REVIEWS September 2002
ADJUDGEMENT -- Information Fallen To Rock Bottom (CD / Vacation House Records)
Adjudgement come from Germany and released their first single in 1996 on Germany's famous rip-off label Lost & Found Records. Two more albums on We Bite Records (also located in Germany) followed, while "Information fallen to rock bottom" is released on the Italian label Vacation House Records. I haven't heard Adjudgement before, so I was quite surprised what to expect. Well, after having listened to this album a couple of times I think it's ok but nothing special. The music is some kind of old school with lots of NYHC parts I would say. Don't get me wrong: The sound is pretty good and 19 songs on a record (among them you can find a cover of Burn's "...shall be judged") are really value for money, I just think there are better bands out there playing this kind of sound.
CHAMBERLAIN -- Exit 263 (CD / Ignition)
Is it a shame not having heard Chamberlain before this album? I think many of you will yell "Sure!", but I have to admit that this is in fact the first Chamberlain album I know. Of course I knew their history before, having emerged from the legendary Split Lip and developing into a "country" direction over the years, but "Exit 263" is the first album from Chamberlain that made it into my CD player. But I don't think it will be the last one, because I like it very much. Even though this album was already released in 2001 I received it just lately, so here's a review. I heard that this is supposedly their last album, but I hope that's not true. "Exit 263" was partly recorded in a "real" studio, while some of the songs were recorded in "an old log cabin deep in the woods of Brown County, Indiana" on a 4-track. But don't expect a crappy sounding album, instead the sound is very intimate and warm. Chamberlain play on this album some kind of country/rock/blues, and the info recommends this album for fans of Jets to Brazil, Bruce Spingsteen and Bob Dylan (among others). Now don't be close minded and check this record out. I'm not much into country music myself, but "Exit 263" contains simply beautiful music and ends with the fantastic "Masterpiece". Well, the title says it all.
NERF HERDER -- American Cheese (CD / Honest Don's)
I liked Nerf Herder's 1999 release "How to meet girls" a lot as it contained at least five total hits ("Vivian", "Courtney", "Lamer than lame", "Pantera fans in love" and "5.000 ways to die") and the rest of the album was cool, too. But with their latest release "American Cheese", once again on Honest Don's, Nerf Herder released their best album to date. You can't pick out one particular song or a couple of songs because every track is fantastic. Just listen to the album in its entirety and you know what I mean. As usual, Nerf Herder deliver crazy and funny lyrics (I especially enjoyed the ones to "Defending the faith" that reminded me to my old (?) metal days). Although summer is almost over, this record won't let the sun go down. A must have!
RED ANIMAL WAR -- Black Phantom Crusade (CD / Deep Elm)
Red Animal War recently came home from a European tour and made a big leap forward since their debut album "Breaking in an angel" (also on Deep Elm). You could see this development on their previous release, the split EP with labelmates Slowride. "Black phantom crusade" was recorded with Deep Elm's favourite producer Ed Rose at Red House Recordings, so the sound of the record is great. It contains 12 songs that are beautiful yet still dynamic and rocking. Even though it's more of the "typical" Deep Elm indie sound and not so much in the vein of bands like Brandtson, Red Animal War know how to write complex but nevertheless catchy songs. As with almost every Deep Elm release, the layout of the album is very fine, so there's really no reason why you shouldn't check out this album.
DAVID SINGER AND THE SWEET SCIENCE -- Civil Wars (CD / Deep Elm)
The second solo album by David Singer on Deep Elm. I don't know if his main band is still around, but anyway, here comes "Civil wars". As on his debut, "The cost of living", you can find singer/songwriter stuff with heartfelt lyrics from David Singer and his mates The Sweet Science (featuring producer Mark Schwarz on bass). When I listen to this kind of music I always have the impression that this is the perfect background sound when sitting in a cafe drinking coffee, or while watching the rain outside through your window. Nice music for the coming autumn.
STARMARKET -- Song Of Songs (CD / Startracks)
Hey, there are many country albums this month to review (see Chamberlain above). Well, "Song of songs" by Starmarket is not really a country album, but the album is not over-produced as the majority of songs was recorded live on first take, so maybe that's why a comparison to Chamberlain came to my mind. Or as the band says: "Perfectionism was replaced with spontaniousness". Recorded and mixed by Pelle Gunnerfeldt who also worked with bands like The Hives or The (International) Noise Conspiracy, "Song of songs" has a very down to earth sound, laid back and relaxed. Great vocals, great melodies and lots of feelings make this a fine record that is worth your attention.
V/A -- Hearts Bleed Blue - Deep Elm Sampler No. 4(CD / Deep Elm)
In contrast to Deep Elm's "Emo Diaries" which contain unreleased songs by more or less unknown bands (that get more known when they get signed by Deep Elm in the future) this sampler gives a good overview of Deep Elm's bands. Unfortunately all songs are previously released, but that's the only negative aspect concerning this compilation. 19 songs by bands such as Brandtson, Appleseed Cast, Slowride, Benton Falls, Logh, Red Animal War, Planes Mistaken For Stars, etc. etc. I guess when you're into the Deep Elm sound you know these bands, for everybody else this compilation is a good opportunity to check out Deep Elm's roster, because I think it should be available for a low price.