By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
The Prissteens Scandal, Controversy & Romance (Almo Sounds). Opening a spring tour for a reformed ? and the Mysterians (finally potential two-hit wonders now that Smashmouth covered the B-side of "96 Tears"!), these blond/brunette/ redhead (one each) chickadees plus male drummer got the street-light broken hearts of primordial '60s ooze right without skimping on its street-fight broken bones. Their CD has them fucking the meanest hound in town, finger-snapping through a Wreckless Eric skinny-tie classic about searching Tahiti for love, telling their baby to beat you up but getting devastated when they catch him cheating, and wisely hiring the guy who produced Blondie's first two albums to help them pull off their unprecedented hybrid of the Sonics and Shangri-Las.
Therion Vovin (Nuclear Blast) Enigma-influenced Swedish death metal from Celtic Frost worshipers way more classical and less brutish than In Flames - strings and pianos and outrageously lush meshes of open-voweled female high-mass choruses mixed higher (pitchwise and volumewise) than the deep downtrodden male ones speaking secret alphabets and learning to forget. For all I know, Therion picked up their pre-Christendom literary concepts (gargoyles, labyrinths, Sodom, Gomorrah) from some dumb computer game, and discovered pagan choirs by watching Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. But Vovin is still an hourlong madrigal symphony of hope and redemption, maybe the most gorgeous "real heavy metal" (in the Iron Maiden sense) album ever made.
U.S. Bombs War Birth (Hellcat) Scouted by Rancid's Tim Armstrong for release on his new label, and more memorable than Rancid's ambitious but rather detached new Sandinista! parody, Life Won't Wait, this shitkicker kicks off with "That's Life," the last great Frank Sinatra cover before he died - "shot up in April, strung out in May" - and climaxes with "Her & Me," an unstoppable twang-punk ballad about a 15-year-long co-dependent relationship. In between, supported by ein-zwei-three-four countoffs, tuneful riff-heft and (especially in "Beetle Boot") an occasional expert surf bounce, skateboard champ Duane Peters spins rich crusty yarns about Lisa Marie Presley, Orange County's water supply, shopping-cart bums on Christmas, and military brats who wind up enlisting.
Vixen Tangerine (CMC) At first I thought that was a navel orange with its navel pierced on the CD cover, but I guess it's a nipple-ringed tangerine instead. Foxy drummer Roxy Petrucci's navel is visible on the back cover, though, and that alone is almost enough for me to cut this hair-babe comeback's post-Alanis AOR competence slack. As are the four cuts that really reach me: "Tangerine" (about a pill-poppin' lady grocery shopping for little green men), "Shut Up" (death threats to a liar on TV), "Air Balloon" (Shania Twain facsimile about riding trains to the coast of Maine and losing teeth in Texas), and the untitled swinggrass-frolic instrumental hidden at track number 12.