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Skid Row- Prospect Hill- A Criminal Risk- Vestibule

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Skid Row
United World Rebellion Chapter One

Megaforce

No, Skid Row hasn't gone all political; the title United World Rebellion is just the band's way of saying that they are back in the saddle and ready to carry on their personal rock revolution that they started way back in 1986. And to that end, they've done a pretty good job here. The Chapter One portion of the title refers to the fact that this release is just a five-song E.P. and the band has stated that they'll dole out future releases in similarly brief doses. And fans will care about that plan because UWR1 contains really good stuff. Johnny Solinger's screeching lead vocals on the driving rocker "Kings of Demolition" and the Motley Crue-recalling "Let's Go" rival any of the powerful numbers from the band's heyday but the gem here is the subdued "This is Killing Me," a power ballad with a great hook that's bound to be a lighters-in-the-air, sway-along moment when played live. The ominous sounding "Get Up" and the I'm-ready-to-bust-it-up-again "Stitches" end the E.P. on a note that'll leave fans hungry for Chapter Two.

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Prospect Hill
Impact

Carved

This five-piece plays hard-edged melodic rock that's geared to the current rock radio sound and they have in "Superhero" a tune that should enjoy longevity in that venue. The song is about the universal male need to come to the rescue of the damsel in distress, set to a soaring melody and a hook-filled chorus belted out yearningly by singer Adam Fithian. "Rescued" has a similar theme but a different vantage point and is jubilant as opposed to aching, "Breakdown" has the potential to be a minor radio hit and the angst-filled "Townie" rocks out to the evergreen topic of needing, for sanity's sake, to get out of town. There's lots of competition in the genre in which Prospect Hill works but they show with Impact that they're more than ready to challenge the big boys.

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A Criminal Risk
The Art of Dropping Names

Lemonshark

A Criminal Risk should be on the Warped Tour; they have a sound that fits right in and with The Art of Dropping Names they have a set of strong tunes that would keep the Warped crowd happily dancing. "Brooklyn" is a very fast punk-edged song but the title cut, "Sarah Sanity" and "Championship Vinyl" are all done as speedy power-pop and that's the band's specialty. "Morrissey," with lyrics that drop a few F-bombs, is a good one to chant/sing along to and will no doubt resonate with lots of fans.

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Vestibule
Through the Surface

(Self released)

For a taste of this band grab a free download of "Chemical Reaction" at ReverbNation; the song is probably the album's most radio-friendly cut but it is not the strongest, that honor would go to "Astray," a punk rock gem with lots of stinging guitar licks, a dreamy break and lyrics that urge the listener to "release your mind." Some of the cuts here, like "The Longing," show a jazz influence and true to album title Through the Surface the listener will discover with repeated plays that these songs are more sophisticated in construct than the first blast of guitar indicates.

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