With the huge number of aggro hardcore bands that are around today, and more sprouting up every week, sometimes the O.G. bands have to reconvene school. One listen to Slither, and all the Slipknots and Stainds pale in comparison. This is the well from which anger flows, the source, pure and undiluted, primed to create thought. Earth Crisis have always been activists and advocates for positive change throughout the world, and the lyrical content on their latest album is as incisive as it has ever been, but Karl Buechner has refined his delivery so that you can get the message -- imagine Page Hamilton's ability to go from drill sergeant to Ozzy-like melodies, except with more of the Ozzy quality. Buechner apparently has a new affinity for vocal hooks, as well, and peppers the entire album with them. Steve Evetts has done a great job on the album's production, as well, keeping everything separate and discernable, rather than letting it degenerate into the mush that a lot of hardcore albums sound like nowadays. This could very well be Earth Crisis' breakthrough album. (MHo)
(Victory Records -- 346 N. Justine, Suite 504, Chicago, IL. 60607; http://www.victoryrecords.com/; Earth Crisis -- http://www.earthcrisis.cc/)
Electramone is a band from New York City, where practice space is very expensive and Beck recorded Stereopathetic Soul Manure with some friends. Both of these points are made obvious by their album Proud -- the overall sound is one which tries to accommodate the aforementioned Beck album with The Flaming Lips' high-pitched wailing. The guitars are lazy and melodic in a droning pseudo-country way, and the drums are basic beats with no frills, which can be a good thing. In this case, I was thankful. The bass does the obligatory following of the chords. The lyrics are free-floating ideas connected by choruses of no real importance. Somehow, the songs come together, and they can be catchy at times, but trust me when I say that you've heard it before.
The song "Naked and High" opens with the line, "Let me finish what I'm doing, then I'll get my dick out!" I don't know what he had his dick in while he was recording, but I wonder if it would have helped had he pulled it out earlier. The songs on this record are structured around the "verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, verse, chorus" formula, where the bridge usually consists of the verse with a distorted guitar solo. Maybe Electramone were too distracted by the placement of their collective members to try anything more daring.
The best song on the album is "Drawn to the lightning," which starts out as a folky little number with just an acoustic guitar and vocals. At the chorus, the song picks up, with nice harmonies and electricity. It's a catchy tune that follows the same formula, but it works well on this one.
On the good side, label Washroom Recordings is a group of New York musicians who pulled their funds together to put out their records. You have to respect that, if nothing else. (BD)
(Washroom Recordings -- http://www.washroomrecordings.com/)
The initial Radiohead comparisons are unavoidable, albeit lazy. Yes, the drummer sounds like Phil Selway at times. The bassist occasionally invokes Colin Greenwood. There is the tasteful use of keys throughout, as well as some sampling and programming. Elliott, however, is a whole different beast. Along with Radiohead, you could point out some elements of Sensefield, the Foo Fighters, and even Bowie, but this does not do justice to the amazing noise that Elliot creates. False Cathedrals is a densely-layered sonic masterpiece of texture and emotion that is made even more transcendent by the band's use of choir-like background vocals on many of the album's tracks. These perfectly complement Chris Higdon's soaring vocal stylings, which come across as Lindsey Buckingham crossed with Garret Klahn, and are also a nice counterpoint to the driving guitars. And I mean driving -- not with just a little bit of overdrive, mind you; these guitars are of Hum-like stature. I can tell that this is one of the discs that won't collect dust in my collection. Absolutely mind-blowing from beginning to end. (MHo)
(Revelation Records -- P.O. Box 5232, Huntington Beach, CA. 92615-5232; http://revelationrecords.com/; Elliott -- http://www.elliottintransit.com/)
Amplified to Rock
Amplified to Rock is definitely an apropos title, 'cause that's just what this band does -- to me, they rock so much in their own special way that they defy description. The scene in general puts them under the "post-hardcore" banner, which I don't mind, because they do have a lot in common with bands in the vein of Quicksand, Sensefield, and Handsome, with their deft combination of powerful riffs, excellent songwriting and emotive vocal delivery. ET:11 does have a sound that is all their own, though, one that reminds me of the Foo Fighters and even '70s power rock. The band intersperses rockers like "Better Than the Superbowl" and "I'm Alive" with rocking love songs like "Things That Make You Want To (Kiss Me)" and even the mellow and introspective (well, at least at the beginning of the song) "As Young As I Am Old." Very soon, these guys will be selling out the Enormodome. (MHo)
(Some Records -- 122 W. 29 St. 4th Floor, New York, NY. 10001; http://www.some.com/; Errortype:11 -- http://www.et11.com/)