Brent Burns Through A Short Stack of CDs

Fight of My Life (KMG Records)
The Insyderz

By Brent Starkey

Hey kidz... it's ska time again! Nothing too spectacular here, though. At best, the Insyderz do a decent take on copping the Mighty, Mighty Bosstones' sound ("Jigsaw" and "What Happened to Joe") and they're obviously talented on their respective instruments (lots of horns, etc.), but nothing onFight of My Life sounds like it's gonna' break the Insyderz out from the hordes of Ska bands flooding the CD racks these days. There's an okay cover of "Walking on Sunshine" (which will not be on the final album . . . hmmm) and some traditional ska ("Trinidad") if that's your thing, but overall this is a pretty weak fight.

Shai Hulud / Indecision (split CD. EP. - Crisis Records)
Shai Hulud / Indecision

By Brent Starkey

Shai Hulud hails from Pompano Beach, Florida and Indecision is from Brooklyn, NY. Otherwise, these bands are pretty interchangeable. Hardcore, metallic guitars, shouted vocals, heartfelt lyrics: "Take this heart, you've claimed and as it numbs you know the flame is dead and will no longer burn" from Shai Hulud's "Love is the Fall of Everyman.". Each band does three songs (plus there is a bonus track, which I will assume is Indecision.) There's not much else to tell you - you know whether you like this stuff. I think the best thing about this CD / EP. was the front cover.

Kingdom of Lost Souls (Revelation Records)
Damnation A.D.

By Brent Starkey

It's hardcore time again. Metallic chugga-chug rhythms, shouted vocals, suicidal lyrics: "I am not beyond the pain that tears my soul apart. I have lost all hope? The only joy I feel is from tightening this rope and knowing the end is near" from "The Mortal." In small doses, I like this a touch better than, say, Shai Hulud or Indecision, but for a full length. it kind of wears on you rather than growing on you. Anyway, this band is from Rockville, MD. They play hardcore and you know whether you like this stuff - blah, blah, blah.

The Ponzi Scheme (Universal Records)

By Brent Starkey

Firewater is Todd A's (ex-Cop Shoot Cop) new band, which features fine company from friends Dave Ouimet (ex-Cop Shoot Cop), Duane Denison, Jim Kimball, etc. This is the follow up to last years'Get Off The Cross . . . We Need the Wood for Fire. Firewater is nothing akin to (surprisingly) Cop Shoot Cop - not as heavy and Firewater's songs can go anywhere from a gypsy waltz to a gospel ("Knock 'Em Down"): "And if there's a hell way down below, I bet you see someone you know/ and we'll all have a f**king good time".

I actually prefer this LP to last year's. The songs are generally a bit more uplifting this time - which isn't to say this is good time music by any stretch. Fine album. In fact, this is the best CD I've received in a while!

Cop Shoot Cop was one of my favorite bands and Todd A. is cutting a new niche with the superb Firewater. Get this!! . . . unless your taste runs more toward Damnation A.D., in which case it's your loss.

Boys Rock (Onefoot Records)
Latex Generation

By Brent Starkey

Latex Generation is a pop-punk three-piece from Albertson, NY that brings to mind early, early Goo Goo Dolls (and that's a good thing!). Lot's of catchy melodies, hooks galore, tight, fast rhythms, and "concerned" lyrics (many seem to concern ex-drug/alcohol-type addictions): "The poison in my veins is driving me insane/I don't know what to do/everytime you say ‘Come on, take another hit' / you don't know, you don't know" from "Cycle." On the downside, this is a particularly crowded genre and Latex Generation doesn't stand out much from the pack. though "Desperosity" makes a bold attempt as does the Rejects cover "Mac.". A decent effort and quite possibly a band to watch for.

What's really Going On?!? (Kung Fu Records)
Assorted Jelly Beans

By Brent Starkey

Assorted Jelly beans is a smart-ass trio playing ska and punk, singing about "Dead Neighbors," "Entry Level Positions" and, of course, "Parents": "When this all began / our parents couldn't understand, / didn't want to listen to their demands / tried to explain this is all we know / don't want to be a part of your silly freak show." It's fast, it's fun, it's sometimes even weird ("Loadie Mission," "Booshduckdown") and it's punk. The kids will love it. I like it: a good CD.- buy, kids, buy.

665 Neighbor of the Beast (Onefoot Records)

By Brent Starkey

This is the other end of the punk rock spectrum, from, say, Latex Generation. Raging, full-on punk rock from Sunrise, Florida. Where drugs are rampant ("Truckers on Speed," "My Bong! My War!," "Nothing Yet,": "I only do it when I can, I get so much then I got to go / I like to stick it up my nose / Aren't you getting tired / Tired all time, tired of being wired?/ Ask me I don't mind / I only do it when it's free, just a bit then I got to go"

And it's party time. Actually, this was the surprise of the month. Produced by Bill Stevenson and Stephen Egerton (of Descendants and All), this ain't no cookie-cutter pop-punk. Nope. This one might take the paint off your walls then eat it. ("The Mothership").

These boys learned some guitar tricks from Husker Du, blended it with the occasional guitar-wank-lead, drank some beer (and who knows what else) and ripped it loose. Nothing new here, just good, solid, in-yer-face-punk rock. And I like it !