An end-page review & preview
of things current & cool
AM - Francophiles & Skinny Ties
We gave a listen to the advance of this CD a few NEON issues back, but now that it’s got a slick cover and full production - it’s time for another spin. Even though we kind of miss the raw sound of that initial recording, we’ve gotta admit that these 8-songs have really been powered up by studio refinements.  Yet the basic ingredients of catchy lyrics coupled with poppy beats and punk influences are still what really make this quick disc rock. Yeah, it is a short set - but with appetizers like the stripped-down “Inthecity (NYC),” the classic-rock feel of “Quiet & Dayglo” and “Sex N Drugs” (which may release a latent inclination for head-banging) – Brooklyn’s AM whet our appetite. What’s that show biz adage? Yeah, we want more.
BOOBYTRAP - One False Move And ...
The long anticipated full album follow-up to Boobytrap's EP of last year. We've noted in the past the strong presence of Christina Poletto's singing voice both recorded and in live performance and that again comes shining through giving these 10 tracks the emotional jolt that takes them from being just well-crafted indie pop melodies (which indeed they are) into the realm of personal anecdotes with all the shadings of real world relationships. Again the  interplay between guitarists Mariela Azcuy and Frankie Kimm remains intricate yet forceful, while Judy Minn and Janet Hicks tie it all together on bass and drums respectively. Album standouts are "Take A Ride," "Over and Under" and, of course, "Secret Code" which is also a live favorite.
ATOMIC NUMBER 76 - Cursed Forever
This 4-song EP follow-up to last year’s self-titled full length again showcases the high voltage output of this NYC power trio. Yeah, this is a Heavy Metal group as their name would suggest (Atomic #76 – Osmium – is the heaviest metal known). But, only if your definition of the genre harkens back to bands like early Led Zeppelin, Mountain and even T-Rex ‘cause like those predecessors, this band plays subtly tasteful, blues-inspired riffs and runs that are banged home by a thunderous beat. Singer/bassist Bingo Santana has a gritty, whisky-soaked voice that recalls the soulful side of Mountain’s Leslie West. While Mauro Felipe’s fuzz-toned guitar stylin’ could be a ringer for 70s era Jimmy Page or Marc Bolan had either of those two been a tad more technically proficient. (As an aside, it’s surprising to note that Felipe was a member of the eclectic indie group Bela) Engineered by Joe Hogan (Helmet, Atomic Bitchwax),
Cursed Forever should satisfy both head-bangers and blues groovers.
DREAMCHILD - Lullibies for the Dead
Boston-based masters of dark arts and gothic imagery, Dreamchild mark their third album release with Lullabies for the Dead. The long-time collaboration of Cheryl Wanner and Frank Gerace return with 15 compositions that are perhaps even darker than Gates to the Sea and La Fée Verte if that is possible. But what all three releases have in common is the ability to form atmospheric landscapes out of Wanner's ethereal vocals, Gerace's provocative guitar stylings and the employment of unusual instrumentation. Quoting poet John Keats and with one of the titles authored by mystic arts Renaissance man R.J. Stewart, this is pretty spooky stuff and perhaps it is best not to listen when you are home alone. Like any worthy gothic tales, these will send shivers up your backbone, but the end result is an emotional  rush that is worth it. Adding to the sensory experience is the extraordinary funereal graphics, paintings and photography that are on display throughout the gate-folded CD package.
Quick Cuts
Contributors: Jeff Rey, Stephan Jaser, Malcolm Sane, BonnieTagate and Michele Falk
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With links to past issues
DEATH OF FASHION - Lovely and Guilt Free (5-song EP)
DOF (formerly The Fashion) can’t be an easy band to record. Much of the appeal of their live show stems from their interplay with the crowd – whether Jesse Davis’ conversational lyrics seemingly directed specifically to someone in the audience, Jacob Bills’ staccato guitar runs which seem to feed off live reaction to reach climax, or the interplay between drummer Daniel Boivin and bassist Darryl Specht which seems so intuitively tuned to just when their fans are about to break out in their spontaneous dance frenzies. Yet producer Jason Marcus of Mugshot Records captures the white heat energy of Death of Fashion’s live shows in this five song set with “Don’t Act This Way” being perhaps the strongest cut. The Lovely and Guilt Free CD is being packaged with their new 7” vinyl of “These Days” on Canarsie Records. More on Death of Fashion in this issue here.
Photo - Robert Caldarone
Capturing the white heat energy of Death of Fashion's live shows
Whether Shane Sahene is tearing off a Ska riff on his trombone, emulating a full bodied brass section on the kazoo or simply shaking his mop-top as his voice leads his Mod-inspired Camera bandmates, he is the consummate showman. This is a fun band that seems to easily inspire their audience to join in the festivities. Formed in Pittsburgh by Sahene and bassist Joe Dello Stritto three years ago, the band tours NYC frequently and you can catch them at such nightspots as The Luna Lounge, Arlene’s or
TisWas events at Don Hill’s on a pretty regular basis. They’ve got three EPs out – all with really cool OpArt graphics and hi-tech jewel boxes. The songs, including  “One Is Only,” “East Busway” and “White On White” are highly representative of what Camera is all about – a big GO!GO! beat coupled with raw energy resulting in a classic rock ‘n roll stomp.