In Rotation, July 2008
G.G. Elvis and the TCP Band A Punk Elvis Tribute
Track Listing: Intro/Thats All Right Mama, Viva Las Vegas, In The Ghetto, Dont Cry Daddy, Suspicious Minds, Burning Love, Blue Suede Shoes, Devil In Disguise, A Little Less Conversation, Little Sister, Wonder Of You, Love Me Tender, My Way/Outro.
California punk tribute band G.G. Elvis and the TCP Band auspiciously declares itself a mixture of the very best (and worst) of the King of Rock Elvis Presley and self-professed King of Punk G.G. Allin. This is a tall order that only comes through on rare occasion. There are a myriad of punk influences that come through in this album the only of which that bear any resemblance to G.G. Allin being lead singer Eric Laras growling intonations.
The instrumentation is typical of any contemporary punk band with occasional bluesy basslines to give it a marginal psychobilly feel that you would expect in a punk Elvis cover band. Where more upbeat songs like Viva Las Vegas lend themselves quite well to this format, more tender Elvis offerings like Suspicious Minds lose much of their meaning and value in translation. Overall, this album is a decent listen for punk officionados with an Elvis appreciation that dont mind a little kitch in their diets.
The Chromatics Night Drive
Track Listing: The Telephone Call, Night Drive, I Want Your Love, Running Up That Hill, The Killing Spree, Healer, Mask, Tomorrow Is So Far Away, Lets Make This A Moment To Remember, Tick Of The Clock.
The Chromatics deliver a solid dream pop offering in Night Drive. The sparse electronic accompaniment and breathy female vocals make the album consistently pleasing to listen to from track to track. The sonic soundscape is consistent enough throughout as to create a cohesive sound as a full album, and the songwriting is artful if not always the most inspired.
The most unnerving part of listening to this album comes in a cover buried about halfway in. While Running Up That Hill is a great song and vocalist Ruth Radalets voice lends well to Kate Bushs song, the band really adds nothing to it in any way except some minor deconstruction in the instrumentation. This deconstruction does make it blend well into the album, but it left me wondering what the point was. The song seems completely unnecessary, and considering the lack of significant variation from the original (particularly in the vocal delivery) would have been well replaced with another original composition.
Infrastructure Salt the Earth
Track Listing: Dream Dealer, Daybreak, Toy Soldier, Fair and Balanced, Moments of Isolation, Righteous, Pure, Drama Queen, War Among Prisoners, Salt the Earth, Unfair and Unbalanced (Remix by Clint Sand of Cut.Rate.Box), Pride (Death Be Not Proud Mix by A.E.C.).
Infrastructures 2004 release still comes through as a melodic EBM collection of tracks that are highly danceable and an unusual break from the monotony of male dominated acts within the genre. Stacia Tucker does a great job delivering vocals that straddle the border between menacing and breathy over a background of dark synthetic beats.
While interesting at times and good enough to rival most popular acts, the sounds employed come off a bit too much as standard. In essence, those looking for more dark dance music to add to their collections would do well to investigate this album further. The more aggressive remixes at the end are sure to please those who need a little more thud in their beat.
The Young Gods Super Ready/Fragmenté
Track Listing: Im The Drug, Freeze, Cest Quoi Cest Çá, El Magnifico, Stay With Us, About Time, Machine Arrière, The Color Code, Super Ready/Fragmenté, Secret, Everythere, Un Point Cest Tout.
Swiss band The Young Gods have a bit of a schizophrenic personality that works on a level completely inaccessible to other acts. They blend together seemingly incompatible genres with single tracks in a display of musical wizardry that is almost uncomfortable to listen to at times. Songs like Color Code start out bluesy and then transition into breaks style instrumentation as if it were just the natural order of things while other tracks like Cest Quoi Cest Çá go for a much more direct approach to minimalist breaks that fuses in elements of industrial in comparison to the first two tracks that go straight for a more contemporary alternative sound.
There are times in the album when I almost thought I was listen to something from Filter were it not for all the French. Strangely listenable, but I would not necessarily put this offering into regular rotation on my iPod. Rather, its something Id hold off to the side for the moment that was just right.
Track Listing: Shipwrecked, Bittersweet, Changes, Sheltered, Crystal Ball.
Based purely on the package design, I never would have picked The Perfects on my own. I looked at the design and instantly thought, Why am I listening to a ska album for Morbid Outlook? Then I decided Id just listen. Whats the worst that could happen, right?
I was instantly glad I did. Shipwrecked opens this five song debut EP nice and strong with a solid bassline right up front and wailing vocals set to a very new wave inspired overtone. The Perfects seem to borrow all the right elements from their influences and leave everything else on the cutting room floor to deliver five solid tracks that leave you asking, So, when do we get the full length album? The answer, thankfully, is soon my dears... soon. They report on their Myspace page that they are in the studio as we speak. I for one, will be waiting.
Jo Gabriel The Last Drive In
Track Listing: Waking The Dark, Masque Of The Red Death, A Cast Of Exciting Unknowns, Theres A Crack In The Wall, Dreaded Sundown, House On The Hill, Arent You His Mother, Rosemary?, Sweet Charlotte, Fade To Black.
Jo Gabriel delivers a series of eerie instrumental pieces for those who are looking for something a little more low key. The album gets stuck at times between horror and drama movie soundtrack, but is consistently pleasing throughout even if less than exceptional. Arent You His Mother, Rosemary? threatens to derail early on despite its clever, cheeky title, but clings on for dear life as the piano and violin seem to fight with each other throughout. The songs fit together well, making it a cohesive album, albeit an unremarkable one.