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February 4th, 2004 WW MUSIC STAFF | Music Stories
 

The Reckoning

Verdicts on new music.

     
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Crack City Rockers New Myths Paisley Pop

If New York punk wasn't good for anything else (which, actually, it was, but let's pretend), it at least inspired people like Eric Gregory of Portland's Crack City Rockers to build songs steeped in playful lyricism and intense electric energy. Along with an affinity for Television, Richard Hell and the Velvet Underground, the group's debut album, Joyce Hotel, proved that this band has a knack for mining the depth and width of the punk genre. Its latest EP, New Myths, goes further. While Gregory has never sounded more like the frantic Mr. Hell than on "Perfect Life," or the guitars sounded more like Television than on "Already Dead," this album shows the Crack City Rockers stepping outside of their NY influences. "Occult Piss" recalls a less emotive Elvis Costello fronting a more aggressive Attractions, while the brilliant "Glory of the Sun," with its fat, bleating sax line and sunny vocals, falls somewhere between Dinosaur Jr. and Madness. And when Gregory sings "So full of joy I feel like I'm retarded," you believe it. (Mark Baumgarten)

The Roulettes Self-titled Luck/Madison

For all its faults, there is something at the core of the Roulettes' debut album that hints at great things to come.

The local all-female quartet has a raw talent, but gritty recordings and a general lack of comfort with their rock 'n' roll roles remind you that this is, in fact, the band's first album. Even so, the breathy vocals are intriguing, as is the band's post-punk style. But something is missing.

On the song "Crabs," the ladies talk blowjobs and other penis-related poetry. But for some reason, the Roulettes just don't possess the vulgarity to pull it off. So it ends up sounding a bit forced, like hearing your grandmother yell, "fuck balls."

With time, the band will either stop singing songs like "Crabs" or figure out how to deliver them with authority. When that time comes, these ladies could become this city's queens of rock. (Alex Valdivieso)

Kieskagato you, are the one, who can Iconic Rocket

There's a trick to freaking out. Bobble-headed Thom Yorke knows it. And Howard Dean--yeah, he's got it down. But Kieskagato doesn't.

The band's latest, you, are the one, who can, is packed full of guitars, trumpets, Rhodes and more, coloring an ever-changing sonic middle ground. Strung together by lead vocalist Josh Vasby's Yorke-ish quaver, the album has its moments of beauty, as on the jazzy outtro to "White Castle." But those moments of beauty get lost in the fog of midtempo, over-practiced arrangements. Kieskagato attempts to shake up the sound, but often the need to follow a script destroys potential emotional peaks and valleys. The band works into a bit of a frenzy on "Omaha," but where it feels like there should be discord and dissonance, there is a funky bass line. Likewise, an eerily still moment at the beginning of "'Til You Wake Up" is ruined by a constant, measured cymbal. Kieskagato need to either stop reading off the sheet, or find a way to pretend they aren't. (MB)

 
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