Author: Kyla G

Harbor Royale
Aspirations
Self-Released
Street Date: 07.22
Harbor Royale = cheap vodka + tenacity + Hot Topic vomit
It pains me to be a Debbie Downer about music, but when the first 35 seconds of the album make me want to scratch my ears off my head, I find it necessary. On one hand, Aspirations would sell at Hot Topic to girls with too much eyeliner, without question. Said girls would eat up the almost-poetic lyrics, drenched in angst, like Hello Kitty fruit snacks. If Harbor Royale is making music solely for getting rich and dying young (career-wise), they’ve got it made. They’ve shared the stage with some pretty big bands, such as Atreyu, Bullet For My Valentine and Escape The Fate. This may be impressive to some, but they still lack real talent. On the other hand, Harbor Royale might one day realize they are making terribly unoriginal music and go in any other direction than where they’re headed, and that would be great! They know their instruments and have the drive to make it happen for themselves. It would just be better for them in the long run to realize that they sound like every other band circa early 2000s, looking for teenaged poon and eternal fame. I’ve heard this band a million times before, on other stages and in other states, and it’s time for retirement. We’re not entirely mad at the ‘70s for disco, and I think in a few decades this may be a good thing to look back and laugh at as well.

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Twisted Axis
Self-Titled
7th Street Records
Street: 05.03
Twisted Axis = Kiss + The Who + Hinder + a blender
If Nickelback and Black Sabbath were forced to combine forces, this is the product of that sad, sad scenario. Twisted Axis has a lot of ’70s rock influences, which is all well and good, but there is also a definite early 2000s radio “rock” music direction they tend to lean toward. The vocals are pretty weak, and there’s no real spark in the music, but I can see how people could like it. People who like Seether and Hinder might like this. At their best, they sound like Pink Floyd, but at worst they sound like, I don’t know, just bad. When they have a more ’70s space-rock vibe going on, like in “Wake Up,” they’re not awful—in fact, that’s the best song on the album. In the next song, “Corruption,” they sing, “Dirty, nasty, sexy freaks …” in a voice I never want to hear say those words, let alone together. It makes me feel dirty, like I desperately need to take a shower and get that voice out of my skin. The first seven songs are forgettable, and the last four have a certain charm, whether it be that skeezy 40-year-old-in-the-leather-jacket-without-a-shirt-on-licking-his-mustached-upper-lip-at-17-year-old-girls kind of charm, or actual, not-trying-to-be-charming charm.

Exer Ovu
Baby, I Get Impatient
Self-Released
Street: 10.2010
Exer Ovu = Modest Mouse’s Sad, Sappy Sucker + Paul Baribeau
“Where was this recorded, and who recorded this?” is the first thought in my mind as I listen to Exer Ovu’s latest effort. I’m not even sure what I’m listening to for the first few songs. What I can make out is that the band consists of a guy and a guitar, and that’s about it. Most of it sounds like that point on acid when you’re jamming with your friends and you think you’re awesome, but really it’s just erratic noise. There isn’t a clear direction or genre in any of the ten songs. It’s the kind of yell-singing that a few bands can pull off really well, and, with the help of some other musicians, this guy probably can, too. At least he lets the listener know he’s “Open To Suggestion” in the second song. If the other songs sounded more like “Debutant,” he might have something going, though. That one’s the least musically confusing song, followed by “2WR,” that kind of sounds like Adam and the Ants in the beginning, and then blows it with a bunch of yelping/Indian war chant sounds. Those might be cool in any other situation, but not this one. He’s got a couple of albums out, though, which brings me to my original question: ?!

Burning Olympus
Going Nowhere
Self-Released
Street: 05.01.2010
Burning Olympus= Bowerbirds + Dead Meadow
With hazy guitar sounds and strong percussion, Burning Olympus encompasses the energy of White Rabbits and the low grit of The Black Keys in their first full-length album, Going Nowhere. They have a distinct taste for real, dirty rock n’ roll, which is magnified in songs like “Red Faced” and “Skipped That Part.” “Something That She Wants” features a songstress who sounds like the kid sister of Nona Marie Invie, of the East Coast’s Dark Dark Dark. All of the tracks on Going Nowhere are solid and all slightly different, keeping the listener interested and ready for the next song. The title track slows things down, sounding almost like Trophy Scars, if they had taken a different direction after their 2009 album, Bad Luck. Burning Olympus sounds like old souls who’ve found each other and decided to make something out of their likeness to one another. Despite their downer album title, Going Nowhere is certain to go somewhere.

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