CD Reviews

LIZ FRAME & THE KICKERS Sooner                                                                                            10 tracks This 2011 outing is, most of all, earnest, filled with spare, simplistic message songs that are performed with  an admirable sense of self-possession and integrity.  “Bullseye on My Back” is … Read More >>

CD Reviews

ABSINTHE ROSE Screech Owl Records The More That We Learn the More We Learn That We’re Wrong 17 tracks Some bands put so much force and passion into their performances that they transcend the less desirable aspects of the genre they chose to showcase. Case in point: this amalgam of thrash and Americana. Kimbo Rose sings for all the world like a countrified Thalia Zedek and the band is so tuneful and versatile (and odd) that they maybe ought to share … Read More >>

CD Reviews

LENNY LASHLEY’S GANG OF ONE Pirates Press Records/ Panic State Records                                                   Illuminator  10 tracks Landing somewhere musically between the raucousness of Darkbuster and the country leanings of the Piss Poor Boys, Lashley delivers his most affecting set of songs to date.  Those who have focused only on the humor while missing the pathos in his previous … Read More >>

CD Reviews

SHEPHERDESS  Tiny Radars I’m Saving Myself for Shepherdess 9 tracks Anyone who hasn’t followed Hilken Mancini’s post-Fuzzy work has made a grave mistake.  This second record from Shepherdess finds Mancini on top of her game, leading the band through a set of songs that are in debt as much to riot grrl punk as they are to the power pop that she is known for.  The music has a ferocity to it, but never at the expense of a good … Read More >>

CD Reviews

WALTER SICKERT & THE ARMY OF BROKEN TOYS Soft Time Traveler  18 tracks Billed as a multi-media album, this collection features a variety of song stylings from the ever-innovative and ever versatile Walter Sickert and company. That there is something special and even uncommon about the experience of seeing the band live is undeniable; reviews often focus upon the spectacle of the band, and its carnival-like aspects. These studio recordings are densely textured and full of colorful touches which help … Read More >>

CD Reviews

  THE NEIGHBORHOODS The Last Rat: Live at the Rat ’92 (2-CD collection) 31 tracks The Neighborhoods may not have been the best or brightest Boston band back in the halcyon ’80s, but like many of their all-but-forgotten contemporaries—the Outlets, Dogmatics, Lyres, or anything with John Felice in it back then—they were always a sure bet for a good time, a solid rock ’n’ roll band that wrote good songs, delivered with enthusiasm.  This two-CD set, recorded live at the fabled Rat … Read More >>

CD Reviews

DARLING PET MUNKEE You Better Believe It! 7 tracks Darling Pet Munkee (Michael J. Epstein, Sophia Cacciola, and Cathy Capozzi of Axemunkee) presents a follow-up to their earlier release “Glows in the Dark!” which also featured a kaleidoscopic collection of comic-book-ad-themed sonic pulp. Opening track “Hypno Coin” belongs firmly in the Sparks/Queen axis of idiosyncratic and operatic rock. “Scary…,” with its use of ominous soundscapes, electronic effects, and droning overtones,  features a deliberately abrasive post-punk sound in the school of … Read More >>

CD Reviews

BIG DIPPER Almost Ready Records Crashes on the Platinum Planet 12 tracks Big Dipper was one of the A-list bands of the ’80s and early ’90s because of, not in spite of, their seeming frivolity. Admittedly, the band had some heavy competitors, such as the Volcano Suns (from whence they emerged), as well as Dinosaur Jr. (intense; not funny) and the Pixies (intense; funny; not altogether wholesome). But Big Dipper was and is a pure product of  America, and, specifically, of … Read More >>