Saturday, February 18, 2012

Heat From A Dead Star - Seven Rays of The Sun

Heat From a Dead Star, “Seven Rays of The Sun”,  (2009)
(Ace of Hearts)

A game of pin the tail the donkey involving London based French experimental art-rock trio Heat From a Dead Star would be a tough proposition judging from the band’s music.  Stylistically, they are nearly all over the show ranging from noisy and chaotic, jazzy with piano on “Gallows” to the quiet 80’s Flying Nun roster jangly indie pop on “Daylight”.  There’s a harsh late 80’s Sonic Youth guitar sound in “Messy Kid” with vocals ranging from quiet off-key sung pieces to manic shouting.  “Seahorse Seafish” is sparse vocally letting the guitar sound shimmer and shine.  “Psychotic Girl” and “Craving” rapidly chug along with Fugazi-esque industrial rythms.   The album’s guitar work often begs for and captivates listener attention over and above the other instruments.  There are moments of brilliance on “Seven Rays of The Sun” but the movement in various directions is a definite handicap as Heat From a Dead Star currently lacks any genuine focal point.


Heat From a Dead Star on myspace

Heat From a Dead Star on facebook

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bob Log - My Shit is Perfect

Bob Log III,  “My Shit is Perfect”, 2009
(Voodoo Rhythm)

A couple of years ago I attended a punk festival and the show was stolen from all of the four on the floor bands by a guy who called himself, Boss Christ, who had huge wolfman sideburns and played a slide guitar laid out on a table.  Someone at the show compared him to Bog Log although admitting their schtick differed slightly so I checked out some live clips on Youtube and then promptly forgot about the flight helmet wearing, slide guitar playing lo-fi one-man band that is Bob Log.   So when this reminder in album form popped up in my review package, I was curious to give it a listen.

“My Shit is Perfect”  is largely a mixture of bluegrass and blues. The guitar often sounds like the open-mouthed kid, who sat behind you in some high school class, playing with the rubber bands on his teeth braces.  The first song “Goddamned Sounds Good” starts off well and gets funky with the heavy use of his kick drum but the song soon wears out it welcome due to its repetiveness in both sound and lyrics.  Whether it’s intentional or not, the fact is hammered home since it’s on the album twice.  “It’s The Law” and “Manipulate Your Figments” have an unoriginality that may bring Beck’s lawyer to a copyright trial.  As the album winds on, it’s difficult to distinguish where exactly where one song finishes and another starts as there is a “heard it before” vibe due to overused twanging riffs that make it tough to listen to the album from start to finish.  This tongue in cheek novelty album has all the substance of an instant soup concentrate.


Bob Log official site

Bob Log on myspace

Bob Log on facebook

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dirty Filthy Mugs - All Yobs In

Dirty Filthy Mugs  “All Yobs In”, 2010
(DC Jam)

While Saint Patrick’s day has comes and goes every year, there are some who pretend to be Irish all year round and those that actually are.  Being based in LA pseudo Irish punk band Dirty Filthy Mugs are more likely to be full-time pretenders than the real McCoy.  Lyrically the band cover the topics that we all know genuine Irish bands should such as drinking, friendships, drinking, fighting and drinking.

There’s a definite Celtic guitar  to “Frontline Hooligans”and Matt Wedgley sings like a man who know his Guiness from his Kilkenny.  His vocals come through strongly in the slow “It’s Madness What Kept Me Sane”.  “Another Round” is a huge clue that these guys aren’t Irish as this song isn’t about boozing it up large at all and is instead about relationships. Pass my pipe, Watson.  The song itself is carried by a drumbeat that could cause many a pint to spill.    There’s a simplistic beat that dominates “You and Your Twat Friends” yet it’s easy to imagine people moving towards the front when the band play it live in a bar as it’s nothing more than a catchy rock song and sometimes that’s all you need.  The band seem to be less concerned about pretending to be Irish in the following songs and as a result they’re not as interesting to listen to as the first half of the disc.  The vocals sound like Brian Johnson but aren’t strong enough to carry the band.   “Go Today” is totally lifted from AC/DC but just doesn’t fit in with what the band had done previously and ends up coming off as a weak track.

This album would have been better released with only the first six songs since they’re all strong tracks.
It seems rushed when all the weaker tracks are tacked on the final half of the album and nobody really wants or needs to listen to filler material unless there’s something worthwhile beween the gaps.


Dirty Filthy Mugs on myspace

Dirty Filthy Mugs on facebook

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Penetrators, “Bad Woman”, 2009
(Slovenly Records)

Recycling is good for the environment.  We’ll pass on recycled food though.  On their “new” album The Penetrators give us a few of their old classic material and a number of  sixties covers.  The band sound like sloppy drunks who turn up and play as loosely as humanly possible but manage to replicate the experience and appealing feel next time they’re witnessed live.  The cartoonish garage rock of “Teenage Lifestyle” and “#1 Band in Town” summarize the band’s attitude.  The emphasis is on fun rather than exact playing.   Jack Lipton’s b-grade voice often brings a  drunken stumbling Stones to mind.  Bizzarely the Jagger similarity comes through strongest on the haunting cover of Roky Erikson’s “If You Have Ghosts” and “Last Time” pails in comparison.

For those who like rehashing there are two versions of “Bad Woman” with their two different vocalists and the CD has three versions of“Teenage Lifestyle”.   All in all, this collection of songs album serves as a  Penetrators appetizer compared to the full satisfying main course meal of  “Basement Anthology”.  


Penetrators band site

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Demontage - The Principal Extinction

Demontage “The Prinicipal Extinction”, 2009

Canadian trio Demontage are undoubtedly a heavy metal band but refuse to be easily pinned down into a sub-genre.  It’s still probably possible, as everyone seems to have lost count of how many splinter categories metal now has.

The openining song “Entourage of Demon’s Dances” starts off as a rampaging Motorhead inspired punk tinged metal complimented with gruff grunting and then later in the song there is a high pitched scream, which the band take as their cue to slow down to a more traditional pace.  Confusing matters more the second song “Accursed Saboteur” opens and closes with Maiden style riffing but when the vocals start the Bathory influence is clear.   Symphonic black metal gets a quick airing in the intro to the title track which slows down to ballad speed complete with high pitched squeaks with some speedy guitar playing that makes it clear that these guys have had classical music training.  The tempo changes here are bound to cause more traditional metal fans to scratch their heads as often there’s no telling what this three-piece will do next.  “The Malignant Paradigm” aims to give a fair and square kicking knocking teeth out and causing further grevious bodily harm with its quick heavy blackened riffs complemented with gruff vocals.  The gentle instrumentation introduction of “Satan of Self (The Warrior)&Seer of Truths (The Conjurer)” counters the brutalness and the sandpaper vocals are offset with actual singing within the song.  Guitar bridges with complex structures move all over the place and often keep the listener guessing. Although all six tracks tend to be on the long side, the band avoids falling into the trap of being unnecessarily repetitive or just plain boring.

 If you’re a black metal fan looking to convert your traditonal metal friends to your music of choice, on evidence of “”The Principal Extiction” Demontage.  Hell, I know it’s unlikely but just maybe they could convert the more closed-minded fans of black metal to more traditional metal too.


Demontage on myspace

Demontage on facebook

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Second Academy - The Grave From Out of Which We Briefly

The Second Academy - The Grave From Out of Which We Briefly Wander, 2009

THE SECOND ACADEMY are three ex-members of The Beautiful Mothers who, if their myspace site is to believed, wrote their songs almost as they were recording them.   The band’s casual attitude in the studio doesn’t show through as the songs here are tight as you’d expect from guys who’ve played music with each other for a number of years.  “The King and Queen of Filth” blasts dirtily through the speakers emulating a washing machine whirr coupled with some tuneful whistling.   The band tilter upon the brink of an explosion with bass tocking over the mix and the vocals buried in the background.  Sometimes hanging back just makes so much more sense than diving in headfirst as it stops splinters and shards going into the body every which way.   All things being relative, “Litte Sister” sound is more than a little reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “Mother” with its acoustic guitar, slow build-up and even lyrics.

The Second Academy dip their toes in alt-country on “The Right Woman” and “Posthumous Lullabye”.  Many a jangly indie band would learn how to channel the Velvet Underground if listening to “Adventure Tuesday” was compulsory listening before even conceiving the thought of a forming a band.   The mucky filth of “Monkey Shines” contains all the lo-fi requisite heavy distortion and quietly barked vocals.    At times, listening to the album right through, the mixture of styles doesn’t always gel although The Second Academy definitely deliver the goods when it comes to listenable songs.  With its Lou Reed approach, “Downhill” is oddly placed at the end of the album.  That’s a minor drawback that fortunately can be altered through the wonders of CD programming.


The Second Academy band site

The Second Academy on myspace

The Second Academy on facebook

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Boozed - One Mile

Boozed “One Mile”, 2009
(Chorus of One)

Boozed are an Italian band who suffer from Scandanavian rock envy so much that they enlisted a member of the Hellacopters to play on one song.    It’s high-energy rock but often there’s an x-factor missing as most of these songs just come up flat.  The nicotine and alcohol soaked vocals oddly don’t do these guys any favors except providing evidence of how they dreamt up their unimaginative chosen band name.  “You Gotta Go Again” is paint by numbers fast paced rock that just leaves this listener cold.   The slow stomping of “Speak By The Haze” could be a disregarded track from The Cult with its Brian Johnson type screaming nearing the end of the song.   Some things are just better left on the cutting room floor.  The country tinged ballad “Easy” gives the impression that twenty years ago these guys would have been a second or third rate LA style glam metal band.  “One Mile To The Moon” starts in John Cougar Mellancamp pop fashion but at the very end becomes guitar heavy with misplaced screaming.   The piano and organ on “Don’t Hold Back” is as out of place as a nun in a whorehouse although the scant female vocals add a nice touch.  Expectations of pub rock come from a band titled Boozed and the song “Next Door” provides exactly that.  This album can be comfortably filed next to Cinderella as despite the efforts to be otherwise there’s lipstick in those jeans and leather jacket pockets as there’s an 80’s style hair band dying to get out here.


Band Website: Boozed

Boozed on Myspace

Beastwars - IV

After over a year off for various reasons, we have returned solely because we wanted to review the new Beastwars album. I really w...