The Destroyed: “Russian Roulette” (self-released)
In a world gone wild, there are many who can chronicle the machinations of the few and the actions, reactions and counteractions of the rest of the world. Today we have the punk band, which can sum up ideas and/or answer the rhetoric of so-called people in charge and herald resistance. The Destroyed, an old punk band from the 70s, was resurrected a few years back and now, three records into their new life, with “Russian Roulette”, their third record since 2002’s “Bert Switzer 1977-2002” and 2003’s “Outta Control”. JD Jackson, songwriter and guitarist and Bert Switzer, drummer and singer. These two are in their 50s now but still have a punk-spirit, a DIY vibe that continues to inspire. Songs like “Dangerous Bomb”, a plaintive wail that is simple, clean and lucid and “Crime Wave”, an inner-city jam or the haunting title track all spotlight these two outlaws who continue to exist below the radar of the commercial music machine, thank god! (http://www.thedestroyed.com
) – KM.
Low Cloud Cover: “Separation Anxiety” (Breathing Room Records)
I love those colorful little houses, situated along the streets of Southern California suburbs. They have a really happy vibe to them all. Light purple or mauve, fuchsia, sometimes even pale yellow or lime green. What wonderful, pleasing pastel colors. A palate of delight, which also may describe Low Cloud Cover; ok, so they aren’t saccharine smiley-faced happy, but neither are they angry or agitated; instead LCC breathe out moody, ethereal, precious modern rock that is very unique, very fresh and new. It starts out with a quiet storm in “Sad Hot Confused” and goes through ups and downs, a steamy, electric fog of white light is “Two Red Stars” and the closer, the title track, is a hauntingly beautiful, opus that draws out slowly at the end, lingering awhile before fading away. They would do well, in my opinion, to keep a low profile and continue, with Breathing Room Records, churning out these awesome records that surprise, inspire and make your world a better place for the time it takes to listen to the whole of “Separation Anxiety”, the latest release from Low Cloud Cover. Fantastic stuff, recorded in El Cajon. (http://www.breathingroomrecords.com
The Drinks: “Grr!” (Pure Greed Records)
Just when you think you have things down, life throws you a surprise, an interruption of your typical routine. Change creeps in and takes over your life in a surreptitious way, always when you least expect it. The Drinks are a great band that put out some really hip rock and roll, a little on the poppy side, not heavy, not dark, hammering banter, but a quirky, articulate outfit that writes intelligent, inventive songs full of hooks, twists, bells and whistles. “I Don’t Represent” is a great example of this formula; it’s a catchy-as-hell song that bangs around in your head, hours after hearing it. “A Diet That Actually Works” is a metaphorical little ditty about purging out the bad habits, vices, personality flaws from one’s life. Also worth mentioning are “Wall Marte”, “Parking Pass” and the purely pleasure pop of “Friends and Lovers”. But these titles are just samples. All the tracks on “Grr!” are a delight in themselves. (http://www.thedrinks.net
) – KM.
“The Funhouse Comp. Thing” (My Fat Ass Productions)
32 tracks of sweaty, balls-on, bitchin’ punk-fucking-rock, in the form of a CD compilation from Seattle’s The Funhouse, an indie collective, also known as My Fat Ass Productions. You get stuff like Gas Huffer, doing “Midnight at the Apollo 13” (ha-ha, funny!), Dead Vampires with “Come Out and Play”, Girl Trouble, singin’ ‘bout “Freedom Rock” and Bug Nasties going on a “Night Trip”. It is a teenage skateboard-gutter punk’s wet dream here, enough rip-roarin’ raw power to get your rocks off. Rock on, bro-ham. (http://www.thefunhouseseattle.com
My Entire Life is a Lie: “Comfortable for You” (Loud + Clear Records)
Kill your idols, dude. Don’t believe the lies; it’s all getting worse, not better, does your medication work? Why not just tune out, turn up the TV and wash those blues away. With articulate, harmonically dissonant and tuneful guitars, an angst-ridden, intense, reaching singer, a sum that produced a blissful rock album, however, it is their last as well, “Comfortable for You” is a swan song sung bittersweetly, six tracks, each building up above the one before it. It starts out with a blistering, pumped up, screaming “Brian Wilson’s Mountain Thrash-Gnar”, a swirling rousting opener, followed by the slugging “Nah, My Name is Clarence” and with “Sonny Jim” a different sort of bluesy, roaming sound. This CD isn’t just one carbon copy after another, following some blueprint or formula; MELL have navigated a complex sound, become masters of their domain; but now they’re going to bury the past and move on. Burning out or fading away? What is the better alternative? (http://www.comfortableforyou.com
) – KM.
The Itch: “The Courage to Be Hated” (Wee Rock Records)
The Courage to Be Hated is a unique virtue to have; especially in the music business, where one has to bare their soul and stand there on stage delivering to an audience what may or may not be accepted or liked or understood, sometimes. That takes some jadedness, some balls and no fear of rejection is allowed. The Itch don’t care what you think of them. They know they rock and they just go ahead and do it. “The Courage to Be Hated” is a punk-rock opus – 18 songs, about 2 minutes each, on average; short, to the point and concise, all the fat has been trimmed off. It is a good record; one rockin’ jam after another. Each song just sort of melds into the next one and it gets better and better, climbing up to a climax and leveling off, finally ending right on time. (http://www.weerockrecords.com
) – KM.
Stars and Stripes: “One Man’s Army” (I Scream Records)
Martial music for mayhem makers: Stars and Stripes bang and bang the drum of a punk rock militia that rattle off a raw metal-punk admixture, typical of I Scream Records. “One Man’s Army” is a seek-and-destroy mission, set out for the ears of the punk-rockers, stompin’ around with their boots in the club downtown. (http://www.iscreamrecords.com
) – KM.
Maximum Penalty: “Demo ’89 & East Side Story EP” (I Scream Records)
Brooklyn-based Maximum Penalty is a raw, crisp, rumbling band of New Yawkahs who throw down some sick jams. Their latest release, on I Scream Records, is a two-fer: “Demo ‘89” and “East Side Story EP”, both on one CD. On “Demo ‘89”, they show a raw, punk ethos, not typical of the I Scream catalog, not metal enough, which was a pleasant surprise. “East Side Story EP” was basically in the same vein; a shorter work, of course, hence the title “EP”, but a short, sharp, to-the-point punk plateau that climaxes with the last two tunes, “Distressed” and the title cut. I liked the lo-fi, East Coastness that MP exude along with their cool brand of laid-back, Brooklyn Punk. (http://www.iscreamrecords.com
) – KM.