Review Round Up #31

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes "I Hate CDs: Norton Records Singles Collection, Volume 1," Skeletons with Flesh on Them's "The Fish Don't Mind," The Kimballs' "Great Face For Radio," The Hotdamns' "Vanquished," and Falcon Mohawk's "Falcon Mohawk."

I Hate CDs: Norton Records Singles Collection, Volume 1

Various Artists
“I Hate CDs: Norton Records Singles Collection, Volume 1”
(Norton Records 2007)

Get your jukebox ready and polish up your saddle shoes. Then ditch that crap because with Norton Records' "I Hate CDs" you won't need it. A sort of "best of" collection, the compilation includes singles that the label has released throughout the years. Full of wacky '50s radio humor and wild rock numbers, the 45 tracks highlight twangy guitars and hip swinging rhythms while still managing to squeeze in the Ramones and Big Star (even if they do stick out like a sore thumb amidst the other grittier recordings).

Sounds Like: Kitschy, quirky and straight up fun rock n roll -- the way it was meant to be

Key Tracks: Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Hear Voices," Readyman's "Shortnin' Bread"

B
buy it!
The Fish Don't Mind

Skeletons with Flesh on Them
“The Fish Don't Mind”
(Self-Released 2007)

Rough around the edges, Skeletons with Flesh on Them keep things a bit too loose on their debut EP, "The Fish Don't Mind." Bouncy rhythms and driving guitar riffs easily overtake melodic vocals, burying them beneath the brash instrumentation. While obviously going for an indie rock style that stresses soft vocals with a blending of catchy and solid instrumentation, the band's resulting sound does not woo the listener on "The Fish Don't Mind" although they are certainly heading in the right direction.

Sounds Like: Guitar-driven indie rock

Key Tracks: "Houseguests"

C
buy it!
Great Face For Radio

Kimballs
“Great Face For Radio”
(DowBoy Records 2007)

While The Kimballs kept "Number One," their debut full-length, light and catchy, they decided to get serious on "Great Face For Radio," the band's new EP. OK, so maybe not serious but they are definitely doing things a bit differently this time. Keeping their music straight forward and with their trademark quirks intact, The Kimballs get you going with bass thumping up tempo numbers ripe for dancing before dimming the lights and making their move with relatively minimalist ballads.

Sounds Like: Feel good rock

Key Tracks: "1933"

C+
buy it!
Vanquished

Hotdamns
“Vanquished”
(Self-Released 2007)

The Hotdamns, from Richmond, Virginia, have a fresh country rock sound that is soft and likable - with that little extra giddy up when necessary. But on "Vanquished," the band's debut EP, The Hotdamns' Danielle Ahart steals the show with her lead vocals on gentle ballads that are not as nice as they might sound; at one point Ahart sings that she "gave up cocaine for a Tennessee stud." Let's see Carrie Underwood sing about that!

Sounds Like: Country with a hint of rock

Key Tracks: "Yankee By Birth (Southern At Heart)"

B+
Falcon Mohawk

Falcon Mohawk
“Falcon Mohawk”
(Self-Released 2007)

Falcon Mohawk are just some good old boys playing some rock n roll. The band's self-titled EP is a mix of naughty humor (take, for example, their double entendre of "I had to ring that Southern belle"), ballads with sure vocal melodies and guitar driven mid tempo grooves. While much of Falcon Mohawk's sound you have heard before, the band use the EP to introduce you to their music and put a little boogie into your step.

Sounds Like: Southern influenced rock

Key Tracks: "Spit & Spank"

C+