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The Kicks' newest release: The Rise of King Richie

A quick glance at the four guys on the cover of The Kicks album The Rise of King Richie might cause someone to back away fast. It could be the half-unbuttoned shirt on one or the bandana on another, but something about the look says, "I am the man in the bar with the bad pick-up line." That said, it could be that the four Kicks members are satirizing a particular look, plus it really all just depends on what you're into.

Most prominent about this album, released last September, is an array of odd influences throughout, ranging from the early 60s jukebox numbers to the hard rock of the 80s and 90s. Its guilty-pleasure charm is like all the songs that people like, but won't admit to liking.

King Richie opens up on a fast note with "This Feeling," with guitar solos and yowling vocals reminiscent of Aerosmith. The 1960ss oldies influence comes into play on "Turn It Out," from the harmonizationadns teady percussive snap vis-a-vis Roy Orbison's "Pretty Womanm," and if you listen to the chorus of "Good Morning," you will find a striking and unexpected resemblence to Bowie's "All the Young Dudes."

Still, there's more with a drilling riff on "Shake It Loose" that sounds like Skynyrd, before the album wraps up on its slowest note with a Billy Joel-esque piano opening on "No Easy Way Out."

If a rock album infused with 60s and 80s pop floats your boat, The Rise of King Richie will do the trick. The band members are more than capable instrumentalists, and they definitely are not the morose types, judging by the album's upbeat vibe. Check them out May 13th and 12th and Porter. - Jessica Pace

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Heavy Cream, Shellshag, Cy Barkley & The Looking Glass @ Little Hammy - 3/26/10

What do you get when you take three hot chickadees, one dreamy bike kid, a bunch of instruments and a lot more PBR? Good times.

Nashville's local four-piece, Heavy Cream, played alongside Shellshag, Cy Barkley and The Looking Glass (whom I foolishly missed, but apparently they ruled) Friday night at Lil Hammy.

Cy offered a bracing take on 3-chord punk, with his melody/guitar riff-driven gnashing, thrashing and (unintentional) audience singalongs. Most of the youngsters watching him play knew all the words to his songs, especially their fav - a song probably entitled something to the tune of, "We Don't Give A Fuck." His Myspace page should be up and running soon, and when it is, give him a listen.

Brooklyn band Shellshag was a bit more mellow, lo-fi psychedelic rock, with some occasional up-tempo songs that (questionably) placed them in the punk genre. And while it could have just been a fleeting moment of unconsciousness, the part where they played punk songs seemed to be nonexistent. This is not a criticism, though, because the cool factor was compensated for by drummer/sing Jennifer Shagawat, who wore bells on her ankles, thus making her resemble the badass dude from Battle of Endor, as she beat away on three floor toms. She was joined by guitarist/singer Shell, and together they played some sludgy songs with catchy hooks that drew parallels from bands as varied as Weezer, Hole, really (really) old Liz Phair, or grungy AnHorse. An epic drum tower was hastily constructed, and once it came climactically tumbling down it was time for Heavy Cream to play.

As usual, their good looks only served to enhance their almost blues-chord-tinged punk-rock 'n roll. The band seems to get better at playing their instruments with each and every show, as well as the growing audience sentiment of love for - well, again, damnit - singalongs. Friday's set was no different, seeing how the crowd joined lead singer Jessica McFarland as she bounced, belted and squealed her way through every catchy Cream chorus. Her special helpers were Mimi Galbierz, who ripped and roared on the guitar (all the while with a sweet little smile on her face), Melissa Burnett, a gal on the go when it comes to tempo, and Daniel Severs, who handled the bass and balanced out the estrogen to testosterone ratio. "Stiff Lick" was a particular favorite, and makes for perfect background music while you get hyped up on whippets; listen to Shellshag when you're coming down.

Heavy Cream plays again on April 3rd at Glen Danzig's house, so be sure to make it out there. You'll probably also see Cy there, so you can tell him that you dig his shit, and he should therefore make it available on The Internets for our constant listening pleasure. - Erin Manning

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Go See Spider-Friends and Spanish Candles @ Little Hamilton: 3/31/10

Don't forget: Spanish Candles and Spider-Friends play this Wednesday night (31st) at Little Hamilton with two Detroit bands, Child Bite and Zoos of Berlin. Should be a good one. Check it out. 

For more information: check out the facebook invite. - Deli Staff

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The Moaners w/ Thelma & The Sleaze, and Fuckshow @ The End - 3/24/10

Wednesday evening at The End was special, not just because Thelma & The Sleaze debuted their fine discounted Goodwill merch table, (i.e. camo-trucker hats, bejeweled overall shorts, etc.), but because The Moaners decided to pay us a little visit, all the way from Chapel Hill, NC. First, though, fuckshow warmed everybody up with a little folksy kind of punk rock. Lead singer Wes Trew's "less annoying Billie Joe Armstrong" warble, and fuckshow's surprisingly insightful lyrics were pretty refreshing to hear from a band with such a name. (Say it with me now - fuckshow).

It was more refreshing to hear The Moaners play next, who are currently on tour, promoting some of their new tunes. Listening to them play on Wednesday made you feel like you were a character from a horror movie, drunkenly wandering around a farm late at night in the middle of nowhere, and you suddenly realize that a deranged man with a chainsaw is chasing you in his Ford Bronco - but in a good way. Most of their set was made up of 3-chord songs that would drone their way into sounds similar to The Ditty Bops' interpretation of Marcy's Playground. Many of the songs made their way into jams that you didn't realize were jams until the song was already over, which takes some pretty crafty instrumental skill. Their final song was an eerie waltz which featured lead singer/guitarist Melissa Swingle on a beautiful saw solo, and drummer/singer Laura King accompanying her on guitar. Check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_-dvs5js1Y

Thelma & The Sleaze went on last and brought the trashy level back to where it belonged. While singer/guitarist Lauren Gilbert still insisted on wearing her confederate flag bikini, the previous Trampskirt members gave a "damn good effort" to their grunge rock sound, which has become less punk and more blues - more sass and trash - since the Trampskirt days. Bassist Emily Zimmer held an interesting tune together - think Henry Mancini bass lines with added scrappiness - and with Gilbert's Janis Joplin growl, their set was better than ever.

Catch fuckshow, T&TS and The Moaners if you can. Until then, be sure to say hey to Lauren Gilbert at Taco Party if you care to have a delicious burrito and a good laugh. - Erin Manning

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Cannomen's EP Black Hole.

It is difficult today to be the first of anything, which is fine for Cannomen, who appear to be perfectly alright regurgitating the sound pioneered by past punk gods. The band's recent EP release officially titled, Black Hole - though the cover reads, Science Studies the Black Hole - is a four-track 45 of punk nostalgia from format to lyrical content. So in this case, disregard for the avant-garde is forgiven, if not preferable, because of an old familiar energy ripping through it that never seems to quit.

As professed in the opening/title track "Black Hole," Cannomen are the kings of decay, and they go for the throat with four fast stories of head cases, sleeping all day, throwing up in driveways, as well as the occasional murder-by-shovel. Though the songs are blazing with an almost palpable angst, not a single one is bitter. They all manage to maintain a grim sense of humor throughout, something like, "I killed her with a shovel/burying her corpse was no trouble" might suggest.

Even when the lyrics fade into the abstract and the meaning is lost on the listener, they are always brought back by lines with an inexplicable charm, like, "I can't be your spiritual deceiver/cause I believe in science baby" in "Palm Reader". And it's hard not to fall in love with a song with some well-placed whistling parts, as found in "Black Hole," which is probably the highlight of the album with an inviting prompt to lose control.

The album goes fast. True to typical punk rock form, each track is short and sweet, all clocking in under two and a half minutes. Every jarring instrumental clash is there, and with time the band will probably begin to probe deeper into its lyricism. It feels like "Black Hole" is just a teaser for more gritty party music to come.

For those who are missing the days when punk was first on the rise, or just like it loud and fast, get your fix. - Jessica Pace

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