... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, 20-Eyed Dragon, National Pastime, A Tiger Named Lovesick, Single Frame Ashtray, Migas, Moonlight Towers, Kissinger, and Burden Brothers
Reviewed by Christopher Gray, Fri., April 11, 2003
Fast, cheap, and out of control -- local bands are minting EPs at a pace that would leave even Robin Williams gasping for breath. So before we turn into Patch Adams, let's see what's in the chamber: ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead must be tuckered out from all that touring last year, because The Secret of Elena's Tomb (Interscope) finds the noise artists in an unusually reflective mood. Except "Intelligence," which lets a drum machine have all the fun... Beware the 20-Eyed Dragon, whose ...At the Still is four songs of high-wattage fuzz-rock going toe-to-toe with Doe Montoya's fire-breathing vocals... National Pastime's lyrical honesty on Learn Your Lesson is matched only by the quartet's vacuum-sealed riffage. "Long Way Home" is the anthem Good Charlotte might have written if they were any good... A Tiger Named Lovesick's "Enemy Camps (Song for a Spy)" is awash in icy, down-tuned intrigue. Imagine if Interpol worshipped Sister-era Sonic Youth instead of Joy Division... Single Frame Ashtray's Burn Radio Airtest has a similar whiff of NYC, only this signal emanates from synth-mad Williamsburg. The electroclash elves have been working overtime on "Dry Lips Usually Crack" and "Without Pens"... Migas' new Perverted Son offering -- Now! With added vocals! -- is all metal all the time, from the torrential "Space Docking" to the teasing "Trout." Take cover... Moonlight Towers' three-song Spinster effort experiences The Bends on the soothing "If We Make It to the Light," before journeying all the way to Abbey Road for "Hung Up" and "Sparks Will Fly"... Kissinger's Rock & Roll Ain't Cheap features Chopper in fine sneer on "Ascetic" and (especially) "Fool," while guitarist Steve Garvey slithers around spaghetti Westerns and Billy Idol before both soften up on prom-night sure-thing "Henrietta"... The sharpest cut on honorary Austinites the Burden Brothers' Queen o' Spades (Last Beat) isn't the splenetic "Walk Away" or its twang-overloaded C&W twin. It's not even the hellhound-plagued title cut. It's a volcanic remake of "400 Bucks" that nearly outstrips the Rev. Horton Heat's ageless original. So it's true: in the bargain-basement world of EPs, the band with 400 bucks really is king.