Victoria BC
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Brand X Media ::: Live Music, Reviews, Art & Writing From The Westcoast Underground
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2003 - 2004 - 2005
Jacob's Fall - Through The Looking Glass Jacob's Fall - Through The Looking Glass

How could I put this lightly?
This album lacks many elements that make an album stand apart from the rest. The musicianship which is well intact and tightly played sounds like the typical FM hard-rock muzak that seems to have exploded onto almost every dial on the radio lately. Part Tool, part matchbox 20, etc. etc. The music is as predictable as it is unimaginative.

Typically this band will be sure to get straight A’s across the board to those who take an active part in the over-saturated genero-rock market, A musical trend that seems to be sweeping the nation like musical mad-cow disease. They’ve got that demographic down pat. Impassioned vocals that sound part tormented crooner - part fake orgasm, musical hooks that could easily be used in a car commercial and lyrics that are painfully watered down and dull.

Optimistically I’ll assume that these guys will be banging away and finding a style that’s their own some time in the future and perhaps create something that is somewhat innovative in their future endeavors as musicians, as a band – but most importantly as artists.

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Millions Of Dead Cops - Magnus Dominus Corpus Millions Of Dead Cops - Magnus Dominus Corpus - Sudden Death

You know with so many songs on this album that are Anti-Bush I kind of wonder if they realize the redundancy of their ways. I’m not sure how many US republican voters listen to punk albums – but I think it’s safe to say that they’ll be preaching to the converted. Political punk just doesn’t seem to sit well in my mind. It’s time has passed and those who grew horse screaming about Ronald Reagan and the evil ways of corporate America have hammered the nail down tight making the majority of political punk bands seem almost like an intended satire of the genre they’ve dived into.

Millions Of Dead Cops (or MDC) fall under both categories. They’ve been in for the long haul, but unfortunately I can’t figure out how such rhetoric could remain interesting to both them and their long time fans. Songs like “Founding fathers” or “Poseur Punk” are a-typical tripe that promises nothing and gives even less. Maybe I’m just a little jaded of hearing these lame neo-political anthems, and really can’t take it seriously when you consider how contrived and over done it has been. Sure, I think Bush is an asshole, doesn’t everybody? but leave it to those who can muster out a word of intelligence to get it right.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not so much against the political connotation, I think music and social change are a good combo, if it be Leadbelly, Bob Dylan, Jello Biafra, Minor Threat – hell, even Joe Keithly, but when a band called Millions Of Dead Cops comes out with an album with songs called “Let’s Kill All Cops” and “No More Cops” I can’t help but wonder how many badly written songs about killing cops does there have to be? This could almost seem to be some sort of self-parody of their well received past releases – but unfortunately that’s not the case.

These guys are serious. Unfortunately if you like good balls-out and unflinching punk rock, odds are pretty good you won’t take this album seriously at all.

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Tom Waits - Real Gone

Tom Waits - Real Gone - Anti

(Editor's Note: I usually discourage reviews from south of the border and rejecting albums from the US has become a customary procedure, but considering Tom Waits has chosen Vancouver, BC’s Orpheum Theatre as the spot for his ‘Real Gone’ CD release party, I think it’s quite suiting, and besides how could I pass up an opportunity to review a pre-release of Wait’s New album?)

So this time Tom Waits has decided to go experimental with his music. Sure you may think has past releases have had quite a few experimental elements but those effects and techniques are an x-shaped signature compared to many of the tracks here. Waits delves further down the off-kilter route taken by the likes of Harry Partch or Captain Beefheart to newer and more prominent excursions such as chain gang chants (Don’t Go Into the Barn), lo-fi Jamaican Rocksteady (Sins Of My Father), to old world Cuban rhythms (trampled Rose).

Most notably Waits’ voice has not only been used to sing his songs and spread his sentiment or tell the usual spoken word bit – this time his voice is also a predominant percussion instrument throughout the album similar to Mule Variations ‘Big In Japan’.

The over-all direction of the album sounds as if it could have been produced by the late Alan Lomax via Ouija board. Though there are many familiar elements here to the extent that many of the tracks could easily pass as b-sides from Wait’s past albums from ‘Swordfish Trombone‘ to ‘Blood Money’.

Altogether the album exhibit’s wait’s ever expanding musical and artistic frontier, and though the album may be a hard pill to swallow for those who are a bit musically conservative, this is definitely one of Waits’ most unrestrained releases to date.

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Mr. Plow - Plow Or Never

Mr. Plow – Plow or Never

Vancouver’s Mr. Plow’s full length release is a low brow, lo-fi acoustic piece, and with him at the helm of attempting to bring acoustic punk into it’s own genre has not gone unnoticed – receiving a high level of recognition and a mild level of acclaim.

The songs on ‘Plow or Never’ deliver exactly what the song titles promise, with names like ’Let's Get Fat’, ‘Golden Shower Girl’ and ‘Bukkake Night in Canada’, etc, you’ve got a pretty good idea what you’re in for and the lyrical content for the most part.

A few of the tracks are pretty amusing in their own politically incorrect, amusing and uninhibited way. While most of the album is pretty predictable and wear thin pretty quickly, and though I really thought I’d like this album, but in contrast to Mr. Plow’s live show – it really doesn’t hold much weight. He’s way funnier live.

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DOA Live Free Or Die DOA - Live Free Or Die - Sudden Death Records

Joe Keithley and his band DOA were at an unprecedented all-time high for a while, which is amazing considering this career climax was at the time of their 25th anniversary - With the timely release of a greatest hits album, the release of the best selling memoir ‘I Shithead’, it’s be impossible to foresee such an unimaginative follow-up to come out so quickly. ‘Live Free Or Die’ is a laboured attempt to stay with the times with songs like ‘Fucked Up Bush’, ‘We Don’t Need No God Damn War’ among other equally contemporized punk anthems.
There’s no tracks that really draw much attention away from the fact that this seems like a rush job altogether, except for perhaps ‘We Won’t Stand Alone’ which is a DOA meets SKA mish-mash that ends up sounding like The Subhumans gone ska project ‘Citizen Fish’, only without the edge or lyrical venom.

The best thing about this album is one of the last tracks. It’s called ‘Marijuana Motherfucker’. Does the name sound familiar? If you’ve ever heard DOA live or listened to their albums - it should. It’s one of their most requested live songs, and they’ve been doing it for years. That’s basically what it comes down to.

As a long time fan of the band and their high energy shows – I highly recommend you stop before you considering picking up this album and look into getting one of their earlier albums. Those albums were good.


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Jay Dunphy & The Religion - Season  Of The Deadened Jay Dunphy & The Religion - Season Of The Deadened

Ex Moonshine Reveller Jay Dunphy joins two other former members and returns with a new CD, a new band and a whole whack of new moods, reverting to the basics of the singer/songwriter school of music, the album in an introspective and contemplative batch of songs that leaves any ego and preconceived notions at the door giving the CD a heartfelt and honest tone throughout.

Ranging from the sardonic to the self-loathing the songs are written like anthems for the wounded, heartbroken and jaded without giving into the cry of self pity or whining but instead a musical affirmation of ironic perseverance.

Though his vocals can easily be seen as a bastardized Bob Dylan impression, the lack of pretentiousness and gimmickry and over-all honesty in his songs put such a theory to rest.

Perhaps the only real downfall of the album is the level of restraint placed on the musical composition as a whole. While the songs are suitable to the lyrical content, there’s really a lack of instrumental elbow-room forcing the songs into a sterile and typical folk/country formula forfeiting any chance of having a true signature sound.

Over all the album is raw with shards of lyrical wit, and a wide spectrum of emotion.

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The Winks - Slippers & Parasol

The Winks - Slippers & Parasol

The latest release from Vancouver’s art-punk trio is an interesting album. It’s a little livelier and fluid compared to their previous albums/EPs.

The Songs could easily fit as as a soundtrack to a Harold and Maude sequel or a Dame Darcy comic book, with elements that are both playful and mischievous, the instrumentation has the power to change any mindscape or environmental tone anywhere the album is played giving it a powerful and often disconcerting cinematic quality that is rare and in an odd way exotic.

With mandolin and cello in hand the tracks have a timeless element giving the songs a strange eastern European gypsy or ground-up, deconstructed klezmer sound without the confines of the usual structure, making the music off-kilter and alien when placed next to any other genre or style.

This album is well composed, well produced and well thought out, and unquestionably one od it's kind.

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The Doers - Ready Set Do

The Doers - Ready, Set...DO/I Can Enjoy Almost Anything - Redcat Records

I can unflinchingly say that The Doers totally kick ass.

Having waited some time to actually see these guys release an album, I really wasn’t sure what to expect or what they’d sound like within the confines of a studio space, but this ambitious split CD (The Doers – Ready Set…DO/The Doers Featuring the legendary Mike Watt – I Can Enjoy Almost Anything) of indie folk punk runs from sounding like Danielson famile meets puberty to striking similarities to other bands that would reference themselves as “Math Rock” minus the pretentiousness!

The spastic and head-spinning composition and vocals on the album are genuinely fun, at times becoming an unabashed oddity with an original and uninhibited sound that is surprisingly chiseled for a debut release which is undoubtedly pre-curser of more great music to come.


Kincaide - Myriad

Kincaide - Myriad - Independent

The debut release from Victoria’s hard rock outfit Kincaide is a double edged sword, the musicianship is tight, gripping and uncompromising, the vocal range is strong, but on the other hand the band has yet to find its own signature sound, often coming off as some sort of Tool cover-band or finding itself wreaking of trendy hard rock stereotypes to the point that I can almost envision the over-the-top pantomime gestures that are taking place with every scream or guitar solo.

When the band strips away the façade and it’s genuine and impassioned intent shows through, the songs impact jumps significantly but these occasional cracks aren’t prominent enough to redeem the over-all lack of originality throughout this six track release.

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Hinterland - Under The Waterline

Hinterland - Under The Waterline - Hybrid Electric

Having evolved significantly since their debut EP Hinterland comes back with a full length album, a fast growing reputation, and a large amount of praise which will no doubt snowball once this album catches on to the masses.

The multi layered and ambient instrumentation has a Portishead meets a Angelo Badalamenti soundtrack kind of feel to it, while the vocals of singer Michaela Galloway have become much more relaxed and natural than in the previous attempts, truly finding her voice, and embellishing the general atmosphere of the songs that achieve a cinematic mysticism, and immaculate fluidity that is consistent from beginning to end.

Though I must admit the overall style and composition of the songs can easily seem a little repetitive, the merit of the music relies on creating organic soundscapes and a complacently mellow mood which Hinterland does effortlessly.

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Carolyn Mark & The New Best Friends - The Pros & Cons Of Collaboration

Carolyn Mark & The New Best Friends – The Pros & Cons of Collaboration

Carolyn mark has become a staple in Victoria’s musical community, and a cult favourite throughout Canada’s country roots music scene – so it has occurred to me as quite odd that somehow I've unwittingly never listened to any of her passed albums. I’ve heard the songs, I’ve seen them played, sometimes even covered at open-mike jams. Before getting my hands on this album the only studio material I had ever heard was Mark’s guest vocal duties on The Sadie’s ‘East Winds”. So suffice to say – it was only a matter of time before I would end up with one of her albums.

One of the most notable traits of Carolyn’s music is her openness, wit, and connection with her audience if it be a small open-mike performance or a vastly large music festival. Her storytelling has become an instrument in itself, and this rare quality transfers well into her songs which is a bit strange here considering such introspective song writing is put forth in conjunction with her trademark extrovert attitude and open sense of humour,

The CD starts off with a strange spin-inducing medley that works as a precursor of songs to come. Songs about Booze & benders (of course), personal songs about friends and wound down conversations, and an odd teen-beat-heartthrob soaked song about Vincent Gallo. From start to finish, the CDs theme of collaboration is put into the forefront featuring a massive line-up of Canadian musicians including long-time band mate Tolan Mcneil, Ford Pier, Jana Wessel, members of Chet, Emily Rhone, among many others. The end result is a great album that explains Carolyn Mark’s musical appeal to roots and country fans across Canada.

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The Operators - 780

The Operators – 780 – Longshot Music

Edmonton’s Operator’s latest release hasn’t deviated much from their last album – but their growth and musical objective is impossible to ignore. The influences the band finds their inspiration from is pretty transparent: Bad Brains, The Clash, etc, but the raw power of the instrumentation and biting vocals prove that these guys are impassioned, honest and out to be heard.

Rarely letting themselves get caught up within their own genre as a ska band, the songs take early rocksteady styles, and a few two-tone and reggae influences and chisel it with their own signature sound - an accomplishment that rarely surfaces with the growing “Everything’s been done” mentality that seems so prominent in music these days.

The songwriting is simple but true to itself, oddly focusing on small mood details while vocally attaining an urgency and passion that is rarely found even in the most pissed off political punk bands today.

This album has grown on me within the last couple of weeks, and I’m sure these guys’ sound will transcend beyond the borders of their Edmonton home and become fixtures in the CD collections of many ska fans and non-ska fans alike.

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Atomic 7 - Hillbilly Caliente

Atomic 7 - Hillbilly Caliente - Mint Records

Though Atomic 7 isn't nearly as recognized as Brian Connelly’s previous work in Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (aka the guys who wrote The Kids In The Hall theme). This trio keeps on going in the direction where The Shadowy Men left off.

This is music that can make a shag painting come to life, visions of 60’s spy iconography, garage surf/punk riffs, to upbeat tunes that could easily fall under the ‘supermarket shopping music’ category.

Perhaps the most distinguishable feature of Atomic 7’s second release besides the music would be the names of the songs themselves. An example? How about ‘Bury My Foot At Wounded Mouth’ or ‘Kicking At The Ghost Of Ass’, and my personal favourite‘The Wreck Of The Dick Family Wiener Boat’. Though a lot of these names seem a little ill-conceived when putting the names to the matching tracks it’s nice to see there’s a sense of humour at play here.

So all in all - if you’re looking for some good solid hipster/lounge music for yourself or for an upcoming martini party and you’re a little too impatient to wait for those expensive Les Baxter LPs you ordered on Ebay to show up – This album will certainly fill the gap.


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Hank Pine & Lily Fawn - The Road To New Orleans

Hank Pine & Lily Fawn - The Road To New Orleans - Independent

In the beginning Hank Pine & Lily Fawn were an obscure and often thought to be ill-conceived variety show-styled act consisting of Hank Pine (aka Hank Tepoorten of Chet, Maitreya, etc.) and Lily Fawn (Jana Wessel of Blue Pine, Lonesome Valley Singers, etc.) but with the release of this ambitious double CD, a truckload of musical accompaniment, and a much more distinguishing sound than their earlier incarnation, this CD has an insurmountable range of variety, mood, and characteristic from low-bro & low IQ humoured songs like ‘I like Having Sex with Old People’ to slow, melancholy and pensive songs like ‘Ballad Of The Dancing Bear’ (Leave it to Chet’s Ryan Beattie to take a ridiculous song about a circus bear and turn it around to the point that people are learning the fine art of noose tying).

Though instrumentally strong, there is quite a bit of looting of other musician's vocal styles. Hank Pine runs rampant with impersonations; jumping from Screamin’ Jay Hawkins to Ween to Calexico among many others, but even though there’s enough shameless vocal character nabbing that Quinton Tarintino would blush - when he sings without impersonation and grasps his own style - the mood is genuine, sometimes hilarious, and as with the album in it’s entirety, based purely on innovation and creativity – a combination that many attempt to gain but is rarely ever contrived with seemingly so little effort. Lily Fawn's efforts and dynamic fit well with thoughtful and innocent songs, to humorously menacing characters jumping into the next.

This album stands on its own, with no set genre, no set message or mood, but keeps itself consistent by drastically changing from track to track, if it be Handsome Family style duets to an unexpected and chaotic punk metal track somewhere within the 26 song album.

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Lupus – Band Not As Shown – Crusty Records

Everybody knows that Surrey offers nothing but the best, and now they can be known as the home of Lupus. Pothead-Jock-punk that love tits, ass, cars and… proclaim to be spreading a political message(?). The very un-P.C. band sings songs about how much the hate the fat girl from the Osbournes, growing pot, killing cops and screwing fifteen year old girls.

The band follows the now signature sounds and themes of Western Canadian punk such as Dayglo Abortions, S.T.R.E.E.T.S, and songwriting similar to label-mate Mr. Plow, but these guys are much less clever, amusing or original than the latter, and the political stuff? The likes of DOA, Biafra and The Subhumans better watch out, with scathing lyrics about America’s hunt for oil in the east such as “They need they’re oil like a hooker needs a crack rock, Like Brett Hull hits the slap shot”. The typical crust punk humour is there, but I have to say – The shock value doesn’t shock, and the humour is pretty weak altogether.

Admittedly the musicianship is tight as hell, polished without any over-production and sometimes even a little catchy, but overall the album is way too predictable to find anything truly salvageable.

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NoMeansNo - The People's Choice

NoMeansNo - The People's Choice - AntAcidAudio

The first time I had seen NoMeansNo was about ten years ago. The Uvic auditorium was packed to the balcony with gutter punks, art school types and masses of curious teenagers that took advantage of the opportunity to see Pigment Vehicle, Fracas and of course NoMeansNo on the same bill without having to sneak past bouncers or be in the confines of the usual all ages venues available at the time.

I had only heard a couple of albums (0+1=2 & Why Do they call Me Mr. happy) previous to the show, and didn’t know what to expect – I just knew if they were half as good as they’re reputation proceeded them to be, I wouldn’t be disappointed.
This is a band that doesn’t disappoint, with a long discography and one of the most anticipated live shows in Canada – They give the audience what they want despite of they’re age, the venue they play, or anything else for that matter.

This is where the latest release comes in. ‘The People’s Choice’, a pseudo-greatest hits album, in which the cover of the CD is a photo taken of bathroom graffiti written during an over-seas gig reading “HOW FUCKEN OLD ARE NOMEANSNO? GIVE IT UP GRAND DADS” with a small jiffy maker retort from John Wright “That’s Great Grand Dad to you fucker!”. A good sign of the bands long lasting persistence and ability to laugh at themselves without taking anything too seriously (ie: Hansen Bros.). Though greatest hits albums are always a weary place to tread, this one stands apart from the most, using songs that are not selected by the band members themselves – but based on the most frequently requested songs screamed out by fans at they’re shows; the songs that drive the audiences into the frenzy and keep people coming back. The compilation of material is a strong selection starting off with the band’s signature warm up tune ‘Now’ to other familiar tracks that many if not all NoMeansNo fans would remember from they’re extensive list of albums and EPs, or perhaps heard while being kicked in the head by crowd surfers – ‘Body bag’, ‘I Need You’, ‘The River’, and as a special kick - a live recording of ‘The Day Everything Became Nothing’.

This album is a great representation of the bands triumphant rise to Canadian punk legend status, they’re ability to break new ground by mixing they’re neo political and subversive statements with a surrealistic musical and lyrical flare that is rare if not completely obscure for most “punk rock bands”.

Though there are favourites of mine that have been overlooked or omitted from the album such as ‘Everyday I start To Ooze’, and ‘Brother Rat’, I guess I can only blame myself for not yelling them out loudly enough at the shows I’ve attended, but who knows, as it looks now, these guys don’t give up easily.


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Immaculate Machine

Immaculate Machine - Transporter LP

Immaculate Machine have released a new CD, and I can’t think of any reason why anyone who enjoyed their debut EP The View would be disappointed. If anything – This album has a number of improvements and refinements that will surely be recognized this time around. The tracks run from fast tempo, rhythmically pounding, emotionally drenched songs to slow heartbroken and heat-stroked numbers that perhaps may test some listener’s patience – but reward those who sit back and absorb the atmospheric dreamscape that they serve up.

The first track ‘Skyscrapers’, perhaps the most upbeat in tempo, gives way to an unmistakable new wave influence, and though I’d be the first deny the merits of any New Wave gravediggers that seem to pollute the airwaves nowadays – Immaculate machine have a knack for keeping the elements in check, and leaving the pretentiousness at the door, a feat in itself for any band that delves into the genre.

The most notable changes to this CD in contrast to their last EP rely on a two major factors – one being that the emotional element is much more apparent, and second and most importantly is the more active roll Kathryn Calder has taken as a singer. Although she had some jabs at the mike in the past, this CD’s vocal responsibilities are split evenly between her and male counterpart Brooke Gallupe, along with the occasional bursts from drummer Luke Kozlowski. The duets between Calder and Gallupe mix nicely, and refrain from sounding forced, or worse - cheesy, as many duets tend to do, but these two pull it off – creating a mix that sounds more Black Francis/Kim Deal than Sonny/Cher.

The harmonies between the two have become the most recognizable signature for the band, more so than the lo-fi keyboards, militantly paced drums, or their fuzzy 60’s garage sounding guitar. This album is sure to get more than its’ fair share of air-time on collage radio station playlists as well as my own Discman.

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The Span

The Span – East To West

It seems more and more frequently these days Victoria gives birth to, and harbours a large number of non-threatening radio friendly punk bands. With the likes of Moneyshot shortfall, Big Muff and most recently - the latest release from The Span, this is proof that though these bands are in no way cloning eachother,, their affiliation with the punk genre is set as a means of musical discipline or formula, instead of a style, objective, or musical philosophy, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the angle you wish to look at it. I myself prefer to hear something a little more subversive than what usually comes from the usual ‘bad break-up’ pop punk anthems that seem so widespread these days.

The thing that separates The Span from falling into pop-punk drama-queen trench is the sincerity that is so prominent throughout the album. Instrumentally the band is tight, focused and doesn’t mess around with the exception of the well placed distortions here and there. Title track ‘East To West’ is certainly the most versatile and effective track on the CD, deviating from the usual pop-punk antics, and giving way for more elbow-room for more effective vocals and lyrics.

Basically the album has some tight players, slick production, and the vocals are strong and sincere. On the downside, no new ground has been broken here - the overall style ranges from unrefined to generic, but keep in mind – it’s a first release from a band that knows how to play, and sooner or later these guys will be defined by a signature of their own.

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One Drop One Drop – S/T

The CD Starts off in a musical montage of live recordings, looped beats, various effects, and studio sounds reminiscent of ill-communication era Beastie Boys – and bursting into the stylish and slickly produced first track “Rudy”. Only sixty seconds into the CD and the rhythmic assault has already begun.

In a very short span of time, One Drop has made a name for themselves throughout BC as one of the tightest ska bands on the island, which is a pretty strong feat considering they don’t let themselves get nailed down and typecast in a way many other ska bands strive to. This act never stays in one spot long enough to get the stamp. Bringing a wide and diverse number of musical styles to the table, they jump from conscious hip-hop, to rocksteady dub, to reggae to Minor Threat/Operation Ivy style punk, all of which they do unflinchingly, unpretentiously and uninhibitedly.

The Lyrical content runs from angry skate punk anthems to songs like ‘Never Rest’ which is reminiscent of Saul Williams’ ‘Not in Our Name’ to the Sublime style ‘Gotta relate’. Though a couple of the tracks take the back burner as far as musical or lyrical effectiveness (I think this is nothing more than a case of a band raising the bar a little high with the more interesting tracks) but never being complacent, or milling about and trying to figure out how to derive a “catchy” tune. Instead this album is solidly played, engineered and inspired. Though it has a strong and energetic quality, I can’t help but think it is a vain but noble attempt to keep the energy as fierce as their live sets which will remain a challenge that has not yet been surpassed, and will seemingly be so for some time to come.

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Martin Tielli

Martin Tielli - Operation Infinite Joy

Well it’s finally happened. David Bowie and Frank Zappa had an illegitimate child and he’s surfaced with a double guitar, a rendition of Smog’s ‘Cold Blooded Old Times’ and Ford Pier at his side. This is definitely a strange album, with 3 more in the series to come this year. It jumps from 70’s rock opera like the opening ‘Beauty On’ to tracks that grow from somber and mystical to disorderly and maddening like ‘The Temperance Society Choir’.
The album’s intricacies suggest that this could easily be an original cast theatre production in the Robert Wilson or Andrew Lloyd Webber vain, but instead of a protagonist like Jesus Christ, the impression is that of a jukebox-hugging long-hair stranded in the dead of winter at a prairie truck stop floating, down from last night’s uppers.
This man doesn’t do anything small - each song forms into a narrative ballad. Even the extensive amount of artwork he has created makes for a stunning backdrop for the twenty-odd page CD booklet. It is evident that this man is a laborious and painstakingly inspired artist.
Considering this is part one of a four part series, my curiosity won’t be able to contain itself for too much longer. A great oddity.

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Smoked Out Brainzzz Smoked Out Brainzzz – Have A Nice day – Independent

These guys probably have some of the most oddly structured songs in the city, a lot of innovation, ingenuity and definite originality. They use a multitude of unconventional, instruments (wine bucket, 8 string bass, electricity, various alien noises, etc.) that have become their calling card in the last dozen or so years. Known best for their live shows, they’ve developed an obscure cult following – Perhaps as a result of their outlandish music, their lively sets, or maybe the fact that the show is almost guaranteed to be a crowd wide smoke-out. The CD on the other hand is less chaotic, instrumentation takes on a more dominant role, and the focus becomes more realized.

I would have to say as an instrumental album, these songs would have won me over pretty quickly. The sound has a strange organic quality that’s very unique yet simultaneously electrifying. But the downfall of this release is both the vocals and lyrics. I can’t think of anything more inane than bands that sing about pot – or write songs dedicated or inspired by it. I don’t care if it’s Cypress Hill, or local acts such as King Bong, or these guys. It’s nothing more than lazy subject matter.

The vocalist sings as if he’s making a half-assed attempt to trip out stoned teenagers while leading a band completely downhill. In the process he manages to single handedly discredit the musical merits of the band, it’s production and it’s overall composition; turning the band into a gimmick while turning the CD into nothing more than a novelty.

Or maybe it’s because I don’t smoke a lot of pot.

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