Gored stiff: All-girl band dials back the dirt
Gore Gore Girls”Get The Gore” Bloodshot RecordsDetroit’s Gore Gore Girls traffic in a type of garage rock popularized by a certain other Motor City band that rhymes with “the right pipes,” but rather than shoving their violent-femme energy solely behind the drum kit, the all-female Gore Gore Girls let loose a wild-woman spirit with every instrument.Decked out in knee-high go-go boots and Nancy Sinatra frocks, the Gore Gore Girls look ready to just croon and shake it, but instead they spit out trampled, dirty-knees guitar licks a la hometown faves the MC5 or the Stooges. Occasional rockabilly solos punctuate the handclaps and early Motown melodies. Things can never get too sweet, though, because lead singer-guitarist Amy Gore possesses a husky, almost masculine voice (think a rougher Chrissie Hynde with a bad attitude) that brays at you to jump on board or just get out of the way. “Pleasure Unit” and “Casino” are messy standouts, but most of what’s here doesn’t differentiate much from the entire garage-rock canon; then again, that’s not really what the Gore Gore Girls are all about anyway. Their big, fuzzy power chords and hand claps are tributes to a bygone era constantly being resurrected. Still, “You Lied To Me Before,” with its swampy stomp and buzzy lead, goes some way toward mixing things up.The album’s standout track, though, is “Where Evil Grows,” a moody, menacing 60s-ish trip that sounds tailor-made for a road tripping scene in a Tarantino movie. It matches the Gore Gore Girls B-movie namesake perfectly, and shows that these ladies shine most when they get fully into character and dial back the dirt.- Ted Alvarez, Vail Daily
Tiger Army”Music From Regions Beyond” EpitaphAfter two albums of full-on psychobilly stomping, Tiger Army found its voice with No. 3, 2004’s “III: Ghost Tigers Rise,” a collection of dark and delicate tunes that values mood over aggression.Perhaps because of the band’s heightened profile, singer and guitarist Nick 13 has decided to shuck the nuanced sound he was beginning to cultivate and, with the help of super-slick pop-punk producer Jerry Finn, create the biggest-sounding follow-up possible.In that sense, “Music From Regions Beyond” is a success. The album marks the furthest the California trio has strayed from its rockabilly roots, as the group mostly sounds like a crisp mall-punk outfit that just happens to feature upright bass and Gretsch guitar.Even amid the AFI-like “Hotprowl” and “Pain,” though, the group manages to retain some of its mysterious noir twang. The Goth gallop of “LunaTone,” for one, proves a fine vehicle for Nick 13’s ever-tortured lyrics.Fans angry with the band’s move toward the middle of the road will either be heartened or disgusted by the disc’s one major stylistic departure, “As the Cold Rain Falls,” which is practically a cover of New Order’s “Age of Consent.”Although it’s not entirely worth the gas, the road trip back to 1983 at least shows that Tiger Army hasn’t yet surrendered to predictability.- Kenneth Partridge,L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service
The Dynamics”First Landing” HacktoneThe Dynamites”Kaboom!” Outta SiteWell, isn’t this confusing: Two soul bands with similar names releasing albums on the same day. Such timing!The Dynamics are old-school – literally. “First Landing” is a reissue of the overlooked Detroit group’s 1969 debut, recorded in Memphis. That’s a heady combination, Memphis and Detroit, which were rival camps during soul’s golden age. There’s a Motor City feel here, but it’s the Memphis sound that dominates with urgent funk undertones and dramatic string arrangements that burst through like sunshine lighting up a prism. Opening cut “I Don’t Want Nobody to Lead Me On” burns with righteous passion, and the band gets all smooth with the doo-wop feel of “Since I Lost You.”While the Dynamics offer a polished sound with a hint of grit, the Dynamites, featuring Charles Walker, have come to party. The raucous Nashville 10-piece cooks the way old Tower of Power did, and Walker bellows in a big raw voice like Buddy Guy on a bender. Bold horns dance atop swirling Hammond organ, leaving just enough room for scratchy funk guitar licks while the throbbing bass fills out the bottom end.
Together, these groups are a potent double-shot: One’s got soul, the other is super-bad: It’s just a question of what mood you’re in.- Eric R. Danton, Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service Toby Keith”Big Dog Daddy” Show Dog NashvilleRugged anthems and brash attitude have been Toby Keith’s trademarks for nearly 15 years, and frank forays into controversial issues often have provided fuel for his success. The 45-year-old Oklahoman continues to speak his mind on “Big Dog Daddy,” and although the territory he explores this go-round is not contentious, the variety of his material makes for a satisfying cross-section of parties and passion.Keith’s sweet spot is full-bore country rock in the vein of “High Maintenance Woman,” tunes that fuse average-Joe sentiments and rough-edged confidence with sturdy hooks. His stout growl lends itself to the sort of good-timing braggadocio that oozes from the chugging honky tonk of the title track, but he is equally willing to embrace tenderness, showing relaxed vulnerability on “I Know She Hung the Moon” and mixing romance with arousal on the Dobro-trimmed ballad “Burnin’ Moonlight.”Nowhere does Keith say anything that invites outrage or allegiance, but there is spark on tunes as varied as the gritty plea of a down-on-his-luck oilman in “Pump Jack” and a smartly finessed cover of Fred Eaglesmith’s regret-filled “White Rose.” The latter is one of just two here Keith didn’t help write, and he consistently maintains the sort of balance found in “Love Me if You Can,” on which he asks for understanding even as he sticks to his guns.- Thomas Kintner, Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service
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