Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Phratry Week: Mad Anthony

July 21, 2011

Out of all the releases in Phratry Week, the most surprising one is Mad Anthony‘s …I Spent All My Money on Speed Metal, which is actually not speed metal. That would have been somewhat inside Phratry’s considerably varied oeuvre, but instead they throw listeners a loop and release an album by a four-on-the-floor garage rock outfit.

Honestly, the most outsidery thing on the album is the demonic picture on the cover, which is another reason I thought it might actually be Slayer-inspired. Nope. This is every rock band you like. Jim Morrison, Danzig, Toadies, Misfits, Fugazi, Electric Six, The Clash, The Police, new wave, lo-fi, and garage rock all get shout-outs in the press quotes. I have no idea what half of these people are hearing, but that’s the beauty of Mad Anthony (and of rock in general): people hear different parts.

I mostly hear the connections to early 2000s garage rock revivalism, as “Naugahyde” is pretty much a song by The Vines (man, what happened to them?). “Uphill Both Ways” has early Strokes connections, while “Soul” and “Strangest Dream” have a First Impressions of Earth-era sound going on. The roaring, low vocals are chock full of attitude, which only lends credibility to the sound.

These songs are fist-pounding, headbanging rock’n’roll. The melodies are great, the band is tight, and the overall cool is top-notch. Each of these songs stand on their own, but “Beautiful Daughter” and “The Solution to the Indian Problem” rank high in my book. Mad Anthony’s …I Spent All My Money on Speed Metal does have one thing in common with the rest of the Phratry releases: it’s written by guys who did their homework and are subsequently on top of their game.

Phratry Week: The United Sons of Toil

July 19, 2011

Rare is the person who likes everything that Phratry puts out; that’s why there a billion different blogs in the world. Although I love The United Sons of Toil‘s name, their also-excellently-titled When the Revolution Comes, Everything Will Be Beautiful is just alright to me.

It’s certainly not bad. When The Revolution is nine tracks of straightforward, heavy rock with dissonance (not just distortion, but actual dissonance). “Sword of Damocles” has a twitchy opening guitar bit that is very cool; the uber-heavy “The Contrition of the Addict” is enjoyable for its pounding wall of sound and screamed refrain “We want to wake!” “State-Sponsored Terrorism” sounds like MeWithoutYou post-hardcore, which is always appreciated.

The lyrics and liner notes are the best part of the release; thanks to the wonderful site Bandcamp, you can read them all. I would recommend it (especially “State-Sponsored Terrorism”), even if you don’t like heavy, wall-of-sound rock. I think they’re spot-on with their political theories.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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