Slug #221

Slug #221 / Free / 1:15 / 64M / http://www.slugmag.com /

Salt Lake City is starting to get warm. And, with the weather changing, the sports coverage of Slug changes as well. Gone are all the features about snowboarding, present are a number of pieces about up and coming skateboarders. However, what really gets me with each issue of Slug is their major focus on bands around the scene. I must admit, I’ve not heard of Subrosa, Blackhole, Thunderfist, or the Purr Bats. What the staff of Slug do is give each of the bands around two pages to show individuals why they should buy their merch. The full-color layout, coupled with interesting and captivating writing, ensure that the bands will get a nice little boost in show attendance and merch sales for the next few months to come. Another strength to this issue is a similar type of focus on the specific artists around the scene. The artists themselves are given much less space to play with (and in a weird twist of irony, the layout is extremely normal for these pieces), but readers will still be coerced into going and seeing the fruits of their labors just the same. The amount of advertisements is small for the size of this magazine and really only pertain to those individuals that are in the geographic area covered by this magazine. As this is a local ‘zine, the specificity of the ads can be overlooked. Most of the people that read the magazine can actually hit up the stores. Digressions aside, this is for me the strongest issue of Slug yet; I hope to see more from this magazine in the months to come.

Rating: 7.4/10

Monstrance – S/T

Monstrance – S/T / 2007 Ape / 12 Tracks / http://www.apehouse.prevuz.com / Reviewed 24 June 2007

Two former members of XTC are in this act. Obviously, the band is linked to Andy Partridge, but former XTC keyboardist Barry Andrews is an integral part of this act. Andrews was in the band Shriekback with the third member of Monstrance, Martyn Baker. This is a two-CD set, and shows the love for experimental music showcased by all of the members of the band. Thus, the disc starts out with “I Lovely Cosmonaut”, and it does not have much in the way of overarching frameworks placed on it. Continue reading “Monstrance – S/T”

Steve Lieberman – Melancholia Falling

Steve Lieberman – Melancholia Falling / 2007 Self / 21 Tracks / http://www.gangstarabbi.com / Reviewed 23 June 2007

Steve Lieberman is pretty much the one constant that I have had in the last three or so years of reviewing. There is not a six or eight month stretch of time where I do not receive a Lieberman CD. One has to give eir kudos for sticking around after so many negative words. This CD looks to be different than past Lieberman albums in that there are only two covers on the disc, where Lieberman works on a Mark Knopfler (“Tunnel of Love”) and a Jesus and Mary Chain (“April Skies”) song. While the disc is ostensibly about Lieberman’s depression, one cannot hear any sort of sadness in the track called “Falling Into Sadness”. Continue reading “Steve Lieberman – Melancholia Falling”

Martians See Red – When All Seems Lost

Martians See Red – When All Seems Lost / 2007 Self / 6 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/martiansseered / Reviewed 24 June 2007

“Watercolor” is the first track on “When All Seems Lost”, and it blends together a number of disparate influences. This song links together The Beatles, Blink 182, Husker Du, The Replacements, and early Foo Fighters to make a radio-friendly rock track with teeth. For an introduction to the band, Martians See Red could not do any better. The track is sufficiently short so that the terse statements created by the band will not sound hackneyed in the later stage of the disc. “Channeling Aero” changes up the influences first put forth by Martians See Red on “Watercolor”, in that the deep end of the track is much more brooding and intricate. While the band still has the poppy, Weezer or Blink 182-like approach to the vocals, the bass and drums during the track are closer to a Tool or a System of a Down. “Channeling Aero” may not be as immediately ready for rock radio, but it does represent another strong track by Martians See Red. Continue reading “Martians See Red – When All Seems Lost”

Jessica Penrose – Words Become Flesh

Jessica Penrose – Words Become Flesh / 2007 Self / 9 Tracks / http://www.jessicapenrose.com / Reviewed 24 June 2007

This sophomore release by Jessica Penrose starts off with police sirens, moving into a strong piano line shortly after. The piano line bolsters the vocals on the track, which are reminiscent of a Tori Amos of an Alanis Morrisette. Unlike these two artists, however, Penrose adds a little bit of electronic influence to the fold. The sequenced drums during this opening track place Penrose on a path that is completely eir own. On this new path, Penrose is able to give listeners something qualitatively different to appreciate. This different sound is furthered by the familiar yet distinct sound of Penrose’s voice, which is able to draw influence from female artists in the field but adds Penrose’s soul to the mix. Where “I Am” was a quicker, memorable track on its’ own, the title track to “Words Become Flesh” is slower and much more soulful. Penrose’s output on these two tracks is at diametrically-opposed poles in regards to tempo and overall sound. The decision to put two different songs so close together is a smart one for Penrose, as it is another lure for fans to bite on, should they not completely be behind Penrose at the conclusion of “I Am”. Continue reading “Jessica Penrose – Words Become Flesh”

Go Motion – Kill The Love

Go Motion – Kill The Love / 2006 Self / 11 Tracks / http://www.gomotiongo.com / Reviewed 22 June 2007

A number of acts are doing the dance-punk thing, so it will be interesting to see how Go Motion does on their debut album, “Kill The Love”. The band does not sound too terribly different from what has been on the market in the last five years with their opening track to “Kill The Love”. However, this may not be a big deal, as the pressing beat and catchy vocals will be causing individuals to dance around in much of the same way as Franz Ferdinand had with their prior two albums. There seems to be a high amount of cohesion that the band achieves, even when all one has heard is “Kill The Love” and “Dance”. Continue reading “Go Motion – Kill The Love”

Damien Dempsey – To Hell Or Barbados

Damien Dempsey – To Hell Or Barbados / 2007 Clear / 10 Tracks / http://www.damiendempsey.com / http://www.ufomusic.com / Reviewed 23 June 2007

The style of music that Dempsey plays on “To Hell Or Barbados” is an eclectic one. So eclectic, in fact, that it is hard to sit down and actually listen to the disc for any length of time. Sure, individuals will be able to built themselves up to a point where they can go through the entirety of the disc, but I know I had to approach and re-approach “To Hell or Barbados” when I first heard “Maasai”. Continue reading “Damien Dempsey – To Hell Or Barbados”

Duke and the Drivers – Harder Than Before

Duke and the Drivers – Harder Than Before / 2006 Groove International / 12 Tracks / http://www.dukeandthedrivers.com / Reviewed 22 June 2007

There are a lot of Boston bands that played in the seventies that have came back to prominence in the current era. Duke and the Drivers is one of those bands; The Destroyed is another. Even though the vocals on “Harder Than Before”, the opening track, are scratchy in the C.C. Deville/Joe Walsh way, the smooth style of the rest of the band is enough to make up for that. Still, it only takes Duke and the Drivers a few minutes to get their old fans back and tons more. The harmonica solo tops things off; the band is hard hitting in the seventies rock way. Continue reading “Duke and the Drivers – Harder Than Before”

At Dusk – You Can Know Danger

At Dusk – You Can Know Danger / 2006 Popping Open Music / 10 Tracks / http://www.atduskmusic.com / Reviewed 22 June 2007

This is the third album released by “You Can Know Danger”; “In The Background” starts off this effort, and shows that the band has had time to smooth out their sound. What is immediately noticeable with At Dusk on this album is the diversity of sounds that come together. There are a number of layers that individuals will have to decipher to understand what the band is trying to do with this album. However, these layers are made all the more difficult with the inclusion of a challenge to the traditional time signature used in the brand of alternative meets emo rock that is par for the course for this album. Continue reading “At Dusk – You Can Know Danger”

Jana Hunter – There’s No Home

Jana Hunter – There’s No Home / 2007 Gnomonsong / 15 Tracks / http://www.janahunter.tk / http://www.gnomonsong.com / Reviewed 22 June 2007

“Blank Unstaring Heirs of Doom” was the last Jana Hunter CD that I had the chance to review, and while it feels like only yesterday I review it, it is in reality over a year and a half since I heard something from Hunter eirself. “Babies” is a track that shows a much more cohesive sound for Hunter than was previously heard. What was a focus point to eir last album was the vocals of Hunter eirself. This time, it feels as if the instrumentation and the vocals themselves all try to work together to create something more. This results in something that has a more contemporaneous sound, and could really break Hunter in to the big time if given the proper opportunity. Continue reading “Jana Hunter – There’s No Home”