Saturday, July 16, 2011

Reviews - 7/16/11

The Breathing Light - Demo - According to their myspace page this band hails (hailed?) from "America's Ass, Alabama".  Like many demos, the recording quality really varies from track to track, some songs sound more complete than others, etc.  And these guys could, and probably will, get better at playing their respective instruments.  But I'll be horn-swaggled if there wasn't a definite mood conveyed on this little 4-track demo.  Kind of melancholy, slightly disturbing at times, coaxing the listener into a bit of a trance.  It's like there is a definite artistic voice here but the Breathing Light just needs some time, confidence and practice to catch up.

File this under backhanded compliments, I guess, but I liked this.  No idea if these guys are still playing though as I rarely make it to America's Ass, Alabama these days.  (

Norwood Park All-Stars - Norcore - Well, you can learn something everyday.  After searching for some info on these guys, it turns out that they're basically a tribute band to the little regional scene that they grew up with on the NW side of Chicago.  From their website - "The Norcore Scene happened during the mid to late 80’s on the north side of Chicago and near north suburbs. The epicenter of the scene was a neighborhood called Norwood Park.  Norcore was a fusion of different styles and musicians. It was mostly punk, but with a strong glam rock and big guitar / big vocal influence. Occasionally some ska and rockabilly would be thrown into a set with mixed results.  The Norcore scene was tight, but diverse. Musicians ranged from teenagers in garages to middle-aged instructors with an appreciation for new music, and every kind of rock-star wannabe in between.  Bands played at old northside clubs like The Envoy, The Lift Off and the Montrose Ave. Slot Car Lanes. Many all ages shows happened at the Courtside Racket Club."

The 8-song CD itself starts out showcasing that glam-rock angle with "Coulda Woulda Shoulda" which is a cool New York Dolls-ish rollicker.  Some competent rockers fill up the middle and the disc wraps up with "The Same" which is one man's reflection on the emotions one might feel while going down on a lady and, likewise, being gone down upon.  But not so much in a 69 way.  More of a "your turn, my turn" way.  But I digress.

Anyway, the tunes here aren't going to change your life or anything, but they're a great reminder of how important a scene can be to a group of bands, or more importantly, the kids in those bands.  Forging memories and friendships and loves and losses and triumphs and all that.  So before this gets too sappy, if you're reading this and thinking of starting a band, let this be your sign from the universe that you should go ahead and do it.  And kudos to you, oh Norwood Park All-Stars!  (