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
Okay, but what about the music? No matter who or what opened the door, Kathy Fisher’s full-length debut puts her in the running with vets like Tori Amos, Shawn Colvin and Alanis Morissette — sans much of the annoying pretentiousness. Beginning with the swaggering “Hello It’s Me,” a piano-driven rocker with Fisher’s husky, sensual voice recalling the spirit of one of the original (and still sassy) femme rockers, Essra Mohawk, the tune offers a polite (and timely) kiss-off to an inattentive label rep. Underpinned by a drum loop, “Any Way” is designed to sound more current, which it does, perhaps at the expense of some of the band’s identity. Still, as with the disc’s other standouts — the ethereal “Never Say Never,” the re-recorded “Breakable” and the powerful “Six Hundred Sixty-Six” — the songs are extremely solid pop efforts that meld passion (make that sensuality), melody and more than a few memorable hooks.
At 29, and being a relative newcomer, Fisher (the person) is in danger of being too old for the youngsters and too young for the oldsters. But her themes (the timeless emotional flotsam and jetsam of relationships), style (if she resists the lure of trendy pop) and TV appearances (The Tonight Show) should expand her audience far beyond cyber-downloaders. (Michael Lipton)
Sing Loud, Sing Proud (Hellcat/Epitaph)
As any son or daughter of Boston can tell you, the Irish pub is as much a fixture of the region as the Red Sox, the Democratic Party or Aerosmith. Where else would this punk-cum-jig-’n’-reel septet come from? The barked-out anthems and hyperactive stomps of the Dropkick Murphys are as much a product of the fist-in-the-air, drink-till-you-puke ethos of Tea Party City and its enormous population of descendants of Eire, as they are of Clash/Pogues/SLF exposure. In fact, this CD kicks off with “For Boston,” a brazen, echo/bombastic, ballsy chant that had this Boston-to-L.A. émigré in tears for the duration of the tune.
Proud the Murphys are of their traditional, working-man roots, and it shows in the quality of their various releases. As consistent and predictable as the folk music they’ve amped up, the Murphs have evolved a bit since their semi-breakthrough, Do or Die, four years back. They’ve augmented their punk barrage with more diversity in the jigging, adding pennywhistles and bagpipes from two new Murphys who are an official part of the band. That, and the presence of a bit of balladry, has crept in. (As well it should. What is Irish folk without maudlin themes at crawl pace?) Only a little, though, not enough to discourage their adolescent fan base or cross over to pop.
The best songs on this disc are the labor anthem “Which Side Are You On?” and the trad “The Rocky Road to Dublin,” neither of which emanated from the pens of the Dropkick Murphys, so those tunes ain’t quite as Pogues-like as they ought to be. Still, Sing Loud, Sing Proud is a grand old time, a speaker buster and steering-wheel pounder of a record, with the balance between the auld and the new precarious but acceptable. It’s also part of another venerable custom — the record as primer for high-energy live show. Which means that one should be saving for the purchase of concert tickets along with the CD, for the total experience, y’see! (Johnny Angel)
Photo by Eric Antoniou