Here are some CDs that cover the entire country, in both geography and style.
Listening to Vancouver-based CINDERPOP on “Their Skies Are Beautiful” (bongobeat.com) is just what I would imagine it would be like to float in one of those saltwater immersion tanks that gives one a feeling of weightlessness. Super powerpop that is incredibly smooth and polished as ice over glass. A substantial ‘sixties influence as deep as a homage to bands like the Association or Beau Brummels meet the Dream Academy. Kevan Ellis has a voice that glides over the music and programmed sounds. To be fair, and to their benefit, the programming is exceedingly credible and accessible, and not rinky-dink plunking as it tends to be. Very purdy. . – RBFrancos/FFanzeen
The DARK MARBLES originated, in many ways, in the garage revival of the 1980s. Lead singer Yod was in the Buffalo band, the Splatcats, and more recently in the Bernie Kugel Experience. The three cuts presented on “Let’s Go!: First Three Singles” (darkmarbles.com) are actually from that revival mold, and yet all three are different. “Run Through the Rain” is the purest of the paradigm, with cool farfisa sounds and twangy guitars. “In Angola”, written by Yod, is a moody piece, more arty than garagey, but still maintains enough to see the influence. The last cut is a cool cover of The Good’s (i.e., Bernie Kugel) first single, “Walk Around the World”. More pop than garage, the song is well covered by the DM, and they add their own touch to make it their own. Not we sit back and wait for the whole album. – RBFrancos/FFanzeen
When one thinks of “theatrics” in rock in the U.S., one may reflect along the lines of Alice Cooper. In the U.K., it’s probably more towards the Who. In fact, British rockers have more readily adopted Dance Hall than we have with, say, Tin Pan Alley. “Waking the Mystics” (zarathustrarecords.com) by SOPHE LUX, from the U.S. West Coast, is the brilliant brainchild of Gwynneth Haynes, who wrote most of the music here and mixes rock, theatric technic, a vivid imagination, and a band who is totally attuned, and has produced a collection that stands out. Song topics include a “Marie Antoinette Robot 2073” suite, our idiot president who uses religion as a guiding force (from “President”: “Countless bodies burning bridges losing liberties/For a war based on the export of democracy…/You’d turn the water right into wine.”), to a time-tripping “Lonely Girl”. The music never talks down to the listener, and certainly is thoughtful…with some killer tunes with that said theatrical touch. Plus, the CD is enhanced so one can watch their brilliant “Target Market” video, which is the opening cut and a possible breakthrough shot. – RBFrancos/FFanzeen
This is some really fun and fucked up shit. Imagine the Ramones if they had grow’d up on Hank Williams rather than the Beach Boys. Picture the Plasmatics if they had flowered on Patsy Kline rather than Black Sabbath. With fiddle and tongue firmly in place on “Usurpers of the Tradition” (unclefucker.com), UNCLE FUCKER just WHIP through their number with a ferocity that’s rare even today. To give you an example, think of Charlie Daniels’ fiddling as the devil in “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, and then triple it. Great covers of “Ya’ll Come” and “Rolling In My Sweet Baby’s Arms” just burns rubber. This ain’t yer daddy’s bluegrass, this is a country all its own. Never heard nothin’ like it before; I gotta see these guys live, too! – RBFrancos/FFanzeen
In those glorious pre-punk-entitled days when it was just underground rock, bands like the WHITE DEMONS were a fun part of going to CBs or Max’s. They call themselves “Action Rock”, which I’m willing to agree is an accurate label, as I would with bands like the Dolls, Heartbreakers, Demons, and so many others rocked their way into our hearts. These guys are pretty solid and heavy, without being cumbersome. Their songs on “Say Go” (sonicswirlrecords.com) are catchy, and this is eminently worth giving a listen. In a time when bands were held back by the excesses of studio technology, as they are again today, it’s refreshing to see/hear a band just rock out without all the bullshit that not just pads, but disguises the sound. Melodic without being sappy, rocking without being boring, and musicianship that is nut grabbing. Ahhhhhhh, thanks, WD. – RBFrancos/FFanzeen
As always comments are welcome, and feel free to send us your material to review.