November 27th, 2006

  • mtoland

Los Natas - El Hombre De Montana

El Hombre De Montana
(Small Stone)
I don’t know if it’s because the band doesn’t sing in English, or if it’s because it’s from Argentina, rather than a Latin country higher in the gringo public’s consciousness or what, but Los Natas doesn’t get the acclaim it deserves in the rock world. Stoner rock aficionados know the trio, of course, but outside of that: nada. Too bad: as El Hombre De Montana makes damned clear, Los Natas rocks in all the right ways, with killer riffs, strong melodies and an enigmatic attitude that has nothing to do with the lyrics. “Amanecer Blanco” and “El Soldado” pound you into submission, but lovingly. “El Ciervo” and “No es lo Mismo” travel into inner and outer space at the same time. “El Camino de Dios” lets in some fresh air with a surprising acoustic tune that’s somehow beautiful and gritty at the same time. Psychedelic mists envelop nearly everything, but never obscure the good old-fashioned thunder grooves. El Hombre De Montana thuds when it should, shimmies when it needs to and re-establishes Los Natas as a titan in the world of heavy rock. Awesome. Michael Toland
  • mtoland

The Rocket Scientists - Revolution Road

Revolution Road
(Think Tank Media)
Progressive rock has very few standard bearers (at least in comparison to other genres), and even fewer of those are truly standouts. The Rocket Scientists is one of those bands, and it’s a pleasure to finally see a new record. Apparently, a lot of material built up since 1999’s Oblivion Days, as Revolution Road contains two CDs’ worth of melodic prog. The band is at its best when it balances singer/guitarist Mark McCrite’s penchant for psychedelic pop with keyboardist Erik Norlander’s epic analog soundscapes, as in “Enjoy the Weather” and “Better View,” with Norlander’s widescreen arrangements and keyboard solos offset by McCrite’s initimacy. (Stick bassist Don Schiff makes important contributions as well.) A few of the more bombastic songs feature David McBee, a traditional hard rock wailer of the Glenn Hughes school, but his vocals border on irritating. The Rocket Scientists prefer serving the song to virtuoso overload, and Revolution Road is as fine a collection of tunes as they’ve ever created. Michael Toland
  • mtoland

The Trolleyvox - The Karaoke Meltdowns

The Karaoke Meltdowns
(Transit of Venus)
The Trolleyvox obviously love 80s music. Not the synthesized glam pop on the radio and MTV, mind you, but the jangly, guitar-laden pop music in the underground. Think Let’s Active, the dB’s, the Reivers and Guadalcanal Diary and you’re in the mindset. The Philadelphia congregation’s third album, The Karaoke Meltdowns boils down the best parts of 80s jangle rock—the acoustic/electric guitar mix, the harmonies, the hooks—and distill them down to catchy tracks like “Just You Wait,” “Whisper Down the Line” and “I Am Annabelle.” The ‘vox doesn’t yet boast the one killer tune that will grab ears and jam them to the speakers for repeated listens, but The Karaoke Meltdowns suggests that the band is damn close to acquiring it. Eighties jangleheads should investigate in any case. Michael Toland