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Around Hear Page 3

| October 31, 2006 | 3 Comments

Though beginning strong with blues-tinged guitars and fantastic harmonica on tracks like “What’ch You Gonna Do” and “Feel The Same,” Mitch & The Polecats‘ uncompromisingly masculine Southern-style country rock on Swamp Womp begins to feel tired about halfway through. While not doing anything wrong per se (although the vocals do begin to grate after awhile), it’s really their inability to mix things up that results in a rather trite and bland listening experience. (
– Dean Ramos

Nuetral State‘s powerful and articulate vocalist Dan Graunke enables the hard rock quintet to cover a lot of emotional ground on its self-titled, three song CD. On “For Good,” he conveys bitterness toward a bad relationship as well as a reluctance to leave it. The high speed “Confusion” gives all five band members a chance to break loose. (
– Terrence Flamm

One Light Out play speedy, melodic punk old-school veterans will recognize as Bad Religion rip-offs and young kids will think sounds like The Starting Line, or some similarly feeble fumblers. Mike Roscoe actually sings with sweetness and precision that make ordinary punk rockers like “One More Score” and “Monday” worth repeated listens. (
– Patrick Conlan

Elgin heavy metal outfit 1134 thrashes about convincingly on a five-song, untitled CD. The tracks, with dark-themed names such as “Pain,” “Insanity,” and “War Cry,” are slickly produced and highlight the band’s confident, if not clichéd, strengths: crunchy guitar riffs leading the charge while vocals alternate between screeching and growling. “S.O.S,” the opening track, adds melodic vocals to frequent time changes. (
– Jason Scales

The off-kilter folk songs on Root Shoot Leaf‘s full-length, Get Your Maps And Go!, sound better suited to store-front theaters than rock clubs. Occasionally, the band’s avant garde aspirations come across as self-indulgent, but overall, the lo-fi vocals from Dustin Monk and Alynn Monk and their odd instrumentation with drummer Alvin Stockdale make for melodic and compelling music. (
– Terrence Flamm

Taking equal turns at beauty and brutality, Sally wrap all their enigmas in gloriously jagged indie rock. The dynamics shift between hazy melody and chaotic bombast on “You Want The Guac” and the slow-burning grooves of later Fugazi on “Nothing Turns Me On.” This makes The Picardy Third E.P. (Paribus) a concise, four-song document of brilliantly twisted rock noise. (
– Patrick Conlan

Stripped down is the best way to describe the barebones indie rock of Sequoia on their debut album, Monday Morning. There’s not too much to distinguish these selections from track to track, other than the occasional quirky instrumental (e.g. the folksy “Confederate Soldier”). Still, their usual midtempo output makes for a fairly consistent listen. (
– Max Herman

As unlikely as it seems, the first two tracks on Slings & Arrows’ The Animal Grammar E.P. are two of this year’s best. Hollowed out vocals and crisp guitar crank up the sleepy melody in the fiery, bittersweet “Mockingbird.” It sounds like the beautiful marriage between Interpol and Echo And The Bunnymen. The reverbed, spacy guitar crunch on “My Amelia” leads us through the heavens as Henry Brown’s drugged vocals slur along for the ride. (
– Patrick Conlan

Sudden Dark’s latest three-song CD – with its hypnotic rhythms and burst-of-distorted-guitar tapestries – may be one of the their most important. As of August, the band was auditioning new singers, with “Transcent Of Man (Beyond Material World Into Outer Plane,” an eight-minute, Pink Floyd-inspired space jam, serving as one of the audition songs. Judging by the group’s latest, including “Moon Rise,” it will take a special singer to stand up to the titanic sound wave. (
– Jason Scales

True power poppers The Villains Of Verona display their retro-melodic tendencies on Scene 1: I Only Play For Celebrities. Their sound is classic ’80s clean-toned slightly British guitar pop a la The Primitives minus the distortion. Vocalist Rachel Pointec is sonically gorgeous and has a presence seldom seen up close. Listen to the whole CD with confidence: There are no clunkers here. (
– Mike O’Cull

With an album title like Beer Cans And Bedtime Stories, it’s obvious Chicago garage rockers Waste aren’t out to make political statements, or even friends for that matter. Don’t expect any multi-layered soundscapes here, just 11 tracks of short, no-nonsense guitar thrashing. What Waste do have going for them is Berto Gonzalez’s pissed off but melodic vocals carrying each tune, a few guitar riffs that are actually memorable, and an incredibly infectious lead track (“Southbound Stranger”). Can real rock really be this simple? (
– Carter Moss

Nick Zepp‘s Simplicity EP lives up to its name through seven acoustic-based tracks. Zepp comes across as an eccentric folk singer, but he’s consistently engaging, particularly on the humorously dark “End Of The World.” “Live In The Moment” features percussion by Mike Chorvat, who co-produced the CD with Zepp. (
– Terrence Flamm

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Category: Around Hear

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Comments (3)

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  1. Larry Wimmer says:

    Hello I E ,
    I had submitted my solo indie CD for review a few months
    ago and i havent seen a review in it.Its titled,”this chain of blues”.Is it on a list to be reviewed?If so,when might i expect to see it in your review section?

    thanks in advance for your reply,

    Larry Wimmer

  2. Nick says:

    Thanks for the great review!

  3. Tony says:

    Wow, the review of the One Light Out CD is pretty much junk! Feable Fumblers!!!!! cmon thats a little slanted, did you listen to 2 o 3 songs and realize. wow this isnt the same emo junk that has been slamming the streets for the last 3 years so I better not like it? This is the closest thing to punk rock since Bad Religion, Pennywise, NOFX and others had their day!!!!! I would hardly call them ripoffs unless you want to go ahead and call Panic! at the Disco Fall out boy clones! and fall out boy NFG clones and so on down the line. I think that kids that arent to busy wearing girls jeans and eyeliner(when they are dudes) and crying over how terrible their suburban lives are, would find this cd a breath of fresh air in a so called “punk rock” scene that is nothing more than whiney emo pop! Once everything comes full circle and it will soon, you will be singing a different toon! As always to each is own, but I believe the review was less than informative and very slanted.

    punks not dead!!!!

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