The Makers give garage-rock genre new dimension with 'Riot'

The Makers

All-Night Riot!!

Estrus Records

Hot on the heels of last year's blistering Howl LP comes another slab of garage rock done up Makers-style.

The Makers play their sloppy garage sound with fire and passion, rendering All-Night Riot!! with more than a few kick-ass jams. The Maker boys (Tim-guitar; Don-bass; and Jay on drums) bash through 16 rave-ups, accompanied by the feral howling of Mike Maker.

The loose, punky feel of such standout tracks as "They Call Me A Black Sheep" and "Bust Out!" are sure signs that the weak surf instrumental tendency that marked their earlier work is gone. In its place lies the spirit and raw energy of '60s garage, with the chaotic intensity of punk rock blended in for wild chaos. The rhythm section never stops propelling and thrusting the simple songs into manic car-crash intensity heights.

The Makers are easily the best of the nuovo-garage scene, and All-Night Riot!! broadens the gap even further.

Noah Lopez

Confront James

Test One Reality

SST Records

Confront James is the latest project from punk guitar god Greg Ginn this time teamed up with an unknown vocalist named Richard Ray and Ginn's ever-present pal, the drum machine.

Ginn has finished roughly 3,000 different projects in the past year, and it was inevitable that one of them was going to flop. Ginn is an amazing guitarist, but you wouldn't know it from most of the tracks on Test One Reality.

The songs sound like either Ginn noodling around on his guitar for five minutes, or Kraftwerk-style repetitiveness. Ick. Even the few times Ginn really gets down "In Another Something" is the best example it's undercut and robbed of heart by that damned drum machine. Ray's vocals don't add much he just sings in a sort of droning reggae style.

The magic of Ginn's work has always been the aggression and anger, and Test One Reality has none of that. It's cold and emotionless. Robot punk?

Ginn's solo albums (three in the past year) have been solid, and Gone, his instrumental/jazz/punk combo, is also pretty swell, but Confront James just doesn't have much impact. Greg, man, get some quality control!

Greg D'Avis

Electrafixion

Zephyr

Warner Brothers

Maybe I'm dating myself here, perhaps losing my "indie cred", but I was a pretty big Echo and the Bunnymen fan when I was in high school.

And though the band broke up while they were arguably on the brink of commercial success, their over-wrought music still seems to work ten years later. Unfortunately, the splintered members never again achieved the right chemistry, leaving behind a number of bad attempts at recreating the band's strange blend of late-'60s rock and early-'80s post-punk.

Thankfully, that's all in the past now. McCulloch and guitarist Will Seargent have reunited, and are set to attack the music world again. Electrafixion, the new enigmatic moniker, is a strong step in the right direction.

Zephyr has a strong rock feel to it, with distorted guitar charging the tracks in a truly '90s manner. It's amazing how much life Seargent's guitar gives McCulloch's voice, seemingly leading it through some of the pairs catchiest melody lines. On "Burned" and "Mirrorball" it's as though Echo never broke up, they just evolved.

It's strange to hear a "grunge" influence on such a decidedly British band, but if Zephyr is any indication of what's to come, then Electrafixion should be a good thing.

Noah Lopez

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