Saturday, February 12, 2011

Roger Miret and the Disasters - Gotta Get Up Now

Roger Miret and the Disasters
Gotta Get Up Now
People Like You

It just goes to show you how ignorant I am about current American punk rock that I didn’t realize we had our own version of Sham 69. But on Gotta Get Up Now, Roger Miret and the Disasters certainly hit those street punk notes, at least to my admittedly old fart ears. Not that it’s even remotely a bad thing. Songs about fighting authority, standing up for what’s right, self-confidence, pride and unity never go out of style (or at least they shouldn’t), and those are the subjects with which Miret is definitely obsessed. His Disasters (not to mention what sounds like a small army of backup vocalists) give him loud, simple support as he sings the praises of Outcast Youth, asserts that We’re Gonna Find a Way and demands that we Stand Up and Shout. (The only anomaly is JR, a clumsy country tune.) It almost sounds cheesy, even silly, but, like Jimmy Pursey and his crew, Miret gives everything he’s got – he’s not kidding, man, and you shouldn’t be either. If you’re gonna make a record that’s all about shoutalong choruses, catchy three-chord hooks, everypunk vocals and living a compromise-free life, you better have conviction, and Miret has more of that in half a song than most modern punk bands have in their entire careers.

- Michael Toland

Kings Destroy - And the Rest Shall Perish

Kings Destroy
And the Rest Will Surely Perish
Maple Forum

With And the Rest Will Surely Perish, New Yawk combo Kings Destroy have one of those LPs that’s hard to get terribly excited about but also impossible to dislike. Though the band is made up of guys with a solid punk ‘n’ roll background (including members of Electric Frankenstein and Uppercut), its stock-in-trade is doom-laden heavy rock a la Black Sabbath, Trouble, Cathedral and fifty million other bands. And that’s the problem – it’s difficult to argue that Kings Destroy is doing anything special here, or anything that hasn’t been done over and over. Cuts like The Whittler and Two Tons are solid and well-crafted, but don’t have much personality. On the other hand, that very solidity means that the record pushes the right buttons for stoner rock fans – I doubt anybody who digs the style will find anything disagreeable about Kings Destroy. But perhaps the members need to infuse the energy of their past associations into their current work, and give this perfectly respectable but uninspiring metal the kick in the ass it needs.

- Michael Toland

Rival Sons - self-titled

Rival Sons

It appears that the 70s hard rock revival is in such full swing that even extreme metal specialists Earache are taking a turn. Well, whoever made that decision has good ears, because Rival Sons is one of the better combos to come down that particular pike. Drawing on the same R&B-based roots as its 70s forebears, the Cali quartet roars out of its self-titled EP ready to take on the first arena it passes. Guitarist Scott Holiday distills a good three decades of rawk into his six-string flailing, while singer Jay Buchanan matches him moan for growl with swagger and soul. Tight, testosterone-heavy rockers like Radio and Torture bang heads, raise lighters and shake hips all at the same time; the shockingly pretty acoustic ballad Sacred Tongue proves that the Sons can convincingly dial it back when the lights go low. Best of all is Get What’s Coming, a titanic sociopolitical salvo with a fury/melody balance that would make the MC5 proud. Soul, the group’s foray into straight blues, doesn’t do it any favors, sounding more rote than right on. But that’s the only misstep on an introductory blast of rock & roll fury that’s the sound of young men discovering guitars, girls and their testicles all at the same time.

- Michael Toland

Sunday, February 06, 2011

JPT Scare Band- Acid Blues Is The White Man's Burden

JPT Scare Band
Acid Blues Is The White Man's Burden
Ripple Music

This is a compilation of various songs and eras of the JPT Scare Band; an act that's somewhat lost and overlooked in the classic rock revolution (a release courtesy of Ripple Music, who have also unearthed Poobah's "Let Me In" last year as well). The packaging is nice with the glossy finish, and the liner notes elaborate exactly what the songs are about and when they were recorded, giving a nice context to what's going on musically. You have some songs from 2004 and as far back as 1974, so there's a bit here for everyone and is a great starting point for fans looking to get into the band. My personal favorite ones are probably the older jam based ones. The songs are mostly longer, from the 7-10 minute range, and the shortest track is 4:56 long, so fans of jam based blues would most likely dig the expansive and meandering grooves within this disc.

It starts off with "Long Day", a bluesier and somewhat more reflective track, with some guitar god solos courtesy of singer/ guitarist Terry Swope. "Not My Fault" is probably my favorite track, with a Southern Rock soul type of feel, kind of Skynyrd-esque with organ and female backing vocals, plus more excellent guitar soloing. I would have probably started the disc off with "Not My Fault", as it's the shortest and catchiest song on here, but hey, that's just me. "Death Letter 2001" is a heavier riff based track and is a cover of Son House's song; eventually speeding up to a fever pitch towards the end of the proceedings.

One thing that's pretty cool about the JPT Scare Band is that they don't spend alot of time on fancy overdubs or studio trickery, most of the record has a really live off the floor feel where there's not even a second rhythm guitar track to beef things up, it's all indicative of what the band sounds like, I guess, in their rehearsal space--bass in one speaker, guitar in the other, drums and vocals up the middle channel. Which is fitting, since there is a basement jam in the form of "Amy's Blue Day"--an instrumental corker--I dunno whether alot of the playing was improvised or not, but considering that it's a long track that's seemingly improvised, it doesn't sound sloppy or needlessly wandering, which is pretty difficult to do for jam based material (the tape having run out before the band finished the song, as the liner notes state). "Stone House Blues" has a huge and expansive groove that's similar to the other mid 70's inclusions on here. The secret weapon on these tracks, though, is bassist Jeff Littrell, who fills up the absence of a second guitarist with the right and massive notes to fill in all the missing spaces when it's needed, and even sometimes when it's not!

Overall, the band in their verse/ chorus/ verse mode is fairly reminiscent of early 70's Blue Cheer, with some Grand Funk thrown in for good measure, though anyone that likes 70's styled hard rock should find something to like here. This is probably more for grizzled ex-hippies happily discontent with today's top 40 trends and is definetely a niche that gets lost in today's marketplace, so maybe the theory goes that acid is the burden of the white man's blues?

-Ryan Settee

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Monkey Island - Luxe et Redux

North-Londoners originating in the mid-nineties here shovel whole cavalcades of musical spheres into some sort of avant-garage hardcore shallow grave on a remote beach all in just over half an hour. Crisp, sinewy mod-ish riffs mirroring cocky, disdainful vocal sneers are pummelled by monstrous late-60's / 70's blues-metal licks & lashes, with sea-shanty asides & pageant-prog pomps (buttermilk, sing!sing!sing!) while tyrannical instrumental passages (see song for the puritan and it's spanglyier twin song of the puritan) litter largely jaunty voice-less frolics (stand-outs demockracy). No feather-capped folksy whimsy in this caustic tirade.
Stu Gibson
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