Night Crickets- Drowning Pool- Slinky Vagabond

Our spotlight on vinyl spins new releases from Night Crickets, Drowning Pool and Slinky Vagabond.

Night Crickets - A Free Society

Released by Omnivore Records on CD earlier this year, this set of darkly intriguing songs from Night Crickets is now available on vinyl. The band consists of David J of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets fame, Victor DeLorenzo of Violent Femmes and Darwin Meiners. Side 1 opens with "Black Leather on the Inside," a cut with lyrics as cryptic as the song title, set to a loping beat and featuring psychedelic embellishments and a simple but irresistible chorus of "Life is wearing thin." Not as hard to figure are "Candlestick Park," a pop rocker that looks back at a time when the San Francisco baseball stadium was a hotbed of American culture and excitement, and "Amanda's Mantra," a psychedelic homage to the titular Amanda. The album's title cut has perhaps the catchiest vocal hook of the entire album; "A Free Society" also features the band name-checking themselves by inserting an exclaimed "night crickets!" into the lyrics. The percussion heavy groove "Little Did I" kicks off Side 2; the psychedelia on the song is most noticeable during the fade out when sitar (or synthesized sitar) checks in with a few riffs. Other highlights of the side include the charmingly eerie "The Unreliable Narrator," the Indian music infused "Down Below" which also includes the sound of water dripping, and album closer "I Want My Night Crickets!" With darkness that is never too menacing, vocals sung (or spoken) in an extremely cool tone and mesmerizing grooves, A Free Society will indeed have fans chirping loudly in praise of Night Crickets.

Drowning Pool - Strike a Nerve

This is the first album from Drowning Pool in six years and if you want to parse the brief opening song "Doing Time in Hell" then you can read into it as to where they've been. "Doing Time in Hell" is purposely understated; the album starts rocking hard with "Hate Against Hate" where vocalist Jasen Moreno acknowledges the state of things these days with words like "The world is a test" and "The world is a joke." Title cut "Strike a Nerve" tackles the fact that there is little one man can do about life's nastiness. "Everything But You" is the album's understated cut; as close to a ballad as the band is going to get, the song professes feelings for a lover but lest you think this is too soft, in true Drowning Pool form the song's closing line is "I hate everyone and everything but you." Screamed vocals with scorching guitar from CJ Pierce are hallmarks throughout, especially notable on the rattling "A Devil More Damned," and fans should get along quite nicely with the latest from these Texas hard rockers.

Slinky Vagabond - King Boy Vandals

When Slinky Vagabond first formed in 2007 the band featured Keenan Duffty and a powerhouse lineup of Earl Slick of David Bowie's band, Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols and Clem Burke of Blondie. Those are big shoes to fill for today's lineup of Duffty and Fabio Fabbri but the duo turn in a solid set of punk-tinged rock here, with a little help from a handful of guest players. "Prima Donna" sounds like it was patterned after any number of hits by the Cars; the cut is actually a rewritten version of a demo that Duffty made when he was auditioning to be the new singer for Velvet Revolver. At any rate the cut is one of the strongest on the album, radio ready and easy to sing along to. Midge Ure (Ultravox) plays guitar on the song; famed ax slinger Richard Fortus (Guns N' Roses) and bass man Martin Turner (Wishbone Ash) guest on "Fear No Evil" which was also originally a demo for Velvet Revolver. "I'm Falling Down" hints at a fondness for Electric Light Orchestra, "Euphoria" floats along on a buzzy groove consummate with the song title and "English Country Garden" has the feel of a co-write between Oasis and Donovan. Well-written songs displaying pop sensibilities abound here where Dave Formula (Magazine), David Tom (David Bowie) and Tony Bowers (Simply Red) also appear.

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