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Damn Vandals- The Shams- BP Fallon

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Damn Vandals
Rocket Out of London

Sexy Beast

Rock 'n' roll is supposed to be a bit dangerous sounding and while that quality can come from various aspects of the music there's nothing quite like when a band has a lead singer that seems to be unhinged. Meet then Mr. Jack Kansas, who sings here like he's liquored up, dodging the cops and late for an appointment with his court-ordered shrink. In other words, Kansas is the real deal, the perfect mouthpiece for this set of Doors, Cult and even Rolling Stones-influenced rock. The crazy is balanced out with clever when it comes to the lyrics though as Kansas reels off lines like "Mama's on the breadline/Mixing up the moonshine" on "Whiskey Going Free" and "The game of chicken is over/Cluck, cluck, so long" from the title cut. Add to this a solid rhythm section and fearless guitar riffing from Frank Pick and you have one of the most fun and exciting albums to come along so far this year. One of the record's song titles says it best: "This Music Blows My Tiny Mind"!

The Shams
One and All

(Self-released)

The Shams are based in San Francisco but their music has a distinct Irish overtone, no surprise since three of the five members are Irish while a fourth is Irish-American. The music is buoyant rock with a slight punk overtone; the Irish comes mostly from the voice of singer Sean Daly. Daly shows only a hint of an accent on "Sunset Paddy's" but on "Go On Home Boys" the accent is full-on, making it one of those songs that you'll definitely want to hoist a pint o' Guinness to. There's a bit of the blues incorporated into "Not Bothered" but it's the one relaxed moment on this six-song EP; this is party music and if you need a new anthem for St. Paddy's Day, give the rowdy "Drinks Are on Me" a spin.

BP Fallon
Live in Texas

Saustex

Known primarily as a DJ, writer, photographer and publicist, Fallon adds to his resume here with this music and spoken word live performance. The set opens with the spoken word piece "Fame #9" where Fallon opines about the often dangerous pursuit of fame, invoking the names of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and Kurt Cobain along the way. Fallon is backed by Aaron Lee Tasjan on acoustic guitar and Tasjan's playing goes from merely impressive to frantically stunning as the piece morphs into the chant-sung "I Believe in Elvis Presley." Referencing peace and love and marijuana and stating things like "If you know nothing, you are never wrong" Fallon comes off as part hippie and part sage, and with his pointed and articulate verbal delivery it's easy to understand why he appeals to hipsters and intellectuals alike. Tex-Mex pop star Joe "King" Carrasco and guitarist Danny B. Harvey join in for the show's climax, a 12-minute mash-up of Van Morrison's "Gloria" with Fallon's era-appropriate commentary.

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