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
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