2008 Music Awards Nominees: Best Local Release on a Label
(Thanks to bands for permission to post MP3s!)
(Shame Club, by Jennifer Silverberg)
Shame Club, Come On (Small Stone)
An apt exhortation to fans and detractors alike, Shame Club’s Come On honors classic rock heroes without resorting to musty dinosaur gestures. Guitars scream like bottle-rockets or twist lazily like a kite – mimicking Led Zeppelin and Motörhead as much as Sly and the Family Stone or Queens of the Stone Age -- while golden-throated vocalist Jon Lumley howls and moans with the effortless agility of the greats. Unheralded drummer Ken McCray’s monstrous playing anchors On’s melodic rhythm section; his drumsticks look like mere toothpicks as he obliterates grooves with ease. -- Annie Zaleski
Grace Basement, New Sense (Dren)
Melodic, infectious pop music is given several iterations on the ten tracks that comprise New Sense, the debut from Grace Basement. Though now playing out as a full-fledged band, leader Kevin Buckley composed, performed and recorded the entire album by himself. His sharp songwriting and musical prowess has given way to a varied platter of indie rock. The country-folk gem “Santa Fe” would have been a top ten single in 1973, and the burbling, playful “Caught” injects a little bit of pop-psychedelia into the mix. -- Christian Schaeffer
Pi, 9 p.m.
Ludo, You’re Awful, I Love You (Island)
With a few notable exceptions, local bands have never had much luck with the major-label machine. But with the release of You’re Awful, I Love You, count Ludo among those who dodged the cut-out-bin bullet. The hard-working quintet recorded Awful with Matt Wallace at Sound City Studios (Weezer, Nirvana); the result is a solid, cohesive disc of catchy tunes that span the rainbow-spectrum of pop – from ska (“Lake Pontchartrain”) and rock (“Please”) to power (“Such As It Ends”) and quirk (“Love Me Dead”). -- Annie Zaleski
Ludo, by Jennifer Silverberg.
The Pubes, Peat Sounds (Roadhouse)
Peat Sounds, the fabulous punk-rock album by The Pubes is a frenzied, high energy blast of raucous infectiousness. Most songs hover around 90 seconds long, although the band doesn’t hum along at one speed the entire time. Distinctive style shifts in songs such as the bouncy “Tree Names Fukyew” and the evil old-school metal trudge “The Skull Island Pop” -- coupled with an abundance of catchy hooks and plenty of sharp-witted sarcasm -- make this album stand out. -- Shae Moseley
Riddle of Steel, 1985 (Ascetic)
Much like the Van Halen album to which it (sorta) pays homage (that’d be 1984), Riddle of Steel’s 1985 features the strongest songwriting of its career. Jimmy Vavak’s hollowed-out basslines writhe around Andrew Elstner’s silver-plated riffs and drummer Rob Smith’s propeller-fast beats. Standouts include the pogo-friendly rocker “Quiet Now” – which bounces along with the sensation of bare feet pricking needles -- the stoner-rock slow-burn “Who’s the Fella Owns This Shithole?” and yes, the Van Halen-esque “It’s Called a Turbo.”
-- Annie Zaleski
(The Monads, photo by Tammy Leahy)
The Monads, Ornery (Big Muddy)
Had Gogol Bordello had roots in the wilds of Missouri instead of soaking up Eastern Europe influences, the band might have produced an album like the Monads’ Ornery. Buoyed by nimble electric fiddle and barnstormin’ banjo – along with thumping upright bass and sterling harmonies – the quartet’s old-time saloon-rock and gypsy-twang is a hootin’ and hollerin’ good time.-- Annie Zaleski
Market State, 4 p.m.
Earthworms, Bottle Full of Bourbon (F5)
As hip-hop becomes increasingly faceless and homogeneous, the effervescent, personality-laden Earthworms are a breath of fresh air. Cartoonish and playful (but not reliant on shtick) Bourbon boasts Technicolor beats, breezy soul-jazz and sizzling vinyl scratches. A cameo from the Urge’s Steve Ewing helps the horn-funk jam “Get Up” kill -- although the title track, with its smooth lyrical flow and sinister beats, steals the show. -- Annie Zaleski
Elvis Room, 11 p.m.
MP3: Earthworms, "Get Up"