JUICE MAGAZINE 37 CD REVIEWS
QUEEN ROCKS (Hollywood Records)
Remember back in the 80’s, when MTV had that Freddie Mercury benefit concert? Wasn’t that great? I loved that shit. Everybody who was anybody played that show. Metallica was there, and Sting and WASP and I think even Debbie Gibson was there. And of course Queen played. I remember there being like a million people there and it was on a really hot day. You could tell by looking at the crowd that everyone was super thirsty and dehydrated. That’s kinda why I’m glad I watched it at home, in the comfort of my living room, instead of sweating my ass off in the sun, because you know damn well a cup of water was probably $5 and a beer, Christ, at least $7. Who can afford that? It’s like they think people are made of money, or something. That stuff really pissed me off. This CD is a collection of a bunch of Queen songs. – Chris Nieratko
NINETY POUND WUSS – Where Meager Die of Self Interest (Tooth and Nail)
It took some time, but after a fourth listen, a multitude of influences manifested themselves. If you listen closely, you can hear how The Accused singer Blaine influenced the vocals here. The manic frenzy combined with bloodcurdling screams is reminiscent of the days of Martha Splatterhead. A touch of Husker Du style harmonies surface at times, and the spiritual-tinged lyrical topics are some of the most contemplative in recent punk rock memory.
— Jeff Jobes – RATING:7
BAD BRAINS – Omega Sessions (Victory)
This is the latest installment in the Bad Brains recording history. Never mind the fact that the band hasn’t truly been together since the i against i lp. While the band has seemingly disintegrated after HR’s dress-wearing nervous breakdown, this CD-ep serves up five songs from the Brains first multi-track studio session at Omega Studios in Rockville, MD in 1980. A must for Bad Brains collectors and those who remember the beginnings of DIY hardcore. One of the most amazing features of this ep is the credits which list a virtual who’s-who in music. Interesting reading and great music.
— Jeff Jobes – RATING:8
WING COMMANDER: Prophecy – Soundtrack (ear)
Several soundtracks overshadowed their surrogate movies in the early 90s, and if this CD is any indication of the future, video games are the next victim. Once upon a time, video games were played to the tune of the electronic tinkle of the Atari game set. Now the latest sci-fi combat simulation boasts a soundtrack featuring the latest and greatest in industrial-techo-aggro-dance artists. You’ll find remixes from Fear Factory, KMFDM, Das Ich, and the evil import Rammstein. The combination is balanced so as not to be too heavy and never too electronic, the result is highly danceable and edgy enough to hold interest.
— Jeff Jobes – RATING:7
E-TOWN CONCRETE – Time to Shine (Resurrection AD Records)
E-Town Concrete’s full-length is titled Time to Shine, and at the risk of sounding corny, shine is just what they do on this new release. Given the plethora of generic hardcore bands out there, E-Town stands head and shoulders above the rest in the hip hop/hardcore hybrid because their style is distinct. In their sound, E-Town wears its heart on its sleeve, lending an instant credibility. The phrase, “Never look back, never look back, I repeat, never look back, never fuckin’ look back” seems destined to be a bonafide, legitimate floor punching and finger-pointing chant. E-Town owns a lot of attitude and bravado, “Please excuse my fucked up attitude, but I don’t give a fuck about you” as an example, but it is all backed up by their heart and heartiness. You could and should handpick E-Town Concrete out from their peers.
— by Amy Sciarretto – RATING 9
BEN FOLDS FIVE, Naked Baby Photos (Caroline Records)
As piano-pop and sarcastic and witty as ever, Naked Baby Photos truly showcases the talent of Ben Folds (piano and vocals), Darren Jesse (drums) and Robert Sledge (bass). Live versions of the ’70’s soul groove lullaby “Alice Childress,” and the hysterical metal-spoof “The Ultimate Sacrifice” are spliced in with original demo versions of “Bad Idea” and the original 7-inch version of “Jackson Cannery”, the band’s first single. The remaining tracks are personal favorites of the band and leave no genre of music unattempted via piano. My personal-fave would be the hip-hop-esque “For those of ya’ll who wear fanny packs.” But there is so much going on, you have to check Ben Folds Five out for yourself. — Tonya Knudsen – RATING: 9.
HATEBREED – Satisfaction is the Death of Desire (Victory)
Connecticut hardcore hitting hard with all wheels turning. This is one of the best hardcore records of the last five years. Hatebreed encompasses all of what the latest strain of metal-tinged East Coast hardcore is about. While the metal influence is obvious in the vocals and the chunka verse sections, the band stands firmly in hardcore territory lyrically. It’s about environment and experience. The main reason this band sounds so good is that they are a complete package. Amazing vocals backed by a powerful and solid rhythm section, they never stray too far into the deep end of speed-core and never get bogged down in overly righteous preaching. — Jeff Jobes – RATING: 10
Various Artists – DANCIN’ MOOD (Triple Crown Records)
The flood of ska I have been subjected to reminds me of polka. It is endearing when you’re in a good mood, but sometimes it can get monotonous. This “skapilation” features the Insteps, Skinnerbox, Stubborn All Stars, The Slackers, Mephiskapheles, Inspector 7, Dave Hillyard, The Stable Boys, and Ruder Than You. It’s all a blur. It all sounds horny. But does it make you horny, baby? The power of positive ska-ing and skanking injects itself into you on the opening track by the Insteps and subsequent tracks by Inspector 7 and Mephiskapeheles. If you like ska, get this.It’s a scrumptious smorgasbord — Amy Sciaretto – RATING: 8
IN COLD BLOOD – Hell On Earth (Victory Records)
All hail Victory records, as they have enhanced the world of metalcore with this release. Essentially, ICB is Integrity without DWid on the vocals. New voxman Jason is throaty, tumultuous, savage and burly, backed up by his girthy technical masters. “Bear No Shame” houses the quintessential and ultimate Integrity guitar solo. “Lost In Doubt” is almost a metal ballad, but it comes back to dropkick you with its intensity. This record is tough and fat. Go out and buy this. Sacrifice your soul for a nickel and stomp on anything or anyone in your way because when you spin this, you will be stompboxing all over the place. The lyrics are a plus, as they reek of human pain and suffering. Best thing is the unpredicatability and the staccato tempo. Love it! — Amy Sciaretto – RATING: 9
THE AUTUMNS – The Angel Pool (Risk Records)
Truly dazzling and commanding to the point they forcefully kick ass, The Angel Pool is by far the best new CD I’ve heard all month. Sedately lush and ultra melodic, The Autumns are masterfully stranded somewhere between the Cocteau Twins, The Cure of 1989 and Radiohead. With a critically-acclaimed EP to their credit (Suicide at Stell Park, released this past July) the four-man band from LA has already garnered a lot of attention for their phenomenal sound and live presentation (which I might add is mesmerizing). Fave Tracks: “The Garden Ends,” “Sunblush,” “Eskimo Swin,” “The Angel Pool” and “Glass in Lullabies”. — Tonya Knudsen- RATING: 8
BIGGER THAN PLASTIC – “Santa Sucks” b/w “Hungry” (featuring Howard Stern) (CT2:)
Brave enough to eat boogers live on your favorite radio station and one of Howard Stern’s favorite bands, BTP check in with a rude, rollicking, downright catchy holiday rant that loudly addresses the shortcomings of the fat man in a style that recalls a Jane’s Addiction/U2 union. “Hungry” (featuring the voices of Stern and sidekick Robin Quivers) rocks like a sonnuvabitch while it takes the piss outta The King of All Media for his on-air treatment of the band. These guys are cool! (Style Records, 810 Melrose Ave., Trenton, NJ 08629) — Al Muzer
VELOUR 44 – Angst Is Funny – (CT15)
An undeniably catchy batch of radio-ready pop tunes from five kids who couldn’t (legally) buy a beer if their lives depended on it — Velour 44 slam out a tasty combination of Sugar- Juliana Hatfield- Belly- Siouxie Sioux- Eve’s Plumb- Trip 66- Bow Wow Wow- the Replacements- Darling Buds- and Bangles- worthy songs that sound original even as they recall a wide assortment of influences. A staggering amount of potential for a first effort from any band — let alone one with two members still attending high school. (Velour 44, 310 Monmouth St., Hightstown, NJ 08520) — Al Muzer – RATING:8
CLUTCH – Impetus Ep (Earache Records)
Clutch kinda remind me of a 68′ Hemi Charger with Cherry Bombs: loud, aggressive, with gobs of horsepower. This is a band that gives not two shits about the current trends of music. On Planet Clutch, every person is given vintage gear and force-fed heaping helpings of Sabbath, Led Zep, and Deep Purple. After checking the back of the album, I wondered why in the hell Earache had decided to release an Ep that they already had put out. Except for the demo version of “Impetus” and “Piledriver” this is 1992’s Passive Restraints Ep. All of the songs are great. Just like Passive Restraints, the standout track is “High Caliber Consecrator”. This track IS the album. — K. Byers – RATNG: 10
BUILT TO LAST – Built to Last (Resurrection AD)
This definitely has an older school texture to it, with punky undertones. I totally dig the bass intro of “Between The Lines.” There are a few moments of glory going on here, but honestly, it’s nothing that stands out and nothing ground-breaking among the other old school hardcore that is being hyped. However, there is a Mouthpiece and Sick Of It All influence that comes to a head on this. I needed to give the record a couple of full listens to get into it, just because I prefer chunkier hardcore. But that’s just me. Also, the singer calls himself Burt Ta Last and that rocks! — Amy Sciaretto – RATING: 7
THE BEATNUTS – The Spot (Relativity)
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if you’ve been down with the Nuts, then you may or may not appreciate their retooling of some of their more well-known tracks like “Off Tha Books”, “Props Over Here” or “Psycho Dwarf”. But the Q-boro kids don’t fix it, they simply add lyrical and musical Krazy Glue. “Off Tha Books” doesn’t sound much different than the original, but it kicks even better in this scenario. “Let Off A Couple II (feat. A.L./Rawcotiks)” has a noticable Wu-style violin grab, and Grand Puba still tries to throw his usual freestyle on “R.U. Ready II”. But the “Props Over Here” remix, while once the b-side on the original, still sounds pretty straight years later. — Mazi Gaillard – Rating: 7.5
DJ SHADOW – Preemptive Strike (Mo Wax)
The new jack master of the break beat returns. While there’s nothing new, it might as well be since Shadow can work his t.table genius and turn coal into diamonds. 1993s’ “Influx”, travels from a slow, jazz expansion to a complete stand-still, to a naked beat and back again. “Hindsight” ignites in just the same way, and at a little over six minutes, does indeed feel like a subdued, almost dreary journey. But time is what gives Shadow his room to breathe-to reach as far back into his LP-flipping, sound crafting mind, as he needs to go. “What Does Your Soul Look Like” gets the most attention with four distinct versions that get laced with lonely Country guitar, juke joint-style piano, and the original Endtroducing versions that deviate so completely from the rest, you wonder how all can be considered the same song. But that is the point. A remix to Shadow is simply unleashing the beginning and the end. You already had the middle. But nestled behind this is the 24 minute masterpiece “Camel Bobsled Race” by Dj Q-bert, who pieces other elements from Endtroducing and twists it into a new animal with pieces of spoken word, break beats that slice through razor sharp and takes you even more into the woods. Should be a textbook on the true art of turning tables. — Mazi Gaillard – Rating: 9
GEORGE RABBAI and CO. “Lemon Drops” (DBK)
Nat King Cole style jazz complete with scat singing and standards like “Pennies from Heaven” and “September Song.” Sweet as lemon drops, with virtuoso trumpet solos and exhuberant vocals and playing.
PAUL ARSLANIAN “It’s the Feeling that Counts” (DBK)
I picture the piano man and upright bass dude in tuxes in the posh club sets of those big MGM productions when I hear this CD. Solid playing with some killer bass solos, it’s class all the way.
EDGARDO CINTRON “Straight, No Chaser” (DBK)
Latin Jazz covers of jazz classics like the title track, Thelonius Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser” and “So What” by Miles Davis. Cintron’s arrangements are lively and the salsa feel adds a refreshing new dimension to these great tunes.
DOWN TO THE BONE “From Manhattan to Staten” (nuGroove Records)
This group from London has got their groove on. Funky dance beats, tasty piano licks and great sax solos make this album irresistable. If you want to change the mood in your home in a hurry, put this gem in your player and kick back. Nothin’ but net.
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