If you are able, please donate to Max Ink to help us navigate the Pandemic. We will see you on newstands when the Live Music scene is back in action!
  • Disc Reviews

    by Max Ink Staff Writers


    Sonic Youth - The Eternal

    Sonic Youth - The Eternal

    Sonic Youth

    Album title: The Eternal
    By John Noyd
    Posted: Jul 2009
    Label: Matador Records
    (2340) Page Views

    Last month, Metric’s Emily Haines proclaimed to a sold-out show in Chicago, “Kim Gordon’s a genuine rock star Kim doesn’t make me want to be her - she makes me want to be a better me.” Pioneering legends/role models, Kim and company may not be as youthful as they once were, but are as sonic as ever. Their sixteen release, “Eternal,” stands as a testament to their outstanding legacy as Zen masters of post-punk fun; aping art-school lyrics, cathartic guitars and voodoo grooviness in a penetrating retrospect of evolving styles that morph from syrupy ghostliness to grinding cacophony. A catalogue of psychedelic cool erupting into impetuous adventures, “Eternal,” encapsulates a timelessly gritty hipness. A phenomenal live act, Sonic Youth visit Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater July 20th.

    Read More...


    Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels

    Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels

    Great Lake Swimmers

    Album title: Lost Channels
    By Cactus Joe
    Posted: Jul 2009
    Label: Nettwerk Records
    (2637) Page Views

    “Lost Channels” is the fourth album by Canadian indie folk rockers GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS, whose band name is based on Marilyn Bell, the first person to swim across Lake Ontario 55 years ago. The record was composed and recorded in the historic Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River between the United States and Canada.

    The folksy indie pop is cerebral and emotional, conveying plenty of night skies, howling winds, and raging rivers in almost every song. Lead singer Tony Dekker’s melancholy, quasi-Celtic lyrics are complimented by his penchant for recording in old churches, community halls, abandoned grain silos and other rural locations. The vocals are bathed in natural reverb and enriched by the historical contexts of many of the songs. 

    The song to sample is “Pulling on a Line.” The entire album is available for download in iTunes for just $4.

    Read More...


    Black Water Rising - Black Water Rising

    Black Water Rising - Black Water Rising

    Black Water Rising

    Album title: Black Water Rising
    By Chris Fox
    Posted: May 2009
    Label: Self Released
    (10978) Page Views

    Southern fried metal. Listening to the self-title album from BLACK WATER RISING really gives the feeling of the dirty south. These guys are letting it all hang out with shredding guitar solos and slinky riffs that give that Skynyrd feel. The aggressiveness of the vocals really give the album that full sound. Bluesy, distorted guitars and gritty vocals promoting unity and protesting injustices keeps this album moving. Songs like “Rise” really push the go big or go home mentality that these metal heads are promoting. A finite mixture of ZZ Top, Hellyeah, and Skynyrd makes these guys a unique southern blend of heavy metal.

    Read More...


    Hebron - Resurrection

    Hebron - Resurrection

    Hebron

    Album title: Resurrection
    By Chris Fox
    Posted: May 2009
    Label: Misfortune Records
    (2433) Page Views

    These Fort Atkinson natives have outdone themselves with an album that will tear your face off and hand it back to you. Throw Slayer, Testament, and a touch of epicness from In Flames into a blender from hell and you have the sound of HEBRON. Relentless guitars and clanking thrash drums will keep even the most avid metal enthusiast on their toes. Showing off their broad metal influences with every track without losing their personal voice, HEBRON strives to find the darker reaches of the musical world. Riffy and in-your-face; the intensity of this album just builds until the title track, “Resurrection,” where time changes, double kicks, and a roaring voice will leave you out cold.

    Read More...


    Rush - Snakes & Arrows Live DVD

    Rush - Snakes & Arrows Live DVD

    Rush

    Album title: Snakes & Arrows Live DVD
    By Jeff Muendel
    Posted: May 2009
    Label: Anthem Entertainment
    (2025) Page Views

    Most of this three-disc DVD set was taped during two performances in Holland at the end of 2007. Rush has always been a good band, though they are perhaps a little less energetic on the stage these days than in decades past simply due to age. The DVDs nonetheless finds the legendary group in good musical form, doing a nice mix of classic Rush material along with nine new songs from their Snakes & Arrows CD released the same year.

    The first two discs contain the 2007 concert footage. The third disc, entitled “Oh Atlanta! The Authorized Bootlegs,” is a collection of live tracks recorded throughout 2008. While the concert footage is good, these snippets may be better. The classic “2112/The Temples Of Syrinx” is perhaps the best performance the DVD set has to offer. Or, perhaps, it is simply a reflection of how good the material was on the 2112 album, released in 1976. Indeed, it was the seventies that saw Rush release their best work, and it would be nice to see them concentrate more on that era. While they get kudos for continuing to release new material, and it is certainly more fulfilling for them, the new material pales in comparison to their classic period.

    If you are Rush fan, then Snakes & Arrows Live will be needed for your collection. If, however, you are a fan of hard rock with only a passing interest in Rush, the emphasis on late-period hits and new material along with the less-than-energetic stage presence may disappoint relative to the price of admission.

    Read More...


    Fanoffbirdsafe - Fannoffbirdsafe

    Fanoffbirdsafe - Fannoffbirdsafe

    Fanoffbirdsafe

    Album title: Fannoffbirdsafe
    By Chris Fox
    Posted: Apr 2009
    Label: Self Released
    (2538) Page Views

    These Eau Claire natives bring out a whole new element of heavy. Unique minor melodies, and a few headbangers, combined with an extremely unique vocal sound that incorporates both singing and a rap/chant feel make FANOFFBIRDSAFE an upcoming local group to watch. The band really has the feel of a heavier MODEST MOUSE. This trio has a touch of punk and a very “in your face” attitude that is hard not to like. These guys have developed their sound well, and will certainly be a group to watch on the local circuits.

    Read More...


    Burn Halo - Burn Halo

    Burn Halo - Burn Halo

    Burn Halo

    Album title: Burn Halo
    By Cactus Joe
    Posted: Apr 2009
    Label: Rawkhead/Warner Bros.
    (5098) Page Views

    Burn Halo’s self-titled debut is the singular vision of West Coast rocker James Hart who spent nearly a decade touring and recording as the frontman of Orange County band 18 VISIONS. Yeah, I never heard of them either. But I suspect they rocked decently because this album is packed with edgy songs that hint of vintage 80s hard rock. Most of the songs are co-written by Hart and songwriter Zac Maloy.

    The track to sample is the hard rocking “Dirty Little Girl,” which features AVENGED SEVENFOLD guitarist Synyster Gates. It’s probably the most hook-laden track on the album and may relegate Burn Halo to one hit wonder status, although most of the other material on the album rages in its own right. It’s also packed with session players, including NICKELBACK drummer Daniel Adair and former JANE’S ADDICTION bassist Chris Chaney.

    Originally signed to Island/Def Jam, the label reneged on releasing the album and Hart had to scramble to release the album under manager Bret Bair’s Warner Music Group imprint label Rawkhead Rekords. The album hit record stores March 31 and Hart is touring behind the album through the end of May.

    Read More...


    Gomez - A New Tide

    Gomez - A New Tide

    Gomez

    Album title: A New Tide
    By John Noyd
    Posted: Apr 2009
    Label: ATO Records
    (2664) Page Views

    Skipping, skidding and hopping happily from Bo Diddley didigeroos to crashing flashes of psychedelic guitar, Gomez return to the rootsy musical experiments that started ten years ago with their DIY debut, “Bring It On.” Five studio releases and a few solo ventures later, “Tide,” overflows with chiming rhymes, electro-acoustic spookiness and shape-shifting rhythms. Slippery hippie daydreams revolve around salty licks and hillbilly riffs as music box foxtrots, devilishly boppy hopscotch rock and ricochet-flavored folk-tangos coalesce into hallucinogenic hootenannies colliding against gruff, rubbery blues.  With band members currently scattered across two continents one might expect a collection of sonic shards, but.”Tide,” pulls it together for a series of tunneling wonders, a cohesive banquet of rippling whispers, robust struts and magical mantras, stronger for their dynamic diversity.

    Read More...


    Speedfreaks - Survive

    Speedfreaks - Survive

    Speedfreaks

    Album title: Survive
    By Chris Fox
    Posted: Feb 2009
    Label: S/F Records
    (2082) Page Views

    This Milwaukee quartet churns out a whole new brand of punk rock with thirteen heavy tracks. They combine punk vocals with grinding riffs that pound like Motorhead, even the cover art resembles such. These guys glorify old school speed metal while staying true to their punk roots. The often absent bass lines in metal are remedied in songs like “View of Reality” and “Blitzkrieg” as the thumping record progresses. Epic album art, heavy guitar trends, and a message is what these veterans of the local scene bring to the table. This reunited group is definitely worth a second glance with their honest punk/hardcore release.

    Read More...


    Evenstar - Through The Seasons

    Evenstar - Through The Seasons

    Evenstar

    Album title: Through The Seasons
    By Chris Fox
    Posted: Feb 2009
    Label: Boxman Records
    (2429) Page Views

    Defining the sound of EVENSTAR is a complex task, given their punk and alternative rock influences. These Milwaukee natives deliver a seven song modern rock saga that will keep you interested. Masterful guitar work and well-constructed songs really force you to pay attention while surrounding you with symphonious sound. You won’t find any catchy choruses or defining guitar riffs, but the melding of all the important elements create great music. The intimate feel is different than that of most punk albums, and the true emotion of the music is incredibly apparent. Showing their diversity, these guys have a finite combination of fast and slow paced songs, but the feeling remains the same; upbeat and ready to give you a story.

    Read More...


    Hamsa Lila - Live In Santa Cruz

    Hamsa Lila - Live In Santa Cruz

    Hamsa Lila

    Album title: Live In Santa Cruz
    By Greg Hatrumian
    Posted: Feb 2009
    Label: In The Pocket Records
    (2282) Page Views

    This generous double cd, from San Fransico-based Hamsa Lila, can rightfully claim “state of the art” status for digital recordings in both sound reproduction and live mixing. The resultant clarity of the instruments and voices, with faint echoes of audience and hall ambiance, are nothing short of stunning.

    Echoes play prominently in the music of Hamsa Lila, a “trance” band delving largely into the musics of the middle east, hip-hop beats, and occasional rock rhythms for counterpoint. Coming several years on the heels of “The Gathering One,” this 2-CD set plays well over 2-1/2 hours in chronicling an evening in Santa Cruz.

    The band’s name is a clue to their music: a Hamsa is an ancient amulet shared by both Arabic and Hebrew traditions used for greeting and magical protection of the five senses - in Sanskrit, it means “swan” and refers to “Divine Breath.” Lila is a night ritual of the Gnawa people of Morocco, a rich ceremony marked in the sensory realms of sound (music, song), sight (colors), smells (incense) and movement (dance).

    This musical mix lets its participants enter a trance state of healing purification, and the performance of startling dances. There is no purpose in listing cd tracks, as they all flow into each other, despite rest stops in a larger gestalt picture.

    The tablas, ouds, and drum kit propel the music and easily evoke images of another place and time.

    Read More...


    The Pale Figures - Memphis and Chicago

    The Pale Figures - Memphis and Chicago

    The Pale Figures

    Album title: Memphis and Chicago
    By Jeff Muendel
    Posted: Jan 2009
    Label: Peacefist Records
    (2622) Page Views

    The Pale Figures are a rock band featuring the song writing of Chicago-based musician Aaron Lindstrom , formerly of Madison band Cup O’ Joe, and New York-based singer/songwriter Cory Larson. Over a period of two years, Larson and Lindstrom traded music through the mail, writing music with the style and sound of Memphis music in mind. Eventually, given the historical rivalry between Chicago’s Chess Records and Memphis’s Sun Studio, The Pale Figures thought it would be interesting to contrast the Memphis sound with the Chicago sound. The result is a CD with two themes (or two sides if you’d like to revert back to the days of vinyl records) that is full of melodic, interesting songs. At times, the album is mellow even easy listening while at other times it’s quite heavy with overdriven guitars.  Yet, the album is well-balanced throughout and the metamorphosis from light to heavy is smooth. As the group is now based in Chicago, look for them to play near you throughout the Midwest.

    Read More...

    View More

    Viewing Page 30 - of 35

    ‹ First  < 28 29 30 31 32 >  Last ›