SILVER CIRCLES REVIEWS Dec10


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BIRD MANCINI

Tuning In/Tuning
Out
12-song CD

Ruby Bird and Billy
Carl Mancini’s latest release is also their coolest one to date. Twelve
lush Beatles-influenced original tunes tinged with a bit of blues and
a bit of flower power; and always Ruby’s soulful vocals and Billy’s
first-rate musicianship. Ruby also contributes harmonica, accordion,
melodica, and glockenspiel. Billy brings the guitars, keys, bass, and
percussion. The tunes have very personal lyrics and after listening
to the project as a whole, one gets the romantic idea that the metaphorical
words in the many love songs were written for each other: and there
is a comfort in the familiarity of the idea as well. Steve Gilligan
and Sal Baglio from the Stompers, blues siren Madeleine Hall, and Low
Budget’s Tim Casey also appear on the melodies. Songs like “Truth,”
“Because It’s December,” and “Didn’t Last Long Did It?”
are radio friendly, while “(I Want My Own) Brian Epstein” and “Tuning
In/Tuning Out” best illustrate their likable style.
(A.J. Wachtel)

THE SALVATION ALLEY
STRING BAND

“The Pioneer Valley
Rose” and Other Favorites

11-song CD

Opening track “8
Miles High” sets the tone for this collection: it is not a Bryds cover,
but a modernized example of Texas swing replete with front man Ryan
Quinn’s impeccable pedal steel and guest star Eric Lee’s superadded
fiddle. The follow-up, “Annalee,” is delightfully akin to an updated
Sun-era Johnny Cash oldie and features Andy Goulet’s subtle bass backing
and honking tenor sax by Annalee Locke. The harmony vocals on “A Robot
Told Me” are achingly poignant. There are even touches of Carl Perkins
and Phil Ochs (“Hartford Bound” and “Santa Fe Trail” respectively).
Best of all is the monumental “Nebraska,” a song that sends chills
up my spine with its sheer rightness. At their best, the songs
from this talented western Massachusetts quartet is not so much alt-country
but simply righteous old-timey roots music with modern production values—
updated sounds of a lost Arcadia from a playbook forged in the American
forest primeval. (Francis DiMenno)

THE DOLL EYES

75 or Less Records

Too Many Feelings
13-song CD

I want to start this
off by the numbers: the band has four members, two guitarist/singers,
one bassist, and one drummer. The CD has 13 songs, six of which were
previously released on the three-way split 666. It is 37 minutes
long I have had it for 72 hours, and listened to it nine times.

This is a great punk CD. It is hard to believe it’s by a local band.
The mix is excellent, the energy is insane, and the content really makes
me think. It feels like the Doll Eyes are holding a mirror up for the
world to be able to see themselves through untainted eyes. I’m not
sure if this is a raw commentary on the downfalls of man, and society
in general, or just a glimpse into the daily lives of the Doll Eyes.
They admit they are far from being perfect; “History” states “I
used to be a man, now I’m not so sure,” “Make It Better” dives
deep into Phil’s depressive side; “Sun is shining raining in my
head. Got this feeling I’d be better off dead.” “Irish Catholic
Blues” is a story of a man trying to make it through life, but his
vices keep getting the best of him: “My soul is black, and I’m never
coming back. Love for no one, but the bottle in my sack… try to be
a good man right before I die.” I like how the band doesn’t point
fingers or whine about the trials they’ve had to face. “Tell Me”
shows this by simply saying, “You stayed away while I made a pretty
mess of my life/ Come back and visit with some words of wisdom/ Tell
me how to make it right.” My words of wisdom: find this CD. I can’t
promise it will make everything right, but it will provide one hell
of a soundtrack when life gets difficult. (Melvin
O)


HUMANWINE

Screech Owl Records

Absinthe Rose
11-song CD

So I’m riding my
bicycle with my darling new cat, Seymour, perched on the handlebars
and a pack of pit bulls started chasing us! Luckily, I had several cans
of Beefaroni that I could throw at them which bounced off their heads
as we made a hasty retreat.

Oh, please allow me to inoculate myself, I am Mrs. Slimedog, top reviewer
of the Noise, top music expert of the Noise and top disco
roller-skater in the Northeast. This CD starts with some of that
country music. What country you may ask? I believe it’s Ecuador.
It’s very upbeat at first but then slows down after a few tunes. Slimedog
says its folky/alternative sounding but admits this band is fairly original
and is hard to describe. He says it sounds a bit like PJ Harvey at her
most mellow. But unfortunately, Seymour and I do not like it. What we
do like to do is roller-skate which is what we are going to do. We’re
putting on some Abba right now. We are the dancing queens!
(Mrs. Slimedog)

•••Alert—Three Holiday CDs••

THREE DAY THRESHOLD and
SUMMER VILLAINS

…present Christmas
and Holiday Songs Volume
1
11 songs

I love Three Day Threshold
so I was pretty excited to see this CD in my batch for the December
issue. And though I hadn’t heard of the Summer Villains, I’d have
to say I’m on my way of loving these guys too after hearing this Christmas
collaboration. Spinning holiday jauntiness into their already upbeat,
country punk rockabilly, both bands gift us with 11 tracks that truly
have the feel of classic Christmas tunes while perfectly splicing in
a sense of humor. In all seriousness, I believe it’s a challenge to
write new holiday tunes that musically have the spirit and sound original
all at once. Three Day Threshold and Summer Villains pull off the janglified
twangified music most awesomely. The recording is only available online
(as is an accompanying video for “I Want A Zoo For Christmas”—very
entertaining, by the way, and the kids will crack up at it, too!) via
the sites you are all most familiar with. Not your run-of-the-mill Christmas
carols but highly enjoyable all the same.
(Debbie Catalano)


KRISTEN
MILLER
&
TOM EATON

Winter Loves Company
10-song CD

There’s a real purity
about these holiday instrumentals—the sounds are dreamy. It’s Kristen
Miller on cello and Tom Eaton on piano. The two instrumentalists
take turns being featured from tune to tune. The production is delicate—ambiance
is the focus, overdubs are minimal. Holiday classics mix with originals,
both aiming to soothe the soul. These tunes are for the exhausted adults
of the holidays, not the energized kids. The cellos often loop under
a lush melody while the piano prefers the long sustaining harmonics.
The disc ends with a Robert Frost poem, “My November Guest,” spoken
by Kristen with piano backing. When the holiday snow is falling and
you’re sitting cozily by a fireplace, Winter Loves Company
is the perfect soundtrack for the hypnotic flames dancing before you.
(T Max)


VARIOUS
ARTISTS

A Basement 247 Christmas Compilation
12-song CD

Hats off to anyone
writing an original Christmas song as I imagine it can’t be an easy
feat because we have grown up hearing the same Christmas tunes over
and over again, those melodies just become ingrained. But here we have
12 local artists who have done just that, and though only a few sound
traditional, they’re definitely all highly original. The compilation
is that of artists who recorded at Basement 247 studios in Allston,
MA, by Jack Younger. I don’t have enough room to adequately review
each track but I’ll say as a whole the CD offers a wide range of styles
and is a great showcase for these local bands. The acts include Jesse
Dee, Spirit Kid, the Dead Trees, the Coffin Lids, the Big Big Bucks,
Graham Gregory, Adam Keller, M.C. Lederman, Nefarious Jack & the
Naysayers, the Ramblin’ Souls, Mars, and Many Hats featuring Nash
Kato. The ones that stood out to me include the kick-off, Jesse Dee’s
“Underneath the Christmas Tree,” a track that most definitely captures
that old school ’60s Motownish feel; the Dead Trees’ “Sit Fuzzy”
kind of has a cool John Lennon vibe to it; the punk/garage rock of the
Coffin Lids’ “Don’t Tell Me Its Christmas”; the nice indie pop
“Waiting for Christmas Day” by Adam Keller; the fun tune, “It’s
Christmas Time Feelin’ Lazy” by Spirit Kid. Though the Big Big Bucks’
“Duck Dinner” didn’t even remotely sound like a Christmas song,
I just loved it for its heavy rock grooves! (Debbie Catalano)


DAN KING

Victory Agents

Western Color 15-song
CD

Like a world-weary
18-wheeler easing into a lonely and careworn truck stop, this album
pulls into your mind with the same mix of loneliness and consummate
purpose. A reflective collection of tunes with themes ranging from love
to travel to all the tangles to experience ensues. The title certainly
doesn’t lie, this musical story definitely has the western color—in
my opinion, I’d call it flavor. But, Western Flavor sounds
like a new addition to the A-1 steak sauce line, so “color” delivers
the message nicely. Dan has an excellent back-up cast consisting of
professionals David Brown, Dave Mattacks, and Wolf Ginandes. These guys
lead the texture front with the likes of dobro, organ, and your standard
guitar/bass drum fare that rounds out the sound. The arrangements are
impeccable and first caliber. It’s just a pleasant listening experience
that reminds one of the transience of life—that is, if you look at
life as a journey with some western color.
(Mike Loce)

 

CLARA KEBABIAN

LowBudget Records

Symbiotica
15-song CD

“A thousand rushing
wings in triads and octaves, heaven or the depths of despair, love and
or loss, the suspension of disbelief by a gilded chord” are merely
a few of the many ways in which Clara Kebabian characterizes her signature
sound—a combination of violin, electricity, and effect pedal.
A thoughtful testament to her efforts, Symbiotica is a best-of
compilation showcasing her work with bands across the spectrum of the
Boston music scene. Most notably, Kebabian’s fitting contribution
to Emily Grogan’s “Restless Souls” makes for a beautifully haunting
piece that is ethereal, effortlessly transcending the levels of space
and time. The Milling Gowns’ “Dust for Kissers” is equally
as poignant and memorable, albeit gloomy. Leo Blais’ “We Must
Begin” is simplistic, combining elements of the rock, indie, and acoustic
genres. By the same token, the energy of Mr. Curt Ensemble’s
“Chicken Feed” is unique whereas Kebabian’s own “Clarafication”
is atmospheric, evoking images of the afterlife. The retrospective
is indicative of Kebabian’s talent. She is a talented up-and-comer
who most certainly deserves a listen.
(Julia R. DeStefano)

RIDING SHOTGUN

Riding Shotgun Records

Boombox on the Dash
8-song CD

This record sounds
way too polished for something that was recorded in Charlestown. And
although it’s competently performed, strongly produced and by no means
bad, Riding Shotgun’s middle-of-the road rock could certainly a use
some Charlestown grit. At times, the band allows a bit of a twang to
set in. When they do, the band reminds me a bit of Buttercup, an old
Boston favorite of mine. Too often though, Riding Shotgun gets trapped
in nostalgia for its youth, with too many banal lyrics about Dairy Queens
and town centers. A song about a beloved building’s plight makes me
think of how much better Living Colour tackled the subject, and references
to Jimmy Buffett and John Cougar’s “Jack and Diane” are pretty
much never welcome. (Kevin Finn)

VULGARITTY

Dog Hill Records

Dance 2 the Grave
15-song CD

VulGaritty’s new
release, Dance 2 the Grave is an interesting animal. Brother
and sister duo Shawn and Tracy Garrity, for all their dark and gothic
imagery, end up sounding suspiciously like a metal version of the Killers.
Behind all the gore and horror movie props is a slick rock band that
would sound right at home on alternative rock radio.

Track two, “Freakshow,” defines VulGaritty’s sound at its best,
opening with a looped dual guitar onslaught straight out of a Judas
Priest record before morphing into a post-punk rock song. And that’s
one of VulGaritty’s most endearing qualities: their ability to juxtapose
metal with pop in a way that doesn’t leave them sounding like Linkin
Park. The rest of Dance 2 the Grave revolves around the same
successful formula: stabbing guitar blasts and bass lines supporting
slightly distorted vocals, shared by both Shawn and Tracy.

For all the enjoyment to be had along the first 14 tracks, the most
memorable is the closer, “Vully,” a four-and-a-half minute mini-epic
prog-rock instrumental, that jumps neatly from horror movie soundtrack
organs to hair metal guitar solos to jammy freakouts and back again.
This track alone makes Dance 2 the Grave worth a listen.
(George Dow)


LOIS GRECO


Pantha Girl Records

Takin’ Hold of
Your Heart
11-song CD

The songs on this CD
are typically blues or an R&B romp with tasty guitar licks, nice
keys, and superb vocals. This formula successfully illustrates why,
whether she’s shouting or whispering, Lois puts her heart and soul
into each tune and is one of the best female vocalists on the scene
today. Her voice varies between passionate and soulful, sultry and powerful
and her expressive tone behind everything brings these original melodies
to another level. B.B. King’s influence is here on songs like “Love
Me Just Right” and “Help Me Find My Way.” Memphis is represented
in tunes like “Takin’ Hold Of Your Heart.” But her four octave
voice is stunning on this CD as she makes her own special sound. My
favorite song, the Muddy-inspired “Ain’t No Kind Of Love” complete
with her first-rate slide guitar, is amazing and hearing it is similar
to swallowing bait: your feet keep moving, your ears catch every note
and the band has captured you hook, line, and sinker. (A.J. Wachtel)

TENEFLY VIPERS

Your Event Horizon
13-song CD

Tenefly Vipers are
a hard band to pin down. Not that I would try to. I wouldn’t touch
these disorderly hooligans with a ten-foot pole. Their music is a combination
of metal, punk, speed metal, hardcore, traditional hard rock and they
just put it in a blender till it’s a nasty, disgusting pile of ooze.
But I must admit it’s a pretty fun listen.

Maybe
if you threw Black Flag, Motorhead, the Stooges, Slayer, and Foghat
in a ring to battle it out the winner might sounds like this. Dirty,
snarling guitar, drooling, venomous vocals, slamming pulverizing drums;
young children, pets, and retired schoolteachers should definitely be
banned from witnessing this.

But
I say rock on, let the mighty decibels of “La Fin Du Monde,” “The
Hammer,” and “God Damn Champion” bring you to the blitzkrieg bliss
you were born to savor. I am not ashamed to admit I lost control of
my bodily functions while listening to this CD. Excuse me, as I have
a rather disgusting mess to clean up.
(Slimedog)


ILL E. GAL

The Grass Is Always
Greener
15-song CD

Ill E. Gal, has been
making a big noise in the underground. She has been playing some major
psychopathic shows lately, opening for Blaze, and then Twiztid when
they played the Palidium. She even had a main stage spot at this year’s
Gathering. After listening to this CD, I can see why everybody is impressed.
The CD is very diverse; Ill E. Gal uses interesting backing music, such
as rapping over Black Sabbath, and Tom Petty. The songs mix heavy guitar
riffs, with hip hop break beats effortlessly, thankfully not sounding
generic. Many artists have tried this and failed miserably. She has
a few darker songs, but most of them are playful, danceable, and very
light-hearted. You can hear that she loves what she is doing. Guest
rappers M-1 from the Mastamindz, Professor Fresh, who also produced
the album, and Daddy X from the Kottonmouth Kings lend their unique
styles to several tracks. Some people however, might be turned off by
the fact that the majority of the songs are about her love of weed.
I know, a thousand bands have done this time and time again, but not
many have done it as well as Ill E. Gal.
(Melvin O)

THE AUTUMN HOLLOW
BAND

Love Letters and
Ransom Notes
11-song CD

The Autumn Hollow Band’s
most recent release, Love Letters and Ransom Notes, packs a wallop
that runs from beginning to end. This CD, released a month ago to a
full house at the Rosebud, brings the best of Americana/folk rock music
to the forefront, with tunes to get your feet moving and others that
make you sit back and take stock of what’s come before. The album’s
momentum never wavers, and not once did a song grace my ears that I
didn’t want to hear again. Or three times, or four. F**k it, just
hit repeat and let this be the soundtrack of my day! The music is smooth,
easy to take in, and creates a kind of homey atmosphere that makes your
problems fade into the background. Lead singer/ guitarist Brendan Murphy
takes to the mic for songs like “Thinking,” “I’ll Be Your Fool,”
and my personal favorite, “First It Rains.” He’s backed both instrumentally
and vocally by the versatile quartet of Mike Burke (electric guitar,
accordion), Noel Coakley (pedal steel, guitar, banjo ukulele), Scott
Marucci (electric bass, upright bass, electric guitar) and Todd Sampson
(drums, percussion). The wide array of sounds blends seamlessly, a testament
to the band’s dedication. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading
back to the CD player to start this album over again. And again. And
again. (Max Bowen)


DOUG RATNER

Eye To Eye
10-song CD

Okay, so you get home
from a long day and smoke a badass bong and you read a story about Matthew
Sweet and Marshal Crenshaw teaming up to write and produce an new album
for Social Distortion, with guest appearances by members of the Posies,
the original Yardbirds, the Nerves, Peter Case, Low Barlow, and maybe
even Julian Cope, in a rare cameo. Then you wake up and realize
that you’ve actually been listening to this full-length by Doug Ratner.
Nowadays most bands who go by some person’s name are usually singer-songwriter
projects more in the vein of Jack Johnson and John Mayer than the Who
or the Ramones. This album is full of surprises. It attempts
a bold array of garage/power pop/classic rock with loads of harmonies,
psychedelic mind twists and dirty bar rock. It’s the El Rey
and CBGB simultaneously smashed together onto an Andy Warhol canvas.
This is an impressive piece of plastic. (Joel Simches)


ANNE STOTT

Pennsylvania
9-song CD

On her MySpace page,
Anne Stott places her music in the genres of rock/shoegaze/alternative.
I don’t know if she was joking around, like when a metal band labels
their music “crunk” on their MySpace—all I know is, this music
isn’t remotely shoegaze, and I hesitate to call it alternative. It’s
pretty much folk-rock—able, but not amazing folk-rock. Far from bad,
but not all that interesting. Her voice pays the bills, as long as she
stays away from the high notes (as heard on “Someone Else”—incidently,
said song is the only somewhat—as in not—shoegaze-sounding song
on the album—like, you; won’t be wondering if Drop Nineteens reformed
and got a new singer. Know what I mean?). Her collaborators seem
talented; they don’t overwhelm her, nor do they cower in the corner,
but the only musical moment that came and perked my ears up was that
cool slide guitar sound in the beginning of “Standing.” Don’t
get me wrong, Anne Stott and company are good! It’s just… it’s
not my thing, so it doesn’t hold my attention.
(Tony Mellor)

OTIS GROVE

The Runk
10-song CD

What is “runk”
exactly, a mixture of the funk and rock genres, perhaps? Regardless,
Otis Grove has brought it in the form of a quintessential jam band.
Clocking in at about fifty-one minutes, the disc is exceptional and
in the realm of the San Francisco-based Tea Leaf Green, sans lyrics.
Among the inclusion of funk and rock are nods to R&B, jazz, and
hip-hop, resulting in some truly inimitable and ear-pleasing sounds.
“Waiting,” for instance, begins seductively and subtly but is brought
to a crescendo through the unexpected wailing of instruments, startling
the listener and keeping them guessing for the duration of the song
or rather, the entire effort. A keen sense of musicality brings
the collection to life, and each track has its own “personality,”
so to speak. “Uncle Runky” is bright and sunny, due in part
to leisurely, mellow guitar riffs and an accompanying organ. With
perseverance, the band will do well in the world of film-scores.
The Runk
is experimental, pleasant, and even danceable. It
would be very well suited for inclusion in the media. Groovy.
(Julia R. DeStefano)


FARM

Farm
11-song CD

I almost sent in this
review and then decided to do a last minute proofread. Good thing I
did, because I mistakenly listed the band name as “Fram,” and car-savvy
folks might have though I reviewed an album by an oil filter. Anyway,
the smooth stylings of Farm bring to mind influences that including
Dinosaur Jr., Velvet Underground, or mellow Neil Young. There’s a
proliferance of acoustic textures and interesting instrumentation which
frame a musical vision depicting something. Moments of energy and insistence
sweep over the Farm sometimes. There’s an absurdist edge to some of
these statements—think acoustic Primus ideas. I like the pacing; as
the album doesn’t feel rushed in showing you the songs. The order
is good, as albums go. Farm is an acquired taste, not unlike maple sugar
candy, the smell of manure, or mixing salt in your coffee. I think it
would be very cool to sit in on one of their recording sessions. (Mike
Loce)

DELVIS

The Road Is My Home
10-song CD

Greetings, Zortar here—alien
from another planet once again inhabiting the effete, erroneous, egregious,
embarrassing, evasive, erratic corpse known to you as Slimedog. Oh,
what an unsanitary task it is, Luckily, I have many handy wipes. And
this bitter pill to swallow is not relieved by this CD. This CD makes
John Denver look like Trent Reznor. It’s country/folk mellow smoke
your grass and pluck your banjo ’til the cows come home music. Mix
the Eagles with the Greatful Dead and subtract any dubious value from
those acts and you might be left with this CD. Occasionally, you do
get a little crying in your beer, pedal steel, honky tonk tune but it’s
very little. If I could figure out how to unscrew my eardrums and feed
them to the birds I would gladly do so in a drastic attempt to never
hear this music again. (Slimedog)

GUT-SHOT

More Bang For Your
Buck
7-song CD

Ooooooof! I feel like
someone just hit me in the gut! Sounds like Rob Zombie and Helmet
had a baby and they’re bastard offspring is this angry little child
named Gut-Shot. It’s a boy and the little bugger is crying out
in bitter, avant-garde angst. Could these dudes have invented jazz-metal?

With a name like Gut-Shot,
I thought I might hear some good ol’ cookie monster hardcore.
Nope. It’s fancy and it’s noisy. As if Radiohead woke up in
really bad mood instead of a sad mood. She’s fast moving with
lots of sudden turns like a Ferrari—and my ex-girlfriend. Apparently,
Gut-Shot bassist Rob Whitaker not only produced this seven-track, noise
metal doom ride but, provided us with delightful satanic preacher samples
as well. Track four, “Glad You’re Alive,” took me into sludgy
country. Wait! I know what to call this gutsy stew.
It’s alterna-metal! MySpace has got to put that in the drop
down menu when you upload your band. Oh, and give me credit for
naming the category. (Lance Woodward)

ZIP TIE HANDCUFFS

Heavy Love Child
13-song CD

To be honest, it was
really hard to find things to say about this band. I don’t really
like them, but they’re not the worst thing I’ve ever heard either.
I’ve never been gifted in choosing adjectives to describe music, other
than the emotions that the music evokes, and in this case, those emotions
are irritable and bored. The vocals are lackluster and vaguely off-key
(think of someone yelling while pinching their nose shut), not to mention
mostly indecipherable. The guitar chords are random at best and the
drumming is sloppy—way too much cymbal-ing for my taste. A for effort,
C- for execution. (Emsterly)

THE SPOILERS

Loaded to the Gunwales
5-song CD

Short and sweet. That’s
what best describes the Spoilers new EP Loaded to the Gunwales.
Opening track “Sincerity” rides the pocket between garage rock and
punk and could easily be a lost Runaways track from 1977. The next three
tracks amp up the pace with a more contemporary punk-rock style, sounding
like a female-fronted Rancid. The EP closes with “Fuck You I’m Drunk,”
written in the tradition of the Dropkick Murphys’ “Kiss Me I’m
Shitfaced”; a song that’s sure to become a signature show closer,
complete with on-stage fan sing-along and bodies tumbling off the stage.
(George Dow)

MUCK & THE MIRES

Q-Dee

Rock and Soul #3
2-song vinyl

Muck & the Mires
are the Beatles in the Cavern Club and the Kink’s “You’ve
Really Got Me.” They are the Nuggets Box set! Few bands have ever
captured that spirit and brought it into the now the way this band has.
They have studioized with the legendary Kim Fowley and gigged with the
New York Dolls. Muck & the Mires will rock your world. This
new single, produced at Q-Division, sounds like a lost rare B-side backed
with an unreleased gem found in a vault next to Jimmy Hoffa. Side
A gives you a snarling love me/leave me song with a hint of Tom Jones
swagger, while the B-side gives you a cheerful introspective power pop
lament about not getting laid. Get your hands on the red, limited edition
45! Do it! Now! (Joel Simches)

THE BANDIT KINGS

EP 4-song preview
CD

The Bandit Kings sound
like a country band who skipped the whole Garth Brooks and Tony Keith
eras and chose to listen to Patti Smith, early Linda Rhonstadt, and
Heart’s Dreamboat Annie instead in equal doses. The sound of
the duo’s female lead vocal is timeless and the songs are memorable.
The arrangements are tight and there is enough rocking to make Lenny
Kaye reminisce. I am wet for more… or maybe I spilled my scotch.
Either way, this EP has reawakened my love of twang and the bark of
an old Fender amp. For the love of Gawwwwwd, please keep making
music. (Joel Simches)

MUY CANSADO

Goodnight Rec’ds

Love & Fear
4-song CD

This four song EP is
the f0llow-up to Muy Cansado (Spanish for “very tired”) 2008’s
critically acclaimed debut Stars & Garters and they waste
no time setting the ground rules. This is good straightforward
indie pop with impressive vocals and superb production and playing.
They come out swinging with the catchy title track and continue to excel
with the Pixies-ish “Not About a Girl,” which repeats the infectious
chorus of “I bang my head.” Overall, this is strong release which
showcases the trio’s impressive songwriting and playing skills.
Guitarist/lead vocalist Chris Mulvey, drummer Jon Ullman, and especially
bassist Lisa Libera shine throughout. Muy Cansado could really
break through if they continue to develop as they have.
(Steev Riccardo)


THE EGOS

Voodoo Rock
’n’ Roll

6-song CD

For those most part,
this is a band that knows its strengths and sticks to them. If you like
ghoulish catchy garage punk, then you could do a hell of a lot worse
than the Egos. The opening “The Kids Are Getting High” is
as addictive as the drugs being sung about, with an infectious chorus
and a rhythm section that plays like an oncoming train. The proceedings
are generally at their best when delivered with a sped-up rockabilly
feel, but one of the two slower numbers, “Dirtbox,” produces
a nice chilling atmosphere and some really neat drum breaks. It’s
quite possible I’d lose interest over the course of a full-length,
but this little teaser makes me hope I’ll get the chance to find out
soon. (Kevin Finn)

THE DEAD BEATS

The Dead Beats
6-song CD

“In an era of self-indulgent
bands that care more about their image than their music, this band is
a breath of whiskey-scented fresh air,” or so says their ReverbNation
page. The self-titled debut, reminiscent of the New York-based
Young Lords, is a smattering of deliciously raunchy and rambunctious
anarchical rock that practically begs to be put into your stereo and
turned up at full, maximum volume. Offerings such as “Love,”
“Heroin,” “PBR,” and “Stoned,” though not particularly groundbreaking,
are certainly amusing. Not that such a critique matters, for one
gets the impression that the Dead Beats are dead set on entertaining,
and that is just fine. (Julia R. DeStefano)

MELODEEGO

The World Is You 5-song CD

Melodeego plays pleasant,
jam band-ish music in the proto-hippie style popularized by the likes
of the Spin Doctors with splashes of the laid-back stoner acoustic
sounds of Jack Johnson and Donovan Frankenreiter. Over the course of
The World Is You
’s five songs Melodeego seems hell-bent on saving
the world through sheer force of positive will. Unfortunately that positive
outlook can, at the same time, turn grating. Life is not all peace,
love, and happiness guys. We all appreciate that you’re trying to
do your part but introducing a small dose of reality into the mix would
go a long way.
(George Dow)

A WISH FOR FIRE

Sight Unseen
6-song CD

So I have one more
CD that makes me want to nail my head to a tree. And pluck out my eardrums
as such, and feed them to the birds as I’ve heard enough. Raw and
powerful they claim to be but dramatic and pretentious is all I see.
Echoey alternative rock with guitar full of fuzz, melodic vocals performed
well but fail because a lack of substance seems to invade every tune
this band has so diligently made. So, alas, I can not recommend this
bouquet of tunes which if I never hear again it will still be too soon.
A Wish For Fire is their name; I wish, oh wish they all return from
whence they came.
(Slimedog)

•••CD
REVIEWS NOT PUBLISHED THIS MONTH IN PRINT
•••

DOCTOR X AND HIS GROOVALICIOUS
ASTROBEATS

Stuck In the Sedated Seventies 12-song CD

Doctor X (a.k.a. Tim
Casey) totally gets the ‘70s grooves, man. His selection of electronic-fied
remakes feature a super cool span of ‘70s acts that include David
Bowie, Gary Glitter, Alan Parsons, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Walter
Becker/Donald Fagen, James Taylor, to name a few. Doctor X and his accompanying
featured musicians take some of these known classics and either uniquely
replicate the original vibe of it—meaning for example, Alan Parsons’
“Time” swirls with the same beautiful floating feel of the original
but is clearly a remake. The two David Bowie tracks, “Sound and Vision”
and “Heroes,” also capture and do justice to the distinct David
Bowie essence—in fact those tracks were two of my favorites. However
the listener is also met with twists of these classics with Doctor X’s
versions of “Hotel California”—slow, smoky, dark, awesome… “Do
It Again,” the Walter Becker and Donald Fagen tune, meshes the dirty
guitar rock of this genre but has a Doctor X signature astro-electronica
sound. Tim Casey accomplishes that aforementioned sound via a combo
of software and actual instrumentation. I digi-dig it… solid. (Debbie
Catalano)

AUX

Post Colonial Records

Aux
10-song CD

A reflective, whiny, loose, nostalgic,
alternative-sounding album that grows on you. I found that Aux is a
good soundtrack to my recollections and reflections on the world around
me. I think that you might get yelled at if you put it on at a party
though. This band has a chilled-out sound that exudes understatement,
is content with its quasi-folksy leanings at times, and makes its statement
with a cool confidence. Sometimes the vibe energizes with some fuzz-tone
guitar; the strongest you’ll get is a Primitives-like sound, which
we first started hearing around 1994. Think of songs on the soundtrack
to Dumb and Dumber. I personally like it, because that’s my
vintage. Smooth vocal harmonies make Aux good for repeated listens while
you step back and think what coulda been. Nice to listen to in a coffee
shop. Or while smoking a clove cigarette, even though they banned those.
(Mike Loce)

 

HAT ON, DRINKING
WINE

Plastic Flowers 12-song
CD

Half of the tracks
on Hat On, Drinking Wine’s Plastic Flowers are entertaining
songs that take a meandering path, splitting the difference between
rootsy folk and country. The vocals have a slightly nasal vibrato, reminiscent
of a young Willie Nelson. Unfortunately the other half of the tracks
wander way off the path ending up in the nameless, faceless wasteland
of adult contemporary music, with songs that could easily soundtrack
one of the innumerable generic teen dramas featured on network TV. (George
Dow)

DFL VS. TGAT

DFL vs. TGAT
11-song CD

Is the title a cryptoquote
for a word defined as “Sounds kinda like an unholy alliance of a Nickelback
cover band and a Postal Service tribute act in a Hollywood studio working
with a TV jingle producer”? Well, maybe—I’ve always sucked at
that puzzle (that and Jumble) and I would never know what that ever-so-appropriate
word is…Okay! First track is a serious song about a set of keys. Track
two’s chorus: “We’re stepping on the toes of a ghost tonight.”
Brilliant (sarcasm). The name of track five is “Purrrfect,” but
it doesn’t seem to be about a cat. A lot of this stuff is kinda catchy.
It’s also really overproduced, and so sugary-sweet I feel like when
I ate way too many gummy skeletons in the leftover Halloween candies
this year. I feel like I gotta brush my teeth. “Holiday” has a postpunk
bassline to it, and the singer sounds like he’s imitating the guy
from the Human League, along with autotuned backing vox. Track 10’s
awful chorus? “I can sleep through anything.” (Tony Mellor)

MUDFLAP JUNIOR
JONES

Push
7-song CD

I’d like to think
I could up with a more creative way to start a review than by saying,
“I didn’t realize that someone could make a record this bad,”
but I truly can’t believe someone made a record this bad. Mudflap
Junior Jones had to be stoned during the entire writing, recording,
and distribution process. It’s the only explanation. The groovy white
guy music is bad enough (brainless repetitive melodies, a vocalist with
less range than Derek Jeter), but the lyrics really bring it to a new
level. The record features a constant barrage of jokes and asides that
either aren’t funny or simply don’t go anywhere. Seeing these “ideas”
stretched out into full songs is like watching a bad SNL skit
get made into a feature film. And if I had known back in 2004 that the
Red Sox winning the World Series would lead to “Red Sox Fan,” then
I would have gone all Tonya Harding on Curt Schilling’s good ankle
just to make sure the Sox didn’t have a chance. This band is that
bad. (Kevin Finn)

THE COBRA-MATICS


Original Recipe Recordings

Play the Notes
12-song CD

The year is 1953, or
so you would think listening to the Cobra-Matics’ new release,
Play the Notes.
The album evokes memories of Bill Haley: all hollow-body
electric guitars, stand-up bass, and plaid suits. While most contemporary
versions of the classic rock ’n’ roll styles are performed with
equal parts reverence and tongue-in-cheek, the Cobra-Matics prefer theirs
straight up. There’s no humor, nor any attempt to update the classic
sound. This album could have literally rolled off the press in 1953.

Play the Notes
has momentary pleasures. The opening track “Gangway for Gansett!”
is a pleasant rocker. “My Babe” includes some great surf-rock guitar
work. “Shiverin’ in the Corner” introduces George Thorogood-style
guitars and a wailing organ. The problem with Play the Notes
is that it suffers from a terrible vocal performance. At times it feels
as though the Cobra-Matics drew straws for their vocalist, and bassist
Bob Mac and drummer Russ D. drew the short ones. (George Dow)

SPAULDING

From Then to Now
8-song CD

Greetings, Zortar again,
space alien from a planet far away, thankfully, from Earth inhabiting
the fey, feral, flammable, foot fetishist vessel known as Slimedog to
you readers and most agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco &
Firearms.

So this CD is modern
metal that the young male humans are so (lady) gaga about. Their testosterone
is boiling in their blood and they feel the urge to scream about it—and
they do making their guitars and voices emit intense, anguished sounds.
Spaulding does this style quite well mixing the abrasiveness of death
metal with acoustic mellow parts all produced in a grandeur manner.
Fans of Seether and Three Days Grace should approve of these lads. I
was born without genitalia but those who have might feel a certain camaraderie
with this band.

Alas, this scene is
not for me daddy-o. I’ll stick with my LCD Soundsystem and Rammstein
CDs, played simultaneously, of course. (Slimedog)

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
PO Box 155
Georgetown, MA 01833
978-352-8656
tmaxnoise@aol.com


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