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



DelVerano Records

11-song CD

I noticed in Static
of the Gods’ interesting bio that they never actually defined their
music with a genre label. Love that! The music speaks for itself. I
didn’t need to know anyway—I popped in the CD and heard for myself
the ethereal, dreamy sounds that this talented trio has produced. Honoring
the fact that they don’t label themselves, I will say that people
who appreciate melodies, intense rock riffs, and elements of mesmerizing
music will surely like Static of the Gods. Vocalist Jen Johnson (also
on guitar and keyboards) has a sweet, emotion-evoking voice that’s
perfectly complemented by both her instrumentation and that of drummer/sampler
Mike Latulippe and bassist/ guitarist/ keyboardist Ben Voskeritchian.
Clearly with this second album, this band knows what they’re doing
as they’ve completed two national tours and are comfortable in their
skin. My favorites on
include the great leading
track, “Rest Your Head,” “Eating Well,” “Mean Streak” (reminded
me of a cooler, indie Coldplay), “Meteor Flights,” and “True North,”
which was inspired by a “stay at an old theatre.”
(Debbie Catalano)


Speed of Dark Music
in Soliloquy

12-song CD

Goth electronica hybrid already done as well or better some 20 years
ago, maybe, but easy on the ears all the same, although this business
Kasson Crooker rigidly pursues of patching in oddball ambient sounds
and samples—seemingly just for the heck of it—unfortunately puts
me in mind of a hog in a pigsty who eats and excretes garbage without
so much as stopping to grunt just because that’s what’s expected
of it. But Kasson’s experimentation is, more often than not, heartening,
and smacks on occasion of the shock of the new. Witness a track like
“Self-Destruct and Self-Destroyed” which consists of genuinely interesting
slabs of ambient noise sculpted into the semblance of a song. (After
all, in a derivative, high-baroque culture, artifacts aren’t created ex novo,
but are instead merely chiseled out of blocks of existing materials.)
The world music vibe of “Disbeliever…” is quite compelling. And
the incantatory title track is a masterpiece regardless of any context
or genre. Well worth a listen. (Francis DiMenno)


Signature Sounds
Shotgun Singer

12-song CD

Some artists have it
all going for them. They find their niche and stick to it. Kris Delmhorst
is a master of soft-sung misty vocals with creamy harmonies and superb
production. Her use of instruments is sensitive, never over-bearing,
always adding to the high-quality treatment. Drummer Makaya McCraven
never mails in his part—every hit and every drum sound is perfect.

from her press release: “Kris treats her recordings like an oil painting,
allowing the canvas to breath and change over time until the final image
emerges.” This really
is the feeling of what is going on when you listen
to her work.

Mark Sandman returned as a female folk artist, he’d sound like Kris
Delmhorst. This music is easy for me to overdose on.
(T Max)

Corleone Records

9-song CD

There seems to be an
increase in the number of good records with a front- porch feel finding
their way over here these days, sounding more like they are from the
heartland than from the urban East Coast. This self-titled record from
the curiously named AT is a welcome addition to that group. This is
a sparsely arranged, mostly acoustic set of songs that gets by on a
dexterous band that at times reminds me of the Tennessee Three as well
as expressive, quivering vocals that recall both Neil Young and Jack
White. AT can be at times playful and at times introspective, although
the music does at times become pokey and ponderous, but the high points,
such as the dirty electric stomp of “Three Three Three” and “Woke
up Feelin’,” are enough to make you overlook the sleepier moments.
(Kevin Finn)

Thorp Records

12-song CD

Refuse Resist keeps
Boston punk rock alive. On
Socialized, their debut CD for Thorp Records, the band
stays on track with straight-up sing-along rock similar to Boston legends
SSD, Gang Green, and Slapshot (psst Slapshot guitarist Steve Risteen
just joined the band). Lead singer Shawn Refuse sings about fake people
(“Middle America”), feeling stuck (“At a Dead End”), picking
yourself up (“One Life”), and how we’ve lost touch with one another
rather than connecting with the Internet (“Socialized”). These guys
are playing a lot these days so make sure you hit up one of their shows!
(Duncan Wilder Johnson)


Party All

7-song CD

I’m writing my Noise
reviews this month on the first day of a nasty cold so I’m feeling
all stuffy-headed and blah, but I have to honestly say when I dropped
in the Bynars’ CD with their bright pop sounds, it lifted me for a
bit out of my head-cold fog. Quirky, light, unique, imaginative, and
catchy—which is one of the key qualities to have when writing a song.
I find the vocals lilting, the music airy, but not too lightweight.
It’s just the right blend of breezy yet intelligent pop—a la another
band that many reviewers compared them to, Weezer. But with the Bynars’
synth edge, I’d say they have a distinct twist. I’ve already listened
to this four times in a row and I haven’t gotten sick of it, so that
speaks volumes as well—and I’m not even on cold medicine, but I
imagine if I was this would be even trippier with some of its kaleidoscopic
grooves going on! They wisely recorded this fresh off a summer tour—great
job all-around.
(Debbie Catalano)


After All

12-song CD

Highway Ghosts play
a sincere form of rock/country, delivered with clean-cut production,
clear upfront vocals, and decent, yet unchallenging, musicality—similar
to most popular country acts. They make use of two lead vocalists, David
DeLuca and Dennis Barry, with complementing styles, and DeLuca’s heartfelt
country baritone grabs the spotlight in a way that says, “I mean it.”
He sounds like the real country boy/man who’s felt the pains of life.
“Beauty Queen” and “Home” are the tracks I’d bet on—they
lend themselves more to the cowboy side of the H’Ghosts. “Talk About
It Later” uses the tired “All Along the Watchtower” progression
without the zip of Bob Dylan’s original, or zing of Hendrix’s remake.
Jim Gambino (Swinging Steaks) adds welcomed organ on a handful of the
tracks and always brings a positive texture to these twangy guitar-based
songs. Highway Ghosts could find themselves on bills with Three Day
Threshold and Girls, Guns & Glory. I see they’re playing Sally
O’Brien’s on April 9. (T Max)


9-song CD

“Remember those rock
’n’ roll days? Those hot summer nights? We played until
dawn to get the song right.” One of Boston’s best-kept secrets,
Doug Mac Donald is predominantly innovative, delivering solid, all-original
indie rock with a touch of ’60s flavor.
Highway is “modern, streetwise psychedelia with
folk and progressive rock influences,” but what really stands out
are Mac- Donald’s versatile, inimitable vocals. If you ever
find yourself “wonder(ing) where the feeling went” or “where the
time has gone” as the lyrics of “Rock ’N’ Roll Days” state,
is your dose of nostalgia, advocating towards reminiscence and the importance
of memory. At the same time, it is equally as vital to live in
the present moment; honoring the past but moving forward when necessary,
as “Wishing You Well” implies: “I hope you’re doing fine and
I know it’s been a long, long time… do you remember, do you remember,
do you remember me?” An art form in itself,
Highway is a pleasant ride—solemn at times and jovial
at others, but all in all, one well worth taking.
(Julia R. DeStefano)


Rhombus Publishing
Cubist –
Shapes of Sound & Time

16-song CD

Jerry Leake’s a busy
cat. He’s worked with acts such as Natraj, Club D’Elf, and R.A.R.E.,
and he ain’t slacking on this album! A 78-minute CD full of trance-inducing
rhythms and tracks that clock in at over five minutes (many of which
breeze by despite the length),
Cubist features Leake playing what seems like a roomful
of percussion on almost every cut. No shortage of collaborators—12
other people contribute to this album, but his main man here is co-producer/engineer
Randy Roos, who plays guitar/bass on 11 of the tracks.

Cubist is Leake’s musical homage to the early 20th
century art movement popularized by Pablo Picasso. Being more of an
Expressionism (and rock ’n’ roll) fan myself, this CD wasn’t really
my thing. That being said, it did grow on me. Guitar can be a little
“jammy” sometimes, and the chanted vocals often got on my nerves
(especially on the clunker “Middle Ground”), but there’s no denying
the skills of Berklee cat Leake and company—these catchy rhythms are
certainly bound to find its share of fans.
(Tony Mellor)


Little Athena Productions
Fistful of


Jennifer Greer has
put together a terrific album of a solo piano/songwriter nature here.
Kind of has nothing to do with rock, but hey, the
Noise has a wide swath of music coverage. At hardest,
this is River-type pop, if you catch my drift. But like the aforementioned
radio station style, it’s impeccably listenable. As a pianist, she
has a handle on more than the standard Elton or Billy chord sequences,
thank you very much. There’s a semblance of groove, so things don’t
get too mired down, which can happen a lot with introspective song craft.
Melodies on her right hand are matched very well with her voice, which
is another instrument in itself. It seems to be a lyrical piano thing
(the vocal right hand) not at the expense of, but at the request of,
the harmony. Got that? Whatever the hell I just said, be it known that
Jennifer is a very talented and beautiful musical presence.
(Mike Loce)


Stip Records
12-song CD

The Hammond Group,
not to be confused with the independent sales representatives (!), is
a self-proclaimed “integrated rock ’n’ roll solutions provider…
delivering middle-aged surf punk for the 21st century—in
real time!” Their third release,
Bailout! is pure fun and although it lacks stimulating
lyrics, excels in solid musicianship, all while addressing “concerns
of desperate importance to Americans today.” The opener, “You
Touched It!” is appropriately, strangely repetitive and, as you might
have guessed, incredibly comical. “Scratch Ticket King” addresses
the human condition—the totality of the experience of being human
and leading human lives: our obsession with the almighty dollar,
which will, at some point, lead to our demise.
Bailout! is all-at-once clever but highly inappropriate,
and therefore, wholly entertaining. (Julia R. DeStefano)


Snot Rocket

10-song CD

Greetings, Zortar here,
alien from a planet far from Earth inhabiting the vile, vacuous, vicious,
violent, venal, vulgar, vapid vessel known as Slimedog. I am celebrating
St. Patrick’s Day serving green ice cream from my truck, mold is such
a delightful topping. We have Irish people on my planet but unlike here,
the Irish tend to drink too much. Well, these disgusting Saliva Slingers
actually make me drool and their CD
Rocket Science
is nothing to
sneeze at. This CD is rap/hip-hop, which is quite unlike my favorite
music namely contemporary Christian death metal, but this is not bad.
It’s very well produced and performed with the added ingredient of
humor in the mix. I find it a welcome respite from the usual boasting.
So if rap with humor sounds good to you, I would recommend checking
them out. And I would also recommend disposing of Slimedog in the most
excruciating way possible.


Inta Records

14-song CD

While driving down
Route 3, the sign “Boston, 40 miles’” flying by overhead, I had
issues. I had a swollen lymph gland in my neck for some mysterious reason.
This plus lack of sleep, and a recurrently itching case of hemorrhoids,
did nothing to put me in any sort of decent mood. I inserted
into the CD player, opened the sunroof, hit play, and let the acoustic
live shit-kickin’ sounds fill the car. It was terrific. I was bouncing
happily on my sore ass, dancing behind the wheel and generally running
people off the road. The cops nodded appreciably as I waved the
album at them, and didn’t pursue me. In fact one gave a thumbs-up,
a big grin on his face, and raised a bottle of bourbon. He must have
understood that the HDATZ sound of bass, mandolin, guitar, harmonica,
and vocals needs nothing more than a listen to completely turn around
a bad day.
(Mike Loce)


Teenage Heart Records
For a Fatter

11-song CD

The Bad Lieutenants
have put together an energetic and lighthearted collection of punk songs
whose sound harkens back to classic bands like the Real Kids, the Stooges
and the Ramones. For most of the record, the boys successfully stay
on the right side of the clever/stupid vs. stupid/stupid line, although
songs like “Drive-in Divorce,” an amusing premise whose promise
isn’t fulfilled, seem to rely on profanity simply because the band
has run out of words. The hits outweigh the misses, though, and in an
unusual, but not unwelcome, change, the second half of the record actually
picks up in quality. It also becomes more diverse, as strains of AC/DC
and other classic metal bands poke their way through the surface. I
keep expecting the quiet, mandolin-tinged “Opeth & the Omega Man”
to erupt into something fierce or show itself to be a joke, but it surprisingly
stays pretty. I like those kinds of surprises. (Kevin Finn)



15-song CD

Who is Walter Noons?
What is the (if any) significance of naming this release
Prodigal Father?
A homage to
The Life
of John Butler Yeats
, perhaps?
Something more? The world may never know. Despite my frustration
at having received a “homemade” disc without a one-sheet or any
information whatsoever, this is quite enjoyable. Noons has a husky
voice, which is complimented nicely by toe-tapping riffs and an overarching
peace and love mentality.
echoes some of music’s
greats—the Beatles, Neil Young, Tom Petty, and Frank Zappa, to name
a few. However, I still find myself wondering “who” exactly
Noons is as an artist; the disc is more of a hodgepodge, an assortment
of sounds rather than a cohesive entity. (Julia R. DeStefano)


Daykamp Records

11-song CD

If you’re looking
for a fueled-up garage rock band, you know, the kind that makes the
cool ones in clubs stand there nodding or tapping their toes to the
energetic rhythms, then Dirt Mall is up your alley. If this CD, though,
was comprised of only the first six songs, I’d be giving this a two-thumbs-up
type review as the first half truly kicks it with punk and vigorous
guitar rock-influenced lines; in fact a couple of these tunes even have
a great ‘60s/’70s vibe like in “Standing In the Road” and “Pearl”—two
of my favorites. Not that the rest of the CD is bad but it starts feeling
more classic rock and unoriginal—kind of like a cover band. I do dig
Dirt Mall and think they have something here and I’d bet they’re
memorable live, but for some reason I found myself losing my initial
interest as the CD went on. Not sure if the recording needs more oomph
or maybe the band needs a few more creative twists to what is an already
a solid, rockin’ act. (Debbie Catalano)


Hey Mama
11-song CD

Janis Joplin/Tracy
Chapman knock-off pseud? Not quite. Superficially, this is an enormously
appealing blend of blues, jazz, balladry, orchestration, arrangements,
and studio wizardry. And there are at least couple of really good songs.
On their jazz-inflected uptempo romp “From the Bottle,” the virtuosic
instrumentals put me in mind of certain space jams of yore. And although
I shouldn’t be so impressionable, a lonesome, string-raddled folk
song like “Mountain Bones” is enough to turn me into sentimental
jelly. My major beef: the songwriting is a bit lackluster at times.
“Drivin’ Nails” is a thoroughly ordinary electric blues workout.
“Sail On” is a bluesy shuffle with jazzy inflections. “I Give
This To You” starts out as a pretty blatant Stax/Volt knock-off. And
“Dred Scott” is just clumsy and ridiculous agitprop; little more
than mere cant. Who are they trying to impress? The blacks whose music
they are sedulously aping—or the whites who pay vague lip-service
to the merits of authentic blues? Overall this CD doesn’t entirely
sit well with me—maybe because it seems all too calculated—designed,
it seems, to appeal to pot-chuffing suburban naval-gazers in their early
forties who live 19.8 miles from a major city and who, for all their
adherence to liberal pieties, would probably flop over dead if the likes
of Furry Lewis ever actually showed up on their doorsteps.   (Francis DiMenno)

Bampf! Records
Double Nines

7-song CD

Founded in 2008, Double
Nines is comprised of former members of Eleventh Hour, Cropduster, and
Barnicle. The influences on these seven songs range from the usual
roster of indie rock darlings: Fugazi, Foo Fighters, Buffalo Tom.
The result is a highly energetic but instantly forgettable collection
of indie rock with fairly dry mid-fi production values (Did you hire
someone special just to turn up the “hiss” button?) and a special
bonus track that isn’t really that special.

not to say I didn’t like this EP. I did. I just wish it
weren’t so generic and that it was produced with the “sparkle”
it deserves.   (Joel Simches)


Run For

10-song CD

first of all I thought of Charlemagne from the Noise Board, the lovely
and talented former drummer of Radio Knives. And while I don’t believe
he’s involved with this project this is something I could see him
enjoying as he seems to like classic rock bands from the ’60s era.

they start the CD off with a slow ska tune but I keep on thinking about
the music from that era because of the bluesy vocals over the white
funk and rhythm and blues. There are also lots of horns, which make
me think of Leon Russell, Van Morrison. But mostly it makes me want
to take a hammer and smash this CD into tiny bits and feed it into a
woodchopper and then throw myself right in after it. But strike that
last remark, basically this is too retro for my fine sensibilities but
maybe you hippies will dig it. (Slimedog)



4-song CD

It’s always great
to know that no matter what Boston has to offer in all of its guitar
rock, indie, nu metal and punk glory, someone always will put out an
album that sounds like classic New Order. Drum machines, chimey
guitars, and vocals drenched in reverb rule the day on this new EP by
Technoir. This is probably the best New Order EP that they never
recorded. It even sounds like they recorded it on a four-track
cassette then hid it in a vault until some band could discover and release
it on their own. I could listen to this EP for days.
(Joel Simches)


The Center
in the Sand

11-track CD

Sententia are a swirling,
atmospheric outfit. Tight but liquid drums and driving acoustic guitars
propel the rhythm, fuzzy shoegazey electrics adding colorful dynamics
to the choruses, and doleful, tantalizing vocals. Dede Booth’s elegiac
voice reminds me for some reason of an American June Tabor, but English
folk this is not. There are elements of progressive in the electric
guitar arpeggios, but there are no crazy time signature changes or bloated
technique-heavy solos to be found here. Porcupine Tree are apparently
an influence, but I’d honestly much sooner listen to this.

it sounds like a
really good demo. When I listen to it, I keep thinking
that these songs would benefit greatly from either a bigger budget or
a different mix—the drums sound a little dry, I can hardly hear the
bass, and there ought to be some more effects to flesh out the guitar
(I’d personally add more chorus and delay effects, but I’m into
that Chameleons UK-style post-punk guitar sound, what do I know…)
I would totally see them live.

promising.   (Tony Mellor)

Garbage Continent

5-song CD

This is some really
cool, silly, lo-fi garage pop recorded lovingly onto cassette and transferred
onto disc for your consumption. It’s a washed out, fuzzy piece
of bubblegum recorded by a band who loves Weezer, but gives more than
a wink and a nod to the Kinks and the Sonics. I wish there were
a little more fidelity, but that would rob these tracks of all its charm.
This band’s self-proclaimed brand of “Already Been Chewed Bubblebum
Pop” will easily win the hearts and minds of anyone that loves a good
(Joel Simches)


Run Home
14-song CD

A debut album that
“reaches into the depths of Black Marmot’s collective creativity,”
Run Home
is intricate, polished, and overall, ear-pleasing on the whole.
Led by Linde Clark, the group blends folk, rock, and alternative country
sounds in the realm of Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, as well as Wilco
and Uncle Tupelo, while vocal harmonies are reminiscent of Rilo Kiley.
Through introspective lyrics, an overwhelming sense of darkness is conveyed;
uncomfortable issues such as stalking are addressed in detail.
As the final track “Hurricanes” states: “Oh and nothing ever changes
anyway. You fight it some; I fight it some and still we drift
further and further away. We let the sea takes us where it will…”
disheartening, if I do say so myself. (Julia R. DeStefano)

Reluctant Records
A Life in
the Day

4-song CD

This is pure, no nonsense
punk-inflected roots rock. There are flashes of Buffalo Tom, the
Buzzcocks, and the Misfits as well as the snarly grind of Social D.
The songs are fairly straight ahead; a couple of verses and choruses,
but could have benefited from some overdubs or even some harmonies.
These songs feel like unfinished demos of something that could have
been even more spectacular. Perhaps the next batch of songs will
sound a little more fleshed out, but for now, this EP is a lot of fun
to listen to!   (Joel Simches)


Happy Mediums

7-song CD

A self-proclaimed
“band that breaks all bounds and pushes all musical limitations,”
IT the Verb’s
s is a strange (and I
do mean strange) concoction of audio performance art in the realm of
the Mars Volta. Influences are plentiful and include court jesters,
African tribal dancing, Trans Am(s), and Christmas on Ice… fitting,
no? All in good FUN, I suppose…
(Julia R. DeStefano)


Led to the

8-song CD

Ah, yes, Mrs. Slimdog
here, the most knowledgeable, most accurate, most acrobatically inclined
of all the
Noise reviewers. Modesty forbids me to get any fervor
so let’s get to the suspect at hand.

this CD has that icky music where the drums pound and pound and the
guitar sounds like the cat fell into the garbage disposal once again
(careful there Jade) and the singer snarls and growls like a constipated
porcupine throwing up. Slimedog says this is instrumental speed metal,
a term I’m strangely unfamiliar with. But what’s unique about this
CD is there are no vocals on it, and I believe this must be the first
time in recorded music history this has happened.

though the music makes me hyperventilate, I will give them credit for
inventing a totally new genre and I would hope other musical bands might
try this. Me, I just sang Captain & Tennille songs along with this
and then it sounded fine. (Mrs. Slimedog)


Civil Liberties Media
Just Beneath
The Surface


The Dormers seem to
have pulled out all the stops to make an impressive debut. Their
hard-hitting, yet melodic post punk rock is thoughtful, emotionally
charged and well-presented. They want to catch the mainstream
attention of their own terms. The songs are well produced; yet
still retain the anger and attitude of a garage punk band angry at the
world. There are memorable melodies and harmonies intermingled
with interesting arrangements and anthemic riffs. I can’t recommend
this EP more highly. (Joel Simches)


OMS Records
Love Lust
& Beer

10-song CD

For an album entitled Love Lust & Beer, this group of songs showcases a pretty high
level of musicality, led by the surging rhythm section of Steve Hart
on drums and lead vocalist Pete Soszynski on bass. Given that Soszynski
and Bill Close, who plays guitar on three songs, have played in the
Freeze, it’s not surprising that the majority of the songs are of
the punk vein. Truth be told, most of them are nothing special, good,
but not great. Where the band really stands out is in the places where
they deviate from the expected. The bluesy “My Angel,” which recalls
the early, less bombastic Aerosmith, is a definite highlight, but Bomb
Squad Larry’s greatest accomplishment is “When I’m With You,”
whose more-laid back, yet more-layered, sound has me thinking of the
Velvet Underground. A whole album of songs like that would have this
band in constant rotation on my stereo instead of being granted just
the occasional spin. (Kevin Finn)


Ashes Time

6-song CD

This debut seems to
be a soundtrack for the Nouveau Americana. The songs are sonic
images of the life of the modern working class told through a post-punk
jangle. There are elements of Billy Brag, Patti Smith, and the
Clash intermingled with the rootsy drawl of Wilco, Neil Young, and Grant
Lee Buffalo. The music is thoughtful and compelling—perfect
complement to the lyrics, which speak to the daily strife of living
in the modern world. There are few bands that can pull this off
without getting preachy and heavy-handed. The songs seem to tell
it like it is and leave it up to us to decide what to do with the message.
Make more music soon. (Joel Simches)


I Hate You

13-song CD

Alkalay plays to his
strengths—casual C&W-inflected whimsy—with tunes like “Texas”
and “That Girl’s Gonna Make a Woman Out of Me.” And the Warren
Zevon-esque “Speed” approaches a type of grandeur that is almost
majestic. I wish that I could say that the rest of this CD is a highly
amusing, carnivalesque riff on proto-roots rocker warhorses like Jim
Croce, the Rolling Stones, and Creedence Clearwater (see “Grumble”).
But in spite of its hooky ambiance and high musical competence, in sum
I find many of the songs to be all too much in earnest, and strident
in a way those better-known roots-rock exemplars seldom were. Furthermore,
a song like “Lumberjack” is maudlin beyond belief. It’s fine to
admire your Daddy, but some sentiments are perhaps better expressed
with a certain amount of writerly distance and restraint. And shooting
at fish in barrels (see “Bob Jones”) is not high satire—it’s
just political footsie somewhat akin to preaching to the converted.
Everything in the world is not required to be an ironic yuk-fest. But
sometimes you’re in the mood for something down to earth—and this
would suit the bill nicely—yet, sometimes, carnivalesque becomes mere
carny, and then then crosses over the line into darkest cornball, and,
for me, even watching that process can be a bit too much to take.
(Francis DiMenno)


If you’re sending a CD in to
the Noise make sure to use our new address.
And everyone else should
update our contact info too. Thanks.

T Max/ the Noise
24 Beverly Drive
Georgetown, MA 01833

  • 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.