Clearing Out The Mailroom: Thursday, May 20, 2010.

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 a few at a time and play each CD for as long as I can stand it.

The Service Industry (San Antonio, TX)
Calm Down (Sauspop)

Sadly, this week's stack of records from the ol' mail room wasn't as enjoyable as the stack I grabbed last week. With that being said, the fourth record from the Alamo city's The Service Industry is the best of the bunch--for whatever that's worth. The productive sextet handles their brand of power-pop and punk decently enough, really. The lead vocals of Mike McCoy provides a dark, slightly heavy, feel and effectively distinguishes their overall sound from various one-hit wonders that banked between the years of 2001 to 2005. The lyrics possess a slight bit of humor that refrains from being absurd or simply pointless. But, after a few tracks, the monotony of the power-chord crunching gets to be too much, and the songs themselves fail to remain distinguishable from one another.
I made it: 18 seconds into Track 4, "Calm Down."

Colt Ford (Athens, GA)
Chicken & Biscuits (Average Joe's)

Speaking of humor that doesn't veer into the category of pointlessly absurd: The opposite is the case with this extreme joke of an album. Poor Colt Ford; he really wants to sound like he's genuinely rapping, but he just can't make it happen. Sure, it's necessary to give Ford credit for becoming a big-time seller as an independent artist. Hell, I'll even high-five him for having a duet with Jamey Johnson, whose music is the just about the only reason that a person with a brain should even care about mainstream country music these days. But, come on. In the first song of this alleged country/rap album, we are "treated" to 99.99 percent of country music topical clichés. There's fried chicken, watermelon wine, a reference to Alabama, and yes, the object of Ford's affection can get wild-ass crazy on Saturday night and then pray with the best of 'em in Sunday morning church. If there is an Association of Brain Dead Music Lovers, then, congratulations, Colt Ford, you are a shoe-in to be their artist of the year.
I made it: 54 seconds into Track 2 "Hey Y'all," but I'll be honest. I did a little skipping and listened to other tracks, just to make sure it was as dreadful as the first two numbers suggested. It was.

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Leatherface (Sunderland, UK)
The Stormy Petrel (No Idea Records)

Like Colt Ford, England's Leatherface wants their latest album to sound like something it simply isn't: angry. Their previous records have done well to showcase satire and socio-political frustration while brandishing a relatively jagged, sonic edge that wasn't easily smoothed out. With what I heard from The Stormy Petrel, Frankie Stubbs and gang sound as if they grabbed a couple of their favorite, late 1990s Foo Fighters records (which are fine, as long as you're not trying to be bitter and caustic) and mixed in a dash of the Clash, just to be punk-safe, and decided to trace a design in lieu of drawing their own, alarming picture. The clean and oily slick production rob any distinction from the album, and in turn, forces one to assume that the band's need for acceptance is far greater than their need to make a defiant stand. After all, if a band is attempting to be divisive and cage-rattling, then the onus is on them to make us give a damn about what they are growling about. And that's hard to do when their snarl is more closely related to the purr of a cute, fuzzy kitten.
I made it to: all the way through Track 2, "My World's End."

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