprisingly solid and the recording is very well done for a DIY release. Expect them to improve a lot with their future releases. -Bullsheet

Onelinedrawing - Visitor
Jade Tree

OneLineDrawings are drawings that you do without picking up your pencil or pen. You just start drawing and everything is all connected. I like doing them because you don't really get a chance to look at the whole thing until you're done- your hand is in the way the whole time. Then when you pick it up, it's like a picture you've never seen before. Plus, once you're done, you're done, you can't add on because then it would ruin the whole charm of the drawing. But one of the charms with a one line drawing is the honesty that is exposed when you do it. You can't erase your mistakes, you can't really tell what you're drawing and features become exaggerated and distorted depending on how you are looking at them. With simple lines you can build complex textures strong contrast. When you're mad, the lines get all messy, but when you truly love the subject the lines are smooth and gentle and reflect your care. The finished product is a deceptively simple, sketchy looking pieces of art that burst with more emotion than any computer generated, over produced, flashy crap could ever imagine to. -Bullsheet

Jucifer - The Lambs EP
Velocette Records

I've been putting off this review because I don't want to screw it up. The thing is, these guys are so good, and I want to express that without missing something or saying something wrong. They're like The White Stripes in that there are comprised solely of one boy and one girl, except the roles have been reversed; boy on drums and girl on mic and guitar (sometimes piano). Their sound can vary from quiet and melancholy to loud, distorted, and screechy to somewhere in between. Whatever genre this duo fits into, they're definitely raw, and that's good. I get so sick of over produced insincerity, and these guys are none of that. Even though there's only two of them they have a full sound that still remains simple. You can really tell that they've put themselves into the music, and I can always appreciate that. I can't stop listening to this 30 minute ep, so you can bet I'm going to buy the full length when it come out in June -Bullsheet

Nik Freitas - Heres Laughing at You
Future Farmer Recordings

Nik is a professional Photographer for Thrasher magazine (or used to be, I can't find his name in any of the new mags) and even has references to skateboarding in some of his songs. I like when musicians skate, it makes them seem more down to earth, and I guess I just relate to them more. It's funny, but whenever you read a skateboard magazine, they'll interview a pro skater and they'll talk about what music they're into, or what kind of band they're starting, but when they interview bands, they'll ask them if they skate. But back to Nik, everything (vocals, organ, guitar, etc.) on this album was done by him, with some help from a couple of friends. The music has obvious nods to the Beatles, but this album seems to draw upon endless influences. Niks got a great voice and the creative stories he tells while singing are actually worth listening to. For a debut album, he's surprisingly mature and well rounded and makes you wonder how long it will be until he's a house hold name. -Bullsheet

The Fags - s/t
Idol Records

The Fags are to Blink 182 as Creed is to Pearl Jam, except that they didn't necessarily copy Blink's style, they just copied the standard pop punk style, and therefore they sound just like any popcorn punk band out there. I swear, pop punk bands are more common than boy bands, and I think I like boy bands more, at least they're honest about being commercial. But if you like pop punk, then hey, who am I to rain on your parade? These guys do a good job at what they do, it's just too bad that what they do is very much like plastic wrapped candy, rather than lovingly home baked cookies. -Matt

[D.A.R.Y.L.] - s/t
Idol Records

So during some bizarre incident involving drugs and bears trained as ballerinas, these guys happened to slip in a Falco "Best of" album while the radio in the next room played all the popular Creed sounding bands. Then they decided to start a band. Uggggggggghhhhhh.... -Bullsheet

Clumsy - Center of Attention Deficit Disorder
Idol Records

The press release, siting influences such as the Replacements and the Goo Goo Dolls prepared me for the worst, and that might just be what I got. Talent-wise, this band is actually not bad, they can play their instruments and everything, but their style of rock & roll, while fans of the Replacements and Goo Goo Dolls may like it, I don't think many others will. This band sounds like they're past their musical prime. Note to bands, people don't like rock ballads anymore. -Bullsheet

Caesura - More Specific Less Pacific
54 40 or Fight

Like any package of cd's I get in the mail, I opened this one with excitement for the chance of hearing some potentially good music, and fear that it would horribly disappointing. I took the cd out of its envelope and was surprised with it's creative cover and layout and slipped the disk into the cd player and turned up the volume. The sounds that came from the speakers made my head nod and my fingers tap. A few tracks on this cd sound a lot like former BC band Phaedo while more of them remind me of Roadside Monument. What really stands out on this cd is drummer Mike Shoun's creative and intricate drum rhythms that keep this album from ever getting boring. 45 minutes of mathy-post rock well worth your $12 US dollars (a lot more in Canadian). -Bullsheet

Xiu Xiu - Knife Play

This is my album of the year so far. It completely took me by surprise when I first listened to these tracks; the vocal style is what I had been searching for secretly in my head for ages. I love the emotion that desparation crawls upon you with when you listen to these infusions of synth, bells, drum machine, guitar and other miscellaneous components of a symphonyous altitude. Some of the noise is chaos, other moments leave you on a limb of curiousity, all of which is a completely new and blissful experience. -Stu

The Vermicious Knid - Days That Stand Still
AntiAntenna Recordings

A very romantic emo rock, brisk and exciting, seeps through these six tracks of exceeding developments in musical maturity. There's pure enjoyment in hearing such quality and capacity that this band exposes in an outright and real way, in that what every track displays is a smart pop edge that has the abrasive ability to lure the more well-rounded listener, as well as even mainstream listerners to new depths. The album's opening track brings through a melodic softness of a Death Cab for Cutie elegy climbing then to a peak of stabbing and turning heaviness and screaming as again it runs of into a very dynamic song that changes and mutates a very many times from one inspiring melody to another. A great album. -Stu

Randy - Cheater
G7 Welcoming Committee

Cheater, the opening title track, had me imagining quite an oxymoron which was a picture of high-class european mod-punks singing and playing this song. It's just an image that came to mind; I mean, the band is swedish at least. That eventually changed as the tracks danced by though. Songs of working class love and other general situations of life simply formulated to song-along catchiness of classic a rock feel. Very much a Ramones reflection as well of running beats alongside minimal chord combinations. -Stu

Che Chapter 127 - Profit Prophet
G7 Welcoming Committee

I wasn't able to stomach the vocals that came out on the first track as much as I was trying to get over the facefulls of political activism propaganda splattered all over this disc. Seems this music is actually a partial rip-off of nu-metal gone lo-fi. I could imagine them maybe better as a live show, though I'd still probably find it much of a bore. -Stu

Hiretsukan - Invasive//Exotic
G7 Welcoming Committee
This is a great mess of noise-core and atmospheric chaos. Hidden melodies backbone themselves as a mysterious carrier of a scream-laden and distorted spectacle, and the female-fronted unit properly completes the destructive force through 7 tracks of this erected monstrosity. Not too common are the structures of this musical breed of song writing, keeping an edge on the unpredictability and sincerity of a great new group. -Stu

Model American - Maps
Sessions Records

Sounds of tough-guy old-school hardcore punk give this quick 21 track disc a spin of power and energy through a diehard underground persona. Nothing here is much of a step up from the usual of this gang vocal trodden style (Features members of The Distillers and Nerve Agents) , but it still holds its original qualities preserved with high level intensity from song to song. -Stu

Radio Years - So Long Sarcasm
Lujo Records

Opening track: The Ramones reamerge as a new wave group, then turn into Weezer. Giving a break though towards an emotional 'maturity', the rest of the tracks lead on to nostalgic rock ballads, crooning towards upbeat leads and buildups. The last track is quite a catchy hit though, utilizing classic elements and a driving chemistry to develop a beatiful piece. -Stu

Enda - For The Only
Springman Records

The female vocals are a tad too luscious and dreamy for such a sharp sounding alterna rock. It usually seems this kinda of contrast usually works, i.e. shoegazer styles, but it's nothing like that here. Did madonna join an indie band? Hyuck! The three songs are enough to explain the crucialty have having a fitting vocal style to complement to music. -Stu

V/A - Pounded: The Official Comic Book Soundtrack
Springman Records

I got this CD in the mail with a comic book. There's a bunch of punk rock tracks (Bouncing Souls, Mr T Experience, The Eyeliners, etc...). -Stu

Time Spent Driving - Just Enough Bright
Sessions Records

Thick. I mean, greasy thick. Compared to my last listen to this groups previous collaboration, in no doubt a successful progression has been had. Hearing panicfully melodic Sunny Day-esque riffs alongside distant harmonic breeding completely stains the air with satisfaction. The vocals are strong, but not too outstanding and mostly suitable for a faceless existence of their impressionable ability. -Stu

Jared Grabb - On the Inside
Thinker Thought Records

This man's voice is nothing to die for, but these songs of his do point to a fine recession of quality acoustic post-rock. Holding the bar on being an indier, mathier Dashboard Confessional may just be an all too cliche comparison to make, but the horns included in many of the songs stray away from that sort of allocation as well. 10 tracks of all this, varied from song to song, is quite a treasure for the emotionally imbalanced to get a jerk out of. I'm not saying I don't like the album, I'm just making fun of emo pets. -Stu

Do Make Say Think - & Yet & Yet
Constellation Records

The third release by this Toronto area instrumental-space-lounge-rock is not too much of a change in direction from their known past recordings, but this could be the best thing about them. They are anything but confined in these musical expenditures, creating dubalicious harmony with the universe and seething it with electronic linings. The relaxing buildups that come across are so awfully inspiring, yet the songs still do and always have given a sense of groundedness with some unconscious and hidden reality. What keeps myself grounded, though, are the post-indie sensories that sustain life with a project like this, which then twists you into a fan of long and epic instrumental musicianship. -Stu

Choke - There's a Story to this Moral
Smallman Records

The CD Booklet that came with this CD smalls real nice. It's so fancy too; why don't these guys just call themselves Choke? Jason said the vocals reminded him of Sunny Day Real Estate in some way. The music reminds me of DBS, but what fucking emo band doesn't remind everyone of DBS. The song writing is unique, though. Roughly melodic vocals concern the catchy and rhythmically jagged face of this post branded rock with uncapturing emotional clarity. I'm impressed more and more through each song, actually, by the musicianship had that it takes to put together such of what comes together here. -Stu

The Accident - s/t

Now here's some actually authentic sounding mod rock to enjoy that capturing old-time era that all the damn scenesters are licking up wherever possible these days. The effects and new wave sounds that are included will be sure to have their tight pants jiggling as well. Although the tech touch does bring indications of a contemporary rock band, their overall sound is complete foolery of the senses. I haven't seen how they dress though, so it's hard to say if the kids will actually like them. I don't care... this music makes me happy. -Stu

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Source Tags & Codes
Interscope Records

I supported large music corporations by purchasing this album, but after being totally cut to shreds by their last album "madonna" I was ready to have the sharp knife of post-rock impaled into my body even more. I wasn't disappointed. Trail of Dead's new LP opens up with "It was There That I Saw You"; an opener that leaves your eardrums dangling from the sides of your head and blood pouring from your eye sockets. They continue their musical slaughter with songs like "Homage" and "Heart in the Hand of Matter". No wonder their name is what it is; they simply leave their fans out to die by striking them with pure musical bliss. -Jason

Pedro the Lion - Control
Jade Tree

Call him emo, call him indie, just don't call him stale. Dave Bazan's newest masterpiece evokes discontent, morbidity, metaphorical "blasphemy", and of course, melancholy. Sounds tasty doesn't it? The music has it's rocking moments but mainly stays lethargic and sleepy, which depending on your viewpoint may be good or bad. To me it's beyond gorgeous, but probably not the best music to drive to, you might be soothed into a gentle sleep, featuring dreams of emotional instability, adultery, murder and shady politics. Aside from the music are Bazan's "divinely" inspired lyrics, which make the album worth buying rather then burning, being as they're so good that you could sit and read them over and over without necessarily listening to the album at the same time. Just when you thought Christians were incapable of writing intelligent lyrics Pedro the Lion comes to the rescue. -Dustin

Carnal Forge - Please...Die!
Century Media

Aren't you dead yet?, that's the rest of the title track, a song title so beautiful and deep that...that, makes me want to murder people? Carnal Forge have the dumbest and grossest lyrics this side of Cannibal Corpse but their music positvely shreds (yes, I'm a skid). You'll notice a lack of bridges, slow songs, or heck, even songs that aren't going full-tilt insanely fast, but you won't mind, if you lack as much taste as me. This cd packs one blistering wallop after another with ridiculously accomplished muscianship and worship-worthy vocals that schizophrenically switch between '3rd degree burns-on the throat-scream' to well-deep bellows from the abyss...mmm. must bang head and throw forked fingers in the air. -Dustin

God Forbid - Determinationt
Century Media

Mmm, meaty! I don't know why I continue to review metal and hardcore CD's so much, since most of you pussies listen to hours of punk and little else, but I listen to a huge diet of the stuff, so I guess my reviews will continue to reflect that I don't mind being the resident staff metal-head. Anyway, onto God Forbid, a band name which reeks of cheese, thankfully the music doesn't. Every song is blissful and simultaneously, brutal punishment. The vocals remind me of Strongarm but the music swings hard to the metal side of things, mixing the mathy riffs of Meshuggah, the melody of any of the 'Gothenburg' bands (eg. In Flames, Dark Tranquility) , and the chaos of Burnt By the Sun. This one keeps sneaking into my player, even though I have a bunch of other stuff I need to listen to right now, recommended for non-pussies (kidding). -Dustin

The Anniversary - Your Majesty
Vagrant Records

I admire the Anniversary. They could of stuck with the popular "Hi, we like the Get Up Kids" emo sound they had on some of their early stuff. They could have kept on playing their moog heavy new wave emo like on their last album, but instead, they put out something completely different and pleasantly surprising. Drawing from what seems like classic rock influences, this album incorporates piano, organ and keyboards all very well, into a moody brand of emo rock that. well, doesn't really fit the emo handle. This is just good music. Forget everything you've heard before about this band and listen to this album! -Bullsheet

Hanson Brothers - My Game
Mint Records This is distinctly Canadian punk rock. Though there are millions of bands out there that sound similar to the Ramones, the Hanson Brothers are one of the better ones, pulling it off without sounding like an exact (or inferior) rip off. Lyrical content is based mainly on hockey, but there are good songs on other topics, the best being a tribute to Joey Ramone. In case you don't know, this band is made up of members of No Means No, one of the longest running punk bands in Canada, and probably the world. But getting back to the Brothers, this is essential listening for every hockey loving punk rock kid in Canada, and stop pretending you don't like hockey cause I know you were smiling when Canada won the gold. -Bullsheet

Mr. Plow - Parts Unknown
Crusty Records You would think after 5 years of playing, Mr. Plow, an acoustic punk folker, would have something to say on 'his first real piece of work,'. Unfortunately, this CD with songs like 'Passed Gas' and 'Numbnutz' does not. Parts Unknown has 16 tracks (plus one hidden Gwar cover song) of annoying acoustic punk that lacks any real talent. The highlight of this CD is the clip from a Simpson's episode hidden after the Gwar cover. You know, Mr. Plow picks up dead bodies for a living. I think he's the only person I've heard of who has a day job more exciting than his music. This may appeal to fans of Vancouver's Shame though it lacks their novelty appeal. -Bruce

oh, how his voice grates
and his songs never cease to irritate
and yet I find it is my fate
to say, "Mr. Plow, you are great!" -Katherine

Poison the Well - Tear From the Red
Trustkill Records

Best-cd-ever...Ok, I may be exaggerating, but not by a heck of a lot. I had heard that it sucked from a few sources, sources that I can thankfully assure you were jacked up on crack apparently. The new album is not that different sonically from the last PTW release (The Opposite of December) except for some noticeable Deftones guitar influence and the increase in clean vocals. Don't worry though, these songs are still featuring far more of that beloved screamo torment, you know, for the tweens. The band has clearly matured though, writing far better songs and implementing dynamics that give the songs enough unique qualities to stand out on their own. This is definitely my favorite release so far this year, I've barely stopped listening to it in the last 6 days. - Dustin

Hatebreed - Perserverance
Universal Records

I picked this cd up for a little more then $10, I had just got paid and figured, 'what the hell?' Normally I'm not too big a fan of "tough-guy" hardcore, it's simplistic, the lyrics are usually fairly uninspired and the guys strike me as somewhat unevolved, but I had enjoyed a handful of tracks off of Hatebreeds last album (Satisfaction is the Death of Desire), they had some good metallic riffage thrown in there. With this new album the band had progressed a little, hard as that may be to believe. The songs are still beefy, chugga-chugga guitar playing with throaty yelling vox and most of them still clock in at around the 2 minute mark, but the lads are employing a little more of that metal guitar work, and they've mixed up the arrangements to keep from being completely redundant (sorta). The biggest help here is that it's a fun record to listen to if you have the right mindset, I mean if you're expecting intelligence search elsewhere, but if you can have a good laugh while singing along about "destroying everything you love" and wanting "blood to be spilled", not to mention some great gang vocal shout-alongs about how "you can't keep us down, because we stand up for what we believe in" (which is of course spilling blood) then you should at least be moderately entertained by these apes with instruments. - Dustin

Pop Unknown - The August Division
Sessions Records

More like pop ingrown. These guys have deeper vocals than usual pop crock bands who like to imitate the studio bands of the nineties. Each song comes in it's own little plastic bag, polished and stripped of any sort of artistic integrity or emotional rawness. While maintaining 'pop sensibility' and strong song structures, this is basically something to be sent off to the radio critics. -Stu

Underoath - The Changing of Times
Solid State Records

Underoath is one of those metalcore bands that often go unnoticed, which I find unfortunate since they've improved with each release. Their last album, 'Cries of the Past' was based in metalcore but was heavily influenced by death and black metal and I found it highly enjoyable, I didn't imagine that I would enjoy the new album even more when I heard initial reports that they had added a lot of emo undertones. This new release drastically changes direction for the band and after you get over the differences between releases you should fall in love with this disc. I have. The band wiped the sleight clean, gone are the black metal tendencies, hello to lovely electronica texturing and gorgeous emo BGV's and melodic, jangly guitar work. The clean vocals compliment the shriek form the depths that are the main vocals and the songs transform from soothing to insane in mere moments. Every track stands out, get this release now! - Dustin

This is Solid State Vol. 3
Solid State Records

Well if you own a lot of Solid State releases then there probably isn't much use in owning this comp, other then perhaps the first 4 songs on it. Unreleased tracks by Project 86, Demon Hunter (Slipknot mockery at it's finest), Still Breathing and the big kicker, Zao. The Zao track 'The Icarus Complex' is probably the only recorded material with Corey on vox, so if you're a big Zao fan you might have to pick up a copy, the song is abrasive, raw and abolishes the other tracks on the comp. The contribution by Still Breathing is fairly impressive too though, with a female vocalist laying down some brutal hardcore "singing", and some nice breakdowns. The rest of the songs range between awesome and mediocre and are available on other releases, if you aren't familiar with the bands on Solid State and you enjoy various sounds of metal and hardcore then sure, pick up a copy, otherwise it's just for the die hards. - Dustin

The Mars Volta - Tremulant EP
Golden Standard Labs

After a somewhat pointlessly long intro, the opening track on this 3 song EP literally explodes into a direction of cutting rhythmic post-rock and melodic intensity. Brought together by At The Drive In's Omar and Cedric, my current tastes are favouring these sounds over Omar and Cedric's more known establishment. The vocals are something to grow on, but a fulfillment of musicianship prevails out of neck twisting post-rock riffs that lead courageous song directions. Subtle electronic implementations give a soothing chrome coating to a very mean, destructive, yet uplifting and controlling attitude. The second track started off enchanting in a dreamlike phase, then pushing and pulling energy in soundly equated highs and lows of intensity scale. Fading the disc off with another outro only fed me the wish that there would've been more of what was in between. Well, it's maybe not that dramatic, but definitely worth consideration. -Stu

Flogging Molly - Drunken Lullabies
Side One Dummy Records

Chanting political and folkish protests in an Irish brew seems odd climbing through a manufactured CD jewel case with little fine print copyrights all over the place. While this genre is becoming overdone in our modern music world of wasteless hype, there's nothing really to complain about groups as this one. Even hailing ex-Motorhead guitarist "Fast Eddie". Clark, Flogging Molly doesn't go to deep i nto any sort of ground breaking material, but is rather an easily taken listen buit around fiddles, flutes and Irish pride. -Stu

Garrett Sawyer - Anthem
Music Discovery Network
Garrett's voice needs more strength and is off at times during the softer moments of his passionate modern crooner ballads and solid go-getting reflections of life's trials. Additions of dreamy synth and digital trumpets sure add their own special touch, through song structures that are ordinarily catchy and at times utilized by the bluesy solos that Garrett wails. -Stu

Greg MacPherson Band - Good Times Coming Back Again
G7 Welcoming Committee

Gandering through the tracks on this disc finds many comparisons to the radio memories of mid-90 alternative personnas. The likes of Counting Crows, Bare Naked Ladies and Matthew Good Band are all too revealing to a hint of unoriginality which climaxes on the ninth track, 'Concrete', when the almost Pearl Jam remenicent vocal styles squeeze through. It's not too much of a heart-clenching catastrophe of musical impersonations, as much of it is bareable or even provoking, but today's musical capabilities may be found elsewhere. -Stu

The Groovie Ghoulies - Freaks on Parade
Stardumb Records

The Groovie Ghoulies put out six albums on Lookout, so chances are you've heard them, or at least heard of these guys (and gal). Anyway, they make good pop punk, the kind that you'd expect from Stardumb and Lookout. Not blistering fast, not slow, Ramones influenced punk rock that makes you feel good. They have a semi-horror theme going on and 3 or 4 chords which depending on your tastes, can be a good or bad thing. I found it to be light and pleasant. - Bullsheet

The Manges - 'R' Good Enough
Stardumb Records

There are 13 pictures or references to the Ramones on the cover and liner notes of this cd. Then there are all the other little accessories made famous by Johnny's shirts such as Yohoo and "I Love NY" logos and other All American icons such as Superman, Elvis and Buddy Holly. These guys plays simple punk rock with accents that are one of the only (badly needed) things that set them apart aside from the one song with female vocals (that kinda sounds like Blondie). Some tracks are better than others, but still, I have to ask the question, the Ramones put out 20 albums that all sounded the same. Does that mean you have to put out another one? - Bullsheet

Peawees - Dead End City
Stardumb Records

These rockers seem to like their 50's rock n roll. A rather large portrait of Elvis hangs behind them on the back of this cd along with show posters all decked out in old horror movie monsters. They sing about dreaming on a "50's melody" and cover some oldies for good measure. I would say they have the attitude right, this is an enjoyable listen with enough punk rock thrown in to keep it from being to bubble gummy. I'm sure in 1955 this is what they thought we'd be listening to in the new millennium. - Bullsheet

The Favorats - Destination Outta Space
Stardumb Records

The Favorats have four songs on this 7 incher, 3 of them sounding quite similar, pop punk with an attitude that Ben Weasel would be proud of. But the second song of this ep was strange. While maintaining some punk rock attitude, the vocals went into unknown territory, surpassing pop, surf and almost any other type of music combined with punk. When I would try to think of comparisons, the dueling male and female vocals trotted off my musical map. The only people I could picture singing this particular track would be Sonny and Cher. So up-beat, so happy, so... strange to hear from Stardumb records. So go out and find a way to hear "Heaven" by the Favorats. Tell 'em Bull Sheet sent ya. - Bullsheet

V/A - The European Pop Punk Virus
Stardumb Records For those of you who like pop punk (not Blink 182 style, but the Ramonesy kind) but get frustrated by the fact that a bands album sounds just like one long song, this album is for you. This sampler contains 28 tracks by 28 bands who seem to really like the Ramones, All, Screeching Weasel, the Donnas and the Queers. So if you told your friend that all these songs were by one band, s/he would probably believe you. But honestly, this is a good sampler and it's really enjoyable to get to taste all these different bands. It doesn't get tiring and there are great tracks by the Peawees, The Manges, Dirtshakes, The Peenuts, The Reekys, The Travoltas and more. The funny thing is, even though all these bands are from Europe, every single song is in English, with hardly a trace of accents. Everybody says McDonalds and Starbucks are turning the world into a place with no cultural differences, but I see the Ramones are doing a fine job of it. Maybe they're in on the whole thing... hmmmm.... - Bullsheet

The Discarded - I Won't Live a Lie
The Legion * 11023 N E Gilson St. Portland, Or 97220

Despite sounding very similar to the Sex Pistols, fake accents and all, the first track on this CD is against Anarchy, a ideal the Pistols made famous. These four leather and stud clad youngsters remind me a lot of Officer Negative, singing honest, in your face ideals sung over raw gutter punk. I would say any of these songs are good as the Officer Negative I have heard. I'll bet these guys put on a rad show. Keep rolling your rrrr's! - Bullsheet

Five Iron Frenzy - Electric Boogaloo
Five Minute Walk

I remember that day my brother brought home a cd by some band called Five Iron Frenzy. I didn't really like it at first but after a few months I put the cd player back in the player and I was amazed. These guys were rad! Now nearly five years later I acquired the new album by those same rockers. Much like their debut album, I didn't like it very much at first. But after a few listens I really begun to enjoy this disc. Like myself these guys and gal have matured over the years and left behind the hyperactive ska punk they once played to become a much more rock focused unit playing well crafted and diverse songs that touch upon many subjects but still have enough humor to keep them from becoming stuffy. At first, I was kind of disappointed by the fact that ska upbeats on this album are pretty sparse, FIF being one of the only ska bands I appreciated anymore. I even pondered why they would they would need horns anymore. The answer became clear to me while listening. The horns contribute just as much to a rock band as they do to a ska band, creating interesting and intricate melodies that make the music much more powerful. Just think of bands like Rocket from the Crypt or think back to the 50's and you'll see how effective horns are in a rock band. With this album Five Iron Frenzy affirms that they are more than a one trick pony, and flex their song writing muscles to become a heavyweight in the rock scene! - Bullsheet

Piebald - Barely Legal & All Ages
Big Wheel Recreation

This double CD set starts out with a live recording of Piebald at a battle of the bands in 1994. You'd think such an early recording at such a small gig of a new band would be horrible, but it is actually pretty good. Thus we venture into the history of one of my favorite bands, Piebald. It's interesting to see how this band has progressed from their early demos, which were centered much more around hardcore to the popish emo rock they play now. This set contains over 40 songs, including rare comp and 7 inch tracks, unreleased demos, live tracks, radio show appearances and the entire album, "When Life Hands You Lemons." The whole thing has been re-mastered for your listening pleasure and sounds great. Though the potential to get boring is present this is really a fun collection with plenty of diversity in their to keep you listening. One of my favorite parts is a clip from a German radio show talking about "Peebold, If it veren't vor Venetian blinds it vould be certians vor us all." This album can be enjoyed by everybody who likes Piebald, devotees, or recent band wagon hoppers. Lets hope they're around long enough to put out another one. - Bullsheet

Remover - Breakdown Barrier
Blue Worm Records

Well, I can't say I was particularly excited by this cd. At it's best it kinda sounds like an ok indie band. At its worst it's a radio rock alternative band that doesn't know what it's doing. Maybe if you like Creed, or if you like drunk guys covering a Foo Fighters song you might enjoy this, but as for me, I think I'll pass. - Bullsheet

The Apers - s/t
Stardumb Records

The Apers are what you'd expect from Stardumb records: good, simple punk that imitates classics such as Screeching Weasel and the Ramones. Lots of songs about girls, backed with lots of ooooohhaaa's sung over a few simple chords, played fast and tight. I don't think there is anything on this disc that will put them in the punk rock hall of fame but I can't really say anything bad about the fun, poppy rocknroll played by these four youngsters from across the ocean. - Bullsheet

the pAper chAse - Ctrl-Alt-Del-U
Divot Records
I'm going mad. -Stu

No comments:

Post a Comment