"Dan's Reviews"

by Dan MacIntosh
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Dirtball • Turn Up The Barn

Planetary Records
The members of Dirtball are guys raised on rock & roll, with just a dash of country still haunting their pasts. Turn Up The Barn is an album of mostly "oh-lonesome-me" songs (like the opener "3 AM"), and Dirtball is a group fronted by Wes Freed, who receives some gentle accompaniment at times by Jyl Freed on backing vocals. The album was recorded in the Stoneman Family Barn, illustrating how sometimes you just can’t take the country out of some folks.

Used Carlotta • Reckless Wheels

Planetary Records
The music made by Used Carlotta is like a musical tour of the South, whether that be with the lightly jazzy Gospel of "I’ll Be Gone" or the Flannery O’Conner-esque Southern Gothic story told on "Dead Girl Song." Although country is the firm foundation of this group’s sound, its songs are spiced-up along the way by bits of alto saxophone and clarinet and livened by the unstoppable optimism in singer Louis Ledford’s voice. All in all, this is classy stuff.

Lower East Side Stitches • Lower East Side

Lower East Side Stitches is all tattoos, leather and snot, and this angrily cheeky blast of juice sounds a lot like the way early East Coast punk once sounded back at the beginning of that time-tested genre. Added to its three chord guitar/bass/drum songs of dissatisfaction, such as "TV Zoned Out," this quartet sometimes uses the services of a wailing sax. The overall effect is that of a less puss-ified Green Day, with an extra large dollop of spit shine.

Kenny Chesney • Greatest Hits

RCA Records
These hits paint the picture of a singer who sure knows his way around a sentimental ballad. The song "You Had Me From Hello" sounds straight out of a soap opera script, and it has all the same sappy trappings of a bad chick film. Nevertheless, a song like "Baptism" adds a little kick to this ballad-heavy collection, revealing that Chesney might actually have an adventure film in him after all. I wonder if Arnold produces country albums.

Punk Chartbusters

Wolverine Records
In addition to creating their own unique anthems, punk rockers have also taken great pleasure in putting a little dark cynicism into the covering of other less-mohawked artists’ songs, and this first Wolverine compilation includes a whole mess of such sarcastic undertakings.

Usually, songs deemed as "least likely to succeed as punk fare" make up the best material for this kind of concept album. On the particular release in question, "Volare" is covered by Youth Brigade, "Kids In America" blasted by Teremoto Party, "Devil In Disguise" done in by Lost Lyrics. Along the way, Vulture Culture covers "Country Roads," The Bates do "Yesterday," "Robert De Niro’s Waiting" is given the Subterfuge treatment, "As Tears Go By" is nearly tearless in Terrorgruppe’s hands, Antiseen gets crazy with "Pyscho Killer," Tattooed Corpse puts extra pop into "At The Hop," Blazed Up un-synths "Never Let Me Down," Peter + The Test Tube Babies bring out a new side to "Never Gonna Give You Up," Mick & Mack sing for the lonely on "Eleanor Rigby," Baffdecks do a believable "Unbelievable" and the Yeti Girls get materialistic with "Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend."

Not everything is top of the pops material, though, as exemplified by Germ Attack’s "Living By Numbers," Israelvis’ "SOS," The Slags’ "Freedom," Dildo Brothers’ "Maria Me Ta Kitrina," Psychotic Youth’s "Japanese Boy," Harter Bis Wolkig’s "Niemals Geht Man So Ganz," Stoned Age’s "Zombie," Axel Sweat’s "It’s Alright," Molotow Soda’s "Hiroshima," Boskops’ "Sesamtrasse" and Jimmy Keith + His Shocky Horrs’ "Milk + Alcohol."

Punk Chartbusters 2

Wolverine Records
Punkers don’t grow up in a vacuum, as this covers album amply proves. Music from almost every genre, it seems, is represented here. Modern rock is taken on with The Bullocks covering Oasis, Gigantor doing Depeche Mode, Across The Border rocking with a Billy Bragg song, Dildo Brothers doing a Eurythmics tune, Terrorgruppe giving their best to Gun Club, Kwil singing U2, Public Toys having a go at Pulp and Daisies doing Suzanne Vega.

Other artists look a little further back into pop music’s history, as Yeti Girls sing something from E.L.O., Anfall cover Bony M., The Bates update Jackie De Shannon, Axel Sweat get rasta with a Prince Ital Joe tune, Kapitulation go a little obscure on a Flying Pickets cut, Shock Treatment draw from the Phil Spector sound for a Shirelles song, Alison Tate has a go at Bob Dylan, Skin Of Tears misspell Don Henley’s name on their choice, Sloppy Seconds go way back to Sammy Davis Jr., Toy Dolls remember Small Faces, Warnstreik sing a song by The Buggles in this post-video age and Vulture Culture also give their best to a Boney M number.

There are also a handful of obscurities, such as Die Toten Hosen’s singing of a Bill Ramsey song, Germ Attack playing a Nick Straker Band tune, Wizo going for a France Galle number, Caught In The Act being given a solute by the Killrays, Harpo remembered by Lost Lyrics, Hass choosing a Rio Reiser song, the Swoons doing something by Clout and Lokalmatadore covering Howard Carbendale.

Punk Chartbusters Vol. 3

Wolverine Records
This third volume is a staggering 2 CD set, collecting a whopping 50 punk cover songs.

Side one features music by Mars Moles, Me First + The Gimmie Gimmies, The Punkles, Wohstandskinder, MxPx, Bullocks, Wisecracker, Swoons, Untergangskommando, Digger, Scabies, Millencoln, The Billy Rubin, Kick Joneses, Nobodys, C.I.A., Schussler Du, Daddy Memphis, Adolescents, Daisies, Rhythm Collision, Mustard Plug, Across The Border Saint Zero and Samiam.

Side two includes Bradleys, Mr. Bubble B + The Coconuts, Snuf, Jet Bumpers, Arzte, Crivits, Psychotic Youth, Germ Attack, Badtime For Bonzo, Jef Dahl, Hoblins Choice, 12:30 Foot Fall, Sigi Pop, No Fun At All, Heiter Bis Wolkig, Parasites, Vageenas, The Pug Must Die, Noe, Hi-Standard, Under The Church, Skin Of Tears, Baken Beans, Frau Doctor and Yeti Girls.

The most surprising song choices here include "Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen, "Karma Chameleon" by Baken Beans, and "I Think We’re Alone Now" from Snuff.

Laura Kittle

Bold One Records
This four-song cassette includes both yin and the yang, the two sides of love. Happiness is expressed through "What Kind of Life Would That Be" and "It's You're Love," whereas the sadder end of romance saturates "You Took Me For Every Tear I Had" and "Seeing You From the Back of My Mind." Laura Kittle sings these differing emotions with real feeling, whether she's riding high or feeling low.

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