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May '04

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The Hurt Process: Drive by Monologue

The Hurt Process
Drive by MonologueVictory Records

Ah, who doesn't love the smell of hardcore emo in the morning? Who can't sympathize with the heartache, angst and rage of today's teenagers burdened with the horrors of finding that perfect cell phone to match those life-affirming hip-hugger jeans to correctly showcase that upper-ass tattoo? Certainly not U.K.'s The Hurt Process (insert funny line about stupid band name here), who slather themselves with that stuff on their newest CD Drive by Monologue.

Alternating between power cord-anthems and emo-pop ballads, the ten tracks here are clean if uninspiring stuff, with some decent guitar and drum work scattered here and there. The twin vocals are the weak link, as is often the case, and leave little to remark upon, other than to please stop that.

Tracks like "Come Home" sound great...to begin with, but then those darn singers start their James Hetfield growl imitations and each driving measure is followed by an annoyingly light-weight pop-hook that sounds like it would fit perfectly on the Leno show. "The Beast Sails In" has some pretty cool drum work until, again, that annoying pop-hook comes in, and the singing...well, you get it. Something has definitely gotten hurt in this process (pretty clever, huh?). —Brandon Whitehead; Posted 5/7/04

Under SuspicionEudora

Madcap: Under Suspicion

Wanna know a secret? Well, maybe it's not that big of a secret, say, like a PDA on Osama, but it's still something a lot of readers never realize: music critics, at least in the form of CD reviewers, are pretty much completely bogus. See, it works like this: labels send out "freebee" CDs of their newest groups to various publishers and freelance reviewers. Now, if a particular writer pans what they get sent too many times...bam! They don't get nuttin'! If, however, a reviewer does the opposite and drools all over whatever over-produced pre-packaged emo-pop-punk-alt-crap a labels pimpin' out, not only do they keep gettin' the free stuff, they also get preferential treatment: Phone interviews, free tickets backstage, access to groupies, etc. (by the way, movies are exactly the same, just ask most any movie reviewer)

Yes, Virginia, the world of criticism is ruled by sell-outs and quote-whores, and since you, the highly discerning consumer, are going to by that next Kid Rock or White Stripes CD even if their best use is as a small Frisbee, nobody cares. Even now, shaved monkeys like yours truly are desperately banging on their keyboards for that next free crappy CD, resulting in the current flood of incredibly shitty and biased reviews that are essentially bought before they're even written.

Buy the way, the new Madcap CD Under Suspicion is really, really cool. Really, no kidding. —Brandon Whitehead; Posted 5/7/04

Silvertide: Show & Tell

Show & TellJ Records

Take a bunch of thin white boys in grubby clothes, mix with a lead singer (Walt Lafty) who knows how to pout-pose for the camera, sprinkle with a sound ripped off from the Black Crows and lots of song intros that go "One, Two, Three...Rock!" and you pretty much have Silvertide.

Fresh from opening for Aerosmith (They don't even have an album yet, and they’re already opening for Aerosmith? Makes it hard to tell if they're just that good, or Aerosmith has just gotten that lazy.), they've come out with Show & Tell, a four-track sampler (not including a fifth "bonus" track called "Mary Jane"—gee, do you think these guys might smoke the reefer?) of their upcoming album.

All the songs here sound just about the same, but who cares? These guys have got Commercial Gravy-train tattooed all over, and judging by their slick, full-sized press packet complete with dozens of glowing quotes from mags like Metal Hammer (they're not metal) and Kerrang (Is that even a word?), they've got the big money people backin' 'em up all the way.

This is the complete Clear Channel consumable. As Metal Hammer UK wrote in it's "Hot 50" issue, "Silvertide not so much (sic) push the foundries set before them, but rather smash right through the crash barrier in their '67 Dodge Charger, soaring headlong off the cliff and into the great blue yonder!" We can only hope. —Brandon Whitehead; Posted 5/14/04

The Brew Jam
Ten Years of SundaysBox of Chalk

Brew Jam X

Chemistry. Every band wants it; few have it. How to tell? It’s in the playing, but not completely. There’s also the stage presence.

For a good lesson in how to recognize it, take in the The Brew Jam, the Sunday night house band at the 75th Street Brewery. Chemistry they got.

Their recently released Brew Jam X—10 Years of Sundays celebrates a decade of good chemistry at the Waldo establishment. It’s their third CD, following the 8-year and 9-year anniversary CDs. 10 is the best.

Mark Valentine kicks off with a “Stagger Lee,” a 1959 top-charter by Lloyd Price. Valentine’s voice has enough of a razor’s edge to slice the delivery of “Stagger Lee” truthfully while paying respect to one of Price’s classic tunes. Andy De Witt takes his voice and fretless bass through Sting’s “Love Is the 7th Wave.” De Witt can run through the strings, breaking the low-end sounds into peaks and valleys like no one else in town.

Greg Camp, another underrated yet superb musician, sings of “those girlfriends” in a Keith Richards’ penned “Why Me?” Camp’s voice equals the versatility and range of his guitar playing. Where he really shines is his nearly every-Sunday signature song “One Way Out,” a feeling the Allman Brothers put on the map. It’s here where the talent of each player and their generosity to one another stand out.

Valentine smoothes out his voice a little, and layered behind Camp’s guitar, with “I Ain’t Lyin’,” a tune—as much as I can find out—by East Coast bluesman Little Sammy Davis. Every lonely dude has experienced the line about a lady who “gets better lookin’ with every single shot.”

Helping push it all along is Ray DeMarchi, a musician who knows how to accent, not overpower, on percussion.

The last three cuts feature some local guest musicians. In all, The Brew Jam is about chemistry, the artistic kind. Go to 75th Street on Sunday, and then take home this CD for the memory effect. —Bruce Rodgers; Posted 5/14/04

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