Staff Trax: Beat Connection, Spinnerette, The Mavericks, Coheed & Cambria, Killing Joke
Welcome to Staff Trax, the weekly feature here on DC9 where we shed some light on the music we've been enjoying of late, regardless of the touring or album release schedules that tend to bear the focus of most of our coverage. Consider it a chance for you readers to get some more insight into our own personal tastes. Maybe you'll find something you like, ya dig?
For the past month or so, I've been raving about this Seattle duo to anyone who will listen. Beat Connection has been playing fairly regularly around my house, in my car, at my workplace--pretty much anywhere I am able to connect my iPod. There's something undeniably carefree and summery about the duo's EP, Surf Noir . It's infectious. You can check out all of Surf Noir on Beat Connection's BandCamp page where, if you like what you hear, download the entire EP for free. -Catherine Downes
Brody Dalle's outfit, The Distillers, seemingly kept the old guard of straight-ahead punk rock alive through the "dark years," when Blink-182 and Sum 41 were gobbling up the airwaves. Then, she walked away and procreated with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age. These days, she's back with an interesting reinvention, Spinnerette. It's harmless, low impact, and an obvious stab at modernizing herself, but who's counting? It's fun, and it doesn't sound like anything else. --Alan Ayo
This might be hard to believe, but, once upon a time, way back in the '90s, a band that had more talent than they did highlighted hair actually won multiple CMA awards. Heck, I still can't believe there was a time when the mainstream country music establishment seemed to really believe in a band that pushed so many sonic boundaries. Surely, not too many have been pushed by mainstream country since. Lead singer Raul Malo's other-worldly croon, mixed with the high energy of Jayhawks-style alt-country, Bakersfield honky-tonk and a mélange of Latino flavors all joined together to create a catalog that is as identifiable and distinctive now as it was then, when even Top 40 country wasn't completely filled with overdone and over-moussed clichés. --Kelly Dearmore
For years, my interest in Coheed and Cambria had been casual. I'd rent a live DVD of theirs from time to time and I own a couple of their albums, but I sure as hell wasn't about to buy into the Star Wars -meets- Dark Tower "concept" behind their albums. But ever since drummer Chris Pennie quit The Dillinger Escape Plan to play with C&C, I've taken more interest in the music. Pennie is an all-around great drummer, and not just with playing Latin rhythms over blast beats. Legal reasons kept Pennie from playing on the band's previous album, so this year's Year of the Black Rainbow is his debut. Maybe it's the combination of his playing with Claudio Sanchez's high-reaching vocals and the band's signature syncopated rhythms, but I think Year of the Black Rainbow is quite good. It's the kind of record that could make you change your mind if you've been on the fence about the band. --Eric Grubbs
When I was in high school and first became exposed to the greatest of Gang of Four, a lot of folks kept telling me that I needed to look into Killing Joke, yet another post-punk band from England. After one listen to Killing Joke's second album, What's THIS for...! , I was hooked. Throughout the '80s and '90s, Killing Joke's music became more commercial and the band had several hits, one of them being "Eighties." Some people know this song for the fact that Killing Jokes sued Nirvana due to how much the riff in "Come As You Are" seems lifted straight from "Eighties." The suit was dropped after Cobain killed himself. Lawsuits aside, Killing Joke's influence can be felt on everyone from Ministry to Metallica. And the band's not done yet. Killing Joke's 14th album, Absolute Dissent , is due out this September. --Darryl Smyers
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