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Around Hear Page 2

| November 30, 2006 | 1 Comment

Few And The Proud are nothing if not loud. So much so their angry, curse-laden lyrics belted out with fervor on such songs as “Let It Die” and “Mutant” are little more than senseless rants raging against a hardcore wall of sound. With a total running time of just more than 22 minutes, the 11 tunes (with a bonus track) are not only rough and raw, but repetitive and ridiculous, too. (www.organizedcrimerecords.com)
– Jeff Berkwits

Flathead 6 are obviously steeped in the traditions of American rock ‘n’ roll, with just enough of an alt-country twang to make Bad Spell an absolute joy for fans of the straightahead approach. Singer/guitarist Benny Jenkins has a deliciously gritty vocal style that complements the songs perfectly. The title track and “Even Werewolves Have A Heart” show the band at their best. (www.flathead6.com)
– Mike O’Cull

Strangely, Goodnight Moon have a picture of a guy holding an accordion on the flyers that accompany their five-song CD, though there is no accordion being played therein. They call themselves a “dance rock machine,” and they do drag you kicking and screaming back to the ’80s with their synth-laden, synth-drenched, synth-spastic songs. Singer Mallory Morrison has a nice voice to carry the nice, Pat Benatar-like melodies, and the rest of the band have adequate chops. (www.wekilledrock.com)
– Penelope Biver

Honey‘s massive, heavy metal sound comes as a surprise from a band with such a sweet name. Vocalist Ron Janis belts out the band’s lyrics, which are well-crafted, especially on the melancholy love song, “Summer.” “Bittersweet,” which deals with conflicted emotions following a sexual tryst, sports a complex arrangement featuring Eric Anderson’s guitar playing, and Honey’s thundering take on Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” is an absolute classic. (www.myspace.com/honeychicago)
– Terrence Flamm

Many times artists save their best cuts for traditional releases while leaving the scraps for B-sides and soundtrack slots. That’s not to lump all the extras as mere throwaways, though many of them should’ve been discarded from Joan of Arc’s rarities release, The Intelligent Design Of Joan Of Arc. While its random lo-fi rock has always been the subject of either all out adulation or skeptical scrutiny, both sides of the fence would be better off if this hodgepodge was left out of print. (www.joanfrc.com)
– Andy Argyrakis

Joan Of Arc‘s first incarnations on record apparently encompassed a noisy “emo” output, but that’s hard to believe listening to their tranquil new album, Eventually, All At Once. Here, lead vocalist Tim Kinsella and company keep things subdued throughout with their gentle folk/rock fusion. Despite their lack of vigor, the group’s oft-improvisational approach makes for a somewhat unpredictable listen. (www.joanfrc.com)
– Max Herman

From the rip-roaring sax of “Bump” to the elegant spoken-word vocals of “Et Tu Fait/Goodbye Porkpie Hat,” this collection of original and classic jazz cuts is first rate. Powered primarily by three members of the Collazo family (Frank, Marta, and Robert), Matizo imbue their seven-song album, Soul To Heart, with dynamic rhythms and, of course, melodic heart and soul. For both traditional jazz addicts and Beat Generation aficionados, it’s a sheer delight. (708-354-8389)
– Jeff Berkwits

A clip-art cover with crooked cutting wasn’t a strong way to start for Bobby Midnight And The Big Ordeals, though it only gets worse come the music found inside Crescendo. The trio normally specializes in covers, but turns in soggy, under-produced rock ‘n’ roll originals like the terribly titled “Paris Hiltune” and “Blood Red Wine.” The band would be best sticking to its primary gigs of bars and basements. (www.bobbymidnight.com)
– Andy Argyrakis

Local surf gods The Moon-Rays return with another retro, spy-fi monster mash, an 11-song platter (plus obligatory hidden track) titled Sinister Surf, brimming with spooky sounds and rollicking riffs. “The Raven (For Beatniks)” is a wonderful tongue-in-cheek reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s famed poem, and cuts like “Hare-Um Scare-Um” and “Mysterion” provide marvelously moody instrumental moments. It’s a perfect accompaniment for haunting either the beach or the balcony of a favorite old-time movie palace. (www.moon-rays.com)
– Jeff Berkwits

Following the full-length Twilight Dim last year, Scale Model returns with four new tunes on Humdrum, continuing its affinity for Death Cab For Cutie and Interpol. The female-fronted outfit continues to impress throughout the icy rhythmic labyrinth of “Merry Go Round” and the chill-out dance popper “Fourteen.” Yet the real reason to listen is an unconventional cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence,” which trades in the tunes’ goth undertones for velocitized guitars. (www.scalemodelmusic.com)
– Andy Argyrakis

Shred Eagle play cool, intelligent, well-executed pop rock on their latest release, Axis Of Eagle. They are melodic, sometimes moody, sometimes rocking, and display influences ranging from The Beatles to hard rock, funk, and metal. Especially worthy of praise are the lead vocals, which are credited to The TM 335 X Singing Module. Shred Eagle do a good job at being original as well as listenable, which, we all know, is harder than it sounds. (www.shredeagle.com)
– Mike O’Cull

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  1. I really dig the I.E. The best in local, regional & national music news all in one spot, hard copy or online! It always has been and always will be. Its like networking without leaving the house! Also a big thanx to Mike O’Cull and I.E. for the Flathead 6 CD review. Keep rockin’

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