World Coming Down
Type O Negative
Abandon all talent ye who enter here. In Dante's "Inferno" there were nine circles of hell. Had the great Italian poet lived long enough to hear Type O Negative, he might have added a 10th. On its latest release, "World Coming Down," the surly quartet lumber through 13 punch-drunk numbers like a staggering boxer awaiting the knockout blow. It doesn't come soon enough. The O-Negs manage to drone on for nearly 75 excruciating minutes before throwing in the towel. Mostly, the band tries real hard to be scary, but come off sort of like pro-wrestlers -- over-dramatic to the point of sheer goofiness. You just can't take this stuff seriously. Approach this musical hell-hound with caution or face eternal damnation in heavy-metal Hades.
Something to Write Home About
The Get Up Kids
The Get Up Kids is one of the more interesting local success stories. After selling nearly 40,000 copies of its full-length debut, "Four Minute Mile," the Kansas City quintet is back with a new label and newfound energy. "Something to Write Home About" is a crisply produced collection of amped-up power pop, soaring harmonies and songs with more hooks than a tackle box. The band's affinity for touring has paid off handsomely -- "Something" sounds tight and focused throughout. Newly minted keyboardist Hames Dewees adds to the mix without getting in the way. Without a doubt, The Get Up Kids is a band we'll be hearing more from in the future. "Something to Write Home About" marks a new chapter in the burgeoning KC sound.
60 Second Wipe Out
Atari Teenage Riot
Set your drum machines for stun, there's an Atari Teenage Riot goin' on. The heavy-digital quartet's latest CD mixes block-rocking beats, non sequitur sound bites and industrialized pump-it-up chants into an all-out assault on the senses. ATR's (nine inch) nails-across-the-chalkboard approach is a wondrous thing indeed. Their music throbs, thrashes and screeches like highly agitated shards of sonic glass flying out of your speakers like rabid bats on acid. The disc races furiously, a warp-speed channel-surf rather than a collection of songs. Through the electronic fog standout cuts begin to emerge: "Revolution Action" kicks up much dust and "Atari Teenage Riot II" is pure pedal-to-the-metal bliss. Though certainly not for the mild-at-heart, ATR brings the glorious noise on "60 Second Wipe Out."
Oh! The Grandeur
Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire
In the afterlife, Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire will be sentenced to eternal strife for its lame attempt to catch the last bandwagon to Swingtown. Bird (a sometime violinist for Squirrel Nut Zippers) has configured a soulless amalgamation of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy by way of Cherry Poppin' Daddies -- leaving little room for innovation and ample room for faddish imitation. On "Grandeur," a musical Rubik's Cube of Rat-Pack vocals and finger-snapping beats, these trend-hopping hep-cats sound ready-made for one of those annoying "Swingers" Gap ads. They're so un-money and they don't even know it! Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton and Count Basie did this stuff better and did it first. If jazz is your bag, stick with the real Bird and watch this turkey-in-sheep's-clothing flutter off to Pet-Rocksville.
-- Geoff Harkness is the music writer for The Mag.