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Issue 33 Cover - Apr/May, 2009 - Innocent Words
 
DVD Reviews Minimize
Troy Michael
Formed in Houston, Texas, but now calling Austin home, the trio Ume has recently released one of the best albums of 2009. Yeah, I know it is early. But the Sunshower EP is packed with the most explosive songs you have heard in a while. The trio mixes fiery guitars from frontwoman Lauren Langner Larson and driving bass lines from her bassist husband Eric Larson, rounded out by the hard-hitting backbeat of drummer Jeff Barrarea. The Sunshower EP flows seamlessly through its perfectly orchestrated five tracks. From the opening cut “East of Hercules,” the album takes you in and demands your full attention, leaving you wanting more.
Troy Michael
In 1991, the Seattle-based band Pearl Jam released their debut album Ten. It was a time when the Seattle grunge sound was making its way from the greater northwest to the rest of the world. Ten went on to sell more than 12 million copies, cementing the quintet’s name in music history.
Brian Campbell
Often referred to as the Warped Tour of the spring, the Taste of Chaos has evolved into its own entity over the last few years, playing host to a variety of genres and a bands. Some to be included have been My Chemical Romance, the Used, Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold, Underoath, 30 Second to Mars, the Deftones and As I Lay Dying, to name a few. It is a tour that has not only been across the country and back but also internationally, to the UK and this year to our neighbors up north, Canada.
Valerie Enriquez
Despite this interviewer's valiant (read as: half-assed) efforts, Hutch Harris refused to bare all for an indie rock cheesecake calendar. Or, in his words: "I won't be posing for any calendar unless you get me in bed with some fine ass nude ladies, thanks" and "Sorry no, no one wants to be in your damn softcore indie-porn calendar." Also, sadly, Harris no longer dances around in his underwear at shows.
Troy Michael
Legendary Industrial rockers KMFDM have been an integral figure in the music scene since they formed in Paris, France, 25 years ago under the vision of Sascha Konietzko. With 20-plus albums to their credit and a revolving door of members, one constant had been front man Tim Skold.
Troy Michael
Bruce Duncan Phillips, better known at Utah Phillips, passed away on May 23 2008, just eight days after his 75th birthday due to a long battle with heart problems.
John B. Moore
Franz Nicolay may be best known as The Hold Steady’s keyboardist, but the New Hampshire native has quietly been taking over the world – one band at a time.
John B. Moore
Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. may not have the name recognition of a Kanye West or Thom Yorke, but chances are you’ve listened to him for years without ever realizing it.
Brian Campbell
Yes, there is definitely life after Orgy. Case in point: Julien-K, the new project of former Orgy guitarists Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck, is ready to take the world by storm in all formats. Their debut album, the aptly titled Death to Analog, is ready to be consumed, devoured if you will, by all who will give it the time.
John B. Moore
Just 26 years old, Ace Enders has already built up a resume that many career musicians twice his age would envy. He already has five EPs to his name, has released two well-received emo rock albums fronting The Early November (including a three-disc concept record) and has somehow found the time to put out another full-length under the moniker I Can make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business. Having closed up shop on The Early November recently, Enders is now officially going it alone and about to release his first solo record, Ace Enders and a Million Different People.

Book Reviews Minimize
John B. Moore
Once you get past the fact that Roberto Escobar sees his brother more as a Columbian Robin Hood than as one of the most barbaric, nefarious drug lords… well, ever, The Accountant’s Story is actually a pretty fascinating read that’s incredibly difficult to put down once you’ve started reading.
John B. Moore
An anthology about relationships written by guys sounds about as appealing as…well talking about relationships with guys. But thanks to a stellar list of authors – heavy on comedians like Jon Stewart, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Colbert and Will Forte – and the comedy-prone topic of getting dumped, makes the task that much more compelling.

Album Reviews Minimize
Lisa Zyga
There’s not much more you could ask for on a spring afternoon than a pitcher of lemonade, clear blue skies, and the laidback melodies on The 1900s’ latest release, Medium High. The mini album (28 minutes) is a collection of seven songs. Some are old ones they never released, along with remakes from their previous two albums.
Brian Campbell
Dichotomy, the third studio album from metal-scene newbies Becoming the Archetype, has the band returning to its roots. Guitarist Alex Kenis has left the band, and he has been replaced by original guitarist Jon Star, who exited the group in 2006.
Jeremy Farrance
The Winterfold Collection covers Bruford’s solo career from 1978 to 1986. Though both collections are clearly billed as jazz, Winterfold has a decidedly progressive rock feel to most of it.  Even the two tracks from 1985’s collaboration Flags with Patrick Moraz (who also shares Bill’s history with both Yes and King Crimson) would fit nicely as outtakes on any progressive rock anthology. In sharp contrast, The Summerfold Collection is clearly a jazz album.  Besides the immediate inclusion of sax, horns, and upright bass, the overall sound on this two-disc-set is immediately a ...
Lisa Zyga
There’s a point at which a song becomes more than a song, or a band more than just a group of musicians with a name. It may sound a bit over the top, but London-based CIAM (pronounced “See-Am”) does something on its first album called Anonymous that goes beyond what an album is expected to sound like – and they seem to have planned it that way.
Lisa Zyga
As soon as Canyons starts, it just keeps going, almost effortlessly. Behind the catchy beats of the indie art rock band, Jay Schneider’s high-pitched voice channels insanely creative lyrics that twist together all parts of your brain. Before you have time to figure out what’s going on, more words come flooding in again.
Jonathan Tuttle
The two-piece outfit dubbed Horde of Two is made up of Vancouver Canadians David Lester from Mecca Normal and Wendy Atkinson from her respective solo work and the bands Trim and Pink Noise.
Shane Matthew Stiles
I Set My Friends on Fire picked an applicable album name – You Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter – as they’ve slaughtered any sort of musical decency with this record. The band’s debut album on Epitaph Records bounces back and forth between the now increasingly popular genres of electronic-laced dance/synth pop and some hybrid of brutal grindcore.
John B. Moore
It’s kind of hard to feel sorry for the music industry as it cries about low CDs sales. Stale, paint-by-numbers groups are simply aping the sound of mediocre bands that came before them and are rewarded with record label deals. Meanwhile, a solid band like Kaline is churning out records on its own.
Shane Matthew Stiles
Land of Talk is one of the newest bands on Saddle Creek Records, and they fit like a glove in the Omaha-based indie rock behemoth of a label. Singer/songwriter Elizabeth Powell draws a lot of comparisons in style to Maria Taylor, who has also released albums on the label, both as her solo project and as Azure Ray. Having this familiarity of sound has to help Land of Talk fit in and feel more comfortable.
Brian Campbell
Leathermouth, the hardcore punk/noisecore side project of My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero, is proof of two things. One: you don’t need to have a talented lead singer to land a record deal. Two: Iero doesn’t sing much in My Chemical Romance for a reason.
Judy Nelson
First word that comes to mind when the Love Is All sophomore release A Hundred things that Keep Me Up at Night hits the record player: energy. Pure, blissful, unrestrained energy that is inspires as much as it invigorates. The Swedish band, who released their debut Nine Times That Same Song back in 2005, have been making a name for themselves both in Europe and here in the US since then.
John B. Moore
The Loved Ones may just be the most underrated band in punk rock today. Despite a handful of stellar records including last year’s stand out Build & Burn, paint by number bands like Fall Out Boy and Paramore manage to snag magazine covers and stadium tours, while The Loved Ones continue to slog it out on the punk rock club tour circuit.
Greg Walker
Catchy garage rock can come in a variety of flavors, as proved by Mr. Russia on their debut album Teething. The Chicago-based band (sorry, this is not imported rock from Russia) delivers its own guitar-less blend of garage rock and punk. Yes, like fellow band Death From Above 1979, there are no guitars here. In their absence, the menacing bass rhythm shows up front and center.
John B. Moore
At 75, and with a legacy as a national musical treasure already firmly cemented, you’d think Willie Nelson would at least take a little time off to relax. On average, the prolific cowboy churns out at least two or three releases a year. This year looks to be no different.
John B. Moore
Long Island’s Danny Rocco aims pretty high with his debut The Future is Now, going beyond the staid and routine songs his peers have been churning out. Unfortunately, he doesn’t always reach the intended heights. The acoustic strumming, singer songwriter (backed by the band End the Stars) starts the album of with the strongly original, addictive title track “The Future is Now,” but the rest of the album tries, and for the most part fails, to live up to that first song.
Greg Walker
We are living in the age of what’s old is now new – or at least still old and now very cool and hip – be it fashion or music. Well, this is a music publication, so feel free to get your fashion kicks elsewhere. Psychedelic rock isn’t making as big of a comeback as leggings or big-ass sunglasses, but when a current band does psychedelic rock right, it is quite a joy.
Jonathan Tuttle
In the early 1990s, major record labels were binging and purging on Seattle bands like a bulimic at an all-you-can-eat-buffet.
John B. Moore
Mining influences as varied as the Beatles (before they discovered LSD and meditation), Buddy Holly and power poppers like Milk N’ Cookies, Central Pennsylvania’s The Tamboureens sound like nothing being released today… and that’s a very good thing.
Valerie Enriquez
This is the sort of music that makes 20-somethings remember what it's like to be a teenager and 30-somethings remember how it feels to be 25. Or something.
John B. Moore
For awhile there, it looked like U2 were finally back on track. Starting in 2000, when the band atoned for their past sins. In Bono’s words they “reapplied for the job… of the best band in the world” with the fantastic All That You Can’t Leave Behind, followed by 2004’s almost as stellar How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
Lisa Zyga
The bodies of the musicians in Weird Owl may be located in modern day Brooklyn, but their spirits are somewhere on the Wyoming or Montana frontier a couple hundred years ago. Relapsing into past lives is just something that Weird Owl does on their first full-length album, Ever the Silver Cord be Loosed.
Chris Ridgeway
Pandora Radio took online music streaming to a whole new level with their Music Genome Project—tagging songs with over 400 musical attributes like “minor key tonality” and “subtle latin rhythms.”   One of the aural geniuses near the center of the project is Bay Area resident Michael Zapruder, who carries the is-this-my-dream-job title of “Music Curator” for Pandora.   No wonder his new solo release is like strolling through a contemporary showcase of some of the best creativity indie music has to offer.
Valerie Enriquez
All right, The Cure fills a rather large, shadowy, lovelorn pair of shoes. That didn't stop a bunch of people from trying.

Reviews Minimize
John B. Moore
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has somehow stumbled on that rare combination of a fantastically gripping story, the perfect cast and excellent writing. Not since The Sopranos have all of the elements for a truly great TV drama series come together so quickly.
John B. Moore
You’d think making a comedy about rock would be easy, but Spinal Tap pretty much used up most of the good jokes. The video store shelves are lined with decent attempts to mine laughs from the world of rock music that never really manage to elicit more than a few chuckles (viewed sober, of course). Airheads, School of Rock, even Wayne’s World were all good for a few laughs, but never as good as you remembered.
John B. Moore
Judging from the news coverage, you’d think Slumdog Millionaire and Benjamin Button were the only two movies nominated for Oscars this year. While those two movies have been sharing all the ink thanks to genre hybrids and amazing special effects, the subtly stellar and so far grossly underrated Frozen River manages to get by solely on fantastic acting and a strong, character-driven storyline.
John B. Moore
Much like the first season of Arrested Development, HBO’s cult comedy Summer Heights High is wildly cherished by those few lucky enough to have somehow stumbled across it. Meanwhile, try and describe the premise to anyone unaware of the show, and chances are the blank stare will remind you of just how small the cult surrounding the show actually is right now. Shown on HBO, the eight-episode Australian series is finally out on DVD and will likely lead to a ton of exposure for this brilliant comedy, as word of mouth spreads to those who missed the two-month run of the show.

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