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Hazard County GirlsHazard County Girls
Never No More

Kurt, the ghost of rock ‘n’ roll past, comes over to my house and asks, “What do you miss about rock ‘n’ roll?”

I replied, “Courtney Love before Celebrity Skin came out. Ed Hall painted white showing a video on themselves. Phantom Creeps (Nashville Pussy, Candy Snatchers). Turning on the radio and hearing a song I like. Obviously Nirvana.”

Kurt hands me the Hazard County Girls’ new album Never No More, “Check this out, Sean Yseult (White Zombie, Fabulous Monsters, Rock City Morgue) wrote some of the bass lines, and Katielynn Campbell (Fabulous Monsters, Nashville Pussy) used to be in the band. And this CD was produced by none other than Daniel Rey (Ramones, Misfits, White Zombie).”

We go to the ghost of rock ‘n’ roll present’s house to smoke weed. We listen to the CD, and Ozzy tells me the Hazard County Girls currently live in New Orleans. “Three lovely women touring around the country breaking hearts and guitar strings! They give me the creeps, and I like it,” he says raising an eyebrow. “This is their only album, but I am hoping for more.”

In walks a young lady carrying a doll with no head. (They tell me she is the ghost of rock ‘n’ roll future.) “My band is playing at the Rank and Revue Anniversary Party on January 16th at Room 710,” she says. “We go on right after Crow. There might be videos projected and sexy ghouls. You’ll be sorry if you miss it.”

I don’t fuck with ghosts, but I’ll be there to check out Crow, Hazard County Girls, Scott Biram, Honky and Grady and to promote a brighter rock future by buying a copy of Never No More at www.hazardcountygirls.com. Happy Holidays Rockers!

–Beth Sams

Modey LemonModey Lemon
Thunder + Lightning
Birdman Records

Forget about a bass player. Bring on the MOOG. In Thunder + Lightning, the Modey Lemon’s follow-up to their 2002 self-titled debut on Anti-Flag’s A-F Records, this two-man band is walking a fine line. Even the most sophisticated ear might have a hard time distinguishing whether the musical smorgasbord these Pittsburgh trash rockers deliver is modern day genius or blatant theft of old art punk, a genre whose day dawned long ago.

Add one part late ‘60s hard rock, one part ‘70s garage rock, a pinch of psychedelic haze, and pour it through a punk revolution strainer, circa early seventies Stooges, and you have what we now know to be the Modey Lemon. Should one lean towards the possibility that Philander Boyd (guitar, vocals and everything else) and Paul Quattrone (drums) are innocent innovators, then the fact that both of them are barely twenty is nothing short of frightening. Their talent belies this detail, and with its lunatic concentration, their playing ability grabs on to the very essence of the cutting edge of youth.

Quattrone navigates this dirty music with an intensity rarely seen since the days of Moon and Jones’ invocation of emotive impurity, while Boyd delivers vocals that reek of a manic urgency layered over sonic synthetics. For the most part, he hides behind metaphors in his lyrics but, every now and again, he tears down the emotional barrier and exposes raw pain. There is substance here. In this day and age where it seems that, at least musically, everything has already been done, then for these artists, it seems the logical solution is to mix it ALL together and hit the puree button. With Thunder + Lightning, the Modey Lemon has whipped up one yummy brew, but left themselves room to grow.

–Tammy Moore

Thrall Thrall
“Lifer”
Alternative Tentacles

God Bullies frontman Mike Hard leads this band Thrall, which also includes members from Inside out and Overhead. Their latest cd “Lifer on Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles, is a conspiracynut/societal dropout’s wet dream. The opening song ‘Path of Initiation’ starts the album out with pounding drums and bass with nerve jarring guitar squeals before Hard launches into the first of many diatribes against society in general and American society in specific. Interspersed between the first five songs are sound bytes of various people speaking on variegated societal issues such as the byte in between ‘Petrochemical Pharmaceutical Military Complex’ and ‘Kill It’, in which some intellectual lectures an unseen audience about the false promise of satisfaction from large amounts of money. ‘Petrochemical Pharmaceutical Military Complex’ is a prime example of Thrall’s obsession with getting the listener to see the absurdity of American society and it’s unseen manipulators, while ‘Kill it’ deals with drug abuse as a symptom of the manipulation by the PPMC. The hard rocking somewhat metal tinged music serves as an excellent backdrop for Hard’s rants against “normal society”. Each song seems crafted to stir an uneasy introspection upon our culture in the listener. ‘Get Up and Go To Work’ is one of my personal favorites on this disc, the futility of having a “9-5 job” really hits home as Hard repeatedly growls “Get up go to work, go home go to bed!” The album as a whole iis a treat to listen to, each song a new thought provoking experience, making on think about ones culture and its seeming contradictions. Hey Mr. Jones are you reading this?

-James E

rocket from the tombsRocket From the Tombs-Rocket Redux 2003 (Smog Veil)
[The Day The Earth Met The] Rocket From the Tombs-Live From Punk Ground Zero
1975/2002 (Smog Veil)

They were just a ghost on the radar in ' 75 but now at the turn of the century it appears the Earth is ready for a return visit by Rocket From The Tombs. Touring and recording with Television's Richard Lloyd claiming the space once held by terminal visionary, Peter Laughner, the group has managed to stay together long enough to retake a dozen of their strongest songs for Rocket Redux. Written when the band formed in Cleveland during the
psychological fallout of the Vietnam War and posthumously exhumed in Lloyd's
New York studio, the songs emerge incredibly realized without being
overproduced. With studied instinct, Lloyd flays "Life Stinks" like a psychic surgeon, digging in with his guitar and leaving the walls covered in steaming entrails, and David Thomas sounds like Bon Scott stuck in a k-hole, especially on "Down In Flames". Itself one of four immortal Rockets songs co-written with Thomas that appear on Redux and Ground Zero, claimed post mortem by Cheetah O'Connor for the Dead Boys, who went on to inspire two generations of punk rock and rollers.

Serving as the only testament to their legacy and legend was a handful of bootlegged live performances and demos gathering velocity up through the decades finally resulting in the surfacing of Live From Punk Ground Zero. They achieved uncharted realms of noise by dragging Brian Eno through Alice Cooper's nightmare. The songs stand up to most versions recorded since then because the reaches of their own enlightened amateurism powered them beyond the limitations of recording and time. On Ground Zero Thomas and O'Connor still possessed Laughner's urgent bellow of condemned youth missing from Rocket Redux. "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" is 100 proof vitriol screeching and buckling along in the face of a white light horizon. Surveying the wreckage of a pivotal moment in their lives, the Rockets have rebuilt a ship without a soul, but that never stopped Frankenstein and it won't stop Crocus Behemoth.

- Dave Roybal

The Sweethearts
L.U.V.
Mortville Records

Despite its homogenization, commercialization and hybridization, punk rock is still alive and kicking - albeit a bit balding and long in the tooth. However, the kids in the Sweethearts have taken the old man, given his Doc Marten’s a spit shine, reapplied the glue and egg yolks to his comb-over, plied him with whiskey and sent him spinning and cavorting right back into the mosh pit.

Young and aggressive, the band takes its cues from the X-Ray Specs, the Descendents, Nirvana and yes, even the punkier side of No Doubt, churning out eleven songs in under thirty minutes. Short and sweet, L.U.V. is a litany of broken hearts, teenage angst, and desperate cries for redemption, forgiveness and an end to pain. Just as any good punk record should be.

L.U.V. doesn’t have quite the energy and abrasiveness of the Sweethearts live onslaught, but the production more than makes up for the lack of kinesis, illustrating the band’s intelligence when selecting an engineer in the form of Frenchy Smith. Although constantly on the road wowing European audiences with Young Heart Attack, Smith has, without a doubt, one of the best ears in Austin. He has taken a batch of songs that might have come off as generic or trite in the hands of anyone else and made damn sure the Sweethearts came off in a manner befitting their talent.

See them, buy this, and thank me later.

-Trevor Wallace

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