Ghostwriter, Jim Stringer & the AM Band, Greezy Wheels, Coffee Sergeants, Brent Palmer, Glass Family, Midgetmen, Good Looks, and Gun Totin' Meateaters
Reviewed by Christopher Gray, Fri., June 11, 2004
This assortment of low-profile local releases is brought to you, mostly, by the letter G. Steve Schecter is Ghostwriter, a haunted road hog with a brimstone growl and guitar mixed hotter than Lucifer. Road Angels and Torrential Rains imagines Nick Cave waking up on the wrong side of the bed, fighting cottonmouth and arrest warrants in several Southwestern states... Steady as a gambler's gaze, guitar sharp Jim Stringer & the AM Band lope through a dozen honky-tonk vignettes on In My Hand, ranging from the romantic "I'll Give You Miles" to the risqué "Pink Tornado." Everybody line up for the "Little Longhorn Polka"... It's around the world in 61 minutes with true family band Greezy Wheels, featuring three Hattersleys and two Pankratzes. HipPOP pulls into France, Africa, the Middle East, and Louisiana, but its smooth, laid-back groove is all South Austin, USA... Shrouded in mystery and garnished with delicate melodies, long-running foursome the Coffee Sergeants' El-Ariesh is a road map for people who have trouble settling down. The shimmering pop of "Hey Firecracker" and "Far End of the Dial" points the way... Singer-songwriter Brent Palmer examines life's romantic vicissitudes in painstaking detail on his Stabilize EP. Boosting spirits with cello, steel guitar, and piano, Palmer prays his "Losing Streak" won't last and with gems like "Juliana," it probably won't... All that studying Centro-matic and My Morning Jacket pays dividends in the woozy dynamics and fragile melodies of the Glass Family's debut EP. They may be stumbling all the way to their demise, but it's a fun ride... Small in stature, big on hooks, the Midgetmen aim for the heart-on-sleeve melodipunk of Alkaline Trio or New Found Glory, but the expansive choruses and winking lyrics of High Life suggest they're having too much fun to feel all that bad... Good times, good tunes, Good Looks. The quartet's Let the Needle Drop buzzes with saucy Sticky Fingers licks and Iggy's "Lust for Life." Better still, "Disco Rob" screams "Yeah!" as convincingly as Usher... Starring SXSW 04's most wanted, Chad Holt, the Gun Totin' Meateaters' Cease and Desist is a .12-gauge blast of plutonium-heavy, half-speed thrash that extols the virtues of good pussy and reveals Holt to be as conversant in World War II history ("Wake Island") and commie-fighting Eighties cinema ("Red Dawn") as his "Life of Crime." Like Lil' Flip once said, "Game Over."