Big rock bombast lives!
Marvelous 3 knocked the power pop world on its ear last year with "Freak of The Week," from their debut Elektra CD Hey! Album. After an incessant year of touring, they came back to record their follow-up album with the pyrotechnics stepped up a bit, with help from a bunch of friends they met on the road, including members of Lit, Buckcherry and Jellyfish.
With punk pop veteran producer Jerry Finn (Green Day, Blink 182) behind the mixing boards, you know that the guitars on this album are going to be buzzsaw tight (they are) and band leader Butch Walker spits out plenty of amusingly venomous sarcasm over his pounding arena rock anthems.
This is the kind of cheerfully bawdy and crunchy rock that Cheap Trick was peddling in the late '70s — lots of guitars, lots of harmonies and lots of attitude.
It all seems louder and bigger than their breakthrough album, but it never quite has the same catchingness impact, even so. The choruses sound familiar, and the lyrics aren't as sharp. The subject matter is the usual pop rock fare — getting dumped, getting picked up, having sex in a dream with a "Supernatural Blonde," telling your girlfriend that you "don't dig girls anymore" (OK, maybe not completely usual). It's got a powerhouse feel throughout, but ultimately seems to lack some lyrical depth, or staying power.
Still, it's a solid listen and fills the void for na-na-na-na harmony rock for a little while. Play it in between your old Enuff Z'nuff discs and the new Fastball and Green Day CDs.
Catch Marvelous 3 live at Chicago's Metro on Saturday, Oct. 21.
Vs. Monkey Kong
Could it really be a coincidence that A, which includes three guys named Perry (Jason Perry, Adam Perry and Giles Perry) sounds like a run amok version of Jane's Addiction, that oft-celebrated (and denigrated) punk-art band from L.A. led by Perry Farrell?
Coincidence or not (actually, they're brothers), if you were into Jane's Addiction, and pounding guitar rock, you'll dig this quirky power punk band.
They'll be opening this weekend for Marvelous 3 at the Metro in Chicago. And they promise to be "a full-on guitar explosion, a blur of bodies, chaos and choruses, with every gig treated like the last day of school, the best party you've been to, life like it should be."
New On The Shelves
Last month I wrote about a local label called Strictly Hype Recordings (SHR) that was distributing rave, techno and other "DJ" style dance albums under a variety of "sublabels" like After Hours, Flash Traxx, UCMusic and more. The label returns this month with a dreamy trance-inducing mix called Naked Kaleidoscope by rave DJ Lady D. The label also offers A Tribute to the Legendary DJ Attack, a well-known techno DJ and the founder of SHR before his death last year. The mix is all DJ Attack's tracks and remixes and the proceeds are going directly to his family. DJ Rick Garcia offers Trax Classics Presents Rewind, a fairly monotonous mix in the old house "1984" style. But the best of the new SHR discs comes from Miami-based DJ Eddie X with Glow Stix. It's a solid synth-pounding mix of bleeps and beats featuring tracks from Wonder Boy, CRW, Flat 6, System F and more.
If you want to turn your living room into a rave but want some more recognizable artists pumping out of the speakers, check out Essential Dance 2000 from MTV DJ Skribble on Atlantic/Warner Essential. Scribble tackles hits from Moby, Cher, Filter, William Orbit, Fragma and Bob Marley and blurs them all together with a steady pounding background of beat.
Fans of "Dawson's Creek" can now pick up a hit-laden second soundtrack from the popular show. Songs From Dawson's Creek — Vol. II features more than a dozen modern pop rock artists, including the current big hits from evan and jaron ("Crazy for This Girl"), Nine Days ("If I Am"), Splender ("I Think God Can Explain"), Train ("Respect"), and The Jayhawks' breakthrough summer smash "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me."
The disc listens like a playlist from Chicago's WTMX 101.9 FM (The Mix) with both familiar songs and great new discoveries.
The disc includes a number of other great new pop artists, from Jessica Simpson's John Mellencamp "Jack and Diane"-sampled "I Think I'm in Love With You," to Wheatus' hysterical high school paeon to geekdom, "Teenage Dirtbag," in which the disc's producers unfortunately, in a ridiculous display of over-PC-concern, bleeped out a line that talks about being afraid of a girl's boyfriend who brings a gun to school.
The album also includes Jessica Andrews' beautiful cover of Maria McKee's "Show Me Heaven," taken from her debut, and Michal's "Broken Boy," from her debut disc reviewed in the Sept. 5 edition of "Pop Stops." It ends with Mary Beth Maziarz's cover of The Monkees' "Daydream Believer," a unique version that cuts the tempo in half and supports her melancholy vocal with only a piano. The result is a classic pop rock song gone touchingly sad.