Action Painters – Chubby Dancer

Action Painters – Chubby Dancer / 2007 Self / 7 Tracks / http://www.actionpaintersband.com /

This version of the Action Painters is from Brooklyn. The original action painters were individuals that included painters like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline. I consider myself lucky that the music on “Chubby Dancer” is nothing like the work of the early action painters. This means that the opening track, “Absolutely Clear” is not all over the canvas, scattered and touch and go, but rather is a compelling bit of retro-sounding rock that is simultaneously catchy, hook-laden, and musically intelligent. The intensity of the band is what is the selling point of “Chubby Dancer”, and this includes the bass, the guitar, the splashy drums, and the vocals (which at times even approach the level of an early Tom Petty. Continue reading “Action Painters – Chubby Dancer”

The Billionaires – Really Real For Forever

The Billionaires – Really Real For Forever / 2007 Self / 10 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/billionairesband /

Anyone that knows me knows that I usually just get rid of about 99% of the CDs that I review for the zine. We just get way too many, and I have no room for a vast majority of the ones we receive (also, most of them suck). However, The Billionaires make an album in “Really Real For Forever” that I actually want to hang onto. The band does a blend of retro music (Stripes, Strokes, etc) with The Polyphonic Spree and even throw in a little bit of Matt & Kim and Hellogoodbye into a feelgood, dance-worthy and always catchy brand of rock music. “The End of Summer Song” should, in a perfect world, be rocketing up rotation right now. The same constellation of forces continue during “Highschool High”, but the ultimate sound of the track is incredibly different. Continue reading “The Billionaires – Really Real For Forever”

The Exit Strategy – City of Microphones

The Exit Strategy – City of Microphones / 2008 One Percent / 12 Tracks / http://www.onepercentpress.com /

The Exit Strategy have not been around for too terribly long; they formed in 2004. Considering that they were working on this album likely in 2006 and 2007, that does not give them all that much time to perfect their sound. However, individuals just need to listen to a track like “X-Rays” and any perception regarding the newness of the band rapidly disappears. Where I would like to go and categorize The Exit Strategy as an act that conforms to the sound of early Rise Against, that is simply not the case. What the band does during the opening of “City of Microphones” is completely unique. Continue reading “The Exit Strategy – City of Microphones”

Bayard Russell – Selftitled

Bayard Russell – Selftitled / 2006 Self / 11 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/bayardrussell 

Individuals that concern themselves with the indie NYC scene may know Bayard Russell. This is due to the fact that ey is the lead vocalist and bassist for the seminal NYC act Negative Ken. If you have went to a show at places such as Arlene’s Grocery, Snitch, or the Orange Bear, there is a good chance you may have seen Russell live. However, what ey does in Negative Ken is nowhere near the style of music that is presented to listeners during “Selftitled”. “Living At My Moms” is the first track on the album, and it provides listeners with a brand of indie, shoegazing rock that has been fed through a synthesizer. The dreaminess of Russell’s vocals during this track is matched well with the cool atmosphere that is provide by the aforementioned synthesizer. Continue reading “Bayard Russell – Selftitled”

Blackmore’s Night – Paris Moon

Blackmore’s Night – Paris Moon / 2007 Steamhammer / http://www.blackmoresnight.com /

Individuals that are unsure exactly who the eponymous “Blackmore” is in Blackmore’s Night, it is Ritchie Blackmore, who may be more well known for eir stints in both Deep Purple and Rainbow. While the seeds for Blackmore’s Night were first laid in 1990, the act did not come up with a full length album until 1997. However, since 1997, the band has created a large amount of material; “Paris Moon” marks their second live DVD in two years’ time. The backdrop for this performance is the Paris Olympia, which has been in some sort of use (with minor down times) since 1888. Aside from the ambiance that the Olympia provides, there is a little bit more in the way of a special flair to the tracks on this DVD – this concert was conducted as a celebration, marking the band’s 10 continued years of existence. Continue reading “Blackmore’s Night – Paris Moon”

Putumayo Presents Latin Reggae

Putumayo Presents Latin Reggae / 2008 Putumayo / 11.Tracks / http://www.putumayo.com /

This is another one in the compilation of different world music CDs that Putumayo has put out in the last few years. For those individuals that are not in the know, what Putumayo does is pick a specific set of musicians, whether they be Middle Eastern, Eastern European, or the like, and then find a strong set of artists out of this geographically and stylistically narrow designation. From there, they go forth and allow groups and individuals that, while famous in their native region, have not broken it big in the American context. This is what “Latin Reggae” tries to do; while I’ve personally not heard of any of the acts that are present on this CD, I know that I will search out more of their music in the days, weeks, and months to come. Continue reading “Putumayo Presents Latin Reggae”

The Berzerker – Animosity

The Berzerker- Animosity / 2007 Earache Records / 10 Tracks / www.theberzerker.com

The Berzerker used to wear masks and dress up as demons. Now they don’t do that. They’re from Australia; headquarters to some of the most brutal and unrelenting Grindcore bands in the world. The Berzerker is no exception. It is fast, It sounds like a Nintendo game and it is very mean. Its very true to the origins of Grindcore and at the same time it sounds nothing like the original Grindcore bands. The first listen of this record is very difficult. But after that the record is absolutely fascinating. From start to finish it rips your face off and tears you in a thousand different directions. There is no room to breathe while they’re playing, but that’s ok because it’s a rather short record. If you like your music fast and brutal and get down to the likes of Pig Destroyer and Phobia you’ll be really into The Berzerker.

Top Track: False Hope
Rating: 9/10

[John]

Lord Belial – Revelation

Lord Belial – Revelation / 2007 Regain Records / 11 Tracks / www.lordbelial.com

When true kvlt Black Metal comes to mind, one often thinks of the greats: Mayhem, Emperor, etc. The Church Burnings in Norway, and everything that goes along with that great scene. Well, if you’re into that then you’re going to love this record. From start to finish it is epic and unrelenting. They aren’t reinventing the wheel, but they are writing a great black metal record, with tinges of Swedish death metal and Norwegian black metal. It’s a great overall record with plenty of blast beats, intricate guitar parts and did I mention how fast it is? Two words that accurately describe this record are absolutely and unrelenting. If you’re looking for something brutal and satanic that none of your friends have heard of pick up this record.

Top Track: Unholy War

Rating: 9/10

[John]

Belay My Last – The Downfall

Belay My Last – The Downfall / 2007 Mediaskare / 13 Tracks/ http://www.myspace.com/belaymylast

I had heard a lot of buzz about Belay my last through Myspace and the other various means that metal buzz travels through. I honestly was expecting a fairly generic metalcore band; but was pleasantly surprised to discover upon popping this record into my CD player that this was essentially one of the best new death metal bands that I had heard in some time. With undertones that reflect the new California death metal movement, this band would fit right along side Animosity and could probably hold their own next to them. The only gripe I have with this record is that it is really long. 13 tracks is a lot for any band in metal, especially with most songs clocking in between 3 and 5 minutes.

Right from the beginning of this record they have technical, fast guitar work in the vein of Suffocation or more recently Animosity. It is crushing, brutal and everything that death metal should be. There are no hooks, and nothing that would make it appeal to the mainstream top 40 demographic. So, if you like the new Death-core movement, Mosh, tech-metal or just death metal, give this record a listen. You’ll probably enjoy it.

Top Track: One more foot in the grave


Rating: 8/10

[John]

Alabama Thunderpussy – Open Fire

Alabama Thunderpussy – Open Fire / 2007 Relapse / 11 Tracks/ www.atprva.com

Alabama Thunderpussy is a band that I have heard about for several years. I had heard them on several occasions prior to listening to this record but have never given them the time to honestly give their material a listen. Upon popping this record in I was pleasantly surprised at what I heard. This record shows the band with a new vocalist and stronger than ever. The record was exactly what I had expected it to be; Down and Dirty southern metal. If you’re a fan of riffs for miles, southern tinged old school heavy metal. Continue reading “Alabama Thunderpussy – Open Fire”