Disc Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street

The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street

The Rolling Stones

Album title: Exile on Main Street
By Troy Johnson
Posted: Jul 2010
Label: Umvd Labels
(1790) Page Views

In May, 2010 the Rolling Stones re?released their immortal 1972 album, “Exile On Main Street.” The reissued version from Atlantic Records includes 10 previously unheard tracks from sessions along the way that were never recorded for release.  Along with alternate takes of “Loving Cup” and “Soul Survivor,” are other songs that have been remastered and some with minor guitar and vocal adjustments but of the ten new tracks 8 of them you have probaby never been able to listen to until now.

Accompanying the new reissue is a documentary film directed by Stephen Kijak. The film, called ‘Stones in Exile,’ will be shown in the US on network television and on the BBC worldwide.

Many different versions of the reissue have been released including a CD with the bonus tracks, a double LP on vinyl which includes the new songs along with the rest of the album, and—if you can afford it—a collectors edition featuring the LP on vinyl, the documentary on DVD, multiple CD’s, and an assortment of Stones collectibles. As with every Stones Album there are countless legends surrounding the recording of Exile. You can find many of these on the internet and at the band’s official website www.rollingstones.com where you can find press releases and any of the latest information that a fan of the still rocking and still touring Rolling Stones might need to know.

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Teenage Fanclub - Shadows

Teenage Fanclub - Shadows

Teenage Fanclub

Album title: Shadows
By John Noyd
Posted: Jun 2010
Label: Merge Records
(1767) Page Views

Electrified by mellow summer strumming and cushioned in exquisite streamlined jangle, the Fannies latest neatly-tied package of sparkling gems is softly sculpted pillow-talk buffed to effortless dreaminess. While earlier albums clearly divided the band’s love of noise and thrash from their love of melody and harmony, “Shadows,” gurgles subversively, blending splendidly a feverish but methodical buzzing of bustling cities, racing thoughts and restless meditations; stoic, rock-solid interiors beneath casually concise pop-rock pirouettes.  Possessing three accomplished songwriters, the band’s chiming rhymes, uplifting introspection and idyllic delivery balance exquisite lullabies inside breathless promise for shimmering syncopation calming life’s uncertain turns. Bursting in crackling choirboy caresses and baptismal rejuvenation, “Shadow,” casts shiny uphill optimism hiding in heavenly messages, anchored by worldly-wise experience and laced with compassion and humility.

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Acrassicauda - Heavy Metal in Baghdad

Acrassicauda - Heavy Metal in Baghdad

Acrassicauda

Album title: Heavy Metal in Baghdad
By Jason Mansavage
Posted: Jun 2010
Label: Arts Alliance America
(1556) Page Views

When one thinks of Iraq, one envisions a war torn country, a country plagued by civil unrest, political and religious upheaval, a dry, hot, sand infested wasteland. Sometimes Americans don’t realize how good we have it and how important freedom really is. Just ask Acrassicauda (Latin for “Black Scorpion”), Iraq’s only metal band. Conceived in a basement rehearsal space and tutored by music instructor and guitar virtuoso Saad Say “the Yngwie Malmsteen of the Middle East,” and inspired by western bands like Metallica, Slayer and Slipknot, they began writing and playing metal in 2001. You think it’s hard enough for most bands to get a gig in the free countries of the world, try getting a show in Iraq.

Original members Firas (bass), Tony (lead guitar), Marwan (drums), Faisal (rhythm guitar) and Waleed (lead vocals) were only able to play three shows before the war started in 2003. Waleed fled the country soon after, which left Faisal to fill in at vocals. Tightened security made it difficult to practice and get gigs. They even received death threats from insurgent groups and religious fundamentalists accusing them of Satan-worship. Eventually, it proved impossible to find any venue that was safe to perform in. Their practice space was eventually destroyed by a rocket attack.

Their dream of being a metal band and even making an EP became possible from several generous donations. The entire band took refuge in Damascus, Syria for a year before finally ending up in Turkey. In their seven years as a band they have managed to play only six concerts in Baghdad, two in Syria and one in Turkey. “The war has all but destroyed their dream to live in peace, grow their hair long, bang their heads and play metal as loud as they want. Life in Turkey is proving extremely difficult for them. Acrassicauda is literally a band on the run,” proclaimed their bio. “Heavy Metal in Baghdad” is a documentary of their struggles in Iraq. I found the DVD very compelling. It was well put together and the footage was filmed over several years and took more than one visit to Iraq. Their story echoes the unspoken hopes of an entire generation of young Iraqis and is a must see for metalheads.

After seeing the film, I ended up searching Google for them and discovered that they finally came out with an EP entitled “Only the Dead See the End of the War.” This four song disc is straight-forward thrash with gritty vocals and virtuosic guitar solos provided by the highly skilled Tony. Although their sound isn’t entirely unique, Acrassicauda does throw in some Middle Eastern flair in the guitar solo on “Garden of Stones” accompanied by some Arabic wailing for the dead. There is also a passage in Arabic on the intro to “Massacre” and some downright sick drumming. Lyrically, they discuss the ravages of war and what they have endured. Produced by Alex Skolnick (Testament guitarist), this CD is worth every dime if you have a penchant for some down home Iraqi metal.

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The The Black Keys - Brothers

The The Black Keys - Brothers

The The Black Keys

Album title: Brothers
By Troy Johnson
Posted: Jun 2010
Label: Nonesuch Records
(1552) Page Views

If you are not familiar with the discography of the Black Keys then their new album ‘Brothers’ is a fine place to start. Released on Warner Brothers’ Nonesuch records, the bulk of the album was recorded in the Muscle Shoals sound studio in Alabama where other legends such as The Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, and Bob Dylan have recorded. ‘Brothers’ has 15 tracks with a spooky fuzz reminiscent of darker Led Zeppelin tunes but all the while keeping their blues sound. The band’s previous studio album, ‘Attack and Release’ was produced entirely by Danger Mouse who also produced the track ‘Tighten Up’ off the latest album. Danger Mouse is the producer that created the Grey Album which was the first of many Jay-Z acappella DJ productions. When you listen to ‘Tighten Up’ you can tell that it is the work of Danger Mouse and stands out as a great song on the album.  The lead guitar and vocalist of the Black Keys duo Dan Auerbach released a solo album ‘Keep It Hid’ in 2009 with bluesy riffs that have become his truly unique style . The drummer, main producer, and second part to the group Patrick Carney have a respect and knowledge for old music in a 2010 setting that gives the Black Keys a style that is not reproduced. 

The ‘Black Keys’ first two albums, ‘The Big Come Up’ and ‘Thickfreakness’ were both recorded and produced in Carney’s basement in Akron, Ohio. Don’t worry about catching up on old albums though because ‘Brothers’ will bring you up to speed on the style and soul of the rock duo. Carney has also been working on some solo projects but when he and Auerbach get together they create dark sounds with crowd pumping percussion that are not found anywhere else.

The song ‘Howlin’ For You’ is probably the catchiest single on the album and if you must download one song for a sample this would be the one. A copy of the CD comes with a vinyl purchase as the Black Keys lp’s usually do. The Black Keys are also active on their website with updates on tour status, dates, and new projects.

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Martin Sexton - Sugarcoating

Martin Sexton - Sugarcoating

Martin Sexton

Album title: Sugarcoating
By John Noyd
Posted: Jun 2010
Label: KTR Records
(2321) Page Views

Recorded in a week’s time; the tenderly rendered, clear-eyed, “Sugarcoating,” polishes off a sparkling variety of American styles. From Western Swing to Gospel-inflected R & B, Sexton’s buttery voice wraps compassion around honky-tonky hanky-panky and nuanced sympathies inside light-hearted jazz-pop assaults Drawn from deep wells of talent-laden emotion, Sexton’s live off the floor recordings dazzle in their embarrassingly casual competence. A friendly gentleness nudges winks and prods while the disarming, folksy, “Sugarcoating,” ladles breezy blessings over classic forms. Appropriating musical traditions for personal concerns, Sexton’s soulful jive sizzles as his slick pickin’ shimmers, lyrics pouring forth like sun-baked molasses, sneakily at ease between tumblin’ tumbleweed harmonies, salty twang and galloping patter.

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Pearl  - Little Immaculate White Fox

Pearl - Little Immaculate White Fox

Pearl

Album title: Little Immaculate White Fox
By Sal Serio
Posted: Jun 2010
Label: White Fox Music
(1861) Page Views

PEARL is fronted by Pearl Aday, who has rock ‘n roll roots via big daddy Meat Loaf. If you think Pearl’s rhythm guitarist looks familiar that would be ‘cause he’s Scott Ian of Anthrax, and also her husband.

However, these distractions are easily forgotten once you hear Pearl open her mouth. The lady has a bold, commanding voice that is 100% committed to knocking socks off. The years backing up her dad’s group and Motley Crue on the road have obviously given her plenty of confidence to take a no holds barred attitude on this, her debut, recording.

From the moment you push “play” and the tough chords of “Rock Child” blast out of the speakers, you’ll know you’re about to have your ass kicked something fierce. When Pearl sings “I’m a rock child, you gotta let me roll, I’m a rock child, I’ll leave you fully blown” there’s nothing but absolute conviction in the delivery. She’s paid her dues and she’s here to claim her stake of the world’s stage.

Quieter moments such as the sweetly sincere “My Heart Isn’t In It” fare well, but I prefer when the tempo cruises with kickers like “Whore” and “Check Out Charlie”, or the soulful cover “Nutbush City Limits”. Look for BIG things to come from Pearl.

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Jason Collett - Rat A Tat Tat

Jason Collett - Rat A Tat Tat

Jason Collett

Album title: Rat A Tat Tat
By John Noyd
Posted: Apr 2010
Label: Arts & Crafts
(2483) Page Views

Capturing ramshackle romances beneath crafty, crackling guitars, tail-feather shaking bass and happily lop-sided drums, Broken Social Scene’s laconic Lothario sling funky, greasy-spoon blues and off the cuff alt-pop chock full of jangly slang. “Rat A Tat Tat,” compacts slacker-backed blasts and rascally character assassination into backwoods ballads packing loose and groovy tropical rhythms for shifty, grifter tangos. Hiding refined treasures inside each gruff and grizzled tune, subtle choruses glow as off-beat accents rise - slyly disguising Collett’s articulate wit and savvy studio uses inside bohemian dreams and troubadour moves. Collett visits Madison’s Majestic April 6th along with special guests Zeus and Bermuda. Instead of the typical show in which each act plays its own set, all take the stage together, playing songs by all three.

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Black Robot - Badass

Black Robot - Badass

Black Robot

Album title: Badass
By Sal Serio
Posted: Apr 2010
Label: Rocket Science/Formosa
(3844) Page Views

Black Robot takes hard rock back to the basics of concussive 4/4 beats, cocky lead vocals, and brutally bashing power chords. Remember feeling the bass drum pounding in your chest cavity, and a lead singer stuck in the unholy trinity of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll? Black Robot not only remembers, but they’re hell-bent on a mission to keep those days around for good.

Original Buckcherry bassist Jonathan “JB” Brightman formed Black Robot with motor city vocalizer Huck Johns, and the end result is a lot like an AC/DC-Buckcherry two headed berserker. Don’t look for hoity toity academic posturing on Baddass, just crack open the beers and PARTY. These guys want to ROCK you, not give you points to ponder. This isn’t geek music for the faint-of-heart, it’s the stinky soundtrack to a good sweaty FUCK. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Tipper Gore!

In all fairness, while 90% of this CD is crotch pulsation (“Cocaine”, “Girls Kissing Girls”, “23 Days Of Night”), there’s some softer sentiment within too (“I’m In Love” & “Stop The World” with keyboards by primo session man Fred Mandell), so I guess the Black Robot guys know the advantages of having a couple chick songs in the midst of the testosteroney tunage! I wholeheartedly salute them.

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Spiral Trance - All In Due Time

Spiral Trance - All In Due Time

Spiral Trance

Album title: All In Due Time
By Chris Fox
Posted: Mar 2010
Label: Rat Pak Records
(3305) Page Views

Riding on their recent signing with Rat-Pak Records, this Milwaukee based metal group has produced a diverse and heavy album. The true eccentricities of guitar effects really come through their grooving metal sound. The quartet has a refreshingly unique sound that doesn’t allow itself to delve too far into any single genre. Punky, hardcore vocals and melodic singing over driving songs help set SPIRAL TRANCE apart. Each song presents a different characteristic of the band and drives the listener to want more. The album will draw in hard rock and metal fans alike. Its sound allows itself to be heavy, but really draws on the chorus hooks of their lighter relatives.  With national recognition and a growing following, the Milwaukee natives have a bright future.

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Droids Attack - Must Destroy

Droids Attack - Must Destroy

Droids Attack

Album title: Must Destroy
By Chris Fox
Posted: Mar 2010
Label: Crustacean Records
(2523) Page Views

Heavy metal with strange rhythms, a punk attitude, and a blazingly groovy guitar tone that will make any purist move. DRIODS ATTACK have a truly genuine take on playing heavy music, yet they stay true to their sound without losing any momentum. Their comical banter creates a really interesting environment for metal to develop. Though not heavy metal in its purest form, they are clearly influenced by the likes of Tool and Black Sabbath. With cult status on the underground metal scene DROIDS ATTACK is a musical force that is driven to achieve. “Must Destroy” kicks your ass with a good time, and is sure to provide an entertaining live show.

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Sondre Lerche - Heartbeat Radio

Sondre Lerche - Heartbeat Radio

Sondre Lerche

Album title: Heartbeat Radio
By John Noyd
Posted: Feb 2010
Label: Rounder Records
(2189) Page Views

A precocious throwback, Lerche’s augmented charms and contrapuntal cuteness are muted by silver spoon cool and Rat Pack panache addressing fleeting moments, effervescent examinations of ordinary life. Choirboy voices among driving beats, dabbling dalliances between calculated swagger; “Heartbeat,” blasts hip sophistication sparkling with catchy hooks and restless intelligence. Swinging in charismatic happiness, Lerche dances around in unrestrained jazz-pop spotlights wrought with casual brilliance and wrapped in polished flourishes. Covered in cavalier brass and nimble strings courtesy of High Llama’s Sean O’Hagan, “Heartbeat,” gently bend genres, tweaking cheeky melodies into spectacular galas, combining swirling night club lounge wizardry and rockin’ music hall savoir faire. The starry-eyed wunderkind plays Madison’s Frequency February 20th and Milwaukee’s Shank Hall the 21st, don’t miss astute and subdued troubadour JMB opening.

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Bruce Kulick - BK3

Bruce Kulick - BK3

Bruce Kulick

Album title: BK3
By Sal Serio
Posted: Feb 2010
Label: Twenty 4 Records
(5520) Page Views

I have a soft spot in my heart for Bruce Kulick. He’s like the modern day Tommy Bolin, in that he’s an immensely talented musician and songwriter, but it seems like his contributions as an artist will be forever eclipsed by his stints as a replacement guitarist in high profile bands like KISS and Grand Funk Railroad. This is a damn shame, because his solo work is stellar, and the new BK3 CD drives home that point like a sledgehammer hitting a stickpin.

BK3 mixes up moods nicely, with a little pop, a dash of fusion, a pinch of psychedelia, and heaping helpings of hard rock. Nick Simmons lends vocals to the grungy “Hand Of The King”, which is BK3’s first single. Simmons’ love of the intensely dark graphic novel realm color the lyrics and vocal delivery of this driving radio-friendly rocker.

Other notable guests on BK3 include former Kulick band mates Eric Singer, Gene Simmons, and John Corabi, as well as The Knack’s Doug Fieger. One of my favorite BK3 moments is the instrumental “Between The Lines” where Kulick wields a six-string axe battle with Steve Lukather of Toto fame. Their fret board interplay is transcendental and moving, inspiring this writer to practice!
By Sal Serio

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