Various Artists – Big & Bothered, Vol. 2

Various Artists
Big & Bothered, Vol. 2

Label samplers are usually hit or miss. Most labels have some bands that are just so damn good and others that make you wonder if they’re the label head’s brother-in-law or something. And then there’s just no continuity. Listening to it is very off-kilter, jumping from style to style for each song. But One Ton manages to pull together 11 good songs from good bands and keep continuity. There are two songs each from five bands and a live track from Caulk. Each band gets steadily harder and more intense, making the album one long progression. Oh, and they tie it together with neat little messages throughout that are supposed to be the stewardess on a spaceship announcing turbulance or that you’re allowed to smoke or something. Neat way to tie it all together!

“Louisiana House Fire, Mid 1950’s” from Doosu is just a damn good song. It’s like a cross between hardcore power and metal atmosphere, loud but not terribly fast, echoed and intense. “Terra Paka” is not quite as intense, but the drums on this track are awesome. And I love the vocal style, a sort of double vocals, kind of echoey. It gets all slow and spacey and whispery, then gets louder and more intense again. This band is really unique and powerful, definitely my favorite on this release.

Buck Jones apparently broke up, which is too bad, because these two songs are as different as they are good. “Imaginary Lines” is a power-pop song with female vocals. The guitars are very textured, kind of washing over and under the vocals. And the vocals are really good. This reminds me a little of Magnapop, only a little higher rock quality. I keep having to check to make sure the next song is also Buck Jones. “Decide” has male vocals that have a very British, almost Elvis Costello-ey quality to them. There’s a little more sonic quality to the guitar, and you can almost detect female backing vocals. There’s some neat hand-claps, too. Cool song, but I really like the first one better.

The Jump Rope Girls don’t, as far as I know, have girls in it. These are more loud and textured guitar rock songs. “Forgetting Now” has some cool keyboards or electronic effects in the background with a heavy metal riff going throughout, but it’s not metal. The lyrics are great, too, with an impressive vocal range. “Layaway” demonstrates the impressive vocals, sort of an American Thom Yorke, even more, in a quieter, more intense song. The guitars here still remind me of a more mainstream hard rock band, but the way their incorporated makes it still have a more heavy indie rock feel.

Now Fixture, they’re definitely a hard rock band. They remind me a lot of Bush both in power and vocals to a point, maybe with a little Creed thrown in. “Driver Down” could be a radio hit, with great guitars and strong vocals. “Make Believe” is slower, the vocals drawn out a bit more, one of those power ballad that bands like Creed are doing these days. Not the most original, but they do what they do pretty well.

And then there’s Slow Roosevelt. These guys rock – hard! Driving, angry, crunchy guitars, vocals that practically drip venom. This is pretty damn cool hard rock. “Radio Drowning” has a White Zombie quality without being industrial, and the screaming is excellent. “Cake” is another power song, crunchy and heavy and really good.

Oh, and then there’s a live track from Caulk. “Birthday #5” isn’t the best that I’ve heard from them. It sounds pretty rough, and the singer keeps going “I love these guys, I love them.” But it rocks hard and angry like typical Caulk.

A good label sampler from some really good bands. Check out Doosu and Buck Jones and Jump Rope Girls, is my recommendation. I will.