Linus Pauling Quartet
Let's start at the beginning with this one. The biggest, loudest, sustainingest, most rawkin' chord you ever heard starts off C6H8O6, the latest slab of sludge from Houston's own Linus Pauling Quartet. By being entitled "Switzer", the song Quartet (which, by the way, you can download from their Website) continues a fine Houston tradition of naming songs after fellow Houstonians (or, perhaps more appropriately in this case, Hou-stoners?). The lyrics must be quoted for full effect: "I was hanging out with Mike [Switzer] my friend / He did this trick he did again / No matter what you say, you know I'm not a liar / He set the bong on fire / [whispered:] Fire! / Let me tell you how we would get goin' / Hanging out and listening to Almaron [album by The Mike Gunn] / Sitting on the floor / A situation dire / We set the bong on fire / [whispered:] Fire!"
The album continues with "Cole Porter," perhaps the closest the LP4 has ever come to writing an anti-drug song, with lyrics such as "Steve, put that bong away!," "I've got a drug test," and of course, "Rock Out Now!" The sheer excessiveness of the 11-minute song "Thorn" (penned by the hero of track one) is nearly, but not quite, able to overcome the fact that it sounds like one of those horrible classic rock anthems that refuses to die. With "La Tapatia," featuring Satan on vocals (okay, who sold their soul to secure this cameo?), the LP4 joins the ranks of those paying tribute to Montrose's favorite taqueria, and then suddenly, the album shifts into tender mode with "Airplane," a beautifully melancholic slice of psychedelia. Transitioning back to rock mode, "Drunkest Man" could be a hit song in a kinder, grungier world, and the garage-y "Cannonball" gets bonus points for its falsetto vocal highlights. Now, if you guessed that this album would end with a 15-minute Kraftwerk cover (as it does), I'd suggest an immediate trip to Vegas.
And there you have it, another fine release by Houston's defenders of rock. I must also note with satisfaction that it continues the LP4's excellent tradition of arch titles, C6H8O6 in this case being the chemical formula for Linus Pauling's favorite and most frequently ingested compound. If you don't have enough rock in your life, or if you have much too much, I highly recommend obtaining this post-haste (but not, mind you, if you have just enough). And for goodness' sake, be prepared in case of bongfire. (CP)
(September Gurls Records -- Sigmundstr. 92, 90431 Nürnberg, GERMANY; http://www.septembergurlsrecords.com/; Linus Pauling Quartet -- http://www.worshipguitars.org/LP4/index.html)
At The Smash Party
Although the first song on At The Smash Party album sounds like a poor attempt at homage to Prince's "Purple Rain," most of the album winds up being good old-fashioned rock'n'roll. Loud Clappers write good songs that sound sloppy at times, yet are done in a way that totally works -- much like the Pixies and the Replacements.
The five songs on At The Smash Party are a mix of stereotypical early-'90s indie-rock and midwestern pop that grow increasingly more appealing with each listen. While Loud Clappers won't win any originality contests with this release, it's tough to find fault with any of its songs. (DAC)
(Loud Clappers -- http://www.loudclappers.com/)