What Kind of Animal
Review by Sean Ross
The Experiments latest and free album What Kind of Animal quickly asserts itself as pop-punk teeming with classic sounds familiar to the tortured underage urban wanderers of the late seventies and early eighties—only, much tighter and impressive, more now. Songs are replete with stylized guitar punctuations, absurdly succinct and punchy drum fills, snappy bass lines, and lyrics like saccharine in a raw sugar world. The ménage of experienced players from both the left and right coasts, have slid beyond the slop and discord inherent in the grittier times of punk and pop, but not without tribute—there is an inherent raw flake to the album reminiscent of younger times as these guys exact spontaneity and verve out of middle age with a shiftiness that’ll make hell on manic depressives trying to figure out their meds—uncertain as they are, whether to be angry or not. What Kind of Animal takes the freedom to change whenever it wants and likes it, and the resulting signature shifts and sharp melodic turns keeps listeners wary of monotony, and any impresario of ennui will have to consign to some placid balm far away from this staccatoed free album. But it doesn’t matter whether the mast lists this way or that in the sea of the Internet where you’ll find this group of lasting punk rockers’ free album, because your attention will be on the music and not whether a song will satisfy your Ambien depraved souls—it will keep you awake and rocking. And albeit I know any good steed wants to get laid on Friday night, as the lyrics portend, I was left wanting a little more strife and turmoil in this free album, a little more exposé of the looming human condition. But what the hell! This is The Experiments and it’s their latest free album. And it’s free. Free. Did I mention that it’s free? Go online and find it at theexperiments.com. ~SR
Minus Head Records
Reviewed by Kent Manthie
Sacramento-based ethereal-rockers Eight-Four-Seven have been doing it with style and verve since 2002, when their debut EP, Everlasting came out. Well, eight years later and they’re still going strong, with their new CD, Lossless. This is a hard to define work. It’s definitely not “pop”, not “metal”. “Alternative” is a vague enough term to define it though. The title track is a 5 ½ minute masterpiece of space-jam, pill-popping on a sunny day-mellowness. “Quaalude” is one of the more edgier, harder pieces here, not unlike Nine Inch Nails, say. It starts out with a big scream and an overall metal tinge to it – maybe they should’ve called it “Benzedrine”. But it’s good in that it helps to mix things up a bit. It’s a pretty diverse CD – one hears a little NIN here and there, a bit of Tool, even a touch of Radiohead. Still, besides the title track, “Monsters of Metropolis” is another stand-out tune. A little mellower, maybe even too close to “emo” for comfort, but there you are; it is, like some of the other tracks, reflective and it’s about the closest they come to “pop” – but, like I said, it’s all part of an overall diverse sound. Then there’s Automaton, another edgy, but not metal song – think: Filter, Jane’s Addiction(?) Eight-Four-Seven: they’re not bad, but, of course, the ultimate test is playing live, so wake me when they come to town! -KM
Reviewed by Kent Manthie
Listening to Bad Vibrations, the new CD by Mr. Buck Gooter you hear the duality of style here, between Buck’s caterwauling, cacophonous railing; screaming, snarling, gnashing and whatnot; this over some music that is not of the same ilk of the vocals. The tunes are rockin’ brainy, syncopated sprawling with a hint of jazz technique thrown in.
One can’t help thinking about what exactly you’d call this stuff. Is it a parody of white-trash, trailer park life, a punk-rock free-style or some sort of crypto-intellectualizing with a ciphered message. Whatever the intention, there is one definite that pops out at you: after the tunes get rolling, you develop an involuntary head-bobbing, arm-shaking, foot-stomping reaction from it.
Like the tracks “Keep it Real” or “Dead Soldiers” or maybe even “12 Angry Men”, the Goot brings it on home for those kids who dig the newest of new styles and the most outré rock ‘n’ roll outlets. Anything that will piss off or alienate their parents or older folks – teachers, friends’ parents or any other type of authority figure is what becomes popular among the youth in any generation. This isn’t any new trend, it goes back all the way to the swing sounds and early jazz of the 1920s, when the carefree kids, sons and daughters of stiff, upper crust and uptight adults who were running the world in business and/or politics. Today the stuff of such rebellion and faux-angst constantly gets pushed further and further afield, so as to alienate the senses of the most people over 30 as possible. In this, Buck Gooter is part of that pack. In this too, it’s not about musical virtuosity or poetic lyricism but rather clever tunes that both rattle and under the yelling and ranting, there are words that tether the Goot to the young. In the more subtle, twangy punk-jazz jig drivers, it will appeal not only to punks with bones through their heads but to clever, smart kids that like to let loose after a day of calculus and advanced literature classics classes.
The best part about the Buck Gooter experience is what would transpire in the live shows he puts on. One can imagine going to see one’s favorite band at a cool, dark and cavernous club downtown somewhere and then before the main event, onto the stage comes Buck Gooter and company, wherein they go into a ½ hour to 45 minute set of fast, loose and LOUD songs, one after the other with no breaks in between songs, just cramming as many cuts as they can before they get the hook –KM
Reviewed by Kent Manthie
The dark side of the brew, huh – the eponymous CD from Cheater Pint is a fresh breath of musicality. The cleverness of the CD cover design tells one that this quartet, two guys, two gals, have a sense of humor and are not too overly serious about their art, which makes it all the more attractive. Cheater Pint lay things out as they see them and then, as they express their feelings and observations, inject an effusiveness that goes well with their unique brand of irresistibly raw, non-nihilistic punk rock.
After releasing 2 EPs and one single, Cheater Pint have released a self-titled LP full of brash pop-core, to coin a phrase. Two songs that stand out are “Self- Medication” and “Three Sizes Too Small,” both songs are great examples of what to expect from the rest of the CD. The music is upbeat, power-pop; a swirling guitar & bass-driven indie-rock; danceable rock ‘n’ roll with a juxtaposition of introspective lyrics and extroverted music. Cheater Pint, not unlike the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion or Superchunk irresistibly make both performers and audience alike jump up and down and shake all around. To find out more about these cats, go to: http://www.cheaterpint.com – KM
The Triple EP
Reviewed by Kent Manthie
The Triple EP is a package of three EPs that Creepy has recorded over the last four years, starting with the most recent stuff first.
The first three tracks are brand new, recorded for this CD, tracks 4-8 are from “The Gloom” EP recorded in 2005 and tracks 9-13 comprise the “Hungry Like the Wolf” EP from 2003. Listening to the entire CD, it gets less refined as you go backwards in time, the more recent stuff sounding more pop-rock, but the “Hungry Like the Wolf” EP is the most raw and has a punk ethos that seems to get less and less so as the years go by and they mellow with age.
These three EPs, released together, also act as a sort of history lesson for those not schooled in Creepy’s past and the music they put out in the past decade. Although, you would think, like in most similar cases, they’d put the old stuff on first and end with the new stuff, it’s done in the opposite way here, the new stuff starts off and it ends with their old stuff. Either way, it’s a good sampling of their better songs from the past 8-10 years.
Their first EP definitely is the rawest, most “punk-rock” of the three, “The Gloom” EP is a bit less so and by the time they recorded their latest set of tunes they’ve mellowed out and have settled into a power-pop sound. Listening to Creepy, one recalls bands like Bad Religion and AFI. Creepy have a sound that was really cool on their first EP but over time melds with the myriad power-pop bands out there that are diluting the rock scene.
Saustex Media Presents:
A Town South of Austin Vol. 2
Various Artists, Saustex Media, 2010
Reviewed by Kent Manthie
On March 20th of this year a string of bands from the Austin area got together and played a show at the Habana Bar in Austin, TX. To promote the show or the bands or both, Saustex Media put together this 12-song CD by all the bands that played that night – unfortunately, this isn’t a recording of the concert itself, which would be great to hear, if a copy was made (you can get in touch with me via Reviewer) of the show, I’d love to get one. Anyway, as it is, this is a CD that features two songs each by six different Saustex bands. They all have that Texas twang to them, some more than others, but it nonetheless rocks!
It starts off with two cuts from Hans Frank Glambilly. A funny name and a funny band – the songs are hilarious. It’s a mixture of punk, hillbilly country and psycho-rock-a-billy. Next up are two songs from Mitch Webb and the Krayolas. Their first track, “Alex” is all right, but a little bland. Their next song, “Find A Girl” is where the “West Side Horns” come in – this one’s a little more catchy and the horn section really helps too. After them meet De Los Muertos, a Spanish-singing punk-a-billy band, Mexican style. They put in two songs, fast & furious, and to tell you the truth, the faster they get done the better, for it’s not that great, whether it was in Spanish or English. The last two bands are pretty good – I’d love to see ‘em both play live – I wish I did live in Austin – it would sure be better than San Diego which sucks, then I would’ve gone to the show for sure, for I know that there is some good nightlife in Austin, it being a college town and forever immortalized in the film Slacker. Anyway, Pinata Protest and Boxcar Satan each throw their two cents’ worth in and the latter is a really good band and finishes up the CD in style. Next out is Saustex’s joint project with Sauspop, which shouldn’t be hard, since it sounds like they’re the same company. Anyway, I just received another compilation CD with another 12 songs – this time it’s 3 cuts each by 4 different bands, but more on that in the review…-KM