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Around Hear Page 2

| August 29, 2006 | 0 Comments

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Split Series Vol. One (Bone) consists of 11 tracks, the first five by After The Fight, the second six by #HighBall#. Both bands do the emo-punk thing with enough spastic energy and piledriving riffs worthy of any faux hawk-laden mosh pit. But while After The Fight’s rhythm section hit harder, Highball’s hit faster, their lead vocals are sweeter, and their songs focus more on melody – in a Blue Meanies/Simple Plan/Rancid kinda way. (
– Penelope Biver

On their self-titled album, the Ross Hubbell Trio have a very specific mission, namely to recreate the sound of gypsy jazz legend Django Reinhardt. Having selected an astonishingly gifted and influential muse, they’ve set the bar rather high, but they prove to be worthy admirers. Using custom-made guitars that resemble Reinhardt’s, Ross Hubbell and Larry Rutan explore Reinhardt’s innovative style with captivating results, especially on the swinging “Billie’s Bounce” and the relaxed, rhythmic groove of “Stand By.” (
– Patrick Conlan

While still somewhat below the radar, Hyde Park’s music scene is alive and well, and Mr. Hyde Records has been a catalyst in exposing the neighborhood’s talent. On the label’s sixth compilation, Jackson Park Express, the latest crop of folk and rock acts are given their chance to shine. The best of the bunch is arguably First Coat, whose “Helicopter” expertly blends acoustic guitars and a little electronic tweaking with some outright powerful vocals. (
– Max Herman

While there are certain things cousins should definitely not do together, recording music is not one of them. Comprising four cousins from Chicago, The Idiots are actually pretty smart musically. They attempt to combine the best elements of classic garage rock (The Kinks) and classic punk (The Clash). While not quite as fun or memorable as these influences, the 13 two-minute-or-less tracks do provide some kick and a few bright moments. At least their family reunions must be more fun. (
– Carter Moss

Songs titled “Hooks” and “Pops” on Undeniable Pieces hint at the smiling edge to the mostly industrial/goth-influenced six songs submitted by Kazy. Lead cut “Choke” at times sounds as if veering into an unknown territory of goth/folk that’s further amplified by its redux a capella version. Their cover of INXS’ “Need You Tonight” brilliantly exposes the song’s inherently menacing undercurrent, further solidifying the band’s sunny vision of the dark side of life. (
– David C. Eldredge

The Last Vegas aren’t ashamed of their trashy, sexed up, ’80s metal influences. If you aren’t either, Seal The Deal will be your new favorite record. Since the band’s last release, they added vocalist Chad Cherry, whose raspy Tom Keifer-ish voice is the perfect fit for Vegas’ boogie metal riffs. Before this record The Last Vegas were an awesome live act with O.K. material; now they have the tunes to match. (
– Trevor Fisher

Singer/guitarist Kevin Lee is still performing at full power on the aptly titled Flip The Switch. An experienced power pop composer, he packs each of these 10 songs with hooks, and he has the pipes to put them across. Former Thrift Store Halo guitarist Brent Seatter helps fuel the energetic tracks like “Built To Run” and “She’s On Fire.” “Won’t Shed A Tear,” one of Lee’s better slow tunes, recalls Electric Light Orchestra. (
– Terrence Flamm

Female MC MizKas shows versatility on her debut, Urban Renewal. She may take inspiration from Lil’ Kim, but her rhymes aren’t all about the raunchiness. Atop producer TooNyce’s bumping beats, MizKaz reminisces about an ex (“Maybe It’s You”), displays her Latina pride (“Oyeme”), and asserts her gangsta girl appeal (“MizKas”) with conviction. Despite being a little all over the place, this MC clearly has a lot to get off her chest. (
– Max Herman

Combining indie rock sensibilities with a new wave beat, The Modern Temper‘s Send Help is odd, yet entirely enjoyable. A mere three-songs long, the title track boasts a Primus-like bassline along with a They Might Be Giants-styled quirkiness. While “Dying Days” delves a bit deeper into dance rock territory, synthesizers take center stage on the final cut, “Negative Space,” which is, by far, the disc’s best track. (
– Dean Ramos

Muzaic come across as a jam-loving band on their debut, Hundred Acre Parlor. Having 10 musicians, seven of which sing, enables them to shift from the Deadhead boogie of “Reflections On Main St.” to the tropical breeze of “Bando Moon.” The funky “OUT!” and “Where We Goin'” should pack the dancefloor, while “Just Groove On It” sums up the Muzaic philosophy: “What’s the sense in not being jolly?” (
– Terrence Flamm

Genre busting MWC mix ethnic influences with jazzy, funky grooves, and toss in some wicked vocal turns that make all the other juxtapositions sound natural. Certain Fate” is touted as “[L]atin, [A]rabian hip-hop,” which is an accurate, if seemingly impossible concoction. “Flowmotion” is a bit of funky rock wankery but groovy and soulful nonetheless. (
– Patrick Conlan

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Category: Around Hear, Monthly

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