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February 05

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Stop Doing Bad ThingsVictory Records

Ever since their debut album Remember Right Now became a marginal hit, Chicago-born Spitalfield (STILL don't know what that name means...) has become one of Victory Records' faves, and with good reason. Possessing a sound more akin to Foo Fighters or Jimmy Eats World than the flood of crappy emo that flows in their wake, these four Mike Ditka fans (hey, who isn't -"Da Bears!") have put together a solid if predictable follow-up album in Stop Doing Things Bad.

Tracks like "Gold Dust vs. State of Illinois" (who could not want to listen to a song with a title like that?) have just enough Nirvana-style guitar-crunch to overcome the inherent repetition of standard emo and pop-punk, even if most of the later tracks or the "B-side," so to speak, are good but standard stuff, particularly "From the desk of B. Larson." which is called "road poetry" — strange since you can barely hear the vocals let alone understand them, but that's really a recording problem.

With a BIG tour coming up and several videos getting ready for some MTV rotation-time, you better hope you don't think this album is a bad thing, because you're going to get to hear quite a lot of it. —Brandon Whitehead . (Posted 2/25/05)

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
World’s ApartSecretly Canadian

Already well known for their loud and eclectic style and “energetic” (that means they jump around a lot) live shows, not to mention a very long name, these four Texan boys have created something truly unique in their latest CD World’s Apart.

The first few tracks are thick with complex orchestral arrangements and harmonies; the middle is some decent emo (yes, it does existŠ), while the end is almost 70’s R&R. This is some strange stuff, but there’s no doubt these guys can play, even if they do tend to weave across the musical highway with all the concern of a drunken buffalo.

That’s probably the biggest problem here (not to mention that, commercially speaking, most of these tracks are incompatible for radio play): just when you get used to something here, they stop doing it and try something else. Confusing, but never boring. At this point there is usually a bad pun on the band’s name to wrap things up…but today that trail’s a dead one. —Brandon Whitehead . (Posted 2/11/05)

Nikki Sudden
Treasure IslandSecretly Canadian

Nikki Sudden is one of the best rock ‘n’ rollers you’ve never heard of. One of those aging (and I use the term with respect) British rockers who never wiggled out of the shadow of his better known, and likely better promoted, peers — at least stateside. But Sudden has gathered a loyal following on the Continent.

The guy certainly has the licks, a decent voice and, at least on his latest CD, Treasure Island, a collection of musicians, labeled as The Last Bandits, that showcase the very best in musical talent from England — the kind of stuff that dominated rock for about a decade from the mid-1960s through mid-1970s. The names include Mick Taylor on guitar, Ian McLagan on keyboards and Anthony Thistlewaite on sax.

The opening cut “Looking for a Friend” is a kick-ass example of what I’m talking about — tight and in-your-face without a hint of mushy compromise. Ditto on “Kitchen Blues” and, what I think is the best cut, “When the Lord.” Sudden also dabbles in a little country with “Break-up,” a song that runs with the best in that genre.

Throughout Treasure Island, the playing is very strong, the talent upper tier. My problem is Sudden’s lyrics. Too many songs strike me as someone apologizing for having too many party nights, too many groupies and saying goodbye to women he should have kept around. There’s an attempt to be profound, where if Sudden could just take the attitude in his writing that “it’s just rock ‘n’ roll,” he could bring more people to his artistry. —Bruce Rodgers (Posted 2/4/05)



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