"The World’s Most Beautiful Melodies"

CD Reviews by Bill Hanstock

Inventing Edward - We've Met An Impasse (By Midnight We'll Be Naked)

Half Moon Bay's Inventing Edward have released their first full-length album, and you'd better believe that's exactly what it is; clocking in at over sixty minutes, this does not feel like an album so much as the score to a new and dark indie flick in the vein of Buffalo '66 .   Although this is the side project of Under A Dying Sun , Inventing Edward owe more to Denali and Sigur Ros than to the indie-hardcore vein of UADS.   Comprised mainly of instrumentals and haunting vocals by the lovely Shaye, this is the perfect album to throw on when making out, crying yourself to sleep, or writing poetry with black ink on black paper with the lights off.   Highly recommended.

Try Failing - 5 Song Demo

San Francisco's own Try Failing have put together a fantastic effort without any help from anyone.   DIY right down to their spray-painted T-shirts and almost criminal lack of getting shows to play.   What sets this band apart from the million other hometown punk bands?   These guys are GOOD.   Like crazy good.   They're talented, they're tight, their production is great, and their songwriting is on par with or better than anything you're liable to hear on Epitaph these days (1208, anyone?).   If Welt and Bad Religion were from Santa Rosa, they'd most likely sound like this.   Oh, and the lead guitar player shreds.   Someone tell me why these guys aren't signed.   I mean, come on.   At least Feuled by Ramen or Lobster or something.   Highest Possible Recommendation.

Logan Whitehurst & the Junior Science Club - Goodbye My 4-Track

Vanilla the Plastic Snowman has released his debut full-length on Pandacide Records, and the 21 songs that he has crafted are pure genius.   He wrote all the music, played all the instruments, and produced it all himself on his 4-track, all while wearing mittens.   Not as easy as it sounds.   Unfortunately, Vanilla is highly immobile and Logan Whitehurst, the drummer for the Velvet Teen, took all the credit for it.   Nevertheless, this album is a shining example of all that is good with music and gives me hope for mankind.   It sounds like They Might Be Giants felt bad for making "NO!" and decided to make it up to people by making the best album of their careers, only better.   If you forgot what happy, witty music sounded like, get ready to hear your new favorite band.   If I had the money, I'd buy this for each and every one of you, because you deserve to be happy.   Highest Possible Recommendation.

Crack: We Are Rock - Cosmic Mind Flight

Recently my friends were asking me if I ever review any music that I don't like.   "Bill," they say to me, "I never read a negative review from you.   It's always sunshine and rainbows."   (If you know me, you know how funny that is.)   I tell these people that they don't know what it was like back in the good old days of 2000 when we were holding down the SF Herald from Victoria Street in the Ingleside District and getting stacks of music from local groups with marginal musical ability.   They don't know about the days of Kindness and Odor of Pears .   Well, here's Crack: We Are Rock .   But they've gotten good write-ups in the Guardian, AP, and NME, so boo-hoo.   Described in their press release as "art-damaged death-disco", it's just a big mess.   It's a lot like the last two Matrix films: droning, plodding, and too smart for its own good, except without the smarts, but hey, if that's your thing.... Their website has a bunny on it, though, and it's awesome.   So check that out.   Recommendation to avoid.

Total Shutdown - The Album

Hey, remember when bands used to play music?   I do.   Man, those were the days.   Remember when The Locust was just one of the ten plagues?   There was a time--way back in the late 90's--when groups of talented musicians would get together and try to make music.   It sounds weird, I know.   Personally, I blame Radiohead and Sonic Youth, but then I blame them for everything so this sentence is mostly just a tangent.   Anyway, Total Shutdown has some really cool elements, like high screaming with death metal roars behind it.   That's really cool, and I was delighted when it happened, but I could just listen to the County Medical Examiners, who actually have righteous grindcore underneath it.   I must admit, I don't really know how to enjoy noise rock like the Locust or what have you, so if someone out there can tell me if people actually listen to this stuff in their own homes or in the car for more than three minutes at a time (which will usually get you about ten songs into a CD), that would be great.   I suppose I could try to rate this within its genre, but where's the fun in that?   What has happened to our scene?   Recommendation to avoid.

Diverse - One A.M.

Diverse is a Chi-town MC with the skills to hopefully pay the bills.   He's in great company on his debut album, which was mainly produced by the incredible RJD2.   It's got guest spots by Vast Aire, Jean Grae, and the incomparable Lyrics Born.   Fat beats, quick and witty rhymes, slick production and mad rhyming abound.   "Explosive" with Lyrics Born will make you hit the "back" button at least once.   Sick.   My one and only gripe is that I got a promotional copy, which every thirty seconds or so had Diverse saying, "Diverse, One A.M., Chocolate Industries, this is a promotional copy, what," over the music.   Sometimes I can pretend it's just part of the album, but it kills my groove a bit.   Frowny face.   Anyway, go pick yourself up a real copy.   Recommended.