The Single Life - Another 7 inches of Fun

Mighty High - Drops a Deuce - Cable TV Eye b/w Hands Up! (live n nasty)

There's no doubt about it. Mighty High really is Brooklyn's most "regressive rock act." Draped by some of the most mind-blowing R. Crumb style artwork imaginable (courtesy of Wayne Braino Bjerke) Mighty High really do drop a deuce onto an unsuspecting, slightly horrified public with this amplified, hellified, fuzzified blitzkrieg of raving retro, primal, bone marrow rock and roll. Just imagine someone driving a big old rusty drill bit right through the brain of MC5 into the skull of Black Flag, then dripping some Grand Funk Railroad into the gaping hole left behind. Stick your finger in the goo and that's Mighty High in all their flaming/smokin' glory.

With the High boys, it's all about the riff and the groove, in the punkest use of the terms. And it's all here, laid out on display like some plastic bags of hash on the counter of a head shop in Amsterdam. "Cable TV Eye," is a worthy follow-up to the freak out of stoner punk fuzz that was the Mighty High debut album, and if anything "Hands Up," builds upon this manic energy. Retro, regressive, whatever, this is pure adrenaline punk and stoner roll and it's a flaming blunt full of fun. Together, we get two slabs of basal, Spicoli, get-outta-my-way-I-need-to-get-stoned delinquency. Music to scare mothers of small babies. Music to scare parole officers. Music for hydro-hoofin'.

With it's marbled blue vinyl 7" and stare-at-it-for-hours cover, this is the complete package. Yep, Mighty High has delivered once again. This isn't rocket science, it's rock and roll. Don't even think about it, just buy it.

Blane Fonda - Opportunity Rocks b/w Salacious Love

Not really a 7" single per se (but could be!) rather this review is of a couple of mp3's the band sent my way over a period of time. "Opportunity Rocks," introduces Chicago's Blane Fonda and their energized, synthesized, fully-glammed out modern power pop. So many names run through my head in thinking about their sound, but in the end, that's all crap. It doesn't matter who they listened to, all that matters is what I'm hearing right now, and it's a stadium full of propulsive hooks, melodies and choruses. It's a distillation of every glam punk/pop band that had genesis in the eighties, wormholed through a time warp continum to the new millenium. "Opportunity Knocks," features some raving guitars, huge bass lines, monstrous melodies and some of the most elastic vocals I've ever heard. Deep and thoughtful, soaring and uplifting, wicked and psychotic, all from one set of vocal chords. Big symphonic synths, cybals crashing like hail on a tin roof. It's all here, and it's all perfect.

But in truth, it wasn't until "Salacious Love," crossed my computer that I knew I had to write about these guys. Bringing back the best of the New Romantic Glam movement, "Salacious Love," is nothing but esquisite. Beginning with a very Supertramp-ish keyboard intro, and a deep and emotive vocal, the bass bubbles underneath, immediately elevating this song to the now. The instant. An amazingly sensuous melody percolates to the surface, another huge, soaring chorus falls into place. Everything builds, slowly, evenly to a climax of spiky guitar and sythns. Then, like any good moment of sex, immediately the song falls back to a slower, more deliberate pace, only to build once again; steadily, unflinchingly. For a post-punk junkie like me, this song is one long aural orgasm.

Whew, out of breath.

Higher Giant - Al's Moustache

With a pedigree that lists members from some of the leading bands of the New York Hardcore scene (Kid Dynamite, Lifetime, Grey Area, Warzone, The Arsons and Token Entry), I think any waverider could be forgiven for expecting Higher Giant to sound like a agglomeration of all the New York Hardcore that has come before them. Truth be told, you couldn't be more mistaken. Despite a super-group lineage, or maybe because of it, Higher Giant sound nothing like what would be expected of them. This isn't hardcore. Sure there are moments of frantic, monster-drink pumped up energy and crashing guitars, but it ain't hardcore. In fact, it's hardly punk. Sure there's a snotty-edged tone to the vocals (vaguely reminiscent of bands like The Planet Smashers) and a better-than-emo quality to the songs, but it ain't punk. Not in the traditional sense of the word anyways. So then what is it?

Higher Giant sounds like the next evolution of punk. Once you break out of the hardcore scene, but still want some speed and punch to your music, but get nauseated by the emo-crap out there, there's Higher Giant. These cats break out with a 4-song 7" single filled with raving hooks, big choruses, spikey guitars, steamrolling drums, and a large dose of manic energy; never forgetting their hardcore roots, but transforming that sound with clean vocals and a hefty bag of songwriting chops to create a powerful road all their own. Pop hardcore? No. Thrash pop? Maybe. Don't know what to call it, so dispense with labels and just listen to the charging guitars and melody of "See You Later, Chopstick." Chugging guitars keep the energy flowing but in a bouncy, bopping fashion not a bludgeoning. Nice guitar work slices through the mix, showing these cats know their instruments and aren't afraid of progging up their tunes. "Bad Investment," kicks off with a dynamite swing-tom drum line before wrapping itself in a delicious melody and chiming guitar. Again, the band's not afraid to play with dynamics, dropping out the sound, kicking in a big drum, squeezing in a disharmonic bridge, before finding a groove just not found in hardcore. "Just Go," is actually a pop confection dressed up in hyper-energy and attitude, avoiding all the pitfalls of emo. "Union Square," is just a stone cold rock/punk get-off. Punchy and brimming with piss.

Completely accessible yet at the same time not a put off to the punk crowd. Higher Giant have found the right mix.

The Kut - Doesn't Matter Anyway b/w Closure

Apparently there's a new scene developing in England, South London to be specific, New Cross to be dead on. Emerging from the labyrinth of underground punk, rock, and glam clubs, "basement rock," has been bandied about to describe the guitar heavy, punky attitude, garage-y rock sound of these bands that eschew normal commercial channels and make their name by playing the squat or underground circuit. Fusing big, big guitars, with heaps of glam and a fashion sense of a mutated 1920's flapper, The Kut are one of the main bands to break out of this scene and head towards US shores.

And based on this debut double- A single, "Doesn't Matter Anyway b/w Closure," its not hard to see why. Ignore the fact that this is an all girl trio for a moment. Ignore the fact that they have a killer look, completely natural yet massively marketable. Ignore the fact that they got tons of underground cred, and what you have left over is a freaking dynamite burst of punchy, poppy, raise-your-hands-in-the-air, dancefloor-filling indy punk/garage/glam amalgamation. "Doesn't Matter Anyway," rides a choppy guitar riff from verse to chorus over rolling bass lines and solid drumming to deliver a gem of female alt-rock as tasty as anything put out there since the Go-Go's. This is a hummable, danceable, singable, pogo-able, head bop-able, slab of prime indy pop. Great hooks, great chops. Beautiful, nuanced, emotive vocals without being whiny or snotty. It's all there, and it's about as damn near perfect as you'll find.

Then, as loose and choppy as "Doesn't Matter Anyway," was "Closure," shows immediately that these girls aren't one-trick ponies. Trading the alt-punk roots for a deeper, denser vibe, "Closure," flows out like some female Cure. Elvira's deep plowing bass lines lead to the big crunch of the chorus, highlighted by some tasty drum fills by Jade. Listen to the guitar tone here, it's ear-grabbing, and makes it no surprise that frontwoman Maha just signed an endorsement deal with Marshall.

Yeah, just go ahead and forget anything that sound like hype or gimmick about this band. I friggin' love these girls. Rock hasn't been this much fun in ages. --Racer