Don't want to read longwinded reviews? Want to get right to the point? antiGUY does just that with these quick and dirty reviews.
Eminem returns and this is a surefire hit for the man from 8 Mile but after a couple of spins it sounds like it also might be the beginning of the end. The freshness of Em's earlier work has given way to a rather formulaic, "haven't I heard this before", release that showcases an artists that may have become a victim of his own fame. No doubt Em still tries to cash in on the controversial tip, but it's now starting to sound more and more like a gimmick than Em letting lose like he's expected to do it. If this would have come out a couple years ago, my opinion may have been higher but after receiving a fresh take on hip-hop from the likes of Outkast, this CD comes across as a by-the-numbers rehash. Maybe that was the intention, if you want to read into the title but this definitely isn't Em at his best.
Harbor - Scenic
I know right off the bat that some people are gonna bitch about this band but I have to tell you they grabbed me right from the start with their punky alternative sound. My immediate reaction was this sounds a little like The Offspring kicking Bush's ass. Like the Offspring, Denver Harbor packs a heavy punch that's wrapped around addictive melodies. The result is it makes you want to crank it up but also sing along as soon as the chorus kicks in the second time.
Fenix*Tx fans will hear familiar elements in Denver Harbor as the band was started by Will Salazar and Chris Lewis. But this group is more eclectic than Fenix*TX ever were as Salazar and company take several musical styles ranging from power-pop to hardcore to the Police's brand of reggae, throw it in a musical blender to come up with their own sound. While the lyrics most of the time border on the banal it is the execution here that counts. It's a highly enjoyable album and worthy checking out. And yes Salazar paid homage to Texas again when naming this band, Denver Harbor is reportedly Houston's most feared street gang.
Aiken - Merry Christmas With Love
Break out the cheese, and I'm talking about the title I haven't gotten to the music yet. In a fairly predictable move Clay Aiken is giving his fans a reason to make him money this holiday season with a Christmas album. I don't deny Clay's talent but as heterosexual male rock fan, Aiken has never appealed to me. This album just solidifies my early opinion that Clay is really a male Streisand that makes more sense as a Broadway singer than a pop star but then again teenage girls will buy anything with a pretty face. Oh, what about the music? It's all Christmas standards so if you like Clay and want to spend money to hear him sing songs that sounded more natural when Bing Crosby sang them, then you should get this CD. If you're not a fan, avoid at all costs. This is a ka-ching release.
X Live All Over the Place
In my book, King's X can do no wrong and the only thing better than a studio album from King's X is to see them live. While live albums never measure up to being there, this CD is about as close as you are going to get. Unlike a certain four letter grease-painted band that made their major breakthrough with a double live album that was more studio overdub than an authentic live recording, this double album actually sounds like it was really captured live, warts and all. The mix isn't the greatest but neither is sitting in the audience at a show and while that may be a handicap for most bands, King's X doesn't suffer because of this. I'm all for the rockers but I think the secret weapon here is the acoustic tracks on disc 2. This CD gives us a broad overview of the King's X live experience, a band that is known for their broad overview of progressive rock and melodic rock. This is stellar effort and if you are a King's X fan it's a no-brainer purchase!
Fleetwood Band Something Big
Bless his heart, Mick has taken the solo record road before to mixed results but finally he has Something Big on his hands with this effort. Fans of Mick's entire career with Fleetwood Mac will find a lot of love here, he mixes the early blues gods sound with a splash of the more pop orientated music that made Fleetwood Mac household names. Old time fans have at least one solid reason to pick this up, it features a collaboration with Jeremy Spencer; the first time they have worked together in 3 decades. At the heart of the band is Mick along with Todd Smallwood and Lauren Evans but Mick also gets a little help from some of his friends Jackson Browne, Lee Sklar and John McVie. Overall this album is surprisingly cohesive and sounds like the product of a primary gig, instead of a side-project afterthought. Bravo to Mick on a job well done!
Z' Nuff - ?
Like most post major label albums from Enuff Z'nuff, ? is a mix of new studio recordings and older songs that for whatever reason didn't make it onto a previous release. While this CD contains the two best tracks from the famed Vitamin A sessions ("Home Tonight" and "How Are You") this CD is far less cohesive than the band's back catalog. When you take most of the songs separately, they are great. "Home Tonight" is one of the best power-pop songs this band, that is renowned for stellar power-pop, has ever produced and "Help" is one of Donnie Vie's shining piano ballads. But this effort sounds a bit like a house cleaning when taken together. The lead-off track "Gorgeous" is handy-capped by Chip's vocals and insipid lyrics. The melody is great and I can't help but think if Donnie had taken over the lyrics and vocals this would be a smash. But one really cool thing about this CD is it does feature some new recordings from the original lineup (as well as older reworked songs). Just a short time before the untimely death of Derek Frigo, he recorded some new music with Donnie Vie and Vic Foxx. Sadly, only one of those tracks made it onto this release (to my knowledge), "Joni Woni". Overall, this is a great CD and easily beats the competition but when competing against their own musical history, this CD is a bit uneven. Yet still worth having in your collection.
Memories As My Road Curves
It's impossible to become bored while listening to this CD. Whether you like all the music depends on your taste but I have to give Flashbulb Memories some major credit for not being restrained by genre labels. This is a band that has no fear of exploring different sides of their music personality whether it's modern rock, thrash, nu-metal, alternative or Coldplayish acoustic pop-rock. This is definitely a band that fans of various styles of rock music should check out and major labels should get the balls to sign.
Kill Logic - The Dead And Dreaming
Before you write this band off based on their work on Roadrunner, give them another listen. They still employ the nu-metal elements that they are known for, but they have reinvigorated their sound with healthy fistfuls of metalcore and there in lies their appeal. Dry Kill Logic bridge those two worlds of metal and create an invigorated unique sound. It's heavy, it's brutal and it's definitely not your little brother's brand of metal.
Radio Earth offer up an interesting mix of classic alternative and melodic modern rock. While they won't set the world on fire they easily measure up to most modern rock bands on the scene at the moment. If you like modern rock of the mid to late 90s like Tonic, Dishwalla, or Everclear you should check these guys out.
Cue Rhythm Oil
If you are fan of rootsy blue influenced country rock then Barbara Cue serve up something cool, especially for a side-project but it's not as strong as Widespread Panic.
OPM's new release ForThemAsses is not their best effort. Their follow up to 2000's Menace to Sobriety fell into the dreaded sophomore jinx. They come off sounding a lot like a poor man's Sublime or Sugar Ray with their lyrics and instrument sounding like they put little to no effort in to the production. If I had to pick out a bright spot, the one would be, "Everyday" a slow moving ballad that shows slightly more talent than the rest of the album. With a guest appearance by Eek-A-Mouse, I thought this album would be better. I can't keep a clear conscience, and promote this album to anyone. Keep your hard earned money away from OPM's ForThemAsses.
Kite The Joy Of Bee Stings
We're gonna end this edition of To The
Point on a high note, or rather a looowww note with indie stoner rockers
Koncrete Kite, a band that pulls no punches as they kick things off with
the lyrics "f*** you and horse you rode in on". Overall, if you're
into acid rock, stoner rock or post grunge, these guys deliver but they
also take you off in some different directions too. Overall, a cool
musical journey can be had if you have it in you to try and fly the Koncrete