Local petal and munk
Local punk and metal -- year in review
by Carly Carioli
The Explosion, Flash Flash Flash (Jade Tree).
Young out-of-step tarantulas declare current punk scene DOA, dare everyone
to disagree, then revive the corpse chord by chord. It kicks and screams like
the FU's and Gang Green, all graveyard-hearted like the Dead Boys and the
Dolls, with a singer who shakes like Iggy and thinks like Richard Hell. It's a
shame there's no Rat for these kids to play -- speaking of which, have you seen
the blank space in my chest where Kenmore Square used to be?
Cave In, Jupiter (Hydrahead). The only sane reaction to
this album is vertigo: everything rushes away in all directions, snaps back
into focus, stomach says, "Jump." Leaps of faith? This one seems a bigger
creative and evolutionary hop than mere Kid A stuff, all alien beauty
and hidden strength. Psych-damaged space metal? Check. Prog-punk? Yep -- er,
yes! Nick Drake haunts early Pink Floyd as interpreted by Converge? Have a
cigar. Calling themselves the Sacrifice Poles (note hep Wasp
Factory-quoting pseudonym), they just released the instrumental outtakes
from this disc on a label called Robodog.
Shadows Fall, Of One Blood (Century Media). Singer Brian
Fair laid down the law from the stage at a recent show: "Fuck the new metal.
There was nothing wrong with the old metal!" Damn straight, and Of One Blood
-- the Holyoke band's first album with BHC vet Fair -- is the kinda thrash
record they just don't make enough of anymore: anthemic choruses, blazing
two-guitar ballets, and ponderous acoustic interludes, with enough speed and
growl to appease the hardcore camp. Think '80s Metallica, done right. They've
been criss-crossing the country all year; they'll head out again in January
with Hatebreed and Amen.
the year in review
cultural explosions -
film culture -
local punk and metal -
Tunnel of Love (self-released). Leaving nothing to the
imagination, TOL put a steaming, lips-spread shotta hair pie on the cover of
their debut. In case you thought they were being, y'know, metaphorical. They're
also total spazzes who do the Fall better than Elastica and the Zombies worse
than Pussy Galore. Other bands have written songs in which the singer asks to
be pee'd on, but none sounds quite so much like Chuck Berry raining golden
showers over Arab on Radar.
Mr. Lif, Enters the Colossus (Ozone). Radical
environmentalist goes on conspiracy-theorizing spree, intellectualizes a
renegade MC-shredding superhero avenger. Are those dreadlocks, or did scrolls
start snaking straight from his gray matter?
Helms, The Swimmer (Kimchee). From "The Smallest
World in the World": "And all the kids will bring their amps outside and point
them at the sky and play as loud as they can. Thousands of fingers, the necks
of old guitars, amplifiers tilted to the blue. They play at the sky, the empty
sky. They play the empty sky." Ain't they sweet? Utopian visions don't come any
cuter, and invocations to loudness come no quieter. Joan of Arc's talented,
(slightly) less pretentious younger siblings? They're smart/sensitive types
sketching soft soliloquies about the courtesies of non-sentient appliances and
the gothic emotional resonances of the Pac-Man universe, like advance scouts
homesteading a new virtual dustbowl: "We can watch TV like cowboys around a
fire, like brave men with tired hearts/We crouch, we smile, while Janet and
Chrissy have broken the pipes again. And the laugh track blares and Mr. Roper
turns/As the water rushes in."
Tugboat Annie, The Space Around You (Big Top). Was there a
shortage of broken hearts this year? Because this was a great melancholy
guitar-pop album -- perfect for falling out of love to -- and it slipped
through the cracks. Too Promise Ring'd for radio? Too Spin Doctor'd for emo
kids? A snippet came crawling out of the blue tube the other night, 4 a.m. at
the end of a Monster.com infomercial. Insomnia and unemployment never sounded
The Upper Crust, Entitled (Reptilian); Lovelight Shine,
Makes Out (Big Wheel Recreation). Respectively, the best AC/DC
double-live album of recent years, as made by a bunch of guys who think they're
18th-century British nobility; and a really good '70s glam-rock tribute, done
by some indie-rock kids (ex-Jejune) who think they're Queen. Dead English fops
Isis, Celestial (Escape Artist); Old Man Gloom,
Meditations in B (Tortuga); Scissorfight, Piscataqua EP
(Tortuga); Milligram, Hello Motherfucker EP (Tortuga). The turtle
has risen! The first two are ambient post-metal surgery disasters from
Hydrahead label honcho Aaron Turner and pals, like Neurosis with flyswatters
and sextants. The last two out-canoodle all that stoner gunk with a whole new
paradigm of heavitude that's all sasquatch lurch and fatguy BO and gratuitous
facial hair. Heavy, as in just plain heavy.
Tie: the Damn Personals, Driver/Driver (Big Wheel); the
Hope Conspiracy, Coldblue (Equal Vision); In My Eyes, Nothing To
Hide (Revelation); the Medea Connection, The Action Noise
(self-released); Piebald, The Rock Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Big
Wheel Recreation); Quintaine Americana, The Devil Went Down to
Mississippi (Curve of the Earth); the Spurs, Go Boy Go! (Spinout).
The Cellars by Starlight archive