December 24, 2006

Darlin's Top 10 - er, 20 - of 2006

I started out with a "Top 10," but was excited about too many albums - so I extended it to a Top 20. Sue me.

1. Dixie Chicks - Taking the Long Way
Is it country? Is it not? I don't know; actually I don't really care. It's brilliant.
2. Rosanne Cash - Black Cadillac
I dare you not to listen to it again.
3. Johnny Cash - American V
The album Cash was working on with Rick Rubin at the time of his death.
4. Various Artists - Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson
Gretchen Wilson's version of "Sunday Morning Coming Down" is just KILLER.
5. Radney Foster - This World We Live In
See if you can't relate to "Half of My Mistakes."
6. Kasey Chambers - Carnival
A definite departure from last year's Wayward Angel. Kasey's happy again - for the most part.
7. Mark Knopfler / Emmylou Harris - All the Roadrunning
Oh! is all I can say.
8. Shawn Mullins - 9th Ward Pickin’ Parlor
Brilliant writing, brilliant playing.
9. Mindy Smith - Long Island Shores
The girl who did that cover of "Jolene" that everyone was talking about comes back with her autobiographical sophomore CD.
10. The Wreckers - Stand Still, Look Pretty
Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp team up for an album that's rich in harmonies and gems like "Tennessee" and "Cigarettes."
11. Trent Summar - Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
You'll either love or hate what he's done to "He Stopped Loving Her Today," but either way, you'll be jealous of his red pants.
12. Jack Ingram - Live: Wherever You Are
Technically a re-issue of his Live at Gruene Hall CD (with a couple of studio tracks), but still a great album.
13. Randy Rogers Band - Just a Matter of Time
Another Texas band that makes it big without selling it.
14. The Duhks - Migrations
Old-timey, bluegrassy, Grammy-nominated!
15. Bruce Robison - Eleven Stories
Eleven great songs - um, stories, from a crazy-talented (and very tall) songwriter. Who hasn't lived "All Over but the Cryin'"?
16. No Justice - No Justice
Why do so many great bands come from Texas?
17. Darrell Scott - The Invisible Man
An unintentionally successful Nashville songwriter who gets unintentionally political while trying to find his own place in the world.
18. Garrison Starr - The Sound of You and Me
This album got me through a terrible breakup. She rocks.
19. Solomon Burke - Nashville
The King of Soul goes country - and well!
20. Carrie Rodriguez - Seven Angels on a Bicycle
The debut solo effort from Chip Taylor's prodigy. He helps her out, but she holds her own.

Posted by darlin at 8:23 PM

June 28, 2006

Book Review - Rock & Roll Archaeologist

By Peter Blecha

Review by Kevin Hillskemper

This book starts off real strong but loses a great deal of momentum on about page 87. Then it slows to a crawl by page 121. It struggles on for a while, showing glimpses of life, and then stops completely dead on page 207.
The story starts during the authors childhood in 1960’s Washington state. He develops a love for rock n roll, which is nurtured by his exposure to local Northwest bands like the Sonics, The Wailers, Paul Revere & The Raiders, and The Kingsmen. He is very good at capturing his youthful joy of discovery when he starts seeing music and records in a larger perspective. His life as a collector began when he went down to the local record store to buy a single and was told that it was out of print. From that point on, he gobbled up every record he could find out of fear that it wouldn’t be available tomorrow.
As he got older, he continued collecting but also became interested in studying archaeology and playing the drums. He realizes that everything in his universe is connected. He starts collecting all things Northwest and maintains his enthusiasm through 60's Northwest Garage Rock to Jimi Hendrix and then onto Punk and Grunge. Yeah, he's one of those Zelig types. His knowledge Northwest Musical History gained from collecting led to writing for magazines, writing liner notes for albums, and doing radio shows. He also developes a unique philosophy elevating the compulsive collector - they (we) are not the avaricious hoarders that society sees us as, but rather noble preservationists of history. I feel better about myself already.
Anyway, after years of networking and a good case of being in the right place at the right time, Blecha becomes senior curator for the Experience Music Project in Seattle. The museum is funded by the bottomless pockets of billionaire benefactor Paul Allen. Soon, the author sells his personal collection to Allen and buys a bigger house with the loot.
From then on, there are some good anecdotes about building the collection and getting the museum off the ground but it’s pretty much downhill from there. In this case, the chase is much better than the catch.
When he starts going to auctions and paying half a million dollars for Eric Clapton’s guitar, the thrill is gone. Is it a mixed metaphor to throw in an accidental B.B. King reference when mentioning Eric Clapton? I don’t know. I’m just checking to see if you’re paying attention. You’re not.
Apparently the author also got bored at this point of the story, because he quit the cushy museum gig without really saying why. At the time he was writing the book, his basement was starting to fill up with junk again. There might be a sequel.

Posted by Big Kev at 5:27 PM

June 26, 2006

Alt. Country Releases, June 2006

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Lately I've been reviewing a lot of crap for radio station KUCI, where I am a dj. By crap, I mean, one or two people, possibly friends, who play guitar and possibly drums, or maybe just guitars, get together in a home studio, scrape together $150 bucks to get their cd pressed and send it to me, with some artwork by someone's girlfriend. The home studio is responsible for a lot of grief, in my humble opinion - grief that is better off left at an open mic night in some small town.

But I decided rather than be negative, and rant about the lame cds that I get on a daily basis, I would share with you the cds that I am actually enjoying, the cds that made it out of the package, into the player, and survived to go on to be added to the illustrious library at KUCI.

The Bottle Rockets - Zoysia - Their press kit compares them to Crazy Horse era-Neal Young, but I'm going with the Supersuckers in a slower vein. The Bottle Rockets keep changing their sound and that's not a bad thing. This cd takes two or three listenings, but it starts to grow on you, like the grass that it is named for (Zoysia is a type of grass, people. No, not that kind of grass. Real grass, as in "crabgrass" or "Kentucky Bluegrass. Sheesh).

Sam Bush - Laps in Seven - Sam Bush is called the "Cubist mandolinist" and even I don't know what the hell that means. It's good, and he's got a lot of famous musician friends sitting in with him. He gets kudos from Chris Thile of Nickel Creek, which makes me want to hate him, but I don't.

Drag the River - It's Crazy - Drag the River was supposed to play this show that I put on at the Double Down in Las Vegas. That's a famous saloon that so smokey your eyes hurt even if you're a smoker. Yeah. But they never showed up, even after they begged to play. I don't hold it against them. Their cd is pretty good, even though they are so slow live that they sometimes clear the room. This cd is a bit more peppy, like Speedbuggy on downers.

Pete Seeger - American Favorite Ballads Vol. 4 - Bruce Springsteen did an album of Pete Seeger covers. We didn't add it. Here is a reissue of old Pete Seeger folk songs. We did add it. Go figure. I don't really like Pete Seeger or Bruce Springsteen, but if Bruce Springsteen makes more people like Pete Seeger, that can't be a bad thing. Can it?

Various Artists: Classic Labor Songs - These songs are all about unionizing, black lung, owing the company store, and the way the Man is trying to bring you down. Suitable for all shows trying to make a statement, or anyone who wants to be left in a trendy way. I can see this being a big seller at the Borders in Palo Alto, or charting at some NPR stations. Really.

Casey Driessen - 3D - Casey Driessen is a bluegrass artist the way that Danny Barnes is a poet. A weird, 3-D bluegrass artists poet guy. You get the picture.

The Handsome Family - Last Days of Wonder (Carrot Top) - many people think the Handsome Family are not alt. country, they are just faking. They are wrong. These songs are fast and scary, or slow and happy. They are all messed up. They are disturbing because they are about cannibalism, ghosts, and love. You will find yourself singing along and then realize what the hell you are singing. Stop it! The lyrics are frightening, like a clown at the circus. You love clowns, right?

Yonder Mountain String Band - Everyone likes jug bands, I mean, really. This is like a jug band, but without the jug. They are happy, and upbeat, and banjo-ish, but smart too. Like Hadacol with a banjo!

Fred Eaglesmith - Milly's Cafe - This is one of the saddest albums ever. It's all about loss and dogs and people being disillusioned and losing the farm, their loves, their youth. Sad, sad, sad. And good.

Tim Easton - Ammunition (New West) - Another weeper, but Easton is more bitter, like an angry Nick Drake. Like a guy busking in the subway but belligerent, so you give him a dollar even though you don't really want to give him a dollar. Nice duet with Lucinda Williams on track 5.

Dave Knudsen - The Weeping City (Boronda) - this guy has an odd voice, is friends with local alt. fav Mike Stinson, and sings about LA in a dreamy way. Sort of that Laurel Canyon Cowboy stuff that's so hot now, but not as irritating as all the rest.

Various: Classic African-American Ballads (Smithsonian) and Various: Masters of Old-Time Country Autoharp (Smithsonian) - I think the titles say it all on these. They are new but seem old. Both these cds can make your collection seem more highbrow than it is, and make you sound like you know about music more than you do. Just read the liner notes!

Posted by DJWanda at 9:30 PM

May 3, 2006

Never Looking Behind - Reagan Boggs

When it comes to reviewing CDs for potential radio play, Wanda is fond of telling me "You have to listen to a lot of crap to find one gem." And I have to admit that everytime I receive an e-mail from an artist or label guy (who only has one artist signed to the label, indicating that it's a friend or family member of the artist), asking where they can send their CD for me to listen to, I inwardly groan - because I know chances are excellent that it's going to be another album that's not exactly a fit for my show.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Reagan Boggs' "Never Looking Behind" turned out to be one of those aforementioned gems, even though it had found it's way to me via an e-mail that was titled along the lines of "CD Submission Inquiry." Sonically, Reagan sounds like she could be the long-lost sister of Kim Richey; but her real strengths lie in her songwriting, which this album could have showcased more. Although she puts forth noble effort into her cover of Johnny and June Cash's "Jackson" (with Scott Miller), it seems a little trite, given the recent success of Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon's interpretation for "Walk the Line" (although Reagan's version was recorded prior to the movie's release). However, the emotion in songs like "Share Them with You," "Loose Change," and "Everything Here" will leave the listener wanting more and more.

Posted by darlin at 5:49 PM

December 27, 2005

One Minute Tink’s Year End, Last Minute Reviews

So this summer of 05’, I went two events: History of South Bay/San Pedro Punk Exhibit in San Pedro, CA. and the Cruise to Catalina with Pennywise.
History of South Bay/San Pedro Punk Exhibit was held at the Angels Gate Cultural Center
in the Angels Gate Park in San Pedro, CA. Angels Gate Park is part of the Fort MacArthur property.
It‘s also location of the Marine Rehabilitation Center and the Korean Friendship Bell. The exhibit featured many local artists and/or musician, particularly San Pedro’s own firehose.
I thought the exhibit was a bit bare. They did have a big mural of gig flyers from throughout the years. Featuring shows at Sacred Grounds, Warner Grand and Harbor College with bands like firehose, Social Distortion, the Germs, The Ramones, Black flag and so much more.
I still have some of those flyers to this day.

I happened to walk through the gallery’s gift shop and found this CD Sampler put out by S.A.D and Recess Records called Triskaidekaphobia: A San Pedro Soundtrack (Triskaidekaphobia means a morbid fear of the number 13 or the date Friday the 13th). Features the Skanks, the Rolling Blackouts, 400 Blows, No Comply, We Go Speedro, Toys That Kill, Hardball, Pigsty, The Jag Offs, Second To Last, Rig, The Leeches, Iambic Pentameter, Consumers, Organized Noise, Loiter, Fishcamp, Female Chauvinist Pigs, Barton Hill, Full Blast, Elvis Knievel, Farmers, and Beer Drinkin’ Whether

The songs that stood out for me were: We Go Speedro Down On the Street (Another project brought to you by Mike Watt), Second To Last Shaboingy, The Leeches Where In The World is Taylor Kramer?, Female Chauvinist Pigs Sick Of It All, and Elvis Knievel Frying Pan.

Next event was the Cruise to Catalina with Pennywise. Here is the review of their latest record Fuse.

Even though, I have seen Pennywise play a couple of times and have been keeping up with their latest singles via KROQ (Finally! I could never understand why KROQ would not play Pennywise singles until like a good five years ago. I always thought that Pennywise was perfect for KROQ to play. Now Bro Hymn is like on rotation), this is the first time I have ever sat down and listen to a Pennywise record.

I don’t think I have missed much. They still have the same integrity and sound from the beginning. They have not bowed down or change to conform to make a few extra dollars. The songs are still about social problems and relationships. The band has worked hard and it looks like it has finally paid off for them.

Posted by Tinkinator at 10:36 PM

December 22, 2005

Best of 2005 (and the end of 2004)

I hate "Best of" lists. They're always wrong, and they always leave off something essential that the reviewer was too stupid/lazy/tasteless to review. My fans have asked for it, though! They regard my opinon as sacrosanct, and really want to know what I, Wanda, consider the best of 2005.

As I reviewed the albums of 2005, however, I noticed that a lot of my favorites were really from the later part of
2004, so I'm including a belated Best of 2004:

Blasters - 4-11-44 (Rainman) - it's the Blasters, need I say more?
Neko Case - The Tigers Have Spoken (Anti) - a good live album, which is a rarity
Dusty 45s - Devil Takes His Turn (self) - I love this band! This cd confirms it.
Buddy Miller - Universal United House of Prayer (New West) - My new favorite artist (and my mom's).
Buddy & Julie Miller - Love Snuck Up (Hightone) (reissue of duets on prior albums) - Too romantic, in a "you done me wrong" country kinda way.
Split Lip Rayfield - Should Have Seen it Coming (Bloodshot) - their last album as a four-piece. Subtle, but a good one.
Dexter Romweber - Blues that Defy My Soul (YepRoc) - You will not want to take this out of your cd player.
VA: Hard Headed Woman - a tribute to Wanda Jackson (Bloodshot) - A tribute to my namesake from great artists.
(in no particular order, listed

Best of 2005
Gene Autry - Essential Gene Autry (Columbia/Sony) 2-cd set - A must-have for country fans.
Scott Biram - Dirty Old One Man Band (Bloodshot) - An amazing one-man band with a fondness for chicken.
Heavy Trash - Heavy Trash (YepRoc) - Jon Spencer is HOT.
Hillstomp - One Word (self produced) - two albums in one year. This band is amazing!
Hillstomp - The Woman That Ended the World (self)
Cari Lee & the Contenders - Scorched (Star-Tone) - wonderfully swingy!
Lucky Stars - Stay Out Late (Fate) - Finally! A new album!
Red Stick Ramblers - Right Key, Wrong Keyhole (Memphis) - their first is my favorite, but I like this one too!

Posted by DJWanda at 3:36 PM

October 11, 2005

Occulator Reviews . . .

Crash Kelly, Penny Pills (Liquor and Poker, 2005)

This album passes the lazy test, wherein I left it in my car’s disc-changer for several spins where other albums might suck or bore to the point where they need to be extracted after the first go-round. But it fails the iPod test, which of course is when it makes it onto my handheld juke box, or particularly into a playlist—truly the mark of greatness. Crash Kelly is inoffensive bar rock. Toe-tapping tunes? Check. Sing-alongable? Check. But that’s about as lukewarm a review as I can offer for these purveyors of sugary, modern-day glamrock.

Posted by occulator at 9:50 PM

August 8, 2005

Big Slew of Reviews

by Kevin Hillskemper

Muck and the Mires
Beginners Muck
I like this. It’s no-frills garage power pop with snappy little two-minute songs. It’s not too precious and not too trashy. It just sounds natural. The singer – that would be Muck—sounds a little like Huey Lewis but in a good way. His gruff, slightly slurred vocals work well with the songs and occasional harmonies from the rest of the band.
“I’m Down With That” is a great opening song and would be a hit in a better world. So would every other song on here.

The Flying Saucers
Weird Ancient Religious Rites (demo)

This is possibly the worst sounding CD I have ever heard. It sounds like it was recorded on a cruddy little micro-cassette recorder that was in somebody’s pocket. At some point that person reached into their pocket for their keys or some spare change and accidentally dropped the thing on the ground. They kicked it and for some reason it burst into flames. They stomped on it for a while trying to put out the fire but that didn't work. They poured a bucket of water on it, but that didn't work either. They finally use an industrial strength fire extinguisher that covers the entire room in stinky white foam. The fire is out, but they keep stomping on the tape recorder anyway.
So much for the sound, what about the songs? They’re not bad – from what I could hear. Aside from a wannabe Korla Pandit style organ instrumental and a cover of Screaming Lord Sutch’s “Jack the Ripper,” nothing really stood out. I think they are hiding behind their lo-fi blanket of noise out of insecurity. I like it.

Die Toten Hosen
Pronounced “Dee” Not “Dye”

Die Toten Hosen are the worldwide musical ambassadors of German humor. That is why you’ve probably never heard of them. This is a compilation of various bits going back ten or twelve years even though they’ve been around for at least twenty and have released about a zillion albums. I don’t know who put this together or why (it’s on a hand labeled CD-R) but I don’t think it will break this band in the U.S. even though most of the songs are in English. There is a collaboration with Bad Religion on here, but it’s not very good. These guys are funnier in German

The Speed Kings
Blood Sweat and Primer
The singer of The Speedkings is named Twitch Kadziewicz. That is a really cool rock name and, from the sound of his voice, it appears that his mother went to the fertility clinic and got a turkey baster full of Neil Young. This is kind of a concept album about auto racing. I have very little interest in auto racing. I would rather watch The Paint Drying Channel that the Speed Channel but I like the album anyway. You could take the whole racing thing as a metaphor if you like. You could take the romantic elements of racing like danger, travel, and one-night-stands and apply it to being a rock star, spy, cowboy, carnie or anything else you like.
Actually, there aren’t really that many songs about racing but I was on a roll. This is a good, solid album. The playing and production is top-notch. The horns on several songs add just the right amount of oomph.

Johnny Winter
I'm A Blues Man
It’s refreshing to hear a contemporary blues artist that doesn’t growl. Johnny Winter is just too cool to do the growling thing. He can’t sing and he doesn’t care. He’s a guitar player and the singing is just something to fill the empty spaces between guitar solos. This is good and bad. The guitar, while very good, is a little too processed and clean sounding. I’d like to hear a little amplifier buzz or feedback.
Most of the lyrics are pretty standard blues cliché stuff like “I’m a blues man, blah, blah, blah” which makes “The Monkey Song” jump out and get your attention. Until now, I've never heard a blues song about shaving one’s pubic hair. At least I think that's what it's about. I also like the acoustic slide number “That Wouldn’t Satisfy.”

The Gretchens
Cover Your Ears

This is disturbing. There’s something not right about thirty-and-or-forty-something men and women playing and singing pop/punk songs about butts and poop. What is their target demographic? They obviously haven’t thought this over. If they took out the “fucks” and “shits”, some of these might make good children’s songs.
I get the feeling that The Gretchens play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. They probably have memorized the entire script of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

Out of Exile

Exile had a disco-flavored hit in the 70’s called “I Wanna Kiss You All Over” and then jumped on the urban cowboy bandwagon in the 80’s. I knew Audioslave were some guys from Rage Against The Machine and the singer from Soundgarden but I didn’t know that they were also out of Exile. Shirley I jest. I promise not to call you “Shirley” anymore.
I didn’t like either Rage ATM or Soundgarden, but this sounds pretty good on first listen. I like Rick Rubin’s matter-of-fact production. The band comes up with some pretty inventive riffs and doesn’t overdo it with the angst.
Comparing this to Van Halen Mach II comes to mind but only because Chris Cornell sounds just like Sammy Hagar to me.

Nine Inch Nails
With Teeth
Trent Reznor appears to be the anti-John Tesh, but in a bad way. While both composers have the tendency to take simple, well-crafted songs and work them over until they are overblown, redundant, repetitive, genetically modified, pretentious, portentous, extended-warranty-pushing, snake oiled, air-brushed globs of jibber-jabber wearing a bad toupee, Tesh is a fresh-scented moist towelette and Reznor is a medicated hemorrhoid pad.
The difference? John Tesh is taller and happier.
I tried to listen to this, I really did. I even like some of it. That dark swirling shoe-in-a-clothes-dryer type stuff with delicate little piano on top of it for creepy effect is pretty neat. It works but it doesn’t come close to making up for choruses that consist of one line being screamed 426 times. 423, 424, or 425 might be okay, but 426 is excessive. Why do all the one-line choruses consist of questions?
Trent Reznor is faking it. If he were sincere he would have killed himself by now.

Posted by Big Kev at 8:16 PM

May 17, 2005

Some Music DVD's and a Budget Bin Score

By Kevin Hillskemper

X-Live In Los Angeles has a great look to it - dark and grainy. It looks and sounds like a live rock video should. The reunited band have now been doing their revival act for longer than they were originally together. I think they've perfected it by now. You know the songs, I know the songs, they know the songs, go ahead and buy it. It's good.
There are a couple of nice acoustic bonus tracks as extras.
The X documentary "The Unheard Music" just came out on DVD. Check that out too.

Elvis Costello Live In Memphis is very good. Half of the set is older Attractions-era stuff and half is from his most recent album "The Delivery Man". Emmylou Harris duets with him on a few songs. I really like the new songs. I read somewhere that Elvis Costello's face is so ugly that the sweat runs down the back of his head. From the abundance of perspiration visible in this video, you will see that this is absolutely not true. There are very close shots here - maybe too close.
Great bonus tracks. There is a good road trip segment with Elvis and his drummer riding around the south in an old Cadillac. Among many other places, they visit the Stax Museum and a place that sells really cool suits.

Ramones Raw is better for the extras than for the feature presentation. The best thing here is a 1980 concert which was filmed for Italian TV. It is worth the price for that alone. Other highlights are clips from the "Uncle Floyd" show and "Space Ghost - Coast to Coast".
The bulk of this is basically filler. The camcorder tour stuff gets pretty dull, but the commentary by Marky and Johnny Ramone makes it worth watching.

The Blasters Live-Going Home is very sweaty. I thought the DVD player was going to short out. Where is home anyway? I'm confused. I know that they are from Downey, CA (my birthplace) and this show was recorded in Santa Ana, but the opening credits show stuff like the Mississippi River and a bunch of old shacks. How lost can you possibly get? It's only about 20 miles. Haven't you ever heard of freeways? And maps?
Oh yeah, the show is great. The bonus tracks include some footage of new wave preppies doing stage dives at a Blasters show in 1982.

Iggy and the Stooges Live in Detroit is a difficult watch. I'm not a technical wonk or anything, but this has terrible editing. It looks like somebody took some post-MTV editing class and was told make a cut every five seconds. There is literally a cut every five seconds. Whenever Iggy starts doing one of his Iggy dances it cuts to the guitar player for five seconds. Then it cuts to the drummer for five seconds.
With some other band that might work, but not the Stooges. If you've ever seen the Ig in action, you know what a riveting performer he is and how commanding he is of your full attention. The drumming and guitarring Asheton brothers, on the other hand, don't do anything. They just stay in one place like feet-nailed-down zombies and make repetive thudding noises. I know that's what made them great in the first place, but they're much better heard and not seen. If you have some kind of home theatre system - turn off the video and just listen to it. It sounds great.
There are bonus tracks. I like the live in-store appearance. One camera. No edits.

Paul McCartney Live at the Cavern. I think this came out about 5 years ago but I just recently picked it up cheap. I like Paul McCartney. You got a problem with that?
No silly love songs here - the set is mostly songs by Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Little Richard, Elvis, Ricky Nelson, and so on. These are good songs done well and without too much hoo-haw.
The band features members of Pink Floyd and Deep Purple. That's all well and good, but the keyboard player is the guy who did "Eighteen With A Bullet". I'll subtract a few points for that.

Deathrace 2000 has nothing to do with all these music related DVD's, but I found it in a bidget bin at my local chain drug store for $1.99! Score! This is one of the greatest movies ever made. It was produced by Roger Corman, directed by Paul Bartel ("Eating Raoul"), and stars David Carradine ("Kill Bill"), Mary Woronov ("Rock n Roll High School"), and Sylvester Stalone ("Rhinestone", "The Italian Stallion"). It also features Rep. Fred "Gopher" Grandy (R-Iowa) as a Nazi schlep-boy.
The violence is senseless, the nudity is gratuitous, the sets are cardboard, and the hairstyles defy gravity. Amazingly accurate in it's 1970's depiction of the year 2000. Two bucks well spent.

Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. What's wrong with that? I'd like to know,
'cause here I go again on my own, down the only road I've ever known. Like a drifter I was born to wear cologne.

Posted by Big Kev at 8:01 PM

April 13, 2005

Tink's One Minute CD Reviews . . .Finally!

I've been wanting to do this forever. My reviews are short and simple, hence the title, One Minute Reviews. So I apolgize if the CD has been out for awhile and I'm just now reviewing it. I'm calling this series Better Late than NEVER!!!

Ad Frank " Is The World's Best Ex-Boyfriend"
I liked it. I thought vocally he was o.k. but I really liked the music lyrically and musically!

Bob's Country Bunker"Wellwater"
What can I say, I'm a sucker for this kind of music. A little Reverend and a dash of Hillbilly Hellcats and you have Bob's Country Bunker.

TKO Records Present:
SACTO Sacramento Report featuring:
Pressure Point
Whisky Rebels
Killing the Dream
The Secretions
The Roustabouts

TKO Records takes a sample of the Sacramento Music Scene. Nobody stood out but I think they all have potential. I did enjoy The Secretions " All My Rowdy Friends" and the Roustabouts "Freedom"

Dirtminers "Meat and Electricity"
As they say, never judge a book by it's cover. I totally thought this band was going to be industrial/techno but no way, jose. They are very much a country influenced band and they rock!

Strychnine "Born in a Bar"
This band is all over the map when in comes to influences. I totally hear Fugazi, Rancid and the Misfits influences. They grow on you. The 1st half is good the second goes a little more hardcore for my tastes but I think they are worth a listens.

Legendary Shack Shackers "Believe"
Where have I been and why have I been missing this band. Come back to L.A. soon!

Palo Duro Presents: Texas Unplugged Vol. 1
Maybe just a little too country for me but I liked Becca Dalrymple, Sisters Morales, Terri Hendrix and Eleven Hundred Springs.
I'm looking forward to Vol.2

Lagwagon "Live in a Dive"
It's o.k. I liked the artwork!

Retching Red "Get Your Red Wings"
If you like hardcore, in your face, punk rock . . . go for it.

The Briefs "Sex Objects"
It was good!

Gosling S/T
A very social conscience group.

Pistol Grip "Tear it all Down"
A real solid punk rock album.

Posted by Tinkinator at 9:10 PM

April 8, 2005

Too Novelty or Not Too Novelty – Me First and the Gimme Gimmes vs. The Ukranians

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Ruin Jonny’s Bar Mitzvah (Omnium Recordings)


Ah the memories of growing up a San Fernando Valley Jewish American Princess. The private schools, the Hebrew lessons, the dermatologists, the psychiatric therapy, and let’s not forget, the Bar Mitzvahs. Because I now live in Orange County and have become painfully aware of the fact that the rest of world is not like the suburbs of LA and is sometimes ignorant of a few major points in Jewish culture, I will take the time to define a Bar Mitzvah.

“bar mitz·vah or bar miz·vah n.
1. A 13-year-old Jewish boy (or girl, girls do this too in the more progressive sects), considered an adult and responsible for his moral and religious duties.
2. The ceremony that initiates and recognizes a boy (girl) as a bar mitzvah.
3. An opportunity for obscenely wealthy Jewish parents to prove their love for their spoiled brat by throwing a bigger party than the Silverblats down the street.”

The musical entertainment usually consists of a DJ who spins all the top 40 hits and that one version of “Hava Nagila” that they all seem to have. If there was a band, I may have only been 13, but trust me, the band was always a cover band and never very good. Would your parents have hired the Spazmatics? I didn’t think so.

Enough rambling, back to the CD. I don’t know how Me First and the Gimme Gimmes wound up recording this live at Little Jonny’s manhood party, but bravo. Bravo to the parents for being that cool. Bravo to Jonny’s friends and family for digging it. Bravo to the Gimmes for having a great sense of humor which translates well on the CD. I have never heard “Auld Lang Syne” and “O Sole Mio” played with so much angst.
My personal favorite is “Hava Nagila” sung to the tune of “Feliz Navidad.” It’s such a natural fit, I’m surprised someone didn’t do it sooner.

Final verdict – Too novelty. Just like any other comedy CD, this is not the kind of album you want to listen to over and over again. Once you know all the jokes, it gets old fast.

The Ukrainians – Istorya (Fat Wreck Chords)


I have been a very bad reviewer. A very very bad reviewer. I have been sitting on this CD for the last six months and had absolutely no idea what to write about it other than the fact that it’s good. It really is good and I don’t know why.

We have all the elements of a novelty album. A historical compellation of the band’s original rockin’ Iron Curtain “hits” mixed with popular covers of Morrissey and Sex Pistols songs sung in the Ukrainian mother tongue.
(Think “Big Mouth” sung in a language you’ve never even heard before but you completely understand because you know the original version so well.)

The bottom line is that this is a talented and practiced band, and it’s audible. It’s not a cacophony of Eastern European folk instruments brought together on a lark. It’s a purposeful, well thought out band that knows what they’re doing when they go into the studio time and time again.

Final verdict – Not too novelty. Rock and roll your FOB grandma will love (and you; you’ll love it too).

Posted by xx - Ms. Lauren - xx at 9:06 PM

April 3, 2005

Adolescents - The Complete Demos 1980-1986

"Naughty Women in Black Sweaters"
Frontier Records

By Kevin Hillskemper

This album is a delightful 30 minute romp through time, documenting the evolution of the Adolescents from an awkward teenage combo to a snarling punk rock machine. I like it.
Is it as good as Elvis's first recordings at Sun Studios? Probably not.
Is it as good as live recordings of the Beatles in Hamburg? I doubt it.
Is it better than the early dramatic work of Scott Baio as Chachi on "Happy Days"? Yes.

There you have it.
The Adolescents -- Better than Chachi.

Posted by Big Kev at 5:34 PM

January 17, 2005

Top Five Country Albums of 2004

Top Five Alt. Country Albums of the Year:
-by Wanda
1. Dexter Romwebber - Blues that Defy My Soul (Yep Roc)
2. Legendary Shack Shakers - Believe (Yep Roc)
3. Slim Cessna's Auto Club - The Blovdy Tenent (Alternative Tentacles)
4. Meat Purveyors - Pain by Numbers (Bloodshot)
5. Loretta Lynn - Van Lear Rose (Interscope)

Tribute Albums: 1. VA: Hard Headed Woman - A Celebration of Wanda Jackson (Bloodshot)
2. Touch My Heart - A Tribute to Johnny Paycheck

Love Snuck Up - Buddy and Julie Miller (Hightone)
I am not sure what to call this. It's a reissue, because all these songs, (save one) appeared on other albums. But it's also a compilation, because all these songs were never on one album together. See, it's a compilation of all Buddy and Julie's love songs and it's beautiful. I bought TWO copies; one for me, and one for my mom. Absolutely touching.

Posted by DJWanda at 3:16 PM

January 11, 2005

Top 20 Country Albums of 2004

Top 20 Albums of 2004 - by Darlin'

1. Wayward Angel - Kasey Chambers
2. Bittertown - Lori McKenna
3. Tambourine - Tift Merritt
4. Horse of a Different Color - Big & Rich
5. Lucky Ones - Pat Green
6. Good Times - Charlie Robison
7. One Moment More - Mindy Smith
8. Lonely Runs Both Ways - Alison Krauss & Union Station
9. Soul Gravy - Cross Canadian Ragweed
10. The Notorious Cherry Bombs - The Notorious Cherry Bombs
11. Van Lear Rose - Loretta Lynn
12. The Revolution Starts...Now - Steve Earle
13. License to Chill - Jimmy Buffett (but only if you ignore the
wretched cover of "Hey, Good Lookin'")
14. The Duel - Allison Moorer
15. Universal United House of Prayer - Buddy Miller
16. Hands Up! - Two Dollar Pistols
17. 2:30am - Kevin Montgomery
18. Feels Like Home - Norah Jones
19. Stronger Proof - Deryl Dodd
20. Best Laid Plans - Sandra McCracken

"Kerosene" from Miranda Lambert--don't write her off just 'cause she
had the misfortune of placing on "Nashville Star." Her album's not
officially out til March of 2005, but it's one of the most refreshing
albums I've heard in a lo-ong time; it's my hope that she'll save country radio from bad music, now that the Dixie Chicks are "Alternative." :)

Posted by DJWanda at 10:20 PM

December 8, 2004

Flogging Molly - Within a Mile from Home

(Side One Dummy)
by Brian Yaeger

floggingmollycdwamoh.jpgWhen Flogging Molly singer Dave King moved to the United States 15 years ago, George Bush was president and he was excited to work on his music career in a metal band that was signed to a major label. Today, he’s enjoying tremendous success with an Irish folk/punk/soul band whose latest album, Within a Mile of Home (Side One Dummy) debuted atop Billboard’s Independent Album chart. And now that Bush, Jr. got (re)elected, he’d like to move back to Ireland.

When Flogging Molly performed the leadoff track, “Screaming at the Wailing Wall,” at an in-store, King found it hard to believe he “could write such a happy song about such a miserable fucking cunt like George Bush. It all balances itself out.”

Unlike their first two studio albums, Within a Mile doesn’t click at first listen. They branch out from their patented sound a bit. “Factory Girls” is a duet with Americana/folk singer Lucinda Williams. “Don’t Let Me Die Still Wondering” is a tribute to country legend Johnny Cash. “Tomorrow Comes a Day Too Soon” sees accordionist Matt Hensley adding some Cajun-flavor along with a guest musician on washboard. Nathan Maxwell gets to do another pirate song like he did with “Cruel Mistress” on Drunken Lullabies, but “Queen Anne’s Revenge” mixed with equal parts Clash. King goes a cappella on “The Wrong Company.” Still, while it is not immediately as likable on first or even second spin, each cut certainly does grow on you to the point where it’s as much a necessity for your collection as their past efforts. It’s tempting to describe the album as more mature, but there was nothing immature about their previous recordings, so let’s just say that on the whole, it is a mellower, folksier album. The messages are still powerful.

I liberate your people's fate, spoke the burning bush/ But the song of beasts, drown their oil-soaked teeth/ Their dollar is mighty and true/ Now the eagle soars the sky over refugee and child/ And to all there is no end, another day in perfect hell

The above lines from “Screaming at the Wailing Wall” replete with biblical images and American patriotic icons, utilizes a familiar concept in King’s lyrics, although the US certainly does not hold a monopoly on melding religion and government.

“God seems to be Chief In Command of Bush’s government,” King said to me. “He seems to think that it’s okay because he’s got His OK to do this. I don’t know about you, but my God does not wage war. God is the biggest reason why this world is in torment… I don’t hate you. My God doesn’t hate your God. George W. Bush is convinced that his God told him to do this. Oh my God!! That is unbelievable.”

What’s ironic is that the people—especially the youth—around the world are so well informed about the issues surrounding war and its causes, and are therefore opinionated about what is happening in this country, but Americans and American youth are not. And by ironic I mean sad.

“First of all, Americans are not encouraged to vote,” King mused. “When I used to live in Ireland, I voted because you felt like you were welcome to. This is your right. This administration [tried] to stop college students from voting because their dorms are not permanent residences. It’s for them that I wrote ‘To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh)’.”

So it's to youth I sing you this story/ And it's of youth I sing it now/ Like the train that derails without warning/ I must leave what I left far behind/ So goodbye, sweet Roisin Dubh

Within a Mile is a portrait of where King’s mind is these days. Poetic, romantic, and often incensed, his lyrics bare his Celtic soul. “There’s a fear base for everything in this country,” said King. “Whether it be God, religion, or death. There doesn’t seem to be much time left to celebrate. What I’ve learned through life is that I’ve had a shitty life. I’ve had a great life. And I’m going to celebrate both. I’m going to sing about it and clap my hands and dance about it.”

Posted by Ms. Jen at 12:22 PM

November 8, 2004

CD Reviews - David Thomas, Demolition Doll Rods, The Hives, Rev. Horton Heat

By Kevin Hillskemper

David Thomas and Two Pale Boys
18 Monkeys on a Dead Mans Chest
Smog Veil Records

I fell asleep listening to this and had dreams about being on an arctic expedition. After much trudging through snow, it turned out that the whole party was stranded on an ice floe. I can’t tell you how it ended, but you know what usually happens in these situations. Eventually (after about 10 or 15 minutes), the topic of cannibalism will rear its ugly head. Don’t ask me how I know this – I’d rather not talk about it.
Here’s a history lesson:
David Thomas invented everything. In the 70’s, he was a founding member of Rocket From the Tombs and co-wrote future punk classics like “Sonic Reducer” and “Final Solution”. He formed the band Pere Ubu. He sometimes used the stage name “Crocus Behemoth”. If you don’t think that’s a cool name – I don’t like you.
“18 Monkeys on a Dead Man’s Chest” is pretty artsy stuff, but Thomas’s voice and highly developed sense of the absurd prevent it from becoming pretentious or high-falutin’. A word of caution - he is no Pavarotti. In fact, his singing is similar in pitch and resonance to the braying of a wounded yak.
I like this a lot. A few of the songs have almost blues-like structures. Riffs and melodies develop and seem to change slightly each time. The words seem to change too – what was that line about a trout farm? It wasn’t there last time.
Some of these songs could be rock songs if they wanted to be. There are no drums.
There’s even a nice acoustic ballad with a Theremin, or something that sounds like it. It could be a melodeon, or a musette (whatever that is).
The best song titles, but not necessarily the best songs, are “Brunswick Parking Lot” and “Nebraska Alcohol Abuse”.
It’s good to listen to at different volume levels while reading or driving in traffic. Wear wool socks and keep a fork in your pocket in case you fall asleep.

Check out The Day the Earth Met Rocket From the Tombs also on Smog Veil.


Demolition Doll Rods
Swami Records

How long have they been doing this? Ten years? I don’t know. If you do anything long enough, it becomes legitimate. Two chicks and one guy wearing skimpy little outfits and playing sleazy garage rock are now too legit – too legit to quit. This is good.
The Stooges and Dolls rip-offs are to be expected, but the blues-sounding stuff is becoming more predominant in their sound. Not like Johnny Lang or anything horrible like that, but more like Hound Dog Taylor by way of Jon Spencer.
It lacks the authenticity of a Muddy Waters or Howlin’ Wolf record, but as far as I know – and I don’t claim to be any kind of blues scholar – Muddy Waters or Howlin’ Wolf never performed in pasties and a G-string.

The Hives
Tyrannosaurus Hives

I liked this before I heard it. I like the song titles “Abra Cadaver”, “Walk Idiot Walk”, and “B is for Brutus”. The bass players name is “Dr. Matt Destruction”. I like that.
Listening to the CD, however, is an emotionally empty experience.

Reverend Horton Heat
Yep Roc Records

I believe the term “preaching to the choir” applies here. You’re either hip to the Reverend or your not. This is as good as anything he’s/they've done, maybe even better, but it’s the same old stuff. The guitar playing is top notch, but the bag of lyrics is getting stale. There are a couple of “serious” songs on here, but since they contradict the point I’m trying to make, I will choose to ignore them.
I think it’s time for The Reverend Horton Heat to make an instrumental album. The same goes for Brian Setzer and Deke Dickerson too. Don’t these guys know that they’re better guitarists than singer/songwriters? I’d rather hear a six-minute tuba solo than another dumb song about what a party animal you are.
Don’t they know that The Ventures are the best band ever?
Make an instrumental album. It will sell. Trust me. Give me a free copy and I will give it a rave review – even if it sucks. Twenty-three people will read the review and at least four people will buy it.

Posted by Big Kev at 8:33 PM

October 31, 2004

Demolisten Derby


Rules for Demolisten Derby
1. American built cds only!! Vinyl lps and 45s okay if approved in advance. No trucks, convertibles, jeeps, vans, suburbans, utility vehicles, or corvettes.
2. After the derby, all cds must be removed within two hours of completion.
3. Helmets will be inspected and must be approved. Full face is highly recommended. All drivers must wear long sleeve shirt and long pants. Gloves and firesuit are recommended.
4. If applicable, air bags must be disconnected and removed.
5. Exhaust will be allowed through the hood. Pipes will not exceed roof height. Headers allowed. No open manifold. Must have exhaust pipe exit under floor.
6. Painting: must be presentable. No profanity, nudity, etc. Offensive language/pictures will be disqualified.
7. Singers who do not make contact within 20 seconds of start will be disqualified. Scorers will time those who no not make contact. If you stall you have 20 seconds to get started. No exceptions. If you are disqualified you can not re-enter. Those found to be in violation forfeit all money. No exceptions.
8. No alcoholic beverages or illegal substances allowed in pit areas.
9. Entry and inspection start at 3:00pm.
10. Decisions of race officials are final.

Every so often, Miss Jen gives me a bunch of demo cds and makes me listen to them. This time, I waited until Kevin Stockdale and I were on a road trip up to KDVS for the UC Radio Network Conference and forced him to play the Demolisten Derby with me. All conversations are true. None of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Wolfgang Bang - Thankfully, there were only three songs here, because Kevin threatened to "turn this car around" after the third song. We liked the guitar, but the whiney vocals were annoying a la Tony Cadena (of the Adolescents) but not in a good way. None of the songs were catchy. A total breakdown with no impact.

Sweatergirl - "Low Bridge Near the South Fork" - even though there are twelve songs here, it's a demo. Very Green Day-esque, if you like that sort of thing. Way better than the Wolfgang Bang cd. We thought it was fun, pop-punk but needed to be more riffy; there was really nothing here to grab on to. Still standing after the first round, even without a roll bar.

2 Ton Turtle - "I can't hear the vocals; turn it up." "It IS up - maybe the singer's shy?" "Doesn't the singer sound like Lene Lovich to you?" "Oh, it's a woman?" At this point, Kevin offered to throw the cd out the window, which I said was littering. "Well, if we throw it out the window, it's littering - but if we keep it in the car, it's poisoning." Disqualified for sucking gas so badly.

Girly Freak Show - "Hey, this band sounds like the Waitresses!" "Yeah, they wish." This band combined parts of the Divinyls, Bachelor Party (1984) and Doll Parts by Hole, then welded them together. Good if you like that sort of thing. Still standing after the first round, but knocked out of the arena by Sweatergirl.

Billy Talent - As Kevin says, "If you have to tell us you have talent in your band name, maybe you don't." They sound like Incubus.

Pistol for a Paycheck - "Into the Arms of the Mother of Hate" - I didn't like this band's guitar tone. Kevin liked their funky syncopation (he's a drummer), but I didn't, because it reminded me too much of a poor man's Primus, or maybe Liquid Jesus. As Kevin put it: "If I had to watch this band, I'd walk out."

Frogdog - "Boy, you can tell with a name like Frogdog that they're never going to make it out of the pay-to-play circuit."

Posted by DJWanda at 1:25 AM

October 10, 2004

CD Reviews - SLF, Descendents, Swingin' Utters, Redheaded Yetis

By Kevin Hillskemper


Stiff Little Fingers
Guitar and Drum
Kung Fu Records

What’s wrong with Stiff Little Fingers? Don’t they know that at their advanced age, they should either be gumming cold mush in some gloomy old folks home or recording three-hour concept albums based on The Bhagavad Gita?
It’s a good thing that they still have their teeth, because I like this album. It’s full of good, fast, catchy songs with plenty of bite. There is also some bile and some backwash, but in a good way. My favorite songs here are “Guitar and Drum”, “Strummerville”, “Dead Man Walking”, and “Who Died and Made You Elvis?”
It’s all pretty good. It’s not as hard hitting as “Inflammable Material” but what is? It certainly beats a bowl of cold mush.


“Cool To Be You”
Fat Wreck Chords

They sound just like they used to, unless you listen to the words and delve for recurrent themes. About half of the songs here (I didn’t count) mention grown-up, domestic type situations like relationships, marriage, and parenthood. They’ve always been pretty autobiographical in their songs and I’m glad they still are. It’s good that they’re keeping in touch with their own demographic and original audience.
Don’t worry – they haven’t turned into The Ozzie Nelson Orchestra or anything. They still write songs about farting (“Blast Off”) and being school misfits (“Mass Nerder”) so younger Descendents fans will not be left out.
Note: The song “Merican” sounds almost exactly like Bad Religion – all it needs is a couple of two-dollar words.


Swingin’ Utters
“Live in a Dive”
Fat Wreck Chords

More rock. Less talk.

(cover art not available)

Redheaded Yetis

Six songs in seven minutes and twenty-three seconds – this is good stuff. Not amazingly innovative or original but that’s what I like about it.
“Gasoline is the Devil’s Blood” is not only the best title on this demo CD, but it’s quite possible the best song title of all time.
Write them letters and tell them they’re great:
Redheaded Yetis
PO Box 2469
Fort Collins, CO
USA 80522

Posted by Big Kev at 4:40 PM

September 1, 2004

The Kings - Kings of Leon

Have a flashback to the early 1970’s. Picture the band, Queen. Picture tons of rock and roll, long hair, tight pants, etc... Now picture these things more than 30 years later. You have the band, Kings of Leon.

This band likes to keep it young. The age range from 16-23 forms this rock band. The Followills, three brothers and one cousin, grew up always moving around because their father was a United Pentecostal Evangelist. Always on the road in between Oklahoma City and Memphis, the band's music developed into not just any typical 70’s rock and roll sound but into music with its own individual and traveled twist.

The band moved to Nashville a couple of years ago and got signed to New York label, RCA Records. They recently put out their first full-length album titled Youth and Young Manhood, a title snuggly fitting to the band. Young in age but mature in music, these boys put out a very grown up sound on this new record.

Every song is repeatedly worth listening to. Starting from Holy Roller Novocaine to finishing up with Red Morning Light, each song will keep your feet moving. The song, Happy Alone, sums up how I feel when I listen to the album. "I’ll be prancin' around in my high heels, and your cherry red lipstick."

Drawing crowds from all over Europe on their tour last year, the Kings are presently in the studio recording their next album. Before you start thinking about the King's next album, go listen to this one first!

Posted by ashleykiana at 11:52 PM

July 19, 2004

The Forgotten - Out of Print

BYO Records

I've been meaning to do this album review forever, but I was having a hard time getting it out of my car cd player and anywhere near a writing surface....because it is just that damn good. And now it appears that I'm not going to go be able to go into much more detail than that: my ex has gone and made off with the thing (and doesn't seem to know what happened to it...yeah right!) because in all actuality it is ab-so-fuckin-loutely amazing! Comprised of bits and pieces of releases from 7"s and compilations, The Forgotten's Out of Print never once gets boring and is high energy and straight-up good fun from start to finish, quite a feat for an album with 18 tracks on it. Keep up the good work, boys!


review by Lucky Di Palma

Posted by Lucky at 5:32 PM

June 23, 2004

Royal Crown Revue - Greetings from Hollywood (Royal Crown Records)

By Lauren Isaacson

Greetings.gif Ten years is a long time for a band. Ten years is enough time for a reunion let alone an anniversary, and in that time slick haired musicians have exited stage left, tattoos of then girlfriends were regretted, new musicians have entered stage right, and skills have been honed.
Usually one has to have an entire catalog of a band's music in order to really hear the progression and maturity that only miles of touring and hours of shows can produce, but the gentlemen of Royal Crown Revue have given their fans a gift of sorts - an entire album of snapshots in the form of song showing their growth from beginning, to middle, to present.
The first five songs digitally remastered from a tape that they released in 1994 featuring an early (and surprisingly different) version of "The Contender." The next two songs were recorded in 1998 on separate occasions. "Come Fly With Me" with a seventeen piece big band and "Hey Santa" recorded for a local radio station's Christmas Album (I'm still waiting for a swinging version of "Dreidel Dreidel"). The last eight were recorded in 2003/2004 with the present set of members and features the jazz standards that have become favorites for those who often see their shows. "Sunny Side of the Street," "Too Young," "Come Back to Sorrento," and my personal favorite, a sassy version of the late great Ray Charles song, "Sick and Tired."
Not only do you now not have to sneak your digital recorder into the Royal Crown's next show, but also they have supplied us with a plethora of bonus features rivaling any special edition DVD. Previously unreleased photos, the video for "Watts Local," a short biography of the band, and a few other tids and bits.
Now I will leave you to ask the burning question of the hour - Hey! When's the new stuff coming out?!

Posted by xx - Ms. Lauren - xx at 9:31 PM

June 21, 2004

Butterfly Boucher - Flutterby (A&M Records)

By Lauren Isaacson

B0000AVHDE.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg I've had this CD sitting on my dresser for probably over two months now. Not because I didn't like it, just the opposite. Heck, I practically got down on my knees and begged Jen to let me review and I have no intention of selling it to the local second hand music store. It even has a permanent place on my CD ladder and my hard drive.
The reason(s) I have had so much trouble getting around to reviewing it is that it is a good album, and I am a procrastinator, and I'm having trouble coming to grips with the fact that I like an artist named "Butterfly Boucher." Really, what kind of name is that? It sounds like a female wrestler on La Lucha Va Voom.
I'm much better and being able to tell people why I don't like an album as opposed to why I do. But, I'll give it a try anyway:
This is the kind of CD a pair of well intentioned liberal parents would give their daughter before she left for college, along with a pack of condoms. My favorite song, "Another White Dash," is about the excitement of moving someplace new and starting all over with someone you love. Isn't that sweet? Then there's the New Agey tune about trees that dream of becoming boats and a bear that wants to become a poet's coat (wtf?!) called "A Beautiful Book." See what I mean? The perfect gift for that blossoming young woman about to make her mark on the world, or have sex for the first time; whichever comes first.
Sure the lyrics can get a little (or a lot) far out, but the tunes are solid and danceable, the rhythms are interesting, and Butterfly had a nice voice. Those elements combined make this worth an RIAA lawsuit. Download away!

Posted by xx - Ms. Lauren - xx at 8:49 PM

May 10, 2004

Waiting for Autumn - Now I Know Forever

by Ashley-Kiana

Waiting for Autumn - Now I Know Forever - American Jealousy Records

Waiting for AutumnI really like this band. I really like this album. I am sad that they are broken up.

I was finally going to review the band Waiting for Autumn so I left the CD on my coffee table. One Friday after a birthday party my friend came over. She looked at the CD and asked me why I had it. She then proceeded to tell me that she was a friend of the band. She also said she didnt like their music.

That was my little story for tonight. I do have to disagree with my friend though. I do like the bands music. That was really the whole point of my story.

Now on to more important things: Waiting for Autumn was a San Diego band. They are on American Jealousy Records. The band formed in 2002. They released their first album in October of 2002. The album, Now I Know Forever could be considered very typical, very clich but I like it. I know I didnt tell you anything about how the album actually sounds, which makes it mysterious. Now go make your own decisions.


Posted by Ms. Jen at 11:32 AM

Sunday Driver - A Letter to Bryson City

by Ashley-Kiana

Sunday Driver - A Letter to Bryson City Doghouse Records

Sunday DriverOne minute and two seconds of typing. This is how Sunday Driver starts off their album.

The Miami band, on Doghouse Records, came out with their first and only album during February of last year. The full length, A Letter to Bryson City, is composed of 12 tracks, 11 which are actual songs. The band recorded their full length outside of Miami in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.

Although Sunday Driver started playing the local Miami scene with emo and hardcore bands such as New Found Glory and Shai Hulud, the band itself does not fit into a specific mold of music. A Letter to Bryson City has a strong alternative rock feel to it; but the album goes back and forth between this and other music genres. The album is one of those albums that never gets taken out of your CD player. The music and the vocals cant really be separated because they wouldnt sound right individually. Aside from that factor, this album might follow bands, the All-American Rejects and the Get up Kids as the next big thing. Tracing Doghouse Records history of indie bands gone mainstream, A Letter to Bryson City might push Sunday Driver off the indie sector and into mainstream stardom.


Posted by Ms. Jen at 11:27 AM

May 9, 2004

Forces of Evil and The Weakerthans

Reviews by Brian Yaeger

Forces of Evil - Friend or FoE? - Jive

Forces of EvilIf thou doth think Forces of Evil (F.o.E.) soundeth too much like Reel Big Fish, thee hast hit it on thine head. Dont expect anything too creative or erudite (keep in mind, these songs spring from the same well that brought you Shes Got a Girlfriend Now), but it doesnt mean you cant skank to it. Replete with blue language, but self-aware enough to know that they shouldnt rhyme shit with shit, this is the feel-good retro 3rd Wave ska album you rude boys and girls have been craving. Featuring a gumbo of old school OC ska folk, FoE consists of Justin Evil (Jeffries Fan Club, Longfellow) on the drums, Chris Evil (JFC, the Specials) on t-bone, Derek Evil (JFC) bass, Jay Evil (the Scholars) on trumpet, Jonny Evil (Lone Raspberry) on the trombone and Aaron Evil (Reel Big Fish, The Scholars) singing guitaring. John Evil handles additional trumpet duty. While every track will make you wanna pick it up, the last ditty, Fight is the real driving force behind the album. Keep in mind these are the guys who abandoned ska and became Rock. Why do they Rock so hard? Not to mention all the rock tribs theyve been on and how theyre always going off about how metal they are. Anyway, they somehow talked Nsyncs and Britneys label into releasing the album, so kudos on their fight for the right to skank. Youre still better off seeing Fishbone at 14 Below or Malibu Inn.

Before I close this mutha out, it warrants lauding the recording efforts of the one who truly made this album possible, Dave Irish. If Mr. Barrett thinks he had half as much to do with the quality of this platter, he can meet me in the parking lot behind The Living Room in Goleta, where I first saw RBF for fi dolla, which is where theyd still be w/o Irish.

Weakerthans - Reconstruction Site - Epitaph
WeakerthansTo say that this CD surprised me is an understatement. My expectations were anything other than what was delivered. And what was delivered is a moving, poetic & jolting folk-rock album from John K. Sampson of Propagandhi notoriety. Dont let the occasional horns or voice modulation fool youthis is folk-rock. Folk fuckin rocknot this Dashboard Confessional emocore or Pete Yorn/Rufus Wainwright neo Americana. I mean, theyre Canadian. Maybe its Canadiana. It's not as twangy as No-Depression style bands like Sun Volt & not as rootsy as southern rock artists like Edwin McCain. The music comes from the man who was representin the militantly revolutionary punk outfit, Propagandhi, & the prairies of Central Canada's Manitoba, a mind & a place practically none of us can relate to. Sampson's lyrics have shifted away from pointing out the faults of society to the plights of individuals.

Despite my friend from the Great White North lambasting Sampson for singing I hate Winnipeg, hes got the right since he hails from up yonder. Whatever the case, hes a great lyricist, and hes in top form on this new batch. Add it to your collection.

AC/DC best
Beatles all (avoid doubles?)
Police all
Pixies all but Silver incl. Tribs
Set lists (see files)
Sugar & Spice
Covered & Smothered

Posted by Ms. Jen at 11:09 PM

Junkyard "Tried and True"

Review by Miss Kitty Kowalski

These guys woke up and figured out that the kids have been listening to punk rock for the last decade, becuase they issued this 6 song EP and put this incongruous image of a punk rock girl on the cover hoping it would sell to the fans of Brian Baker's current gig, but anyone who expects to hear punk rock on this disc will be sorely disappointed. Not that it's entirely bad - it's just classic Junkyard Sunset Strip circa 1987 rock without the cultural context. Not as silly and fun as Faster Pussycat, not as bombastic as the Crue, but you hear bits of tension trying to get through in "Fight". "Waste of Time" is the straightest hate fuck song I've ever heard. The title track is the power ballad that missed it's heyday, or the Black Crowe stole their slot. Speaking of incongruous,"Old #4" is a honky tonk standard with hair metal production, which makes it very Nelson, and I don't mean Willie. "Simple Man" is album filler, which is sorry, given that this is an EP. It seems as though Junkyard wanted to change musical direction within the span of six songs - from Monsters of Rock to Mavricks - and then gave up. I don't know if the Hot Topic set will get it, but it seems as though they'll buy anything sold in the right package nowadays.

Posted by Ms. Jen at 4:56 PM | TrackBack

The Descendents - " 'Merican"

Review by Miss Kitty Kowalski

The DescendentsWho writes a silly love song in punk form better than The Descendents? No one! (Except for ALL that is - ha ha). This one starts off with a simple little ditty "Nothing with You" which stands out in musicianship but the tune itself is something you've heard before. The bite comes back with "'Merican", a critique of how mean, white people have been shitty to just about everybody that's not mean and white. "Here with Me" is another love song, with the great chord changes, Bill Stevenson beats and song structure you've come to expect from classic Descendents. I'm sure lots of folks will take issue with "I Quit", but it's a great high-octane anger and bitterness-filled rant, and rightly so. Seems though everyone's cashing in on The Descendents' bit nowadays except for them. And as for "punk rock points", these guys have accumulated enough to buy and sell the "sell outs", but unfortunately, that don't pay the bills, kids. On tis EP, you have an older, wiser Descendents, and no worse for the wear, but must understand that they can't live on credibility alone and if you don't, they'll tell you. (p.s. The hidden track "It's a Lie" reflects that sorrow and fatigue).

Posted by Ms. Jen at 4:53 PM