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taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

taking a listen

reviews of local & state music CDs

MOTHER JACKSON Loud and Proud: Soundtrack To Your Damnation

Athens, Ga.-based garage punks Mother Jackson (www.motherjackson.com) were pretty cavalier about their collective sobriety during the creation of their debut album Suck On This, and while it became exactly what a bunch of rock-worshipping inebriates could have hoped for, they went a more professional route with the follow-up. Loud and Proud: Soundtrack To Your Damnation might sound like a title that could only be cooked up in the throes of illicit substances, but rest assured — it sounds like it also. Make no mistake about this album; its appeal rests squarely on the uncompromising twin guitar attack of guitarists Paul McHugh and Richard Mikulka. It should come as no surprise that Mikulka is the son of Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker, and Mother Jackson has consequently absorbed much of that same hazy barroom nihilism. The album opens with a barrage of sturdy, if unremarkable, New York punk and Southern garage, but by the time “Get What You Want” rolls around, the contrast between McHughes growling rhythm and Mikulka piercing lead becomes a thing of beauty. “The Fix” sounds like what might happen if Jack White kicked Chris Robinson aside and took over the Black Crowes, while “Living This Way” has tinges of late-era Corrosion of Conformity-style stoner rock. It’s not as sinister as the name implies, but Soundtrack can spew fire with the best of them.

Mother Jackson is playing the Garage on Tuesday, October 6 at 9 p.m.

73/100

GAZPACHO Tick Tock

They’ve made noise (literally) in Europe for years now, but Norwegian art rock band Gazpacho (www.myspace.com/gazpachomusic) has finally made their way to the United States on the heels of their fifth album, a soaring concept based on the book Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Sain-Exupery. Like the philosopher’s memoirs itself, the album is an introverted and existential work that closely examines that which makes life worth all the trouble. Between their pan-Atlantic heritage, abstract arrangements and the sultry malaise behind Jan Henrik Ohme’s voice, the comparisons to Porcupine Tree, Radiohead and Sigur Ros are inevitable. It’s the message, however, where separation occurs. Instead of the mysterious and evocative prose common to both the former and latter, Gazpacho is a bit more maudlin and overstated in their approach. Consider it the ABBA effect, but there’s something about Scandinavian bands that lends itself to a little cheesiness in an American context. The way it’s conveyed, however, is what has garnered Gazpacho such a rabid, almost cult, fan base overseas. The album is divvied into four parts: the vaguely symphonic and heavy “Desert Flight;” the mercurial “The Walk,” complete with pronounced Eastern influences; three sub-movements of “Tick Tock” that ebb and flow with expert pacing; and finally concluded by “Winter is Never,” where the band comes the closest to the ethereal, unattainable sound of their forbearers. It’ll be interesting to see just how their received in their first US tour, but Gazpacho is definitely one to check out as they make their way down the East Coast.

69/100

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