Quick Shots – September

Due to an overflow of albums at UTG, we’re forced to condense some reviews in order to feature more albums for your reading pleasure. Each month we will do three or four quick shot reviews that summarize a normally 5 paragraph review into a single solid thought. If you want to know more about any release, just leave a comment and we’d love to talk to you.

Band: Topaz and Mudphonic
Album: Music For Dorothy
Genre: Blues Laced Rock
Label: Zapot

You know how some albums from the 70’s still sound great today based solely on the fact they just have this timeless sound to them that you can’t find today? Well, that thought process is no longer allowed as this album has all the classic rock sound you could ever want with a new age twist that makes it very approachable for all ages. Music For Dorothy is the best album this year in terms of finding a balance between southern rock and blues. Most bands get caught with one of the two sounds and then the songs that actually mix the sounds are very apparent and don’t fit., but not this one. The album stumbles on the songwriting and lyrics quite a bit throughout, but be sure to check out, “Lonely,” “Sunshine,” and my personal favorite, “Twin Oaks.” There’s something on this album that I don’t think you can find anywhere else in the market today, but it’s not quite perfected and that becomes apparent as the disc plays out. The band is currently on tour and if your looking for a new band with a classic feel, this is it, but you may want to use caution before diving in.

GRADE: 5/10

Band: Lustra
Album: What You Need & What You Get
Genre: Rock
Label: X Off

JP and I both had the same thought as this album appeared in the office: Isn’t this the band from Eurotrip? The answer, my friends, is yes. You know that catchy song about the guy’s girlfriend cheating on him that is played at the party in the film? That was Lustra. In fact, a 2nd version of said song, “Scotty Doesn’t Know,” is tacked on to the end of the disc and is actually a highlight of the whole record. Lustra’s sound tries desperately to be down and out rock with tales of life that anyone can relate to, but it comes off as a bit cheesy most the time. “It’s A Shame About Boston,” is the best track on the whole album and has this early 90’s alternative rock feel that still tastes fresh on your tongue. You will be singing along with the chorus by the end, however the relaxed swagger that works so far here stumbles elsewhere throughout the disc. The main problem here is that the band sounds lost in a sound that’s lost it’s welcome and cannot top the seemingly joke song that was, “Scotty Doesn’t Know.” In fact, the idea the band even felt the need to put the song out again [the 3rd time between the film’s soundtrack and the band’s last album], is a sign that they aren’t too sure of their music outside of that track. “Kids In Makeup,” tries to be a lighter Foo Fighters type track, but falls flat with lines we’ve heard a 1000 times by better bands and still, somehow, stands out as one of the better tracks the band has. I think this is a one hit wonder band who just can’t recreate the magic to the extent they did before and this whole album is a sign they either need to move on or throw in the towel.

GRADE: 4/10

Band: Wax Fang
Album: La La Land
Genre: Experimental Rock
Label: Don’t Panic!

Sometimes albums come in and you instantly are cautious to even spin them because something about the album just looks like it spells bad news. Wax Fang’s La La Land was one of these discs, but after finding myself 6 songs in and smiling ear to ear, I was glad I didn’t follow my initial thoughts. This band has a sound as timeless as early 70’s Elton John. Now I’m not saying they’re like Sir Elton, but the music just feels like it will never age and that’s saying a lot these days. The whole album plays out like one gigantic piece of art with the whimsy of The Who’s Tommy, but with this new millennium twist on the classic rock sound that makes it feel fresh once again. “Cannibal Summer,” my current favorite, is sure to sweep you off your feet before it even reaches the second verse and multiple other tracks do the same. Why music like this doesn’t blow up right away is far, far beyond me, but it needs someone up high to give it a listen. I’m putting Wax Fang down as one of the best newcomers of 08 and I’ll be more than willing to fight this with any and all that oppose. Find this album and this band and just enjoy real music for the first time in awhile.

GRADE: 7/10

**Written By: James Shotwell**

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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