REVIEWS November 2002
4 Ft. Fingers -- From Hero To Zero (CD / Golf Records)
I never heard of a band called 4 Ft. Fingers before I got their latest CD that is out on Golf Records. So what I can tell you about the British four piece is that they already have a couple more albums out, if I am right three of them (or two?) to be accurate. They play California inspired high energy melodycore in the vein of bands like No Use For A Name or Lagwagon, mostly fast and catchy. Eight years ago 4 Ft. Fingers would have been one of my favourite bands around, but these days I have to say that the album is nice, rocking, melodic, shows very good musicianship and a powerful production, but of course it's not an album to revolutionize the whole scene. But I don't think that is necessary. "From hero to zero" contains 13 songs plus the obligatory bonus (ghost) track, this being a cover from... well, find it out for yourself, I had to smile when listening to some cool old hard rock. 4 Ft. Fingers are without a doubt one of the good bands among all the countless melodycore acts.
The Appleseed Cast -- Lost Songs (CD / Deep Elm Records)
Honestly I was quite surprised to hear that a new album from the Appleseed Cast is coming out as the Kansas based four piece released the "Low Level Owl Volume 1+2" double CD set last year that showed epic soundscapes, lots of effects and experiments and is undoubtedly a masterpiece in its own. But as the title indicates, "Lost songs" is kind of a compilation of older songs that the old line up of the Appleseed Cast recorded way back in 1999. But I'm a bit confused as the info says that basic tracks to four songs were recorded in 1999, while additional guitars, keyboards and effects were added in 2002, while five new songs were recorded to complete the "lost songs". But the info in the booklet there's just a note that all tracks were recorded in 1999. Well, I think at least some of songs are from an earlier date, as you can clearly hear out the development the band has made over the years. Songs like "Facing north" and "State n w/k" are tunes that you hear once and don't forget for days. So this record is no cheap cash in from the band or their label, because the songs are really great. P.S.: The first song "E to W" was featured from the latest Deep Elm compilation.
Desert City Soundtrack -- Contents Of Distraction (CD / Deep Elm Records)
Desert City Soundtrack are the latest signing on Deep Elm Records and first appeared on Emo Diaries No. 6. Now the Portland based four piece come up with their first six song EP on Deep Elm Records and it's a pretty good start. As expected you can find intense and emotional indie rock. I especially like the many piano parts in the songs. It's not like "hey, let's use this piano for five seconds in the last song" but a "full" instrument that can be heard throughout the songs. Apart from that there's also a trumpet featured, but not as much as the piano and in a very decent way. Even though this is anything but full speed ahead music, the songs are very powerful and dynamic with an overall melancholic edge. I am looking forward to their first full length album. The band is working on it right now, so before you get to hear that one, try this EP out.
CONSUMED -- Pistols At Dawn (CD / Golf Records)
Consumed's history dates back to late 1993, but it was not before 1996 when they recorded their first full length album. In the following years, the English dudes released an EP and another full length on Fat Wreck Chords that gained them a lot of attention. Now their latest record, "Pistols at dawn" is out on UK based record label Golf Records. It was recorded by Andy "Metal" Sneap, so you can guess the sound is excellent. And so are most of the songs, catchy punk rock at its best. I mean I should love this band apart from their music just because of the fact that their singer Steve is from Nottingham and is friends to no other than mighty Pete Lee who used to sing in one of my favourite bands back in the days, Nottingham's very own Lawnmower Deth (anybody remember them and their classic "Ooh crikey, it's..." album"). Yeah, Steve you rule! But the music on "Pistols at dawn" is really great, just listen to fantastic rockers like the opener "Not today" or "Odd man out". Usually melodic punk rock doesn't impress me that much anymore these days, apart from legends like the Descendents (where's the new album?) or bands like Consumed. When listening to this album you can forget that it's November, which normally means grey weather and rain. But hey, the sun's shining. Thanks to Consumed for that.
IN DK -- Kill Whitey! (CD / Go Kart Records)
The first impression I had when looking at the cover and booklet of this CD was "Hey, I think this will be some 635 Thrash sounding stuff." But no, it's not. I'd rather say it's reminding me to the early days of Rancid or to other Streetpunk bands. Well, that's really not the music I want to listen to all day. Songs like "Rent for sale" (great melody) or "East Coast rising" with its mixture out of Off Beat Ska ("Time Bomb" anyone?) and furious punk really are nice tracks, but all in all "Kill Whitey!" can't convince me 100%. But as I said, that's maybe because I don't really listen to this kind of sound that much, but everyone into driving punk rock with melodies in the vein of early Rancid might like what he gets to hear on this record.
JESSE JAMES -- Punk Soul Brothers (CD / Golf Records)
Is there anything wrong with me? I feel reminded to the British wrecks Madness (Hey Tobi, do you agree on this one? Hehe...) when listening to Jesse James' album "Punk Soul Brother" (now that really IS a funny title... yeah, indeed, very funny). Not that you could really compare those two acts, because Jesse James are a lot younger than Madness and a lot harder, too. But what is similar with both bands is the positive energy and "Let's feel good" approach that can be heard in every song. Just listen to a song like "My favourite shirt" that makes you want to dance around, sing along and have a good time. Even though the band got together only in 2000, they already gained lots of good reputation in their home country England, playing lots of big festivals as well as small shows and even supporting the Pogues on their UK reunion tour. After two EPs (entitled "Shoes" and "Hotwired"), "Punk soul brothers" is the Jesse James' first full length record and I'm pretty sure it will help to spread their name even more. Although the interest in Ska inspired Punk Rock is more and more decreasing, this shouldn't affect Jesse James, because you can hear that they're not only one of those "Hey, let's add some trombone and trumpet to our sound" type of bands. In contrast to these kind of bands, the brass section of Jesse James adds lots of vitality to the band's style. I like this record a lot, check them out when they're in your town. P.S.: I couldn't find the cover artwork for the album on the internet, sorry. P.P.S.: I never understood what apparently is so special about the Voodoo Glow Skulls.
Morning Wood -- Twice As Loud But Still On The Same Frequency (CD / DIY)
"Twice as loud but still on the same frequency" is the second release by this young German band, but I guess it's the first "real" output by Morning Wood, because obviously they don't like their first demo that much anymore. This second demo/EP/whatever is a DIY release, and that's reason enough why you should support this band. No, of course that's not the only reason, but the music can convince me as well. The four guys all know how to handle their instruments and present a cool mixture of melodycore and powerful Kid Dynamite-style Hardcore. I think you really could compare them to Kid Dynamite, because Morning Wood also have this driving and energetic edge combinded with lots of melodies. On "If you prefer Emo, go watch some dawson's Creek instead" on of the guys from Summer's Last Regret helps them out on vocals. For DIY recording this five song EP has a pretty good sound, and I think you should contact them through their website www.morning-wood.de and order this record.
Sentence -- War (CD / Good Life Recordings)
Wow, that really is a heavy piece of music! Sentence from Italy are apparently compared to their Italian brothers from Reprisal at times, which means that you definitely won't find any emo here but moshing, brutal metalcore. I would say "War" reminds me to bands like Hatebreed or Arkangel. Especially Arkangel are suitable for a comparison, as you can find here those typical metal elements that Sentence present in a very professional and heavy manner. Their first album was released on Dark Sun Records and is sold out in the meantime. Sentence obviously have a political agenda to their songs if you look at the statement in the booklet or the lyrics that deal with all kinds of politics etc. Well, as long as they don't preach any politics that's ok with me. The music on this album surely is, and everyone into brutal (I'm repeating myself, but that's really the best description for Sentence' sound) metal(core) should check out this promising band as the production is also thick and heavy. Highly recommended!
SNUFF -- Disposable Income (CD / Golf Records)
The first time I heard from a band called Snuff was in 1996 if I am right. I bought the second part of Fat Wreck's label compilation and there Snuff were featured with a songs called "Nick Northern". I immediately loved this track and to this day it's probably my favourite Snuff song. What I didn' know at that time was that Snuff had already beenn founded ten years earlier in the UK and released a bunch of records, but supposedly split up. Sometime in the 90s they reformed and put out some records on Fat Wreck Chords. "Disposable income" is their 2002 album, and I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand you have great catchy melodic punk rockers like "Angels", "The other half of you" or "Once upon a time far far away, but on the other hand there are some "experiments" on this album that I don't like that much. These latter mentioned songs are a bit complex and... I don't know, weird. Just listen to a song like "Dehumanised" and you know what I mean. All in all this is an ok album, but I wouldn't go as far as the info sheet which says that "Disposable income" is the band's best one yet. Give it a try, but I recommend taking a listen before buying.
TOXIC NARCOTIC -- We're All Doomed (CD / Go Kart Records)
What do you expect from song titles like "We're all doomed", "I'm so thirsty", "At war with nature" or "Talk is poison idea"? Right, pop oriented Emo. No, just kidding, of course Toxic Narcotic from the US are anything but Emo. But how can I describe their sound? It's pretty rough, mostly fast, but not as fast as all the latest ThrashCore bands (funnily these bands seem to come from everywhere, but especially from countries like Venezuela or Singapore). Wait a second, that's not quite right, as you even can hear some blast parts, e.g. on the song "Five billion people must die". Apparently Toxic Narcotic are around for thirteen years now, but before "We're all doomed" I never heard of them. The more I listen to them, the more I like them. I'd really love to seeing them play live, because I guess the audience would go crazy when those three insane guys blast out their crushing songs. This is really cool, check it out, mosh around and stage dive from your writing desk on your bed. Goooo!!!
V/A -- Another Round Of Golf Vol. 4 (CD / Golf Records)
Golf Records from the UK is back with - guess what - the fourth part of their label compilation "Another round of Golf". Bands featured this time are the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Snuff, 4 Ft Fingers, Less Than Jake, Consumed, Jesse James, Gash, Tuuli, Yeast, and the mighty Thrice. Almost all bands contributed two songs for this compilation apart from Less Than Jake, Gash and Tuuli that are have only one song on this record. All the songs included are from the band's latest outputs, which means that you don't find any unreleased songs on here. That's also why I think that this sampler is probably suitable for people who aren't sure if they should buy the whole album from one of the bands included, but I think it would have been better if there would be one unreleased song by each band along with the already known ones. Now it's up to you if you want to buy this compilation, hopefully it's available for a low price. But what you really should do is get a hold of the Thrice album "The illusion of safety" which is fantastic.
WAKING KILLS THE DREAM -- Depending On Tomorrow (CD / Good Life Recordings)
Waking Kills The Dream (great name by the way) are a pretty young six-piece band from the USA. But after noticing that Kevin Byers (ex-Morning Again) and Matt Tacket (12 Tribes) are playing in this Ohio based outfit one sees that these guys are not new to the scene. Even though they exist for only about a year, "Depending on tomorrow" shows great songwriting ability and powerful emotions. And that's even more surprising as the band has had lots of line-up changes since their inception (in fact of the six original members only two are left nowadays). Often described as a blend of melody and hardcore dynamics, W.K.T.D. indeed manage to combine melodic, quiet parts with exploding, screaming elements. Kevin shares the vocals with Joe and that means that you can find melodic vocals as well as more screaming ones which fits to the music perfectly. Sometimes I feel reminded to As Friends Rust, but W.K.T.D. definitely have their own sound. I'm pretty sure we will hear more of this promising act in the future! The only point that's worth criticizing is that the nice layout could be more informative and it really should contain lyrics.