McFalls = Pearl Jam (Ten) + Soundgarden (Superunknown) + Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin)
McFalls, or Rune, as they are currently known, combine classic rock/grunge-laden guitar riffs with Jim Morrisson-like vocals that can really wail. Added to that grunge base are three main additives: A bluesy, almost jazzy strut (best illustrated in “summerday”); undiluted Alice in Chains; and butt metal (as in the, ironically, G&R-sounding “Bloody Roses”). McFalls say they do a lot of covers in their live set, and I believe doing covers is a waste of time for a band that makes original music, but I guess the good thing about covers is it helps a band to get their sea legs. They are excellent musicians. As far as where Rune are now, or what kind of music they’re making, I’m not sure. Perhaps they’ll send me a current CD now that I’ve finally reviewed this one.
Standing in the Gap
Scoob Serious = The Bible + Cypress Hill
Christian rap can be annoying, but Scoob Serious comes off sincere and non-self-righteous about his religious convictions, rapping directly but non-melodramatically in his knowing purr about his past life as a gangster leading a double life behind his young family’s back. He also raps about the spoof war in Iraq and social messes like drugs, ignorance and suicide. What also makes you automatically like Scoob despite his silly name are his killer beats, samples and production.
Stay Tuned …
IPX = Taking Back Sunday + Saves the Day
IPX spin out a golden emo web that catches you in its glossy threads despite yourself. Watertight songwriting and early twenties angst juice up strong chord progressions. Pop-punk spread over emo vocals instantly makes a Popeye out of an Olive Oyl. The interesting time changes, as in “Dook Tak,” has the power to captivate even the worst of ADD sufferers. Sickboy has been home to The Corleones, The Downers, Love/Misery, and is currently home to Glacial and IPX.
Suspended Animation Dreams
The End Records
SM = Pink Floyd + Polyphonic Spree + Katatonia + Paradise Lost + Tommy
Subterranean Masquerade’s much-anticipated first full-length album picks up where two-song EP Temporary Psychotic State left off, giving us Pink Floyd psychedelia, Porcupine Tree/Devin Townsend prog rock and 60s Tommy concept-rock-opera insanity, but blended together in a mixture that is all its own. Some moments (the five-or-six-voice choral moments) remind of the supra-upbeat Polyphonic Spree. Seven-minute opus “No Place Like Home” is one of the best tracks, with its heartbreaking, mournful violin, gentle piano, harmonized vocals and sludge-guitar chorus. A lot of Suspended Animation Dreams has certain world music overtones; Middle Eastern forays, dulcimer, gypsy fiddle, etc. Spoken word is courtesy of local producer/Misfits Toys mini-guitarist Samuel Johnson and SLUG’s own graphic designer Sarah Pendleton! Jake Depolittle (Union of the Snake) plays guitars and bass; Willis Clow (SLAJO) plays guitars and mandolin; Wendy Jernigan (ex-COSM) sings in “Awake.” Mike Sartain guest vocals on “The Rock N’ Roll Preacher.” www.submasq.com
WHEN CARS CRASH
ALL KINDS OF COMFORTABLE (2002)
When Cars Crash = Jade Tree Records + chutzpah
One of the hardest things for me to do when helping out with Death by Salt was having to cut When Cars Crash’s track, “Shattered Smile”, from the comp after finding out it was previously released on this CD, accidentally filed away with our national music. It’s a fantastic song, with a kind of wild, painful energy in it that turns your marrow to Red Bull. The other songs on this album don’t disappoint. “Autumn Came Early” utilizes winding, feedbacky guitar effects to create a whimsical sense of nostalgia. When Cars Crash’s brand of emo keeps you guessing by switching from veering, driving guitars that fearlessly graze the guardrail 10,000 feet above the valley floor to atmospheric, acoustic melancholy. Super production and energy just cement this release. Hopefully these lads are still around and making firstname.lastname@example.org, www.hibiscuszombie.com
Quetté Daddie = Bert McCracken’s publicity stunts + $10 DI Casio
“Before music critic [sic] bash my music in a CD review, I think they should try to understand my music and my pain,” says Quetté Daddie at the beginning of Reverse Psychology. Could he be talking about little ol’ moi? Quetté Daddie, your game’s up! You complain about those “Latter-Day Saints” wanting to sue you over your last album, The Return Missionary LP, the IRS auditing you over child support and that, despite numerous MTV appearances, you get no respect. Those things may have happened, but deep down inside, I know you like long walks on the beach, fuzzy scratch n’ sniff stickers and Martha Stewart Magazine. Your lyrics are funnier than ever; bordering on rapping genius, especially when you complain about Utah cops in “American Justice,” but you need to drop the fronting and proclaim who you really are—the new R. Kelly sans pederasty. And damn if you don’t still need to drop that Casio.email@example.com
Sugar & Despair
Combining the best of Evanescence and Kittie, Almost Undone present a choppy, chunky metal cocktail that’s a little bit nü, a little bit jagged core (Crisis, Otep, Kittie). I never liked Evanescence, but Brenna White does a better job than Amy Lee or Morgan Lander combined, especially since Kittie has gone in that whole horrible metal-pop direction. The riffs are juicy and a bit avant garde (kind of recalling Crisis in the guitarwork as well), dripping with blood and precision, and the production really brings out strengths of Amost Undone.
State & Stereo
S & S = The Strokes + Modest Mouse + Julian Tulip’s Licorice
I just found out about this charmingly mopey band called Julian Tulip’s Licorice, and there are moments when State & Stereo remind me of the better parts of them, even though I’m confident State & Stereo consider themselves emo or pop or some such modern category. Ragged guitar, lo-fi production, cool keyboards with slippage and astounding songwriting rescue State & Stereo from over-polished indie-rock oblivion; however, they sound waaaaay too much like The Strokes in “Clearly, Dearest.”www.purevolume.com/statestereo
Glacial = Red Sparowes + Black Sabbath + Dixie Witch
The unmistakable finesse of Drew Smith, Glacial’s late drummer, shines through the recordings on this album, bringing an intricate Pelican feel to Glacial’s material. Andy Patterson’s heavier-than-hell chunk-drumming, in recent live settings, points Glacial in an almost Goatsnake/Isis direction. Pick your poison; both are awesome. Glacial’s epic chord progressions and slow Southern breakdowns sound like an interesting conglomeration of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Failure and any number of Neurot bands. One of the most underrated aspects of Glacial are their terse, political lyrics. Check it: “Her face is so serene up onscreen. It’s unsettling. …They’re thick as thieves. Rotting together like the autumn leaves,” (“Thick as Thieves”) and “The bombs are falling outside. The bombs are falling inside. America beams with pride as we watch the fight from ringside.” (“Testify”). “With These Eyes,” one of my two favorite tracks of the album (the other’s “Testify”), has an old, freeform-flow, Americana spiritual feel. Glacial is single-handedly ushering in the angel militia of the apocalypse.
Yield = Alice in Chains + Metallica’s “Sanitarium” + Extreme
Mid-80s chunka-chunka low-end metal parleys with tender, suicidal Alice-in-Chains ballads touching on themes of mind-rupturing confusion with plenty of guitar-pick’d arpeggios and minor chords (choicest example: “Brainwash”). It’s been done before, but Yield succeeds at a much-traversed genre because they’re completely un-self-aware. The more accessible tunes of Tool would be the sound I’d most closely compare Yield to, not because they spit out time-signature acrobats or come anywhere close to genius, but because of the spirit of epic oppression that permeates their aura. Did I just say “aura?”