Bitter Bitter Weeks – Peace is Burning

Bitter Bitter Weeks – Peace is Burning / 2007 High Two / 10 Tracks /http://www.minerstreet.com/bbw / http://www.hightwo.com /

The Bitter Bitter Weeks sound a lot like The La’s during the first track to their “Peace Is Burning”, “Once and for all”. This means that the vocals are the dreamiest part of the band even as the instrumentation provide a little more tangible thing for these vocals to latch onto. The track is strong in its’ own right, but it does not represent a hit for the Bitter Bitter Weeks. The second track on this disc is “Writing Letter”, and the slightly more driven instrumentation pushes the lead vocals to something a little more strong than was the case during “Once and for all”. Continue reading “Bitter Bitter Weeks – Peace is Burning”

Lil Fizz (from B2K) Set to Release Album

Los Angeles, CA…Hip-Hop and R&B superstar Lil Fizz of the multi-platinum group B2K is set to release his debut album PayDay on July 17th. The first album of an exclusive recording agreement with music industry veteran Cudda Love’s Fo’ Reel Entertainment, PayDay showcases Lil Fizz’s far-reaching lyrical talents. Continue reading “Lil Fizz (from B2K) Set to Release Album”

Ben Jelen – Ex Sensitive

Ben Jelen – Ex Sensitive / 2007 Custard / 13 Tracks / http://www.benjelen.com / http://www.custardrecords.com /

Ben Jelen starts off “Ex Sensitive” with a very hopeful brand of pop-rock music that is more influenced by eir vocals at the onset than even with the shifting, shambling beat that backs ey up during “Pulse”. Taken in toto, Jelen opens up this disc in a very solid way. There may be hints of U2 present in this introductory track, but Jelen is much more diverse than that, taking The Corrs, The Verve, and countless other earlier acts into consideration. Regardless, “Pulse” is a strong track and is the perfect introduction to listeners. “Where Do We Go” is more of the same, but seems to have a sheen about it that defies categorization. Continue reading “Ben Jelen – Ex Sensitive”

They Shoot Horses Don’t They – Pick Up Sticks

They Shoot Horses Don’t They – Pick Up Sticks / 2007 Kill Rock Stars / 10 Tracks / http://www.theyshoothorses.org / http://www.killrockstars.com

They Shoot Horses Don’t They is a fucked up band. “One Last Final Push” mixes together so many different styles that it is really like a schizophrenic trying to go and craft a song. Ultimately, “One Last Final Push” is a track is primarily influenced by the swing-dancing style along with a rock sound. “The Guest” has the same sort of dissonant horns and strong vocal present. The one thing that I could link They Shoot Horses Don’t They to would have to be one of those fun houses that are present at any county fair. In these fun houses, for individuals that might not know what I’m talking about, there are slanted floors, weird bungee cord contraptions, and the like. Continue reading “They Shoot Horses Don’t They – Pick Up Sticks”

No Snow Here #9

No Snow Here #9 / $? / 44M / 1:00 / nadia_@wayne.edu /

No Snow Here is a perzine is a zine done by Nadia. This issue deals a lot with racism, explaining the difference between the difference between racism by a dominant group and racism by an oppressed group. The description of this by Nadia is perhaps the best that I have ever read, and should really be given a second life in an issue that is just devoted to that. The number of different pieces in this issue are broken apart through interesting changes in fonts and the overall backdrops used. This allows the zine to flow much faster than it would normally go. The font is small and compressed enough that Nadia is able to stick a lot on one page, which means that individuals will be digging this zine for at least an hour. For individuals that may be looking to buy a zine but do not want to just read a dour and angry zinester, No Snow Here is a good zine. Continue reading “No Snow Here #9”

The Shake – Kick It

The Shake – Kick It / 2006 Self / 9 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/theshakeband /

The band comes forth to us with a sound that blends together equal parts FOo Fighters and Bad Religion. The first track on “Kick It” is “Frequency”, and it shows the band’s ability to create a wall of sound. The only thing that could be construed as a negative on this opening track is the high amount of distortion. With the solid arrangements played by the band, the distortion is not needed, and it actually detracts from what is a solid opening and introduction to the band. What the band ultimately settles down to in this track is a current rock style that is linked heavily to the sixties rock style. This distortion sounds more like a constraint of the recording process than from anything that the band was responsible for, so one cannot fault them all that much.

The band shifts their style slightly for “Outcast”, taking up a little rockabilly influence to the track. The band still comes forth with that Oasis/Blue-retro type of sound on the track, drawing linkages between the first few tracks of “Kick It”. while each of the first few tracks on “Kick It” were short, punchy introductions to the band, “8 O’Clock” is a song that lasts for over 4 minutes. This is the band’s first real test on the album, and the slower tempoed song is a solid continuance of some of the styles and approaches that first presented themselves on earlier tracks on this album. This minor shift in the sound provided listeners by The Shake keeps individuals interested in the band, something that is definitely needed at the middle-point of this album.

The one thing that starts to reveal itself during “Kick It” is the fact that the band does not have a single-worthy track present on the album. Sure, the songs are fun on their own merit, but there is not the song on “Kick It” that will catapult the band into some semblance of fame. For their next album, this is what The Shake needs to do. Craft a song like “8 O’Clock” and stick in a hook or solo that will get individuals focused in on the track. The song is almost what the band needs, but the band is ultimately on the outside looking in with this album. Give the disc a listen and then check back with the band in a few years; hopefully they will have worked on their overall sound.

Top Tracks: 8 O’Clock, Manic Boogie

Rating: 5.6/10

Junktown #6

Junktown #6 / $1 / :30 / 48S / junktownjacket@hotmail.com /

Junktown is a zine that a great writer behind it. The style of the zine is personal; editor Weston places individuals in eir shoes with a number of anecdotes and stories in this issue. Specifically, eir interactions with animals, first a chicken and then mice, mark the first half of the zine. What is interesting is Weston’s back and forth between eir childhood and the current period, explaining the tendency of eir to shoot mice rather than let them free as eir earlier heritage coming back with a vengeance. Continue reading “Junktown #6”

V/A – Jazz Legends, Volume 14

V/A – Jazz Legends, Volume 14 / 2007 MVD / 54 Minutes /

One would think that by the time that MVD got to the 14th volume of “Jazz Legends”, that they would have to be scraping the barrel pretty hard. This time, there are performances by Les McCann, Stephane Grappelli, Ben Sidran, and Mike Mainieri. While I am not familiar with any of these artists, this is due to the fact that jazz is typically not my forte. However, regardless of the fact that I am not familiar w Continue reading “V/A – Jazz Legends, Volume 14”