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Random Stabbings 18a

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Wax On Radio “Exposition” (Downtown Music)
Chicago art-rockers mercifully less what-the-heck-was-that than what Mars Volta is doing and infinitely more interesting. “Today I Became a Realist” instantly rivets the listener to the proceedings through the dead-serious antics of Mikey Russell’s voice, which wails righteously over a simple spaghetti Western acoustic guitar that’s soon joined by a brigade of regular folk singing along agreeably and New-Age-like as though they were at a Krishna Das om-fest. Changeup enough, that, but when “Time Will Bind Us To” comes in, it’s hold on to your angst time, a monstrously powerful hook that’s like Oasis trying to drown out Zeppelin, guitarist Bob Buckstaff experimenting with subsonic peals that mean business. By the time “The Guilt of Commitment” rears its operatic, epic head there’s simply no denying that the band’s aims are sky-high, and many listeners may find themselves thinking things like “I haven’t heard anything this slam-dunk since the first time I heard a live Radiohead cut.” Order from

Velvet Acid Christ “Lust For Blood” (Metropolis Records)
Pendragon Records oldbies Velvet Acid Christ maintain a status quo presence here, hesitating to veer off into styles that might raise eyebrows at the goth clubs, all welcome news if you’re big on status quo. The first pitch of the LP is the advance single “Wound,” a combo plate of blackhearted Vancouver-worship pairing Skinny Puppy’s evil-mist ethics circa Too Dark Park with Front Line Assembly’s breakbeatings and stock kraut-EBM synth-work your granny will recognize from her latex-fetish days. But both diehards and newly minted vampires will absolutely spazz over much of this, and rightly so, since VAC actually did some experimenting with the genre rather than IM the first ProTools things that popped into their heads over to Metropolis and expect them to do all the buzzwork. The BPM of “Parasite” may not quite meet trance regulations per se, but the tune itself is righteously propulsive, Bryan Erickson’s unflustered lack of vocal control giving it instant style points. Later on, “Crushed” regurgitates the heavenly jangle of the Cure’s “Primary.” Order from

Slow V & Retrospect “Radio” (self-released)
Two young Miami kids with old-school-rap chips on their shoulders. “Radio” is a concept LP revolving around the hard-knock life of a young ghetto kid who witnesses his parents being killed, then moves on to living with a relative who brings to mind of Strike from Clockers, all the while vibing to the music of his radio. Much of this is indeed OG, even prehistoric at times, with some songs coming off like Fresh Prince of all people. All in all it’s got a lot of youthful enthusiasm and energy behind its purpose, and the production is plenty good enough to have earned some Amazon space. Order from

The Evangelicals “So Gone” (Misra Records)
The Evangelicals were corn-raised in Flaming Lips country, which doesn’t automatically mean they have to be Flaming Lips-like, but they are in the sense that you’re never really quite sure what’s coming next, which turns out to be, in the main, high-pitched twee vocals carrying on as though they were tasked with getting the Pitchfork staff happy-clappy-ed up to sing “Kumbaya” (“Diving”). “Hello Jenn” is even more Belle and Sebastian-like, but what the Powers That Be would like non-scenester critics to stress is that they’re weird and psychedelic, with clangings and swooshings coming out of thin air, landing on your shoulder and saying, you know, “Hello, my strange new friend. How are you enjoying our semi-psychedelic trip so far?” to which you can either reply, “Just fine, thank you very much” or toss So Gone into the pile with all the other muzzled-vocal altie weirdness whose pot of gold lies in WB soundtracking and other super-important things like that. Order from

Botch “Unifying Themes Redux” (Hydra Head records)
Midway between black-metal, Crumbsuckers and a stomped cat sat Botch in their day, a more or less legendary Seattle crew, and in this one shot you can catch up with the most obscure of their puma-yowling lot, meaning their out-of-prints, kookpot EPs and things that ended up on compilation albums. The studio quality is carefully-positioned-boombox, making them sound more punk than what they probably thought of themselves; Botch’s net effect is Dillinger Escape Plan tranquilized enough to be musically coherent, very often plain vanilla rock when they aren’t trying to scare off the straights, which shows up more frequently in tracks like “End of Discussion,” a chainsaw-juggling act that’s easily swappable with the last thirty months of Metal Blade push bands. Groundbreaking those instances are not, but the nuggets from their teeth-cutting period are worth a download. Order from

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