Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rosetta - "A Determinism Of Morality" CD

Taking obvious cues from post-metal juggernauts like Neurosis or Pelican, as well as the expansive, atmospheric guitar landscapes of Mono or Explosions In The Sky, this Philadelphia band's 4th full-length resonates with a duality that's impressive, if a bit hard to swallow for purists of either the avante-metal or post-rock scenes. On one hand, Rosetta's moody, churning guitarscapes are often as ambient and melodic (even delicate) as they are metallic. The throat-shredding vocals by Michael Armine act as a bit of a counterpoint to the band's sound, adding a powerful, lung-shearing anguish to the mix. Opening with the harsh "Ayil", which could be Mogwai if they added the guy from Isis on vocals, the stage is set for Rosetta's sprawling and textural songs, self-described cheekily as "metal for astronauts". Certainly, there are some superb, dense, and even beautiful passages here. Witness the chime & drone of "Je N'en Connais Pas la Fin", broken by Armine's gutteral vocals, and ending with a rather impressive epic buildup. Fans of bands like Envy can relate. Me? I really like parts of "A Determinism Of Morality", but can't get my head around the juxtaposition of brutal shouting with soul-crushing loveliness. (Translation Loss)

Rosetta site


Friday, June 18, 2010

HeWhoCannotBeNamed - "Sunday School Massacre" CD

Legendary masked punk-grimers the Dwarves have been known for many things in the past. Upbeat, well-produced pop punk isn't something that comes immediately to mind. But longtime guitar player HeWhoCannotBeNamed's debut solo album here shows an interesting twist on the gutter-punk philosophy that his "money" band excels at. "Happy Suicide" is fast, fun, and more than legible, and the cover DOESN'T feature any nudity or, ahem, actual dwarves this time. What HeWhoCannotBeNamed proves is that he is a more than capable songwriter, with a penchant for a number of tempos and rollicking sing-along choruses. "Superhero" is positively anthemic, while "Duck Tape Love" is a feel-good song about love and the ways to "make you mine". "Toxene" is even a tongue-in-cheek ballad! Of course, this "solo" work also includes the participation of friends like Nick Oliveri (Queens Of The Stone Age), Blag Dahlia (Dwarves), and Andy Selway (KMFDM). Fun punk melodies, strong production, some possibly offensive content -- this is 33 minutes of fun, with spirit and guts. Cool stuff. (MVD Audio)

The Dwarves site


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cyco Miko & Infectious Grooves - "Funk it Up & Punk It Up: Live In France '95" 2xCD

Mike Muir, legendary frontman from skate-punk-metal band Suicidal Tendencies here presents some of his lesser-known work, in a live setting, and on his freshly-minted Suicidal Records, no less. Cyco Miko, which comprises disc A, is a return to his punk-rock roots. With fast hardcore songs full of energy, bouncing rhythms and singalong choruses, Cyco Miko is/was a fun and energetic diversion from his main band. "I Love Destruction" closes out the 9-song, 32-minute set with a classic punk vibe. Infectious Grooves, aka Mike and company's funk-oriented alter egos, bring a longer 16-track, 71-minute set full of funk rock that remains heavy, but swings in a whole different fashion. It's as if George Clinton joined Bad Brains, maybe. Both sets are recorded and mixed quite well, with thunderous drums, cohesive vocals, and wicked bass from now-Metallica member Robert Trujillo. It's a solid set from a couple of little-known, unjustly forgotten crossover acts. (Suicidal Records)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tom Waits - "Under The Influence" DVD

These unauthorized critical examinations are really well-done, but generally essential only to the already-devoted fan. This is no exception. Waits, it needn't be said, is an enigma, and an American songwriting legend at this point. His music is instantly identifiable, from his gruff froggy vocals to his ramshackle, old-time vaudeville vagabond beat-poet persona. "Under The Influence" tackles exactly what inspired Waits through the years, and through the eyes of his collaborators and journalists, we see some of the jumping-off points that led Waits to forsake "pop culture" and embrace a timeless, historical context within his music and art. Beginning with the beat poets (especially Jack Kerouac), we get portraits of writers like Charles Bukowski and Ken Nordine, and musicians like Captain Beefheart, the Rolling Stones (chiefly friend and collaborator Keith Richards), avante-composer Harry Partch, and European songwriters Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht. Waits' widely-disparate influences make sense, and this DVD does a fine job examining, and proving these inspirations to be likely truths. That's not to say that Waits has emulated any of these composers too greatly, as his vision and personality are uniquely his own. Well worth a look to any Waits collector, but if you don't consider yourself already interested in the man's impressive body of work, this won't convince you. (Chrome Dreams via MVD Visual)