Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Inspired by a raise at work and a 72-cent Canadian dollar, I went on a mail-order rampage earlier this month. Everything arrived intact and on time, so let’s inspect the ugliness:

JPT Scare Band – Sleeping Sickness (Monster Records)
I’ve mentioned this ’70s basement power trio here before. The album alternates between loose jams with endless soloing and shorter numbers that reside firmly in Robin Trower/Firebird territory. They manage to be many different things at once (depending, I guess, on your mood or perspective): grim/cheerful, lax/disciplined, hopeless/inspiring…

Manilla Road – Mark of the Beast (Monster Records)
I salute Monster Records for bringing stuff like this to light. This is burger-brained American progressive metal circa 1981, floundering without a template (save the remote and untouchable Rush and Priest), and hobbled like Script-era Marillion. Utterly doomed but ultimately interesting. This must be the missing link to something, and not just because of all the knuckle dragging on display.

Various – Sucking the 70s (Small Stone Records)
A good tribute album/novelty record here. This two-CD set has a bunch of bands covering hits and obscurities from the ’70s, respectfully for the most part, with good performances and tones from nearly everybody. Highlights: Clutch plowing through “Cross-Eyed Mary,” Throttlerod’s “Black Betty,” “Working Man” by Suplecs and a few others. Lowlights: Men of Porn butthole surfing through Neil Young’s “On the Weekend,” and The Glasspack covering “TV Eye”—an unimaginative choice of what is a tedious song in anyone but Iggy’s hands.

Acqua Fragile – S/T (Numero Uno/BMG)
Art rock bands sprouted up like giant hogweeds in mid-70s Italy, releasing a fanboy-friendly album or two before disappearing. This album dates from 76 and sounds a lot like Trespass-era Genesis, complete with a singer who yelps like Peter Gabriel (and a bit like Bryan Ferry). Too much to absorb after only a couple spins.

Museo Rosenbach – Zarathustra (BMG Italy)
As above, except much more evil. A bad trip from 1973. If listening to this didn’t make me feel like I should be cut off, then maybe it should have.

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