CD Revue 

SHEDAISY Sweet Right Here ***

Utah’s own SheDaisy freely admit that they might have overproduced their last album—a commercial dud—and it’s easy to tell why after listening to their easygoing, accessible country pop screaming out for slick, Celine Dion-like sheen. But on Sweet Right Here, they dared to let the music breathe, recording quickly, using few overdubs and effects, focusing arrangements. Mandolin, banjo, fiddle, harmonica and Jew’s harp enhance honey-sweet harmonies, but don’t suffocate songwriting. “[We realized] you can distract people from the song by the sounds you put into it,” says Kristyn. Duh. Simplicity proves itself supreme yet again. (Lyric Street)

AVRIL LAVIGNE Under My Skin **

Any redeeming qualities this more introspective, dark-side-of-Avril album may have had due to its—unbelievably—not-terrible songwriting (Ms. Lavigne helped write this time, which the press release stresses about a billion times), solid arrangements and super production, is completely annihilated by Avril’s incredibly asinine lyrics, which sound like they were pulled from a 14-year-old’s diary, not from the mind of a young woman on the verge of adulthood. (Arista)

THE CALLING Two *

“Bland as pita bread,” “ordinary to the point of pain” and “creative blindness” are nice phrases to use when describing yellow-bellied Christian soft-rock band The Calling. Every track on Two sounds like it was cut-’n’-pasted from the previous one in ProTools with only a different vocal track plopped on top. Every song has the same chord change, the same tempo ... crikey, the same key, even! And one of ’em looks like an Ewok! (RCA)

MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge *

My Chemical Romance fancy themselves demented rock boys, with song titles like “It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Death Wish” (ha!), and by saying their producer Howard Benson’s work with Motrhead was a major influence on them (ha!), and by flat out self-declaring their music “some of the toughest, most convincing modern rock in recent memory” (double ha!). Their lifeless, radio-friendly, watery emocore gruel is about as tough as a hollyhock. (Reprise)

L.P. Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol *

When the first guitar strum of Suburban Sprawl kicks in, one can tell exactly what the drum beat will sound like when it comes in ... and it does. From the first song, one can guess what the entire album will sound like ... and it does. Soul-numbing, pat alterna-pop with vocals cruelly trapped somewhere between Joan Osborne and Gwen Stefani falls as flat as a pancake in a black hole. (Light Switch) Music CD Revue 1CDDA827-2BF4-55D0-F1F28B5D639CF6C2 2007-06-11 16:18:14.0 1 1 0 2004-06-17 00:00:00.0 1 0
Randy Harward

SMASHY SMASHY 3

Smashy Smashy, the duo comprising guitarist Gentry Densley (Iceburn) and drummer Dan Thomas (Tolchock Trio, Alchemy), is as balanced as they are imbalanced on their debut disc, 3. Every collision of rhythm and melody (as with Densley’s playing of his guitar/bass hybrid) pulls itself back together like a Terminator-style mercury monster. And for every fractured, grand mal freakout, there is a period of (relative) calm. It’s like getting acclimated in a hot tub, then jumping into the pool just to feel another level of cool—and maybe go into shock. (SmashySmashyNow.com)

COSM Fast Way to Go

Watching Cosm pull off drum & bass live, as an actual band instead of four geeks with machines, is fascinating. As such, Cosm on record (it’s really a record—12-inch clear vinyl) might not measure up. Yet, it does; the hot breaks and confounding techie music tricks tickle your head like street-quality Selsun Blue. Drop the needle, don your headphones, close your eyes and stroll the sultry-scary “Secret Garden” to see for yourself. (CosmBreaks.com)

SUPERSOFAR Segue EP

Ya gotta root for SuperSoFar—singer-guitarist James Woods has a Rudy-ish persistence, having logged umpteen years on the scene and still givin’ ’er hell. Plus, he’s extremely adept at crafting the hooky, radio-rock songs that are the taste of the day. Segue encompasses three of his best yet, and they’re as slick and accessible as anything they’re piping into the girls’ department at Sears. So somebody give him a break, OK? (SuperSoFar.com)

THETA NAUGHT Something Scientific

All-instro quintet Theta Naught are unabashed indie-rock geeks—emphasis on geek. Their debut album is a portfolio of long-ass, mostly mellow jams that tie shoegaze to math rock in double knots. It gets to feeling repetitive at times, but interesting instrumental moments involving a guitorgan, lap steel guitar, theremin, and xylophone, and more concise, lively tunes like “Pure Abstract Dimensionality” at least break the monotony. (EdensWatchtower.com)

DROOLING DOGS Bite Me

If there is one absolute truth about Salt Lake City, it’s that there will always be a band willing to be the torchbearers for hairy music. Meet Drooling Dogs—a virtual Cerberus of big-breated Valkyrie symphonic metal. Bite Me is all galloping-charging-foreboding guitars and social consciousness communicated through fantasy foils. They’re no Dream Theater—in fact, their biggest asset is enthusiasm, but they do, in their own way, rock. (DDogs.net) Music CD Revue 1CDDA99E-2BF4-55D0-F1FDE3A594F0F32F 2007-06-11 16:18:15.0 1 1 0 2004-06-24 00:00:00.0 8 0
Rebecca Vernon

THE CURE The Cure ****

It might be difficult to give this album a chance after hearing that first horrifying radio single polluting your car speakers, but be reassured: “The End of the World” is the worst song on The Cure. From Robert Smith’s existential cry of “I can’t find myself” on the opening track, “Lost,” and the majestic, Middle Eastern pulse of “Labyrinth,” one is gutted by thick discordance, Sonic Youth-level at times, that kills and resurrects. Deeply contrasting pop and anguish, light and dark, dance side by side. Your faith in modern music will be restored. (Geffen)

VARIOUS Trax Records’ 20th Anniversary Collection ****

The seminal early ’80s Chicago house-music scene, harbinger of so much of what was to come, was healthily submerged underneath the soil of hardcore dance, punk and new wave, germinating and sprouting into something with elements of all of them, but with ultimately different fruit. Stripped-down, raw and hilariously vulgar, the tracks on this 3-CD box set, reminiscent of primitive hip-hop, are dripping with personality and an unassuming vibe of innovative genius. (Trax)

THOR & MICK HOFFMAN Beastwomen From the Center of the Earth ****

This is one of those metal rock-opera creations that’s so unforgiveably terrible it’s absolutely camp-tastic! Beastwomen is based on the story of Princess Opaz-La, who has a virgin birth and raises her daughter in the “Mushroom Forest” (tee-hee). War, fire and pagan sex ensue. An ’80s hook-driven metal/punk mix—thankfully, no prog rock—is strangely catchy. The only deterrent—or maybe Beastwomen’s greatest appeal?—is that Thor & Mick are absolutely serious. (ThorToen)

AUTHORITY ZERO Andiamo ***.5

Although it could be argued just how badly the world needs yet another pop-punk band, Authority Zero stands above the numberless hordes with riffs as catchy as flypaper, just-right song structure and punchy delivery. They also sprinkle the basic Vans Warped recipe with reggae, rockabilly—hell, even Latin/ska fusion (“Retreat”). There’s nothing new under the sun, but putting a new spin on an old idea is at least somewhat fresh. (Lava)

LLOYD BANKS The Hunger for More ***

Mainstream rap—unlike rock—improves upon underground beats/songwriting, while lyrics become more formulaic. Maybe that’s why so few mainstream rappers print lyrics in CD booklets? Lloyd Banks of G Unit fame scrambles after a piece of the pie with an album featuring 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Nate Dogg and The Game, sticking assidiously to tried-and-true topics like gangster cock fights, beeotches, dough and, of course, mother love. (G Unit/Interscope) Music CD Revue 1CDDAB15-2BF4-55D0-F1F0DBA77C9CD20F 2007-06-11 16:18:15.0 1 1 0 2004-07-08 00:00:00.0 0 0
Rebecca Vernon

GREEN DAY American Idiot ****

Green Day kills the theory that punkers over 25 are pathetic. Even though Green Day is hateable for various reasons, concept album American Idiot is inarguably one of the best 2004 pop-punk albums to come out of the corporate music world. Every track is a fist-pumping epic anthem to American bereavement, waste and greed. From the nine-minute, five-part proclaimed “opera” opuses of “Jesus of Suburbia” and “Homecoming” to the dark, acoustic-tinged bleeder “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” Green Day prove their ability to live up to potential you didn’t even know they had. (Warner Bros.)

PRODIGY Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned ****

Lucky for you, after the release of 2002’s parodied “Baby’s Got a Temper,” Liam Howlett remembered that drums are the most fascinating instrument that have ever existed and went back to his roots and focused on beats again: hip-hop, electro-punk, techno-funk, psychocore. Always Outnumbered is saturated with them; heavy, deadening, numbing, angry, habit-forming, they slice through the static of modern life. They drive a nail through your skull. (Maverick)

JESSE SYKES & THE SWEET HEREAFTER Oh, My Girl ****

Of course, four stars; what did you expect? However, the problem with instant acclaim is that the artist that garners it is often not important enough to receive polar reactions. Jesse Sykes offers up a flawlessly beautiful alt-country soundtrack to drowning in Southern noir desperation, Wild at Heart-style, coated in Cat Power’s wispy sadness, Cowboy Junkies’ tortoise-paced dourness and A Girl Named Eddy’s dusky alto. Gorgeously done, and nothing too earth-shattering. (Barsuk)

KASEY CHAMBERS Wayward Angel ***.5

Endorsed by Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams, Kasey Chambers sautées earthy, simple roots-rock with old-time country and a sprig of folk in the sensitive art-driven storyteller tradition á la Dolly Parton. She offsets the usual country recipe, however, with a voice that sounds like Lily Tomlin’s girl-woman who sat on the gargantuan rocking chair and ate peanut-butter sandwiches; nasally, little-girl vocals that are equal parts charming, distinctive and grating. (Warner Bros.)

ROB HOTCHKISS Midnight Ghost **

Rob’s a Grammy Award winner and an ex-Train member; he rounded up Counting Crows members Steve Bowman and Dave Bryson to guest in Midnight Ghost; heaven knows why. Like this week’s Jesse Sykes, Rob’s little alt-country concoction is perfectly executed, makes for great road trip background music, and will probably win him another Grammy. However, it takes the road more traveled where a gazillion other artists have shuffled before. Yawn! (Rob Records) Music CD Revue 1CDDAC5D-2BF4-55D0-F1F2132A4D9AA9FD 2007-06-11 16:18:16.0 1 1 0 2004-09-23 00:00:00.0 2 0
Rebecca Vernon

CLINIC Westminster Cathedral ****

No wonder Clinic is Radiohead’s favorite band—the lead singer sounds exactly like an extremely phlegmatic Thom Yorke. But self-aggrandizement is the new pink, so it’s all cool. Traces of labelmates Franz Ferdinand can be heard in Clinic’s backbone of back-slashed thump-thump dance beats, but cannot be heard in their oblique lyrics pregnant with poetry, their Goth-y piano and haunting harmonium, their overall air of ipecac-induced exorcism, and their mysteriously sexy milk-of-magnesia-green hospital masks. Westminster Cathedral is a grand follow-up to Walking With Thee without veering from the expected Clinic Path. (Domino)

SPIDERBAIT Tonight Alright ****

From the black joyride of the stoner-rock opening track fraught with all the tension of WWE homoeroticism, “Take Me Back”; to the slamming blues-core of “Black Betty,” which sounds like the spirit of R.L. Burnside channeled through the body of Rob Zombie; to the female-fronted vinegary pop of “Cows”; it’s clear this gallbladder-exploding, pancreas-rotting roller-coaster ride’s got you firmly strapped in until the bitter end. And it feels good. (Interscope)

RUPAUL Red Hot ****

The best part of Red Hot is the pink Hawaiian flower in flames (inside the cover). Airhead party anthems interplay with slinky funk and techno on 44-year-old RuPaul’s first album in four years, and who cares if it’s bubblegum-shallow besides a few awkwardly placed lyrics of social consciousness? It’s good dance music! RuPaul has a fabulously powerful voice and helped write and produce almost everything on Red Hot, including a techno version of “People Are People.” (RuCo)

THE F—KING AM Gold **.5

The F—king Champs and Trans Am decided it would be a splendid idea to collaborate on a project (“Trans Champs” just doesn’t have the same ring) that would combine the Champs’ heavy-metal spirit with Trans Am’s electro-rock reclusion. But as with many splendid ideas, this one falls short of greatness. Gold is an ejaculation of ’70s über-proggy instrumental schlep devoid of the Champs’ brain-bludgeoning riffs and more self-satisfying than Masturbation for Dummies. (Drag City)

THE PAYBACKS Harder & Harder **.5

Is that a sexual reference or how you feel putting up with Bush? Nah, it’s referring to how hard it is to write really great garage/bar rock. It’s easy to imagine lead singer Wendy Case strutting around as a queen of the Sunset Strip in, like, 1978, but it follows that in 2004, she would be a washed-up Hedwig-style rock star prototype with all the tackiness and none of the charm, playing deli bars to frightened customers. (Get Hip) Music CD Revue 1CDDAD76-2BF4-55D0-F1FD2E88C5CF1690 2007-06-11 16:18:16.0 1 1 0 2004-09-16 00:00:00.0 0 0

CHERI MAGILL Ready

Somewhere between the serene estro-pop of Sarah McLachlan, the angsty girl-woman guitar-rock of Michelle Branch and the hushed playfulness of the country diva of your choice (Shania, Faith, et al), Cheri Magill radiates the kind of natural warmth and personal connectivity some of the above have paid handlers millions for. Thanks to Ready’s glossy-crisp production (by Silvercrush’s Steele Croswhite) wed to Magill’s dulcet voice, smart lyrics and sure footings in rock and balladry, the only element that seems to be missing is a major-label logo on the back. Give her time, and handlers. (CheriMagill.com)

CHUBBY BUNNY Non-Chignon!

Salt Lake’s favorite female guitar/drums duo laid this four-cut EP down in a day, and it shows in the immediate live energy (good) and raggedy-ass sound quality (not necessarily bad). The requisite indie-bash ‘n’ pop propels “It’s Alright” and “Kids Don’t Care,” but Angie Eralie and Tracy Brewer’s intertwined vocal harmonies on the sugary “Long Way Home” and the heart-achy-breaky “January 3” are unabashed, unpretentious halos of loveliness. (myspace.com/ChubbyBunny)

THE HAPPIES Meet the Happies

Are you ready to rock ... yourself into a blissful coma? What the Happies lack in rattle-yr-beercoaster grit, they more than make up for with sticky-sweet melodies and earnest lo-fi charm—Belle & Sebastian aren’t listed as their first influence for naught. Any of Meet’s 17 tracks (especially the majestic “Ginger & Lime”) could be slipped by college radio as coming from The Latest British Sensations and no one would be the unhappy wiser. (soundclick.com/TheHappies)

THE MORLOCKS Diary of a Sad Man

From Ogden, with lust: The Morlocks may hit like the Stooges reborn to play Satan’s sock-hop, but they’re really all about the romance, with sweet nothings like “Oh yeah, honey, you look more than good tonight/ Wanna take you home and light you up like the Fourth of July.” A sexy-scary mix of sludgy guitars, sinister keys, tortured vox and a bottomless keg of female troubles prove that The SLC doesn’t have a lock on garage-tastic rock & roll. (JRHamhawk@netscape.net)

BILLY JACK Angels Are Free

No, it’s not another 9/11 tribute: Billy Jack’s Angels Are Free is a dedication to three friends who died in a plane crash 20 years ago. Musically, the disc has the country-folk vibe of a worn-sleeved vinyl longplayer recorded 30 years ago, with unadorned instrumentation and Jack’s expressive, up-there voice shining through like daybreak on Randy Meisner’s ranch (see, kids, Randy Meisner was one of the Eagles ...). Anti-contemporary, and all the better for it. (BJackMusic@aol.com) Music Local CD Revue 1CDDAE70-2BF4-55D0-F1F3A5FE4F97ED24 2007-06-11 16:18:16.0 1 1 28402489-1372-FCBB-8308BACD41058F95 0 2004-09-30 00:00:00.0 0 0
Rebecca Vernon

THE USED On Love and Death ****

Utah’s prodigal sons (now reconciled to their families, judging by their album thank-yous) viciously spit out their sophomore effort with far more aggression but fewer standout melodies than their debut. Jagged crunch-guitar, spiky drums, machete bass and sternum-crushing vocals swirl in discombobulated, tumultuous inner storms that put the Gulf’s 2004 hurricanes to shame. Hmm ... how much of this album’s punch is due to an effusive recording budget? Their biggest strength: Bert’s lucid, colorful voice, like stained glass shot through with blood, scrapes essential pain out of life with lyrics lost, fallen and fascinating. (Reprise)

b>GIFT OF GAB Fourth Dimensional Rocketships ****

Aptly titled, because this album radiates a strange, spacey light beyond the smooth jazz bass into which most of the tracks are embedded, beyond the modern, glittery, aluminum aura, beyond the lyrics so fiery hot they’ll shoot you to the moon. One-half of Blackalicious, the Gift of Gab turns solo, taking futuristic snippets of Dub Pistols instrumentation and progressive Rhymesayers underground politicizing that’ll hopefully nudge mainstream rap’s stagnant ass. (Quannum)

HOPE OF THE STATES The Lost Riots ***

Surrounded by mad hype, Hope of the States don’t quite measure up, don’t blow you away ... enough. The Lost Riot’s Irish-flavored fiddle, Clinic drone, gentle, spidery piano, reedy vocals with smoky, vintage timbre, ’80s dark lushness and Ken Thomas’ (Sigur Rós) magic production is all well and good, but will it turn the revolution? No. Sucks about their SLC concert cancellation; it’s rumored they project war footage live. But our own Ether did it first. (Epic)

GOOD CHARLOTTE The Chronicles of Life and Death **.5

“Money talks in this world; that’s what idiots will say,” sings Joel Madden in Chronicles’ title track. Money is the reason GC (read: low-risk investment) shot to superstardom with the idiotic Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. However, with the risky Chronicles, they shed their not-punk “punk” approach, turning to emo, ’80s pop and goth; at least half of it doesn’t suck. Sincere reinvention or hungrily lapping up trends? You decide. (Epic)

HELMET Size Matters **

Does it? This is Helmet’s first release of new material in seven years. And fans, ask yourselves these questions before falling asleep snuggling your teddy bear tonight: Did Helmet bite off some Queens of the Stone Age to write “See You Dead?” Is that a Stone Temple Pilots riff rip-off in the verses of “Drug Lord?” Is pop a good template on which to base “original,” “tough” rock? Helmet have simply run out of juice. (Interscope) Music CD Revue 1CDDAF7A-2BF4-55D0-F1FA5D6C86E5A19E 2007-06-11 16:18:16.0 1 1 0 2004-10-14 00:00:00.0 1 0
Rebecca Vernon

NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDSAbattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus ****

Bad Seed Mick Harvey calls this the band’s best CD: He’s right. Abattoir Blues, the first of the two-disc box set, bursts in your face with all the roar, grime, leprosy and violence of a New England revival that would make Eucharid proud, complete with backups from the London Community Gospel Choir. A gentle, killing kiss penetrates further, though, with The Lyre of Orpheus; the symphonic, embracing delta’s calm after the tormented river’s roilings—hats off especially to “Spell,” “Carry Me” and “O Children.” Could a man-genius in his 50s be any more sexalicious? (Anti)

BEN HARPER & THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMAThere Will Be a Light****

Speaking of gospel, BHATBBOA (that’s almost a pronounceable acronym!) mix classic gospel with Ben Harper’s psychedelic sounds, wah-wah guitar, synths and jangly piano. Yep, they really are blind. Sparse arrangements often let a single voice shine, as in the beautiful “Well, Well, Well;” at other times, three voices blend in a harmony and visionary rapture that sees more clearly than physical sight. This is subtle, sometimes mournful, always heartfelt, genuine gospel. (Virgin)

AUTOLUX Future Perfect****

Cavernous monster drumming underlies hypnotic female/male vocals drenched in cherry Nyquil chanting out deadly mantras of somber crystal cool. My Bloody Valentine electro-buzz commiserates with Girls Against Boys’ knowing chic. Funny: Greg Edwards (lead guitarist) played in Failure for nine years. Turn the song titles over on your tongue like Sweet Tarts: “Here Comes Everybody,” “Sugarless,” and fittingly, “Angry Candy.” Listen to the shifty, astonishing beat of “Blanket.” Disillusionment, thy name is Autolux. (Sony)

SILVERTIDE Show & Tell****

Whenever you hear a new band revered as the next Guns N’ Roses/Black Crowes in not just one review, but several, it can be titillating. Eddie Van Halen even said Silvertide is the “best new band we’ve seen in over a decade.” Well, Silvertide (ranging in age from 20 to 23) can’t compete with The Axl, but as far as sex appeal, musical chops, and wide ’80s bandanas go, they have The Darkness’ butt-rock revival beat. (J Records)

R.E.M. Around the Sun *

Radio single “Leaving New York” is a perfect analogy for R.E.M.’s current trajectory arc—it has just enough building menace in the verse to keep you half-awake, then fails to deliver on the promised tension, like a deflated whoopie cushion. The rest of Around the Sun’s tracks are even more faded; lifeless ghosts with horrendously dull melody lines. Everything pumped out since Automatic for the People has been worthless. Stipe, stop! (Warner Bros.) Music CD Revue 1CDDB093-2BF4-55D0-F1F2B72901D50958 2007-06-11 16:18:17.0 1 1 0 2004-10-07 00:00:00.0 3 0
Rebecca Vernon

VARIOUS Songs & Artists That Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11 ****

Utah County residents griping about Michael Moore speaking at UVSC: Go see the movie—novel concept—then remind yourself of Einstein’s quote, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Zach de la Rocha’s (above) new, industrialized Queens of the Stone Age “We Want It All,” produced by Trent Reznor, is the best track. Pearl Jam’s droning “Masters of War (Live)” and Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” are two more sharp standouts. Bruce Springsteen, Dixie Chicks, The Clash and System of a Down contribute. Best line: Dylan’s “Jesus Christ was betrayed by a kiss.” Question everything. Bush sucks! (Epic)

VARIOUS Steal This Record: A Collection of Songs of Protest ****

From the ’70s, that is—history is, indeed, cyclical. These Motown/funk-tinged songs strike a bitter chord because they evoke a time that mirrors the current political climate so closely. Some are familiar (Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Edwin Starr’s “War”), others are more obscure (P.F. Sloan’s “Let Me Be,” Eric Burdon & The Animals’ “Sky Pilot,” one of the greatest songs ever!) but they’re all still important. Bush sucks! (Koch)

“This Land” ****

This single is the familiar ditty that goes along with the short Kerry/Bush duet animation, created by Jib Jab Media, that’s been circulating on the Internet for the last couple of months—if you haven’t seen it yet, you obviously have amazing e-spam filters. You can view it at AtomFilms.com. I tend to think Kerry won the duet like he won the presidential debate two weeks ago. Have I mentioned that Bush sucks? (Koch)

Various Take Action! ****

OK, so this CD doesn’t have to do with protesting Bush, but it does have to do with activism—in this case, suicide awareness/prevention. Take Action! is a stunning two-disc array of some of today’s most popular emo/punk/metal bands ranging all over the musical map: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon, NOFX, Andrew W.K. (who also gives an intro), Coheed & Cambria, Taking Back Sunday, Pedro the Lion. Please call 1-800-SUICIDE if you need help. (Sub City)

“Fear Didn’t Make America Great: Beat Bush, Dump Bush” ***

What can I say? I’m a sucker for George Bush protest music! Even though the musical quality of this CD sucks almost as bad as Bush, it makes up for that with its humor. The song, in an apparent attempt to leave no market unturned, appears in nine different versions: a cappella, pop rock, country, R& , Latin, alternative, house, jazz and funk. The best by far is the Spanish-language Latin version, of course. (BeatBushDumpBush.com) Music CD Revue 1CDDB16D-2BF4-55D0-F1F7F223A0BB5FA0 2007-06-11 16:18:17.0 1 1 0 2004-10-21 00:00:00.0 0 0

STILL BREAKING HEARTS Still Breaking Hearts

Fronted by players from heavier bands like The New Transit Direction and Art of Kanly (see below), Still Breaking Hearts’ six-song EP is more cohesive than you’d expect a leftover “side project” to be. Instead of roaring out of the gate, lead track “The Thin Line” sneaks in with a rumble and builds to melodic chaos; the rest of the songs follow suit, more intent in layering guitars and vocals for emotional (but not necessarily emo) effect than throwing down brute hardcore force. So what if it was recorded three years ago? SBH is still relevant. (SoundVsSilence.com)

ART OF KANLY Art of Kanly

“Demo” is short for demolition—complete, utter demolition. Art of Kanly’s members clawed from the wreckage of local hardcore acts like Hammergun, as well as alt-rockers like the late, great Sherlock, but this demo nearly wipes out all previous memory with just two synapse-melting tracks (a third is available through the Website). “Seductive Intro, Melodic Breakdown” is crushingly false advertising, while the steel-hooked “Indie-Rock Dropout” is waaay more menacing than its title suggests. Need more songs—now! (ArtofKanly.com)

PELPP & A.VANVRANKEN Pedal

Says here that the instrumental-electronic disc Pedal is good background music for “eating cereal” or “watering plants” or “doing nothing” or “doing everything”—talk about covering your marketing bases. Pelpp & A.Vanvranken’s watery ambient/downtempo washes are amorphous and new-agey, making the occasional wake-up track like “Window” (with its jazzy bass swing) and “Western Jail” (with its dark, trippy undertones) stand out even more. And if you can concentrate on your Cap’n Crunch while “Fall” unravels, whoa. (AVanvranken.com)

IPX Stay Tuned

Sweet, boyish vox pitched a wee bit too high? Check. Pop-punk anthems laced with heavy-ass breakdowns and hyperactive drums? On it. The odd sensitive moment just For the Ladies? Natch. IPX’s too-skilled-for-punk/too-smart-for-metal musical chops, jigsaw arrangements and sheer vocal firepower (all four members sing) mostly overcome the Hot Topic familiarity of Stay Tuned’s five songs, and a few deft production tricks don’t hurt, either. Today, the neighborhood ice cream shop; tomorrow, the Warped Tour’s Häagen-Dazs Stage. (SickboyRecords.com)

ANNELISE LECHEMINANT You Never Know

Bountiful-to-Nashville songstress Annelise LeCheminant doesn’t care for lukewarm concert reviews (oh, the drama), and her debut CD shows no love for adhering to any one genre. The soul-funky opener, “Disconnected,” has enough instrumental showboating to almost bury the star of this soiree, but for the remainder, the spotlight is rightfully back on LeCheminant’s supple voice, the lone element holding this folk-jazz-blues-rock Jenga tower up. Then again, that first cut and the spare acoustic closer are the only ones to draw any real emotional blood. Hmm ... (Annelise.us) Music Local CD Revue 1CDDB248-2BF4-55D0-F1F85588B17C5E41 2007-06-11 16:18:17.0 1 1 28402489-1372-FCBB-8308BACD41058F95 0 2004-10-28 00:00:00.0 4 0
Rebecca Vernon

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home ***.5

They could’ve picked a far better line to pull from their amazing lyrics for the album title, but c’est le vie. Slish-slash hypno-drone dance beats that are less Jade Tree than Gold Standard Laboratories prop up haunting guitar panic and bleating, acidic vocals drenched with modern frustration spitting out incisive chill against timecards, the plight of single mothers, the apathetic rich and mental institutions’ teeming halls as proof that yes, our culture’s sick and twisted. Art, rock, dance and even disco mixing with heavy subject matter makes for hot friction. (Jade Tree)

BURY YOUR DEAD Cover Your Tracks ***

There isn’t much to distinguish Bury Your Dead from all other things metal and hardcore going on currently, but they have a pretty sweet CD booklet with a photo story (apparently, they kill the girl pictured because of her stupid hairstyle—awesome!), a seXXXy image sure to make the pre-14ers swoon, and all-Tom-Cruise-movie song titles. Annihilate yourself in 12 tracks of flawless, brutal metal anvil-ing, but turn down during the dangerously-close-to-Hatebreed moments. (Victory)

FLUNK Morning Star ***

Flunk is probably trying to be Bjrk—mixed with a little Portishead and Ivy—but the type of Bjrk that wears big woolen mittens and hats instead of iridescent feathers, and works at the organic corner coffee shop instead of playing Delta Centers. She pronounces “everyone” as “eerie-one” and sings songs—one’s called “Kemikal Girl”—about love, sunrise, summer, and, oh yeah, coffee shops. Sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover. (Kriztal)

DURAN DURAN Astronaut **

Duran Duran live far better than other grossly famous bands with millions of dollars to burn, annual invitations to Hugh Hefner’s Christmas nude-a-thons, and garagefuls of Jaguars in every color of the rainbow. The princes of glitz have forgotten, if they ever knew, that being a musician is all about the music, but they can still write bewitching riffs. Unfortunately, nothing on Astronaut comes even close to topping pre-’90s material. (Epic)

JIMMY EAT WORLD Futures *.5

They’ve spit out semi-listenable stuff previously, but Jimmy Eat World’s Futures is a more-than-mainstream pop bubble-bath that will pleasantly warm until you get outta the tub, shivering, and remember you left your towel on the front porch. The notes don’t stick, the dull chord progressions are more effective than sleeping pills for reaching REM stage, the pop blueprint “bleeds” transparently through each number, and their future’s fading fast. Believe it. (Interscope) Music These Arms Are Snakes, Jimmy Eat World ... 1CDDB352-2BF4-55D0-F1FC3E2A9E5FBCEE 2007-06-11 16:18:17.0 1 1 0 2004-11-04 00:00:00.0 0 0
Rebecca Vernon

FLAT EARTH SOCIETY ISMS ****

With Mike Patton—who compiled ISMS and was its executive producer—at the cap’n’s helm, how can anything be less than fascinating? FES, made up of 22 musicians, is an operatic, orchestral, symphonic brain-flush that jumps from ’40s crime-movie soundtrack tension to free jazz to marching band music to kazoo mania that’s more in line with Fantomas—seriously, you’ve never heard kazoos abused in quite the same way before—all dusted over with Patton’s unmistakable elegance that’s really a red herring for his obsession with maggots and stomach bile. ISMS is a masterpiece. (Ipecac)

GRAM RABBIT Music to Start a Cult To ****

I could start a cult to it. Gram Rabbit practice a haunting caress for the dark side like tender madmen Tom Waits and Nick Cave. They coo alt-country new-wave dub, as in “Cowboys & Aliens,” which sounds like Twin Peaks background music for one of Laura’s nighttime “X”-capades. Shoegazer crops up frequently (“Kill a Man,” “New Energy”). The Causey Way’s cult shtick is way more entertaining than Gram Rabbit’s, but Gram Rabbit have the music. (StinkyRecords.com)

U2 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb ***

Atomic Bomb’s slower tunes lack the heady weight of recent U2 ballads like “One” and “Stay (Far Away, So Close),” but the more epic, full, rock-out-with-your-Dockers-out numbers outweigh nearly everything on U2’s previous four albums. Radio single “Vertigo” is the best track, with its chorus that cuts ties with the dark earth like a Zeppelin; washy, semi-glorious “City of Blinding Nights” and “All Because of You” are close seconds. (Island)

JET MOTOR CRASH Personal Space **.5

Walking in the footsteps of those who have gone before guarantees lemonade stands and comfy motels along the way. Taking the road less traveled only gives you immortality. Jet Motor Crash take the Super-8 path with their emo pop-punk chaff that wants to sound like Sparta making passionate love to AFI—but how exciting can sex be in a bed that has embroidered on its comforter, “Come Again”? (JetMotorCrash.com)

TIGER MOUNTAIN Get Along Like a House on Fire **

Tiger Mountain have a gritty blues-rock vibe going—imagine the Rolling Stones camping in a two-man tent with the Black Crowes—but they ruin a good thing by forcing their rawness into a Top 40 channel that comes off diluted and corny (“Century’s Gone,” “Just Like You”). The lyrics are blatantly sophomoric, but interesting moments do occur, as in “Good Lie Down,” with its ’70s-sitcom-throwback Mellotron keyboards and squealing guitars. (TigerMountain.tv) Music Flat Earth Society, Gram Rabbit, U2 ... 1CDDB44C-2BF4-55D0-F1F3E5A6D7C6C9FA 2007-06-11 16:18:18.0 1 1 0 2004-12-16 00:00:00.0 0 0
Rebecca Vernon

CART Diabolical Entropy Masked Omnisciently ****

Portland’s Cart are introspective, shattered, discordant, schizophrenic, hopelessly blue—and the less meds and doctors to dilute them, the better. Explosions of Enemymine, No Means No and The Germs meet in a messy heap on the floor. Naked Twister was never this exciting. Echoes of random wanderings permeate the repetitive guitar ramblings of “Slow Song No. 1,” while “Sleep All Day” gives every ’80s crustcore legend a run for their money. “KY Lovinz” veers between James Dean self-destruction dyn-o-mite and messy surf-lounge gone bad—really bad—in the best of ways. (CarttheBand.com)

PUFFY AMIYUMI Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi: Music From the Series ****

As much as bigger-than-Jesus-in-Japan Puffy Amiyumi (now an American cartoon) are a scary harbinger of where rock is headed—or already is (read: consumerist sugar-pop whose “rebellion” is about as threatening as doing a load of laundry)—the music itself is genuinely catchy. Fuzzy ‘n’ pretty scalloped guitar work takes a bite out of garage, rock-pop and grunge, filling your mouth with a shiny bit of candy that sticks to your tongue despite yourself. (Epic)

SNOOP DOGG Rhythm & Gangsta **.5

The best part of this CD is the artwork featuring Snoop Dogg as ghetto-Mafia king in a kitschy apartment surrounded by black velvet paintings, plastic-covered sofas and of course, sleek, half-naked chicks toting mad guns. The worst part is the music. There’s no excuse for tepid tunes when you’re a millionaire. Eminem’s Encore, anyone? “I’m a bad boy with a lot of ’hos” sings Snoop on R& . Drop it like it’s hot. (Geffen)

JAY-Z/LINKIN PARK Collision Course **

This collaborative project is either the stupidest idea ever conceived or one of those rare strokes of genius that the higher echelons of the music industry rarely experience. Too bad you won’t be able to listen to this album more than once in order to solve that riddle lucidly. The two megastars swap and guest on each other’s hits pretty seamlessly—not surprising, considering the genres. The one that invites the least ridicule is “Jigga What/Faint.” (Warner Bros.)

VAST CAPITAL What More Else *.5

What More Else’s opening track, “Smile,” with its winsome Toad the Wet Sprocket approach, nearly has the power to make you rethink a CD cover that screams bland mainstream frat-dweebs attempting to revive early ’90s alt-rock. But hope quickly disappears when faced with track after track of nightmarish Dave Matthews-via-Seattle-masturbatory-jam-rock and nauseatingly chipper G. Love & Special Sauce vocals. (VastCapital.net) Music Cart, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z/Linkin Park ... 1CDDB4D8-2BF4-55D0-F1FC1DB84D4728B3 2007-06-11 16:18:18.0 1 1 0 2004-12-09 00:00:00.0 1 0
Rebecca Vernon

BETWEEN THE BURIED & ME The Silent Circus ***

They aren’t breaking any new ground, but what metalcore band is? You’re either good at the template or you’re not. Between the Buried & Me are good at the template. However, BTBM are more captivating when they’re breaking your neck on double-bass drumming and Tetris riffing, not meandering off into pointless, campy slow numbers with a jazzy prog-guitar shtick, Sigur Rós atmospherics and nauseatingly gentle guitar-picking that’s probably their pitiful and unsuccessful attempt to sound like Opeth and/or Porcupine Tree (“Shevanel Take 2”). Best song title: “Ad a Dglgmut.” (Victory)

EMINEM Encore **

Maybe Eminem thought putting out a lousy album would make people feel sorry for him? Encore is a huge disappointment from beginning to end. The beats aren’t engaging; the lyrics lack Eminem’s usual wit (“You make me f—kin’ sick to my stomach/Every time I think of you I puke,” from “Puke”). Sampling “Like Toy Soldiers” and “Crazy on You” was sort of entertaining, though. Losing the Midas touch? (Shady/Aftermath)

RELIENT K Mmhmm **

If the title of Relient K’s album isn’t enough of a warning that you should take the women and children and run for cover, then the first track should make you realize it’s too late. Pop punk is good if it has a ragged, punctured-heart edge, but Relient K are about as challenging, stimulating, original and dangerous as a bowl of Total. And pouring on a banal emo flavor on certain tunes only makes the cereal soggier. (Gotee/Capitol)

THE EXIES Head for the Door **

Someone wants to be STP ... I’m not naming any names, but their initials are The Exies. From the two-note guitar riffs that totter between Note A and Note B, to the “Heeeeyaaah” wails to the hysterical stabs at tender ballads (“Ugly”), The Exies are glam-grunge personified. However, one gets the sense lead singer Scott Stevens isn’t complicated enough to have half the charming drama Scotty Weiland did/still does. At least they’re better than Velvet Revolver. (Virgin)

VANESSA CARLTON Harmonium *

There’s not much to differentiate Vanessa Carlton from Avril Lavigne, except for her wardrobe style and “target market.” Former: Gothy corsets showing off Carlton’s arm muscles—in every CD photo. Latter: Teenage girls with the IQs of cabbages who think bittersweet, wannabe-dark piano pop is a good way to express the shallow angst they feel over the boy who took their virginity post-prom with all the romantic savvy of an In ‘N’ Out burger-flipper. (A& ) Music Between the Buried & Me, Eminem, The Exies ... 1CDDB5D2-2BF4-55D0-F1FE301DD3E06D39 2007-06-11 16:18:18.0 1 1 0 2004-12-02 00:00:00.0 0 0
Rebecca Vernon

NEKO CASE The Tigers Have Spoken ****

Neko Case is a reverb addict—which is much better than, say, meth, and much easier to clean up afterwards. That supreme wash mixed with Neko’s raw Southern soul, folk and gospel, launch her high above all the tepid alt-country offerings that dot the musical landscape like so many patches of black mold. Her beautiful, full-throated voice, as rich as a thrush, gives Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Janis Joplin a run for their money. Like the latter, Neko fleshes out this live album of simple blues chords with dancehall passion, back-seat sex and bottomless cups of beer. (Anti)

KAKI KING Legs to Make Us Longer ****

Kaki King may not be for everybody, but that’s the reason you might love her even more. Freeform yet neo-technical acoustic guitar bursts filtered through what sounds like at least a decade of classical training, touched up with brushed drums, is warm and emotional while remaining as precise and mathematical as astrophysics. Members of Rush, prog-metal guitarists, folk savants and Gentry Densley will all have wet dreams over Kaki’s Legs. (Epic)

THE ZUTONS Who Killed the Zutons? ***

The only thing that indicates the Zutons are indeed not straight outta 1958 is the digital-sounding production. Finally, here’s a band that defies categorization. At times they evince a modern, clean Von Bondies garage; at others an Eastern Virginia pre-1900s folk (“Railroad”). They strut gritty Motown soul (“You Will You Won’t”), then go and spin out horror surf (“Zuton Fever”). One thing’s certain: They’re more sizzle-worthy than the Mooney Suzuki. (Epic)

SKATING CLUB The Unfound Sound ***

Aubrey Anderson isn’t doing anything apocalyptic with Skating Club, but hey, if Jessie Sykes can score four stars, then he can snag three. Snail-paced guitars and warm molasses organ don’t quite qualify as slocore, but only overshoot by a few mph. The simple, haunting melodies are too basic to be intriguing, but are ultra accessible. John Vanderslice, Nick Drake, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Yo La Tengo could be distant but superior cousins. (Kimchee)

THE FUTUREHEADS The Futureheads **

The Futureheads are intensely annoying. Maybe it’s their whole jumping-on-the-coattails-of-Ima-Robot-and-the-Killers stance, or maybe it’s the we’re-so-weird-and-British-that-we-put-Absolutely-Fabulous-to-shame ’tude. But most probable is their pose of we’re-so-technically-brilliant-with-so-many-absurd-n’-unnecessary-movements-and-time-signature-changes-that-have-no-emotional-resonance-whatsoever-that-we-should-be-touring-with-Volcano-I’m-So-Excited! (Sire) Music Neko Case, Kaki King, The Zutons ... 1CDDB64F-2BF4-55D0-F1FC18B47FAE0797 2007-06-11 16:18:18.0 1 1 0 2004-11-18 00:00:00.0 2 0

BORN FREE Divine Madness

Singer-songwriter-producer Born Free (aka Conrad Eric Glaze) comes from Jamaica, England, Miami and various other global points; the Salt Lake City connection remains fuzzy. Wherever it’s from, his addictive seven-track Divine Madness disc hints at what Brit rapper Dizzee Rascal might sound like if he parked some club fidelity and dub-reggae chill in his electronica garage. Mr. Free’s alternately gruff and gliding vocals lend earthy warmth to the looping synthetic backdrops, living up to his liner claim of being “a hip-hop guru and rock & roll fanatic with much love for high-energy dance tracks.” (PerfectLove70@yahoo.com)

RYAN BOUD Falling Stars

Can adult-contempo pop and earnest indie-rock coexist? As unlikely as it sounds, they do on Ryan Boud’s impressive debut CD, featuring 10 songs that layer slickly meticulous orchestration under a lo-fi songster ‘tude worthy of a slot on any indie-hipster’s iPod—music for Seth and Sandy Cohen down in The O.C., essentially. Opener “The Arrival” feels show-off schizophrenic (in a good, epic way), while the title track on through to the finale favor Boud’s eclectic singer-songwriter-guitarist side over his perfectionist recording engineer side. (RyanBoud.com)

REZOLUTION Karmakatastrophe

They’ve got great hair and an apparently above-average budget, but do Rezolution have the tunes on their second release? Yes and no: The hooks are solid, but largely swiped from ’90s alt-rock yearbooks with occasional acknowledgements of the New Century (hey, it works for Velvet Revolver). “Make It Right” and “Villianess” connect hardest—coincidentally, the two cuts with the weaker-than-Coors-Light vocals mixed furthest back. More like these and the anthemic closer “Who Are You?” and maybe they’ll be onto something. (RezolutionRock.com)

ADVOCATE 100 Percent De Agave

Then again, if you punch it up with enough passion and guts, channeling the ’90s isn’t a completely pointless pursuit. Advocate are deep-rooted in 10-years-gone radio grunge, but they pull it off with such conviction and tunefulness, you’d think they were auditioning for a club tour with Collective Soul and Candlebox—”The Monsters of Yeeaahh!” perhaps. More uptempo songs like kickoff cruncher “No One But Me” would have been cool, but the broody/moody tracks hold up like that flannel shirt in the back of the closet.

LAST RESPONSE Have You No Sense of Direction?

Says here that guitarist Gregg Hale did time with British headphone rockers Spiritualized, which could explain the uncharacteristically spacey guitar atmospherics floating behind Last Response’s mostly straight-up emo shuffling. In fact, as the six-cut EP progresses, the intertwining guitars (and occasionally the chiming vocal harmonies) become more important than the songs themselves, establishing a tangible identity that the Sunny-Day-Real-Estate-in-escrow melodies never quite reach. Have You No Sense of Direction? Almost. (LastResponse.com) Music Local CD Revue 1CDDB72A-2BF4-55D0-F1FBC4C7550D3A24 2007-06-11 16:18:18.0 1 1 28402489-1372-FCBB-8308BACD41058F95 0 2004-11-25 00:00:00.0 1 0
Rebecca Vernon

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT Want Two ****

If Want Two’s opening track, “Agnus Dei,” doesn’t shatter your heart into a million pieces and pulverize it into bloody paste, then you’re an inanimate object. Rufus continues to deconstruct with pop-tinged weeper piano ballads (“Peach Trees,” “The Art Teacher”), 19th-century minuets hopped up with modern lyrics and harpsichord (“Little Sister”) and bass-y, ethereal U.K. rock (“Waiting for a Dream”). His endearing slur and insecure elegance is still intact. Quiz: Do the album photos of a very feminized Rufus dressed in canvas robes go hand-in-hand with Want One’s knight artwork, or the song “Gay Messiah?” (Geffen)

THE DITTY BOPS The Ditty Bops **.5

The Ditty Bops insist on ignoring the coming and going of trends and spin out cutesy, too-precious-for-you Moldy Peaches ditties replete with ’40s folk flavor, country twang and lyrics like, “Why didn’t I learn to ride my bike when it was warm and sunny outside? Why can’t little kids tie their shoes? Why can’t white people play the blues? Why can’t I fall in love with you?” Aargh! Death to post-indie-rock. (Warner Bros.)

BARS Introducing **.5

Bars’ chunky, rock-tinged hardcore/metalcore blend sound a bit like F Minus and Every Time I Die in their finer moments. But amongst a veritable sea of bands doing almost the exact same thing, Bars fail to captivate. The riffs are solid, slowish and spaced out well, and “Type Face Love Letter,” with its backup “oh-oh-ohs,” oddly recalls Kiss. But Bars’ attempt to get-deep-like-unto-Converge in “Too Far Down” doesn’t even compare. (Equal Vision)

JACKI-O Poe Little Rich Girl **

Umm ... she’s a lot cooler, and nastier, than the original. Maybe if Jacqueline had been a little of the latter, JFK wouldn’t have cheated on her? But there’s something bimbo-ish about Jacki-O’s hip-hop delivery that places her dumbing and numbing in the tradition of the Ying Yang Twins (who appear on “Fine”), especially when compared to, say, Missy Elliott, whose intimidating lasciviousness drips with wit. But, Jacki-O’s flat, one-dimensional beats need some mouth-to-mouth. (TVT)

UTADA Exodus *

It’s a keen thing to want to be famous and all, but perhaps one should ask herself, “What do I want to be famous for?” If Utada sat herself down pre-major-label and came up with the answer, “Making techno-glam Japanese pop that’s so vapid it could inflate 250 hot air balloons, the selling of which will be dependent on my cute, 16-year-old Asian cupid beauty to satisfy the fetishes of American males everywhere,” then hey, right on! (Island) Music Rufus Wainwright, Ditty Bops, Bars ... 1CDDB7E5-2BF4-55D0-F1F5D2967E5E2397 2007-06-11 16:18:19.0 1 1 0 2004-11-11 00:00:00.0 0 0

SHANIA TWAIN Up! (Mercury/Nashville) * * * *

Once you come to terms with the fact that Shania Twain is neither country nor pop but the Antichrist her own bare-bellied self, accepting her music becomes sooo much easier. Up! offers both flavors of pretty poison: The Green disc of (relatively) straight country & western mixes, and the Red disc featuring the same 19 tracks with 1,000 coats of florescent Mutt Lange überpop acrylic visible from Pluto. The songs are even dumber than the strippers who’ll undoubtedly wear out Red on the poles (sample titles: “Nah!” “Ka-Ching!”), but behold the fiery majesty of brilliant/evil marketing! Suck it, Britney!

RASPUTINA The Lost & Found (Instinct) * * *

Minus a star for a cacophonous molesting of CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising,” Victorian chamber-pop trio Rasputina’s otherwise inspired collection of cover tunes further proves they’re more than just a corseted novelty act. Singer-leader Melora Creager’s sweet, fragile voice and heavy-cello thunder transform songs like Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and Led Zeppelin’s “Rock & Roll” gorgeously, while the trad “This Little Piggy” slinks from sexy jazz-swing to scratchy Warner Bros. cartoon before your very ears.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Our Turn (Supernal) * *.5

My shiny-happy downstairs neighbors just love to blast Conference bootlegs and plodding LDS music at top volume—on the remote chance you’ve actually picked up this paper, turn it off! Don’t make me come down there! Maybe we could compromise with Our Turn, a quiet slocore/indie-pop offering of “spiritual” music performed by members of Mo’core bands Low, Sunfall Festival, Aquabats and more. It’s lilting, yet lightweight enough not to bother those who may be upstairs drinking beer and enjoying Cinemax.

MUDVAYNE The End of All Things to Come (Epic) *

Peoria’s least wanted have changed their ooky costumes! And their kooky names! Kud is now Chüd (vocals), Gurrg is Güüg (guitar), Ryknow is R-üd (bass), Spag is Spüg (drums), and we’ve almost reached our weekly umlaut limit. Not that Mudvayne’s sub-moronic splat-metal has evolved one iota—think Metallica fronted by a Ritalin-deprived drama queen—but it’s the complete lack of thought that counts. The perfect soundtrack for an afternoon spent savoring a long-delayed bowel movement? Feel the flüüüüüüsh!!! Music CD Revue 1CDDB90E-2BF4-55D0-F1FDA3C05C148B54 2007-06-11 16:18:19.0 1 1 28402489-1372-FCBB-8308BACD41058F95 0 2003-01-09 00:00:00.0 2 0

BOB MOSS Folknik II

“Oh, I desperately want to be famous,” Clearfield singer-artist Bob Moss told City Weekly last year shortly after the release of his last CD, Folknik. “Not necessarily really famous, just famous enough that I can play around. I don’t expect to make lots of money. Where other people dream of millions, I dream of 50 bucks.”

He’s dreaming of a bit more this weekend. Moss has recorded not one, but two follow-ups to Folknik and needs to raise some scratch in order to produce them, hence his multimedia event Friday night at the Utah Film & Video Center. On the line are Folknik II, a very Moss-like collection of skewed bluegrass folk, and Tribute to the Voice, which has the multi-instrumentalist performing 13 Frank Sinatra classics on banjo, harmonica and kazoo. Yes, really. You’d pay a $6 cover to help that come to fruition, wouldn’t you? Of course—who wouldn’t?

Sure, Moss is an odd duck, but his music can’t simply be dismissed novelty. Folknik II (unfortunately, a copy of Tribute to the Voice isn’t yet available) is as much about his impressive banjo chops and melodic instincts as it is about his wacky perspective and unique vocals, which more often than not sound like Kermit the Frog cast at gunpoint in a David Lynch musical.

The disc’s lone original, “Immanuel David Family Tragedy,” is a jaunty, six-minute seafaring jig with contrastingly dark lyrics about failed cult leaders and suicide, followed by a relatively straight eight-minute take on Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” and a slightly briefer cover of Gayle Caldwell’s (New Christie Minstrels) “Cycles.” The biggest find on Folknik II is a previously unrecorded version of Tom Rapp’s (psychedelic folkies Pearls Before Swine) “Every Change is a Release,” a haunting beauty of a lament somehow procured by producer Charles Schneider, who recorded Moss in Los Angeles. But then, it ends comically with “traditional” cuts “Charlotte the Harlot” and “Blinded by Turds.” In all, it could be Moss’ most accessible release yet—again, we’re talking in relative terms here.

Moss’ UFVC fundraiser will feature more than Moss playing many a stringed instrument and singing: Five music videos (including Kent Maxwell’s 30-minute “Ballad of Pete the Pacer” and brand-new clip by Schneider) will be screened, as well as a “mini art show” of Moss’ infamous Deseret Alphabet Art, based on 1800s apostle Orson Pratt’s obscure Mormon calligraphy, and a few mystery door prizes.

Sure, Moss is an odd duck, but he’s an odd duck with a dream. The sooner we help get Folknik II and Tribute to the Voice paid for, the sooner we can make Moss famous and get him on The Prairie Home Companion—or at least The Surreal Life. Music CD Revue 1CDDB9F9-2BF4-55D0-F1FC03AB01CCC0B6 2007-06-11 16:18:19.0 1 1 28402489-1372-FCBB-8308BACD41058F95 0 2003-01-23 00:00:00.0 0 0

BOWLING FOR SOUP Drunk Enough … (Jive) * * * *

Sum 41, New Found Glory—they’re all talentless, humorless pussies compared to Dallas’ Bowling For Soup. Amazingly, Drunk Enough to Dance is the band’s second album for teen-pop megalith Jive Records, where Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Love Hewitt are “artists.” As if BFS weren’t already living on borrowed overachiever time, singer Jaret Von Erich overstuffs every hard-candy pop-punk rocker with enough literate/hysterical lyrics to rival Tenacious D, with zero novelty-act aftertaste. How “Girl All the Bad Guys Want” (featuring the classic line “Does a mullet make a man?”) scored a Grammy nomination last week remains a grand cosmic mystery.

HOT HOT HEAT Make Up the Breakdown (Sub Pop) * * *

Bristling with the sharp new-wave hooks of a dozen near-great bands lost in the post-punk shuffle circa ’79-’81 (Stiff Records, represent!), Hot Hot Heat walk a skinny tie between rave-up and rip-off. Most of the blindingly clean tunes—no garage scuz here—refracts Joe Jackson and XTC, with Steve Bays’ yelping vocals suggesting Robert Smith in a disturbingly good mood, and damned if “Talk With Me, Dance With Me” isn’t the biggest hit Gang of Four never wrote. Next time around … INXS? Could do worse.

MC PAUL BARMAN Paullelujah! (Coup de’Etat) * *

The infamous semi-hit “Cock Mobster” name-checks a dizzying Rolodex of female celebrities he plans to nail (Tyra Banks, Liz Hurley, Winona Ryder, Laura Prepon, Laetitia Casta, Heidi Klum … New Yorker essayist Cynthia Ozick?) over a jaunty old-school hip-hop beat, but did white Jewish non-rapper MC Paul Barman shoot his entire (oh, snap!) load on one goof-tune? Almost, but “the No. 1 skirmisher/In the house like furniture” who kicks Strunk & White knowledge is a dope CD-liner read at the very least.

MARIAH CAREY Charmbracelet (Def Jam) *

It’s like shooting squealing divas in a barrel when an out-of-grace supastar releases The Comeback Album, the one that’s gonna put ’em back in Tha Game. Christina Aguilera’s napalm-skanky Stripped, Bon Jovi’s ludicrous “career artist” stab Bounce, Michael Jackson … anything; all deliciously failed promotional campaigns for obsolete products. So why is there no fun to be found in slagging Ms. Mariah’s Charmbracelet, even with a cover of Def Leppard’s “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak”? It’s gotta be a setup, gotta be … Music CD Revue 1CDDBB31-2BF4-55D0-F1F512DF177BE971 2007-06-11 16:18:19.0 1 1 28402489-1372-FCBB-8308BACD41058F95 0 2003-01-16 00:00:00.0 0 0
Randy Harward

ZWAN Mary, Star of the Sea (Reprise) * * * *

The temptation to piss on a new project from the leader of any notable band is profound, yet Billy Corgan’s (or Burke, as he calls himself in the credits) Zwan kicks booty. Mary Star of the Sea (planned Chicken of the Sea crack jettisoned … now) is, against all indications, the upbeat little brother of Smashing Pumpkins, similar in sonics (the swirling atmospherics and guitar hero lickage remain intact), yet 75-percent less depressing! It’s about time baldy popped a Prozac (could it be the presence of hottie bassist Paz Lenchantin?) and used his powers for pop.

DAVE ATTELL Skanks for the Memories (Comedy Central) * * * *

One of the best parts about Comedy Central’s Insomniac are the brief bits of host Dave Attell’s stand-up show. However, censorship blurs the content such that sometimes jokes slide by unappreciated. Which is entirely unfortunate, as Attell hits all the usual stand-up stops (drugs, sex, relationships and other vices; dick jokes and self-deprecation) but with a skewed intellect frosting his regular-guy mien and a matchless, genial hostility. It conjures visions of an entity synthesized from genetic samplings of Steven Wright, Lenny Bruce and Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling. Scared? You should be.

GARY WILSON Forgotten Lovers (Motel) * * *

Hipster reverence puts the cool in fool, and “fool” is precisely what people thought of Gary Wilson’s basement-cooked kooky keyboard pop back in the late ‘70s. But when underground artists like Beck bobbed up in the mainstream singing the praises of You Think You Really Know Me, Wilson’s loaf-eye Elvis Costello-with-an-inferiority-complex would

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Rebecca Vernon

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