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Wednesday, Mar 07, 2012

The 2012 Great Demo Review

Our annual critique of local music submissions

Mother Russia

The notes accompanying Mother Russia's demo point out that it was recorded in 1998, but not actually released until 2012. That;s a pretty long time to hold on to some songs, but they don't sound particularly dated. The band's raucous garage-punk is loud, sloppy and snotty, and it's touched up with just a little bit of New York Dolls' glammy swagger. For those in need of a messy punk record with drunkenness to spare, this gets the job done.

—Jeff Terich


This EP is exactly what you'd expect from an outfit named Moosejaw. Including screamo, nu-metal and even bits and pieces of Alice in Chains, this is a big metal stew thatíll go great with a shot of Jack and speakers that reach 11.

—Dryw Keltz


How can you describe Moxie? Slick, anthemic, dark pop-punk. Hmmm. My description sounds more interesting than the band actually is. Imagine a cross between Hole and The Muffs, only without the talent. (Yeah I said it, Hole have talent.)

—Aaron Carnes

Mr. Nobody
Seemed Like a Bad Idea at the Time (And it Was)

Fast, fuzzy, blown-out punk rock. Even though the longest song clocks in at 84 seconds, this demo's got it all. Irreverent sense of humor? Check. Lo-fi / slapdick production? Check. There's even a couple of doo-woppy numbers circa late Ramones or early Queers. I don't know who you are, Mr. Nobody, but you shred.

—Jim Ruland

“The Glitz”

A neo new-wave project of unknown seriousness, Multiplex skillfully incorporates vintage synths and drum machines with a vocal delivery that can only be described as Kevin Spacey on ecstasy. "The Glitz," with its ironically artsy vocals, feels like something by The Nation of Ulysses' Ian Svenonius / David Candy. That could be good or bad, depending on whether the singer's being ironic or sincere.

—T. Loper

From Zero to One

Well-executed instrumental prog tales, spun slowly and enticingly until they peak and erupt into solid psych-grooves that will keep you topless-hippie-dancing for the entirety of the EP.

—Sammi Skolmoski

Napoleon Blownapart
Black Face, White Heart

The cover of this CD is a drawing of the eponymous French leader in blackface. There's a song called 'Smurf Cum.' Someone's clearly aiming for the shock-rap angle, possibly a result of Odd Future's popularity. Unfortunately, the comedy isn't done well, the beats sound like Casio presets and even a grainy filter can't hide the rapper's deficiencies. The only value here is trying to figure out the message being sent to CityBeat writer Seth Combs with the song 'Meth Combz' (Nudge nudge. Get it? Clever, right?).

—Quan Vu

Actual Plural Songs

Nothingful mastermind Sasha Syeed claims to be musically untrained, but what he may lack in formal musical education, he makes up for with a natural talent for crafting memorable yet unconventional melodies. Each of his moody, stripped-down, lo-fi songs is an intimate tapestry of stark acoustic guitar plucks, buzzing acoustic bass and the occasional eruption of live drums. I can't make heads or tails of parts of this lengthy, 14-track release, but it's rewarding enough to make me want to retuto it again.

—Jeff Terich

Ogd_S(11) Translation Has Failed

This Middle Ground

The band asked all reviews to come in haiku, so here goes:

You're actually good
Stop trying to be clever
And just play music

—Scott McDonald

Rudy Palos
2012 Demo

A funky, indie-electro approach to hip-hop music. Palos just might be pioneering a "math-rap" genre with the time-bending beat on "Racing Stripes" Without vocals over it, the exuberant robot noises kind of lost me on "Blinding Headlights"but this is all-around a solid experiment in instrumental hip-hop.

—Sammi Skolmoski

The Paragraphs

The two-song thing is such a tease, but The Paragraphs make an impression in eight minutes. Not sure what to think about "Trashtalk" but "Wolf" is a nice piece of straight-up rawk that sounds like Gavin Rossdale fronting an early-era Kings of Leon.

—Scott McDonald

The Peripherals
As Themselves

Light, airy songs about love and traveling for love's sake, sweetly sung by softies. For fans of Iron & Wine.

—Sammi Skolmoski

The Peter Pupping Band
Café Pacifico

Peter Pupping mixes traditional bossa nova, samba and flamenco with smooth jazz. There's even an elevator-music-style guitar lead in the place of vocals. As far as easy-listening music goes, though, this is top notch. I'd be stoked if this is what I had to listen to at my dentist's office the next time I got a root canal. Somebody, please take Kenny G off the radio and replace him with Peter Pupping!

—Aaron Carnes

Picnic Spirit
“Jean Dear”

This single-song submission sounds like a crew of Bar Pink regulars who've convened for a late-night, post-boozing session to knock out their dream single. Sounding kind of like a B-side from a latter-day Breeders album, "Jean Dear" features tribal drums, simple repetition, lo-fi production and distant vocals. You can practically see the musicians slinging messenger bags and riding fixed-gear bikes.

—Dryw Keltz


Parker & The Numberman
The Ridley Project

Photo by Tony Maristela

With such high-quality music, it’s hard to believe Parker & The Numberman haven’t released a full-length album yet. Maybe they want to develop a mystique by sporadically dropping music, just enough to entice you into seeking more. Maybe they’re too busy exploring new styles and ideas to settle on any of them for long. Both reasons sound feasible given The Ridley Project, an EP that finds them teaming with Mr. Ridley of rap group Anti Citizens. They all experiment with a very 1988-era, Run-DMC sort of style. Ridley’s spare beats rely heavily on bass and drums sprinkled with samples used in quirky ways. The two rappers banter back and forth about how fly they are. It’s clear they’re just joking—Parker probably didn’t write a song with Heavy D, Diddy and Cupid (yes, the dude with the arrows)—but their inventiveness and playfulness have a way of building up their myth.

—Quan Vu


Expansive, melodic, layered psych that grabs your wrist and drags you through other dimensions. The raspy, sprawling vocals are sometimes haunting, often explosive—definitely the perfect soundtrack to an exploratory space-out session.

—Sammi Skolmoski

The Plastic Revolution

I don't know if I've ever heard a band as ready for heavy rotation on 91X as The Plastic Revolution. The group walks such a fine line between Linkin Park / 311-style nu-metal and latter-day pop-punk that they seem to have developed a sub-genre all their own. Linkin Punk, perhaps? If your daily habit includes a heaping helping of alt-rock commercial radio, this might just be your new favorite band.

—Dryw Keltz

Adam Powell
Totally Stripped and Ill Equipped

The fact that Mr. Powell's info came on a well-tucked Sprouts receipt
and that he mentioned that these songs were "recorded in the nude for Kathie Benson"—had me liking it before a listen. Inevitable Beck comparisons aside, the four tracks here are as interesting and likeable as the man himself seems to be.

—Scott McDonald

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