Live in Berlin
What is Walter Lure doing in Berlin? Well, he's playing Heartbreakers songs, what else? Recorded in '07 at legendary sleazepit Wild at Heart utilizing a crew of manic Belgians as substitutes for his beloved Waldos, Mr. Lure does rough justice to various Thunders n' Lure hits, as well as a few tracks from the Waldos' Rent Party record from '95. Without drugs, there's really no reason for these simple glam-punk tunes to spiral out of control, so they do not, which should please fans of the actual songs. Anybody that was into to the Heartbreakers for the trainwreck appeal, however, will have to make due with the 7,000 bootlegs floating around. I'm honestly not sure I need to hear yet another version of Born to Lose or Chinese Rocks from anyone, even good ol' Walter, but your tolerance level for junkie-rock nostalgia may differ. Ill say this much, it sounds splendid for what is: an aging NY stockbroker with a checkered past playing 30 year old songs with some Belgians he hardly knows. And for hardcore Heartbreakers fans, that's probably close enough for rock n' roll.
Cold Northern Vengeance
Domination and Servitude
I love the fact that this band is from New Hampshire, Boston's redneck cousin. You know, just yesterday, they had a 50 car pile-up on the highway up there, caused by a busload of boy scouts. Where's Bruce Willis when you need him? Anyway, this is the work of two dudes - Heathen and Gemini - from up yonder. It's ostensibly raw American black metal, but it's also got elements of vampy goth, early 80's underground metal, Type O Negative, and bummer-psyche, a mish-mash of odd elements tossed together in a razor-strewn schizo salad that also incorporates the odd sample and eerie sound effect to keep the weirdness flowing freely. Despite their best efforts to present an icy, disaffected atmosphere that should only appeal to hardcore Kult-ists, Domination and Servitude is actually very listenable, a consistently entertaining spookshow with a seemingly bottomless well of kitchen sink sounds. Who the fuck knows what any of it means, but if you're a fan of esoteric heavy music, than look to these snowy maniacs up north, for they are capable of strange and wondrous musicks.
Canada's own sons-of-grunge Crop Circle have been building a sizable following up north and elsewhere since their inception in '02, thanks to a series of quite accomplished demos that showcased their knack for writing expansive, arena-ready songs that mine Seattle and 70's rock in equal measure. Come Inside is their splendiferous full-length debut, and it divides its economical time with crunchy hard-rockers like Capitalist Bitch and poppier tracks like Recent Stranger. Either way is ok, but I can totally see drunk chicks going fuckin' nuts for the lighter-weight stuff. And isn't that what life is all about, sloppy drunk Canadian chicks garbling the words to your songs?
Well, it is to some, sir. It is to some. Occasionally too Nickelback-y for my tastes, Come Inside nonetheless delivers at least a handful of ballsy hard-rockers with Chris Cornell-ish vox and soaring, man-on-the-silver-mountain guitars. Your call.
White Witch Canyon
To be honest, I did not have "Get my ass kicked" on my schedule this morning. I figured I'd just sip some coffee and maybe take a nap. But then this bruiser dropped on my lap and the whole fuckin' room started spinning. Forty-something minutes later and I'm covered in sweat and bleeding from the forehead. The awesomely named White Witch Canyon is the spangly new project of singer/guitar wrangler/buzz king Eric Hagen, formerly of stoner rock champs Greenhouse Effect. As such, this is not a huge departure from that band: it's acid-eating Sab-ra cadabra, full of thick, meaty riffs that sound like wooly mammoths plowing through walls of blood-stained snow, bare-chested, flared denim vox, and lava-lamping superjams that practically beg you to play 'em on a Camaro's blown-out cassette deck. Majestic shit, man. If Monster Magnet have let you down these past few years - and let's face it, they have - then I encourage to sluice down White Witch Canyon. It's a fuckin' trip, Jack.