chump change

Speedealer - burned aliveSpeedealer
Burned Alive
Radical Records

Jeff Hirshburg (guitar), Eric Schmidt (Guitar) and Harden Harrison on drums collectively make up Dallas Texas’ Speedealer. They’ve recently released a live CD called Burned Alive recorded at CBGB’s in NYC on the Fourth of July this past year. Chronicling songs from the past four Speedealer releases as well as “Rock and Roll” from their newest Bleed, Burned Alive captures the fire and fury that is Speedealer caught in the act live. High-energy hard-hitting rock and roll rages forth from your stereo’s speakers once the CD has been assimilated into your player. The first four songs, starting with “Hit It And Run,” blow by in rapid succession, the short brutal songs easily segueing into one another. The album keeps getting hotter and hotter as the track numbering increases. My personal favorites on this disc are the twisted blues opening of “Absinthe”, the self-hating “Kill Myself” and of course “Drink Me Dead.” The songs on this live platter run the gamut from speed metal thrash to punk and don’t disappoint from one to the next. Burned Alive is out now on Radical Records, go get your fix.


TKEELHAUL - Subject to Change Without NoticeTKEELHAUL
Subject to Change Without Notice

Keelhaul from Ohio (Cleveland?) was hailed as a "peer" influence by Philadelphia's Stinking Lizaveta in their R&R interview. Track one projects the image of an escaped monster stomping on houses in long-awaited vengeance. The music quickly moves from straight-up heavy to chaotic. Between the labels this band has been slapped with, I would choose "short attention span music" over "metal" - though there are some guitar riffs and embellishments that could qualify as metallic. Mostly instrumental, it's very tricky in structure with random time changes and non-traditional form (no verse-chorus here). The sparse vocals are non-melodic (yelling) and not especially skilled, but not without character. The overall sound seems to originate from dark, mature and intelligent personalities.

Decent variety and dynamics, solid musicianship, and good energy. The production is good, appealing to my taste with subtlety and the clarity of each instrument - as opposed to current trends in "wall of mush" amplification and mixing. The more experimental, spacey/moody tracks are the ones I would put on my party tape.

This CD is not metal enough to blast me across the room (head not banging, songs not sticking), but it has potential to grow on me. Like Stinking Lizaveta, Keelhaul would likely be more interesting live than they are on disc.

- Bek Sabbath

Full ServiceFull Service

Dispassionate, droning, incessant music comes out of my speakers-quite disappointing. I really had high expectations for this CD. With such charmingly, creative song titles like "Goonies," "Speak Chinese" and "Surf Symphony," one would think this album could offer more than humdrum, meaningless rock mingled with really bad rap interludes. But my friends, good song titles do not a good album make.

The singing lacked so much enthusiasm. How can this band ever expect anyone else to want to listen to their music? The songs just sound so unintentionally depressing, making me want to crawl under the covers and never have to face the world ever again. The lyrics from the song "Fall Asleep" really sum up this band perfectly: "Is anybody out there, wave if you can, you're out with all the water, I'm waiting on the land, just flash a light or something a message in a can, a bottle, whatever, to wash upon the sand." It makes me feel so all alone.

The guitar music not much help either-it made me want to weep incessantly. Seriously, how does depressing, dispirited music mix with rap music of any kind anyway? I never heard the connection and would venture that most people wouldn't either. It just sounds like two very different groups (and neither sound good individually) got together and exploded into one awful noisy mess.

If you suffer from insomnia, like myself, this album will be a great relief to you. Just pop it in, and trust me, in moments you will be drifting off to sleep, if not crying your eyes out in misery. So, the only really good reasons to purchase this album is if a) you can't sleep b) maybe you need a good cry or c) you think I am being too heartless and really are curious as to what this band sounds like.

-Misty Sweet

Smoke - Smoke Follows Beauty

Smoke Follows Beauty

The painting of a naked lady with snakes crawling all over her on the cover of Smoke's latest CD likely provides the first clue as to what lies inside. With the exception of a few creepy departures, this is a pretty straightforward, no bullshit rock and roll CD. The tracks are filled with plenty of tasty guitar riffs and enough widdely woos and chunckety chunks to satisfy the dirtiest guitar rock jones. I hate it when CD reviews fall back on comparisons to other more well-known artists, so I'll do my best to always avoid that. That said, Smoke's sound and particularly their vocals have obviously been influenced by some old school heavies. Sometimes influences can be really cool, especially when there's a clear evolution taking place. After the third track I'm convinced this is one such example. In between the head-rippin' tunes there's some pretty creepy stuff that I'm not quite sure how to describe. Imagine having drank way too much stale, bad, cold, black coffee and having to carry a heavy ass guitar across a dark city in the middle of winter when it's so late that not even the buses are running. There are some attempts at going epic on a few cuts but these flights are tempered by tons of solid grooves. What can I say, I'm partial to fuzzy, sloppy guitar chops that are played that way cause that's just the way he likes it. Yeah my head is still throbbing, but fuck it, pass me the Jack Daniels and let's finish off these cigarettes before we run out of tape. Let her rip, boys.

- Lee Ahlbrandt


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