Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Previews of Upcoming Attractions for early January 2015 (and a quick message)

State of the Blog Address or rather a few thoughts on where we are at.

We are into the seventh year of DC ROCK LIVE. There were many times last year where I was 90% positive I would be fully retired by now. But on we go. The one revelation that worried me most was when my late afternoon thoughts went from ‘Oh, good I’ve got a good show tonight’ to ‘Oh good, I get a night off’. I guess doing over 200 shows a year will do that to you. But as I’ve gone from over 200 shows in 2012 to over 160 in 2013 to about 130 this year, I am finding a better balance for the rest of my life and all the various aches and pains.

But stay tuned for more this year. I want to stay active and continue to document a few of the fun things that go on in this city. I’ve enjoyed it tremendously, even as my body and mind are at their weariest. Whether we continue with more writers or a smaller schedule, we shall see. The reason ‘taking it one day at a time’ is a cliche is because it is a sound way to approach many things. Now on to the business at hand.

Here are just some of the upcoming shows I am hoping to see, time willing. Give them a listen and join me if you like. Despite all the negatives, the power of live music can't be beat.

Local rockers Dale and the ZDubs are one of four bands at the Fillmore this Friday night, January 2nd.

Willie Watson comes to the Hamilton on Thursday, January 8th.

New Orleans Suspects have two nights for you to choose from at the Hamilton on Friday or Saturday, January 9-10th. There are also a couple members of Little Feat on hand.

I have seen both Cracker and Camper van Beethoven touring in recent years, well now since those bands share so many members, they are touring together at last and hit the stages of the 9:30 Club on Wednesday, January 14th.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Jonny Grave and the Tombstones -- Hill Country - Dec 27 2014

Jonny Grave and the Tombstones - Another fine local band presented for free at the best BBQ place in Penn Quarter (well, the only one as the other place closed and was too small for music anyway). Grave is an excellent guitarist either solo or with a band. Tonight he has a strong complementary outfit complete with rhythm section, guitar, and harmonica. They cover the usual terrain of blues rock with some Americana roots, but do it in a way that is fresh and vibrant, which can be a challenge for most. It helps that the guitarists can duel away with lead runs that reflect different styles and personalities. The vocals are rich and all the players have the touch to make their integration smooth but with plenty of heft to push things along in an exciting manner. It is a smaller crowd as holiday travel is taking a toll, but they are more engaged with the music than a larger crowd would be, so it was a great way to take in this band.
Quote of the Night: From JG after an audience request... "Moby Dick? Ha. No, the last thing we need is a 15-minute drum solo". Then people clamored for everything in the key of 'D' before the cliched Stairway to Freebird requests came in.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lilt -- Holiday Market - Dec 20 2014

Lilt - 'tis the season for free shows as this is the second in a row for me. In this case, there was a bit more sacrifice as it was a chilly day for this outdoor show with a couple of tents for performers and some of the holiday shopping crowd. It is a bit awkward with people walking in between doing their shopping and in Lilt's case, the music was so inviting to the passerby, that there were a few human traffic jams with interested listeners. And that is no surprise, as Lilt's music has always had an immediate appeal to me with the skillful playing of Tina and Keith on flutes and strings respectively. The music is Irish traditional for the most part, which works perfectly in the wintery season as the melodies add warmth while recognizing the cool environment surrounding. They were supplemented with some nice bodhran playing and with a couple of Irish dancers, which is often a part of their sets. The audience appreciated the quality presented whether they stayed for a couple of songs or were there for far longer than I stayed. If you like Irish music at all, make Lilt a part of your live experience as their particular brand is one of the more inviting brands out there.
Photo from yesterday's show from Lilt FB page.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Alex Vans and the Hide Away -- Hill Country Barbecue - Dec 19 2914

Alex Vans and the Hide Away - It's been a while since I've seen this fine local outfit and when you have a free show in a comfortable setting, it is pretty hard for me to justify staying home watching Rosemary & Thyme. The club is quite full and the only unfortunate part of that is that people are a bit preoccupied with their conversations. While this is an annoyance, I understand it more at free shows (odd that this was not the case last time here). But it is the holiday season and Alex Vans is a pro, so the band whips through songs pretty quickly and effectively and make their presence felt. They are more a warm straight up rock style with some roots, but not brazenly roots oriented as are many of the performers here. It is just them all night, so they sprinkle some covers in to the mix. 'Suzie Q' worked well, although I missed the CCR psyche moves. Queens of the Stone Age was even more of a pleasant surprise as they worked these songs in between several of their fine originals. The band works well in a bar setting as they have a warm delivery with vocals, like smoother Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers type sound with plenty of guitar and a flowing rhythm section. I did not last until 'the wee hours of the morning' but I doubt little changed in the quality of the performance.

New Years Plans? I do not really recognize this holiday any more than I get excited about odometers turning over into a new set of numbers, but.. if you are interested in taking part in The Downtown Countdown featuring Third Eye Blind, Delta Rae, The Lloyd Dobler Effect, DJ Urban Cowboy, and DJ Dirty Elbows, then just click on the link above or right here. Use the code dcrock for a $10 (of which nothing comes back to me, so it is just for your pleasure and savings).

Monday, December 15, 2014

Paperhaus - U Street Music Hall - Dec 14 2014

by Kyle Schmitt

Paperhaus - Eight months after the masters themselves played a few blocks over at 9:30, Paperhaus took on the audacious task of playing Kraftwerk’s classic Trans-Europe Express in its entirety. The band told the audience that they used to cover “Neon Lights” by Kraftwerk, claiming that the band is “a huge part” of how they understand music. They proved they understood Kraftwerk in turn, bringing out the pop in “Europe Endless” and the ominous sensibilities of “Hall of Mirrors”. Credit goes to Danny Bentley and Matt Dowling for keeping on the beat even while playing a multitude of repetitive rhythms. The drumming on “Trans-Europe Express” was especially impressive, as the band had three percussionists playing simultaneously to reproduce the correct sound. This undisputed highlight got the crowd moving and helped Paperhaus put their own imprint on a personal tribute.
Esoterica: Steven Faith played several songs sampling Kraftwerk’s music before and after the live band set… A mysterious hooded figure gyrated onstage to “Hall of Mirrors”, creeping it up during the verses before darting back towards the DJ booth… Andy, who’s seen Kraftwerk five times beginning in the 1990s, thought the Paperhaus set was “terrific” and captured the more-attractive elements of the German originals.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Black Checker - The NRIs - Sarmust -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - Dec 11 2014

Sarmust - This is the only band in tonight's local showcase that I have not yet seen... much the fool I have been. The exciting beginning chant over light keyboards and percussion reminds me of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, not exactly something expected from any opening band. I am almost disappointed when the guitar chimes in and the trio moves to a rock format with such an amazing beginning. Yet there should not be any reason for me to lack confidence that these guys would deliver further creativity in their music. And they did. The vocal work was somewhere between Omar Souleyman and Bob Theil, powerful expressive and at times mystical. The drummer knew how to pull back or deliver a rock beat when needed. The keyboardist had good variety with a subtle style to enhance the songs. Guitar work was jagged, rocking, and even funky at times. Simply great vibrant music that will push boundaries of even those of us who are well versed in world music. Do not stand still, go see this band the next time out.

The NRIs - And now to the known bands for me--known, respected and always enjoyed. The NRIs have solid rock songs but offer so much more to the two guitar, rhythm section lineup. Specifically, there is violin, keyboards, sax, and both male and female backup vocals to make for a full exciting set of arrangements. They use all these instruments judiciously as warm songs always come forth even with so many interesting components within. It is always a pleasure to see this band and it was no different tonight.
Black Checker - Speaking of pleasure, this wild power pop trio should be putting a smile on your face if you are listening at all. They always conjure up great pop hooks, but are adding even more energy and speed to their set. The speed is great as they maintain clarity and inventiveness keeping it all under control, perhaps teetering at the edge at times (which is more fun than never teetering at all). A recent drummer change seems to be pushing things along nicely. Everything is crisp, fun with a sense of classic pop music evident even as it is revved up to punk rock speeds and beyond. I should point out that the sonic and lighting improvements at the Rock'n'Roll Hotel aided this show as well. Soundman Dennis is just getting started with the changes and it should make for even steadier and more inventive experiences at this fine venue. And when the Rock'n'Roll Hotel delivers a great local showcase like this (as they often do), you owe it to yourself to give DC bands some of your time, as you will find it well spent.

Quote of the Night: from Black Checker after their opening cut... "That was a fast song." they went into their second cut which was just about as fast.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Alex G - Ricky Eat Acid -- DC9 - Dec 10 2014

Ricky Eat Acid - Ricky sits at an electronica table working up loops, samples, beats and just a wee bit of live vocals. The good news is that he did not have a Macbook open and refrained from bobbing his head up and down. He seemed like a nice guy, too.

Alex G - The last time they were billed as Sandy Alex G as there is an Alex G out there as well in the music scene. As confusing as the name is, this Philly quartet combines a lot of familiar sounds such as Violent Femmes, Mission of Burma, and Sebadoh into some odd mix of rock with an overriding Meat Puppets vibe, particularly in the vocals. They make it work with a seemingly laconic attitude where clearly there is plenty of power underneath it all. It is a lot of fun with good songs and the occasional extended jam that moved into some surprisingly heavy territory. This is a fine band that is developing enough fans around here to support their own shows.
Cymbals Eat Guitars - This quartet was just here in September opening for Bob Mould. They did a fine job that night in the big environs at the 9:30 Club. But tonight, it was the smaller but nearly full room at the DC9 for them to test their music out. And they easily passed this test as their vibrant rock music had the intimacy and variety to keep the crowd fully involved throughout the lengthy set. I was pleased that they began the show with a song that they had never played before. Bands that tour frequently should try to add new songs or odd covers whenever possible to spice it up for us that were at the last show. The opener showed a fine command of tension in the controlled pace fo the music with the vocals trying to push outward. The band then varied the pace with crisply played faster rhythms,  bouncy keyboards, ringing guitars, and the intense lead vocal work. They impressed me even more than I expected tonight seeing them up close and good things await future tours for this Staten Island band.

Obit of the week - Brian Goble died of an apparent heart attack this past Sunday in the Vancouver area. Brian was the lead singer of the Subhumans (Canadian, not UK) as well as a long time bassist for DOA. He had a quiet intensity that burst out of his vocal work with those bands, as well as a wry understated sense of humor amongst the serious times. He was a great guy that will be sorely missed by many people all around the globe. Joe Keithley says it well here. But I'll leave with a great photo from Bob Montgomery that shows what punk bands looked like before they found punk. From left to right, this is Brad Kent (DOA, Avengers), Brian Goble, Dimwit (DOA), and Joe Keithley (DOA).

Monday, December 8, 2014

Centro-Matic - Elephant Micah -- DC9 - Dec 7 2014

Elephant Micah - After a delay getting started, the large crowd was treated to a fascinating opening band that was more than worth the wait. Joseph O'Connell is the songwriter, voice, and guitar behind the name. He is assisted by second guitar and sax and a percussionist/keyboardist. The band creates a great sense of space yet offers diverse sounds making these seemingly simple droning folk songs move into ethereal territory. The first song sounds a bit like a spacey Jackson Browne cut, but they drift into Greg Sage (Wipers) solo territory, which is a great place to hang out. The drummer used one hand to play some atmospheric droning keyboard patterns while offering some tasty percussion on a couple of fine numbers. They went over pretty well with the crowd, although bands like this tend to completely engage only portions of the audience. I was in the completely engaged camp as this music, when done this well, is some of my favorite music to drift away with.
Centro-Matic - I find 'farewell tours' kind of creepy in some ways, but they are certainly good for the fans as they know this is the last chance to see a band they have enjoyed, in this case for nearly 20 years. This Texas quartet certainly drew their fans as the club was packed with a diverse crowd that enjoyed their brand of indie rock. The sound is something between the old Nirvana/Sebadoh sound heading into the Iron&Wine/Band of Horses environs. It is all competent with some strong songwriting that I enjoyed more than the strained vocals. Good dynamics musically, so there was enough to enjoy here. Could be the last...

Quote of the Night: From two of the opening musicians...
"They (Centro-Matic) will be sadly playing for the last time."
"They'll be gladly playing."

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Jesse Marchant - County -- DC9 - Dec 3 2014

County - This is actually a solo guitar and vocals outing from a member of County, whose very name makes for internet research difficult that I'm not willing to expend effort on today. More importantly, this was a fine set of music that was a pleasure to listen to. He has a Dino Valente style voice, rich and powerful with just enough range. The guitars varied from electric to acoustic, all adding a strong and steady melodic focus to work off of. He stretched the first two songs into mini-epic length, but was able to hold attention throughout. Good job and I am sure the full band experience would also be a lovely time.
Jesse Marchant - This is actually a full band effort from Mr. Marchant on this tour and quite a band it is. Marchant begins in a folk rock vein by showcasing his rich singing voice, which is quite similar to the opener. He has even more assured restraint that the band is more than capable of complementing. They control the volume and build rising tension and highlights as well as anybody I've seen recently. There is plenty of outright rock moments as they can crank up the volume as well as create intriguing guitar moves and pulsating rhythms. They remind me a bit of a 60s artist named Beau who did two albums of folk and psyche-folk. He had two songs that had gonzo electric moments on them, which would have worked perfectly in this set. There was a modest crowd into this music in a big way and if it gets heard by enough people, Jesse Marchant will become a major draw, quite soon. There is just too much quality in song and playing not to connect with a wide audience.

Quote of the Night: From the opener... "Thanks for coming out and being quiet--that's cool" ... about 5 minutes after I told the people behind me to please keep it down as I'm trying to LISTEN.

Monday, December 1, 2014


Let's start with this release featuring two songs per side for a couple of ultra heavy metal monsters courtesy of Dutch label, Reflections Records. Acid Deathtip has mighty Sabbath riffs with a deep dark sludgy undercurrent. Although sludge isn't quite right as there is a clarity to the powerful and tuneful noise they conjure up. The vocals stretch and strain but hold down the melody to keep this quite entertaining for most any hard rock or extreme metal fan. Whereas Hangman's Chair will appeal more to the psyche metal crowd as there are moody beginnings before the intense vocals and guitars turn the dirges into metal tunes. There is an almost post Seattle edge in here as well as these are pretty good songs that could be arranged a few different ways. More heavy and exciting music from northern Europe here. Take a listen.

The latest Belgian musical sampler courtesy of Hypertension Records is yet another fine edition in this excellent series. This one is just two bands and two long songs. Alkerdeel move from a dirge like post death metal intensity into furious post hardcore pace. It is thick sludge with nimble beats underneath and pained vocals being carried away by a tune. Whereas Nihill starts out with a post death metal sound played with some pace and full throttle intensity. They take it into a spacier realms that are more chaotic toward the finale, so these two songs are like Sisyphus going up and down the hill before conclusion. Unlike Sisyphus, you can choose whether or not to repeat the journey. I plan on it a few more times at least.

They do… let loose, that is. If you like your blues raw and stripped down musically, yet revved up to honky-tonk tempos with an easy attitude, then let the Bloodhounds into your world. These guys keep it squealing and skronking throughout these twelve oddities that will fit in well in between your Stampfel & Weber and Gun Club records. There's even a cover of 'Security' which I remember the Saints tackling way back in the day. I like the washboard sound and some of the uptempo numbers. This is not every day or even every month listening for me, but it is a fun change of pace.

Songs to try first:

Indian Highway - Start at the beginning as the opener gets off to a rollicking start.

Dusty Bibles & Silver Spoons - and old washboards and loose and crazy folk.

The Wolf - A long lazy blues walk down a twisting trail.

The Cool Ghoul was an amusing horror movie host in Cincinnati during my youth. Some of that fun is present here, as well as that sixties psychedelia that the Cool Ghoul employed in costume and style. These Californians do it with jangly guitars and fuzzy lo-fi production. The vocals are spirited and likely stoned, still with lots of energy behind it. They tend toward the rawer side of Red Kross here, although it's more a fuller sixties punk as opposed to seventies. This is a little too lo-fi at times for me, but the thrust in the vocals mixed with the cool guitar sounds ultimately work favorably. Not my favorite psyche record of the year, perhaps, but one I'll go back to.

Songs to try first:

And it Grows - and grows and grows with fuzzy jangly duels, while blissfully unaware.

Orange Light - Nice hook in this one, like Black Angels through tinny amps.

Insight - Cool guitar solo with backing that is nearly Velvet Underground.


It is great to see the brilliantly original Canterbury band Gong still making music. They still attract some fine musicians in surrounding crazed spacey beatnik Daevid Allen. Sadly, he is recovering from cancer and can’t tour with the band, but at age 76 he still provides the vocals and the vision for this slippery band. There are the expected psyche-rock moments, jazz runs, mototik moments, and beat improvisations. They can lay out some heavy rock moments as well and have kind of a Hawkwind meets Third Ear Band when they really cook. The artier side of this makes me think that Gong even influences a band like Pere Ubu. This has all the eclectic moves you expect from the band Gong, even after four and a half decades. They are still too difficult to fit into comfortable patterns for many a music fan, but for people who like prog, psyche, odd jazz rock moves, and much more, Gong will carve out sonic space that few others know where to find.

This is an interesting mix of quirky pop, chamber music, and Americana folk music. There is banjo and orchestral strings with edgy guitar parts and interestingly odd vocal lines (among others that are smooth as silk). The vocals are in the neighborhood of Bryan MacLean (Love) and the music nimbly shifts about in various interesting forms. It is light music for the most part, but very well thought out through either careful writing or playful jamming, perhaps both? There certainly is more than enough imagination here and it is refreshing to hear something that seems quite familiar, yet has a clear distinct style standing away from the pack. These Bostonians are well named.

Songs to try first:

My Rides Already Here - Fine folk opener before they stretch out their rock moves.

Astronomy as Therapy - Great title and a nice mix of their styles.

The Fight Against Paranoia - Twisted pop with a great instrumental break where paranoia wins.

I really enjoyed the live set I saw from this Nashville based, West Virginia born singer songwriter. He has a deep dark folk style that has a classic feel like Derroll Adams, yet pushes well into the psychedelic folk dimension as well. The album is a little less trippy in the overall sound as compared to the live set, but the psychedelic vibe is inherent in the songs and vocal work even more than the music. Some people may be less enchanted by this music, but they can find their pleasure elsewhere. If you want to join me, seduced into a deep trance that has enough edge and presence to keep you alert and listening closely, then join me with this very fine album.

Songs to try first:

Jackson - Almost a touch of whimsy (rare here) with this mysterious song.

Black Coal - Deep COB-like mystical folk music here.

Way Gone Wrong - A murky folk rock sound down deep with a great vocal and guitar on top.

Roots music is plentiful. It often does not push the barriers too much, but if the heart is there, the songs are there, and the musicians are competent or better, there is always an eager audience. Sam Llanas gets checks in all of the above boxes with this album. It is not too much of a surprise as Llanas had a good bit of success in the band the BoDeans which he was in for 28 years. There is a touch of Tom Petty, David Ackles, and more all mixed with plenty of raspy expressive vocals and maybe even more than a touch of the Jayhawks and REM in there as well. I like the pop hooks he uses as well that has a romantic old time rock’n’roll feeling even as the sound is much more modern with ringing guitars over a strong rhythm section. My comparisons seem a bit slippery here and elusive, which means that Llanas is doing plenty right with his own personality and style dominating the proceedings. I’ll stop writing and give this another listen and will recommend you try it out as well.

Songs to try first:

Deja Vu - Rich opening track has a full sound and an invigorating melody.

Everywhere but Here - A lovely song that could be interpreted in a roots or thick rock style and comes somewhere in between here.

Something’ Comin’ - A deep Dick Gaughn beginning, alone much more American slowly unravels into a full and interesting rock song.

Mariusz Duda, like many a musician today, needs to find things to do in the gaps between his major work for his band, Riverside. Thankfully, instead of taking up golf or writing a bad children’s book, he creates delicious solo albums. This is his fourth album and shows profound songwriting in a unique musical atmosphere created amazingly enough without guitars. There is some ukulele which treated carefully sounds like a delicate acoustic guitar here. There are also heavy synthesizer parts as well as a rhythm section along with some ethnic instrumental flourish. There are moments of Trent Reznor here, but I get even more of a Steven Wilson feeling when I listen to this, as there is that same sense of variety and sonic touch that you get in a Wilson record. But give this a listen at let Lunatic Soul carve a special place in your musical world.

The real highlight in Making Movies music is their bilingual lyrics divided evenly between Spanish and English. This gives a surprising flair to the fine singing and allows rhythms and song patterns to show more variety as the vocals either punctuate or wrap around them. There is a lot of creative flair in the music as well. Although much of it is intricate indie rock with some worldly touches, the band can extend things out and play with a wide array of rock moves.

Songs to try first:

Lo Que Quiero - Great flowing lyrics and snappy backing.

Pendulum Swing - Drumming that mixes snappy quiet moments and loud power moves with a quick catchy pop number at the heart of it all.

Ciego Sin Querer - Great sonic textures from quiet to heavy make this the best of a fine bunch of songs.

Marianne Faithfull has become the Carol Channing of rock'n'roll to my ears (and amazingly enough, she has now been a recording artist for 50 years!). She has this raspy, throaty voice that is spoken/sung in a highly personal style that does not exactly fit any script. But somehow it works more and more as she continues making music. Fine songs with interesting arrangements certainly help--I particularly enjoy the Velvet Underground style on 'Sparrows Will Sing'. I see some Bad Seeds scattered about along with Ed Harcourt on keyboards (he being my first interview for this blog). Brian Eno and Steve Earle also show up for a song. She gets some songwriting assistance, but contributes some fine lyrical work in many of the songs. There are some thoughtful cover choices as well. If you like what Scott Walker has done to twist music around to something personal, this may work for you as well. It is quite a bit more straight forward than that, but add this unique voice to some excellent players to mix up the notes in strange combinations, you have a remarkable finished album.

Songs to try first:

Sparrows Will Sing - Glorious arrangement of a Roger Waters song filled with twists and turns.

Mother Wolf - Menacing music with Warren Ellis on cello and vocals that match the intensity.

I Get Along Without You Very Well - The perfect song to end this fascinating album with.

These guys are twisted. They play psychedelic music and stretch out there jams in connected songs that move from hard rock to odd jazz, to even some folk moments. The songs bleed into each other with no pause for thought as they hammer their way into your brain. It's loose and trippy at times, but the rhythm section underneath cuts a fierce and mighty engine that pummels the music along. They should be mighty fierce on a stage, which I hope to try next.

Songs to try first:

I'm in Your Mind - A good psyche song turns into a really cool extended jam.

I'm Not in Your Mind - And then it continues into the next song.

Am I in Heaven -  A folk beginning kicks into their fastest and wildest moments on this album.

Stark, dry folktronica is a strange beast. It seems so inviting, yet the personal feelings are so very cool and slippery. Many of these songs have a lot of space in surrounding the vocals and backing that it lends an eeriness to the attempts to penetrate. Yet there are also some bouncier pop electronica moments such as in 'Never Becomer' which keeps this being so relentlessly difficult to grasp. I like dark places, but I may not want to spend a whole lot of time in this particular environment.

This is a soundtrack album for the Jim Jarmusch film, written and performed by Jozef van Wissem (and others including Jarmusch) under the moniker SQURL. Psychedelic music works well in instrumental forms, and you can drop your needle anywhere on a record like this and immediately let the music pull you in. It is a bit slower with mixed degrees of heaviness, but does not quite go to psyche-folk territory, more like world psyche. There are chanting vocals at times, which adds even further mysticism into the overall feeling here. This sounds like a quality soundtrack that could enhance a variety of styles of film, but it works just fine in the dark as a series of transcendent pieces. I enjoyed it and I shall partake again, later at night this time.

I also took a listen to a four song ep, “EP3”, which had four excellent moderately paced psyche rockers. It could almost be alt metal, but it has a post rock deep psyche manner where the music has room to breathe over the steady rhythms below. Three have vocals with ‘Francine Says’ reminding me of the Mirrors filtered through Jesus and Marychain.

Songs to try first:

Sola Gratia (Part 1) - Contemplative psyche more than psyche folk, but it works the same.

The Taste of Blood - Slower psychedelia that oozes into your psyche.

Hal - Sumptuous chanting atop rich music--melt right in.

This album has thirteen ambient snippets as opposed to songs. They work as a whole unit with just enough distinction among the parts to warrant the pauses between. This makes for good background music, but does not leave me with a burning desire to replay over and over like my favorite albums do. But if ambient music is your thing, there is a lovely feeling developed here at times.

Imagine a James Williamson guitar sound being played in an early Ron Asheton style covering Ramones songs and you get an idea of what Wild Smile sounds like. This smile seems a bit more controlled than wild, although there is a wild undercurrent in this powerful power pop music. The vocals are assured and the rhythm is steady with just enough edge on the guitar to appeal to punk power pop fans. This is a pleasant listen for me, for as long as the hooks are there, I just can't say no.

Songs to try first:

Fool for You - The opening buzz saw guitar sets the stage for the fine album to come.

Never Wanted This - OK, the main section is nearly cribbed from Nirvana's 'Dumb' but I love that song and love how they twist this one around into something really cool.

Girlfriend - This simply has to be a Ramones song.