SILVER CIRCLES REVIEWS June11


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LA PESTE

La Peste

20 track DVD

La Peste was a late-’70s
early ’80s Boston punk band; they were quite influential and widely
known as the winners of the 1978 Battle of the Bands at the Inman Square
Men’s Bar in Cambridge. They were also finalists at the 1979 Rat Rumble
(losing out to the Neighborhoods). Credentials aside, there’s a strong
case to be made that they were among the top five local bands of that
particular time. They provided the scene with at least two certifiably
classic songs: “Spymaster” (memorably covered by Jerry’s Kids
and the Neighborhoods, among others) as well as the downright anthemic
“Better Off Dead.” The 1979 concert footage, live from the
Paradise, showcases their musical pedigree as an amalgam of the usual
suspects: mostly Iggy, Ramones and Pistols, with literate and witty
lyrics worthy of the Buzzcocks. The cinematography of the live
concert footage is nothing truly special, but it is lively and consistently
watchable. There are plentiful crowd reaction shots, which enable the
interested viewer to conclude that the punk scene in 1979 was by no
means monolithic; for every overly-mascara’d punk hoyden you can readily
spot two or three hippie chicks who seem slightly lost. This is an invaluable
document of a time and a place for the die-hard scene aficionado; you
can easily see how La Peste’s sometimes brutally minimalistic approach
paved the way for Mission of Burma. I would heartily recommend
this to anyone who is interested in the punk rock of that era.
(Francis DiMenno)

THE CARS

Move Like This

10 tracks

Who’da thought a generation later
Ric Ocasek would pen ten new songs and the Cars, minus their late bassist/vocalist
Ben Orr, would release a slick new CD? And with their timeless, easily
recognizable sound intact too? Pulsating electric new wave power pop,
complete with exploding drums and a driving beat, guitar power chords,
and a retro-synth sound wrapped around their usual hooks and harmonies.
“Blue Tip,” “Sad Song,” and “Free” are classic Cars and
“Keep on Knocking’“ just keeps on rocking. “Soon” and “Take
Another Look,” two pensive and punchy ballads that rank with “Drive”
have moving lyrics set to luscious synth melodies and trebly and somber
guitars, and it works well; the songs are catchy and memorable. The
Cars were once kings of the rock ballad and they still are. This CD
has all the confidence and energy of a band at its peak and you can
easily hear how current bands like the Strokes and the Killers are heavily
influenced by them. Fasten your seatbelts, the Cars are back.
(A.J. Wachtel)


DESOLATION BELLS

Sonic Bubblegum

Jangle & Dischord

11 tracks

What are we to make
of a record that in the opening bars of its opening song ”She’s
So High” blatantly cops the riff from “Dear Prudence”? And then
resolves into free jazz on the fade? And which, on its second song,
“Treasure” is comfortably poppy—a bit like “Like a Rolling Stone”—yet
defiantly odd? The epic “A Simple Melody” makes me think that someone
freeze-dried the Byrds, threw them on the ground, and reassembled the
frozen remnants with Krazy glue. These songs in particular do the whole
bricolage thing up brown—which seems to be the point. How inventive
can we be in rearranging shards of frozen bubblegum into a postmodern
mosaic? Answer: very inventive indeed. On that score, at least, they
succeed—brilliantly. On most of the other songs they soft-pedal the
direct quotes and go for subverting the pop conventions, which they
twist, fragment, and shape in truly eccentric and wondrous fashions.
This is not a collection for the fainthearted, but neither is it either
cruelly obscure or abrasive. Thinking-man’s bubblegum, I’d be tempted
to call it. It puts me in mind of a decidedly upbeat studio super session
with members of the famously inept Godz and the famously glum Barry
Goldberg Reunion and the famously mindless 1910 Fruitgum Company competing
with each other to see who can write the most user-friendly raga while
singing deliberately off-key. “Pretty Little Valentine” reads like
a blackly humorous travesty of syrupy love songs; “Radio Bubblegum”
toys mercilessly with the conventions of the power anthem; “He’s
Pessimistic” is a sickly off-kilter emo paean. And the dazed “Princess
and the Pea” is like a distorted take on the Magnetic Fields which
is almost enough to induce schizophrenia. Lovers of the offbeat are
sure to treasure this one up. (Francis DiMenno)

LEE TODD LACKS

Reassembled

44 tracks (two CDs)

A quick glance at the
track listing and the average listener will, without a doubt, experience
intimidation. 44 tracks on one album? That’s just unheard
of! The sheer magnitude of the effort appears daunting.
However, it is not every day that a gifted artist comes along who successfully
merges the genre of experimental music with spoken word while incorporating
performance art and sound design into the mix, all in an intriguing
way. Meet Lee Todd Lacks, an individual who bears a striking musical
resemblance to Tom Waits. The twisted and haunting carnival anthem
“Black Clouds” enshrouds the listener, while “Why’d You Do It?!”
incorporates one voice after another, each of which are in search of
the ultimate truth. Of course, these are just two selections from
the effort. A 22-year retrospective, the album also includes a
companion piece. The accompanying book is a treasure trove featuring
the text for each tune along with annotations describing how and why
the aforementioned tracks were produced. A multitude of photographs
also serve to document Lacks’ experiences and performances, all of
which are evident of a well-rounded career and are a testament to his
versatility. (Julia R. DeStefano)


THE RATIONALES

The Distance In
Between

10 tracks

With a melodic power pop sound hitting
me in the eardrums, I figure out the title of this album has to do with
the distance in between what you have and what you want. With such a
clear message, how could one expect the music not to be as excellent?
From a literal non-difference between tracks (same key, same vocal projection,
same arrangements) the disc evolves into symmetry unheard of (until
now). It’s the sound of a band that’s shown its producer that its
strengths need to be kept very tightly reigned in… because there aren’t
that many of them. I guess that the tightness of the overall sound deserves
some commendation; the band has learned to play within short boundaries,
and the song formula is, well, formulaic. The playing is effective,
doesn’t take too many chances, even when they leave it all to chance.
Soundtrack of a romantic comedy flick, maybe that’s the direction
to push this music in.
(Mike Loce)


SIX STAR GENERAL

75orLess Records

Six

12 tracks

Early Dinosaur Jr. goes to TGI Friday’s.
A thirsty and not-so-miserable Thurston Moore turned up— he was girl-drink
drunk and horny for Black Sabbath—sat in on a couple of tunes. Then
the bar’s only Hawkwind fan finagled his way onstage with his Epiphone
to go “wsshy” for a bit, as well as sing. A probably not-at-all
approximate description of Six Star General’s music—but close enough
to make me look like I know what I’m talking about… seriously though,
that’s what’s painting the picture for me when I hear it. I got
worried a bit when I saw some of the silly song titles and the picture
on the back of the case of them playing at a bar (is that Dodge Street
in Salem, MA?). Fact—they do sound like a bar band, but a bar band
that actually has good taste in music, writes their own stuff, and who
wouldn’t sell out and cover Sublime or 311 or some crappy band like
that. I’d totally go to this bar. (Tony Mellor)


THE GOBSHITES

Good Cop Bad Cop Records

Poitín Poitín

22 tracks

From Peter Walsh, the
former Meat Depressed dude who apparently lives St. Paddy’s Day 365
days a year, we have yet another offering of what he has dubbed “acousticelticore,”
or acoustic punkish traditional sounding melodic Irish music complete
with tin whistle, punk vocals, and catchy choruses that can be easily
sung while intoxicated. He actually does a really good job at this.
And with song titles like “Drinking Again,” “That Woman’s Got
Me Drinking,” and “Somebody Put Something in My Drink,” it’s
pretty much everything you’d expect from a Ramones-worshipping, admittedly
drunken Irishman. This CD is a collection of demos, radio broadcasts,
and alternate takes and includes some somewhat amusing limericks and
a decent cover of the classic animosity-ridden “Fairytale of New York,”
which oddly isn’t mentioned in the song list and appears several minutes
after the rest of the CD ends. There’s even a little depth in “Fields
of Athenry,” a nice duet with Lori Feeney. But at 22 tracks, it’s
just too much of a tedious novelty for this non-Irish reviewer.
(Robin Umbley)


THE FATAL FLAW


The Narrow Hours

10 tracks

Joel Reader, the front
man for the Fatal Flaw, is no stranger to pop punk, having played with
bands like The Mr. T Experience and Pansy Division. Thankfully, the
Fatal Flaw takes the best elements of pop punk, adds strong rock leads,
are crushing drum beats, creating something fresh. I say it is fresh,
because I really couldn’t compare it with anything else. That to me
is very impressive. On top of being full of good music, the lyrics are
very intelligent. The title track, “The Narrow Hours,” deals with
a man watching from the side of a hospital bed as his wife slowly fades
away. “You Made It” looks at how people view success: “You’re
so sick of everybody telling you you made it. You don’t know what
‘it’ is. You only know that you hate it.” When this band has reached
that “it” level, and all of us disgruntled punks have turned our
backs on the band because they’ve sold out. In order to maintain my
disgruntled punk status, I can see myself hiding this next to my well
worn copy of Green Day’s Dookie pulling it out only when I
was alone and I had plausible denial.
(Melvin O)



THE MICHAEL J. EPSTEIN MEMORIAL LIBRARY

Volume One


10 tracks

A pleasantly airy collection of ten
songs in an innovatively orchestrated pop format. Somewhat akin
to the more inventive bubblegum music of about 40 years ago. More specifically,
imagine a cross between Magnetic Fields, Walter Sickert, and the Archies,
and you’d be getting pretty close. There are all sorts of novelty
aspects to this recording, which I will leave for other reporters to
enthuse over. As far as I’m concerned, all that really matters is
whether this sounds good. The answer is yes. Are the songs good?
Sometimes. Are they life-changing? Potentially, I suppose. Personally,
I find “Holy Ghost” an enjoyable romp; “Stranger” is a very
moving song, and “Small Crack” is a rollicking, galumphing bit of
whimsy ala Harper’s Bazaar or early ’70s Kinks.
(Francis DiMenno)


P.J. O’CONNELL

Clang

Join the Crowd

11 tracks

O’Connell offers
up a veritable musical smorgasbord of singer-songwriter roots rock,
what with the Costello-esque “All Over” and the McCartney-esque
“Shall We” and the Mats-like title track, and yes, I know that comparisons
are odious. But on this release we are also treated to a number of seriously
good ballads: from the introspective and ineffably sad “Gettin’
Gone” to the mid-tempo desperation of “Blindsided” to the gorgeous
“Inconsiderate” to the shimmering guitar and backwards-tracking
of “Good Cover,” sounding almost at times like something out of
the Velvet Underground. For his fourth solo release, Mr. O’Connell
does not disappoint. Fans of Chandler Travis will want to hear and own
this for “Mesmerize” and “World of Love” alone.
(Francis DiMenno)


SHERMAN BURNS

Bandcamp download

The End Is All

9 tracks

I downloaded this album from their
Bandcamp site and listened to it on my laptop (granted, my laptop’s
speakers are quite lame), and it was not doing it for me at all at first.
Then I put it on my iPod and took a walk to my local cemetery on this
dreary day in a week of rain. Then it was grabbing me in a major way.
I’m happy to report that there is not an ounce of cheese in Sherman
Burns’ product. Even on my least favorite track, “Marionette,”
this ridiculously cool bridge part came up and it saved the song. Vocals
remind me of Chris Cornell, but whereas I cannot stand Soundgarden,
I like these guys. Although I don’t listen to this type of music (unless
I’m doing Noise reviews), it really grew on me. I can’t wax
too poetic about them, but no matter. Bits remind me of At the Drive-In,
but less annoying, and the prog bits lack the tedium that that style
can sometimes entail. They’re probably awesome live.
(Tony Mellor)


VARIOUS ARTISTS

New England Americana
Project

12 tracks

Americana is a treacherous
mistress: modernize it too much and you stand the risk of falsifying
the source material, yet too faithful a rendition of old folk and blues
standards begs the question of why you even bothered to cover the song
in the first place if all you can offer is a slavish homage. The successful
numbers on this anthology manage to strike a golden mean between the
two extremes: standout tracks here include Willie Dixon’s “You’ll
be Mine” in a modern, minimalist take by Jeff Byrd & Dirty Finch
and friends, and “Too Late,” written by the gospel-era great Sullivan
Pugh, in a sweetly harmonized rendition by the Dennis Brennan
Quatro and Gabrielle Agachiko. There’s a bit of a falling-off after
this promising start, though tracks like “Back in the Goodle Days,”
(by Eric Robertson, Tubby Love and Jon Aanestad) and “The Last Thing
That I Do,” (by Old Jack and Lauren Pearl) shine with a low-key charm.
Best of show: “Delia’s Gone,” in a crackerjack version by Three
Day Threshold and the Whiskey Boys. (Francis DiMenno)


FUNGUS AMUNGUS

@ the Go Go

10 tracks

Fungus Amungus is often
thrown into the jam band category, but this CD shows that they are far
more that. Fungus delivers hard slabs of straight-up fat bootie-shaking,
earth- moving dirty-ass funkiness that few bands today can match. Chelsey
Lau’s smokey blues vocals remind me of classics like Joplin and Grace
Slick. This is possibly one of the tightest bands I’ve ever had the
pleasure to review. The band has been together for a decade and this
is only their second CD, but it shows that they spent that time crafting
every song perfectly. There isn’t a disappointing track on this disc.
(Melvin O)


JARED McCLOUD

Presents Painful Words

of Loving Grace

10 tracks

Judging from his songs,
singer-songwriter Jared McCloud is his own man; he has integrity, doesn’t
compromise, doesn’t pander, does his best, and that is a stance which
should be respected. You don’t see it too often, and when you do,
the tunes are often dire. This is far from the case here. Pass aside
the fact that Mr. McCloud occasionally sings above his range. And that
his compositional ingenuity—due to the folk genre he mines—seems
limited. And that his lyrics are neither dazzlingly original, nor do
they even cleverly use cliches. He does sing with convincing emotional
power, and he certainly has a knack for a tune with a hook, as heard
on the title track, and on “Ballad of Xavier J.” and “Only Chemicals.”
Most of these compositions do not strike a resonant chord with me, but
I can imagine that persons of a certain, less jaded temperament would
find nearly all of them songs enjoyable. McCloud is never less than
ingratiating, and his songs uphold a consistent standard of tunefulness
and listenability. This might seem like faint praise, but to say that
someone is not outstanding is not quite the same as saying they are
undistinguished. (Of course, as D. McMahon says, “A rock critic is
a leech crawling on a leech.”) (Francis DiMenno)


JEFF BYRD &
DIRTY FINCH

Jeff Byrd &
Dirty Finch

12 tracks

“I been pickin’
locks and stoppin’ clocks to quell the hands of time/ It’s
a million to one I’ll see 41, but I’ll live while I’m alive.”
With opening lines and powerful sentiment such as this, not to mention
a killer melody, how could listeners not find themselves drawn in?
From the initial lines of “Draggin Bones” to the final breath of
“Venus,” the closer, newcomers Jeff Byrd & Dirty Finch serve
to captivate their audience. Music such as this calls to mind
the timeless quality that such alt-country favorites Gary Louris, the
Jayhawks, Wilco, and Whiskeytown embody. Upon hearing those distinctive
voices, one is able to instantly recognize the artist. The same
is to be said for Byrd and his band. The debut effort is, without
a doubt, exceptional and worthy of multiple listens. The genre
might not be new, but these individuals have succeeded in reinventing
it, and have done so in an effortless manner. (Julia
R. DeStefano)


THE MINOR THREE

Like You’d Seen
A Ghost


9 tracks

I like my blues-rock
rolled in dirt—coarse and grimy. That’s exactly what the Minor Three
deliver on their debut full-length Like You’d Seen A Ghost.
These nine stellar tracks rise above the fray of merely average bar-blues-rock
bands with fantastic musicianship and a knack for inserting caterwauling
guitar solos into their otherwise soulful rock. The guitar work is reminiscent
of Neil Young, not so much in tone as in ferocity. These lads love to
play the low-end too—both instrumentally and vocally—at times reminding
me of Morphine fronted by a crack axe-man.

The
Minor Three are the latest garage band to follow the footsteps of the
White Stripes and the Black Keys, but don’t mistake them for
mere followers of the next big trend. They bring originality, songwriting
and musicianship to the table. The band has played together for little
more than six months and show amazing promise. The record doesn’t
feel like a bunch of tracks knocked out in the garage but more like
road-tested songs worked out over endless run-through. (George Dow)


CLUBBER LANG

You Will Never Be Defeated

10 tracks

Dammit, will the butt rock ever cease
to exist? No, I suppose it never will— professional wrestlers need
it to enter the ring in style, Natty Ice drinkers need it to suck at
life, and peeps got to listen to something on their way to the comic
book convention. Genocide would be required, but it ain’t legal, and
we’d be minus so many fine specimens whilst people-watching in the
mall. Anyway, these guys… first off, bands named after Rocky movie
villains should be sentenced to a nice bottle of pinot noir and an Ingmar
Bergman film festival or something. I love that these jackasses printed
their lyrics for me to pick on— first lines from first song: “Oh
so long ago/ You used to be his bro.” Speaks for itself, don-it? The
track “I Can’t Get Enough” is a cock-rock hunk of bowel movement.
First lines: “Pretty Baby red hair legs up to heaven/ I want you oh
so bad”—and no irony to be found. Five words about the music? Soundtrack
to paying for sex. (Tony Mellor)


EMERY HUTCHINS

Away To The West

14 tracks

What I love about what I do is no matter
how long I’ve been writing about music, my world continues to be expanded
by new music or musical knowledge. Perfect example, this CD by Emery
Hutchins. Emery’s genre is Irish music—not something I typically
would buy but I was not only utterly enchanted by this recording, it
opened my mind to this style of music as well as to an instrument I
was heretofore unaware of—the bodhran. I’m sure many of you musicians
are familiar but for those who are not, the bodhran is an Irish frame
drum, and as Emery so eloquently explains in his CD insert, the bodhran’s
sound is pure and primitive. I’m particularly enthralled with drumming
and percussion so the combination of the traditional Irish tones and
music with this instrument made the entire recording a wonderful and
intriguing experience. The modern drumming in the old Irish traditional
songs (with a few original tunes mixed in) create a fresh, enjoyable,
lovely and delightful collection. (Debbie Catalano)

MARGIN WALKER

Departure and Return

9 tracks

After listening to
this CD, I felt like I had been beaten up and was stumbling around,
only to fall in a hole as the sun was going down, unable to summon the
will to get up. If this was the effect that this four-piece was going
for, they’ve succeeded. The heavy guitars, the gruff, despairing,
and leaden vocals, and the dark and wryly poetic lyrics like “we’ll
talk about weather at the edge of abyss,” create a mood of someone
grappling with sadness and a personal underworld. That said, this CD
is really well done. Rich guitar tones stand out in “See You Never.”
“The New Admission” sounds something like the rock ’n’ roll
of Motorhead if Lemmy were on downers instead of speed. The lyrics of
“Ghosts of Electricity” and “Two Voices” are especially poignant
and haunting. The liner notes do not give writing credits, but I commend
the lyricist for coming up with what are really personal poems. There
is nothing cliché about them. Traces of these songs linger long after
the player has been turned off. (Robin Umbley)


THE GULLS

Cabana

10 tracks

Greetings, Zortar here, inhabiting
the condemned by the board of health, loosely referred to body of Slimedog,
a body whose decaying, debilitation is a direct representation of his
mind. Which bring me to this lovely review. If you like the Bare Naked
Ladies and think the band Guster is cutting edge this band may be for
you. Before I read their description, I was thinking of the Beach Boys
and lo and behold, they describe themselves as “beach music.” It’s
acoustic guitar backed up by bass and drums and nice harmonies singing
sing-a-long lullabies for the lobotomized.

But hey, I’m a grumpy android. I’m
sure if you’re a college student guy whose big worry is which college
bimbette you’re going to bop tonight before you spew your Coors Light
laden guts across her sorority’s lawn later, you just might think
this is great to la la to. Any song here would fit in fine on any mindless
mainstream TV show with young people on it. Me, I despise every fiber
of its existence.
(Slimedog)


AUTUMN ABOVE

Prologue

13 tracks

Autumn Above is going
to be huge. The music’s highly melodic, the vocals are that high sweet
voice that the ladies have been swooning to for the last decade (think
Jimmy Eat World/ Plain White T’s/ Fall Out Boy) with occasional Sebastian
Bach operatics, and it’s clear that these determined cats from the
magical suburb of Beverly have drive—a raging fire in their collective
belly. Does that mean I like them? Not at all. It’s appropriate that
the song titles feature words like “endless,” “lifetime,” and
“infinite”—the songs are too flippin’ long. They label themselves
as progressive—but long songs in a concept album about some chick
named Janice do not progressive make. One problem is that all the guitars
are acoustic. It’s a limited palette for prog. They play said acoustics
with great proficiency, no question, but it keeps things too earthbound.
Progressive ought to take you on a trip, like a Lord of the Rings
movie compressed into a suite, but their meandering makes me look at
the time index on my CD player. (Tony Mellor)


THE SUSAN CONSTANT

Tour de Stade

Rayonnement

11 tracks

These here are some likely lads, what
with their croaking vocals and their insinuating keyboards and
their quasi-epic compositional savvy. Not quite like the Cure—no,
much more upbeat but using some of the same tricknology—same doleful
echo and cheesy reverb and shuffling emo blather with maybe a dab of
Yo la Tengo brand faux significance. What I like best about these songs
is that you could well imagine them as soundtracks to some movie in
which you are the star. I’m sure you know what I mean. “Ploughshare
v. Earth” would do nicely for the scene in some off-brand knock-off
superhero actioner when the hero first says to himself, “Wow—I can
actually fly!” And “Made of Paper” would be suitable for the indie
romance in which the cheapo montage depicts the happy couple winsomely
frolicking in an illicit fountain. “Dress So Well” would do just
fine for the opening credits of some flick where the troubled and barely
pubescent girl hero gets up to all sorts of dangerous hijinks. And the
savvy Hollywood producer who doesn’t want to shell out big bucks to
U2 for the closing credits of his good-cop-gone-bad police thriller
might be well advised to use “Runner” instead. It’s no use griping
that these fellows are simply youthful masters of emotional manipulation.
With music like this, the best thing to do is to get with the program
and just lay back and enjoy it. (Francis DiMenno)


LADDERLEGS

Approach This Once

11 tracks

A bit jarring at first,
and seldom straightforward, but oh damn, it’s a fun party! It’s
all too-fast-on-the-merry-go-round arrangements, fire-under-your-ass
vocals, playboy-swingin’-party beats and the gusto of a just-flew-in-from-Africa
rhinoceros! Most of the tunes here are shorter than infant Herve Villechaize—only
one track’s time exceeds the classic pop single 3:33 mark (and ain’t
that a refreshing thing for me, especially after that Autumn Above review).
Crazy things must be happening in Lowell that I’d have a hard time
imagining, having only driven through the town once to see Kerouac’s
birthplace.

Trying to put them
in the genre box, a term like art-punk would most easily hop out from
one’s tongue, but it’s also a wickedly limiting, damning term. If
I had to list obvious influences, I can name bands they remind me of
for a split second, but to me, labeling and dissecting the music will
only insult it—just enjoy the damned thing, friends. Needless to say,
I do. Of course, they disbanded in March. I’m eager to see what the
ex-members do next. (Tony Mellor)


B STREET BLUES

Car Won’t Go

10 tracks

There’s no denying
these guys play the blues—they’ve got the feel and top-notch musicianship,
not to mention a great name, but something is missing from this recording
and I’m not quite sure what it is. The songs are standard blues—a
mix of B.B. King’s style and a classic rock bluesy flavor that is
likely more energized when performed live. They’ve got the blues style
nailed down but it’s missing a bit of fire. Is it the recording? Or
is it the delivery? Not sure, but I wish this had more dimension because
something is coming across flat. I bet they’re a powerhouse live so
by all means. Do not discount the B Street Blues. They’re a fun band
and honestly, I think blues lovers will dig these grooves. I’d just
like to hear a fatter recording. Favorite tracks: the swingin’ “Car
Won’t Go Blues,” the rootsy “Set A Spell,” (which did have a
richer recording sound than the others), and “Spinner”—great instrumental,
loved it! (Debbie Catalano)


GARVY J. & THE SECRET POCKETS OF HOPE
AND RESISTANCE

“War is Over… Again”/
“Break You (C’est dans la tete)”

2 tracks

A founding member of
the Elevator Drops, the band nationally renowned for their politically
charged theatrics and unpredictable live show, Garvy J. is stepping
out into the spotlight as a solo performer. Accompanying him is
his twelve-string guitar and a lineup that includes Tony Savarino (Black
Fortress of Opium), Scott Dakota, Mike Piehl, and Tommy Tulip.
“War is Over… Again,” a prelude to his debut full-length is a
re-working of the Lennon-Ono track, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” but
with a twist that is both ironic and atmospheric. The apologetic
“Break You (C’est dans la tete)” finds J. opening up, repeating
the lines, “I didn’t mean to break you.” The singer-songwriter’s
powerful vocals take hold of the listener and do not let go.
(Julia R. DeStefano)


JON WATERMAN
with ERGO CANTO

The Green at Lexington

1 track with illustrated
booklet

Now this I like. A
simple DIY illustrated booklet with tale of a Revolutionary battle and
a folk song to match. S.F. Salmon drew the illustrations that look like
something out of Mad magazine, though the content is serious:
men dying in battle. The song is simple but real with instrumentation
that gives it a slightly older period flavor, probably because of the
use of a citern (I would have guessed it was an autoharp) accompanying
a guitar, flute, and light drums. Jon Waterman’s easy-going voice
takes you though this folk tale that reminds me of “The Night they
Drove Old Dixie Down”—the version by Joan Baez. The whole
project has a nice innocent homemade quality to.
(T Max)


KILSLUG

Necro Tone Records

God’s Funeral

2 tracks on vinyl

Ah, yes, Mrs. Slimedog
here, the best writer of the Noise. It must be true because it’s
written in every issue. I, and my lovely feline companion, Seymour the
cat, are bungee jumping today and I’m still trying to remove some
of the claws from my shoulder as I write. He was a tad bit scared, you
see.

Speaking of which,
this is the scariest music I have ever heard in my life! “On the Rise”
is very dirgey, grungy and what sounds like Seymour when he goes bungee
jumping. “Human Sacrifice” is a little more upbeat but still Larry
Lifeless sings like someone you don’t want to meet in a dank alley.

Slimedog says this
band has been around awhile and he thought they would’ve been doing
something more constructive with their lives by now. He says their sound
is described as punk/noise/sludge/doom which I guess means they sound
like Blue Sabbath. So if you’re expecting something peppy like Lady
Gaga this is not for you. Me, I’d rather go bungee jumping without
a harness than hang out with these scary guys. (Mrs. Slimedog)


HOT MOLASSES

No-Source Net Label

Frankly

5 tracks

Hot Molasses’s latest
release, Frankly, is somewhat analogous to the five hour energy
drink. The EP kicks off with “Too Many Volts” which is a repetitious
adrenaline-charged ballad that is seemingly stripped from a Japanese
game show sponsored by your local electricity company. Once the
2:30-crash feeling sets in, at approximately “Glad School Girlfriend,”
you can get a tasting for Julia Dickinson’s charming vocals that calls
for animated blue birds to assist with her laundry folding. The mellifluous
instrumentals combined with a coed duet that is strikingly a variation
on a [The] Carpenters electro-pop theme, demonstrate that Hot Molasses
is capable of generating heart-warming worthy anthems. (Justin
Korn)


THE DIFFERENCE
ENGINE

OS Agnostic

6 tracks

I admire any ambitious
and original project and I believe that the Difference Engine’s EP
OS Agnostic
is both. It’s intricately cool synth/electronica woven
between spacy rock. The more I listen to it, the more I like it. Now
is it perfect? No, there is room for improvement in some places, but
it’s art in my book and I feel the passion behind this effort. Plus,
even though I just called out the Difference Engine’s originality,
will they hate me if I say I hear twinges here and there of two of my
favorite bands Depeche Mode and Muse? Sorry if so, but in my book that’s
a compliment! (Debbie Catalano)

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 353
Gloucester, MA 01931
617-331-9637
tmaxnoise@aol.com


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