Now that I am caught up on favorite releases until later this year, it’s time to review some new releases.
‘S-- Stains,’ (Don Giovanni Records, ☆☆1/2)
This Sept. 2 CD from the S-- Stains is likely available in other formats and comes from a band formed in 2014 comprised of punk and indie stalwarts.
Lead vocalist Allison Wolfe was part of Bratmobile and Cold Cold Hearts. Lead vocalist Mecca Vazie Andrews is a well-known dancer and choreographer. David Orlando (Warpaint) is the drummer, guitarist Sharif Dumani played with Cody Chesnutt and Pachy Garcia adds bass guitar.
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There’s more talking than singing, but “Land Of La La,” “Don’t Hate Me Cuz I’m Beautiful,” and the snooty “Sex In The Subway” have some punk energy.
Fans of punky rap music will dig this well-named band.
‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’ Nina Simone (Eagle Rock Entertainment, ☆☆☆☆1/2)
This Sept. 2 release comes in DVD+CD, Blu-Ray+CD and digital formats; and is an award-winning documentary about the Julliard-educated Nina Simone (1933-2003). I’ve received a bit of her music over the years.
Growing up, Eunice Waymon (Nina’s real name) received classical training from white piano teachers and practiced many hours per day, then played bars as an adult because opportunities as a classical pianist were not there. She eventually grew to resent her abusive manager/husband, who had a vision for her career that didn’t include the civil-rights protest that fulfilled her. Add mental instability (later diagnosed as manic depression) to the mix, a record-company boycott of her protest songs and moves to Liberia, Sweden and Paris. What a towering talent, and an interesting tale.
‘Studio Album 3: The Beginning,’ V2 (RSU Records, ☆☆☆☆)
This new CD/DVD release with a “hologram-like” cover is by a hard-rock band that’s old school, as in pre-classic punk rock. The band is “V squared;” and the two principals are 11-year-old twin brothers named Vincenzo (drums/vocals) and Vittorio (guitar/vocals). This album is produced by Ron Nevison.
In the days before the Internet and YouTube, youngsters who played the drums and guitar like AC/DC’s Angus & Malcolm Young had to age a bit while playing quite a few gigs before slowly becoming superstars. In today’s climate, who knows?
There’s a power-ballad (“So Long My Love”), a high-speed anthem (“We Want Rock Now”), car songs (“She’s My 57 Chevy” & “59 Caddy”) and more, though the voices are young. The DVD shows how the boys (plus “Frankenstein” on bass) played two songs at the LA Music Awards, where they won seven.
This band may be what’s needed to put hard rock back on the map.
Ricky Flake, a music fan and former punk rocker, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at email@example.com