The ShockerThe Shocker
Up Your A**tray: The Full Length
(Go-Kart)
½


Looking for some old-fashioned, estrogen-driven punk rock to raise the roof this summer? The Shocker has got 11 tracks that you'll be happy to headbang to on its new independently released CD.

Formed by former L7 member Jennifer Finch to play a party in Los Angeles back in 2002, the rock didn't stop after the party for the band, which continues to pound out the distortion-rich riffs as heavily as L7, with the manic punk vibe of the early Donnas. And on "Body Count," Finch belts out a rapping stream of lyrics above a hard-rock guitar that is reminiscient of chick-rappers Northern State, if they rocked harder.

The Shocker's first full-length CD expands upon an EP it issued in 2003. It's a punky, pounding disc with a heavy dose of lyrical humor (especially in the call and response chorus with the boys in the band of "Bad Brain, Good Head" and the bathroom bummers of "My Life As a Plumber").

Unfortunately, The Shocker won't be frothing up any mosh pits in the United States this summer; the band is currently on tour in Europe after releasing this disc last month. So if you want to raise your fists and sing along, you'll have to get the disc. For information, check its site at www.theshockermusic.com.

 

Mary Lee's CorvetteMary Lee's Corvette
Love, Loss & Lunacy
(Western Force)
½


Mary Lee Kortes has been travelling the roots and folk-rock circuit for a decade, now, and has earned plenty of critical acclaim along the way, including a plug from Rolling Stone's David Fricke, who wrote that "The bright bite in Mary Lee Kortes' voice (has) the high-mountain sunshine of Dolly Parton, with a sweet-iron undercoat of Chrissie Hynde."

That's the best way I can think of to describe her sound, which borrows from both country and rock in its delivery of emotion-charged songs. While an "underground" artist for many years, Kortes received a visibility bump in 2002 when she issued a live CD that covered Bob Dylan's classic album Blood on the Tracks.

Originally planned as a disc to be sold on the Web for her fans, the album took off and got a larger release, thanks to a groundswell of support from Dylan fans. It also earned her a slot opening for Dylan on his tour.

Her latest CD is a collection of her own original harmonic country songs and rootsy rockers that, regardless of genre, spotlight the sweetness and edge of her voice.

You'd expect her to hail from Nashville, with her mix of rock and country vibes, but actually she comes from New York, and has become a fixture in that city's clubs with a revolving mix of backup players, since she independently released her first disc in 1997.

From the jangly guitars of "All That Glitters" to the strolling Viennese lilt of "Where Did I Go Wrong, Elton John" to the slow rock strut of "Wasting the Sun" and "Lucky Me," Love, Loss & Lunacy is a CD rich in emotion and style. If you like a touch of twang to your singer-songwriters, catch a joyride with Mary Lee's Corvette.

For more information, check the Web site www.maryleescorvette.com.