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Trailer Bride
Hope is a Thing with FeathersBloodshot Records

With a name like Trailer Bride, it's not hard to guess what kind of audience this band is going for...Can you say, “Aw, I just spilt bong water on mah favorite Skynrd T-shirt right next to the PBR stain!”

Little has changed since their first album Whine de Lune was released in '96. Even the song titles on their newest CD Hope is a Thing with Feathers sound like they're from the wrong side of the tracks. Skinny white girls, vagabond hotels — it's all here, cuz.

Singer Melissa Swingle's deep-fried voice echos the group's Chapel Hill, NC origins, and the Southern goth sounds here fairly ooze like molasses in January. While the country music scene continues to be dominated by the likes of Clint Black and Shawna Twain clones, it's nice to hear something with a little edge to it, although the only thing with feathers around a trailer park tends to end up plucked and grilled and (like this band) served up crisp with some damn fine hot sauce. —Brandon Whitehead

The Distillers
Coral Fang – Sire Records

The Distillers are punks who missed the point, and the blame falls on the deep-throated Brody Dalle.

Her break-neck guitars propel morbid lyrics dwelling on typical emotional issues. There is no trace of the political sensibilities that make punks from the Clash to Mission of Burma and Rancid more than just oddly dressed.

Further complicating the matter is that Coral Fang wants to scare you. But this four-piece band simply isn’t frightening, no matter how much Dalle screams. The Distillers even got help from Gil Norton, a collaborator with the Pixies (the only four-piece band that could make hair stand on end and make you like it),to no avail.

Not to suggest that there aren’t bright spots (like the syncopated rhythm guitar and subtle backing vocals on the radio-single “Draw the Blood”) or that Dalle is deaf to hooks (the almost optimistic “Beat Your Heart Out” is punk-power-pop).

But in the end, following the senseless prolonged feedback of “Deathsex,” it is obvious that the Distillers ought to sharpen their fangs and try something substantial. —Paul Smith

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