Wednesday, June 16, 2010
POWDERED LOBSTER FIASCO is a charming 10-song compilation that collects, among other things, six songs that were included on a series of singles released on three different indie labels, "Hear No Evil," "Speak No Evil" and "See No Evil." Unfortunately, the album doesn't contain the John Hegley poems of those titles, which were read by the author and gave the series its thematic unity. However, that's the album's only flaw, and POWDERED LOBSTER FIASCO is an otherwise brilliant album. By the time of this 1993 compilation, the quartet had perfected a brilliant synthesis of '60s-inspired psych-pop and '80s-style indie guitar jangle. The sound yielded playful gems like the intoxicating "Outside Your Inside," the breathless "I Can See Your House From Up Here," and more sedate tunes like "Snapdragon," "We Thought We'd Got to Heaven," and "Charms and the Girl."
The Dentists - Powdered Lobster Fiasco - CD on Homestead Records
Jughead's Revenge (or Jugg's Revenge) is a now defunct American punk rock band from Los Angeles, California. The band formed in early 1989 and played their first show in November of that year. The original line-up consisted of Joe Rimicci (guitar), George Snow (guitar), Brian Priess (bass), and Joe Doherty (vocals) and Nenus Givargus (Drums). The line up remained the same through the bands first tour with NOFX and a tour in Europe. The original line up recorded the bands first 45 and first two CDs. After Nenus and George left the band, Jughead's Revenge went through many line-up changes. Doherty, Rimicci and Priess remained permanent members until the end.
Jughead's Revenge - Pearly Gates - Cassette tape on Nitro Records
The Minutemen were an American punk rock band formed in San Pedro, California in 1980. Comprising guitarist D. Boon, bassist Mike Watt and drummer George Hurley, the Minutemen recorded four albums and eight EPs before Boon's unexpected death in December 1985. They were noted in the Californian punk rock community for a philosophy of "jamming econo": a sense of thriftiness reflected in their touring and presentation.
Minutemen - Joy - 3 Inch CD single on SST Records
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The band was formed back in 1995. when a few young doom metal fanatics decided to form, what later becomes the biggest Croatian Metal band of all times, Ashes You Leave. After recording two demos, Ashes You Leave attracted attention from record labels and decided to sign for Morbid Records from Germany. That deal led to release of their debut album "The Passage Back to Life". Although seemingly opus dedicated to their childhood heroes like My Dying Bride, this album is considered by many as THE classic doom metal album that will stand the test of time and have its place into doom metal's Hall of Fame if one was ever to be created. Since they were full of ideas and energy it took them only a year to release the second album "Desperate Existence". This was clearly a step forward from their doom roots and is widely considered (and deservedly so) as the darkest AYL record ever (hence the title). With already established huge fan base throughout world, AYL had a great expectations from their 3rd album "The Inheritance of Sin and Shame" and it proved to be a milestone in their career. Not only that it simply swept most of the reviewers of their feet, not only that it outsold its predecessors, it gave the band their first taste of foreign stages as AYL embarked on their virgin European tour. Finally the fans had a chance to witness the band in live situation. And most of them were surprised by the ferocity and heaviness that hit them. After the release of "The Inheritance of Sin and Shame" AYL faced potentially huge problem. Their long time singer Dunja was unable to be a part of the band anymore and AYL started a search for a new singer. They were very fortunate to find Marina, young and extremely talented vocalist. She was a member of the Croatian female choir Putokazi and settled nicely into the band. Fans were waiting passionately to hear the new voice of AYL and were stunned when "Fire" was released. There was hardly a person who didn't put Marina among the top female singer of a genre. Big success of the album opened some new doors for the band and AYL have finally stepped on some of the biggest stages in the Europe, performing on festivals like Summer Breeze (with Dimmu Borgir, Paradise Lost), Metal Female Voices (with Nightwish, Epica) or Wave Gothic Treffen (with Moonspell, My Dying Bride). Their performance on WGT is widely recognized as one of the best gothic metal performance in years and they ended as the only metal band beside Moonspell who had to play an encore because of the fans demand. Release of "Fire" album meant the end of one part of AYL career. It was obvious that Morbid records, firmly stucked into death metal scene, could no longer be a home for AYL. Therefore the band decided not to renew their contract but rather search for a new label. After 4 years of songwriting AYL were ready to record their 5th album. Before the recording process started one rather hard and painful had to be taken. Vocalist Marina decided to pursue her singing education abroad and left the band with no option but to quickly find a replacement for her. Luckily it took them virtually no time at all to discover 18 years old Tamara and offer her to become a member of the band. With the line up completed AYL have entered the studio in March 2006. The new album is now finished and is scheduled for 2007.
Ashes You Leave - The Passage Back To Life - Doom metal CD on Pavement Records
The three gentlemen in the band called Angst had definitely done their rock & roll homework when they made this album, and they knew the elements that mix to make a great three-minute song. This mix of up-tempo pop with elements of country twang and punk energy has an innocence and enthusiasm that makes the album timeless. The bluesy organ work on the slow-burning cover of "Motherless Child" could have come from any Steppenwolf album, and there's a hint of Mersey in the harmonies of "Time to Understand." There are some clinkers among the stellar tracks, but even those are rather endearing; "My Dinner With Debbie" is a love song to a woman who is a good cook, and it sounds like it was written and recorded by a band who had missed several meals. Overall, Cry for Happy is a marvelous work of pop craftsmanship that has three or four pieces that should've been at least minor hits. Listen to the hook-laden perfection of "I Could Never Change Your Mind" or "Long Road" and listeners will find themselves wondering what the radio programmers were listening to that was half this good.
Angst - Cry For Happy - CD on SST Records
Originating in Richmond, VA and signed to an experimentally minded SST records in the late '80s, the Alter-Natives were a flute and sax led improv-esque quartet that received high marks for their instrumental brand of noise. Both 1986's Hold Your Tongue and 1988's Group Therapy were based around this set up, but 1989's Buzz scaled back the flute and sax for a more traditional set up, using the old favorites: drums, bass, and guitar. As a strange aside, the Alter-Natives also carried within their ranks an early member of cartoon metal crazies, GWAR. Drummer Jim Thompson played with the foam-padded pariahs until 1987 as Hans Sphincter (later changed to Hans Orifice).
The departure of saxophonist Eric Ungar from the Alter-Natives changed the band's sound in more ways than just the loss of an instrument. On Buzz, the group turned from a jazzy sound to one with more connections to progressive and space rock, albeit an unusually concise, powerful, and disciplined version of those genres. Only "Blackhole" gets a bit self-indulgent with the guitar noise during the extended middle section, and even that is more than compensated for by the way the band pulls together for the last few minutes of the track and returns to the delicate main theme. Buzz is an excellent album with inspired playing and some memorable tunes; it's a shame it was the last release from the band.
Alter-natives - Buzz - CD featuring members of Gwar on SST Records