The Smashing Pumpkins - Gish

Thursday at 4:58 PM

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"Gish was a sublimely spiritual body of work. "Not in a God way, but in a personal way," asserts singer/guitarist Billy Corgan.

"It's got a lot to do with me exorcising old demons, getting my act together, overcoming a lot of my shortcomings. It's an extremely personal record."

The son of a professional funk/jazz guitarist, weaned on the lessons of Bowie, Zeppelin, and The Stooges, Corgan began his musical career in the mid-80's, relocating from his native Chicago down to Florida with a group called The Marked. "Being in that band taught me everything I had gotten into music for was total garbage," he declares. "The whole sex, drugs, and rock and roll thing. It was shallow, everything the Pumpkins [sic] are not."

Corgan came to his senses and returned to the Windy City, forming Smashing Pumpkins in 1988. With bassist D'arcy, guitarist James, and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, they embarked on an instant buzz-generating series of gigs that included the opening slots for acts like Jane's Addiction, The Buzzcocks, and Caterqaul. Producer Butch Vig (Garbage) helms the boards for Gish,resulting in the toughest,most traditonally "Rock" sounding album of SP's repatiore.

Ghosts and Vodka - Memento Mori

Monday at 6:37 PM

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"First, lets get the ugly stuff out of the way. Not everything that Ghosts & Vodka committed to tape was gold. Acoustic tracks like "Andrea Loves Horses" and "Nicholas Prefers Dinosaurs", which bookend their Precious Blood full length, act as little more than fluff. Though the playing is competent, the tracks don't move beyond nice-sounding filler.

Despite the virtuosity of Villareal's handiwork, there are moments when songs are just so overloaded with technical guitar work that the hooks are lost in the guitar showcasing. "Sex Is Popular" and "Hot Dot Above, Tan Man Below" sadly suffer this fate. "Conversational All-Stars" and "Mechanical Bull Rider" are also defeated as failed experiments in creating "atmosphere".

So, now you're saying to yourself, "Six of these sixteen tracks are duds! Kevin, where's the beef?" Well, I'm here to tell you that the remaining songs alone are worth the price. If you're a guitarist, you will be shamed, and if you enjoy a good rock tune you may find your neck sore from repeated head banging. Best of all, Drunks & Addicts is a silver disc with one helluva party contained on it.

"Futuristic Genitalia" is just plain ridiculous in how good it is. There are enough pull-offs in the lead riff that I'm sure Jimi Hendrix is looking down from rock 'n' roll heaven and giving his respects. "Is That A Person?" feels like an outtake from Don Caballero's masterful II. The beautiful middle act of this song contains some breathtaking distorted harmonics vying for equal attention alongside some thunderous riffing. "Cowboys and Sailors", from the Memento Mori seven-inch single, is a pop gem that sounds like Eddie Van Halen jamming with Braid. It's delightfully catchy but still finds moments to knock your jaw clean to the floor."

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Landmine Marathon - Wounded

Sunday at 10:59 PM

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"I'm from Arizona and I can attest that our local music scene sucks. There are occasionally a few decent bands but they never go anywhere. The exception to this would be Suicide Nation releasing 2 LPs and a split with Yaphet Kotto (who now play in the slaytanic Saviours). Unruh comes ahead with 2 LPs and a few more splits. So what's the point of this history lesson on one of the worst states for hardcore? Landmine Marathon consists of ex-Suicide Nation dudes and has a sound sort of reminiscent of Unruh. And they have a new album out on Level Plane Records? While definitively the home of emo-violence, I guess they are branching out with the recent signings of Landmine Marathon and Graf Orlock. So I definitely wouldn't complain except for...

The art for the Wounded is lame. Photoshopped and uninspired come to mind. And while the production should have soaring and alternately guttural riffs shredding all over the place, it fails to deliver the goods in brutal-grind fashion. The majority of the recording is adequately heavy, but the high end is totally lacking. To me Level Plane is synonymous with well-produced, well-packaged, and extremely creative releases. So what I want to know is how did the presentation side of this release slip through the cracks? The performance end, though, is phenomenal.

Now you want to know, "What does it actually sound like? ... Like a mixture of old Earache releases. While I am definitely not the most knowledgeable Earache historian, I can definitely pick out the Terrorizer and Carcass influences, but updated, more technical, and catchier. The weighty riffs are awesomely flavored with some At the Gates styled leads that don't sound like At the Gates. I don't know. I hate At the Gates, so imagine Converge doing early-90s metal leads. Like that. The blasts are something more akin to D-beat than grind, so the songs aren't obnoxiously fast like anything that belongs on Willowtip. The vocals are intensely screamed, only dropping into a death growl once or twice, which is something I would normally have an aversion to, but it's done well. The lyrics, though, are definitely Level Plane material since I mostly have no idea what the hell she's talking about. A lot of interesting metaphors that eschew the gory side of this kind of material.

I don't want to give the false impression that this is all metal. I think of it as grind-influenced metalcore before metalcore become a dirty, filthy, vulgar, insipid, stupid, moronic, weak, pathetic shadow of itself. Something more akin to Creation is Crucifixion than Job for a Cowboy. Wounded
is best played loudly."

Saturday at 5:04 PM
One of the better sites on the internet.

Magrudergrind - Sixty-Two Trax of Thrash

at 5:00 PM

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"All of this material is a discography of only the first three years of this band's existence. Amazing how bands can release so much material in such short time, isn't it? Especially with such a notable progression in that time. The earlier stuff (which is at the end of the CD instead of the beginning, now that doesn't make much sense, does it?) sounds more like novelty.

Most of the songs are really short and have some out of place kind of riff like the beginning of the Star Spangled Banner or part of Jingle Bells. An amusing joke, but for the most part just a joke. Avi's voice was much different too, instead of the high screech he emits these days, this was more of just a regular hardcore style scream. The band kept going at it and got progressively faster, tighter, and even heavier with each recording. What does that lead to with the more modern stuff? It's much more serious and intense. Most of the songs seem to be about killing in some way (and some of the titles are probably longer than the songs themselves) but trying to line up the vocals with the lyrics is practically impossible."

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