Eisley, the Stingers, the Jacks, Air Tight Alibi, and Centro-matic
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Feb. 27, 2004
December: Downstairs at Stubb's offered the perfect seasonal burrow for Tyler's endearing Eisley clan, who gifted their second Warner Bros. EP to a den full of hungry pop sucklings. Shorter by a song than the previous, five-track Laughing City, and finally bearing the Reprise imprint, Marvelous Things continues the Belly rubbing with a pinch less eye of newt. "Memories" ring, while "The Winter Song" entreats, the whole effort more Lewis Carroll ebullience... The Stingers' Three Points EP on Münster, Germany's Grover label comes just as the local, old-school ska-lors have begun recording a follow-up to Top 10 2003 honoree This Good Thing. A trio of new tunes and a couple of dubs result in the same stone groove as their primo debut... Fourteen minutes of tarnished twangabilly is what local fourpiece the Jacks offer on I Run (Flaming Arrow). Ms. Bianca & the boys aren't done any favors by the production's dull sheen, though the instrumental tide pull of "Lonesome Highway" and "The Drag" splash ever so (sniff) Sound Exchange... Air Tight Alibi vents plenty of spleen on the 20-minute It Will Consume You (Hollow Point), Brady Black's emo vox alternating urgent and throaty, while two guitarists (Ty Tyner, Lance Thomas) cut and run. Already Van's Warped Tour vets, this airtight mini disc is yet more proof of the quintet's worth, "Cadaver Dog" and "The Forgotten" baring teeth... In a 30-minute world, Centro-matic's 27-minute Flashes and Cables pushes the outer limits of "deEP end," especially with four videos encrypted as a bonus. Kris Youmans' top-notch treatment of "Janitorial on Channel Fail" edges out Bob Andrews' rousing "Call the Legion in Tonight" for top honors, neither song found on last year's gritty, alt-songwriter rugburn, Love You Just the Same. The EP's madeover titular track does battle twice with a quartet of Love You Just the Same leftovers including its desolate namesake. Like Anders Parker's Varnaline, Centro-matic's Will Johnson along with Austin indie Misra Records can do no wrong.