Candy Snatchers/The Cheap Dates This is Rock N Roll (Man’s Ruin) Grade: A This split CD offers more kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll from The Candy Snatchers and The Cheap Dates. The first 9 tracks feature

Candy Snatchers/The Cheap Dates
This is Rock N Roll
(Man’s Ruin)
Grade: A

This split CD offers more kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll from The Candy Snatchers and The Cheap Dates. The first 9 tracks feature The Candy Snatchers’ brand of high octane, alcohol-soaked rock. Each song is super catchy and makes you wanna rock-out all night in a drunken binge. Singer Larry May belts out some songs like he’s going to explode, and in others he gives his best Misfits-era Glenn Danzig-esque crooning.

The album also features two covers (The Kids’ “This is Rock N Roll”) and The Mutants’ “Baby’s No Good”), and The Candy Snatchers give those songs more energy than ever.

The Cheap Dates keep up the hard-nosed rock, but with a dirty, darker edge. The best part: more songs about drinking and getting nuts! Songs like “Blow My Fuse” and “Wrecked!” explore those topics well. Buy this album now and show all your friends who love bands like Lit what rock is all about.

-Steve Mowatt

Dropkick Murphys
Sing Loud, Sing Proud
Grade: B-

Dropkick Murphys’ style, influenced as much by old Celtic drinking songs as modern punk rock, combines the wonderful sounds of distorted guitars with the beautiful musings of the bagpipes. The songs that feature the bagpipes are often much more enjoyable than those without.

Sing Loud, Sing Proud has the same mix of drinking songs and Irish history found on other Dropkick albums, but something is missing. While Shane MacGowan, former lead singer of the Pogues, took time out of his busy schedule of Guinness guzzling to record a track on the album, it doesn’t have that one tune that you are forced to listen to over and over again. No one song stands out as a great sing-a-long. The album is worth hearing, and even buying, if you have any interest in DKM’s past albums – but it just isn’t quite as good.

-Matt Searer

Eric Metronome
The Two-Eared Man
Grade: B

Eric Rottmayer, aka Eric Metronome, is one of the better singer/songwriter/four-trackers currently doing acoustic indie rock. Though he sounds eerily like another indie rock songwriter (the much more famous Elliott Smith), Metronome’s music isn’t any the less affecting.

The Two-Eared Man sounds considerably better than the first Metronome album, Invisible Friends (also released on California’s Blackbean and Placenta Tape Club or “BBPTC” if you’re hip), but there’s only subtle growth in songwriting. “Nobody Knows What Love is (Love Always Ends)” and “25 (Where is the Love?)” are examples where standard Metronome songs are accentuated by exceptional recording. Most of the album’s 36 minutes are filled with classic sounding pop ditties.

Still, for as good as most of The Two-Eared Man is, one can’t help but swear “Learned to Forget” and “The Long Night #2” are lost Elliott Smith demos. Maybe on the next album Metronome will find a sound all his own. The potential is definitely here.

-Neal Ramirez

Funker Vogt
Grade: B+

You’d think the possibilities of industrial dance would get exhausted over 75+ minutes, but Funker Vogt’s 2 CD / quadruple-EP set T manages to maintain a steady momentum throughout. The first song set, NeuZeit, is new material built around fast beats and supple synths recalling 80’s Front Line Assembly. “Body Count” throbs with deep vocals and deeper synth, before a kick-snare beat overtakes the song, and the chorus to “A Dream” is pure Bill Leeb. MaschinenZeit delves into remixes of older material, but begins to lose its grip after the enchantingly sinister “Black Market Dealers (Maschinen-Mix).” TraumZeit draws you back in with a set of remixes leaning more towards trance. “Sins” successfully pairs a chunky low end with a light dominant synth line, and “The Journey” bubbles with a delightful tremolo effect. EndZeit is less thematic, but makes for a good…er, ending. It opens with the punishing yet serene remix of “The Last” by Das Ich, and closes with an ethereal mix of “Black Market Dealers” by L’ame immortelle that leaves piano and strings ringing in your ears. In the end, T is a lot to digest, but impressively, it doesn’t go stale.

-John Vettese

John Hammond
Wicked Grin
Grade: A+

The first thing you probably think when you hear that someone is releasing an album of Tom Waits’ covers is: why? There are some stones that must be left unturned. But this was not the case with Wicked Grin, an album of Waits’ songs done by bluesman John Hammond. Hammond’s voice (coupled with the production of Waits) lends a new spin to these compositions. It sounds almost as if these songs were written for Hammond to sing. Waits also lends his incomparable voice to the album’s final cut, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” the only non-Waits song on the album.

It’s not often that you can find an album of cover songs that works, but Wicked Grin works on every level. For those that are fans of Waits music, or fans of great blues music, Wicked Grin is a must-have.

-Jeremy Smith

Another Mellow Spring
Grade: B-

Even though spring doesn’t come until late March (according to the trusty Punxsutawney Phil), France’s Mellow gives us an early start with their album Another Mellow Spring. A relative of Air (Mellow member Patrick Woodcock co-wrote a song on Air’s Moon Safari), the group is like a Small Faces for the electronica generation. Most songs on Spring have a childlike sense of enthusiasm that will make you want to run to the nearest playground to make use of the swing set and jungle gym.

Although the style of Mellow could be seen as trite with its use of vocal filtering and moog-style synths, Another Mellow Spring is a pleasant listening experience and definitely something you might want to consider purchasing as a soundtrack for your Spring Break holiday.

-Maureen Walsh

Rocket from the Crypt
Group Songs
Grade: A-

As hardcore, emo and radio-friendly power-pop proliferated over the course of the 90s, the future of good ol’ fashioned punk rock became doubtful. But the latest offering from the seminal 6-piece Rocket from the Crypt thankfully shows it’s very much alive.

Group Sounds features short, punchy numbers played with both taut precision and reckless abandon. The album’s guitar riffage is tight and catchy, but feisty enough to be a far cry from pop. A sprinkling of saxophone and trumpet throughout show that horns shouldn’t be limited to ska, as they can sound pissed-off too. But the craftsmanship of the songs themselves is what ties everything together. Raucous rockers (“Savior Faire,” “Spitting”) are met with quirky ditties (“Venom Venom”) and Clash-esque anthems (“Heart Of A Rat”, “Out Of Control”) that are so fine, you’ll swear it’s 1982 and you’re listening to Combat Rock.

-John Vettese

Silver Scooter
The Blue Law
Grade: B+

Emo may be a dirty word, but emotional music is perfectly acceptable. Silver Scooter makes emotional music that is thought out (if at times over-calculated) and touches on many basic themes such as loss and loneliness without seeming trite.

“Goodbye,” also featured on a preceding self-titled EP, is a perfect single, drawing the listener in with airy guitars, tasteful 80s-inspired synths and wide-eyed lyricism. “Albert Hall” is another slice of infectious jangle pop. Though “Black Stars” is contrived in a Versus-y way, the chorus with it’s commonplace lyrics (“Cause a guys gotta have something/And a girls gotta have something too/And I know you didn’t mean nothing/And I know I didn’t mean nothing too”) is somehow totally awesome.

The addition of second guitarist, Shawn Camp, adds a layer of subtle texture that compliments vocalist Scott Garred’s strong songwriting. The result is the most realized album Silver Scooter so far.

-Neal Ramirez

Philly’s House of Representatives Volume I
(Wild Fire)
Grade: D+

Philadelphia’s recent musical revival has earned respect from artists and fans alike. While artists such as The Roots, Jill Scott, and Musiq have received critical acclaim because of their “soul,” more mainstream hip-hop acts like Eve, Beanie Siegel, and Major Figgas have become successful without bringing anything new to the table. The artists featured on Philly’s House of Representatives Volume I fit into the latter category. Released by Wild Fire Records, a local label, the seven track EP features six different artists.

Philly’s House of Representatives consists of: IMO, a French-speaking emcee, Biggup, Kwe Cooper, the EP’s producer, Nate the Great, B.F., and Elijah, a Temple student. Each of the artists has their own track on the EP. The final song, a posse cut called “Go Philly,” features five of the emcees. While the EP has its highlights (“Pull Up A Chair,” “Elijah”), its overall redundancy does not distinguish it from other releases. The production is not half-bad, but the potential of most of the emcees seems somewhat limited. However, one must appreciate the efforts on this release.

-Aggrey Sam

Jim White
No Such Place
(Luaka Bop)
Grade: A+

Can a mixture of rock-a-billy, country and hip-hop ever work? In this case, no, not very well.

At least until you get about halfway through the second track on Jim White’s No Such Place.

That’s when it will start to dig into the recesses of your mind, and after that, there is absolutely no escape. This is an album that on some far off plain, on some untouchable level and for absolutely no reason at all, works.

No Such Place will become your guilty pleasure/addiction. If for no other reason than you’re not sure whether White takes himself seriously. This question will arise somewhere during “God Was Drunk When He Made Me,” without a doubt the standout track on the album.

There’s also “Corvair,” with it’s lyrics “Got a corvair in my yard/It hasn’t run in fifteen years/It’s a home for the birds now/It’s no longer…a car.” This track could be a Neil Young tune in some bizarro dimension.

If you fear commitment, stay away from No Such Place. You won’t be able to escape its grasp.

-Jeremy Smith

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