SILVER CIRCLE REVIEWS: September 2007

THE ATLANTICS
Something Hot Communications
Live
13-song CD
Nostalgia is what gets in the way. I don’t care that the band recorded this on March 25, 1979 on the eve of the national tour that was to make their reputation, nor need I mention that ABC Records dropped the ball forthwith. But The Atlantics were most likely never destined to be anything like The Cars, churning out their patented brand of deracinated New Wave kitsch; The Atlantics, bless their souls, were nothing if not full of rough edges and full-throated piss and vinegar, as evidenced on this middling-to-good-sounding sampler of their live repertoire. Of the songs that stand out as underrated classics, the Stones-y “Straight From My Heart,” shows attitude and bite and is a textbook case on how to write a canonical no-frills rock song, and the must-hear cover of Mark Bolan’s “Jeepster” shows just how good a live band they really were. As for the rest, if you’re in the nostalgia market, you won’t be disappointed; the favorites are well-represented here: from the garage-deluxe rant of “Teenage Flu,” the riff-tastic “I Can’t Help It,” and the catchy pure pop of “When You’re Young,” to the histrionic “One Last Night,” and the incorruptibly anthemic “Big City Rock.” (Francis DiMenno)

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TWINEMEN
Hi-N-Dry
Twinetime
8-song CD
Can we pass a resolution making Twinemen the house band at the Lizard Lounge? The music, heavy on the low notes and with plenty of jazz and blues overtones, just seems like a perfect fit for a dark, mellow basement room, and Laurie Sargent’s vocals would fill the place with enough smoke for you to forget that there’s smoking ban in effect. There are some real standout songs on here, particularly the sultry, almost dirty “Come Clean,” and the playing, especially Dana Colley on the sax, is top notch throughout, which is what you would expect from a band that formed out of Morphine’s ashes. It is particularly impressive how the band knows exactly when to let things breathe and allow the spaces between the notes do the talking. There are a few problems, though. The songs don’t have quite as much variation as one would hope, and the opening melody of “Calamity J.” reminds me way too much of Phil Collins’ “That’s All.” Those are hardly fatal flaws, though, as this is a solid piece of work. (Kevin Finn)

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THE BIG DISAPPOINTMENTS
Hot Cave Records
The Big Disappointments
15-song CD
Screw any attempts at rock-crit hipness here—this is just fucking excellent. The hard part, however, is painting an accurate picture of the music, which reminds me of many bands, but not enough to actually name one. It’s a pretty stripped down sound that manages to be lush when it needs to be, it travels effortlessly from the haunted, medicated country of “Deathbed Country” to the desperate straight-ahead drive of “Like to Know” to the swampy “Crop Diamond Everglade,” but all while sounding like one band with one coherent musical vision. Eric Boomhower’s vocals are all miked in that sort of “distant radio station” style, which works perfectly without seeming like a gimmick, and the rest of the band demonstrates a focus on the requisites of the song, egos well in hand. Produced by the band and Thalia Zedek, mixed by Paul Kolderie and mastered by Nick Zampiello, this comes with some serious pedigree, and the whole thing shines like a piece of gold found on a lonesome fog-bound trail somewhere in the West. Damn near perfect. (Tim Emswiler)

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27
Release Records
Holding On for Better Days
10-song CD
They should be holding out for better songs. (Scratch that—Beliel made me say it.) No, seriously, I like to kid 27, but I ask you, what’s not to like? Sawed-off meat-eating brutes and sardonic High Priests of Now Who Treat Everything Like A Big Fat Joke may scoff, but who, other than soulless, barking mad vulgarians, can argue with the results evidenced on these ten kaleidoscopic tracks: mind-manifesting production values, shimmery textures, endorphin-flooded soundscapes, demurely mood-setting vocals, misty-eyed ballads, and melancholic vistas, all those melancholic vistas? Can’t you see? Can’t you see what they’re trying to do? They’re using their music like a painter uses a canvas. No kidding: these are actually impressionistic soundscapes. They don’t exclude the uninitiated in quite the same way as say, the drip-tastic canvasses of Jackson Pollack; nobody is going to go home and say my three-year old coulda done that. But if you’re looking for riff-ariffic tunes with a 2-4 beat about fucking whores and puking in the gutter, then Brosephus, you are definitely in the wrong damn neighborhood. (Francis DiMenno)

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THE 2×4’s
Process Bessemer
Compilation
15-song CD
Zipperheads rejoice! It’s time to fire up the Bridgeport lathe and do the Nakkamichi boogie. Before Germany assaulted the world with industrial techno, Boston had its own brand of, um, “industrial techno,” in a more literal sense, with the 2×4’s. Led by John Hovorka, the 2×4’s played a stripped down, mechanical interpretation of classic rock ’n’ roll with lyrics based on, well, factories and machine shops in the industrialized world. Peoplewho have worked in machine shops (like me) will understand the stories and situations depicted in these tunes. Songs like “Mechanistic Girl,” “Fight Fire with Fire,” and “Iron Line” conjure up tales of blue-collared past. The immortal “Bridgeport Lathe” has practicle advice: “foxy secretaries make a point of passing through… but you might get your arm torn off, if you look too long from your Blanchard Grind-All.” All the songs are great, and a lot of fun to listen to. The infectious melodies make this a great party disc. It’s been a long time coming, and this CD compilation of all the 2×4’s various singles and LPs is a must own for any audiophile, or local music junkie. It was also remixed and remastered! It just doesn’t get any better than this. (John Hess)

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JIMMY RYAN & HAYRIDE
Hi-N-Dry
Fun With Music
10-song CD
It seems like there are bands that can play live shows well and bands that write and record great albums. Jimmy Ryan and Hayride is one of those bands that does it all. Jimmy Ryan on mandolin and Duke Levine on guitar are probably two of the most talented musicians you’ll find anywhere. These two gents are literally superheroes of the roots rock scene in Boston by playing music like gods among mere mortals. Together they are a force as unstoppable as Superman and Batman. As a result Fun with Music is chock full of well-crafted tales that delve into blistering solos and showcase the band’s virtuosic chops and Jimmy’s soft crooning voice. There are some nice surprises on there too, like Sarah Borges singing along with Jimmy in “No More Songs About Whiskey” and a light-speed version of “Salt Creek.” Like a fine bourbon, songs like “Firescape,” “Blossom,” and “It Takes One to Know One,” leave you with a happy, warm feeling your belly. This album is the kind that grows on you more and more with each listen. If you only go out and get one local music disc this year, do yourself a favor, make it this one. (Kier Byrnes)

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THE GOBSHITES
Another Round
13-song CD
On their third album The Gobshites plow their familiar turf—Irished-up cover songs by the likes of Stiff Little Fingers, The Damned, The Replacements, The Ramones, assorted locals (Darkbuster et al.), plus “Friggin’ in the Riggin’,” an ancient, profane chantey that was, of course, famously covered by the Sex Pistols. The Irishing-up is most admirably done; banjo, fiddle, pennywhistles, impeccable arrangements, and so forth. All the songs are about wild boys and their wild and boozing ways. In a way, this sort of single-mindedness places the band squarely in the folk camp, whether they care to be there or not; they are the modern-day bardic equivalent of Miss Joan Baez warbling about “Pretty Boy Floyd,” though they don’t sing anywhere as nice. But they sure as hell seem to know what they’re talking about, in the same way that some superannuated blues centenarian with one tooth in his redeye-chugging skull knows exactly what it’s like to chop weevily cotton in the man-killing sun. So although The Gobshites may run the gamut from A (alcohol) to B (beer), they still get the top grade for authentic Irish all-out orneryness. (Francis DiMenno)

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CARRY THE ZERO
Hey! Hey! Hey!
7-song CD
It takes balls to call your album Hey! Hey! Hey!–people are going to expect you to throw it down and get the dance floor all beery and maybe bloody. But the title track (entitled “Title Track”) will put your mind at ease and your body in motion, as the band comes out swinging like The Turbines, and with the same kind of vintage sound but better guitars. Things slow down a bit after that, but they don’t lose intensity, and then the wah-wah-soaked chop chords of “Rev ‘Em Up” bring you back to the fist-pumping. Now, it also takes balls to cover “Midnight Confessions.” Full credit for the fact that this cover works so well goes to singer Matt Erhartic, who belts out these songs with the soul of Sam Cooke, a range wider than yours, and enough pissed-off-ness to make it sound like these tracks were done with a cop standing in the doorway yelling “Okay, boys, time to wrap it up, the neighbors have had enough.” But you haven’t. Excellent. (Tim Emswiler)

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DESTROY BABYLON
Music ADD
Separation
7-song CD
From listening to this record, along with Destroy Babylon’s previous work, I feel that somewhere inside of this band is a very good album waiting to come out, but there’s still some work to do. Musically, their mix of reggae and punk works quite well, and while that’s an easy pairing of which to be skeptical, there’s no authenticity issue here either. In fact, the arranging and the playing have gotten a lot better, particularly with the horns. The big problem, though, is that while this left-wing band has its heart in the right place, the lyrics too often come across as generic sloganeering instead of illustrative storytelling. The band knows what it wants to say; it just hasn’t figured out an effective way to say it. In addition, the album’s momentum comes to a screeching halt with the last track, an unnecessary and self-indulgent 10-minute piece consisting of only trombone and some effects. Criticism aside, Destroy Babylon is worth keeping an eye on. (Kevin Finn)

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THE UNSEEN
Hellcat Records
Internal Salvation
13-song CD
On their fifth album, these local punk stalwarts may serve up a largely standard-issue brand of anarcho-sermonizing, with the generic punk tumbrels all situated neatly awry, ready to roll the unpenitent war pigs to their well-deserved damnation. But what surprises me here is how high-quality the underlying tunes are, and how most of them would stand up to extended scrutiny even if they were rendered in the much-derided unplugged format. That may never happen: the band is too damn hot. They have energy to burn and are therefore, q.e.d., the antithesis of hipster cool, which depends upon a façade of not caring at all about anything. Furthermore, the hipster lives in constant paranoiac fear that someone, somewhere, might take innocent pleasure in his output strictly for its own sake, rather than for its intrinsic value as a trophy to brag about. No; unless I badly misjudge them, I think The Unseen are about as unhip as they come. Sure, they throw in a fillup here and there that reminds you that they’re perhaps still overly fond of heavy-metal histrionics, but otherwise they seem to care deeply about the music, not the power games. Praise be. (Francis DiMenno)

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TWO VIEW REVIEW

P.J. O’CONNELL
Clang!
Careful
14-song CD
Greetings, Zortar here reviewing Americana music which means as much as linoleum to me, being an alien and not of the immigrant variety (like Mrs. Slimedog). This is roots music but has no direct correlation with hair. It’s well played, well sung and very well produced. I think of Nick Lowe, The Beatles, Tom Petty when I listen to this and also, if there’s squirrels in Iceland. But you might not have the same thoughts as I do, You know, this stuff is slick but in a good way, but it doesn’t connect with my cold alien soul. And it would make me feel guilty to toss childish remarks their way, So, I deem this CD good, I crown it with my glorious scepter even if it ultimately doesn’t do much for me. (Slimedog)

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P.J. O’CONNELL
Clang!
Careful
14-song CD
Just what does P.J. have to do to break through the wall of indifference that surrounds roots rock not recorded in, say, Nashville or Memphis? Record with NRBQ? Well, he already did that. And yet, following his second solo release, the sporadically brilliant 2004 LP “Happy Go Lucky,” O’Connell still garnered scanty recognition, even for songs as intrinsically incandescent as “I Can’t Stop Thinkin’ About You,” “Old Moss Back,” and “Happiness Is Havin’.” So, on this follow-up, Mr. O’Connell seems a maybe just a wee bit disgruntled, and small wonder. This third outing has songs every bit as brilliant, but it also has a consistency that was lacking on “Dream Life,” his first solo recording. The opening track, “Can’t Get it Right,” sets the tone: O’Connell magnificently grumbles like the Sultans of Swing on a bummer trip. “Walked Away” is an evincing, world-weary tune that belongs on everyman’s play list, the title track is an insinuating nugget that truly resonates with our times, and “Eventide” is a transcendent ballad the likes of which the Eagles would have given their eyeteeth to have written. So for God’s sake get wise to yourself and go and visit, pjoconnell.com. (Francis DiMenno)

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DARK MARTINI & THE DIRTY OLIVES
Rapeeesh Records
Go On Get Out
7-song CD
Dark Martini & the Dirty Olives sound pretty cool, and I’ll be damned if I can’t hear an overall band sound reminiscent of the early part of the decade within which Bill Clinton was president. It’s kind of a funky grunge, and for a power trio, this band really makes a full sound—not a whole lot of interesting changes harmonically, though. Mostly a blues-based sensibility mixed with rock drives these songs, which may or may not be your cup of tea. The guitar sound is a classic tone—sort of compressed distortion with not too much sustain, just what you need. The tunes are all foot-tappable and catchy, and these guys have worked the sound into a tight cherry bomb of aural presence. I always liked trios—they have more space but more to work for and to prove. If they’re good, they work harder at it. Dark Martini & the Dirty Olives is a good mix. (Mike Loce)

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DANIEL BON & THE FUTURE GHOSTS
Walking Backwards Thru the City
11-song CD
After having fronted both Pennyred and Averi, it’s easy for a lead singer to want to stretch out and do his own thing. Daniel Bon’s solo debut shows a great deal of musical scope and depth beyond the bands with which he was involved.
The songs are engaging and interesting, but like a lot of post-band solo efforts, tries to be all things and all styles at once. This, unfortunately, makes for a very uneven and disjointed record. Bon’s band is very tight and his sense of melody and harmony is impeccably produced. There are songs that rock, songs that soar, and songs that make you think. If you think of this album as a compilation instead of one man’s spiritual journey (I mean—seriously how many albums are about the songwriter’s “spiritual journey?”), you’re in for one hell of a pop ride! (Joel Simches)

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ECLECTIC COLLECTIVE
The Flux
7-song CD
Extra, extra, read all about it! Technically gifted musicians and heavy-handed producer combine for a syrupy and bland album! The truth is, when you combine “funk, jazz, hip-hop and metal” you get none of the above. Instead a hybrid sound is born. Every song employs the same elements and achieves the same results. No one would mistake this for any of the above genres, If this album had existed 30 years ago, before we were able to hear any genre of music with the click of a mouse, The EC might have had something groundbreaking. But, we’ve heard everything. We’ve been to Dre Day and back. We’ve floated through Kind of Blue. We’ve seen The Mothership Land. We’ve been to Ozzfest. And we love all that shit. Think about it. How many people say they listen to “everything”? A lot. But how many people want “everything” in one song, or one album. I can only think of one. My cousin Charlie in Ithaca. You know what though, he’s going to grow out of that. (Kevin McDevitt)

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TIM BLANE
SBKB Publishing
Clockwork
12-song CD
Radio music lets you know it’s radio music. I have to say that first off. It’s just me being me. Tim Blaine is totally polished. What are the criteria for program directors to play songs in this day and age? That’s rhetorical. It’s really good sounding stuff, and it must be exciting to be Tim. That’s not snarky, as I was once accused of being. Tim, is it exciting being you? Right on man. I’m happy for you. This material is the result of NEMO performances, dedication to the cause of developing the music, acknowledgement of your own sound, and also an astute observation of what sounds good to who, and why. How the hell can you fault this music? You can’t. I tried and found that most negative aspects of my opinion were really based on my own incompetence at listening. Nice job on this album, it’s a slice of 2007 as real and true as anything. (Mike Loce)

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BRANDON HEISLER
Do Me In
9-song CD
Slimedog’s cat, here. Yeah, I know, why does a cat get to review? Especially one that’s used up his nine lives, good news, humans—there’s an afterlife! Bad news—it’s only for animals, seems we are the ones who got souls! Are you really surprised? Look around you. Well, if you read some of Slimedog’s review you would be grateful you’re getting me, you know what I’m sayin’? I’m the best buddy he ever had—you best believe it. This CD is pure Bob Dylan, you know, that old guy who’s trying to coast on his son’s coattails, that guy in The Wallflowers. Except this guy sings okay, not like a depressed frog being squeezed in a George Forman grill. Did I tell you I love meat? Yum-mmm. So I know Slimedog, Zortar, hell, most of you hate this harmonica playing, guitar strummin’, folk singing shtick—which is what Brandon’s laying down here. But for its genre, it’s well done, sounds sincere, is pleasant, and I would say if you like or are willing to give folk folks a chance you should most indubitably check this out. I like fish, too (not the band—yuck). (Slimedog)

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PRETTYGOOD
The Singles: 1970-1985
11-song CD
Tim Cawley, the guitarist and main man behind Prettygood, named his band oh so aptly. His eleven songs of 4/4-ey goodness and recognizable chord progressions give the feeling of having heard the songs a million times before. In this way, the listener can feel very connected with the music upon the first listen, or possibly just sleepy. The songs’ spunky break-downs, splattered here and there, are almost reminiscent of classic rock as in “Satisfied, However,” although the feel of the music in general is more melodic, fun, rock. The contrast is satisfying… however. This multi-era effect reminds me of bands like Jerimiah Freed and Switchfoot. He throws other stylistic traits in there as well, slathering “Johnny Sang Poorly” with a thick coat of ’80s pop that suggests Modern English-type riffs. In general, refer back to the band name. (Appogiatura Dee)

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CHARO SOFIA
Montreal
6-song CD
Charo Sofia’s deep, sultry voice could easily garner her quick comparisons to Tracy Chapman, but past the surface, there is also the vocal lilt of Jeff Buckley, the phrasing of Joan Armatrading, and the emotional turmoil of Elliot Smith. It isn’t every day that such a straight-ahead, simple recording could have as much emotional impact as this EP. With simply her voice and guitar, Sofia’s knack for melody and ear for a catchy phrase can somehow propel a simple arrangement to something uplifting and meaningful. There are few Boston songwriters that can do that, and Charo Sofia has just jumped to the top of that very small list. (Joel Simches)

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PAT SCANLON
Where is the Rage?
2-song CD
Andover resident Pat Scanlon might not be known well in local rock circles, but that doesn’t mean much when you read about his past. Pat is a Vietnam Vet who sings out against the Iraq war. He attracted national attention when folk legend Pete Seeger offered support. His songs focus on poignant lyrics back by banjo with simple folk arrangements. “I’ve Got A Feelin’ I’ve Been Here Before” points out the similarities between what we’ve done in Vietnam and Iraq. Pat has a friendly hi-pitched voice, so his lyrics never get buried—a major problem that plagues a lot of local acts. I hope Pat can set an example by showing the need to hear the vocals, but even more than that—have something to say. (T Max)

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EVER UNDER
The Mystery EP
3-song CD
They might masquerade as a lo-fi garage rock band with bad haircuts, but in reality Ever Under is a tight three piece rocking outfit, whose influences range from the Replacements to White Stripes to Green Day to the Who.. Or at least as far as these ears are concerned. Even Under pounds out their pop goodness, with great hooks, tight harmonies and hard riffs. Their songs are infectiously irresistible and their energy is irrepressible. I hope to hear great things about this band in the time to come. Make more music soon! (Joel Simches)

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WONDERFUL SPELLS
The Prophecy of Smarmulous Rex
5-song CD
They call themselves “psychedelic pop-rock,” but to be truthful, I only hear “psychedelic” in one song, and I don’t hear “rock” anywhere. Now, that one psych track, “Vermilion,” isn’t my kind of fuzzed-out groove psych, but more of a Syd Barrett/Brit-psych kind of think that is sorta cute and sorta quirky and rather too twee for me. But it’s still the cream of this small crop. Otherwise, it’s just plain pop, and truth be told, I haven’t thought to myself, “Damn, I think I’m going to sit my ass down and listen to some good, pure pop” since… well, since I listened to Squeeze, I guess. So, that’s really the rub for this one—if you, yourself, have ever had a hankering for some simple, hummable pop, these guys might just be right up your alley. I, however, am going to go to my grave cursing them for the song “Black Cat,” which, while I really don’t like it one little bit, will probably stay stuck in my head until the day of my demise. (Tim Emswiler)

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BURNT FUR
Vitriol
3-song CD
Owing greatly to the synth pop of the eighties, Burnt Fur (another unfortunate band name) takes a lot of great beats, hooks, and melodies from the salad days of New Order and Depeche Mode and infuses them with a modern rock ethic. The worst part of the song “Vitriol” is the occasional moment where it sounds like the band doesn’t really know what to do and there are more than a few empty spaces that lack creative ideas of any kind. The other two songs on this single are covers of New Order and Human League respectively. While these versions add nothing to my love or appreciation of the originals, they certainly have all the focus and energy the title track lacks. (Joel Simches)

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STATE YOUR MIND
State Your Mind
4-song CD
If I had a nickel for every band I have heard this summer that wanted to fill the jam band void left by Jerry Garcia’s passing and Phish’s untimely demise, I could buy a whole bunch of soap and wash these stinking hippies once and for all. I am being sarcastic about that. Actually, I love hippies. I love the expression of groove, the sensuality of their expression of freedom, and of course, the drugs. Unfortunately State Your Mind do nothing to further their goovalicious cause by making music that has no real musical purpose. Lengthy instrumental jams with lots of bongos and a sexy girl going “whoah-oooh heyy ayy ayy” doesn’t make up for the fact there are no songs here. (Joel Simches)

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THE NO IT ALLS
The No It Alls
4-song CD

The No It Alls are a new band out of Rhode Island (two points there, I heap like-um those guys to the east) who eschew the traditional guitar and drum sound and rely totally on vibraphones and mandolins. Just kidding, really they play hardcore influenced punk that recalls the old L.A. or Washington D.C. bands but also sound up to date with current punk influences, also. This is fast, passionate music with lyrics that are thoughtful and have meaning. My favorite track is “Brazil” that has an urgent, buzz saw verse that explodes into a neat unison chorus and contains an actual (gasp) guitar solo that works really well (really). And the ending part of “2 A.M.“ is pretty nifty, too. It’ll be interesting to see what these No It Alls show us all what they can do in the future. (Slimedog)

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PARKBENCH
So It Goes
4-song CD
Definitely a homegrown effort, Jeff Clarke was holed up in his bedroom annoying the neighbors recording this demo. The ideas on this demo remind me of some of Matthew Sweet’s solo efforts. Unfortunately the vocal is pretty pitchy and unlistenable at times, and the drums were all done on a cheesy drum machine. Some double tracking on the vocals would have helped a great deal. The guitars are pretty rocking, there’s some great tambourine playing, and the songs have some potential. I would be curious to hear this with a full band and some live energy. (Joel Simches)

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NADIA
Nadia
3-song CD
Nadia has a heart wrenching, soulful voice. These three songs totally remind me of Sade, full of emotion, passion and pain. Her harmonies dance on the ear like water on a vine leaf. What makes this CD unlistenable is the horribly cheesy production of these three songs. This could be a really lush, soulful R&B recording, but it is so obvious the backing track sounds like Karaoke Night at the Oriental Jade. The mix is horribly uneven and ruins the potential for greatness these songs could have. It’s a shame, because her voice is beautiful and the studio production completely destroys the very ambience it tries to create. (Joel Simches)

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GRIFFON
Griffon
6-song CD
Heck, I like 311, Alien Ant Farm, Avenged Sevenfold, Blindside, Chevelle, Dark New Day, The Deftones, Dredg, Drinkfist, Finch, Glassjaw, Incubus, Killswitch Engage, King's X, Letdown, Muse, Sevendust, Story of the Year, Thrice, Tool, Tunnel Drill and Uriah Heep (no, just kidding) just as much as the next fellow, if not more, and I’ve got no beef regarding Framingham bands per se, but as melodic noise-rock cum alt-rock goes, this is palpably mediocre, and the lyrics are histrionic and pretentious and though I wish them all the luck in the world and though I hope that in the very near future they figure out how not to wear their influences so heartfully on their sleeves, most of all, I hope that some day they read this review of their fledgling first effort and laugh and say, “Boy, did we ever prove that pompous and pretentious loser wrong!” I mean it. I really do. (Francis DiMenno)

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CHARLIE
Charlie
5-song CD
If there were ever a poster band for click tracks and pitch correction in the studio, Charlie would be on the short list. There are some interesting ideas here, but the band comes up short on execution. The guitar playing is inventive, but the vocals are painfully out of tune and the drummer has no real concept of tempo or phrasing. The recording of all of these songs is so uneven, it’s hard to really hear the blend of the band. It sounds like one of the guitarists just decided to plug in and play really loud to a rough mix of something they were fucking around with in the rehearsal space. They do get brownie points for the Back to the Future reference in the middle of the third song. I am sure the lawyers over at Universal will be knocking down your door any day now. (Joel Simches)

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FUGITIVE KIND
Give In EP
4-song CD
If this band truly believes that they are somehow channeling the energy of contemporary favorites like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the White Stripes, and the Arctic Monkeys, they must have been listening to them on Quaaludes. This sterile, flaccid batch of songs sounds like Ani Difranco on a bad hair day. The only rock element present here is the distortion on the guitars. The rest of this is a vaguely funkified, by-the-numbers, songwriter record. Granted, Lydia Esrig can certainly sing, but there is a controlled feeling of restraint throughout the EP, as if she is afraid of letting go and actually experiencing some of the emotions she wants to be singing about. The overall result is stunningly underwhelming. (Joel Simches)

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