Clearing Out the Mailroom: Thursday, January 8, 2009

We've got quite a backlog of CDs we've never gotten around to, so we're going to try to chip away at the pile with this regular feature. The plan: to take four or five at a time and play each CD for as long as I can stand it.

Confusion Only (San Antonio) The Story Of... The Middle-Eastern percussion that intros opener "In A Circle" is a bad start, and this technically proficient, utterly dull jam rock doesn't get much better from there. "Singing this song for no one," Santana-loving guitarist/singer Steve admits. Someone take away his wah-wah pedal, please. I made it to: A few seconds into Track 2.

Sole Poets (Dallas) The Other Half of the Sky Unremarkable folk rock. Kinda boring if you ask me, but I can imagine middle-aged moms getting into it. Not to be confused with Sole Poets' similarly packaged 1996 debut, umm, The Other Half of the Sky. I made it to: Track 3 of the 2008 version, Track 1 of the 1996 version.

Various Artists Punisher: War Zone Original Motion Picture Soundtrack I don't like to use the term "guilty pleasure" in regards to music. If you feel guilty about liking something, you're really overthinking things. That said, I don't go around telling people that I kind of liked White Zombie when they first came out, and maybe I'm still not too quick to change the station whenever "Thunderkiss '65" comes on. But even if I were to apply the very loose standards I had in my mid-teens, I'd have to say Rob Zombie's solo stuff has gone from bad to worse, at least judging by the ridiculous title track to the soundtrack of what looks like an awful movie. I fought through "War Zone" to get to a new-ish Slayer song, "Final Six." Meh. Slipknot lost me with "Psychosocial," which means I missed what surely would have been great songs from the likes of Seether and Static-X. I made it to: Track 3

Gojira (Bayonne, France) The Way of All Flesh Progressive technical death metal. I liked that they played really tight, precise riffs and keep a nice organic tone, without digitally processing the life out of the guitar. That said, I can only take so much double-kick drum and screamed lines like "Mankind has forgotten the gateways by the mouth of the serpent regenerate." Just as I started to get bored, a funky, robo-voiced slow jam, "A Sight To Behold," changed the pace up at track 3 -- in the way that a car wreck changes the pace of your afternoon commute. Made it to: Track 3

Various Artists Dog Tracks: Songs By Dogs This CD is a fund-raiser for rescue and adoption organizations. Various folk and blues musicians (The Amoreys, Sarah B, Micki Croisant and more) perform humorous ("I Gotta Go O-U-T") and/or sappy ("Wishin' You Were Here") songs from the point of view of dogs. I'll admit, the art with dogs playing instruments was pretty much the only reason I gave this a listen. It's cute in a way that kids and dog nuts would like. I made it to: Track 6 --Jesse Hughey