JUICE MAGAZINE CD REVIEWS ISSUE 43
No Exit (Beyond)
You gotta hand it to Deborah Harry. She hasn’t lost a thing with age. She’s still kind of foxy, still has a sense of music and even had the sense to get back with the loser musicians from the old band and make something great. In these new songs, she keeps the old school music thing on some songs. Straight guitar stuff, like out of the ’80s and she keeps the lyrics simple, too. It’s as if she and the band haven’t changed, but in some way it all sounds fresh. Check out “No Exit.” It’ll blow you away and I understand it’l be on the soundtrack to some new trendy movie, but get this version with rappers all over it. Deborah Harry, Coolio and some others really turn this song out. – J. SMITH
Issues That Excite the Mind
N.C. H.C./hiphop with a hard edge and smooth rhymes. Slap me two times and call me Rosie. This Southern band from Wilmington rips! Their new cd is an onslaught of funk with a wall of guitars, drums spiked by Raybone’s fresh lyrical stylings. Southern Soul with Northern Gravy. Juice wants to thank them for providing a soundtrack for the deadline week. – FINCHLEY
Dragonfly (independent release)
Buttery smooth guitars float around lyricist Bryce Masterson’s etheral vocals, soothing the listener into a dreamlike trance. Don’t be fooled; this isn’t bedtime music, but is perfect for chillin’ with Jah and the rest of your hookah buds. Smokin’ grooves, indeed. – FINCHLEY
How to Measure a Planet? (Century Media) Soothing ambient, European vocals segue into the kind of guitar rock for which the ’70s were known. Sort of like Abba when Bjorn and Benny took the band into heavier territory, but this Dutch five-piece doesn’t make 14 songs on two disks into their “Waterloo”. Instead, it’s Bjork or Kate Bush backed by the Theremin Club and remixed by the Chemical Brothers. It’ll make an interesting counterpoint to your headbanging disks. The fact that singer Anneke van Giersbergen is tattooed and looks like a cross between Shirley Manson and Laura Ballance will keep your visual attention. – L. GREEN
WESTON / DOC HOPPER
The Stepchildren of Rock (Go Kart)
This is a live recording of Weston at the Pipeline and Doc Hopper at NYU. The Weston side is good, with songs like ‘Varsity Sweater’, and ‘New Shirt’ you can’t go wrong. They are a pop punk band, but I like them. Their lyrics make me laugh. Doc Hopper on the other hand is another pop punk band but they don’t make me laugh they make me hit the stop button. – B. LENTINI
Zigs, Yaws and Zags (Go Kart)
I guess I’m a hypocrite because I made fun of them on their live cd, and now I’m going to say I like this one. I just like this because the song “assplant” is about skateboarding and if you sing about skateboarding, you’;re cool in my book. Some songs on here do suck though. Like when his voice is all gay, but when he screams its cool. – B. LENTINI
V/A SWING THIS, BABY! II (Slimstyle)
Where’s my shirtwaist when I need it??? This second collection of the finest swing currently swung is 15 cuts that require even the most sedentary to get up and jive. A mix of covers and originals, the CD doesn’t do itself justice by starting with the Louis Prima staple “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” – heard non-stop via Brian Setzer and The Gap – even if it’s performed by The Crescent City Maulers. It’s enough to make you FF to the next song. The Atomic Fireballs even have that growl of a young Louis Armstrong singing about that “Spanish Fly.” Overall, a good assortment of where swing’s at, baby. Walking bass lines, full horn sections and rockabilly guitars, get out your dancin’ shoes and hand me a martini. – L. GREEN
SICK OF IT ALL
Call to Arms (Fat Wreckchords)
These New York Hard Core Vets are bombing the HC scene with their fifth blistering CD. Now, free of Elektra (and the slimy politics of big, three-piece music execs) Lou Keller (vocals), Pete Koller (guitar), Armand Majidi (drums) and Craig Setari (bass) have come back to their ultra-urban roots. Call to Arms is a mix between Scratch the Surface and their debut album. Raunchy, raw and recorded on 42nd Street, songs like “Potential For a Fall” and “Sanctuary” ride the rail with sparks flying. Call to Arms proves that after 15 revolting years, SOIA reins supreme. -; T. KNUDSEN
Mission: Control (DeSoto)
With Burning Airlines, J. Robbins and Bill Barbot – half of the now-defunct Jawbox – continue to explore the territory that made their former band so compelling: catharsis through sonic tension and release. “Carnival,” the track that begins their stunning debut album, is a perfect example: like a high-speed car chase, guitars, bass and drums surge, then pull back, then surge again until they veer into a fiery collision. The result is hypnotic and panic-inducing. Never has a modern rock band balanced moments of delicacy and brutality with as much genius as Burning Airlines does on “Flood of Foreign Capital” and “Sweet Deals on Surgery.” Burning Airlines is the sound of the moment just before complete catastrophe. – D. Buoniconti
Fourth album horsepower brings singer Stacey Matarrese back from the “rockin’ female” miasma that has been overlorded by Queen Courtney for so long. With songs like “Bellissimie”, it’s obvious that this NC trio is in the ranks of Luscious Jackson and Sleater-Kinney – sort of a B-52 Kate Pierson fronting Foo Fighters. It’s strange, but it works. – L. Green
The Hurt Process (Vagrant Records)
Ah, the angst-filled hardcore of the lovelorn. Four Boston boys getting over their punk rock girl means that she may not understand his pleas, but how can she turn down such dedication ? The theme starts at “We Don’t Like Them Girls” and goes to “Lucy” to end with “You and Me.” – L. GREEN
Every Day of the Week (TKO Records)
A full length from NYC’s own super punk band. Sweet Holy Moses, this band rules. I was addicted to this the second the needle hit the wax. Just superfast punk rock with a singer with an accent (I don’t know where he’s from but it ain’t here) I love this record, one of the best new albums I’ve bought in the past two years. – B. LENTINI
FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINALS
100% Colombian (Capitol)
“Colombian is a term we use-it’s like a vernacular. If something’s good, then it’s Colombian. If it’s really, really good, then its 100% Colombian.” So says Huey, front man of the FLC, in a recent interview, denying the assumned drug-related reference in the title of their most recent release. A thirteen-track album that did sound great after burning a twist of Colombian (or Californian). This album has more of a mellow feel than their first release. The band keeps their roots in the street by owning a trash disposal company, employing 18 people. Huey admits “…(the employees) do have Gucci jump suits with a big G on the zipper.” – D. Hitchcock
Exorcise The Demons (Astralwerks)
Dark, ambient drum’n’bass, there is more invocation of the underworld’s elements than the title may suggest. Exorcise the Demons is hard-driving and heavy, sonically relentless on the nervous system. Psychically surreal and hypnotic, a high velocity trip through an electronik inferno. This is Source Direct’s first full-length release after over six years of being one of London’s biggest underground acts. Jim Baker and Phil Aslett come through with mega doses of phat beats on track after dizzying track. This is music that enemates from the dark vertiginous heart of chaos, its syncopated beats reverberating through the cold void of the collective unconsciousness. For anyone who enjoys their roses with thorns and their music with teeth, this is a must. – SHARIF
V/A OLD SCHOOL VS. NEW SCHOOL (Jive Electro)
Old School vs. New School is a compilation of remixes of seminal hip-hop, R&B and alternative tunes previously released on Jive. The album marks the official re-launch of Jive Electro (the label’s electronica imprint that folded over a decade ago) and was created by granting various “new school” DJs the freedom to choose from Jive’s catalog which tracks they wanted to remix. For the opening track, UK big beat connoisseurs The Freestylers take on the legendary Whodini for a thumping remix of “(It’s all in Mr.) Magic’s Wand”. DJ Icey lends his skills to another Whodini track, creating a breakbeat-infused “Five Minutes of Funk”. “A Crate of BDP” is the Bassbin Twins’ exhilarating tribute to ‘edutainment’ artists Boogie Down Productions. “Fools Gold” by The Stone Roses appears in two versions: one is subtly enhanced by Grooverider; the other is a hypnotic transformation by Rabbit in the Moon. Kool Moe Dee’s rapid-fire lyricism (“I Go to Work”) is set to Chicago-style house by Bad Boy Bill. However, the favorite old-school artist among the DJ’s featured here is, not surprisingly, A Tribe Called Quest, with five reworked tracks, the best of which is Pimp Juice’s ‘Cash Money Breaks’ version of “Can I Kick it?” – G. CAMBARERI
Up & Atom (Rock Room Records)
Atomsmasher have mastered the subtle task of integrating rock into the pop beast. Although their ditties are more infectious than Ebola, what grabs you by the cajones is the emotion and energy which drives these songs. These are songs which never skip a beat getting to the point and never miss a step in getting to the meaning. “The Foreign Dime” a masterstroke of melancholy says to a band like R.E.M., “Start the bus”, to which R.E.M. replies “Start the bus?” to which Atomsmasher finishes, “Yeah, start the bus because we’re taking you to school!”. This quartet from Harrison, NY, better remember the small people. – Sockboy
JAH LUV: THE REGGAE RUNDOWN
DUBD’SCO Vol. 1 and 2 (Solomonic/Rasrecords)
One of the Godfathers of roots-reggae and dub, Bunny Wailer re-releases a two-volume set of dub remixes from his classic late ‘70s album. Dubd’sco encompasses a broad spectrum of Wailer’s many faceted talents. Blending together both retrovibes from Bunny’s past Wailer days and his solo studio dub remixes, this CD is a must for any fan of the genre, with musical accompaniment from Peter Tosh and Earl “Chinna” Smith; with tracks written by Curtis Mayfield and Bob Marley, the creative ensemble on Dubd’sco is legendary. The new versions of these classic tracks sound just as pertinent and inspirational as they did twenty years ago and are sure to catch-a-fire as fierce today.
Pay The Piper (Rasrecords)
Veteran roots rockers return once again with yet another addition to a prolific discography that has spanned the last twenty years. The duo’s 16th release, Pay The Piper’s tempo is joyous and inspirational. Backed by The Roots Radics, Cecil Spence and Lacelle Bulgin’s socially illuminating lyrics and melodic vocals rouse the soul. A rich instrumental layering of sounds, Israel Vibrations stays true to roots reggae culture while picking some ska stylings. A musically-diverse CD, Spence and Lacelle make this their first self-produced venture, showing that with maturity both their artistic and industry talents have grown. Of special interest to surfers is the track titled “Surfin’” which completes a well-rounded release.
ROARING LION -s/t (Xterminator)
Bupp! Bupp! Bupp! The revolution is roaring, raging, rising, rapidly approaching and richly resonant throughout Roaring Lion’s new release. This is righteous Rasta reggae following the traditional roots originally planted by people like Bunny Wailer and Burning Spear. Self-titled, this CD is full of inspirational anthems and hymns of praise in deep reverence of One Love. But don’t be fooled by the spiritual and social messages that poetically are intoned on each track, the base rhythms are heavy enough to get the most holy, grinding down and dirty. Heavy dub rhythms make tracks like ‘Xterminate’ and ‘JahEarth Is Calling’ powerfully haunting, while the more light-hearted track ‘Water Is Life’ will be appreciated by all beachcombers. This is definitely one to add to the collection.
s/t (Paradigm) Emo-trip-hop Irishman sings about the first place I got drunk at age 4 (‘Ginger Man’), my first hat (‘Sombrero’) and my first real local in England (‘Adam and Eve’).
V/A – IN YOUR EAR
(1M1 Trax) Tom Waits, The Pogues, The Rev. Horton Heat and others perform themes, motifs and credits to 11 recent releases from the Independent Film Channel.
SPEAR OF DESTINY
Religion (Amsterdamned) Whiny thunder-rock; singer Kirk Brandon asserts that he’s not Boy George’s boy toy; Like the “Love Removal Machine” a decade late.
Electric Spanking Session Straight from the Tilt-A-Whirl, getting louder as you pass the speakers, heavy sound from the State Fair midway.
And The Sadness Prevails . . (Vagrant) Melodic pop punk with a twist of bitternness and sorrow.
The Promise of an Uncertain Future (Hopeless) PA-punk trio that comes on friendly then sneaks up on you and bites your ear off.
Kentucky (Tender Stone)
The drummer of Reagan Youth teamed up with a former member of Paula Abdul’;s backing group. Taking names and numbers.
ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN – “I’m Not Your (Nothing)” single (Victory) Complete with a b-side Tubes-cover, the punk monster raises its head to save “the corpse of rock n roll.”
Seven More Minutes (Maverick) Recorded in London, written in Spain and love in vain, guest vocalists (think Blur, Ash, That Dog, Lush and Elastica) augment the post-alt-rock Weezerisms that surrounded the band’s first album.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Tooth and Nail) It’s obvious the blood of Joey, Johnny, Marky, Tommy, DeeDee and C.J. has been passed to the next generation.
THE GRAVEL PIT
Silver Gorilla (Q Division)
Men in (’80s) Black with tambourines and poppy hooks. Like Squeeze for the ’90s, Farfisa forever.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Drunk (Fat Wreck Chords) What’s it like being drunk? Ask a glass of water or these four punk-pop throat-scratchers.
Dreaming Neon Black (Century Media) How down with Satan are you? Based out of Seattle, these black as death metal knights hold an empirically dark court of serious guitar homage.
Guitarded (Honest Don’s)
Pop-passioned punk thrills, self-described as lacking the knowledge or ability to create harmonious or melodic sound patterns, groove (or grab ass) to Limp’s unhealthy adoration to power licks and righteous self-empowerment!
Burning Bridges (Vagrant)
Greasy, grimy garage punk! Rev the engine and grab the brew! The Gotohells leave a trail of Florida roadkill in their dust. Man, this baby burns rubber right through your psyche.
Cast The First Stone (Nitro)
NJ HC. This is a rude, raw and reaming slaughter of all that is suburban hell-ohh baby – this is rough – just the way you Juice junkies like it. Guest vocals by Lou Keller of Sick of it All.
Human Zoo (Go Kart)
Like shards of broken glass, this is punk rock at its most primal. Their live show is always on the verge of true violence. That numbing nirvana your average mall-cultured punk will never reach.