Danielia Cotton, the Jackets And More

Rock Pile checks out Danielia Cotton, the Jackets, Tommy and the Commies and Hasting's Street Opera.

Danielia Cotton & the Church Boys - A Different War
Cotton has been on the scene for about 15-years and this six-song EP offers an excellent opportunity for new fans to come on board. Alternating between sensual readings of songs about love gone bad ("Better off Without You," "If You Don't Want Me") and socially conscious cuts like "A Different War" (with guest rapper Mikey Factz) Cotton demonstrates an ability to channel pain of two distinctly different kinds. Her voice mesmerizes throughout, always soulful whether she's in a jazzier mood or ready to rock, like in the Heart-like closer "She Too." These six songs, all written or co-written by Cotton, do exactly what they're supposed to do: leave the listener hungry for more.

The Jackets - Queen of the Pill
This Swiss trio has been doling out quality psych-tinged garage rock for about a dozen years now and this is their fourth full-length release. That's important to know for new fans who'll definitely want to seek out the older records after having their mind blown by this one. Frontwoman Jack Torera sets her guitar to super-fuzz for opening cut "Dreamer" where her vocals remind of early Grace Slick; the fuzz also rules on the surf/garage rock of "Steam Queen" while "Move On" owes a little something to Iggy and the Stooges. "Don't Leave Me Alone" recalls early Grace Slick/Jefferson Airplane again, as does "Floating Alice" which is clearly an homage to the Airplane's "White Rabbit." On the retro-rocking Loser's Lullaby" Torera has a ball cutting down a former lover with lines like "you're a liar/I cashed your checks and I sold your stash," adding "I threw your flowers in the urinal." Great fun to be had on every one of this album's 10 cuts.

Tommy and the Commies - Hurtin' 4 Certain
Do you know every note and lyric to your early British punk rock favorites by heart? Tommy and the Commies channel that era with verve, having a sound all their own but greatly recalling the Clash on "Power on Standby" and dripping with Johnny Rotten attitude throughout. Despite the obvious love for English punk, this band is Canadian, and if all goes well the guys will be able to come south and rock the States soon. Until then the four short, punchy songs on this EP make for an excellent tide-me-over.

Hasting's Street Opera - Slippery When Wet
Here's an interesting title saved from obscurity by Outsider Records. The band is a four-piece from New Jersey and Slippery When Wet was recorded in 1969. The sound is lo-fi, with lengthy opening cut "Nobody Knows" devolving into a similarly lengthy drum solo mid-song. Commonplace during concerts of the era, it is a bit surprising to find the drum spotlight here, especially on the album's first cut. Everything here is instrumental, and the music that brackets the "Nobody Knows" drum solo is Grateful Dead-ish, even taking a bit of a turn after a false ending. Because of flute parts, some of the songs here draw comparisons to the bucolic side of Jethro Tull, including "Fool-August." Of the eight songs, many are originals but takes on "Scarborough Fair," "A Taste of Honey" and the Gershwin classic "Summertime," again flute-driven, are also included. Mellow and often psych-tinged, here's a good one for those times when your body is relaxed but your mind keeps on buzzing.

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