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F ... is for Fret

Review Archive:
Various Artists

The Facet Adult Comedy
The Facet were from Denver, Col., and they were madder than hell. Inside this final release is a crushing allegory on the dispossessed of South America. Well, not really. It's another hardcore album of love, loss, and frustration. How can we Gen Xers make a difference? More albums will have to be written until we can figure it out. The Facet were on the trail of the mystery before they split. Now we'll never know. Still, their final release, filled with chugging guitars, aggressive drums and punchy vocal cries do justice to a tragic world filled with ennui. True, The Facet can't save a generation, but they can give it space to think. Thanks fellas. Not Bad Records RG

The Falling 2 through 10/Shatter Vinyl Single
The first time I listened to this single, it sounded like Stacey Earle ganging up with Neko Case and Jane Siberry for some weird country hoe down. And then I slowed the record down, only to discover it was some guy with weak windpipes wheezing out a song that wouldn't be out of place on a Tragically Hip record. (But that's what you get there's no information on the sleeve or label to tell you what speed to play this at.) Both songs are laid-back and mellow in an emo-rock meets rock/blues tone, alternating between the slightly menacing and the hopefully dreamy. Not bad, but doesn't quite sit up and beg to be noticed either. An EP is forthcoming this fall. No Karma Recordings ZH 4.15.2003

The Flaming Stars Ginmill Perfume: The Story So Far 1995-2000
Genre ignorance aside, this sounds a little like Violent Femmes without the fun, or The Cramps without the schlock. Alternative Tentacles are infamous for branching out and extending the boundaries of underground music, and more power to them. Somebody out there follows the Flaming Stars, but everyone else will be scratching their chins. New wave garage blues surf lounge??? Alternative Tentacles Records JS

Filthy Thieving Bastards A Melody of Retreads and Broken Quills
This is like a super group of sorts in the punk community. Featuring members of The Swingin' Utters, Camper Van Beethoven, and Me First and The Gimme Gimme's, Filthy Thieving Bastards instill a more Pogues style of musicality than fast-paced punk rock. And believe me, these guys know what they are doing in this realm of music. A sort of pub sing-a-long storytelling manner of delivery using instruments that deviate from the condition of standard rock -- think mandolins, organs, violins, pianos, and accordions. The best thing about the whole project here is the wordsmithing alone. Their lyrics are the type of weave that only comes from years and years of experience and even more of drinking. Really, it's the type of almost Irish folk tunes that would make Shane McGowan smile wide. Except, lets hope he doesn't smile too wide 'til he gets them teeth of his fixed up a bit. Anyway, for fans of The Pogues and the afore mentioned bands, this is a no brainer to include in your collection. It is fun and extremely well done. Each song is an accompaniment to the other and it flows with gritty effervescence. That's all I gotta say about it. I'm gonna grab me a Guinness and play this thing again. BYO Records MW

Five Eight The Good Nurse
The newest release by the band Five Eight and frontman Mike Mantione, The Good Nurse, accomplishes what few bands today seem able to do…write good music. From the intricate arrangement of horns and guitars in "She's Sleeping", to the melodic and sweeping track "Oh Surgery," this Deep Elm band puts together an array of ear candy for it's listener. Clearly drawing influences from the classic rock era with their well placed bridges and taped effects, Five Eight also dabbles in the driving sounds of early REM and the power pop "stop and go" style of Built To Spill. Unfortunately for us who consider singing to be the most important instrument, and the hardest one to master at that, this album doesn't quite deliver. Although, for those who enjoy the slightly off-key slacker-style vocals, The Good Nurse just might be your new saving grace. And it's not that Mike Mantione isn't capable, because in gems like "The One Who Does Better" and "Florence" his vocals soar above the music perfectly in tune. Overall, this album is more than pretty decent and if anything it shows major promise of talent coming forth in today's rock scene where it is so scarce. Deep Elm Records NH

Fleshies Kill the Dreamer's Dream
The once ground breaking political music label from San Francisco has been slipping of late. Not only are Alternative Tentacles' releases potential financial nightmares (target market, anyone?), the bands they are supporting just don't rock. It all started back in 1995 with the signing of Vancouver's Facepuller, their AT debut is a used bin favorite worldwide, and this release by Fleshies is another in the long line of big mistakes from AT. Even the social messages of the AT stable are faltering. Speed-punkers Fleshies do nothing but attempt to shock with their anti-PC lyrics, and nothing progressive, musically or lyrically, can come out of Kill the Dreamer's Dream. At this point, it's obvious Jello Biafra is asleep at the wheel. Time to put an end to an important label's legacy before that legacy gets dragged into the shitter. By the disposable sound of Fleshies, it might already be too late. Alternative Tentacles JS

Folly For My Friends
The day has finally come where a band can go from ska to hardcore to youth crew in one song. At long last, life is complete. Folly are for the folks that can't decide between NOFX and Sick of It All. Hell, why not have the best of both worlds? Did anyone in this band stop to think about how horrible these two styles sound together? Did it ever occur to them that ska/straight-edge/hardcore is a genre best left untouched? Folly, indeed. The CD includes a video for the title track -- hardly a bonus. New World JS

The Forms Icarus
Perhaps it is just plain stupidity but sometimes when music that comes forth whom everyone is pleased and erect over goes over my head I feel as if I should like the band and sound but then have to wrestle with that jungle beast deep inside and cry out: "No! This album was only okay to me! Not genius! I ... am ... an…idiot!" But that's just me you see? So many critics and fans have claimed The Forms as a #1 piece of masterwork, a trial by flame and noise power to which enigmatic tunesmithing and lyrical one handed juggle make for a soundtrack you and your tight jeans wearing crew will swoon over again and again. I, as the long time metal maniac and writer of vast unpublished works thought it was fine but the clang and bang and short fuse wanderings made me purse up and go "Yeah ... fine, whatever." Yet don't get me wrong dear fan of The Forms and likeminded outfits such as June Of 44 and Sunny Day Real Estate, I enjoyed Icarus as much as I could, but given the fact that ol' Steve Albini rendered his lead-putter mitts on this project, the whole thing came out much like a power auger from that wimpy kid in homeroom's bottom. See, the brainiacs and the soul mongers are always at war. It's a bitter yet peaceful war, but nonetheless, there is a division that is rarely crossed. The Forms are on a side that you must decide in which to be a part of. I'll be in the ice cream shop, listening to Sabbath and watching the sun go down. Threespheres Records MW

Fridge Happiness
Praise comes in all shapes and forms. Fridge deserves all of the applause they receive after each song or performance; it is an exceptionally dizzying array of electro-bastics, combined with a searing ambiance and beat that transcribes by most standards a welling of the pot into a deep froth in which we all need to dip our ladles in and spoon gently inside. Like a beautiful ambush, Fridge display a resonance that very few accomplish with the same type of minimal convention. But (here it is) if you happen to go AGAINST the grain a bit, much to the dismay of digitized indie rockers, you may be labeled a fool, only due to the fact that it takes a certain grip and acceptation to fully head nod to this style of work. Hailing from London, as many other in their ilk do, they are no strangers to being hand shaken and admired ever since their debut CD Lojen in 1997, which introduced a sound and convex most of which weren't prepared for. Sure, metallic knob twisting and feline slinks of the beat-box were indeed being performed, but these guys happen to do it as if an idiot man-child were to pick up an instrument with very little influence and jam hard on it. Speaking of which, guitarist Kieran also plays in Four Tet, if that does anything for you. In fact the combined effort of the group have appeared on remixes for Pole, Aphex Twin, and Rothko. You dig yet? Its pretty clear and simple: If you happen to understand dusk and get into ambient soundscapes that you can (almost) dance to, then Fridge will be the next persistent enclave on your undeserving stereo system. Temporary Residence Ltd. MW 1.18.2002

Mid '90s chugga chugga. If you're a fan of this genre, you will be dancing. Reminds Allen of Green Rage or something on Catalyst Records. Raw vocals (raw recording for that matter). "I don't need your system. I don't need your shit. I don't need your system. I'm sick of it. Insubordinate." Kind of boring if you ask us ... and well, they did. Sinister Label MH/AH

Fury for Another Self-Titled
Skate punk. A genre long forgotten, on the day the backyard half pipe was scrapped for firewood, to be exact. What an adrenaline rush it was to drop off the 5-foot coffin and stick a 50/50 grind the length of the coping. Ah, skate punk. DC's Fury for Another play straight ahead hardcore with an obvious nod to the likes of Minor Threat, Insted, Brotherhood, and Uniform Choice. They even dip into the second-generation positive hardcore territory, with the energy of Four Walls Falling and Youth of Today evident in their approach. Shit, maybe they've never heard of any of these bands (except Minor Threat, of course) -- too busy skating curbs down at the local 24 store. As a sentimental touch, Fury for Another steal the chorus of Underdog's "Frontside Grind" for their "Skate Anthem," on purpose or by accident, it doesn't matter. Skate punk comes full circle, along with a hankering for the backyard half pipe. Smorgasbord Records JS

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JS - Jason Schreurs

MW - Mark Whittaker

KG - Kenny George

ZH - Zachary Houle

MH - Melissa Hostetler

RG - Ryan Gowland

CS - Cameron Smith

CR - Chuck Reith

CO - Cory O'Malley

BD - Bruce Duncanson

JR - Jessica Richman

GW - Greg Wilson

DG - Daniel Garret

JT - Jessie Turner

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