The Atomic Bitchwax - The Atomic Bitchwax
Core - The Hustle Is On
EPMD - Out of Business
Hicky - The Proof is in the Booze
Holger Czukay - Good Morning Story
Macy Gray - On How Life Is
Mark Lanegan - I'll Take Care of You
Mary J. Blige - Mary
Me'Shell Ndegeocello - Bitter
Metal Church - Masterpeace
Morgion - Solinari
Muslimgauze - Lo-Fi India Abuse
Negura Bunget - Sala Molksa
Public Enemy - There's a Poison Goin' On
Seven Foot Spleen - Enter Therapy
Sinforosa - Deadly Faerie Tales
Six Feet Under - Maximum Violence
Vitamin D - Table Manners 2
Wiretaps - Recording
The Atomic Bitchwax
The Atomic Bitchwax
Monster Magnet's guitarist Ed Mundell has a hankering to play even more psychedelic material than he can with the Monster Magnet. So to fully satisfy his craving he not only goes big-time psychedelic but takes you down an almost instrumental route. This rocks although it might be better with more vocals. I think it is very difficult to make instrumental songs as interesting as those with vocals. There is the rare vocal that pops up for a few seconds to offer a break from the instrumentals ("Hey Alright," "Kiss the Sun," "Shit Kicker" and "Hope You Die").
The Atomic Bitchwax utilize an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink musicality which runs the gamut from Santana-styled rock ("Crazee Fandango") to blues ("Ain't Nobody Gonna Hang Me at My House") to psychedelia ("Hope You Die" and "Getting Old") to gritty '70s hard rock ("Stork Theme," "Birth to the Earth," "Hey Alright," "Hope You Die" and the blistering "Shit Kicker") which is where The Atomic Bitchwax hang loose and jam. "Last of the V8 Interceptors" starts out with a rip-off of Blue Öyster Cult that's brilliant and proceeds at a doom pace annihilating all in their way. Keith Ackerman is so precise on the drums that he scares drum machines out of their chips. Chris Kosnick performs admirably on his bass duties and contributes the occasional gritty, but good, vocal. Mundell really stretches his boundaries beyond his Magnet-ic worlds, but a lot of the Monster is still hanging. He is a tremendously gifted guitarist and this really allows him to showcase his chops. If you love guitars and instrumentals, this will be a welcome addition to your collection. Best of all, this is really good cruising music after a tense day at the office.
The Hustle Is On
MIA/Tee Pee Records
Comin' atcha from South Jersey this pot-induced trio of two brothers, Tim and Fin Ryan, and Carmine Pernini has landed in '60s heavy rock, wah wah, fuzz and some good ol' Miles Davis to round it out. Core brings out emotional Hendrix-laden guitar licks, some of the grit of Blue Cheer and maybe a little of the three-fingered master (Tony Iommi). The unique blending of Core's grooviness transported to the '90s has them leading the pack of bands looking to the old retro days for their inspiration. Bring out the beads, peace signs and flashy
colors for the psychedelic jam explosion that Core creates and melds into well-crafted songs. This trio pulls out all the stops when writing these groovy hypnotic ultra-inspirational hooks of free love. Core leaves bands like Fu Manchu and Clutch breathing their own 442 exhaust as Core drives off in their own '60s Ford Cobra.
Out of Business
Nothing could be more appropriate than EPMD's sampling of the Rocky
theme for the "Intro" track on their latest album Out Of Business.
Produced by DJ Scratch, the track evokes the perfect feelings of
struggle and reward. One can just imagine the years of hard work Eric
Sermon and Parrish Smith put into their musical careers to become the
legends of Funky hip-hop music they are today. EPMD was formed in
1987 and stands for Eric and Parrish Making Dollars. With the
approach of the end of the new millennium they have decided to
upgrade this most classic of hip-hop acronyms to Eric and Parrish
Millennium Ducats. They've also decided to put an end to another
trend started with the release of their first album Strictly
Business, and ending with this their 6th LP Out of Business, using
the word "business" in their album titles. The biggest change,
however, is in the music. Out of Business is a vast sonic departure
from previous EPMD funk for your trunk LPs. No Parliament, James
Brown or Zapp samples here, thank you. Instead you get brooding beats
that give you a feeling of menace and haunting, this is dark funk
Guest artists on the album include Busta Rhymes on "Rap Is Outta Control," a remake of EPMD''s own 1991 classic. MOP guest stars on a remake of the Juice Crew classic "Symphony" which sparkles thanks to a taunting classic violin loop. "U Got Shot" is definitely going to make heads nod thanks to a clever sampling of Old Dirty Bastard's "Brooklyn Zoo" and guest MC appearances by 8 off Agallah and 215.
Eric and Parrish's molasses-like flow and one-two counter punch style is the only thing that hasn't changed on this new album. When mega-legends Run DMC one day retire, I believe these two young men will inherit rap music's title of "Best Rap Duo." Until then, they continue to hold down the #2 spot with a consistent and endless supply of sly wit and sharp-tongued braggadocio.
As if all this wasn't enough to get you to buy their album, they've included a second disc in their limited edition version of Out of Business that contains their greatest hits. Songs like "You Gots To Chill" and "So Whatcha Sayin'" are included. If you're a fan of DMX, Jay-Z, or Jermaine Dupri, you'll recognize where these artists got some of their musical inspiration from. Some of EPMD's brilliant early sample work has been recycled over the last couple of years for big bucks by some of today's more popular acts. Wanna have some fun with the fellas? Play name that sample and see how many of today's hit songs you can find with samples borrowed from EPMD. I'm out and you, dear reader, have some shopping to do.
The Proof is in the Booze
Quivering Submissive Flesh Recordings
As little as I know about Country as a musical genre, with a few exceptions I've always thought that there was very little about it that made it exciting. "Old country," the nauseating marketing ploy called "new country," and most recently, "alternative country" Alternative country...? Whatever.
Well HOT damn! Along comes a band out of the great Pacific Northwest that gives a shit-kickin' to country as a whole, and fits into none of those styles. Just south of alternative is a little town called fucked up. That is where Hicky lives. Give a welcome handshake to Hicky and their debut release, The Proof is in the Booze.
If through some bizarre act of nature Johnny Cash and Tom Waits had a child that inherited each parent's nasty habits and grew up listening to punk, you would have Hicky. The whole records reeks of bad habits and excessive consumption. The Proof is in the booze is a sawed-off-double-barrel musical discharge that is both humorous and powerful, even endearing at points with songs like "Somebody Loves You" and "Too Beautiful."
Hicky are all over the map musically, at the root is blues/country/punk. But they kick it into weird variations by spinning onto things you wouldn't expect. For instance track five, "Good & Lit," serves up a damn fine JSBX romp style ho-down. And "Thursdays" is a dark and creepy number that would be at home in any David Lynch film.
It's not all fun and games though. The foursome is a talented bunch and holds it's own musicianship wise with anybody. And as tongue in cheek as it all seems on the surface, when you sit with the record and pick out its subtle nuances you get the sense that these guys are perfectionists in a geeky sort of way. The music has some real depth. Hey guys...when are you playing live?
As an aside to this review, I must mention that CD carries a bonus in the way of a video you can play on your computer. And all I will tell you about it is that it was found in the back of a rental car and it is absolutely fucking hysterical.
Good Morning Story
His first studio album since 1993's Moving Pictures finds Czukay in a much lighter mood. Where Moving Pictures detailed nocturnal environments, Good Morning Story is very much a diurnal album, opening with the Pooka-gone-permanent whimsy of "Invisible Man," rollicking through the evocative landscape of "Good Morning Story" to the drifting open water ambience of "Mirage" which closes out the disc. It is a stellar return from a man gone too long from our auditory environments.
Czukay, one of the godfathers of the tape splicing style of sampling as pioneered in his days as the sonic mastermind of Can, still builds tracks with a staggeringly inventive structure. His physical methods remain, giving great organic depth to the movement of the loops and spliced sounds, a near immediacy which is sometimes lost with other "created" pieces of work. There is a creative frenzy in his pieces which translates through the lighthearted rhythm and the infectious inflections of his voice whether it is talking about a walk to the store or posing the question of "whither hath gone my Invisible Friend?" The lengthy "Mirage" is an ambient dream skillfully woven around you like a sheath of spider silk with its haunted violins and drifting radio voices and expansive drones.
Operating for many years in a vacuum in his Cologne studio, Czukay has clearly taken some time recently to listen to what these "kids" are up to and you can find elements of a great deal of modern electronically crafted music bubbling out of his new songs. And much like his stolen splices of tape, these influences are but tiny chips and bursts made all new by his artful arrangements. Czukay creates entire landscapes--musical cultures which never existed--as sonic backdrops. In this late technological age, he isn't the forerunner of the next generation of sound sculptors; yet, his techniques have never been matched and his creations never quite equaled.
On How Life Is
Today I'm being a flake. Perhaps it has more do with the fact that
I've been grueling about how to convince readers that this Macy Gray
isn't all that original as all the hype has dictated while at the
same time I find myself singing along, dancing around my apartment to
this CD. Can't explain it but I guess this is my soapbox and this is
where I'm going to try. Main premise: Music, err ummm, all music has
So back to this Macy Gray recording, On How Life Is, here's a female singer who in the company of Lauryn Hill speaks of respect and reciprocity, and of Destiny's Child who sing about trifling dudes in "Bills Bills Bills," we have cute Macy with a song about sitting around waiting around for that guy to call her because she had such a great time with this guy in the aptly titled "Why Didn't You Call Me?" I could rant about how lame the song is thematically but it would be hypocritical of me to say that I've never been there (remember the joke in the cowboy hat). Plus, the track is so sing-songy, you can't help but pipe along to Macy's Billie Holiday meets Tina Turner-like vocals and the song may be tongue-in-cheek. Then there's the trite sex songs "Caligula" and "Sex-o-matic Venus Freak" and though I could pretend to make a commentary but if the Artist (who I adore) can consistently write songs like "P-Power" and I consider that okay; then I would be deemed biased. So, I suppose that Macy, after all, doesn't need to be a serious songstress. Macy does have star magnetism and a presence and her songs are catchy, pop soul songs. She does create a microcosm of her own (she studied screenwriting at USC). Listen to "I've Committed Murder" which portrays a world where she kills her man's berating boss; then there's the romantic idealism of making the attempt to walk away from what you believe is a fated lover in "I Try" and then there's "Do Something" and anyone who samples "Funky For You" effectively and gives Funkadelic its rightful props, is all good with me.
So, I guess I worked out my Macy Gray dilemma, her music is light in spririt; maybe not the next Lauryn, but you don't need to be a visionary poet to be a pop star anyway. So Macy, go on with your bad self.
I'll Take Care of You
For those of you who have been following the path of Mark Lanegan's
solo career, the progression of his latest release, I'll Take Care
of You, should come as no surprise. The footsteps of his
whiskey-soaked, dark and brooding voice carry him past the crossroads
and closer to a sublime reckoning with his Maker. Nowhere is this
more evident than on this album. Assembled here are a collection of
songs by the likes of the Gun Club, Buck Owens, Booker T. Jones; all
of whom have influenced and inspired Lanegan over the years. He pays
his respects not just by re-recording these timeless gems, but by
immersing his forlorn character in their stories, drinking in their
essence so deeply that they re-emerge as if they were firsthand
accounts of his own trials and tribulations. Backed as always by his
brother-in-arms, Mike Johnson, as well as other members of the
Seattle music fraternity, including Ben Sheppard, current Screaming
Trees drummer Barrett Martin and former Trees stickman Mark Pickerel,
Lanegan is once again at home crafting his baleful voice around these
long-standing favorites. From the sparse acoustic opener, Jeffrey Lee
Pierce's "Carry Home," to the closing, gritty reverb-soaked shuffle
of "Boogie Boogie," Lanegan skillfully displays his talent with I'll
Take Care of You not only as a musician, but also as a masterful
storyteller who continues the time-honored tradition of giving a part
of himself--his essence--to each song his voice touches.
Mary J. Blige
With the blockbuster success of her 1992 debut album What's the
411, Mary J. Blige earned the moniker "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul." After
listening to her latest release Mary, I think it may be time to
update her title to simply: "Queen Of Soul." Think about that for a
second. Hip-hop soul has never been more popular than it is now. And
the person largely responsible for blazing the trail for this
successful musical hybrid genre is moving on. She's decided to take
her sound to a whole new level, returning soul music to its golden
age--the '70s and early '80s. Lyrically, she does what so many of
today's soulless, slick, over-produced, shallow acts can't: dig deep
down within herself and let out something raw, emotional, and
genuine. Besides, it would appear that Ms. Lauryn Hill with her 11
Grammy nominations is the new "Queen OF Hip-Hop Soul."
Tracks that stood out for me on Mary included "Sexy," a light bouncy mid-tempo number for heads still clinging to her hip-hop soul days. Also "Time," written entirely by MJB herself, musically incorporating portions of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise." Then there is "Not Lookin'," an intriguing duet between MJB and K-Ci Hailey, who rumor has it wasn't Mary's first choice, but turned out to be the only one who could stand up to her vocally. On "Don't Waste Your Time" MJB goes all out, head to head, with the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll hall of fame, a woman who's won the most Grammys ever, and has more million-dollar-selling singles than any other woman past or present. I'm talking of course of Ms. Aretha ("Respect") Franklin. There's taking a risk, and then there's just plain suicide. Mary ignores the first, and skillfully side steps the latter rising to the occasion, creating a picture perfect moment of the past, present, and future working together. Soul music could be making a comeback and the timing couldn't be better, with hip-hop soul in the capable hands of Faith Evans and Lauryn Hill (among others) it's nice to see someone blazing a new trail. It's not always about what you want, sometimes it's about what you need, and what you need is Mary.
Bitter, the long-awaited third release from musical phenom Me'Shell
Ndegeocello presents musicianship as it should be: well-crafted songs
that coincide with the contextual message of the lyrics and overall
theme of the album. Ndegeocello, who started out playing bass for
local Go-Go bands in the scene in D.C. has become a favorite solo
artist and a multifaceted session player over the last several years
in the music biz, playing with the likes of Joshua Redman, the
Rolling Stones, Luis Conte, Eric Benet, Guru, Madonna and John
Mellencamp to name a few. Unlike her terrific, funky and haughty
first release Plantation Lullabies (Maverick 1993) and the
beautiful but didactic second album Peace Beyond Passion (Maverick
1996), Bitter is a somber, melancholy and joyous package exploring
the complexities of the emotions belying love, betrayal and loss.
When broaching these topics, the end results usually sounds clichéd;
but with Ndegeocello, the effect is poignant. Starting the disk off,
the instrumental with somber, langorous strings "Adam" sets the tone
of the album as introspective.
Ndegeocello's ability to capture the range of sadness is evident throughout this recording. "Fool of Me" is a reverse torch song. Delicate piano, light rhythm, Ndegeocello's rich vocals soft but with a message of self-contempt: "You made a fool of me, tell me why...you say you don't care?" The melancholic cynicism is heard in "Faithful" with its lyrics: "My daddy made no excuse/I believe my lies are truth/Why won't you eat what you are fed...no one is faithful, I am weak..." "Sincerity" and "Wasted Time" express equivocal relationships. "Beautiful," the lovely but moody cover of Hendrix's "May This Be Love," and "Grace" discuss the more fulfilling side of being in love. "Loyalty" has an old Stax sound with smooth guitar and Ndegeocello's punctuated singing: "Come be with me/soothe my broken heart/Show me loyalty." Bitter has a sincerity that keeps from being a sad and cynical record. It has the capacity to make you reflect as if you just heard a poet hit you with themes of universal relevance.
I had this horrible nightmare and when I awoke this cd was in the deck. This is so retro, so '80s that you will think that you are a bit player in "Night at the Roxbury." At least they have some right to sound that way as they have never changed their sound and they were actively involved with '80s hair metal. These guys are the real deal and sound exactly the same as ever. I wish they had updated the sound. Maybe make the vocals a little deeper and beefier as opposed to the screams of high-pitched metal that is assaulting my ears.
If you enjoyed Metal Church, Accept or Iron Maiden in the '80s, this will fulfill your metal needs. Filled to the brim with '80s metal-rockers and the heart-felt ballads for the babes. Oh yeah, you know they were digging deep to cover Aerosmith's "Toys in the Attic." Usually bands like to cover obscure gems, but not Metal Church. I can say they are true to their roots, at least they aren't popping up hawking their wares for a cheap and tacky buck. They are doing what they love, go and buy it if you love this style.
This is a beautiful release--gorgeous cover and elegant atmospheric
doom. This is superb slow-moving doom metal drenched with tons of
atmosphere. It wouldn't surprise me to hear a few people complain
that Solinari is too slow for them, but what they miss is just what
may be most important. Morgion makes careful use of each noise, each
guitar stroke is carefully measured for heaviness. These
perfectionists carefully master each moment of each song to make sure
that it portrays the emotive quality that will complete the music.
Morgion have the unique capability to use creative "white space" in
music just like abstract artists have for decades. White space just
makes the covered space more impressive. Producer Schneebi did an
extraordinary job of translating the music into a journey of
experience. Jeremy Peto's vocals can growl down in the depths of hell
and alternately his spoken clean vocals soar with wisdom and grace of
an oracle reciting the future. Fans of intelligent metal and
atmospheric industrial will find Solinari a motherlode of
atmospherice epic metal laced with doom and discovery. The best
comparison would be a less Viking-y Enslaved. You will find more
depth in songs like "The Serpentine Scrolls/Descent to Arawn,"
"Solinari" and "Nightfall Infernal" than you will in a slew of Celine
Dion ballads. The guitars and keyboards are in sync and beautifully
balanced; just sparse enough to narrowly avoid the primitive tag, but
heavy enough to gain the metal tag. This is deep, heavy, intelligent
metal that will make you ponder the world and shake your head in
Lo-Fi India Abuse
Muslimgauze has always been a frenetic source of rhythm. Spanning 90+
releases in the last 17 years, Bryn Jones (the man behind
Muslimgauze) has consistently found new ways to wrap the sounds of
the Middle East around your skull. Lo-Fi India Abus, one of the
last projects he embarked upon before his death in January 1999,
finds Bryn in a head-on collision with Systemwide, a Portland, Oregon
dub-influenced band. The liner notes relate that some of the tracks
are remixes of tracks from Systemwide's Sirius release [on BSI
Records]; but, like all Muslimgauze remixes, such content is a mere
influence once the Muslimgauze haze has descended upon the music.
There are otherworldly elements which creep into the tracks--echoes
of instrumentation that one wouldn't normally hear on a Muslimgauze
release--but the end is still that hot desert wind which Muslimgauze
Shorter tracks make for more intense listening as you don't have the luxury of falling into the repetitive trance which comes from some of the longer pieces on other releases. There is a sharper focus here that results in tracks like "Valencia in Flames" which leaps and burns out of your speakers in quick, flaming fury and is quickly gone, leaving a smoldering track across your ears, the dub drop-outs still rattling around your head. Bryn has always made distortion of the master material, dub echoes, and clicking dropouts part of the Muslimgauze oeuvre, consistently pushing the rhythm of the track through these veils of sonic disturbance. "Al Souk Dub" finds us in the marketplace listening to the spray of voices and the rattle of machinery in the distance, all the while captivated by the hand drums in the foreground as their sound is splintered and fractured in such a non-organic manner that the dichotomy of human hands creating and mad machinery fragmenting the replay of the source is permanently welded together. "Catacomb Dub" resounds with the dust of forgotten hallways, sand stirred up by a passing tremor that takes a long time to return to its quiescent state. "Dust of Saqqara" has a hint of stringed instrumentation in the distance, but you can't reach it because there is a plague of black buzzing scarabs crawling all over you, their thick distorted buzz filling your mouth and ears.
There is something wrong with the wind that comes out of the Muslimgauze desert--there always has been. What you hear is never clean, the sounds carried over the high walls and down the dusty streets to you is never free of scarring and mutilation. And Bryn sought this state; he sought to make music which would have an impact on you, much as his feelings towards the situations in the Middle East have always driven his music. It isn't a recreation of ethnic material, but rather one man's continual fight to alarm us and shake us from our complacency through the wild disturbances and explosive energies which bubble and fume from his material. Muslimgauze isn't easy listening, just essential.
My hopes for Negura Bunget are not crushed by this disc, but they are
on hold. I had hoped that Negura Bunget could really push themselves
into overdrive and get into the upper echelons of black metal, but
they didn't. They did, however, put out equally as interesting a disc
as their first. They really need a producer. The lack of production
handcuffs these guys. This is almost as good as Satyricon's
Intermezzo II and oddly quite similar. Negura Bunget may be
Satyricon's successors--they are utilizing some outside musical
forces to embellish their already powerful and artistic black metal.
Instead of using symphonic touches like Cradle of Filth or Dimmu
Borgir, Negura Bunget use Romanian folk music and industrial artsy
noodlings to enhance their vision. Negura Bunget and Satyricon share
an eclectic artistic sense in that neither band is particularly
rooted in only playing their version of black metal the way everyone
else does. Negura Bunget utilizes atmosphere and industrial noises to
enhance heavy, pulsing black metal while tossing in elements of
trance, spoken word (Romanian if it's Negura Bunget) and now Romanian
Folk Music. Besides who can resist two guys names Hupogrammos
Disciples and Black Pharmakeya Peporomenee. You know they have to be
of a genius i.q. to develop those names. It's a potent vision and
will make your head spin. I only wish that some benign label (or that
great fortune would fall to Bestial) could help these artistic lost
souls into a top notch studio. A patient listener will be rewarded by
the artistic elements that are running rampant in this extremely
There's a Poison Goin' On
If you're a Public Enemy fan like myself then I'm sure you purchased
the He's Got Game soundtrack and thought to yourself, I don't think
so. Well, you can relax, rap's own black version of CNN has returned.
According to Chuck D, He's Got Game was part of a
master plan to assassinate his music contract with Def Jam. If you
need further proof then I suggest you buy PE's latest release on
Atomic Pop, There's A Poison Goin On. A vast musical departure from
PE albums of old, the in your face screaming sounds of chaos and
disorder have been replaced with a subtle haunting menace. If you
want something deeper than the tripe-hop that currently dominates
airplay across the land then you need look no further than this
latest PE offering. But don't take my word for it just check out this
e-mail I received from a co-worker of mine, Al, who had the chance to
overhear my first listening session of the new album and view the
"Hey Cecil. Just wanted to note to you how interesting I found the name of track one on PE's new album. To name a song 'Dark Side of The Wall: 2000' attaches an immense amount of 'baggage' to that song for anyone familiar with Pink Floyd. The two albums referenced (Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall) stand arguably as Floyd's two finest conceptual works. DSOTM is basically a meditation on the vacant items that seem to consume life (i.e. time, money, pride, ambition, etc.) and how these agendas may eventually lead us into madness. The Wall is a little more personal, alluding to events that harrowed the soul of writer Roger Waters that caused him to build a 'wall.' However, the album's character found himself sealed from the closure and evolution that could make him whole.
"My initial reaction to the track name was, admittedly, sarcastic. Pink Floyd references are all but cliché here in the late 1990s. But if Chuck D is serious about these references, it adds an interesting layer of silt to what I am sure is the new album's river bed. As of this e-mail I was unable to procure for myself the lyrics to the song. But I will say that combining the ideas of those two albums is of interest. The name 'Darkside Of The Wall: 2000' suggests a modern day state of perpetual un-wholeness; a mad pursuit of cash and gain, wasting our energies to the vehicle of what we think life is all about (see The Matrix, or THX-1138), all while fostering the inner-rot we gather along the way by putting forth fronts that keep us from healing. Seems pretty accurate.
"To be honest, assuming that Public Enemy really know their Floyd is quite alien...but that's just my white-boy talking. Perhaps in a song title by itself, Chuck D has re-exposed one of the more subtle public enemies once again."
If you're curious to know if the album lives up to it's opening track title, and all it entails, I suggest you give it a listen. I don't know much about Pink Floyd but I do believe that this is PE's finest work since It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, and Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black. There's A Poison Goin On has restored my faith in the belief that there is music for those who listen, music that inspires and makes you think.
Seven Foot Spleen
MIA/Tee Pee Records
Hailing from Granite Falls, N.C., Seven Foot Spleen come out of the
woods with their earthmover sized low end sludge, laying waste to
each and every puny earth things in their way. If Granite Falls, N.C.
is anything like Granite Falls, Washington I can imagine what has
inspired these guys to want to bludgeon everything in their sight.
Bikers rule one end of town and lumber jacks the other end. All meet
once a year for the annual Railroad Days festival. Seven Foot Spleen
have slowed things down to that small town pace along with tuning
their instruments out the bottom end. They are not as slow as the
Melvins, but are more like Seven Inch Boots, except more sludgy metal
then heavy punk. This is doom laden sludge that's like trying to
clean the resin out of the bottom of your bong. It's dark black and a
pain in the ass to scrape out. Seven Foot Spleen have been placed in
company with the likes of Grief, 16, and Spirit Caravan. Well, that
is a good place for them to be. Their liner notes say that they
combine a volatile mix of Eyehate God, Cavity, and early Entombed,
which is very accurate for these doomsters. These North Carolinans
have more doom-filled hate then a dozen right wing Christian mothers
working for the PMRC.
Deadly Faerie Tales
Reminiscent of a scene from The Nightmare Before Christmas, the
cover artwork promises deliciously dark contents, and a hopefully wry
sense of humor. The entire visual package--liner notes, artwork,
their website, even their stationery--shows an amazing degree of
polish ond vision; well beyond any other self-release I've seen, as
evidenced by the fact that it took me a long time to give up on
finding the label information on the disc.
Unfortunately, the music itself doesn't come through on that promise. The sound quality is excellent, as expected, but the songs never catch at the corners of my ears and pull me in; hell, I have a hard time even telling the tracks apart. The instruments are well-played but predictable, and I can only hear so much open guitar strumming in one sitting. Vocalist Traci Nemeth has an excellent tone, but an aversion to enunciation which makes it difficult to decipher the lyrics (only partially included in the liner notes). There are some highlights, though, when her voice is doubled, as in "Vicaria" and "Lunar Bells." Acoustic pop tinged with folk needs some blemish and character to make it interesting; maybe it's just the constraints of recording that give Deadly Faerie Tales all the dark character of a brand new white pine shelf. Maybe not.
Six Feet Under
Six Feet Under... My first encounter with them was on the Brave
Words and Bloody Knuckles fanzine compilation CD performing "No
Warning Shot" which is included on this CD. This is the first release
with new guitarist Steve Swanson from Massacre. The departure of
ex-guitarist, Allen, left the door open for all four musicians to
actually contribute their ideas on the new songs. These deathmetalers
mix fast-paced death metal tunes with slower sludgy blood-soaked
carnage. The sludge factor has slowed things down to total
bludgeoning that makes your toes tap and your bloody skull
rhythmically bob. These guys leave no bone marrow unturned in their
path of gore. One guy writes that they have "written post-grind pop
hits that are just simple and tone-deaf enough to crack a smile."
Well they may be post-grind and simple, but they are not pop songs.
They are more along the lines of skull thumping metal tunes. With
this release the first 50,000 copies come with two bonus tracks: covers of Iron Maiden's "Wrathchild" and Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak."
Table Manners 2
Take one nimble and talented DJ, two Technics SL-1200 turntables, and
300-plus pieces of vinyl and you have everything you need for the
perfect display of Table Manners hip-hop style. Vitamin D is one of
the best rap music producers in the Emerald City. His ability to
create unique soulful and jazz-like grooves is unmatched in this neck
of the woods. And once again he's decided to show off his
considerable crate-diggin', rare beat-findin, turntablist skills,
with the release of his second solo project Table Manners 2.
For forty-seven minutes the listener is treated to an amazing display of mixin', scratchin' and blendin' that will make you laugh out loud one moment (thanks to some clever vocal snippets), and stare in awe at your speakers the next. Using mere turntables, he takes original compositions and re-shapes them into something altogether greater, transforming your living room into an after hours lounge of unique jazz and R&B grooves.
This release is also special because Vitamin chooses to make all the music you hear on Table Manners 2 the old-fashioned way, sampling the various original artists' works instead of using the various commercialized compilations of grooves, and break beats found at your local record store. This is in contrast to many of his peers who are busy taking turntablism to the extreme, blurring the line between art and noise. Vitamin D makes music first, artfully accentuating it with his turntable magic like a master composer. The only flaws on the disc are the various freestyle raps laid down throughout, though there are one or two exceptions. The best example would be the first freestyle on the album by Samson S whose energy level and ability set things off nicely for what follows. If you're in the hunt for some next level Sh*t and want to hear a cat make dope music with his hands, pick up Table Manners 2--you won't be disappointed.
Super Electro Sound Recordings
Wiretaps are the Electrifying Super Group made up from The Fall Outs,
The Inhalants, and The Calabros. Wiretaps have pulled themselves out
of bed sometime after 12:00 noon to finally record their debut
full-length release. This Super group combines the talents of the
aforementioned bands to give us the best late '70s new wave post punk
pop garage tunes to keep you warm and cozy at night. Think of a mix
of Blondie, X, and the VKTMS on stage of CBGB's circa '78 and you
would be pogoing so hard the safety pins and band buttons would be
flying off your denim jacket faster then your sweat getting into your
eyes. The Wiretaps' press kit has lots of tear sheets with reviewers
picking a couple of songs that stand out. Well, I can't find any one
song that stands out more than the others! All of the tunes are
great! I get the feeling that Wiretaps are not trying very hard. The
mix of talent of this band is overwhelming, leading them to seem laid
back and simply going through the motions of recording another catchy
song. I can imagine at the studio: "Hey that's at take on 'Call
Waiting.' I think we should record 'Make it Stop' now. What do you
think Dave?" "Sure, but first what do you think of this Who tune?"
"Come on Dave, let's record just one more song today. This will give
us two in the bag this week." "Sure but what do you think of this
riff?" "Sure." Wiretaps, being the underachievers that they are,
often get overlooked in the Seattle scene.