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Music Reviews

Bearsuit

Bearsuit

Cat Spectacular

Microindie

From the opening shot of Japanese conversation tape excerpts through the blissed-out guitar, orchestral strings and springtime woodwinds on “Welcome Bearsuit Spacehotel,” Cat Spectacular plays like the reflection of the last ten years of the sunny side of indie pop. There’s a weird grandeur in the shambolic sounds these British folks have cobbled together, in the swaggering false endings to songs that never rise above aimlessness to begin with. The band’s talent runs deeper than their obvious borderline attention deficiency, displaying some great songwriting skills on “Cherryade,” a Belle & Sebastian-styled lilt through an English meadow that gets waylaid down an alley of punk fury to close out its last 30 seconds. Possibly the best song on here, “Going Steady” cycles through each individual instrument track on the mixing board before allowing them all to coalesce into a caffeinated poppy mess. “Itsuko Got Married” is a close runner-up, beginning as a staccato boy/girl a cappella, blooming into signature raw noise on the verses and even managing to squeeze in a whistled bridge. It’s the band’s casualness as they tread the line between elegance and catastrophe that makes them so compelling. If we’re searching for a label for this type of music, manic twee feels like a close fit. This might seem counterintuitive, as “twee” usually connotes a distinct lack of hyperactivity, but even the most bookish need to cut loose every once in a while, and this is certainly the album for it.

Microindie: www.microindie.com

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Music Reviews

The Tim Version

The Tim Version

Prohibition Starts Tomorrow

A.D.D.

This second full-length album from Tampa, FL punks the Tim Version stumbles convincingly and exhaustingly along on the borderline between sociopolitical rants and sheer drunken confusion. The album title hints at their pub rocking roots, as do the album’s opening and closing tracks (“March 22nd is National ‘Quit Your Job’ Day” and “March 23rd is National ‘You’re Fired’ Day,” respectively). But the Tim Version is not your regular breed of droll drunk punks; this is ambitious if ramshackle rock ‘n’ roll played with an arrogant, wicked snarl.

From the metal riffage of “Stale Coffee” to the call-to-arms “Let the Bastardization Begin,” the Tim Version are on a crusade against everyday boredom. “The Natural Light Theory” sounds like early-day Hot Water Music falling apart over a blistering punk ‘n’ roll track, while “Swinging Doors” is a wonderful version of the Merle Haggard track. “Dungeons and Dragqueens,” meanwhile, is just plain weird, and great.

Loosely based around the theme of a droll work life and the need to escape form it all, Prohibition Starts Tomorrow is fun with a mission; a solid punk rock album of unpretentious punk rock, played with passion, purpose and a stylish swagger. Great stuff.

The Tim Version: http://home.earthlink.net/~timversion/ • A.D.D.: http://www.addwreckedkids.com/

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Music Reviews

Watch It Burn / Tiltwheel

Watch It Burn / Tiltwheel

Twice The Dose

A.D.D.

Here’s a brilliant split EP from two of the leading bands on the underground hardcore scene these days. With three songs each, both bands get a fair airing and both of them deliver great, exciting performances.

Watch It Burn are a subtle but hard-hitting band in the vein of Hot Water Music, whose three songs here showcase their broad scope and insane diversity. “I’m Sleeping at the Beach Tonight” is the best of the three, a lovely and biting track, adding layers upon layers of sounds and moves to a beautiful melody. “Sad Songs Never Die” is a crushing piece of hard emo, while “Leave It Alone” is a lovely and intense performance to round things off with.

Tiltwheel ups the ante with their Husker Du approach, where your regular pop songs are twisted and turned in every possible direction before being attacked and explored with a passion. The splendidly titled “It’s Amazing, the Things You Find in Your Pocket After a Bender” is the best of the bunch, an upbeat punk delivered in a subdued but punching manner. “Hold My Hand to Make Them Go Away” is a great track diverging into emo land, and “Kids Enthralled By Fish, Erie, PA” is a moving song that shows off their unique versatility.

Watch It Burn: http://www.watchitburn.net • Tiltwheel: http://listen.to/tiltwheel

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Music Reviews

Superchinchillarescuemission / The Tim Version

Superchinchillarescuemission / The Tim Version

… Go Halves on a Bastard

A.D.D.

Two hyperactive hardcore bands on one split EP, and a great combination of forces, with both bands being really great, very defining hardcore bands on the current scene. Superchincillarescuemission kicks off with their set, and the opening punk rush of “Storied Faces, Bad Tattoos” should be enough to convince anyone with only a passing interest in hardcore. Superchinchilla delivers the goods in impressive fashion, every song a fury of mad rhythms beneath narratives detailing a weary attempt to cope with the everyday misery.

The Tim Version’s songs are even better. They have the admirable habit of throwing out a great title, and if there’s no “The Only Band That Puts Iced Tea in Whiskey Bottles” on here, at least we get “Pictures Of Lily White Asses,” which comes pretty damn close. A furious snarl and a rock n’ roll approach to their hardcore, The Tim Version is a kicking and churning band that gets the job done, no questions asked. Great lyrics combine with a basic, head-on attack, and it’s no wonder they have such a great following. “California is the shitty state I’m in / Whatever warmth the beer gives out gets blown away again,” Russ grunts on “I Left My Nuts in San Francisco,” and that may be the best opening line in quite a good while. Another great release under their belts, then, and worth checking out for any fan of to the point hardcore.

Superchinchillarescuemission: http://www.superchinchilla.com • The Tim Version: http://home.earthlink.net/~timversion

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Music Reviews

Ritalin Riot

Ritalin Riot

Various Artists

A.D.D.

Compilations are tricky things. Rarely do the tastes of the one putting it together correspond exactly with those of others, so there’s a lot of flipping through tracks. They’ve done all right with me on this one though — this is a pretty damn good comp. Lots of great punk rock bands. It isn’t until track 18, Ringworm, that my interests diverge, which is a nice long stretch of great compilation! There are only a couple other tracks on here I didn’t care for, but the ones I liked the very best were by Digger, Ann Beretta, Brand New Unit, At The Drive-In, The Tie That Binds, Panthro U.K. United 13, Swing Riot, The Impossibles, Dillinger Four, Clairmel, Hankshaw, Fun Size, and Discount. There are more, but those are my favorites. Three, maybe four duds out of 24 is very good. Recommended in spite of the cover art.

A.D.D. Records and Fanzine, 7309 N. Huntley Ave., Tampa, FL 33604