If albums were rated by simply how badass they are, Tiny Darkness, the debut record from Dallas-based Darstar, would rate a five-out-of-five bottles of Jack Daniel's. The urgency of the fuzzed-out and bombastic collection bursts from the speakers, as does the brazen lack of concern for any who may be put off by lines such as "Fuck you, stupid bitches, I'll put you all in stitches," which is the central hook from the album's gnarliest track, "Millennium Maiden."

It would be easy, but terribly shortsighted, to place this Lisa Hardaway-led project in an angry punk-girl category and leave it at that without recognizing the deeper elements that give the record its buzz-saw swirl of guitar-driven grit. While Hardaway's vocals provide much of the ferocity for her songs, it's the balls-out playing of her seasoned band that lends the venom making the tunes properly sting any who push play.

Darstar effectively come to the local-music party bearing gifts of spite and danger that are all their own.


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