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Rock by Bunnydrums, Curve, KMFDM, M-16, Nash the Slash

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BUNNYDRUMS: Simulacra (CDR on Bunnydrums Music)

During the Early Eighties, Philadelphia indie band Bunnydrums released two albums and a single...then they retired from the music scene. Two decades later, the band has collected those recordings (including a rare track from an obscure flexi-disk) for this 70+ minute CD release.

Bunnydrums is: David Goerk, Frank Marr, Greg Davis, and Joe Ankenbrand.

Often thought of as a guitar band, Bunnydrums' style is in fact a compressed fusion of each instrument (guitar bass, drums, and electronics), producing a tight sound that delivers equally with attack mode and very tasty melodies. Strong and nimble-fingered guitar intertwines with guitar effects on a foundation of growling bass. The drumming is intricate and powerful, generating rhythms that are compelling and relentless. The electronics are sneaky, often enhancing the other instruments and lifting their resonance into strange territory. There are a few touches of saxophone and trombone too, lending an earthiness to the intensity.

Vocals play heavily in this tuneage: slick and brash, belting out lyrics of the borderland between this reality and the dimension next-door.

The compositions are invigorating, and as fresh today as when the songs were created. Start with power-pop, filter that through King Crimson, and toss in a cowboy hat.

This music plays on the dark side, reaching out from the gloom to examine life with a bent perspective that goes beyond alienation, scratching at the urge that lingers in each human being to question their environment.

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CURVE: Gift (CD on Hip-O Records)

Curve is: Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia. Also helping out are: Alan Moulder and Flood.

This CD from 2002 features 46 minutes of raw agro rock cut with an abundance of programming and electronic tinkering, producing tuneage that will set the listener's teeth vibrating.

It begins in full-blown attack mode: savage and brutal music that is brimming with growling guitar pyrotechnics and intense percussion that will rip the skin from your ear canals. It is often difficult to discern where the guitars leave off and the electronics start, the gestalt to so extreme. Buried in this miasma of torture, basslines rumble with aggressive intent. Some guitar bands overuse feedback, but there's so many guitars screaming here that there's little room for feedback to be heard among the shrill outcries of tormented strings. The satisfying part is how cohesive and flowing the result sounds.

Halliday's vocals are sultry and biting, injecting a female edge into the unbridled fury of the tightly composed tunes. For all their anger, the lyrics are mature and eloquently demonstrative.

This is angry music: angry about the world, angry about failed relationships, angry about social inadequacies and everything that comes into view. No quarter or respite is given, as the songs relentlessly hammer at the audience with their powerful rhythms and innovative riffs. Even the few softer tracks exhibit a vigor that's barely retrained.

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KMFDM: Boots (CD EP on Metropolis Records)

This 17 minute CD EP from 2002 is one those "curiosities" that delivers far more than a passing amusement. What initially appears to be a novelty item quickly displays its timeless worth with its very first outburst of nasty noise.

You get four tracks. Three of them are cover versions of "These Boots Are Made for Walking" (yup, the Nancy Sinatra pop hit) that will send the listener's head spinning with aggressive rhythms and monster-buzz bass and attack electronics and harsh growled vocals that are dripping with more hostility than has ever been visited upon this song. Never before has this familiar melody exploded with such engaging fury.

Excellent treatments shine in these three mixes, infusing "Boots" with thrilling new levels and tasty hooks.

The fourth track is "Back in the U.S.S.A.", and features Bill Rieflin (from Ministry and Revolting Cocks) on additional agro synthesizer. Amid astoundingly blazing guitars and hyperactive E-perc, KMFDM repeatedly announce that they "are back."

This CD EP is an essential addition to any music library.

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M-16: Canciones Escritas en el Exilo (CD on Mother West Records)

This 30 minute CD from 2001 is the debut mini-album by this fresh new heavy metal band from the Dominican Republic (who now reside in New York City). M-16 is: Omar Rodruiguez, Daniel Estrella, and Ray Reed.

Explosive guitar, frantic drums, monster bass and growling vocals (in Spanish) are instantly in your face. The songs are hardly complex, delivering their biting melodies and fury with compact simplicity that is crafted with a devout intent of hostility. Each song becomes a savage drive-by, belting out fierce tuneage without distraction. Thrash, grind, squeal--and done.

This is an angry band, making angry music for an angry audience. M-16's music will pummel your head and body with hard riffs and teeth-grinding intensity, toughening the listener to face the ugly world.

Two tracks are recorded live at CBGB's in NYC. And there's a vicious cover of the Doors' "Strange Days."

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NASH THE SLASH: And You Thought You Were Normal (CD on Cut-Throat Records)

This 2002 CD features material originally released in 1982, along with six auxiliary previously unreleased tracks. Five of these new pieces come from Nash's soundtrack work (specifically from Bruce McDonald's "Roadkill" and Colin Brunton's "A Trip around Lake Ontario"); the sixth track is culled from material recorded by Nash on a porta-studio cassette 4-track in a New Jersey farmhouse. Also included is the "Club Mix" of "Dance after Curfew" which was released as a twelve-inch back in 1982. All together: the total time of this CD is 55 minutes.

Nash the Slash is an oddity in the rock genre, not just for his morbid topics, but definitely for his choice of unconventional instruments: electric violin and electric mandolin. However, the man's ability to channel furious rock licks through these instruments will make your head spin until it pops off and shoots away across the landscape. E-perc establishes the rhythm, while bass rumbles underfoot. Electronics bubble and gurgle everywhere like hungry insects. Nash's authoritative vocals are harsh and imperious. But--it is the searing mandolin licks and screaming violin that really rules here, commanding rapt attention and slack jaws as the notes fire off with lightning velocity and almost grisly demeanor.

Brutal and relentless, this music is intended to exhaust the audience.

There is no denying that this release contains some of Nash's most stunning instrumental compositions (with the squealing wail of "Normal" and the ever-increasing intensity of "Stalker") appearing in tandem with some ripping vocal excursions (with the frivolity of "Pretty Folks" and the insistent call of "Dance after Curfew" and the dire lament of "Vincent's Crows").

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