Clearing Out the Mailroom: Tuesday, March 3, 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.

People In Planes (Cardiff, Wales)
Beyond The Horizon

Underneath some interesting keyboard parts and a head-nodding funky drum beat on opener "Last Man Standing" is a hokey alt-rock anthem that could just as easily have come from this band's Wind-up Records labelmates in Creed. There are some cool sonic flourishes, but the band still goes for those cheap, overdramatic choruses just scream Modern Rock Radio. The album art is very cool, though, and nearly tricked me into liking them.
I made it to: Track 2

Braker Lane (Fort Worth)
The Only Way We Know

I can't tell whether Braker Lane is a Matthew Lane solo act or a Southern Rock guitar wankery band. Lane's weary voice is front and center in the mix as he sings generic rock road-song lines like "The highway is my surrogate home" while twin electric guitar leads intertwine quietly behind him on opener "To Heed The Call." Next up is "Aransas Bay," a poppy first-love reminiscence with guitars switching from jangly to crunchy. Apparently the Drams' Chad Stockslager and Centro-matic's Scott Danbom both make appearances, but I'm not interested enough to stick around for their guest spots.
I made it to: Track 3, "Take My Hand."

The Pungent Sound (Seattle)
November of the Beast

This side project of Transient Songs' John Frum and Ray Liberio, of Haltom City punks The Me-Thinks, specializes in sludgy stoner rock with organs, voice-mail messages, epic cymbal washes, serpentine distorted bass lines, church bells, and nonsense lyrics about beasts. Plus, at under 20 minutes, the whole thing doesn't last much longer than a salvia divinorum trip.
I made it to: the final note of final track "Any Ridgeway But Loose."

Scion CD Sampler Volume 21: IHeartComix Records Remixed
The thumping bass and chopped vocals of the Acid Girls' "Intro Track" immediately made me wish I was jamming in my wife's box. Uh, that came out wrong. I mean her 2006 Scion Xb, a cube on wheels that made every previous car that had ever been described as "boxy" look excessively streamlined in comparison. That reaction makes sense--this is apparently one of those CD samplers that Scion PR types hand out at car shows. The bumping disco-house remixes would probably be fun to listen to at a club (or in the car on the way), but I feel kind of silly listening to them on headphones in a fluorescent-lit cubicle, sober, in the middle of the day.
I made it to: Track 3, The Toxic Avenger's "Pokerface (Lies In Disguise Remix)"