Review Round Up #25's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Amberhaze's "Newborn," Sixx:AM's "The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack," "Road To Nowhere" compilation, Los Femurs' "Modern Mexico" and Frontier Brothers' "Solar Power Struggle!"


(Self-Released 2007)

The debut release from Giuliano Gullotti's solo project Amberhaze is set on a minimalist landscape. The appropriately titled "Newborn" EP is slow and quiet as lonesome melodies gradually reveal themselves amidst vibrating bass and atmospheric noises. While about half of the EP is made up of instrumentals, vocals are added to others for a mixed result.

Sounds Like: Delicate minimalism

Key Tracks: "Bird's Eye"

The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack

“The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack”
(Seven Eleven Music 2007)

Making a soundtrack for a book is not exactly an obvious choice until you remember that the book is about a rock star's battles with addiction. For Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx it sure seemed to work. Joined by DJ Ashba and James Michael, "The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack" is limited in actual readings from the book, opting instead for soaring hard rock songs. Partially inspirational and partially a recounting of Sixx's spiral out of control, the tracks are the singer opening up and bleeding. However, Sixx might be pushing it a bit too far with a "corresponding" clothing line.

Sounds Like: Hard rock that is both poppy and powerful

Key Tracks: "Pray For Me"

buy it!
Road to Nowhere

Various Artists
“Road to Nowhere”
(Poison Tree Records/MoRisen Records 2007)

The new compilation from Poison Tree Records and MoRisen Records is a rocking affair. With a fair share of desert and stoner rock (including the likes of Fu Manchu, Brant Bjork, and Burning Brides), punk rockers The Dwarves make an appearance as do Nick Oliveri And Mondo Generator and Truck Fighters for some hard rock. Turn Me On Dead Man finish the album off with some trippy psychedelics.

Sounds Like: The underground rock trinity – hard, stoner and punk rock

Key Tracks: Truck Fighters - "Freewheelin'," Fu Manchu ' "Shake It Loose"

buy it!
Modern Mexico

Los Femurs
“Modern Mexico”
(Homespun Records 2007)

Los Femurs' debut full-length, "Modern Mexico" is an upbeat album that bounces you around with their poppy Ramones-inspired sound (minus the glue-sniffing references). Rapidly strummed guitar with smooth vocals and background harmonies dominate each and every song. But the Seattle duo limit themselves by sticking to their quick strumming formula like glue, never going outside their self imposed box.

Sounds Like: Upbeat pop punk somewhere between The Ramones and Violent Femmes

Key Tracks: "Plastic Swords"

buy it!
Solar Power Struggle!

Frontier Brothers
“Solar Power Struggle!”
(Final Frontier Records 2007)

As Austin rockers The Frontier Brothers jump back and forth between light and heavy, they always seem to manage to work a bit of both in to their debut EP, "Solar Power Struggle!" Energetic tracks with full guitar instrumentation incorporate melodic synthesizers (think Kraftwerk-light) while lower key ballads keep the relatively solid and steady drumming with singer Marshall Galactic's confident and slightly edgy vocals building to screams and squeals.

Sounds Like: Likable rock accessorized with keyboards

Key Tracks: "Technicalelectronicsupersonicrobot (T.E.S.S.)"