The Record Lounge: Reviews 06/02/11 – Beastie Boys, Calhoun, Oil Boom, Hammerhead


The first installment of catching up on a month of reviews. Yes, I’ve been very behind!

Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

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There’s nothing I can say about this that hasn’t already been said everywhere already. It took a bit for it to finally click with me, and when it did, oh yeah, loved it. Never being a big fan of Licensed To Ill, I just didn’t like it when it hit at the end of 1986, it wasn’t anything I dug at the time, hearing that something is a throwback to the Beastie Boys early days is never a big selling point. The progress of their next 3 records, Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head and Ill Communication made them an act I could get behind, and have only recently acquired another copy of their first album (I had to round out a Columbia Records and Tapes order one day, and it was the only thing I could find that would do it… consequently was borrowed and never returned). So in hearing that Hot Sauce Committee Part Two was supposedly a throwback to earlier days, I wasn’t too interested. But after spending some quality time with it, feeling it, making it through the first couple of listens to get to the next seven, the payoff was a definite reward.  Trying to deny these three MC’s talent is futile regardless of the all-too familiar meter and rhythm, the beats and music is spot on, energetic and tasteful. Hot Sauce Committee Part Two was certainly worth the wait. Beastie Boys created their bratty New York personas a long time ago and is still a sound that is theirs. Hot Sauce Committee Part Two revisits their debut as well as it revisits 2007’s instrumental The Mix-Up, throwing their sound back all the while forging ahead.  A throwback to an earlier sound is still throwing back to themselves.

Calhoun – Heavy Sugar

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Calhoun and Heavy Sugar are even further reasons why the Fort Worth scene is so afire these days. Sometimes it takes a little while for something to click. It took me quite a while to get on the Tim Locke train. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until an evening at The Moon with The Orbans and Calhoun last year that I finally turned my head towards Locke’s brand of easily digestible alternative indie rock.  One of Fort Worth’s favorite sons, Locke and his band Calhoun returned to the recorded realm last week with their third and most accomplished recording to date, Heavy Sugar. It’s rare when a record grabs me so completely and wholly on a first listen, but this certainly did. I immediately put it in the CD player the moment I got it in the mail and listened to it 3 times through on my initial sitting, succumbing to the pop delight in my ears.  Standout tracks include the opening track, “Knife Fight”, “Lioness” and the closer “Black Coffee and Cigarettes”.

Oil Boom – Black Waxy

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Not unlike The White Stripes and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Oil Boom is firmly entrenched in a bluesy swamp of dirty blues influenced rock. The Dallas based trio’s debut ep, Black Waxy, displays a maturity not often found in bands this young. Vocalist Brian Whitten lends a soulful depth to their basic guitar/drum/vocal lineup, displaying a wisdom well beyond his band’s years. Comparisons to The Black Keys are inevitable, but don’t be fooled: Oil Boom is no knockoff, as their sweaty live shows prove. Black Waxy is only available in digital form, but comes with a bevy extras. Get in on these guys early.

Hammerhead – Memory Hole

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15 years had passed since we last had new music from Fargo, N. Dakota’s Hammerhead. One of my favorite acts of the early-mid 90’s, Hammerhead were a favorites of fans of Minneapolis’ much loved Amphetamine Reptile records, while never being the full bore flag bearer for the label. Hard touring and solid releases made them one of the more anticipated touring acts at their level, and those who were fans, were rabid, and still are today. Therefore the announcement that they were reforming this year gave fans a reason to rejoice. Their latest release, a 4 song single entitled Memory Hole almost doesn’t miss a beat where they left off with 1996’s Duh, The Big City. “Resurrecto”, “Once Again… With Feeling” and the title track “Memory Hole” remind you why you loved this band to begin with – driving, sonic, unrelenting, their style of heavy punk tinged noise floods the memory, taking you back to when gas was an outrageous $1.05 a gallon and their masterful Into The Vortex filled the cabin of your car.


~ by thesynaptic on June 2, 2011.

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