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Lassoing up newer Mitten releases

May 9, 2012 at 12:00 am

It's like this fetching frontwoman has been preparing her whole career for her band Amy Gore & Her Valentines, because everything great about the Gore Gore Girls and Gorevette is here, along with lots of not-so-cheap tricks. The debut Valentines album reveals Shadow Morton-like girl-group elements, the same sort that warmed up her past combos, but there's more focus on the actual musical mechanics and the songwriting. 

Nice guy, shredder-in-demand, son of Super Smiths (Patti and Sonic Fred) Jackson Smith plays the shit out of his guitar throughout, while Gore's sexy lilt and bristly command appeals more than ever. Meanwhile, former Von Bondies bassist Leann Banks and ex-Grayling drummer Joe Leone, with the killer Ricky Rat power-shag, create a hand-in-glove rhythm section whose groove is so necessary for this to work. And if you've seen the quintet live you'll likely recognize power-pop ditties such as "Drivin' Around," "Static," "Just a Dream" or "Fine Without You." In short, the melodies and choruses eat up cranial space for days, riffs are round and crunchy, and harmonies are Ellie Greenwich sweet. 

Kinda like Cheap Trick and the Ronettes getting all dirty, or something.

Twoven is an electronic artist-DJ who skirts between dubstep, trance and other subgenres too minuscule to get a headache over. Having said that, you need to know that he steers clear of shitty soundtrack fodder for ad agency focus groups. The dude (aka Matthew Aho) was kind enough to send us a copy of the piece that he's put together for the forthcoming Wompapalooza electronic music festival (May 10-12 at Salt River Acres in Midland County). It's a killer too: Using a spooked up intro as a launch pad, Twoven swings effortlessly between hooks and tempo shifts — while this stuff would kill on any floor packed of MDNA'd up dancers, it works swell all alone at home.

I was eating a soul food brunch on Easter, and a jazz-blues duo crooned and picked in the background. The musicians were Sheila Landis and Rick Matle, and their brand o' winking-at-world-music jazz is as relaxing as music gets. Two of the combo's discs on SheLan Music, Heart Plaza and Blues in the Night, showcase said style gorgeously; equal parts sweet and soft, a kind of musical equivalent to curling up in bed on a windy night with a good book, or your lover.

Frank Woodman of Woodman sent in a new demo by his new band, Ungrateful Daughter. Some members have crossed over from Woodman, but the sound's entirely different. While there's a folk element to that band, Ungrateful Daughter is far more, well, artful, but in a kinda East Hollywood, Jane's Addiction sorta way. This song, "We Have Done," promises much. Good on it.

As somebody who despises Sublime, and that whole updated West Coast Mellow Mafia thing, I should hate Of Mice and Musicians, yet somehow they manage to incorporate some Detroit filth into the twangy, trippy stuff. Bottle & Bone (Dark City) is an awesome summer record. For those who enjoy indulging in medicinal foliage, roll with this.

The History of Panic is the solo project from Panic of Lettercamp, and, like his regular gig, his work's crammed of pop melody and hooks galore amid the electronic wizardry. Panic's one of those sickeningly talented dudes who can play anything and, here, he proves that he's capable of stepping beyond the shadows with gifts of anthemic tuneage and vocals.

Tendril recently released a video for a song called "Three Hives," and it's a fascinating visual. While the ditty falls between electro-trance and industrial, and the vocals whispered and creepy, the inventive video is some vision of BDSM hell involving creepy rubber masks and whatnot. Good stuff.

Johnny Headband's Who Cooks For You is a fantastic record, a heady mix of fist-jacking pop and glitter-boot disco, which isn't surprising considering it includes E6's Keith Thompson. So they veer from quirky cool, favoring synth-flavored pop with, get this, true mainstream hit potential. If these guys aren't the next thing outta here since Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., I'll kiss my own ass.

Lettercamp's new single, "Buy In," is classic Lettercamp in that they're good enough to create their own clichés. This involves a tease of a buildup that leads to hunky chorus that's equal parts sex and sing-song.

fIREHOSE is a name familiar to fans of punk rock, and Stooges fans should be interested because Mike Watt played with them. In fact, it again features Watt, because the band recently reunited and is booking a tour. To celebrate, this compilation called lowFLOWs: the columbia anthology ('91 – '93) (Columbia / Legacy) is out. So we have Watt and fellow former Minutemen member George Hurley joined by Ohio native singer Ed Crawford for some of the most overlooked slacker indie scuzz-punk ever. For the fIREHOSE unfamiliar, start at the link below.

The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre are masters at provocation, but the new single "Revoir / People Are Afraid to Merge" (Checkers Records) only serves to thrill. Lower East Side envy and comparisons to Suicide and the Velvets are odious at this point. Who cares?

The Ashleys have made two tracks available on Bandcamp to download for a buck each.

Both tunes are worth the price of a proper single, to be sure. The first, "Two Tone Mambo," is relatively slow psychotic beast, with fuzzy, violent vocals. The second, "The Kids Are Dumb," is even better. Mariachi punk with trumpets! Just the other side of Tijuana!

Abrahma's Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives is the latest release from Small Stone Records, and it's a monster. Monolithic riffs, heavy fuck-you bass, and look at that artwork! The vocals recall In Rock Deep Purple and the tunes have staying power. It's new nostalgia. It's also drunk on canned beer in backseats of T-top Camaros.