Tunnel of Love
Rockin’ Rollin’ Bitches CD
Big Neck Records
Low fi and dreary and bluesy. Half Japanese meets Led Zeppelin? Feels awful just thinking about it. The first four songs made my daughter dance. The rest made her chew on the couch.
Sped up Black Sabbath riffs mixed with occasional dissonance. The phrase “thinking man’s bar band” comes to mind. But how many people get their best thinking done in a bar, right? So I figure I’m missing what these guys are dealing.
Shorthand for Epic
S/T CD EP
Shorthand for Epic look like they’re big on the school assembly circuit—bows, scarves, bright smiles and brighter sweaters. I was ready for loopy and quirky but the lyrics, well, let’s sample. “Nothing like an election year to drink yourself into a coma” (“My Own Private Weimar”); “I’ve stuck my fingers in the fan of a very fast machine/Now all I’ve got are bloody stumps/They’re spraying blood and smashing everything” (“Hamhands”). Not quite the feel-good, Up with People assembly I was expecting but I suppose everyone has to learn these lessons some day. Just don’t expect the PTA to foot the bill for this gig.
Harshing Your Mellow CD
Holy heaviness, Batman. I didn’t even know I had a mellow in need of harshing. Thanks, guys. I’m glad there are no lyrics for “Paul Reuben’s Theater” but I’m curious about “When I Am King I Will Spit on the Corpse of Ray Manzarek.” Alternative Tentacles traffics in a lot of metal these days.
The Art of Becoming One’s Own Shadow CD
Either these are outtakes from a John Doe solo record or it’s just more faceless corporate rock for the kids to embrace when they’re done with emo.
Bone Hauler CD
Tales of graves and embalmers, ghosts and ghouls. First impression: Tom Waits on a bender. Second impression: Marty Robbins on day 40 in the Sahara.
SUP: Ska + hardcore + a dash of metal = a path you’ve traveled before, except for the sax part during one verse which sounds like King Crimson, circa the first line up. The Destructors: I respect singers with little regard for meter. First band I’ve seen that listed their webmaster with the band credits.
Punk for Life: Vol. 2 and 3 CD
Run and Hide
In trying to figure out how many bands are on this compilation I feel like the person charged with estimating crowd numbers at a huge rally. There are 40 songs listed and getting an exact headcount is giving me a headache because so many bands have multiple tracks. If spending an afternoon awash in contemporary hardcore—singing along with Skate for Life, All Talk, and Are You Gonna Follow—then sign up, friends.
Nice’n’Ruff: Hard Soul Hits Vol. 1
It all comes down to Janis Joplin. If you dig her gravely wallop, then you’ll marvel at the way the DT’s find common ground in covers of AC/DC, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Booker T. Washington, and Roky Erickson. If not, they’ll come across like a talented but non-descript bar band.
Scan the images: skulls, spiders, bats. Skim the titles: “In Cold Blood,” “Ron Jeremy,” “Devil’s Rain.” Horror punk that sounds like the Misfits. No surprises given the cover and the song titles, but, to his credit, Scary Larry does a better Elvis than Danzig.