The Weekly Jive

Posted May 1, 2008 in Music

Greeley Estates—Go West Young Man, Let The Evil Go East (Science)

State-of-the-arrggght screamo from this steadily rising Phoenix quintet: split-personality singy/screechy vocals; unusually articulate, grandiose guitars; flamboyant double-kick drumming; and a lyric that sounds like “Yeah! This is a hot tub!” Go West’s sample-sprinkled, larger-than-life production doesn’t sap too much of its apparently authentic angst, though the  flown-in choral/soulful interjections are sometimes more incongruous than artsy. But at least Greeley Estates keep it interesting, twisting their largely Warped Tour formula with passages of Black Sabbath chug, organic piano tinkles, and eccentric faux-psychedelia. When all’s said and done, it’s the performances that set this disc apart: the twin axes gurgle, duck-n-dove like moths around metal’s eternal flame; Brian “B-Champ” Champ’s drums are an endurance event of imagination, reinvention and execution; and Ryan Zimmerman, while hardly breaking new vocal ground, offers more than enough conviction to command our attention. Go West ain’t going to hurt Greeley Estates career prospects one little bit and, for all its box-checking genre adherence, the disc’s glimmers of freethinking suggest greater things to come. (Paul Rogers)


Regime Noir—Native Stranger (self-released)

Regime Noir are an East LA duo with oodles of talent and sonic ambition. Lovingly reflecting the textures and tensions of their surroundings, they explore rock, post-punk and Latin jazz with earnest abandon. The results evoke a more accessible, song-oriented Mars Volta. Mercifully, Regime Noir skip some of MV’s more perverse/pretentious prog-outs; sadly, they also lack the latter’s recording budget. While a more than worthy by self-released debut standards, Native Stranger seldom hits the vivid dynamic heights that more moolah might have allowed for, and Israel Ramirez’ already engaging vocals could’ve been truly otherworldly with a little more time and coaching. When it gets going though, this disc’s faux-flamenco guitars, ludicrously note-y (yet never inappropriate) bass, ultra-adept percussion (courtesy of a brace of studio drummers), and multi-cultural shifts of feel and flavor create an evocative, escapist, and intelligently angry disc that makes you want to go out and do something. Native Stranger is flawed, yet still wipes the floor with its DIY peers. (Paul Rogers)


Millencolin— Machine 15 (Epitaph)

Scandinavia is hardly synonymous with skate-punk, but Sweden’s Millencolin are making a spiffier job of the genre than many of the SoCal acts they so clearly revere. This is pre-Blink 182 stuff, with oodles of melody and harmony, a fair bit of lyrical nostalgia, and great gusts of positivity. With nearly two million records sold over 15 years, Millencolin are no come-lately copycats, and it shows on this eighth studio effort: Machine 15 still has one foot in suburban garages, but goes well beyond the two-dimensional formula which has had so many Warped Tour types treading water for a decade. Millencolin are full of melodic and harmonic surprises; open to little sonic adventures like string sections; and overall display a musicality and sonic mobility rare in their field. As a result, Machine 15 isn’t weighed down with back-in-the-day stodginess, but instead invigorated and progressive while true to its origins. Despite occasional, mortifying reminders of The Offspring, this will be the pop punk disc to beat this year. (Paul Rogers)






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