Quick Hits 05/06 .1

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big wig, bugs multiply, crime in stereo, liz durrett...

 

Bigwig: Reclamation (Fearless)

With four albums now under their belt, it’s clear New Jersey’s Bigwig know how to transform anger and energy into music. And they’ve got plenty to be angry about: an unjust war, a society prone to conformity, young people all to eager to lap up whatever pop culture spoon-feeds them… Fast and technical from start to finish, Reclamation suffers only from what might be described as a bit too much attention to production—the record’s razor sharp to be sure, but it could do with a little roughing up around the edges. | Daniel O’Malley

RIYL: Propaghandi, Bad Religion

Bugs Multiply: Bugs Multiply (Coma Gun Music)

RIYL: Foo Fighters, Everclear, Marcy’s Playground, Husker Du

Matt Cox heads up this quartet of ex-Yankees in the sleepy Dixie town of Asheville, N.C. and, in Bugs Multiply, releases a highly polished first LP, perfectly honed for radio play. Cox has over 15 years of songwriting experience in numerous bands and his lyrical talents are featured prominently. The vocal harmonies and guitar hooks alone make Bugs Multiply worth checking out. Highlights from this self-titled debut include “Dins and Feebles,” with a glorious chorus, punchy guitars, and quite possibly the most quirky lyrics ever, “dreams of punk rock in a taco.” Stretched out guitars and distorted keyboards are showcased on “Thinking Husker Du” and “Cheryl Tiegs” has a fun summer jam sound to it. With a definite flare for the indie-rock sound, this band has the potential to garner some much-deserved adoration. | Mary Beth Hascall

Crime In Stereo: The Troubled Stateside (Nitro)

Levittown, New York’s Crime in Stereo is a legacy hardcore band. “Legacy band” reads far more neutral than “sounds like” or “derivative of.” Derivative can come off as rather insulting if not qualified. And, let’s face it, there is not a punk or hardcore band that doesn’t base its sound on the bands they grew up on. So going on their listed influences, Crime in Stereo carries on the legacy of Dag Nasty and Kid Dynamite. Granted, they are not up to par to those groups, but let’s face it: very few bands could be.

On their latest, The Trouble Stateside, Crime in Stereo blast through 12 tracks in 36 minutes. As CIS intonates, TTS is a document of band in transition. While firmly entrenched in their hardcore roots, The Trouble Stateside includes a small dose of relatively slower tracks. Quoth their press release: “Lyrically, The Trouble Stateside is a study of a touring band, the industry they’re up against, the state of the nation, and their impending adulthood.” The dreaded world of adulthood may be catching up to them, but The Trouble Stateside is an excellent dose of hardcore with healthy, youthful, exuberance. Crime in Stereo may not leave behind a legacy of their own, but they do a damn fine job of holding up the legacies of those that came before them. | David Lichius

RIYL: Bane, Madcap

Liz Durrett: Mezzanine (Warm)

The mood on Liz Durrett’s second album, Mezzanine—a nine-years-later follow-up to the late-’90s Husk—is more contemplative than sad, more poetic than passive. Durrett’s voice possesses a lax and kindred drawl, a breathy echo that contorts a lullaby as if on exhale, sweet and memorable. Light synths and strings fade under this softness, enabling Mezzanine to capture a feeling completely separate from reality. Cat Power fans take note: Your esoteric music taste has been rewarded twice this year, with both The Greatest and Mezzanine released almost back-to-back. The Gillian Welch–reminiscent Mezzanine dances between bows to Chan Marshall and Suzanne Vega, with characteristics unique to Durrett truly her own. Many attribute the album’s rapture to blood and sweat; the famed Vic Chesnutt (Is the Actor Happy, West of Rome) is the contributor, producer, and uncle of Durrett. While blood is thicker than water, Durrett’s uniquely poetic voice holds easily holds her own midstream. Mezzanine is the perfect soundtrack on a dusty road when you need it just loud enough to drown out the noise, just quiet enough to hear your thoughts. Standout tracks include the up-tempo “Cups on the Counter” and the vocally impressive “Marlene.” | Laura Ann Checkett