|Fans of Hawthorne Heights will be stoked. Their new album debuted at number two on the Billboard charts. Check next month’s HB to see when they make it through Big D. Fans of Norma Jean should keep an eye or two pealed for their new video Robots 3, Humans 0. And, Fans of NJ will be pleased to learn that they’re headlining “The Anti Mother Tour.” They kick off the tour with Haste the Day and The Showdown. Look for a stop in Dallas later this year…. It’s been a many moons since Sonic Youth have cranked out an album. Too long indeed. No worries, amigos, they are in the studio working on a new one. Look for it to come out sometime, like, whenever. You can also look for Fall Out Boy’s fifth album to come out this Fall.
G Unit Terminate on Site, Interscope
Like most gansta-rap albums, this one was also recorded in Connecticut. And it shows. TOS gets off to a good start, for the most part, with jams such as “Straight Outta Southside” and “Piano Man.” Not long after the beginning, however, the quality starts to slip considerably with tracks such as “Casualties of War” and “You so Tough.” The quality does momentarily improve with club-ready numbers such as “ I Like The Way She Do It” and “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It.” Fans who have been waiting for this follow-up album won’t be fully disappointed, but it isn’t the rap album of the year, either.
Beck -Modern Guilt, DGC Records
Modern Guilt is Beck’s tenth album release and somewhere along the way he has grown old and his albums, as a whole, have to. Every record after 1996’s Odelay produced only one or two chart toppers from each. Modern Guilt doesn’t have the crazy over-the-top funky psychedelic folk-charm as the first two solid albums. It tinkers more with dark gritty tones. Although, this album does showcase some of Beck’s quirky old-school feel. “Gamma Ray” is a bright surf-rock ditty and “Orphans” low-fi dreariness sinks like quick-sand. No doubt Beck is unique and can still throw down a handful of clever tracks.
Shwayze Shwayze, Geffen
This one rocks, tunefully speaking. Shwayze reside at the crossroads of new reggae and laid-back hip-hop. Their style is easily identifiable as their own, which gives them well-deserved street credit. The musical approach employed here works like union labor: righteous and competent. The lyrics, on the other hand, have a limited appeal. If you don’t smoke weed-then you might not like this one, at all. All drug references aside, the track “Lazy Days” is one of the best on this disc. It is a feel-good ditty designed to aid you properly in such undertakings as chilling and/or relaxing-preferably on the front porch with a blunt, fool.
The Pink Spiders - Sweat It Out, Adrenaline Records
These Tennessee troubadours rock properly on this release with thirteen tough-loving tracks. It isn’t often that you find a disc without at least a few songs that suck. The Pink Spiders manage to sidestep that dilemma well. None of the tracks, however, rock with intensity of Metallica circa Ride The Lightning. But we can’t hold that against them. A few that come close are “Gimme Chemicals” and “Truth or Dare.” The music is, technically speaking, pop-rock. But it rocks much harder than such a weak genre generally allows. If you are a fan of The Frettallis or cheesy MTV or VH1 soundtracks, then chances are-you will enjoy this one, too.
OPM - Golden State of Mind, Suburban Noise
If you are in the market for some stateside reggae-esque music this summer, OPM deliver a decent dose. It isn’t great, but it will work well enough. The overall style is relaxed. But it is lively enough to keep your stoned-ass head bobbing. You will notice a certain trend on this disc. It starts out strong, but it gets weaker as it moves along. If you are a dedicated fan, buy the whole album. If a few good “weed smoking” tracks are on your list, you might want to get “Feel the Vibration” and “Runaway” from iTunes.
Toadies No Deliverance, Kirtland Records
It’s been 14 years since Vaden Todd Lewis and company released Rubberneck, their multi-platinum debut, and the band is back to rock again. Right from the first note of the album’s ten tracks, it’s clear this Fort Worth band means business.
No Deliverance is a no nonsense disc, that pummels the listener into submission. Vaden’s lyrics are reminiscent of a southern evangelist preaching to his flock as he leads them into the light. Coupled with Clark Vogeler’s razor sharp lead guitar work, each song is pure magic.
The disc is not as focused as Rubberneck or as grand as 2001’s Hell Below/Stars Above, but it still offers a ton of great tracks. Filled with influences from ZZ Top to The Pixies, 38 minutes of amazing music is just too short. Fans will surely finish the disc, craving for more.
Title track “No Deliverance” or “So Long Lovey Eyes” could easily be a huge radio hit. A couple of other tracks seem forced and unnatural, like “Song I Hate” and “Nothing To Cry About.” The rest fall somewhere in between, and are definitely worth a listen.
Jeremy Enigk - H.O.B. (Pontiac Garage), 8/28/08
All alone, Enigk performed a bare-bones acoustic set that engulfed the Pontiac Garage but echoed enough to fill a place five times larger. His music brought calm to chaos and vice versa. On “Shade and the Black Hat,” he was in the stratosphere displaying wildly demented showmanship with his keyboard - before ground control called him back. Enigk’s vocals were also captivating, ranging from eerie to uplifting to soothing and sometimes even haunting. He can be a folk artist but strays from traditional melodies. For example, “Canons” and “Carnival” replaced those formal characteristics with blazing prowess and swaying moods. To the fans delight, Enigk performed several tunes from his former band, Sunny Day Real Estate, such as “In Circles” and “The Ocean.” With the movement of the music, this artist really showed “how it feels to be something on.” (Misty Johnson)
Nine Inch Nails American Airlines Center, 8/18/08
God of the Industrial movement, Trent Reznor, at 43 years old, is still putting on shows that will blow your mind. Show opener “1,000,000” immediately energized the crowd. Drummer Josh Freese was on the money, though at times it was hard to tell whether it was drums or programmed beats. Most impressive were the visual elements such as multiple video screen backdrops, seven towers of lights lining the stage. as well as two instrument changes featuring xylophone, chimes, upright bass, marimba, and electric piano! The instrumentation gave tunes like “Piggy” a full sound. During “Hurt,” the crowd fell silent and meditated on the song (except for the dumb girl behind me who decided to start screaming in my ear and almost punched my friend in the face while dancing). Playing an impressive 23 songs, NIN closed the show with “In This Twilight.” (John Blystone)
Burning Brides - Club Dada, 7/9/08
Leaving all pretension aside, Los Angeles’ Burning Brides delivered a raucous set of all killer-no filler rawk with minimal breaks. In between songs, Demitri Coats (vocals/guitar) did seize the opportunity to announce that he and his wife/bassist Melanie are having a baby and exclaim, “And that’s beautiful!” Even at five months pregnant, Melanie pounded away on the Queens of the Stone Age meets Bleach-era Nirvana material, while providing impressive backing vocals. Even though nearly hidden behind the wll of guitar amps, drummer Pete Beeman was on fire throughout the performance. The Brides, as they are affectionately known, relied mainly on their fourth and newest self-released disc, Anhedonia. “Love Sick” (a featured video on Myspace) was a real treat with its off-kilter yet still driving rhythm. “She Comes to Me” captivated the room with a classic rock sound, while “Glass Slipper” (from their debut CD) served to show just how much the band has grown. Got to give props to Parade of Flesh for putting this shindig on. (D.J. Ivie)