Comment on any CD Review in Reader's Respo™
Make sure you title your comment so we know which review you're talking about.
You can also discuss local music 24/7 at The Noise Board

Tigrette Records
SideWalk Mary
10-song CD
The last time I got my head completely smacked like this was by a record from Abunai! many years ago. It’s that rare kinda mind-melt that can be many things to many people. It’s psychedelic, dark, jaunty, spiritual, playful, sinister, even world-beatish, and sometimes all in the same friggin’ song. Usually, stuff that’s this all-over-the-place is doomed to fail, but there isn’t a single misstep or contrived-sounding second here. One minute you’re on the beach, the next you’re on Jupiter, and the next you’re getting reamed up the woo-hoo by James Bond in the jungle or something. Oh, and they do it all without vocals, save for an odd sample here and there. While every note played by everyone here is crucial to the staggering success of this thing, it’d be impossible (and stupid) not to single out guitarist and songwriter Catherine Capozzi, who might be my new favorite musician in about the last million years. I’d call it a minor miracle, but there’s nothing minor about it. World-class head-fuckery from start to finish. If this doesn’t leave you scratchin’ your noggin in wonder, you must not have any arms.   (Joe Coughlin)

Nobody’s Favorite Records
City Parks After Dark
13-song CD
A peculiar amalgam of nuevo-grunge and electric folk, this band sometimes veers a bit too perilously close to the hackneyed indie tropes of yore, but manage to retain enough of a measure of passing strangeness and charm to come across as both engaging and significant, no mean feat. Even more surprising, most of the songs here are quite good—filled with variegated texture and nuancical impetus. Pick Hits: the rip-snorting “Bad, Bad News,” the nimble “Missing,” the grandiose “Postcards,” the wrenching “Coastline,” and the gladsome “Tired.” In a better world, the penultimate song, “No Flag,” would be on radio playlists everywhere. Highly recommended.   (Francis DiMenno)

Magic Bullet Records
I Am Your Bastard Wings
12-song CD
Seamless.  Atmospheric.  Sophis-ticated.  A local chamber-prog-rock sextet that gets it right through every melodic twist and instrumental turn. For several years now, the main composers Nate Shumaker (vocals/guitar) and Tom Korkidis (vocals/bass/keys) have been toiling with this usage of grandiose songcraft, creating cinemascopic com-positions presented as a suite. Their previous group, On Fire, almost nailed it. Now after a few personnel shifts, driven by a powerhouse drummer, Alex Mihm, triggered by an inventive, stellar string section, Clara Kebabian (violin) and Beth Holub (viola), and given extra shape by trumpet and sampler, Sean Will, their vision has taken wing!
My only complaint is the gossamery presence of half-vocals, buried quite low in the mix. Obviously, this is their raison d’etre, though a major disconnect in establishing a personal identity. Still, this does not deter the rock grandeur in this wonderful music, following a path set by Pink Floyd, King Crimson, or Can and carried on by contemporary groups such as Sigur Ros, Porcupine Tree, or Caspian. Pieces like “Killing Texas,” “The Gallows,” “Albatross,” or “The Choir Will Always Sing” create a swirling tone of color and dynamics. This CD is a major statement, lovingly co-produced by Malcolm Burn (Peter Gabriel, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois), filled with endless promise and musical grace. Bravo!   (Harry C. Tuniese)

In An Instant
7-song CD
Don’t let their cool, sunny, hip façade suck you in.  These people are evil and drink the blood of babies while feasting on the intestines of unicorns and defecating on the homeless.  Clever hooks, cute harmonies or handclaps no matter how awesome will never disguise their rampage of the damned.  Every time they clap their hands on this recording, God kills a bunny and a lot of bunnies were obviously maimed and mutilated to make this for mass consumption and commercial gain.  I am certainly convinced beyond a shadow of any doubt that the bonus track was the only song actually played by them.  The rest were extras in a Prell commercial, I swear.  Everyone should own this record.    (Joel Simches)

The King Is Dead
11-song CD
Rogue Heroes seem to be rooted in snazzy ’70s-era arena metal with some Mink DeVille style swagger. Drum and bass are sharp and spirited throughout, and even though it’s been years since I’ve been able to get a large charge out of this kind of blatant testosterone-fest, I still can’t help but admire the perseverance of vision that lies behind the sort of band who would essay this style. On occasion, as on “One More Round for the Road” they serve up a memorable slice of teen angst, and on “Real Good Old Boys Don’t Die,” they venture beyond mere genre pimping into something—dare it say it?—inspired.   (Francis DiMenno)

Humble Abode Music
The Honeymoon Agenda
12-song CD
Lovers of Lazy Susan and fans of similarly folk-inflected and highly melodic pop will find a great deal to like here. Formerly of the Mammals, this husband-and-wife duo shine particularly brightly on Len Chandler’s “I’m Going to Get My Baby Out of Jail,” Aaron Ross’s monumentally tuneful “Whimsical Hysterical Suburban,” and Mike Merenda’s own “For This Love.” The album is almost evenly divided between originals and canny covers—particularly telling are their spartan arrangements of Tom Waits’s “Long Way Home” and Dylan’s “I’ll Keep It With Mine.” And “Diamond Ring Rag,” is a classic instrumental original. In sum, this is an album of many excellences.   (Francis DiMenno)

10-song CD
This is kinda like when I heard Shonen Knife’s first album. Or maybe the Shaggs’ second, after they’d all learned to play the same song at the same time. The band consists of four girls ages 12 through 14, and they wrote and played everything on here. So yeah, it’s a tad rough. Some might say sloppy. Or clunky. Or inept. Or even amateurish (although the world would suck without a lotta certain amateurs). It definitely ain’t slick. To call it a work in progress might even be too generous. But screw those people, because this is simply one of the most charming damn records to sail though these ears all year. Sure, there’s the whole youthful innocence thing, but I’ll be damned if there aren’t REAL songs and arrangements here, and lots of ’em. All the more impressive since it’s largely dreamy pop stuff, which is about the easiest thing in the world to render completely forgettable. I’m generally not a kid person, but if I had to have any, I’d be thrilled to pieces if they were cranking out stuff like this. Gals, I think you gotta future in this biz.   (Joe Coughlin)

Blue Duck Records
Oh, When the Animals Unionize
12-song CD
Hi! I’m the bluebird that hops about outside Slimdog’s apartment, frolicking with my squirrel friends in Sacramento. Of course, birds don’t really write reviews. It’s just Slimedog thinks I’m writing this so let’s humor him, shall we?
The guitar lick on the third track of this CD makes me recall a Franz Ferdinand song and it’s not wise to wear your influences so openly on your wing. Of course, when I hear Franz Ferdinand it’s easy to hear the Doobie Brothers and Led Zeppelin licks so how can you fault this band? I don’t, this is far from unpleasant. I could listen to this as I sail from tree to tree, floating in the wind with not a care in the world. So if you’re into bands like Interpol or the aforementioned band you might do well to check them out. Me, I got to take to the skies, bye-bye.   (Slimedog)

The Hail Mary
12-song CD
Guitarist/vocalist Eric Salt and his cohorts have made one of the most finely produced CD’s I’ve heard in a long time (that Rafi and Ed at Q Division were involved in this probably explains it). This artsy power pop (for lack of a better word) by this four-piece is full of songs with hooks and dynamic arrangements. Strangely, the songs indeed reflect those artists they list as influences. The guitars and vocals of the opener, “Stand in the Light,” recall Soul Asylum. “Pearls” has the structure of something by the Rolling Stones but a chorus that evokes the psychedelia of Pink Floyd. The fun “Beatle Chord” and “Starfish Man” sound like they might have been influenced by side one of Abbey Road. The lone caveat: the last song, “Down to Nothin’” is such a great rock ’n’ roll song that screams for a Soul Asylum-style arrangement but it’s done anticlimactically in a subdued, almost acoustic style. I wish they had rocked it out and brought the CD full-circle to its rockin’ beginnings instead of just fading away. Otherwise, this is one excellent CD.   (Robin Umbley)

The Travelers Diary
11-song CD
Ah, yes, Mrs. Zortar here, Spanish alien from another planet, inhabiting the form known as Mrs. Slimedog in your galaxy. Oh, and what nice nails! According to the accompanying propaganda Mike knew the time was right to gather his closest friends and associates to perform and record these songs. But, alas, he choose the wrong time to submit it to the Noise and have if fall into the hands of such cruel, unyielding ears. I would designate this as pop/rock. Like Tom Petty, who’s very good in this genre, but without the warmth, and more slicker. No one could say this is not well-sung, well-performed, and well-recorded but this leaves me with no feeling, or less feeling than I have and for someone who was born with no feeling that is really something. But then again the production assistant/mixer says this is great stuff so perhaps you should take his unbiased opinion rather than mine.    (Mrs. Slimedog)

Cougars Kill Cobra
 8-song CD
This is full of sound and fury, and although it signifies more than nothing, I’m not quite sure what, unless it has something to do with energy being pure delight. This is very sharply and astutely produced—the drumming, in particular, is state of the art—but although I’m hearing the riffing, I’m not really hearing the songs—it’s like observing a building that has been removed, brick by brick, until only the scaffolding remains. If nihilistic minimalism is your thing, you might really like this. There’s no doubt these guys are on to something—see, for instance, the uncharacteristically somber tour de force “The Killer.” I just wish that there were more than mere anarchy going on within that inchoate framework.   (Francis DiMenno)

Perley Records
10-song CD
I dunno—it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to get excited over songs like Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane.” This whole grim and gritty down-with-the-people stance, howsoever heartfelt, was all but played out by the time “Nebraska” hit the shelves. This is not to say that there isn’t room in the pantheon for a modern-day incarnation of Phil Ochs or John Prine. It’s just that some time ago the ante has been upped. Maybe I’m jaded—hell, there’s no “maybe” about it—but I’m just not feeling any kind of shock of the new from any of these numbers—it’s all heavy mood and, well, little more than that, and the only song that really sticks is the anomalously sardonic “Psycho-Delic World.”    (Francis DiMenno)

Back To The Woods
12-song CD
Ah, yes, Mrs. Slimedog here, not to be confused with that trollop of the galaxies, Mrs. Zortar! Puh-leeze, I don’t like to shoot my own horn but I am much more knowledgeable, tastefully discriminating and have way better nails.
So up to the business at foot, these Brew guys’ CD, “is in the tradition of rock’s golden age,” and the songs, “reflect, respect and build upon the giants of the sixties and seventies,” and they’re, “more than a bit concerned about the general state of affairs.”
So that means they’re new hippies, with thoughtful lyrics and tasteful music that will not offend. Slimedog says it’s music for people who like Sting but feel he is too “rocking.”  I like it as it’s pleasant enough but I would tell these boys to remember to wash and not to smoke too much grass. And no way do I like it as much as Meatball, you know, the portly gentleman who sings, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” Slimedog says I’m incorrect on this but I’m sure he sings that song.    (Mrs. Slimedog)

10-song CD
Occasionally, something comes in that makes me want to nuke a grade school, strafe a strip mall, or stuff grenades up puppies’ asses. This is one of ’em. Things start innocently enough with the title track, a subdued, lullaby-ish thing that’s kinda pretty in spite of the fact that it’s aural Nyquil and coulda actually been longer if he wanted it to kick in. Then, bafflingly, come the would-be history lessons. “Mandela” is an acoustic rap job with no historical info you couldn’t Google yourself, laid over some of the most maddeningly rudimentary music ever recorded. Like Dr. Seuss was in da house, except Dr. Seuss woulda given his audience a fuckload more credit, and they’re six years old. Then there’s stuff about the French Revolution, Che Guevara, Castro, and Luddites. The press sheet advises you “open your intellectual curiosity just a tad,” and reminds us that the music “is on a circular disc.” Duly noted, Chief. It comes in a spiffy digipak with color photos of puppets, so I don’t feel bad saying this (i.e., no hint of starving-artist syndrome here). I’ll credit the dude with making his stuff available for free, and for keeping me up a solid night wondering why this exists, but I ain’t gonna listen to it again.   (Joe Coughlin)

Deep in the Shallows =
7-song CD
On the first listen, one wonders whether or not the band took their name from the classic character created by Alexandre Dumas or from the fine fragrance sold at Filene’s Basement.  This is a classic case of somewhat interesting potential destroyed by a lack of recording production skill.  Musically, there are some interesting glam, prog and metal moments to admire, but the musical ideas are marred by a nasal tuneless vocalist with rhyming skills that would get him capped in the ’hood (Saugus).   I could see this as brilliant if someone had produced it, or at least brought a tuner to the practice space.  There are moments that are as embarrassingly awful as musically brilliant.  I really want to like this band, but it makes my brain hurt too much.   (Joel Simches)

Offensive Tie Records
11-song CD
It’s bad enough when band members wax (off) about their influences in their bios, but it’s worse when one happen to be Oscar the Grouch. Sorry, not making this up, folks. Says so right here. But it’s not one of those Cookie Monster-vocal death-metal bands (which is nice, at least). It’s that grandiose, operatic type stuff I wish I liked better. Why so pensive, dudes? The songs are all “well-executed” and blah blah blah, but they’re dead serious to the point of pure joylessness. What kills it for me, though, is the pretension. For instance, from the back cover:  “The photograph upon which this design is based was taken by Mason Taylor in the men’s room of a movie theatre. The opinion expressed is necessarily the opinion of any sane individual.” Yeah, too bad you can’t read it. Why do they need to talk to us like this? It ain’t endearing, and it can ultimately taint the opinions of any, uh, sane individuals. If you want pure drama and not much else, look no further. (And I suppose it shouldn’t matter, but I thought it was a girl singing for the first several numbers.) Maybe they just need a good stuff drink. I know I do after hearing this.   (Joe Coughlin)

Switchblade Suicide EP
3-song CD
It’s always refreshing to hear that high energy, hard hitting, no bullshit rock ’n’ roll like this is still being made.  Switchblade Suicide’s latest can only be faulted with being all too brief with a scant three songs. Rarely has a band taken such a dated style and made it fresh and relevant.  I could listen to this all afternoon.  Make a full length soon!   (Joel Simches)

Thyrio Records
6-song CD
While this band travels all over the Northeast and beyond, Nantucket serves as their current base camp. Joel Finn, in addition to being a hell of a sound engineer on the island, plays bass and provides vocals alongside frontman, Chuck DeBruyn and guitarist, Lance McVickar. Their voices blend really well and the musicianship is top notch. They remind me of Cheap Trick meets the Rustic Overtones, particularly the opening track “I’m Not Myself Tonite” which has officially become of my favorite songs of the summer. The songs are quirky and entertaining and the horn section that pops its head in from time to time only adds to the energy of Jim Maria’s drumming. I hope I get a chance to catch this band live. I’m betting it will be a super fun show.    (Kier Byrnes)

Eating My Brain
4-song CD
Though easily reminiscent of the British/Clash-era punk/ska of the late ’70s, Dani Nash’s crew is definitely not without a certain drunken charm.  You can forgive the off key raving and drooling and just strap yourself in for a rockin’ good time.  Yeah I hate the phrase “rockin’ good time” as much as I’m sure the rest of you do, but I said it and had it.  So there.  This is simply a fun, high-energy recording.  Not playing this CD at full volume on a huge stereo system would be a crime against humanity.   (Joel Simches)

2008 Bomb
6-song CD
If you’ve ever wondered “What does Justin Timberlake listen to when he masturbates to himself in the mirror?” now you have your answer.  This EP is clever, sexy, and not to be missed.  In “Watch You Sleep” you’re riding shotgun with the creep on the Subway who tries to rub up against strangers.  “Some Day” is the gem of the record and would bring Marvin Gaye to his knees. It highlights the finer points of a hookup that never quit happens, which is hard to understand because singer Captain Chet Katz offers to “…cup your boob, if you want me to.”  “Bomb Ass Headies” has the Afroman effect of making you want to rip a thousand bong hits.  At the same time you might find it in your heart to forgive those dirt balls at Bonnaroo who used to say “Who’s got my headies?”  Who needs therapy when you’ve go Rhymes with Dolores?   (Kevin McDevitt)

The Glory EP
5-song CD
This is another impeccably produced songwriter pop record with a lazy rootsy twinge.  Bergeron’s vocal approach is reminiscent of Grant Lee Buffalo and, at times, even Suede or Screaming Trees.  But certain inflections and his attempts to sound sensitive and sincere come off as contrived and forced.  The songs seem to breathe life in the moments where he seems comfortable with the groove of the musical backdrop created by his top-notch backing band. I think some of the songs, particularly “You Don’t Love Me (at all)” could benefit from a slower, lazier tempo.  This one does stand out as an attempt to have an “up tempo” song on this record without really writing one.    (Joel Simches)

75 or Less Records
Four Years Before The Mast 
6-song CD
              I hafta take the cheap way out here and say that this is very much like what Dropkick Murphys would sound like if they played unplugged and opted for nautical themes over Irish and all that other shit they do. (Sharks’ press sheet even says they were inspired by the “Spanish Ladies” song in the movie Jaws.) Lotsa banjo, fiddle, accordion, two-steppin’ kinda tempos and robust, absurdly catchy shout-along choruses. And a million bands coulda fucked this up royally, but these guys sound like they’re having more goddamned FUN than almost anyone I’ve heard this century. I hit “repeat” more than once, and I seriously never do that. They’re from Rhode Island, a place I generally avoid like the plague it is, but this made me wanna go down there and hoist about two thousand steins fulla various poisons with ’em. The material is actually far outshined by the sheer spirit here, but I suspect they’re gonna write some real doozies down the road. Easily the best time I’ve had sitting alone on my ass in ages, and I think they’re just getting warmed up.   (Joe Coughlin)

“Iraqi Blues”
CD single
This protest tune, copyright 2003, seems to have fallen in between the cracks. Give Mr. Bender respect: he was prescient. But this agitprop number is derivative loping funk with a pronounced Hendrix influence. Why listen to this when you can easily hunt down and listen to Mr. Hendrix’s infinitely superior (and more coherent) “Machine Gun.” I would suggest the Live At Berkeley Community Theater version of May 30th, 1970.   (Francis DiMenno)

Comment on any CD Review in Reader's Respo™
Make sure you title your comment so we know which review you're talking about.
You can also discuss local music 24/7 at The Noise Board


Comments are closed.