CD REVIEWS

27
Noise Appeal Records
Re-Wired

6 tracks

This collection of three re-workings of originals and three covers is one of the most interesting local releases I’ve heard so far this year.  27 is one of the more chameleon-like bands around, showcasing a broad palette without ever spreading itself too thin.  It’s mostly a relaxed vibe on this EP, but not without a dark current underneath.  Maria Christopher sounds wonderful throughout, her voice able to simultaneously relax you and raise the hair on your arms.  The band’s originals are excellent, but their interpretations of classic songs are truly eye-opening.  “I Can See Clearly Now” is slowed down considerably, and its minimalist feel strips away some of the hope of the Johnny Nash and Jimmy Cliff versions.  Tackling the Beatles’ “Let it Be” is a ballsy move, but the band’s version, which sounds it’s like been recorded in the world’s most beautiful and welcoming church, succeeds to the point where I prefer it to the original.   (Kevin Finn)

 

TOM HAUCK 
Olex Music
Pistonhead

12 tracks

You gotta give Tom Hauck credit.  In a world where a lot of the insistency has left pop-rock-punk music, this album firmly asserts the medium again. Former guitarist for Boston bands the Atlantics and Ball & Pivot, Tom grinds through the mélange of tunage with a sparse but rocking band of himself on guitar/vocals, Tony Goddess on bass, and John Lynch on drums.  I hear an influence of these artists in varying degrees… sometimes it’s hard to say why:  Motorhead, Elvis Costello, Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Velvet Underground, Neil Young & Crazy Horse. With a vocal timbre that definitely takes more than one listen to get accustomed to, Tom presents songs that reflect a novel (same title as the album) he wrote in 2009.  One thing I really enjoy is the sense of humor in the work… you can’t fake that.  I’d like to hear what Tom does after this first solo album, whether a revamp novel/audio concept production, or a completely new direction.  Gimme more!             (Mike Loce)

 

DOUG MacDONALD BAND
Give Me My Guitar

7 tracks

I caved in to my usual fear of cringeworthy press sheets and expected the worst. Words like “innovative,” “outstanding,” “creative,” and “original” leaped from the page like hungry jackals, implying that the reader won’t get it unless it’s spelled out. Then I remembered that, as often as not, the bands don’t write this stuff. (Why they settle for that and don’t pay a bullshitter like me to do it is another issue). Turns out, it’s all those things, to a more limited extent. They (being two members total) are touting this as indie rock with a ’60s influence, which is not inaccurate. Some of it you know right off you’ll want to hear again, some “eh.” I got wary again with the title track, your basic “Let’s rock this place!” vibe, which is not something they (or anyone) need resort to. If, by dint of the minimal lineup, they wish to mine (off-)White Stripes territory, they (and you) could do a lot worse. There are actual songs and ideas here. I’d advise they focus on those, and less on the conveyance of the, uh, lifestyle. You play music. We get it. Go forth and exploit your true potential, ’cause I’m actually looking forward to it.        (Joe Coughlin)

 

CONTINENTAL
East Grand Record Co.
All A Man Can Do

13 tracks

Frontman Rick Barton (x-Dropkick Murphys/x-Outlets) joins forces with his son for this new band, Continental.  While I am not fond of what Dropkick Murphys do for Irish music, Continental seems to be doing to working class, blue collar music what Three Day Threshold has done to country music: give it a kick in the groin and a healthy dose of real world reality.  This isn’t Springsteen writing about the working class while on a limo ride to the studio, or Mellencamp musing about pink houses from the comfort of his hot tub.  Barton seems to sing about the guy who spends his day atop a ladder painting that pink house.  Barton channels the Smithereens before they were MTV darlings and Mick Jagger when he was really a Street Fighting Man. Fans of No Bullshit Rock ’n’ Roll, who like to drink and party hard, play pool and wash their Suburbans with their kids on a sunny day while smoking a Pall Mall will welcome this album and this band with open ears.  It’s tough, yet tuneful, replete with fist pumping hooks, great songs and top-notch musicianship.           (Joel Simches)

 

*AM STEREO                     
When You Wish Upon a Bar

12 tracks

Their fourth full-length since 1988, and thank Christ, it’s about time. They love to diss themselves in the their (anti-)promo kits, from their age and the according years between records, to their alleged ineptitude (failed songwriting, clumsy execution, overall unpleasantness of the finished product, etc.). Since most straight-up, loud-ass rock bands so rabidly claim the opposite, especially the most awful ones, it would actually be refreshing if it were true. Don’t buy it here, though. Everything they’ve released contains at least a few numbers which become all-time favorites of mine, and here they go again. It’s that very time between records they joke about which produces such consistently sterling results. Some of it might sound frantic, but it never sounds rushed. Anyone can crank out the type of crap these guys lay false claim to, but it’s obviously tendered with care. They’ve never settled for bashing it out just because they could. They understand the subtle art of achieving perfection by not striving for it. It’s a rare gift, and despite all their “we don’t care” hype, it’s almost painfully clear how much they care. So tough shit, guys. Laugh all you want. You have far more integrity than most.  (Joe Coughlin)

 

JENEE HALSTEAD
Raised By Wolves                   

11 tracks

Jenee Halstead’s newest album offers up an ever-changing sound that shows both the range of her vocal abilities and the instruments brought together to compliment that skill. Musically, Raised By Wolves crosses more than a few styes, and Jenee’s voice matches perfectly each time, whether it’s the deep, steady rhythm of “Heart Song,” the light, upbeat sounds of “Garden of Love” or the edgy, Americana twang of “Bitten by the Night.” Whatever the music, Jenee’s able to keep pace and show her versatility behind the microphone, and brings a new kind of sound for all to enjoy. “River of Doubt” flows deep, and with some beautiful instrumentation that reinvigorates with each note. “So Far So Fast” adds some rock to the mix, giving us a great traveling song that ends too soon. The album provides an excellent showcase for Halstead’s guitar skills and diverse vocals, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With a wide array of instrumental support from Danny Barnes (banjo), Joel Litwin (drums), and Colby Sander (Dobro), Jenee has crafted a complex musical recipe, and the result is an entirely new flavor that tastes different with each song. Hungry yet? Give Raised By Wolves a listen and you will be.  (Max Bowen)

 

LAUREN BATEMAN
Battling Bard Music
Here I Am

9 tracks

This collection offers rock ’n’ roll and folksy Americana fronted by a woman with a strong, evincing voice and able delivery. The title track, with its metronomic hook, is by far the strongest song, partaking as it does of the borderlands between the paradisiacal and the corybantic. It is mood music in the best possible way—uplifting, emotive, and gladdening. The band members are highly able practitioners; my only complaint, a small one, is that occasionally the orchestration seems overly busy, as on “Release Me,” or jarringly unsubtle, as on the straightforward rock number “Pieces of You.” “Rose Full of Thorn” offers a far more successful example of a rock-folk rapprochement.       (Francis DiMenno)

 

TOM SATCH KERANS
Nancy Merson, Little Ralph and the Elliot Chambers 15:
A True Story from Beverly, Massachusetts

9 tracks
I may have hit this review’s word count limit just by typing out the title.  This record tells the story of the folks in the title, and it’s obviously a topic of great importance to Kerans.  The great thing about this record is it works both as a cohesive story about mental institutions, murders, and possible wrong convictions and also as a really solid collection of songs. The country-tinged music is quite spare which smartly leaves plenty of room for the lyrics to come to the forefront.   Despite the minimalist feel to the music, Kerans, whose voice lands somewhere between Bob Dylan and Lou Reed, avoids monotony by occasionally allowing a spiritual and rock influence to seep in.  This was obviously a labor of love for Kerans, and the listener reaps the rewards.      (Kevin Finn)

 

MY SILENT BRAVERY
Can’t Quit
10 tracks

To this reviewer’s pleasant surprise, My Silent Bravery is the creation of Matthew Shwachman—the same individual who has the contemplative effort, Uncharted Territory, under his belt.  If Shwachman’s solo release served as an inspirational message of hope, My Silent Bravery appears to be his suave yet still soulful alter-ego, one who encourages love in the disc’s opener, “Four Years.”  At the song’s core, Shwachman is questioning his past promiscuity, delivering it to listeners through an up-tempo funk groove that sounds like a hybrid of Jason Mraz and Robert Randolph and the Family Band.  In what could be deemed the feel-good anthem of the summer, “Alright” is an ode to contentment with its chorus of: “Got Bob Marley singing every little thing’s alright.  Like Eddie Vedder, I’m still alright.  Like the Grateful Dead, I will get by.  I will survive.”  As the album progresses, two acoustic versions, “Can’t Quit” and “Burnt Out” serve to showcase Shwachman’s talents, while the closer, “Today is Tomorrow’s Yesterday” is both mellow and introspective—a meaningful combination that Shwachman continues to execute so very well.  So much more than a modern pop album, Can’t Quit is a fitting testament to Shwachman’s musical and lyrical growth, and is indicative of his constant evolution as an artist.           (Julia R. DeStefano)

 

TICKLE BOMB ORCHESTRA
Peasants & Kings

11 tracks

This is the Tickle Bomb Orchestra’s debut CD and It would take all day to list off the guest musicians that contributed to its making. It has taken years, but the wait is worth it.  This CD has raised the bar on what a locally produced independent band could be putting out. Just to name a few parts that thoroughly impressed me, the song “Mother” has full orchestral strings, played under a pleasant piano. While “Until You Feel” has a jazzy western Americana feel that ends with a jam so tight I found myself listening to the track over and over again just to soak it all in. Shane Hall’s lyrics also help in raising the bar, they’re insightful, deep and make you stop to think. The CD is filled with hauntingly beautiful moments that leave me self reflective. The love and pride that went into making this disc shines brightly through each track, and it gets my highest recommendation.  (Melvin O)

 

FACES IN THE FLOOR
Bones 

11 tracks

Here come the savage! Be prepared to have thy skull ripped open, filled with chunks of pointy rocks and then shaken, not stirred. With “Confusion Results in a Slow Painful Death,” the Faces boys sizzle from the start  delving deep into the darkness of the mind positing the haunting question from last breaths of a dying 17-year-old: “Could it be I have been wrong all this time?”  before smashing forward grinding dem bonz of “Lucy,” with a cacophony of blistering head crunching metal. The bassline courses the sound through the veins as drums pound and crash and the guitar scorches, ripping through the soul. There are no hidden gems on this album, the jewels are right there in your face and demanding attention. So pay them heed. This first offering from Faces in the Floor is a tremendous blending of Tool and Rage influenced melodies with their own that carries with them a sound and message that speaks to the confused desperate angry mind in all of us.                  (Rick Dumont)

 

ANIMAL TALK  
Animal Talk Music
Animal Talk

5 tracks

I almost hear a J. Geils vibe in the first tune on this EP—kind of a “Freeze Frame” thing going on.  Maybe I’m delusional… I have been before.  Anyway it’s good.  Recorded in Medfid (Medford for you non-locals) this group of animals contains Ben Bourgeois on guitar, Greg Faucher on drums, Rob Johanson on bass/vocals, and Steven Kilgore on vocals/guitar.  There’s that kind of 1980s thing again… maybe it’s the production? I like it, and the playing and musical craftsmanship is right in the pocket.  All animals should talk with such a rocking delivery.         (Mike Loce)

 

THE ROMANO PROJECT
Where’s the Love?

8 tracks

I’d half-expect to hear this album blasting from the open window of some college dorm-room into the quad where a couple kids are playing Frisbee. But I can’t simply label it as mindless popped-collar frat-rock because—well, it isn’t. Not by a long shot. The tunes are driven by acoustic guitar, the rhythm section’s doused in funky grooves, and there’s a palpable jam-band feel to the album. There aren’t, however, lengthy stretches of instrumental masturbation. And, the songs are thankfully lacking in nasally peanut-butter-mouthed vocals and castrati-type falsetto á la Dave Matthews. Instead, the male vocalist has a gruff townie tenor that wavers between soulful grit and break-neck lyrical spitting. While TRP’s infectious melodicism and pop lyrics make it radio-friendly, they perform with enough swagger and guts to keep it from the doldrums of adult-contemporary limbo.     (Will Barry)

 

SOMA NOVA
Soma Nova

9 tracks

A self-proclaimed “cure-all remedy for whatever befalls you” and “musical salvation for the new millennium,” Soma Nova is dripping with the psychedelic pop, folk, and classic rock sounds popularized by the Byrds, and they wholeheartedly embrace the comparisons.  The band clearly wears its musical influences on its sleeve—the most intriguing element being lead singer Paul Edward Petit’s inimitable vocals, which call to mind the great Bob Dylan.  Such inflections are especially evident throughout the album’s opener, “All This Time,” an infectious track with its melody heavily influenced by the Police’s “Every Breath You Take.”  The disc’s standout track, “Hope’s Lament,” is in a class all its own with a unique and ear-pleasing arrangement combined with Petit’s thoughtful lyrics: “You’ve been a miner for love and haven’t found it.”  The beauty of Soma Nova lies in the band’s versatility.  Fans of all genres can find something to love here, especially when the music is easily accessible to all generations.    (Julia R. DeStefano)

 

FRIENDSHIP CEREMONIES
Friendship Ceromonies

8 tracks

Friendship Ceremonies is the solo effort of Andy Allen, the former sax player for Boston’s Guerilla Toss. Sometimes describing noise music to the uninitiated is like describing color to the blind. Bringing color to the blind is kind of what Andy does here. His main instrument is the saxophone, but you can barely make it out most of the time. It sounds like he is blowing the wrong end of the horn at times, or a broken kazoo. Tape loops, noise, and strange sounds permeate this record. This could be the soundtrack to the next Texas Chainsaw Massacre film, but the music is far scarier than anything you would see on screen. One song sounds like a sax player falling down the stairs of a very large recording studio but continuing to play despite the agony. Instead of Sisyphus rolling the rock up a hill, Friendship Ceremonies is throwing Rock down a black hole. This is the bridge between James Chance of the Contortions and John Coltrane, and that bridge is buckling under the weight of its own greatness. Make all the Berklee kids listen to this, and let the rabbits wear glasses.                     (Eric Baylies)

 

THE FEW
Headstock

11 tracks

This band works on so many levels.  They have a groove, but they’re not simply a funk band.  They jam out, but they’re not wasted on bad beer and brown acid. They play blues, but more in a “classic rock” way.  They have a female singer, but they also have a male singer.  They make their own guitars.  In a scene where “classic rock” is usually about as popular as puppy rape, the Few have managed to put a fresh and funky spin on the tired moniker.  If you like the James Gang, Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane, Government Mule, It’s A Beautiful Day, and Aretha Franklin, you will probably love this band.  If you hate all the music I just mentioned, you’d probably come away from this album wondering how you can still like a band this much. This new album seems to have found not only a balance of all these influences, but also a sound that defines them as their own thing.        (Joel Simches)

 

BENJAMIN CARR
Sums

10 tracks

Once again, I got red flags when this arrived with a) an unpronounceable symbol for the cover, b) the guy taking credit for programming (one might argue that it’s technically an instrument unto itself, but one might also be a windbag), c) a track titled in an unknown language and labeled as a 3-part suite, part of which is a way-too-long drum solo, d) the titles in general, entirely non-suggestive of the music, which has almost no vocals to, uh, explain things, e) the needless presence of football whistles in a number called “Winter Complete,” which already sounded nothing like winter, f) he claims to play all instruments and right below adds an “additional instrumentation by” section, unless these are somehow, y’know, unrelated, g) typos, and the overall feeling of, “Okay, what’s the motive here?” That said, these types of head-scratchers are often pleasant surprises. This one makes it halfway. The first track qualifies as decent fusion, which there ain’t much of, and there was a sparse, twinkly trumpet-with-echo thing that stopped me cold (for the first couple minutes, anyway). The rest is a clean split between curious-enough-to-prove-it’s-not-just-jerking-off (with much of that suitable to any number of moods or activities), and flat-out filler. A little self-editing might’ve made this a genuine stunner, and I mean that nicely.                       (Joe Coughlin)

 

METHADONE KITTY 
  Neat/Beat Records
Nemesis

13 tracks

Heavily influenced by the Occupy movement, this is very much a record of economic and political despair.  Methadone Kitty communicates its discontent through chainsaw guitars and shrapnel drums, and it’s clear that the band wants you to both rock out and think.  The songs are punishing, but not completely bereft of hooks.  For the most part, the band hits its marks.   The main downside to this record is that the songs are all quite similar, which can numb the listener as he or she gets further into the album.  Also, it sounds like this was recorded in the South Station bathroom.   Still, if you’re looking for a soundtrack to fighting the good fight for the little guy, you could do a lot worse than this.                               (Kevin Finn)

 

MAX GARCIA CONOVER 
Birches Lo
5 tracks

Maine singer-songwriter Max Garcia Conover is a man who loves nature and expresses it through very imaginative song lyrics. His songs are like reveries of John Muir, Walt Whitman or Henry David Thoreau. He sees nature with a full heart, and expresses that love in song.

Max’s guitar fingerpicking technique is very bright and clear and his voice is as unabashed as a bird. Sometimes his voice wanders off the path a little, and there are places when his guitar playing gets a bit repetitious, but there is something very likeable about what he expresses. Some songwriters fall into the trap of trite, predictable lyrics or musical hooks that drive the song. Max does neither. His lyrics stand on their own as poetry. His musical style is unhewn but has promise, and most of all, he is full of real passion and I think that is what defines a true folk musician.

All profits from Birches Lo go to Chewonki, a Maine non-profit that offers a range of programs designed to foster an appreciation for the natural world and for working in community with others.   (Kimmy Sophia Brown)

 

RUIN/RENEWAL
Burst & Bloom
Chess Club

6 tracks

As a collection of early band demos written by guitarist Joshua Pritchard, these songs exhibit a curious, lingeringly evocative quality, and are touching despite (or perhaps because of) their strange remoteness. The opening track, “Change Has Been a Long Time Coming,” is particularly haunting. Other tracks are expressionistic in a subtle fashion which resonates, particularly on “Know That I’m Right,” and the low-key but almost unbearably ecstatic “Small Talk.” This EP is a small treasure, and makes me look forward to the band’s full-fledged debut later in the year.  (Francis DiMenno)

 

AFTER SHOKK
Shokk Will Rock Records      
Evolution
   
10 tracks

The opening riffs of “Season of Black,” the first track from After Shokk’s Evolution, is a blast of hair metal circa 1983. Not the Sunset Strip version but a cross between early Van Halen and Dio. You know… the good stuff.

They maintain a healthy crunch most of the way through this impressive throwback album. If Metallica released an album between Kill ’Em All and Ride the Lighting, the guitars probably would have sounded like this. As for the vocals, there’s just enough gravel in the lead vocalist’s throat to make the songs sound tough instead of pretty.

There are some weak moments along the way. The couple of ballads are standard-fare, sleepy tracks. After Shokk moonlight as a cover band, under the Bar Flyz moniker. Apparently they were unable to resist the urge to drop one on this album. The problem is that it’s an unforgivably bad cover of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me”—a misstep that nearly killed the record. Fortunately the strength of the rest of the album pulls them through.   (George Dow)

 

QUETZALCOATLUS
Beats + Noise 

14 tracks

This ambient electronica is rife with industrial beats, slithering atonal synth-basslines, with a kaleidoscopic array of instrumental textures and sound effects—including everything from church bells to the screeching of the Green Line train. These pieces often include quirky thought-provoking use of spoken-word sampling. Foreboding at one point, tender the next, this album always keeps you guessing. Just to give you an idea of what’s going on here, one track meshes trip-hop beats with children’s voices singing snippets of “Old McDonald Had A Farm.” Part of me shutters to think what kind of depraved, possibly psychotic individual would create such grotesque collages of sound. Another part of me wants to buy that guy a drink. What does a guy like this drink anyway? Absinthe would be my guess.     (Will Barry)

 

SUNBURNED HAND OF THE MAN        
Blueberry Honey
The Sweeter the Natural

8 tracks

Split between the Boston and Amherst areas, Sunburned have managed to have a long and extremely varied discography. On this one live album you will find noise, acid rock, improv, and bits of drone and free jazz. If you put Sun Ra, the Sun City Girls, and Son House in a blender, I’d say hey, get them out of that blender! If Alan Lomax had done field recordings in an asylum in outerspace, it would sound like this. That’s not a bad thing, it is a great thing.               (Eric Baylies)

 

SOMETHING ABOUT HORSES
Silent Reading
8 tracks

Beefheartian. That’s the only term that comes to mind when I try (in vain) to pigeonhole a chameleon-skinned band like this—one with such an ADHD-riddled presentation of such a dizzying cluster of musical styles. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the only word that’ll do them any semblance of justice sound-wise. Of course, the psychedelic-blues backbone of Beefheart’s music is substituted instead for a heavy dose of math-rock-rhythmed screamo, but still, that hog-wild experimental spirit runs rampant through this band. That free-jazz glossolalia is here, as well. Yes, this band is nothing short of mind-blowing. Personally, I could do without one or two of the lengthy “Revolution 9”-type narrations interspersed throughout the EP. Then again, if I were to listen to SAH’s spastic onslaught of genre changeovers nonstop, my head would probably explode.    (Will Barry)

 

DEMONS ALLEY    
Dead End Tricks
13 tracks

This sleaze-rock release from Worcester’s Demons Alley is, I think, exactly what you would hope for from this genre—a dash of Kiss, a pinch of Aerosmith, and a generous portion of Guns ’N Roses.

If these references are your cup of tea then prepare to jump out of your leopard-print pants and toss your panties on stage—Dead End Tricks is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. Though there’s nothing remotely original about what Demons Alley is doing, you’ll be thrilled to hear this strip club music played by guys who aren’t gearing up to collect social security. While Steven Tyler is moonlighting on American Idol, and since Axl Rose can’t get out of his own ego long enough to make music, I guess it’s good to see that there’s a new generation coming up behind, proudly flying the cock-rock flag.   (George Dow)

 

DIRIGIBLE EGO
Entanglement  
12 tracks

There’s some epic-sounding Bowie “Heroes”-era lo-fi pomp going on with  “Wake Up,” the opening track. The rest of the collection–in  particular, tracks like “All Saints” and the ludicrously catchy “Your  Beard’s on Fire” seems to consist largely of techno-fueled low-key  numbers akin to an upbeat OMD. A track like “Beautifully Stunted”  breaks into a roundelay about midway through, but its ice-cold affect and numbing quasi-tribal blur makes me long for a surprise touch that would make my head snap back. And other, potentially promising tracks, such as “The Dreaming” and “Is This Heaven,” seem only half constructed. I’m no slave to bells and whistles, but in some places I almost long for ludicrous organ swells, or at least a livelier vocal style—some sort of an attempt, in other words, to sell the songs by adding some atmospheric richness to the skeletal frames. (Francis DiMenno)

 

OTTO KINZEL 
Bluntface Records
We Are All Doomed: The Zodiac Killer  
11 tracks

Okay, hands up, who’s ever wanted to hear the complete story of the Zodiac Killer set to a blistering metal sound? That many? Good, I’ve found the right crowd. Otto Kinzel’s album is a first for me, and that’s saying something. Each song tackles a different chapter of the Zodiac Killer’s story, from the “Two Dead on Lake Herman Road” to “October 13th” to “I Am NOT Paul Avery.” If you’ve seen any of the movies or are just a fan of the macabre, this one’s going to appeal to you. The music here is a mix, from shredding guitars and growled-out vocals that would leave the throat of a lesser singer bloody and raw, to more melodic instrumentals that give us a break between slayings. Otto’s done his homework in preparation for this album, showing that he’s taking this as a serious project, rather than choosing a dark subject for pure shock value. In “I Want To Report a Murder,” he even includes lines where the killer calls the police to report the murders. Instrumentally, this album’s a good mix, with Otto providing guitar, bass, keyboard and some slick programming work. There’s plenty of guests as well, such as Jeremiah Thoman on the piano for “The Wait,” and Marc Brennan doing drum work on several songs. All in all, this is a very creative product that is more like a novel than a collection of songs. Each one’s a different chapter, and given to us in a different way. Go ahead, give it a read.     (Max Bowen)

 

ANNALISE EMERICK
Starry-Eyed
7 tracks

It’s a frustrating thing. There are so many nice female voices going around, making records, playing shows, but so few of these voices are used in anything interesting or remotely individualistic. Like this CD by Annalise Emerick. There is no question that she has a natural-sounding, unaffected (no melisma or annoying vocal acrobatics), and likable singing voice, but the rest of the music is extremely dull. There are certain voices that can transcend whatever backing (or lack thereof) due to sheer character and lyrical power (think those post-’70s Leonard Cohen albums with the Muzak backing); unfortunately, Annalise doesn’t have either of these qualities. Her voice is nice, but it’s not interesting enough to render the polite folky trappings and under-stimulating lyrics moot. Basically, this CD bores the hell out of me because the music is so cookie-cutter, so dime-a-dozen, that it goes through my noggin like a sieve, leaving no residue behind. Plus, the cover of “Stand By Me” is completely forgettable and pointless, same with the interpolation of “Auld Lang Syne” in track 6.             (Tony Mellor)

 

INVERTICRUX
Virgin Reaper
10 tracks

Guitarist Terry Savastano, formerly of noteworthy agglomerations such as Disrupt, Grief, Warhorse, and Superpower, fronts this band, previously doing business as Vintage Flesh. Musically, it’s exemplary black/doom metal with overlays of Satan rock, and all the standard tropes are prominently in evidence from the get-go—heavily doomy bass, frenetically showboating guitars, lyrics growled and ululated. The extraordinary thing about this collection is that there seems to be a real sense of compositional ingenuity and even an attenuated melodicism, howsoever buried beneath the genre conventions. Furthermore, Inverticrux is also distinguished by an eclectic, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach, in which any passing whim or goofy apercu is likely to be incorporated into the mix—outlandish operatic bellowing, tinny harmonica, goofy samples. The whole collection is carnivalesque, full of subversive humor amid the seeming chaos—chock full of genre clowning which ardent fans of this subculture may find refreshingly entertaining. “Lured by the Scent of Infants Blood” is perhaps the most amusing of the lot, followed by “Mister Dead/Spider Gates” (no doubt a shout-out to the notorious cemetery in Leicester Massachusetts.)    (Francis DiMenno)

 

MAX GARCIA CONOVER
Max Garcia Conover
5 tracks

Max conveys a joyous presence in this studio recorded CD. His exuberant references to things such as drying his shirt in the sun or observing the goodness in a trouble-making girl are charming. His guitar playing is quite beautiful and his voice reminds me of an insistent birdcall. I hear his tunes in my head as I go about my day, kind of like campfire songs that stay in the mind after you come home from camping. He has his own sound. There is something primal and un-commercial about him, very like the woods he loves to write about.   (Kimmy Sophia Brown)

If you’re based in New England and would like us to review your CD, send it to the Noise, PO Box 353, Gloucester, MA 01931. 

 

Comments

CD REVIEWS — 2 Comments

  1. Pingback: New Review of All a Man Can Do | East Grand Record Co.

  2. Thanks to Kevin Finn for a nice review of my “Elliot Chambers 15″ release. In particular I appreciate the respect he shows for the subject matter. The only thing I wanted to add was that the fire on July 4, 1984(which burned down the rooming house killing fifteen people) is a central piece of the story/CD. Also, the CD is available for free via Reverbnation.com/tomsatchkerans

    Thanks again

    Satch Kerans