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Steve Vai's "Sex and Religion" Review by Mogli

Sex and Religion was released in 1993 as another addition to Steve Vai’s discography. The guitarist. who had played lead for Zappa and David Lee Roth (and later the Halo 2 soundtrack) and was just coming off of his very well-received Passion and Warfare record, tried to assemble an all-star team of players to collaborate with, including: Devin Townsend of future Strapping Young Lad and solo work fame; TM Stevens, the bass player for James Brown; and Terry Bozzio, also from Zappa and the possessor of one of the largest kits in the world (yes even bigger than Neil Pearts’s). But as with most supergroups, the whole was not quite the sum of its parts. No doubt the chops are amazing and surprisingly tasteful, as the band members kind of balance each other out. The songwriting is where the record suffers, though. There are a few tracks that get the balance of edgy sincerity, glossy polish, and boundary pushing experimentation, but quite a few miss the mark by seeming forced/playacted, glorified porn music, and completely up-their-own-orifice wandering. 
Tracks that are worth a listen? Here and Now, Still My Bleeding Heart, Pig, and the first half of Deep Down Into the Pain. Tracks to avoid, even for die-hard fans? Road to Mt. Cavalry, last half of Deep Down Into the Pain, In My Dreams, and the title track, where the pretension of the album/s “theme” collides with some of the hookiest songwriting.
The other tracks are all right but nothing terribly remarkable. At worst they sound like Nickelodean canned rock stuff. Again, the biggest feeling around this album for this reviewer is disappointment; you can hear where the potential of all these people could have gotten, but it never really reaches. On the plus side, the bitter taste of this album and the subsequent tour partially inspired Devin Townsend to start his Strapping Young Lad project, so silver linings and all.
Mogli out

Posted June 24, 2013, 7:10 p.m. to KMNR New Music Blog (Tumblr) - Permalink

Ladies and gentlemen, KMNR’s fall concert/event/party, FREAKER’S BALL! Come get your freak on, and listen to live music with your DJ friends at KMNR 89.7 FM!

Posted Oct. 10, 2012, 1:30 p.m. to KMNR New Music Blog (Tumblr) - Permalink

Heat Wave Music Update

The weather is hot and nasty, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the tunes! Here are a couple of things I’ve listened to this week.

NT - Isn’t

It almost seems pointless writing a review for this album/EP. I mean, it’s only four songs with a total runtime of 10 minutes, so listening to it rather than reading this review would only be a slightly bigger time commitment. That said, I was intrigued by the comparisons to Minutemen and Big Black, so I decided to give it a chance. I’m glad I did. The mixing and distortion create a straight garage band aesthetic, and the music is powerful and energetic enough to match. Definitely give it a try if you’re a fan of garage punk bands.

Isn’t was added to our digital library on July 3rd.

Mission Of Burma - Unsound

Mission Of Burma was an unlikely success. Initially together for only 1 album and 1 EP, they were still seen as one of the best and most influential post-punk bands ever, influencing bands like Sonic Youth, Pixies, Nirvana, R.E.M., and many more. Then, in 2002, Mission Of Burma reunited, and began releasing new material. The good news: Mission Of Burma is still a force to be reckoned with. Their mixture of hardcore energy and incredibly good songwriting still holds up on their newest album. The band still isn’t afraid to experiment, trying out different musical styles. Unfortunately, this leads to the album’s one misstep. I can’t decide if Fell—>H2O sounds more like music from a 70’s cop film or a somewhat better version of Bulls On Parade. Again, though, it’s the weakest track on the album. Even though Unsound is not as good as Burma’s initial run, it’s still well worth your time. If you want to hear what an incredibly good band can do when they try, give Unsound a listen. While you’re at it, go listen to Signals, Calls, And Marches and Vs. as well.

Unsound is going for adds in our digital library now.


Posted July 6, 2012, 2:55 p.m. to KMNR New Music Blog (Tumblr) - Permalink

What time is it? (Relatively) New Music Time!

Lets do this thing, yo. 

Cherri Bomb- This is the end of control

Ok. Lets talk about Cherri Bomb. 

About midway through last semester we got an EP from this group, Stark, and I ended up listening to it about three times straight through as I logged it into the system. Headed up by Julia Pierce on lead guitar and vocals, Cherri Bomb is an all-girl quartet that fans of Joan Jett will really appreciate. 

Pay some special attention to Better This Way and Shake the Ground. They’re wonderful examples of the overall sound of the album. 

TiYL: Joan Jett, Lash, The Donnas

RR 37101B 

Posted June 26, 2012, 12:07 a.m. to KMNR New Music Blog (Tumblr) - Permalink

New Music Reviews (Digital Version)

I said I’d try to do this more often, so here’s more reviews of Music I’m Interested In.

The Bouncing Souls - Comet

Since it’s 2012, the Bouncing Souls are in their 25th year as a band. To celebrate, they’ve written a song about the end of the world. At least, that’s what the band claims. The album itself is very much light-hearted pop-punk. Even though they’re getting pretty old for a punk band, they can still make some good hooky tunes with strong production to back them up. Some of the songs are a little too long (three of the tracks are over 4 minutes, the title track is almost 5-and-a-half minutes) and the songwriting isn’t as sharp as, say, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” but it’s still worth looking into for fans of pop-punk. It went for adds 6/19.

Future Of The Left - The Plot Against Common Sense

I almost want to make this review one sentence, and have that sentence be the title of a song: “Robocop 4 - F*** Off Robocop.” Really, though, this album deserves better. Loud, aggressive, and full of the sharp songwriting that made previous Future Of The Left efforts so great, The Plot Against Common Sense is very good. The songs are a bit longer than the albums before it, but it doesn’t hurt in this case. It lets the songs get more creative. There’s also a very absurd sense of humor to this album, with songs about how creatively bankrupt Hollywood is, or songs named “City Of Exploded Children.” Combined with Falco’s demented howling and distorted singing, all the elements add up to a powerhouse album with lots of artistic flair. If you like mclusky, the Pixies, or loud music in general, definitely give The Plot Against Common Sense a chance. It was added to the library 6/19

Posted June 20, 2012, 4:03 p.m. to KMNR New Music Blog (Tumblr) - Permalink

New Music For Summer

Wow, the new music has been kinda quiet recently. I’d like to change that, so I’m going to review some of the new music that I’ve listened to. Just a note: I picked stuff that seemed relevant to my interests, so it might not be incredibly diverse.

Off! - Off!

It's a Raymond Pettibon album cover, so you know what that means

Formed in 2009, Off! is a punk rock supergroup, featuring Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steven Shane McDonald (Redd Kross), and Mario Rubalcaba (Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes). While techincally their second album, it’s their second album, in the way Repeater is Fugazi’s second album (each band’s first album was a collection of EPs.) And it’s pretty much what you would expect from a Keith Morris band. The whole album is 16 songs long, but doesn’t even last 15 minutes. Speed, energy, and Keith’s vocals are the true highlights of this album. The band writes short powerful songs, that don’t stay around long enough to wear out their welcome. The best way I can describe this album is Circle Jerks or Angry Samoans with modern, cleaner production. Definitely give this album a listen if you have an old-school punk craving. This album went for adds on May 8th.

The Late Show - Portable Pop

Originally released in 1980, Portable Pop has been out of print since the early 80’s; now, though, it’s getting a release on CD. When I saw that it was late 70’s/early 80’s power pop, I knew it would be right up my alley. And it is; while not absolutely brilliant, it still wonderfully fits right in that power pop niche also occupied by Big Star, The Knack, and Cheap Trick. Strong songwriting is given a dirty, garage sound due to the band recording the album live on a loading dock. If you like the bands I already mentioned, you might like Portable Pop. It went for adds May 22nd.

Public Image Ltd. - This Is PiL

Let one thing be clear: I am not a fan of the Sex Pistols. Neither is John Lydon, singer/songwriter for Public Image Ltd. (he’s also known as Johnny Rotten, lead singer of the Sex Pistols.) The Sex Pistols originally were started as a marketing ploy for their manager, Malcolm McLaren, to sell merchandise from his punk clothing store. What John Lydon really had a passion for was reggae, dub, krautrock, Frank Zappa, disco, and much more. Public Image Ltd. was the band Lydon was proud of, and the music he wanted to make. Metal Box is one of the best post-punk albums of all time. I’m glad to say that Lydon can still write songs; very good songs, with plenty of variety and experimentation. Ironically, the number one creative force behind the band is also the worst aspect of the music. Lydon/Rotten never could sing, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to sing, or trying to snarl, both of which sound forced and embarrassing, due to his age. Vocals aside, This Is PiL is full of creative songs and tight musicianship from the band. If you’re already a fan of Public Image Ltd., or if you want to hear Johnny Rotten in a completely different style of music, I heartily recommend This Is PiL. It goes for adds on the 28th of May.


Posted May 23, 2012, 5:45 p.m. to KMNR New Music Blog (Tumblr) - Permalink