Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Year In Music, So Far ... Pt. 1 -- Reviews: Killola & Hot Seconds

I usually do these things at the end of the year. Well, it’s close enough to years end, isn’t it? This is the first part of my re-cap. I'm starting with the two records that have captured my interest the most this year, Killola and Hot Seconds latest releases.

Back in January (or somewhere there about), I pre-ordered I Am The Messer by DIY California rock band Killola. A relative introduced me to their previous effort, Louder, Louder! and I’ve been hooked sense.

Come late April, early May, I Am The Messer arrived in my box. For the uninitiated, Killola is a band full of attitude, fun and energy. Vocalist Lisa Rieffel goes from Barbie doll cuteness to in your face punk and everything in-between on the drop of a dime. She’s rather like Barbie’s cooler attitude filled rock ‘n’ roll sister who screams in your face with a wink and smile. Her partners in crime, Dan Grody (drums), Mike Ball (guitar) and Johnny Dunn (bass) provide a tight foundation with just the right combination of ear pleasing edgy garage rock, pop and punky new-waviness.

Where Louder, Louder! has more of a raw punk’ish vibe, I Am The Messer is more polished. Polished doesn’t mean it’s less edgy or less fun by any means. The record kicks off solid with “This Is How The World Ends” and doesn’t let up. The second track “All Of My Idols Are Dead” contains what could easily be the next biggest catch phrase to storm the country, ‘If I TXT U this song … would you sing along?’ To answer the question, yes, I would.

“Wa Da We Da” is one of those songs that you can’t help but sing-a-long to at the top of your lungs. I’m still not exactly sure what the term Wa Da We Da actually means, but it sounds good! My personal favorite is “You Can’t See Me Because I’m A Stalker.” It’s possibly the best stalker song since The Police logged in with “Every Breath You Take.” To add to the perfection of this song, it's delivered in the fashion of girl singers of yesteryear ... think Lesley Gore or Brenda Lee, petty coats and lacquered hair. You get the picture? It sounds so sweet and innocent yet it's so brilliantly creepy.

“10,000 Pound Ego” is another one of those songs that you sing-a-long to at the top of your lungs. You can’t help but do so, it demands it! They say, “We gave our soul to Rock n' Roll, and boy it's tough to give a fuck when it's the only thing that loves you back.” No Killola, you have a massively loyal fan base who loves you back too.

To sum it up, I Am The Messer is the really hot person at a dimly lit basement party that everybody wants to hang with. It captivates you from beginning to end sounding like your long lost friend. At the same time it sounds like nothing you’ve heard before but you’re happy to hear it and want to be its latest conquest. And conquer you it does. At the end of the night, I Am The Messer grabs you, throws you against the wall and makes out with you without asking your name before writing its number on your hand and walking away. And guess what? You won’t complain!

Track Listing

  • This Is How The World Ends
  • All Of My Idols Are Dead
  • Strung Out On Sunshine
  • Is This A Love Song?
  • The Man From Kilimanjaro (Interlude)
  • Personal Graveyard
  • Heartrate 160
  • Wa Da We Da
  • You Can’t See Me Because I’m A Stalker
  • 10,000 Pound Ego

Stalk Them Online

Earlier this year, I became acquainted with a delightful website called Amie Street. It has turned into one of my “must browse” sites. I’ve discovered a lot of good music over there. Perhaps my favorite find over there has been Hot Seconds. They’re a New York based band. I need to get out more. They’re right in my backyard and it took trolling around Amie Street to find them!

They released their debut effort, the self-titled Hot Seconds, several months ago. My ear was immediately caught by the second track on the record, “Pieces Of You.” I sense a tad bit of bitterness here, but I could be wrong. It's an infectious little number regardless. My personal favorite and in my opinion the album highlight, “Went To India.” It's a biting lyrical jab fest that’s worth the price of the record alone.

I wasn’t originally too taken with “Clam Man” when I first heard it but that changed after a few listens. It’s a beautiful, somewhat melancholy song. One has to wonder if it’s perhaps a self-descriptive reflection of the lyricist. Musically, it makes you feel like you’re at the ocean yet you wonder why you can’t hear the waves.

“Holy Moly,” another highlight, is filled with fun danceable beats. It deals with issues of trust from a rather paranoid stand point. Who said paranoia couldn’t be fun? If there’s one song that should be a “hit” it’s “Rooftop.” This song just screams hit single. It’s a highly accessible infectious track that's so musically tight you can't help but like it. Radio stations should have it in regular rotation. The record ends with the low key “Start Over” which vaguely feels like an early sixties pop song. There’s a sense of sadness laced with a tinge of apathy in the lyric.

Overall, both lyrically and delivery wise, vocalist/lyricist James Love walks a fine line between vulnerability, insecurity and razor tongued keenness. This is all held together by a thumping rhythm section and perfectly placed guitars.

Hot Seconds is a solid debut of well crafted, attention grabbing tunes. It has the perfect blend of cheek, cleverness, catchy lyrics, jaded cynicism and danceable dirty jangle rhythms to keep you entertained from beginning to end.

Track Listing

  • Can’t Stop
  • Pieces Of You
  • Excuse Me
  • Went To India
  • Clam Man
  • We Met Before
  • Individual
  • Holy Moly
  • Rooftop
  • Start Over

Stalk Them Online