Heaps of reviews today. Some of these were written at the time the album arrived and some of them were written over this last week. Still, here we go with another batch of music that was sent in for review. Songs from these releases can be heard on the Long Gone Loser Rock Show. Enjoy!
AMERICAN UPRISE – “American Uprise” (Full On)
Once this 5 track EP started, I honestly thought I was watching the highlights from a WWE Pay Per View. It just had that sound. You know the one I mean and if you don’t, just watch the end to this years Royal Rumble and you’ll see what I mean. As people fly off the ropes, get put through tables and cop a Hurricarana from Rey Mysterio, this EP’s opener could very well serve as a soundtrack to such pre-determined violence. Once the second track, “She Gets What She Wants” (definitely the best track of the lot) kicks in with its big riffs, you’ll be startin’ brawls of your own in no time… but only within the confines of small bars in small towns in South Dakota instead of the squared circle. Unless of course you’re like me and don’t like violence… then you’re more likely to suck down a brews and headbang and air guitar in front of your stereo speakers while it blasts through at maximum volume (which I am sure I would do… if I drank beer, headbanged and hung up my Flying V for the much lighter kind). The third track, “You Already Know” rolls up and shades of WWE territory flash through my mind again and whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it will be hard to keep this from falling into the genre of progressive rock / metal like Nickelback (which I hate) and Drowning Pool (which I don’t mind). The EP’s 4th track, “Take Me Away” is possibly what Kyuss would sound like if Josh and Nick weren’t in the band but the dudes from Saliva were. Final track, “Long Ride” sounded familiar (could be a cover but I’m not sure) has a big groovin’ riff with off time drumming and chugga chug metal bits. Not a bad effort and I really think these guys should pursue Vince McMahon and push for some WWE airtime… or just sue the fuck out of Rev Theory for stealing their sound.
A YEAR TO REMEMBER – “Targets” (Boomtown)
Brisbane quartet playing emo melodic rock ala Saves The Day, Motion City Soundtrack, The Get-Up Kids and Mayday Parade (without the misogynistic lyrics) and I gotta say, it aint bad at all. Nice and catchy. Good singalong feel good songs of happiness and probably heartbreak. This EP is 6 songs of radio friendly, sugar coated, niceness and bad fringes… but it still rocks. I dig it and I will defend it’s sappyness til the death (OK, so maybe not that far but still). Try not to handclap along to the verses in “Bombs”. I’m definitely lookin’ forward to the album… if they record one.
BILLY GAZ STATION – “Skins And Licks” (Kicking Records)
I reviewed Billy The Kill’s solo album a bit aback and wasn’t heaps impressed by it. I mean, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t spectacular so I wasn’t sure what I was gonna think of this. His solo album was a bunch of acoustic numbers but this time, Billy Gaz Station is his rock band. I put the CD in the player and got started. I was hit with a bunch of hot licks and big riffs that bordered on metal crossed with punk. Nice! I really dig this album. The songs were a lot better written, the recording had balls, the vocals had good harmonies and it all fit together just right. The song structures would bounce from rock to punk to metal to power pop to even a hint of power ballad glam yet it all came under one umbrella of Billy Gaz Station. Nice work! Think Weezer meets The Wildhearts meets Fugazi meets 80’s rock. Yeah, I’m into it.
CRUD! – “Devil At The Wheel” (Sony / Megaforce)
Never heard of them before but this is Crud! An electronica rock outfit from Detroit that from looking at this bio, they’ve been all over the place, in movies, on TV, yet I just hear of them now. So what does this Crud! sound like? Well, you can file Crud! right next to the likes of Ministry, NIN, Rob Zombie and the first Marilyn Manson album. It’s the stuff you’d hear in those horror goth punk films or something. It’s interesting, not really my cup of tea but it’s ok. I was intrigued, that’s for sure. I think this album needs to be heard while fucking… and probably on drugs. Yeah, that’s what I reckon. Why do I think that? Cos of the beat, man! The groove, man! You dig? It’s jivin’ stuff. So put her on top, crank up the volume and grind away boys and girls. Added bonus: The hot chick on the cover gets 2 thumbs up.
DND – “Flow” (Amphead)
DND hail from London. They sound like they’re stuck in the 80’s playing indie rock with guitar licks drenched in that New Order-esque reverb. Pretty catchy upbeat rock, not really a big fan of this stuff but it’s not bad. The opener is a definite winner and a repeated listen has me finally realising who these guys sound a lot like, think how Eve 6 would have sounded in 1984. Yep, that fits perfectly. If you’re still lost and confused I’d suggest giving them a listen and coming up with a much more accurate description. I did, however, find 14 songs hard to sit through in one sitting. I am a Ramones fan after all.
HELLBATS – “Unleashed ‘N’ Alive” / “One Minute Suicide” (Kicking Records)
Dirty gritty punk n roll ala Peter Pan Speedrock, early Turbonegro, Speedealer and The Turbo AC’s which is a pretty damn fine mix if you ask me. Bordering on metal, these French motherfuckers of heavy rock power their way through 11 songs of sheer fury and regurgitated guts. Fuckin’ nice! Their addition of Anthrax riffs during their tune “Lost Indians (Revisited)” deserves a high five indeed. The opening track to “One Minute Suicide” (‘A Beautiful Death’) had me almost singing Turbonegro’s “This is my final warning!” If you like rock that packs a punch and doesn’t sound like the Hellacopters, this would be a fine and highly acceptable choice for dishing out your bucks. Both of these albums are really fuckin’ good. Nice and heavy, brutal shit and for a taster, head on over to http://www.myspace.com/hellbatsofficial and have a geezer at that.
HIPBONE SLIM AND THE KNEE TREMBLERS – “The Kneeanderthal Sounds Of” (Voodoo Rhythm)
When I first heard this band, I was hooked. I really liked their lo-fi dance hall sounds of rockabilly mixed with 50’s doo-wop and guitar twang. I was all over their previous works and this one is up to scratch and a damn fine album to boot. If you like groovin’ and eatin’ pizza with your dame and then headin’ to a drive-in for some neckin’ finishing with a night at inspiration point to consummate your relationship, this band is for you. I can vouch for their greatness. Have I ever been wrong before? Of course not. This is the shit! And there’s a song called “Dig That Grave!” which reminds me of that scene in The Young Ones episode “Nasty” where the old woman asks Neil who is holding a spade, “Excuse me, do you dig graves?” and he replies “Yeah, they’re not bad actually”. Classic! I guess you have to see it. Still, I loved this album.
HOUSE VS HURRICANE – “Forfeiture” (El Shaddai / Amphead)
They call this band ‘cinematic hardcore’… and yeah, I am just as confused as you are. This band was a hard nut to crack. It was all over the shop. We’d get screamo hardcore, metal and rock riffs and keyboards n stuff with emo singing / crying and then all of a sudden, it’d break out into techno drum beats. I was like ‘huh?’ and after 7 songs, I was still thinking the same thing. It’s weird. Like this is definitely moving forward with the whole crossover of genres thing but that techno shit has gotta go. Or maybe it doesn’t. I dunno, I can see how it works but this band is just insanely chaotic and a tough one for me to get into but I will say that they have put it together quite well. It’s like Alesana or Poison The Well gone keyboards and hippity hop. I didn’t start breakdancing though. After repeated listens, I’m afraid that the jury’s out on this one cos I’m still fuckin’ confused. Listen to it yourself on Myspace or something and make up your own mind. Please note: LGL takes no responsibility if you decide on wearing neon colours, dropping acid and dancing on the spot to Commodore 64 sound effects after indulging in ‘Forfeiture’.
KILL TEEN ANGST – “Kill Teen Angst” (Good Cop Bad Cop / Inertia)
This 5 tracker from Perth’s melodic noisemongers have taken the harmonies from the likes of the Archers of Loaf, taken some timing lessons from Fugazi and throw the whole bloody lot into a mixer with oldschool emo power popsters like Knapsack and Samiam. This experiment in home economics has them developing a style so unique and cool that KTA might actually just become one of my favourite bands this year. For those keeping score at home, they used to be called Ten Speed Racer who I must say, I had never heard before but that’s not really important cos the fact that Kill Teen Angst have released a superb offering to the world of music is enough to have you heading to the record store tomorrow to get a copy of this, their debut EP. I predict big things for these guys… unless of course they break up, then that would be a real shame cos this is some good shit. You should own this.
LAME EXCUSE – “Life. Like. Wild.” (Self-Released / Amphead)
No doubt lumped in to the emo pile (which I can’t do cos the photo of them is obscured and I can’t see their fringes and let’s not be judgemental here), these dudes play melodic rock with a tinge of punk. Lotsa big harmonies, nice catchy radio friendly music that probably doesn’t get played on the radio, but I like it. I know nothing about these guys other than they play catchy tunes and they recorded some of this at a place called Ginger Ninja’s Lair. How fuckin’ cool is that? I wanna record there. If you listen to Burzum and the sounds of, in the words of Ryan Adams, “romantic black metal”, I can assure you now, you’ll probably hate this. It’s very Alkaline Trio and at times crosses paths with Bodyjar (especially on the song ‘Wicked Witch’) so much in fact that I had to double check to see if Bodyjar’s Cameron Baines was making guest appearances without telling me. The likeness is uncanny. The only real difference is that Nursery Crimes’ Phil Rose didn’t write the song for them (as he does all the best Bodyjar tunes). Regardless, Lame Excuse… good tunes. I like it.
LAUREN HARRIS – “Calm Before The Storm” (Demolition)
It’d be way too easy to pick on hot-body Lauren Harris’ rise to fame and glory, what, with her being Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris’ spunkrat of a daughter so I am just gonna be honest here. I went to see Iron Maiden in February 2008 when they toured with Lauren in tow as a support and all my friends were like “She sucks” and I doubt they’d even heard her music. I know I hadn’t heard a single song and her album wasn’t released til June that same year so they couldn’t have been able to judge her by her music either. But being the loyal friend that I am, I hung around with my mates and missed her gig as support band to her father’s heavy metal extravaganza. I then headed to Sydney to see Iron Maiden again, 2 days later. When we got to the venue I decided to not hang out in the bar but to go in and actually witness Lauren live in concert. I mean, I had paid for the ticket, and I don’t drink anyway, so why not, eh? And do you know what? I liked it. I kicked myself, just silently, I might add, for missing her set at the Melbourne show and forgave myself quickly so I could then thoroughly enjoy her Sydney set. And I did, muchly. Time had passed and one day her album appeared in the mail for me to review. I threw it on and listened with open ears and bust this… again, I liked it. Let’s be honest here, the lyrics are pretty crappy but then again, she’s not out to change the world or get all political on ya. The music is melodic hard rock with some cool riffs and some top guitar solos. She’s not the world’s best singer but hey, either is Courtney Love and people dig her bigtime. Lauren Harris’ debut album is 12 tracks of catchy rock that I found myself doing some major toe tapping to. She sings about broken hearts and getting over them, fucking her ex, being a woman whose living life and rockin’. And quite simply, it’s fun. Don’t compare it to the works of her father cos there’s no match and you won’t be happy. Besides, they’re 2 totally different styles of music. Lauren’s a party girl and her music shows she’s just here to have a good time. Works for me. Give her a go. Don’t be all ‘that guy’ and refuse to give her a chance cos you’re too tough to have an open mind. “Calm Before The Storm” is a decent debut and I bet her next album will be a lot better now that she’s toured all over the world, caused a kafuffle, and tasted the rock n roll lifestyle (all under dad’s watchful eye).
LES ANNEES – “Les Annees” (Off The Hip)
I have to be honest here; I was really put off by this album’s cover art. It’s not flash, in fact it’s actually quite boring and there is no reason why I would pick this album to have a look at if it wasn’t sent for review. So I put the disc in and was greeted with psychedelic wig-out rock! Wow, this is cool! The cover’s misleading but this album is great! Reminds me a lot of The Black Angels; a psyche band from Austin, which is cool cos they are one of my favourite discoveries from the last 3 years. It’s fuzzed out melodic pop with organs and slow drum beats. This album would sit nicely in the genre now known as ‘shoe gaze’ and that’s not a bad thing. Really into this! Seriously, fans of the Black Angels take note. You’ll be all over this one. Some albums should only be released on wax… this is most definitely one of those albums. A must-have album for your collection.
MOVIE STAR JUNKIES – “A Poison Tree” (Voodoo Rhythm)
The Movie Star Junkies aren’t the best band on the VR roster but they’re still alright by me. They’re like a 60’s fuzz band and whilst I do like that, this may sound trivial and possibly even pathetic to those pro-digital peeps, but I find that a CD ruins the vibe of this band’s style. They’re definitely a vinyl band cos the clean sound of the CD I feel removes the sonic effect that these cats need to be heard in; the way they were supposed to be. Does that make any sense? I just found the flat digital sound of the CD kinda gave it a drab effect, if you know what I mean. Also, the songs themselves are not instant winners for me, even though I liked them. I just had to play the album a few times before I clicked with it. I really liked the song “The Walnut Tree” although I don’t know why, I just thought it was a good one. These dudes sound kinda drunk, or stoned, or both. Still, it’s alright.
NEWTONHEATH – “Come Together And Unite” (Self-Released)
Kinda like Bodyjar meets Mere Theory. It falls into that bucket; melodic and poppy punky and a bit emo. Not bad though, the opening track was a bit repetitive but the album picked up although none of the songs made me go “yeah, fuckin’ awesome!” and shake my fist in the air or kick out the jams. It was just an album of melodic music. Nothing more, nothing less. Interesting that they’re from Adelaide and I had never heard of them. It shows that I am truly slipping in what’s happening within the music scene these days in my old hometown. Either that or I am just getting old. Probably the latter.
PERIAH – “Conversations” (Amphead)
Heavy riffage rock that borders on metal but it’s put here and not in the metal reviews cos it doesn’t fall into traditional metal but yeah, it’s classed as metal. This is more like screamo hardcore metal. I think musically these guys are gifted but the vocals I found pretty bland. Like there’s no life in them. It may just be me being old but I dunno, the singing is a bit flat (although yes, he does sing a lot better than me). Periah are clearly influenced by Budd, The Mark of Cain, anything Steve Albini has touched, and maybe that band Cog and they absolutely deliver the goods musically… it’s just the vocals. They didn’t grab me.
SIXTYNINERS – “Too Drunk To Truck” (Voodoo Rhythm)
Hilarious country music about truck drivin’, live stock and any other Southern cliché you can fit into one album. This two-piece feed deliver it all, probably in the back of a pick-up truck with a gun rack in the back. I loved it. From the moment the album kicked off with the title track, I was smiling. Probably cos of the ridiculousness of the play of words on the Dead Kennedys track, but this ain’t no Blowfly re-working, no, this is a 100% original number. If you love country and blues played by punk rockers, you are gonna love this one. Put your hair in a quiff, shoot some squirrel, live in a caravan park and eat at a topless diner with the sixtyniners!
SONIC’S RENDEZVOUS BAND – “Live, Masonic Auditorium, Detroit, January 14th, 1978” (Alive / Shock)
This live album by post-MC5 rock n rollers, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, is a raw as fuck, ass kickin’, sonic assault on your ears in every way that you’d want your ears to be assaulted. Led by guitar shredder and MC5 co-founder, the late Fred “Sonic” Smith, this here is 7 tracks of wailin’ solos and real rock n roll. Listening to this, you can definitely see where those first 2 Hellacopters albums found their inspiration. This shit is real and it’s fuckin’ awesome. The set finishes off with their Detroit anthem and contender for one of the greatest songs ever written in the history of music, “City Slang”. This is from a time when guitars were not just instruments, but weapons that could fuel a full scale attack for a rock n roll war. It mattered then and it matters now. If you aren’t listening, you’re wasting your time and you should start asking yourself if anything you say is valid. And to be honest, it probably isn’t. Personally, I hate live albums for the most part but this album sounds so good, it’s like it takes you there. Front row centre. Oh and just like the CD says, play at maximum volume. Fred “Sonic” Smith, the musician of the 20th century, may he rest in peace.
STARK – “The Curse” (self-released)
Stark are a band from New York City. Their singer is a hot and spunky punk chick named Lani Ford who spends her evenings reading the news on some TV station and when she ain’t doing that, she’s fronting Stark. A band that, sad to say it, have no guts. Like there’s just no ball tearing rockers on here and the recording is all just so bland and generic. She swears a bit though and has some confronting lyrics but the music just goes nowhere and I was left feeling quite bored. Good looks just aren’t enough when it comes to rock n roll.
THE BLACKLIST – “Total Blacklist” (Drugbust Records)
Do you like the Hookers and Zeke? If so, meet your new favourite band. Melbourne’s The Blacklist play metal as fuck hate punk and you’re gonna punch the fuck out of random cunts once you get strung out on this, their second album. There’s no stopping once the 3 guitar rock n roll train gets started, a head-on collision of brutality, guitar solos and sluts. Sex, violence, blood and guts. It’s all here and you know you want it. There’s also a nice cover of Gang Green’s “Alcohol” which, even if a gazillion other bands have covered it previously, it doesn’t matter cos it’s a great tune. Real heavy ballsy stuff that is well worth your dole money. Guarenteed to make you unpopular with the ladies but knee deep in whores. Nice!
THE BLACK ZOMBIE PROCESSION – “Mess With The Best, Die Like The Rest” (Kicking Records)
There was a band called Franky Lee that were reviewed in LGL #13 and for a moment, I thought this was their second album. Yeah, the similarities are uncanny. But that’s cool cos that Franky Lee album is awesome. The difference here is these guys are French, not Swedish and the songs are about horror movies and Franky Lee’s weren’t. Really cool metal riffage played by a pop punk band with lots of melodic vocals and harmonic guitar licks. I will say that 55 minutes was a long album to get through especially since I am used to 38 minute albums due to my love for vinyl, but thankfully the songs are rockin’ enough to get you through. Mention must be made of the fantastic cover art by Ed Repka; the mastermind behind Megadeth’s iconic ‘Rattlehead’ and many other classic metal album covers. Way cool!
THE DANGEROUS SUMMER – “Reach For The Sun” (Hopeless)
From the moment opening track, “Where I Want To Be” kicks in, you’re immediately drawn to it’s infectious harmonies and catchy jangly guitar hooks. With guitar stylings similar to UK artists like New Order and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin crossed with the punk rock inspirations of the Alkaline Trio and Jimmy Eat World, The Dangerous Summer deliver an album of sweet melodies to make every emo girl add love hearts to each side of her username on Myspace faster than you dyed your hair black after seeing Refused’s “New Noise” video. Yeah, admit it, we all know you did that. Anyway, there are 11 tracks on this debut and each one is good enough to make it on to your iPod. Well, that is, if you like emo-ish styled music… of course. I’m impressed though and I couldn’t care less if you agree with me or not.
THE JOYSTIX – “…And Joystix For All” (Self-Released)
Hungarian punk rock n roll! These guys smoke! They clearly wear their influences on their sleeve and there aint nothing wrong with that. Think Hanoi Rocks, Backyard Babies, the Ramones, New York Dolls, etc. and you’ll get the idea. I really dig them. Cool and catchy with a fun attitude. Vocalist / Guitarist, Blondie (no, not Debbie), was once a band called The Suckerstarz who I have an EP of and that rocked too. He knows what he’s doing and if you love the bands we write about here, you’ll be right into these cats. This is their second album and it’s a winner. And I am even gonna overlook the fact that “Handful Of Hate” sounds so much like Kid Rock’s “I Am The Bullgod”. Why? Cos I actually like that KR song. Yeah, true story. But I also like The Joystix and you should to.
THE SHIMMYS – “Brunettes On The Rocks” (Off The Hip)
Remember The Pandoras before they went glam rock and released an album called “Stop Pretending”? Well think what an album would sound like if the next album after that came out before The Muffs first record. Confused yet? Well don’t be. It’s a trio of chicks playing garage rock with fuzz and groove. I really got into these gals when I heard their previous album and this, their last as the band have sadly called it a day, is their finest of the 2 I have heard. Kickin’ off with a cover of The Saucermen’s “Danger Boy”, you’ll be groovin’ instantly and there’ll be no stoppin’ the bop ‘til you drop. A really damn good album of fun and non-stop knee high boots and short skirt lovin’. The retro cover art reminds me of a Shag painting and this album comes on glorious vinyl for the audiophiles amongst us. I likey!
UNCUT WHITE NOISE – “Uncut White Noise” (High Voltage / Amphead)
These Melbourne guys cover GOD’s ‘My Pal’ on this very EP. If you’re not hip to that tune then you need some schoolin’. It’s one the great Aussie rock anthems that should have been bigger than the Tatts ‘We Can’t Be Beaten’. UWN’s version isn’t the best but it’s respectable. I mean, how can you better something that’s already the best? You can’t but these guys gave it an honourable try. More importantly though, these guys deliver 4 originals that scrub up nicely as well. It’s gritty, dirty, and smells like a sweaty bar full of drunken derro’s… kinda like The Tote; the greatest rock venue on the planet. Awesome. One of the tracks, “2 bad If It’s 2 Loud” was once a Stiff Meat song but Matt joined these cats and brought it with him after SM went bust. Cool riffage. If you like bar fightin’ punk rock n rollage, then get this EP on High voltage (that rhymed). You’ll be punchin’ out dudes, bigtime.
URBAN JUNIOR – “Two Headed Demon” (Voodoo Rhythm)
If Voodoo Rhythm is known for one thing, it’s the discovery of the many one-man bands across the globe and he’s found another in Urban Junior. A dude who plays every single instrument you can think of… sometimes all at the same time. This dude is one talented soul and this album is a collection of one-take wonders. That’s right, this dude lays it down in 1 go with no overdubs or retakes. Filled with quick catchy numbers, Urban Junior’s third album is a good time fun record of dance numbers that should be spilling out of jukebox’s in pizza parlours around the world. Hell, if I owned such a pizza parlour, I’d make sure this was crankin’. The bio calls it “Swiss-Spankin-Electro-Trash-Garage-Boogie-Disco-Blues-Punk!” and if that isn’t a Dr Seuss tongue twister than I’ll eat green eggs and ham, mate! I love this record. Can’t wait to buy this on wax cos this CD needs that extra groove that only the warmth on an LP can bring. I love this album. One of my favourites so far for 2010. Hell yeah!
VANITY INK – “More Senseless Random Behaviour” (Swedmetal Records)
Female fronted Finnish hard rockers, Vanity Ink, are back with their second album and you know what? It’s good, baby! Following on from 2007’s “On Your Skin”, these guys have grown in leaps and bounds and their songs are right up there, in your face, and they have delivered a balltearer with this new slab. Nice gutsy guitars that pack a decent punch and crunch and some nice solos to boot. It’s ballsy, it’s bluesy, it’s hard rock as fuck. Think Hardcore Superstar, latter day Hanoi Rocks, The Wildhearts, Backyard Babies, etc. except fronted by a cute chick. Yeah, you got it. Vocalist Annabella sounds like she can tear up a storm on the stage and break your heart in the bedroom, always a good combination for fucked up rock n roll. Hell yeah, love it! Granted there are a couple of tracks where you think “why would you put that bridge / chorus there?” but with the right producer (Mike Clink, for example), these cats could be dishing up their own Appetite For Destruction in no time. Check them out at http://www.myspace.com/vanityink and see what I mean.