Live: Slipknot — The Power of the Masked Men

On March 26, 2005, the moment finally came for me to be exposed, live in concert at the Reliant Arena, to one of the most talented, heaviest bands of our generation. The graphic videos, the darkly crazed crowd, and the animated tactics of Slipknot filled the arena with a vibe found in very few other places. Even just the audience was well worth the time spent by any who attended, just because of the spectator sport of being in the middle of such a show…

Downtown Singapore, Understanding a Guarantee

On Understanding a Guarantee, Maryland’s Downtown Singapore crosses the crunching guitars and pop sensibilities of the Foo Fighters with the emotional, thoughtful lyrics of Death Cab For Cutie. The result is an impressive six songs that sounds similar to many bands of the same genre…

DMBQ, Essential Sounds From the Far East

DMBQ’s Essential Sounds From the Far East is the best record I’ve gotten in six months. By far. Yeah, some of them were free, but I paid for some, too, and we’re talking about sixty or more CDs, here. If you’re hard to impress, and you like hard music, seek out DMBQ, quick. I’d pay Best Buy prices…

Dine Alone, Dine Alone

Listed among Dine Alone’s influences on the press materials are Chevelle, Tool and Staind — that should give you a pretty solid idea of what the music should be like, except for that Staind reference there. Before even popping in the CD, I’m wondering which incarnation of Staind…

Cameron Dezen, Love + Rescue

On Love + Rescue, her first album since 2000’s acclaimed Mary’s Daughter, singer/songwriter Cameron Dezen raises the stakes. Instead of opting for a traditional band and strings, like most singers in this genre would do, Dezen uses samples and electronics as the backdrop…

John Davis, John Davis

Yes, friends, the rumors are true. Indie-rock figurehead John Davis, formerly of Superdrag, has found God (rediscovered God, really, according to him) and now dedicates himself to praise music. I guess you could call that the bad news. What’s the good news, then? Well, the good news is that John’s…

Dash Rip Rock, Recyclone

After 20 years and 12 releases, this band is still the Greatest “Country Punk” band around. Recyclone goes through their collection and shows you how great they are — just when you think it’s going to slow down, they belt out an ever more powerful song than the last…

Clem Snide, End of Love

It’s the weirdest thing. Clem Snide’s End of Love has, against all odds, been the hardest damn CD to critique that I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s not that I think it’s bad, per se, or even that it’s good — bear with me, here — but that it’s both, just at different times…

Doug Cheatwood, Stories About Gods & Heroes

Is this a playful, lighthearted industrial record or a gut-wrenching hurdy-gurdy E.P.? On Stories About Gods & Heroes, Doug Cheatwood doesn’t always sing, and he doesn’t exactly rap, although a lot of the time he speaks with the voice affectations of Biz Markie. He employs visual lyric patterns that seem well-crafted (like Beck)…

Tody Castillo, Tody Castillo

I hate this album. Seriously. Since the first time I listened to it, anything else I attempt to listen to pales in comparison, and I have to switch back. It’s becoming annoying. I blew a $100 gift certificate on iTunes in January but have yet to even make it through two songs…

Budapest One, This town just gave you a dreamer.

You want unctuous? Budapest One can give you unctuous in spades. The four-piece band kicks off This town just gave you a dreamer. with “Signal For The Assassins,” which sounds like the sleaziest accountant in town singing “Besame Mucho” at the bar from Ally McBeal, and it all goes downhill…

Brookfield, …Maybe This Time

Any band that opens its album with an obvious Rush rip (“YYZ”) deserves credit, so here goes: Brookfield are talented musicians. Unfortunately, their choice of music (think 311 covering Sublime — no, really) leaves a lot to be desired, and lyrically, it doesn’t get much better…

David Brake & That Damn Band, Lean, Mean Texas Machine

There’s a lot to be proud of on David Brake & That Damn Band’s Lean, Mean Texas Machine (most notably, “101 Tattoos”). But listen to songs like the title track (“Pick your jaw up off the floor / You’d think you never seen a woman before / Now put your tongue back in your mouth…”

Amazing Transparent Man, The Measure of All Things…

Punk-pop bands are a dime a dozen these days, and it takes a special brand of talent to stand out among the seemingly endless glut of mainstream bands like Sum 41, Blink-182, and New Found Glory. With The Measure of All Things…, Amazing Transparent Man breathe new life…

Armor For Sleep, What To Do When You Are Dead

I really like Armor For Sleep — they manage to incorporate some of my favorite musical elements (infectious melodies, huge metallic guitars, and dark, introspective, sometimes morbid imagery) into a cohesive whole that works…

Live: Streetlight Manifesto/Voodoo Glow Skulls/MU330/Secret Agent Bill/The Blue Lights

Renowned surrealist Salvador Dali once said, “Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it.” Dali obviously never saw Streetlight Manifesto live. Through the pursuit of art, man has made his most valiant attempts at perfection — Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, Bogey in Casablanca, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper — but few artists of late have come close to perfection in their respective field. Enter Streetlight Manifesto…

The A Frames, Black Forest

I’m nowhere near an authority on the noisier, dirtier end of the post-punk spectrum, I have to admit. I own no Gang of Four CDs, never much liked the Melvins, and couldn’t tell you which Jesus Lizard CDs I’ve actually listened (there were a few, back in college, but I have no clue which they […]

Matt Boroff, Matt Boroff

If there were any way I could think of to most easily give you a sense of Matt Boroff’s music, it’d be this: Quentin Tarantino. When I listen to Boroff’s self-titled CD, it strikes me just how perfectly it’d fit into one of Quentin’s movies — just a little dark and moody…

Bone Simple, What Was Her Name?

Bone Simple has about two really interesting slow songs on their new disc, What Was Her Name? And then, unfortunately, there are literally seventeen other really bad songs. Various levels of folk-rock, and mainly below-average bar band stuff. There is no focus to this…

Blood Meridian, We almost made it home…

Blood Meridian’s We almost made it home… reminds me of the Young Guns 2 soundtrack — meaning, it’s country music made by Yankees, and plus, it’s cinematic much of the time. It starts with slow, haunting, rising action, builds to a lagging second act…

Blind Jackson, Stop The Clock

Blind Jackson probably could have cleaned up in 1990. The London band has the feel of Britpop in the days before it was stadium-sized by Oasis, and the three songs on Stop The Clock have a neatly kicky punch. “Keep On Running” and the garage-y “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”…


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