albums make you want to claw your ears out with rusty steel
implements. Davit Buck’s demo skips right to the aural abuse with four
tracks of circuit-bending, sample-fracturing, bass-slapping violence.
Noise music, being noise, is hard to judge in terms of good and bad,
but as near as I can tell, Buck nails it. My only beef is that if he’s
going to write a song called “Ghandi Took a Shit on Peace,” he might
have bothered to spell Gandhi’s name correctly.
Luv Songs 4 U
Bullard gives some songs on this 17-track album a folksier turn with
James Tayloresque vocals. On others, he lets his guitar do the talking
with intricate, Spanish-style flourishes. Both would serve perfectly
well as the soundtrack to an upscale candlelit dinner, making the
“Valentine’s Songs!” note scrawled on the CD sleeve a rather apt
Enter the Buss: Rainbow Debut
of this album sounds like something that would be overheard in the
parking lot at Lilith Fair, and the other half sounds like
you’re stuck in a coffeehouse during an awkwardly empty spoken-word
open-mic night. “Gift of Madness” has a sort of Pixies vibe that I
really wanted to like, but the vocals sound forced, and it just never
comes together. I think you will find your sound, Jennie Buss, and then
you will nail it. But for now, it’s not quite working.
of movies explore the idea of robots trying to act like humans.
Cabuloan had better have dibs on scoring the next one, because this
thing sounds like it was generated by machines doing their best to
emulate how humans make music. This is hardly a bad thing, as Cabuloan’s
instrumental-heavy experiments are a surreal, ballsy and many-hued
affair, with math-rock riffs moving like pinballs and synth-like sounds
going mad. Actually, scratch the robots thing— this defiant mess would
be great for a Frankenstein remake.
Mashtis have always drawn comparisons to Sonic Youth and Pixies, but
the songs on this EP— which turns out to be their last record, as the
band has split up—reveal a decidedly more modern sound than what they’ve
given us in the past. In the opening measures of the first track,
“Amen,” the driving guitar alongside the scrappy shouts of “hey, hey” bear
a strong resemblance to the play-fighting revelry of Imperial Teen or
The New pornographers. And the solid guy / girl vocals and consummately
balanced, garage-y instrumentation has only gotten sturdier and more
confident. That’s not to say this band has ever sounded weak. They’ve
just made it abundantly clear this time around that The Mashtis is a
name we should all remember.
dream of the 1990s is alive with Chaz, and it is awesome. Frantic,
fuzzed-out guitars and sweetly awkward, Weezer-style harmonies frame
clever lyrics that follow the highs and lows of a slacker lifestyle—from
drinking with your shift manager to the struggles of getting out of
bed with bills to pay. Throw The Adventures of Pete & Pete in the VCR on mute, pour yourself a bowl of cereal, play this extra loud and pretend that 120 Minutes never left.
I first saw the name Cloud Ceiling, I thought I was in for another
somber singer-songwriter acoustic outing. I was correct. Very stripped
down, very sad. If your favorite Big Star album is Sister Lovers and you worship at the altar of Nick Drake, this is right up your alley.
of fractured, shimmering guitars, math-y drums and soft vocals wash
over each other in waves, evoking very early Cursive or Explosions in
the Sky. The disparate elements never fight each other for attention,
even at their most angular. Instead, they build into intense, finely crafted post-rock crescendos.
Walk the City Sampler
gotta hand it to Courtyard Roots: After getting a bad review in last
year’s Great Demo Review, the rap-reggae-rock jam band was game enough
for another round. Unfortunately, these tracks aren’t much of an
improvement on last year’s submission. The heavy-metal guitars have
nowhere to go, the grooves don’t lock together and their MC still can’t
rap for shit (although, to his credit, he has improved slightly). Maybe
next year, guys.
Glued to the Goo
doesn’t always have to mean “aimless,” but in the hands of Couch Look,
the idea of taking your sweet time to get things done drifts between
good and bad. Over the course of the instrumental record’s run time
(60-some minutes, which is way too long), the group shifts from genial,
mundane psych-jam rock to something with the bleary-eyed gravitas of
Explosions in the Sky-style post-rock. They benefit when they ditch campy
wobble-funk to explore weighty highs and lows.
Dirty Hose EP
retro-tinged pop is OK, but those vocals badly need work. Get voice
lessons or use Auto- Tune, but, please, for the love of God, don’t
torture us any longer with your wavering melodies and train-wreck
The Cypress Project
The Cypress Project Demo
saying that your music is “as experimental as your name implies.”
First of all, “The Cypress Project” does not imply anything interesting
and would be better suited for an environmental-activist group.
Secondly, and more importantly, the only experiment going on here is
how trite lyrics can be. There’s nothing about derivative,
rich-white-kid blues that pushes boundaries. To the girl in the band:
Listen to Patti Smith. She will teach you how to use that impressive
vibrato of yours in a worthwhile way.
Dada in Denial
Toss a dream catcher, a copy of The Steampunk Bible and
the complete Incubus discography into a vat of LSD, and this is what
you get— dreary, low-rent, highly bizarre alt-rock that would work great
as the soundtrack to a community theater production of Labyrinth.
San Diego Music Award winner Josh Damigo should be a familiar name to
readers. After having spent some time in the Los Angeles wilderness,
the singer-songwriter decided to air his grievances in a song titled
“L.A. Is Not My Home,” in which he oozes his VH1-style alt-country
earnestness from every orifice. Damigo has learned a few of the right
lessons from the Ryan Adams playbook, but when he sings about girls,
the results can be embarrassing. There’s cheese a-plenty, but if it
gets Damigo laid, more power to him.
Danny and the Tramp
The American Dream EP
and the Tramp is a pop-punk band that leans more toward pop. Though the
band’s sound isn’t extremely original, it’s enjoyable if you’re a fan
of blink-182 or Newfound Glory. Harking back to the late-’90s and
early-’00s, the album is semi-monotonous yet oddly appealing to the
middle-schooler inside us all.
1st Batch EP
demo in the real sense of the word in that the production is a little
rough, this six-track EP is still a rewarding mix of R&B and
hip-hop. The flows are kinda weak and the lyrics clichéd, but there’s
definitely room for improvement.
Dead Animal Mod
with distortion and featuring a damn talented lead guitar, Dead Animal
Mod remind me of a band you’d see playing in the basement at the 4th
& Ivy house in Bankers Hill. Remember those days? The
shows were always loud as fuck, and somehow the neighbors would never
complain. And as long as you were able to wade your way through the
empty cans of PBR and avoid getting vomited on by the barely, and the
not-so, legals in the audience, you’d usually end up having a fun time.
That is, of course, until morning arrived.
The Wild & Free EP
being wild and free means listening to a cornball, reggae-thieving
singer-songwriter obsess over some girl, then I’d rather have solitary
Demo of the Dinosaur Ghost
with its Food” and “Ballad of the Sea Bison” are two instantly
forgettable surf-rock ditties, but they’re followed by two amusing, much
more digable tracks—a cover of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” and “Kilda
Bird,” a psych-rock jam with Dr. Seussian lyrics.
The Distinguishing Marks
Magic Fire Music
Oh, no. No, no, no. The voice of what sounds like a whispering pedophile over fuzzy synth gibberish.