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CD Review Harvey Mandel - Snake Pit

Harvey Mandel

Snake Pit
Record Label: Tompkins Square
Review by Sal Serio
December 2016

Musician Harvey “The Snake” Mandel has always been a hard one to categorize, but one can never deny his unparalleled level of excellence on the guitar. Detroit-born, Chicago-raised, and San Francisco-influenced, Mandel consistently seemed to be a couple steps ahead of the trends, being an early innovator of two-handed fretboard tapping, and distinguishing his sound with a mastery of syncopated phrasing, razor-edged sustain, and a genius touch when it comes to command of his effects pedals, as well as such natural phenomena as volume/feedback control.


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CD Review KidsonFire - KidsonFire

KidsonFire

KidsonFire
Record Label: 616050 Records DK
Review by Sal Serio
December 2016

Press play, and the first thing you hear is a hellion youngster saying “We’re going to fuck this motherfucker UP!”, and that pretty much sets the tone for these four ruckus compositions that bristle with attitude, confidence, and immediacy. KidsonFire is a new project by bass player Danny Smash (of The Last Vegas) and claims Grand Rapids, Michigan, as it’s home base, although lead singer Karina Zephyr is from Chicago. Their two guitar / pummeling drum assault makes their debut E.P. leap screaming from the stereo speakers. This CD E.P. was released in mid-to-late 2016 as a follow-up to their 2015 single “Coup D’etat”.


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CD Review Popa Chubby - The Catfish

Popa Chubby

The Catfish
Record Label: Popa Chubby Productions
Review by Sal Serio
December 2016

By my count, ‘The Catfish’ is the 19th studio album by Bronx blues man Ted Horowitz, aka Popa Chubby. That in and of itself is damn impressive, but consider that this is also one of his finest recorded efforts. From the get-go, on the songs “Going Downtown See My Old Gal Sue” and “Good Thing”, the modus operandi is boogie woogie hip shakin’ with dive bomber wah-wah drenched lead solos. Chubby’s grunt and grind vocals coax the listener through the grooves straight to the trippy downtown honky tonks.


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CD Review Sad13 - Slugger

Sad13

Slugger
Record Label: Carpark Records
Review by John Noyd
November 2016

In the aftermath of a year fraught with personal loss and challenges, Sadie Dupuis took a break from fronting Speedy Ortiz, moved to Philly and mapped a path into trippy, bedroom-pop that harks back to her pre-band days when she found her bliss in upbeat demos where her rambunctious imagination could run wild. Sounding like a playground princess taking schoolyard bullies down a notch while throwing a Mad Hatter’s tea party for all her friends, Sad13 piles crunchy alt-rock waltzes atop frothy Jenga benders, dovetailing rubber-bullet hooks with frittering synths synched to giddy, gritty double-dutch funk. Fueled by full-throttled optimism spliced inside squishy riffs, “Slugger,” scores and floors, rocketing posh tolerance in frilly thrills spun from subtly bubbly pajama-party caroling and happily scrappy seesaw gloss.


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CD Review Testament - Brotherhood Of The Snake

Testament

Brotherhood Of The Snake
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
Review by Sal Serio
November 2016

Some bands are just reliable. Like strong coffee on a dark, cold morning; you just KNOW it’s going to provide the jolt that you desperately need. Chuck Billy and Testament are like that, and a new Testament record is similar to a visit from the oldest and truest of friends. Familiarity, yes, but always with a couple new tricks up their sleeves as well.


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CD Review Glenn Hughes - Resonate

Glenn Hughes

Resonate
Record Label: Frontiers Music
Review by Sal Serio
November 2016

Considering the harrowing accounts of Glenn Hughes’ “lost years” to drugs (as documented in obscene detail in his recent autobiography), it is amazing that Hughes is still writing, recording, and performing, let alone hitting new heights of artistic achievement some 45+ years in to his career. The “Voice of Rock” moniker is no false crown. There are precious few with the range, emotion, and intensity of Hughes’ uncanny vocal prowess.


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