Silver Circle Reviews

TIM MUNGENAST & HIS PREEXISTING CONDITIONS
(aka TIMWORLD)
Goat River Productions
Dhoom

12 tracks
This is the fifth CD of off-kilter rock-jazz-psychedelia-what-have-you from Mungenast and his talented sidemen, Michael Bloom (bass) and Jon Proudman (drums). The album consist, not of endlessly rehearsed, conventionally constructed songs; instead, the trio’s methodology mostly seems to consist in selecting a motif, then seeing how far they can carry it forward. It’s a series of live performances, warts and all, some of which are astonishing. In particular, the opening track “Dhoom,” reminds me, in intuitive ways, of “East-West” by the Butterfield Blues Band—accomplished raga-rock of the highest order. “Space Goat” is an interesting throwaway number which opens with a cranky clangor that devolves into a theme song about “a goat who fights crime in outer space.” (Nowadays, one sign of truly eccentric art is how resistant it is to being co-opted and mass-marketed. I don’t suppose we’ll be seeing this one on Nickelodeon any time soon.) “Cerulean” is a minimalist bass-heavy song-fragment with subtle percussion and a languorously convoluted guitar line. “Making Scary New Gods Out of Corn Husks” is another bass-pulsing bit of minimalism with time-warped and monumental guitar, and electric cello courtesy of Karen Langlie; you might describe it as music on a low simmer. “Spinach (Is Grown in Sand) is an oldie—a truly odd space-chantey with tumbledown bass, wistful backup vocals (courtesy of Kelly Godshall, of Amber Spyglass), and psychotronic guitar which distends out into a juddering finale. “Karen Lost in Middle Earth” is an extradimensional instrumental fragment teased through with liquescently dripping guitar and electric cello. “Mersault’s Blues” is quite possibly the most conventional track on here: a lovely vocal melody accompanied by a counterintuitive but equally lovely guitar line which sporadically bursts into a microcosm of chaotic psychedelia, with all the complex musical values of a jazz unknown and hitherto unheard.      (Francis DiMenno)

DARLING PET MUNKEE
Glows in the Dark!

7 tracks
Another brilliant concept band from the brains of concept meisters Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola along with Axemunkee’s Catherine Capozzi, who is continually pushing the envelope of how a guitar can sound. The idea was derived from ads for living squirrel monkeys and a play on the names of the bands the three are currently involved with. The result is a futuristic sci-fi surf extravaganza, which conjures Saturday afternoon creature features and late night comedy bits from an episode of The Ghoul. While the titles and the concept itself may seem a little kitschy and cute, the music is well thought out and evokes a panorama of moods and shades of dark and light. Michael, Sophia, and Cathy are easily some of the most gifted and innovative musicians in this town and everything they’ve done has been worth checking out. This combination of musical minds melds so seamlessly. I can’t recommend this album or band more highly. (Joel Simches)

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Under the Influence

12 tracks
Any time homage is being paid to some of rock’s biggest names, one knows it is going to be an amazing effort. In fact, the brilliance of Under the Influence is that it spotlights Berklee students and alumni. The collection is impressively vast, ranging from renditions of seminal bands such as the Pixies, Mission of Burma, Hüsker Dü, and Gang of Four, to the more modern tunes popularized by Green Day and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to name a few. The disc opens with Julia Easterlin’s striking interpretation of the Pixies’ “Break My Body.” A powerhouse vocalist, her rendition is bold and emotive, while Da’Rayia’s “Give It Away” (Red Hot Chili Peppers) is positively funky and quite the departure from the soft-spoken sounds of Easterlin, but such is the beauty of a compilation of this magnitude. Admirers of Billie Joe Armstrong and company will delight in the Boston Boys featuring Emily Elbert’s “Welcome to Paradise” (Green Day), while David Pramik’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (U2) must be heard to be believed. Pramik’s soulful interpretation is just that good. On the whole, Under the Influence is a testament to the talent and skill within the Boston music scene. The album deserves a careful listen, if not for the wide variety of artists covered, then for the artistic liberties taken and the boundless creativity that the students and alumni exhibit throughout. (Julia R. DeStefano)

BILL GOFFRIER & SAUCER
Homebound Records
The Saucer Years

6 tracks
This record is pretty much what you would expect to get out of an outfit that includes members of both Big Dipper and the Del Fuegos. The songs are reminiscent of classic ’80s indie pop: heavy on the melody, but never sounding wimpy. Some songs have a hint of early R.E.M. twang, while the more fuzzed out numbers recall the Cars if that band had more guitar and less keyboard. The songs occasionally showcase a bit of humor, and they always show a real dedication to song-craft. While there is nothing here that amazes, it’s still a pleasant listen that does nothing to detract from the band members’ legacies. (Kevin Finn)

BILLY SHAKE
Crashing Down

11 tracks
Billy Shake is a band built around the songwritings of George Simpson, who is also the vocalist. At times Simpson channels Lou Reed filtered through Mark Knopfler and Warren Zevon. Simpson’s lyrics are cynical and ironic, roadworn, yet bemused. The music and vibe of this album might suggest an older audience, but has a rebellious nature and forces you to listen to it on its own terms, without preconception or bias. Delving deeper into the album reveals lush arrangements, stark acoustic mood pieces, casual bluesy grooves, and good ol’ fashioned rock ’n’ roll. I’m admittedly not a huge songwriter fan. What so many songwriters lack in dimension is beautifully illustrated here. The layers aren’t forced and the production has plenty of teeth, rather than a hollow sheen. I entered a skeptic and left a fan. (Joel Simches)

ALEX RAZDAN & THE A-TRAIN ORCHESTRA
ASR Records
Two-Timin

14 tracks
Big band swing revivalism had a brief vogue in the late 1990s, but, insofar as the music and its tropes are timeless, this is a pleasant outing, with the expected assortment of cabaret numbers (a nuancical rendition of Kurt Weill’s 1938 classic “September Song”); early rock-era mainstream pop (“Sleepwalk” by Santo and Johnny); and bluesy classics (“Backstroke” and “Pinky”), with proto-rock standards such as “Looking Back” mixed in. The performances here are the polar opposite of moribund—they are executed with both clarity and panache, heard perhaps nowhere better than on “Cloudburst,” an instrumental version of the amazing 1959 Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross smash hit. The A-Train Orchestra’s rendition is bursting with an explosive, propulsive vigor which further exalts the already admittedly spectacular and incomparable original. Highly recommended. (Francis DiMenno)

TWO VIEW REVIEW

SARAH BLACKER
Perfectly Imperfect

6 tracks
Sarah Blacker sounds like a little bit of Emmylou Harris mixed with Regina Spektor and a smidge of Feist. This six song download lilts, tumbles and swoons along with some of the best pop acoustic music I’ve heard in a great while. With lots of hand drums, uke, mandolin, acoustic guitar and bucket of percussive toys, Blacker shifts effortlessly from one mood to the next: serious to silly, playful to introspective, mournful to hopeful. The arrangements are quirky and unpredictable, yet deliciously appropriate. The vocal harmonies are sublime. I can’t get enough of this release. Make more music soon!    (Joel Simches)

SARAH BLACKER
Perfectly Imperfect

6 tracks
Though a little shorter than her previous albums, Perfectly Imperfect, Sarah Blacker’s third trip into the recording studio, makes the most of six tracks. This new array of sound offers something different with each tune, whether it’s alternate instrumentation or a memorable vocal style. The title track, “Perfectly Imperfect,” brings a stripped-down treat for the ears, with an acoustic lead backed by finger snaps and hand claps that blend together to paint a scene of chilling on the porch in the summer sun, filling the air with some spontaneous sound. “Darling” is a more full-bodied brew, and with this tune Sarah shows what a diverse vocal range she’s built over the years, with her wide assortment of octaves making this opening number worth hearing again and again. In fact, listen to it three times. “These Summer Nights” is a track I sincerely hope I get to hear live someday. It’s so intense and melodic, and I can picture a packed club in Cambridge singing along and stomping their feet to this passionate creation. Eran Shaysh, Sarah’s touring partner, accompanies her on percussion and vocals, showing the amazing chemistry these two possess, whether it’s on the stage or in the studio. Sarah’s shown a great devotion to her craft, always giving her fans much more than their money’s worth. Perfectly Imperfect is no exception, and a great addition to any music-lover’s collection. (Max Bowen)

UNCOMFORTABLES
75 or Less Records
Across the Shields Vol. 1

10 tracks
This band is heavy, that’s for sure. So heavy they should have an umlaut in their name. Hell, they should have two. Yes, I can see the marquee now: Üncomförtables—Tonite at [insert local club name here]! All jokes aside, these guys ain’t bad. They do the whole metallicized punk-rock thing and they do it well. Grating guitars, pummeling drums, hoarse vocals, and an insatiable need for speed. They also throw a couple catchy melodies into the equation, as well. The guitar solos have a touch of blues to them with their string-bending riffage and, thankfully, don’t revolve around the dexterous yet utterly soulless pedantry of shredding. The guitars don’t rely solely on power-chords either. There are some open-sounding suspensions strewn in between the distorted chug-a-lugging. A pleasant surprise. Think Motörhead but with a bit of ’90s pop-punk thrown in there, too. Overall, this band has exceeded my expectations. Still, it’s nothing to write home about. I’m not exactly on pins and needles waiting to hear Volume 2. (Will Barry)

AJ EDWARDS
Start Over the Moon

10 tracks
To refer to AJ Edwards as “music appreciator” would be an understatement. In fact, the emerging singer, songwriter, and guitarist cites a certain pull that he felt towards the field. It was upon witnessing U2 perform live in 2001 that the determined and newly-inspired Edwards decided that he would make music his life and began by teaching himself how to play the guitar. In just a short time, an undeniable passion for songwriting was realized, coupled with a powerful desire to share himself and his creations with the world. It is through Start Over the Moon that the potential for stardom is apparent. Edwards’ meticulously crafted blend of indie-pop is especially evident in the album’s uplifting opener, “Undefeated” as well as throughout the heartwarming “I’m Open” and the closer, “Still Life.” Such a brand calls to mind Graham Colton, Pete Yorn, and even New England’s own Matt Nathanson. It is through a relaxing, mellow vibe that Edwards delves deep into subject matter that is both playful and profound, making this effort perfect for a coffeehouse scenario or as “chill out” music after a difficult day. (Julia R. DeStefano)

DAPHNE LEE MARTIN & RAISE THE RENT
The Telegraph Recording Company
Dig & Be Dug

10 tracks
The term eclectic doesn’t begin to do this band justice. You’d probably need to find some German loanword to even come close to defining this band’s mighty amalgam of vintage musical styles. They sound, at times, like a Mexican wedding with the spurts of mariachi horns and accordion. Other times, they sound like a New Orleans funeral with the nasally wah-wah of the muted trumpet. Or, like last call at some sleazy country-western saloon with all the pedal-steel twang. The list goes on. Martin’s lilting old-timey vocals are the only constant in this ever-changing backdrop of misc-Americana. Clearly, this is a very talented group of musicians with motley musical tastes. However, the album really measures high on the ol’ hokiness meter. It’s a little heavy on the sappy sentimentality, too, if ya ask me. Still, their nostalgia for the music of the good ol’ days is kinda nice in a wholesome sit-on-grandpappy’s-lap sort of way. (Will Barry)

DANIEL OUELLETTE & THE SHOBIJIN
Meanie Jeanie Records
The Enchantment (Songs to Sing Whilst You Sharpen Your Pencil)

11 tracks
When I listen to the opening track, “There Is a Wolf In California,” I think of how, in the mid-1970s, Bryan Ferry and David Bowie made much of this type of exaggerated cabaret rock. It’s certainly innocuous enough, though throughout the synth-slathered proceedings I’m also thinking that die-hard meat-and-potatoes rockers might find the whole experience more than just a bit fey. “I Want! (That Superman Song)” features lyrics that are witty in a densely camp way, while the synth-and-percussion based instrumental is equally clever. Among the more conventional songs, “Te Odio” is particularly appealing and notable. But it’s not all fun and games: “Out By Assawompsett” is a seriously twisted bit of weird, commemorative melodrama. I am hearing the songs on this album as falling midway between the balls-out garishness of the B-52s and the mumbling consequentialities of early REM. On the whole, this is also a bit like the Cramps for die-hard aestheticians—as though, instead of the Green Fuz and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, the Cramps took Was/Not Was and Georgio Moroder as their weirdo role models. This is a hitherto under-explored back alley of the rock genre, which is not so much to say it is original than that it is oddly idiosyncratic, boldly off-kilter genre clowning. It’s odd in an oddly familiar way, and I can imagine that a lot of people who treasure up the offbeat, the one-off, and the unusual getting an enormous kick out of many of these strangely appealing tunes. (Francis DiMenno)

THE THROWDOWN BAND
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

9 tracks
The Hendrix influence is huge here: whether it’s Stan Blues Jr’s screaming guitar solos or the arrangements in the songs themselves, where each tune starts out with soaring guitar work setting the groove. The big difference here is in Eric Savoie’s gruff and growling voice; this man can sing and his powerful heavy metal/blues delivery is both captivating and memorable. Songs like “The Day Love Dies,” “Dogs of War,” and “Sexy” are similar to Robin Trower ballads but more contemporary and better. They end the CD with a cover of “Voodoo Child” done differently, not note-for-note, but just as psychedelic. PLAY THIS CD LOUD. (A.J. Wachtel)

BAR SINISTER
Intense Human Victories
Great Satan

4 tracks
For the most part, Bar Sinister’s blend of dark, metallic post-hardcore works quite well. The intense but sparse instrumentation packs quite a punch while leaving an appropriate amount of breathing room. The music is moody and atmospheric, and the band is smart enough to know that occasionally taking things down a notch makes the intense parts sound even more furious. Unlike most punk-influenced bands, Bar Sinister isn’t afraid of stretching out; the four-song EP approaches twenty minutes long. The only real weak point is the singing. Over the first half of the EP, the vocals are fine, recalling J. Robbins from Jawbox: intense but melodic. Over the second half, though, the singing too often devolves into a rather tuneless cracked screaming. By the end of the EP, it has worn a bit thin. That said, there is still much worth recommending here. (Kevin Finn)

HOOKERCLOPS
I No Bueno!

13 tracks
Listening to Hookerclops makes me wanna snort a bunch of Adderall, shotgun a couple beers, and roam the moonlit city streets raising all kinds of hell. If you haven’t guessed already, subtlety is not one of this band’s strong suits. Writing rowdy punk songs, however, and pumping them full of ball-busting blues-rock riffs is. You gotta love their proto-punk primitivism, testosterone-fueled guitar, tag-team, rock ’em sock ’em drumming, and low-down skulking bass-lines, not to mention the absurdist sense of humor of the lyrics and their guttural vocal delivery. I mean c’mon, a one-eyed prostitute with lobster claws for hands? You can’t make this stuff up. Oh wait, yes you can. Their music speaks to the caveman in me that wants only to fight, feed, and, well, ya knowfornicate. No ego or super-ego to be heard on this album. It’s nothin’ but id on overdrive. (Will Barry)

THE SPACE SHARKS
The Space Sharks

9 tracks
The Space Sharks bring the big, loud guitars on this updated take on psychedelic-tinged classic rock. They’re not reinventing the wheel, but by no means are they pretending to. The band is technically quite proficient with Lonnie Richard’s guitar playing, flashy without being ostentatious, and Mike Martino’s dexterous fills providing most of the highlights. The production is excellent throughout, giving the record that live feel that is so often hard to create in a studio environment. At times, the listener is best off ignoring the lyrics, which can get a little flower-child goofy, and the distorted vocal effect on “Some Fantastic” is completely unnecessary. Overall, though, the Space Sharks have put out a lively, enjoyable record. While the band probably would have fit in better forty years ago, the emphasis on skill over preciousness will provide a welcome respite to those turned off by the overly mannered style of much of what is currently considered hip. (Kevin Finn)

GRAND EVOLUTION
Collide

4 tracks
Sarah Kenyon has a sweetly emotional voice, and this four song sampler serves up an ingratiating dose of transparent pop, from the kiss-off of “Sweetheart” to the melodramatically evincing “Forget You” with its bursts of double-tracked roundelays, and from the keening, chiming dynamics of “Goodbye” to the incandescently hook-laden “Better Off.” On the whole, a promising debut. (Francis DiMenno)

SATELLITES FALL
Midday Records
Line on the Road

5 tracks
Ever hear a song that you feel this insatiable need to run through a few times? That’s what hit me right off the bat as I listened to Satellites Fall’s EP, Lines on the Road. For this album, you’ll want to let this run on repeat, and trust me when I say that it’s time well spent. Lines on the Road has superb production value, with some added effects that enhance the strengths of the band. Influences like Oasis and U2 are cited, and while I can hear hints of these musical greats within this album, Satellites Fall clearly has the strength to stand on their own, taking a few lessons but incorporating plenty of their own material into the final product. Vocalist/guitarist Mark Charron brings some serious singing chops to this EP, supported and strengthened by Brian Bardsley and Davey Moore on guitar and Luke Riskalla on drums. “The World Outside,” my top pick of the EP, adds in some experienced piano playing courtesy of Charron. It’s easy to envision this alt-rock band playing to a crowd of thousands, but this is hardly the typical pre-packaged arena rock we’ve all heard a thousand times before. It’s got an easy versatility to it that fans from different genres can come together and appreciate. And I imagine that plenty of them will. (Max Bowen)

PAUL TAIT
Mixing My Emotions 1995-2010

10 tracks
Paul has been performing for decades, both onstage in theatrical productions and as a solo pianist/singer/ songwriter. This is a compilation of songs recorded over a 15-year period. If you are a fan of Elton John’s power ballads from 1972-1975, you are going to really like these songs. While the production of these tunes hasn’t aged as well as the songs (right at the beginning of the home studio boom), Tait performs them with an earnest passion and relentless sense of melody. I easily could see any one of these songs playing over the end credits of some summer blockbuster, or romantic comedy. Get on that, will ya, Paul? This is not for jaded indie rockers. It’s not for the emo crowd or the punk crowd. It is for the heart on the sleeve hopeless romantic. I dare you to listen to this and not feel moved. (Joel Simches)

JAPANESE MONSTERS
Bleeps, Sweeps, Creeps

6 tracks
This cool product—a red flash drive with a rotating metal protector for the USB jack—is loaded with synth sounds that made me smile. “Theme From a Norwegian Western” had a big phat bass synth beeping’ along to a disco beat with an opening lead synth melody that reminded me of the Dr. Who theme song. Everything was groovy until the vocals entered—they were either not loud enough or too loud depending on your aesthetics. “Animal” follows with another disco beat but flounders around too much—then those same vocals enter. Maybe they take some getting use to. “The Shore” gives more luscious synths—yeah! Oops, those vocals interrup my smiles again. I’m really trying to like them. (T Max)

SHV
Hexagon Records
Scene Ripper

4 tracks
What do dance music and underground noise have in common? Usually not much. Alley Dennig, aka SHV from Providence, takes any preconceived notions you may have and rams them down your pipe. You can groove to a couple of these songs. The others are more like Eno’s Music For Films than say Unicorn Hard On or Donna Summer. You can dance if you want to, you can leave your friends behind, but if you listen to SHV you’ll get a bloody nose, and like it. Music for dungeons or Studio 54, whatever mood you happen to be in. (Eric Baylies)

ROTARY CLUB
Woodside Records
Second Year In Swine

12 songs
Tom Devaney (ex-Bulkhead) fronts this exemplary combo, whose take on rock music is a must for anyone who cares about a non-heritage direction for a sadly battered form. The opening salvo, “Get a Room,” is tuff-sounding sideways rock ala late Beefheart or Ubu (not too surprising—Tony Maimone produces and contributes to the album). This track features powerful angularity yoked to a spacy undertow. The remainder of the album is very much in the same primo mode; it often sounds like rock transmitted from a slightly different parallel realm, with counter-intuitive melodies and instrumentations which provide a sonic palette that isn’t simply more of the same-old same-old. Overall, the production values provide beautiful compression in these valleys of passion. On “Union?”, foreshortened riffs serve as a talisman against the void; pleasantly hectoring offside hooks evoke buried intensities. The lush textures on “Millie’s Variety” provide continuous soft hits to the brain which prove that anyone can grow up to be prescient. “Kidney Stone” is a brilliantly warpo bit of bent liquescent kosmik folk pop. “Multicolored Rings” is a shamanistic dive into some lunatic pool of slow-motion extasis. The title track evokes a mythic city in which the Let It Bleed-era Stones are free to pursue the psychedelic proclivities to their illogical denouement. “Capsule” is a beautifully inspired ballad that eerily crescendos into an astonishing pronunciato—an unforgettable, out-standing classic track. The second half of “Pluto” is nearly as good. The final track, “Used to Fear Math,” is a surprisingly conventional song tendering—get this—good advice! All hail King Blur! This album is utterly original and utterly solid. One of the best damn pieces of work I have heard in years, and a quantum leap from their first effort, 2007’s Vis a Vis. It ain’t your grandpaw’s rock, but it might become your grandchildren’s. (Francis DiMenno)

BITCH BROTHERS
Bitch Brothers

16 tracks
Permeating this album is a brooding and eerie post-punk atmosphere. A restrained kind of intensity that, more often than not, ends up erupting into fits of throbbing noise-heavy rage. The band’s quieter moments are typified by tender melodic bass-lines, palpable but unintrusive drumming, and a complex web of reverb-heavy guitars. Like I said, these quiet moments are usually short-lived, as the band soon goes postal in a frenzy of fuzzed-out guitars, thunderous drums, and blasts of pure noise. The vocals are half-sung, half-spoken, or sometimes just plain shouted. The recordings themselves are about as DIY as you can get, recorded by the band themselves, probably in some basement. This is Fugazi-style post-hardcore. It’s got all the fury and raw energy that typifies the hardest of hardcore with plenty of lo-fi pride and an avante-garde aesthetic. (Will Barry)

GALVANIZE
75 or Less Records
Galvanize

5 tracks
“Battleship,” the opening track to this EP, hooks me right in with its rollicking drums and dirty guitars. This song wouldn’t feel out of place on a Mudhoney or Dinosaur Jr. record. If this release had been a single, I would have given it a standing ovation. Unfortunately, there are four more tracks that never approach that high mark, and by track five, I’m throwing tomatoes at my stereo. To be fully accurate, it’s track three, entitled “Cupcake Face” that really does it for me. Is this supposed to be clever? Avant-garde? It just comes across as being less smart than its author thinks it is and makes me feel that the first track was lightning striking once. Based on the rest of the EP, I’d take my chances with winning Powerball before lighting strikes again. (Kevin Finn)

THE FALLEN STARS
Heart Like Mine
16 tracks
Originally from the Boston area, the Fallen Stars now call the West Coast home, earning themselves a wall full of awards and accolades along the way. Listening to the old-school Americana tunes of Heart Like Mine, it’s not hard to understand why, and it makes me feel lucky the band still plays in the New England area. Lead singer Tracy Byrnes has a gorgeous voice that belongs with the great female leads of her genre. Her husband Bobbo adds his own experienced vocals to the mix, along with some sweet twangin’ guitar skills that can rock the house and strum some mellow melodies with equal precision. Gary O’Yeah (drums) and Geoff Geib (keys) add their unique sounds and stories to a foursome that have created a sound that stands apart. These are the songs the survive the years, the kind you’ll hear on the radio and remember the time you saw them at a Tuesday night show with only 10 people in the audience. Tunes like “All I Want” offer the full-course music meal: pulse-pounding Americana rock, slick guitar skills and Tracy’s voice reminding you that you didn’t come here to occupy a barstool. “The Last Hurrah,” adds the elegant violin skills of Caitlin Gary to produce a song that speaks about the things that mean the most to us, despite the pain we suffer along the way. There’s plenty more stories for this band to tell. Do yourself a favor and give ’em a listen. (Max Bowen)

OLD ENGLISH
EP

5 tracks
Five scorching, largely instrumental tracks that harken back to the 80’s—when it was still okay to get wonky with your guitar. On their debut EP, Old English captures the best of guitar gods like Eddie Van Halen and Joe Satriani while leaving behind the pretense and self-masturbatory schlock. While the guitar is the clear focus for Old English, the rhythm section plays supporting its role exactly as it should—locking in and maintaining structure while the guitar freestyles on top. The two occasions where Old English chooses to go vocal add extra dynamics—a chant-y psychedelic element and Weezer-esque bombast. (George Dow)

LIVING SYNDICATION
Aneurythm

18 tracks
Ay coño
, I’d sooner suffer an aneurysm than hear Aneurythm again. I bet an aneurysm would be much less painful for me. Seriously. I mean, an album is already way too long for me if it’s twelve tracks, but this goes on for EIGHTEEN excruciating tracks! They’re not short songs, either! I’m not ADD, but who the hell has that kind of attention span? I highly doubt that even this band’s fans, fluffers, and significant others do! Especially when the music is as unoriginal and done to death as this! You may as well load up your disc changer with Korn, Nickelback, Puddle of Mudd, Adema, and all that other nu-metal and post-grunge shite that most somewhat reasonable people got sick of about eight years ago, and just put that puppy on shuffle! This CD fits right in! If you just can’t get enough downtuned crunchy guitar, clenched-teeth grunge vocals, and lyrics about pain, drugs, disease, and loathing, maybe you’ll love Living Syndication. You probably also have tribal tattoos and rock a sweet soul patch. (Tony Mellor)

ELI VOYNICH MANUSCRIPT
Gross Domestic Product
Black Pageant

9 tracks
When I got the solo tape from Eli of Humanbeast, I expected harsh noise and the devil to come out of my speakers. What I got instead was chamber music for the damned. I did not expect to hear synths and organs played in a very traditional way. If you go to the Red Sox on acid, this is what the organ will sound like. This reminds me of some of the Sleep Chamber recordings. Music to fill up your tub with salt and float to. This tape defied my expectations and overwhelmed them. A very cool release from a very diverse artist. (Eric Baylies)

THE PRECIOUS FEW
New Waves

13 tracks
It says in this here booklet that this album was recorded in two different studios—quit lying, guys. Sounds like this was recorded on your old iMac with GarageBand in need of some serious updating. The production values on this CD are zilch. The drums sound canned, the guitar sounds so cheesy that they’re one step from directly recorded to the board, and the vocals sound like they’re recorded on Radio Shack mics. Now, I like “lo-fi” music if it’s got character and the songs are strong. This CD features neither. It’s bland dad-rock. Literally. It’s great to love your kids, but either keep them off the album or keep the album in the family—as in don’t release it. Don’t get me going on the identical sheep-bleats that are the two band members’ voices. Then there’s the utterly corny piss-take of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” to make a Bauhaus fan wish these guys had never been born, let alone have a chance to be undead. Hopefully, those unfortunate enough to hear this will be a precious few. (Tony Mellor)

SATELLITES FALL
Midday Records
Lines on the Road

5 tracks
For Lines on the Road, Satellites Fall’s first official release, the band sheds some of their Foo Fighters-ish bombast in favor of subtler indie-pop. This time out, Satellites Fall let their inner Radiohead shine through. “Servitude” sets the tone with a contemporary take on the Cure and Echo & the Bunnymen. “Hold Out,” the EP’s standout track, shines with its more complex mix. Here, the drumming stands out, while the vocals show their widest range. Any time you kick Dave Grohl to the curb in favor of Thom Yorke you’ll come out on top—a fact proven by Satellites Fall with Lines on the Road. (George Dow)

 

If your act is from New England, send your CDs for review to the Noise/ T Max, PO Box 353, Gloucester, MA. If you’re not based in New England, save your postage.

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

 

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