Category: Music Reviews

  • Music Reviews: Boys Like Girls, Josh Dion Band, The Photo Atlas

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat.

    Boys Like Girls

    Boys Like Girls

    Music: At first blush (or maybe pimple), the Boys were probably a regular bunch of brash Bostonian popsters. But after slathering on some emo-earnest vocals, sprinkling on some slyly sophisticated electronic bleeps, and packing on a bit of hard rock muscle, the energetic four-piece sounds about as great as any young band ever has. And if that description doesn’t grab you, the group’s catchy melodies surely will. Just try to escape “Heels Over Head.” 

    Drumming: John Keefe’s shred-grooving swings all kinds of ways. First check out his punchy kick drum sound on 2-and-4 whackers like “On Top of the World.” Next listen as he spices things up a little with the hi-hat sloops on “Hero/Heroine.” And then take notes on how he subtly combines acoustic patterns with electronic rhythms on “Me, You, and My Medication.” Excellent work.

    The Straight Poop: All smart boys and girls like Boys Like Girls. You’re not dumb, are you? 

    Josh Dion Band


    Music: Josh Dion and company are old-school cool in the very best way: they’re real musicians playing real songs on real instruments. And they’re doing it real damn good, particularly on this live release. Juggling duties as leader and lead vocalist, Dion belts out the band’s jam-thick tunes with a rich voice that proves white guys might just have soul after all. And that’s not even the coolest part. Dion, you see, not only sings…

    Drumming: …He plays all the drums too. And dude is appropriately funky and skilled, a born pocket player with plenty of slick licks that keep a beat bouncy and interesting, like on the intro of “Boogie on Reggae Woman” with its infectious sixteenth-note rim-clicks. Fast-forward to the 16-minute-plus “Birdwalker” for a dash of Dion’s chops. 

    The Straight Poop: A drummer-led, soul-soaked jam band that isn’t afraid to work up a sweat. Or sling it around. Bring a towel. 

    The Photo Atlas

    No, Not Me, Never

    Music: Billed as dance-punk phenoms straight out of sky-high Denver, Photo Atlas does indeed get the feet moving and the head flailing. The band’s tunes are appropriately and appealingly schizo, a combination of angst-pained vocals (Alan Andrews doesn’t so much sing as exorcise demons) and up-tempo happy-tapping rhythms. And after mixing in plenty of those angular, math-rocky guitar parts made popular by Brit-hip Franz Ferdinand and the Arctic Monkeys, the Photo foursome forge a sound that’s not at all pretty, but is certainly seductive. And dangerous. Two minutes in, you’ll wonder whether to dance or to break stuff.

    Drumming: Devon Shirley, taking charge of both drums and sampling, hits with tendon-snapping abandon. Give a listen to the big-ass kick bombs on “Little Tiny Explosions.” The guy means business.

    The Straight Poop: No, Not Me, Never—an essential purchase for real music fans? Yes, you, always. Go grab a copy. 

  • Reviews: Hedley, The Colour, Infradig, Jeff Queen, Nucleo Vega, Bob Cianci, Kevin Coggins, David Barrett

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat. We also watched an instructional vid and worked through some books. Goddamn, we are good drum fanatics.



    Music: Unbelievable. Here again is a group of Canadians colonizing the once-mighty shores of American rock. We’re not insecure or anything: It’s just that our northerly neighbors aren’t supposed to be this good, aren’t supposed to pop this hard. And the really painful part? Lead singer Jacob Hoggard—he of the envy-inducing pipes and electric stage presence—was actually a finalist on Canadian Idol (before, that is, he sobered up and asked to be voted off). Our American Idols are good only for bad Christmas albums. Okay, now we’re feeling insecure.

    Drumming: Chris Crippin plays punky pop beats that are adamantium solid but with plenty of satisfyingly jagged edges. Go get cut on the ride cymbal accents in “321.”

    The Straight Poop: I’ve said it before about other Canuck bands, but this time I really mean it: Hedley is better than Pamela Anderson wearing nothing but a hockey jersey and french kissing a beer bottle. 

    The Colour

    Between Earth & Sky

    Music: Despite that telltale letter u in the band’s name, The Colour is mercifully not from Canada. In fact, the fivesome hail from our very own Los Angeles—perennial site of numerous musical crimes and atrocities. These Colour fellows, though, are guilty only of cranking out excellent and inviting dirty-rock tunes. Not dirty sleazy, mind you. More like dirty mellow-sexy. Give a two-second listen to the seductive sounds of Wyatt Hull’s vocals, and you’ll see what I mean. 

    Drumming: Nathan Warkentin’s grooves are deep and dark, and it sounds like he’s playing something warm and vintage, an ancient Gretsch kit with beat-up heads and muddied cymbals. Beautiful. And dig on the perfect jangle banging in “Can’t You Hear It Call.”

    The Straight Poop: Between you and me, Between Earth & Sky is one of the best discs of the New Year. So please don’t tell any of those aging hipsters at Blender. They’ll just take all the credit.


    Clinical Indifference (the Psychology of Breathing)

    Music: My ears have begun bleeding. And I might be dying. But it’s a right of passage, a privilege really to experience Infradig’s mangle of acoustic and electronic instrumentals. There’s even something sonically voyeuristic about the whole affair. It’s kind of turning me on.

    Drumming: Joshua Caleb Green, a subtly stupendous shredding machine, manages to wrest rich drum sounds from what could have been a bunch of hermetic, hostile songs. First check out the buzzing beat and solo breaks in the title track, and then fast-forward to the tight double strokes in “Muttering/Shrapnel.” Drumming (and listening) on the edge, this is. And I’m not sure what will happen if you lose your balance.

    The Straight Poop: Don’t read too much into the disc’s title, because there’s nothing at all indifferent about the tunes—just 56.3 minutes of electro-rock guaranteed to shock even the most musically brain addled out of a boy-band coma. 

    Jeff Queen

    Playing With Sticks

    You’ve never been in better hands. Jeff Queen is a four-time world snare drum champion (as well as a former member of the esteemed Bluecoats and Velvet Knights drum corps), and in this must-have DVD he guides you through nearly four hours of essential playing techniques and slick stick tricks. That alone is pretty damn cool, of course. But the great part about Playing is that Queen is truly an excellent instructor, with the kind of soft voice and considerate demeanor you’d want and expect from perhaps a…umm…world-class proctologist (you know, someone who’s gentle with the hard stuff). Just a sample of what Queen crams in: proper grip and setup, sound production fundamentals, the Moeller stroke, the velocity stroke, polyrhythms, buzz control, hybrid diddles, backsticking, stick tosses, and solo composition. And before you start practicing, be sure to poke around the DVD’s extra features for extended solo examples and written-out exercises.  [Update 2022: you can now download this vid directly from Hudson for only $3.99. Click the link above.]

    Nucleo Vega

    Understanding Groove for Drum Set: Bridging the Gap Between Physical and Auditory Awareness

    It’s no secret that finding the groove is an ongoing, oftentimes frustrating journey, so let Nucleo Vega show your sticks the way. A thorough analysis of the entire concept of what it actually means “to groove,” his book essentially attempts to improve the consistency and deepen the feel of your playing. Chapters include exercises on beat placement and displacement, groove interpretation through language and shape (be sure to check out the handy diagrams), beat vocalizations (with a syllabic system derived from Indian tabla drumming), polytempo independence, and the role of the Moeller technique. 80 pages. Also includes a DVD and an 86-track CD.

    Bob Cianci

    Great Rock Drummers of the Sixties: Revised Edition

    If you can’t seem to get ’60s drummers out of your system, or if you just want to read more about what made those yesteryear powerhouses pound so good, then this is your book. First published almost 17 years ago, the revised edition includes all the players you’d expect (Keith Moon, Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts, Mitch Mitchell), all the players you’d want (Ginger Baker, Carmine Appice, Hal Blaine), and a whole bunch of players you might not have thought about in years (Dave Clark, Mickey Jones, Dennis Thompson). Yep, the kids might be older now, but they’re still all right. 223 pages. [Update 2022: click the link above for a 26-page preview in Google books.]

    Kevin Coggins & David Barrett

    Blues Drum Method: An Essential Study of Blues Drums for the Beginning to Advanced

    This book opens with a short historical overview of the blues, provides a few suggestions about getting the best sound from your instrument, and includes a brief guide to notation as well as a glossary of musical and drumming terms. As expected, though, most of the pages are devoted to bunches and bunches of traditional and modern blues beats—shuffles, ballads, swing feels, even some Latin-tinged varieties. The final chapter introduces build-ups and fills. Comes with a 47-track CD. And if you really get bitten by the blues bug, pick up the companion piece, Blues Drums Play-Along Trax, for more song-based practice. 56 pages.

  • Music Reviews: Ojos De Brujo, Reel Big Fish, Jonezetta, Spitalfield, Umbrellas

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat.

    Ojos De Brujo


    Music: Please insert your favorite choice bit of profanity right here: “************!” And don’t forget it, because that will be your reaction to the first thirty seconds of this amazing Spanish fusion album. It’s big-time stuff, combining flamenco, hip-hop, jazz, rock, funk, Latin, and East Asian influences into a unified, unique sound with all the spit and piss and balls of a revolution. Skeptical? Just give a listen to “Feedback,” where the group manages to musically merge beatboxing, tabla bols, and even some of DJ Panko’s scratchy turntablism. Crazy damn gypsies. 

    Drumming: Drummer Sergio Ramos and percussionists Xavi Turull and Maxwell Wright find plenty of room to stretch out, even though the tunes are jam-packed with intricate dual-guitar rhythms and, of course, the ever-present clappity-tap of flamenco palmas. Fast-forward to “Piedras Vs. Tanques” for your daily double bass fix. 

    The Straight Poop: World music that doesn’t even remotely suck. When exactly did hell freeze over? 

    Reel Big Fish

    Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album

    Music: Real Reel Big Fish fans have already stopped reading, leapt into their cars, and hauled-ass to the nearest CD store because they know how indispensable this disc is. But for those of you who somehow missed the ska explosion of the late ’90s, and the great glory of the Fish, here’s a chance to finally get your cool-card. There’s no better introduction—or retrospective—than this catch of 35 classic songs on two CDs. And coupled with is a 20-tune live DVD, filmed all up-close and sweaty—Oh, yes, there is a Zeus.

    Drumming: The newest Fish (as of 2005), Ryland Steen simplifies some of the drum parts for a live setting, like on “She Has a Girlfriend Now,” but—really now—there isn’t a thing to complain about. The guy’s playing is perfect. 

    The Straight Poop: A no-brainer, this one. A couple thousand pennies gets you 180 minutes of arm-flailin’, booze-guzzlin’, head-bobbin’ great songs.



    Music: These four fellows apparently hail from some “Southern small town,” but don’t worry: You’re not going to hear even a hint of backwoods bango-twangin’ on their debut disc. No, the only thing you have to worry about is their 11 mesmerizing, irresistibly neo new-wave disco pop-punk-vibe songs. Which means what? Alt-radio dominance, of course. And the immediate assimilation of anyone under 17.

    Drumming: Mick Parsons gets more jaunt out of a sixteenth-note hi-hat pattern than should be possible from a mere mortal. And even if his fills are a little on the utilitarian side, nothing—but nothing—could keep your feet from stomping along to the energetic beat of “Welcome Home.”

    The Straight Poop: The Jonezetta boys joke (I think) about wanting to sell a billion records. But as for Popularity’s actual popularity with the (legal) CD-purchasing masses, I’m guessing somewhere around 2.7 million copies sounds right. And I’m buying the first two. 


    Better Than Knowing Where You Are

    Music: Let’s be clear. Spitalfield’s pop-laced, toned-down-emo tunes are revolutionary only for those who haven’t heard the last twenty or so years of Western music. But when the formula is this good—loads of excellent harmonies, plenty of up-tempo melodic hooks, and a pleasant-sounding, slightly breathy vocalist who hits all the right notes at just the right time—why bother with originality? Go ahead and say you don’t love “The Only Thing That Matters.” I double-dog dare you.

    Drumming: J. D. Romero doesn’t have much room to let loose on any of Better Than’s tightly structured songs, but he does manage to cleverly morph little fills and flourishes into the beat itself, like with the tom groove during the prechorus of “On The Floor” or the tambourine off-beats on “Secrets In Mirrors.” Very flippin’ sweet.

    The Straight Poop: Definitely flavor of the month. But you’ll still want to take a taste.



    Music: Guitarist and vocalist Scott Windsor is the heart and brains behind this lovely, melancholy affair. His music sounds a bit like Postal Service meets Keane, and his lyrics and voice—soothing, naked, honest—seem to make even up-tempo tunes like “Angel or Demon” and “Again and Again” slow down and have a look around.

    Drumming: James McAlister (who drums for indie poster boy Sufjan Stevens as well as the experimental band Ester Drang) is impressively sensitive to mood, as he needs to be, and often uses subtle cymbal work to create texture in a tune. But on more aggressive (always just barely more aggressive) songs like “Crooked,” there’s a hint of something in the 2 and 4 that makes me wonder: He may tread softly here, but he’s probably carrying quite a big stick. 

    The Straight Poop: Windsor and crew’s elegant indie sounds will probably never get airtime on any Clear Channel­−affiliated radio stations. And that’s recommendation enough. 

  • Music Reviews: Tally Hall, The Kingdom

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat.

    Tally Hall

    Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum

    Music: Tally Hall combines compositional complexity with an easy sense of humor. And the results are ridiculously good (so much so that even music-hip The O.C. came knocking). Check out first the foot-stomping single “Good Day”—a little bit Flaming Lips and Queen, a little bit Zappa and Wings, and a whole lot of early Barenaked Ladies. And with lyric gems like “we are only six inches from becoming one,” who can resist? Coolest of all, the bandmembers come conveniently outfitted in color-coded ties. 

    Drumming: Ross Federman (the silver-tied Tally) slams up a complementary 2 and 4 that actually sounds clever, and when he does stretch out—like with the fast hi-hat pattern on “Taken for a Ride” or the brush beat on “Be Born”—he never loses the group’s quirky groove. Excellent stuff.

    The Straight Poop: If there’s room for a second drummer, the gig goes to me. I’d love to be a Tally whacker. 

    The Kingdom


    Music: There’s apparently some sort of story arc happening here (a race or a journey to or from something), but frankly I don’t care. I simply love the sound of Charles Westmoreland’s voice—beautiful and broken and painful, caressing and smacking each song (all about two minutes long) into rebellious submission. Kingdom, you see, is a bit of a miracle, almost as if Guided by Voices’ songsmith Robert Pollard spent an afternoon in the studio with the Sex Pistols, and somebody was smart enough to press the record button. 

    Drumming: No, this isn’t a disc that will satisfy your demon double bass urges (don’t feel bad, though, because we all have them). Instead, Jeff Zimmerman gives a sermon on setting up a cheap, poorly tuned set of skins and getting all loud and brash and bashy. But in the good way. 

    The Straight Poop: A whole 25 minutes of musical bliss. That’s about 24 minutes more than usual.

  • Music Reviews: Christian McBride, End of Fashion, Liquid Soul, Bastards of Young

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat. There’s a movie recommendation this month too.

    Christian McBride

    Live at Tonic

    Music: For all us sorry slubs who can’t make it out to the really hip live gigs, here’s the next best thing: a three-CD set from bass monster Christian McBride. Primarily known for outstanding acoustic noodling, McBride plugs in and gets positively badass on this funk-filled effort recorded over two nights in New York. Stand-out tracks include the first disc’s powerhouse opener, “Technicolor Nightmare,” and the second disc’s lick-laden closer, “Mwandishi Outcome Jam.” The eclectic third CD includes guest spots from turntablist DJ Logic and beatbox master Scratch, and if you’re wondering about that funny feeling in your pants, blame it on the sexy rhythms of Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno. 

    Drumming: Haven’t heard Terreon “Tank” Gully thunder his way around a kit? Then count Tonic as your fast ticket out of drumming limbo. Hold on tight though: The big fella’s hands have speed to spare. 

    The Straight Poop: More than three hours of licks and grooves you’ll probably never be able to play. Here’s a tissue.

    End of Fashion

    End of Fashion

    Music: We haven’t figured out yet what musicians are being fed Down Under, but we could use a little of it stateside. Yes, you’ve heard all these old-fashioned, catchy rock sounds before (listen first off to the sing-along chorus of “O Yeah”), and there’s a reason why: They’re damn great. Do not fear, though, because Fashion does offer more than first tickles the ear. The balladish tune “Anymore” is one of those nuanced, textured songs that, strangely, seem just perfect for either kissing or wrist slitting: Somewhere in the tension between hormone and heartbreak fine rock tunes are made. 

    Drumming: Stickman Nick Jonsson is solid, sharp, and skilled, but his sound is loose and open, with an appealingly sloppy-cool vibe. Spin “Love Comes In” for one of his typical 2-and-4 grooves that’s subtly spiced with controlled, barking hi-hats. 

    The Straight Poop: Are kangaroo comparisons still cool? Let’s hope so, because these Australian rockers are without a doubt … hoppin’. 

    Liquid Soul

    One-Two Punch

    Music: Fattening up scrawny, funk-starved booties for about a dozen years now, Chicago-based combo Liquid Soul returns as an eight-piece band with a jamming disc that doesn’t disappoint. This new bunch of funky electro-swing tunes is all about hot horns and crazy guitars and… 

    Drumming: …lots and lots of drums. Tony “Kick Drum” Taylor occupies the throne for most of the album, and once you’ve heard his fancy footwork on “Peanut Head,” you’ll appreciate the nickname. On every tune, Taylor manages to accomplish that most difficult of fine fusion tricks—getting in lots of licks but leaving plenty of space for the groove to grow on you. See what we mean by digging into the deep pocket of “Sex God.” Fun drum fact: Matt Walker, who survived a stint with Smashing Pumpkins, fills in on the rocking final track, “Kong.”

    The Straight Poop: You knew this one was coming but still didn’t duck: One-Two Punch is a knockout.

    Bastards of Young

    Bastards of Young

    It doesn’t matter if you’re more emo or more screamo: run out and grab this two-disc documentary on the rise of the modern punk movement. Featuring over three hours of performance clips and backstage chatter with neo heavies such as Thursday, Taking Back Sunday, Matchbook Romance, Midtown, and From Autumn to Ashes (as well as interview footage with Fall Out Boy, Something Corporate, and Jimmy Eat World), Bastards puts you right in the middle of the scene—from basement shows in New Jersey to front-row arena gigs around the country. The filmed performances are so up-close, personal, and energetic you’ll feel like part of the band. And best of all, there’s plenty of great drumming to dig on (fast-forward to Underoath’s Aaron Gillespie whacking his ride so hard that the boom stand collapses and Eugene’s drummer making mush of his kit). Viewer beware: After three hours of this stuff, you’ll be wringing sweat from your shorts. 

  • Music Reviews: Goo Goo Dolls, Theo & The Skyscrapers, The Trews, Sunlightsquare

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat. (Sneak peek: Steve Gadd! Steve Gadd!! Steve-motherfucking-GADD!!!!!!)

    Goo Goo Dolls

    Let Love In

    Music: Rejuvenated after an introspective time-out in their hometown of Buffalo, New York, John Rzeznik and company return with a new album that has all the old hooks—still sharp and shiny and completely irresistible. Don’t even try, though, to dismiss this latest collection of chart toppers as pop pap. Catchy enough for the musically stunted masses, Rzeznik’s pleasant-sounding melodies have an underlying current of irony, melancholy, and desperation. And that makes all the difference. 

    Drumming: In addition to the final studio version of the disc, an unmastered copy arrived on our doorstep. The drums are a little more prominent in the raw mix, so it’s easier to hear (and appreciate) just how talented a player Mike Malinin is, one of the few contemporary drummers who can truly complement a tune. 

    The Straight Poop: It’s everything you’ve ever loved about the Goos. And the chick on the cover is really cute too.

    Theo & the Skyscrapers

    Theo & the Skyscrapers

    Music: Punk goddess Theo Kogan has been catching the ears and eyes of the underground literati for over a decade now. Former front woman for the influential Lunachicks (and recently a model, actress, and fashion maven), she’s now back behind the mike and beckoning would-be listeners with a stiff middle finger. Her new bunch of tunes is punk, certainly, but complex, nuanced, surprisingly hummable. Check out first the ’50s vibe of “Unravelled” and the clap-along chorus of “Broken Girl.” And if you’re into more modern, techno sounds, don’t worry: There are enough synthesized bleeps and bloops to turn on R2-D2. 

    Drumming: He doesn’t have the speediest feet on the planet, but slammer Chris Kling keeps a tasty course of double kicks coming all album long, particularly on the first song, “Doppleganger Death Disco,” which even opens with a drum lick (always a good sign). 

    The Straight Poop: Finally. A pumped-up, pissed-off Blondie for you Generation Z’ers. 

    The Trews

    Den of Thieves

    Music: After that whole Bryan Adams fiasco, we were worried about our northerly neighbors’ capacity for rocking out. But now, lo and behold, we have heard Canada’s redemption, seen her salvation. Sure, this latest bunch of Canucks might have listened to a bit too much Black Crows….But, hey, what’s not to love about southern-tinged harmonies, crunchy guitar riffs, and barely disguised debauchery? The quartet’s already-thick sound is bolstered at times with a sexy horn section (particularly on “Cry”), and once you throw in Attila Fias’ Hammond b3 and Colin MacDonald’s edgy vocals, you’ve got tunes hot enough to keep the igloos toasty all night long. 

    Drumming: Solid and energetic, Sean Dalton knows exactly how to drive a band hard without taking it over a cliff. Catch his sloshy hi-hat grooves on “Ana & Mia” and “Sweetness.” Cure your fever with the cowbell-hopping “Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me.” 

    The Straight Poop: Better than beer, hockey, and Pam Anderson? Just aboot.


    Urban Sessions

    Music: We figured we’d heard everything Steve Gadd had to throw at us. The dean of drumming has played—no, conquered—hit pop, cool progressive music, laid-back jazz, and at least a dozen other styles in his four-decade career. Little did we know he would also show himself to be about the trippiest hip-hop drummer around. The band, also featuring Will Lee on bass and Massimo Cusato on percussion, works with producer/keyboardist Claudio Passsavanti to produce a sugary-bumpin’ jazz that sounds like Sade singing Stereophonic melodies over chill grooves.

    Drumming: At times funky and languid, Gadd’s approach is best described as organic. He makes these beats sound like they were born on the drum set. “Bust a Freakin’ Goal” demonstrates Lee and Gadd’s stutter style as DJ MC Vision raps above a simple 4/4. The best tune may be “Ab Three,” a fast burner in which Gadd gives a clinic in funky bass drum independence. 

    The Straight Poop: The album concludes with “Lively Kind of Frozen Poem,” a too-short meditative piano piece with Gadd’s brushes highlighting the plaintive melody. Put it on, and you’ll want it to go on forever. 

  • Music Reviews: Train, Arctic Monkeys, The Ruse, Gutbucket

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat.


    For Me, It’s You

    Music: Always solid, polished, and dependable, Train returns with more radio-friendly rock that won’t offend even your mom. Don’t turn the dial, though, because there’s a lot to love in the vocal stylings of Pat Monahan. The lyrics are a little wiser, the harmonies are a little tighter, and there are more singles than you can shake your sticks at. Predicted chart toppers: “All I Ever Wanted,” “Give Myself to You,” “If I Can’t Change Your Mind,” and “For Me, It’s You.” 

    Drumming: Scott Underwood can spank the hell out of a drum set, but on the last couple Train discs, including this one, he’s opted for a toned-down, play-for-the-song kind of vibe. In principle, that’s a good thing. In practice….Well, we miss the slinky ghost notes of “Meet Virginia.” 

    The Straight Poop: Great fun to listen to, but there prob won’t be any Grammys this time around.

    Arctic Monkeys

    Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

    Music: Clearly the English water supply is spiked with genius juice because here’s another band of barely postpubescent Brits who score off the charts. Though comparisons to label-mates Franz Ferdinand and super hip Hard-Fi will come fast and furious, the Monkeys for our money are more swinging, combining punk attitude with dirty pop sensibilities and a dash of funky disco. You’re going to love it.

    Drumming: Matthew “The Cat” Helders pounces his way through each track, sharpening his claws on the drum lick that opens the disc (always a good sign). Adept at sixteenth-note hi-hat patterns, Helders can also hammer out a backbeat that smacks a groove into submission. Go toward the end of “Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But…” for some snappy snare work. 

    The Straight Poop: Whatever People Say holds the U.K. record for most copies of a debut album sold in a week (over 360,000). Pressure? Not when you’re this bloody good.

    The Ruse

    Light in Motion

    Music: An American branch of the growing Coldplay tree, The Ruse is all about lyrics and melody. Atmospheric, lush guitars weave through stories of misery that really matter: dashed dreams, innocence lost, unrequited love—an altogether tender affair, really. (Not surprisingly, then, the song “Swallow You” didn’t deliver quite the message expected….But maybe if we play it backwards.) Likely crowd catchers: “The Situation,” “Alone,” and “Hold Tight.”

    Drumming: A solid support man, Jason Young bolsters the band with crisp hi-hats and shimmering cymbals, occasionally laying into a tight snare drum, like on “Don’t Let It Face Away.” The tom groove on “All I’ve Done” is even catchier than the chorus. 

    The Straight Poop: When the tendonitis and tinnitus are acting up and the shin splints have kicked in, just slip into Light in Motion, lie back, and let all the Slipknots melt away. 


    Sludge Test

    Music: Gutbucket’s bio insists the group is a quartet, but there’s a whole lot of ruckus going on for only four fellows. Of course, the band does hail from New York, where jazz-rock chops grow plentiful and improv cajones come large as coconuts, so we’ll try not to be too suspicious. Spoiler alert for the faint of heart: These tunes are at times frightening, at times exalting, and always on the smarter side of crazy. Imagine Ornette Coleman and Jimi Hendrix joining Spinal Tap for a Frank Zappa tribute concert.

    Drumming: Stickman Paul Chuffo somehow manages to keep something like a solid foundation for the numerous sax and guitar runs while still getting in his share of licks. Turn up “Where Have You Gone, Mr. Squeegee Man” and “Punkass Rimbledink” for drumming that is as playful as the song titles.

    The Straight Poop: A disc that’s equal parts exhilaration and exhaustion. Kind of like love.

  • Music Reviews: Fivespeed, CBFL, Hard-Fi

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat.


    Morning Over Midnight

    Music: This Phoenix-based band has shared the stage with Breaking Benjamin and other alum from two Warped Tours, so we know they can rock out. Take for example Morning’s opening track, “Fair Trade”—loud, crunchy, and cool. Vocalist Jared Woosley, though, sometimes gets a tad angsty-tender (damn it, real men don’t cry), particularly on the ballads “Misery Loves Company” and “Blame It on You.” But he saves face—and gets a few make-up points—for adopting a Gavin Rossdale–like howl on the excellent tune “Lost Vegas.” 

    Drumming: Shane Addington is by no means the second coming of Thomas Lang, but he well serves each song in a quietly smashing way. Fond of sloshy, open hi-hats on most of the album, he gets a hip and tight sixteenth-note groove going on “Wait Forever.” Check it out.

    The Straight Poop: If you’re looking for grinding guitars and catchy choruses, Fivespeed takes you where you want to go. Just watch those downshifts.

    Chambers, Berlin, Fiuczynski, Lavitz

    Boston T Party

    Music: Dennis Chambers can play anything, even simple(r) stuff, which is sometimes hard to believe given all the notes he usually beats out. On his latest outing, accompanied by Jeff Berlin on bass, Dave Fiuczynski on guitar, and T Lavitz on keys, the heavyweight stickman pulls his punches, letting the rest of the band take most of the licks. Even right from the opening track, the enticingly titled “D’funk’d,” Chambers holds back, hammering some straight quarter-notes on the hi-hat. And it still sounds great. Besides the usual fusion fare (which is tasty), the foursome also serve up a playful plate of American roots music with “I Hate The Blues … (But Here’s One Anyway).” 

    Drumming: What’s black and blue and whimpers in a corner? Your bashed-up ego after trying to play the ghost-note grooves on “Deff 184.”

    The Straight Poop: No, you probably won’t ever be this good. But at least you got that GED to fall back on.


    Stars of CCTV

    Music: Americans were still recovering from that whole Beatles thing when Coldplay hit, and now we’ve got to contend with this cheeky bunch of Brits. Hard-Fi combines quirky pop sensibilities with punk energy and raw, dirty production values. Somehow, it all comes out really, incredibly well. Tunes range from the Clash-ish “Middle Eastern Holiday” to the soul-influenced “Unnecessary Trouble” (complete with horn section) to “Move on Now,” which slows down the album’s tone and energy without sapping it.

    Drumming: Fittingly, drummer Steve Kemp plays with more attitude than technique, more feeling than actual skill. He’ll rip an imperfect fill every now and then, but the groove is so good, the songs so perfect, you won’t care. Listen to how he keeps it solid while being sloppy on “Tied Up Too Tight.” Dig on the fat snare sound driving the funky “Hard to Beat.”

    The Straight Poop: Superb music made by guys who prob don’t care even a tiny bit about wearing clean underwear.

  • Music Reviews: John Mayer Trio, Benjy Davis Project, Valencia

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat.

    John Mayer Trio


    Music: There was a time—mostly during the dark days of 2002—when it was fashionably hip to not dig John Mayer. His big-label debut, Room for Squares, had appeared the year before and soon dominated airwaves with a handful of finely crafted pop tunes. Teen girls swooned, but critics scoffed, very few sensing the substance behind the hype. Now backed by heavyweight-drummer Steve Jordan and legendary-bassist Pino Palladino, Mayer delivers an impressive live disc that leaves no room for doubt: the guy can really play. Like really, really, really play. The trio gets down and bluesy on “Out of My Mind,” rocks out on the live-staple “Something’s Missing,” and effortlessly shifts into a lovely, scaled-down version of the Grammy-favorite “Daughters.” 

    Drumming: Quickly grabbing the groove and never letting go, Jordan is bass-drum-smackin’, snare-crackin’ good. As usual. 

    The Straight Poop: Mayer and company offer up a musically mature album that still makes your inner teenybopper squeal.

    Benjy Davis Project

    The Angie House

    Music: A youthful, eager band from Baton Rouge, the Benjy Davis Project serves up tasty tunes with a sprinkling of what is really good about southern-spiced rock—major chords, sing-along choruses, layered harmonies, and big, bold piano parts. Crank up “She Ain’t Got Love” at BBQ parties; mellow out alone with the string-backed “Blame It on the Devil.” And when you wonder what she’s really thinking, slip in “Do It With the Lights On” and cross your fingers.

    Drumming: Mic Capdevielle currently holds down the Davis drum throne, and if his excellent playing on this album is indication enough, he won’t be departing. Check out the authoritative snare intro on “Wait” and the cool opening groove from “Soul on Fire.” Practice along with “Purgatoria” for some tom and bass drum pounding. 

    The Straight Poop: Just like a great pair of jeans, this disc fits in anywhere—from New York rock clubs to hicktown hoedowns. 


    This Could Be a Possibility

    Music: If high-octane pop punk is your thing (and if it isn’t…what’s wrong with you?), then Valencia needs regular rotation on your playlist. The Philadelphia-based quintet combines catchy, head-flailing melodies with richly textured, ridiculously infectious arrangements. After a measure or two, you’ll be begging to bite down on the hard hooks of songs like “Will We Ever Know How?” and “Eagle Mount Drive.” 

    Drumming: Though he’s not afraid of a backbeat, skinsman Max Soria definitely works up a sweat with energetic fills and quick rhythm changes. Frankly, every tune has at least one standout drum moment, but listen first to the slamming “Que Sera Sera,” which opens with a drum lick and later features an off-beat ride pattern shortly after the two-minute mark. Cool down with the clever tom-based groove that launches “Tenth Street.” 

    The Straight Poop: Valencia’s debut will be some of the best 32.6 minutes on your iPod. [Update 2022: holy shit, what happened to all of our old iPods? Can we sell those as vintage, retro-tech now for mucho ducats?]

  • Music Reviews: Institute, HIM, Lovedrug

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat.


    Distort Yourself

    Music: Meet Gavin Rosedale’s post-Bush band, emphasis on the word band. Rosedale reportedly didn’t want to make a standard, celebrity-on-a-fling solo album, so he opted for a collaborative, communal vibe that for the most part has produced a good debut. Standout tracks—all bolstered by the Brit’s angst growl—include “Come On Over” and “Ambulances.” The guitars are crunchy, the attitude is Euro-cool, and the production is crystal. 

    Drumming: Relative newcomer Charlie Walker will not win shredder awards, but he is exactly what Rosedale (umm, the band) needs him to be—solid and supportive. For most of the disc, he keeps a hefty 2 and 4 on the snare, throws down the occasional off-beat bass drum pattern, and rides his crash to cymbal oblivion. But check out the opening of “Boom Box” for an impressive groove that gets a little Gadd. 

    Verdict: Though not exactly revolutionary, Rosedale’s new project reminds you why he’s much more than Mr. Stefani. 


    Dark Light

    Music: Europeans have understandably been fawning over this Finnish fivesome for about a decade. Vampirism, heartagrams, lanky boys in lipstick and mascara—what’s not to love? Gender-bending trappings aside, the band is a creative bunch who can incorporate a John Carpenter–esque Halloween theme into the toe-tapping “Vampire Heart” as well as come up with can’t-miss song titles like “Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly.” Listener beware: At some point, you’ll catch yourself drumming along and wondering what you ever saw in AC/DC anyway. 

    Drumming: HIM’s one-named drummer, Gas, graduated at the head of Backbeat 101 but never bothered to enroll in any another classes. Such lickless playing is like postmodern art or a foot fetish: You either get it…or you don’t.

    Verdict: All the cute goth-gone-vampire girls are going to be humming HIM tunes this year. Join in for a measure or two, and maybe one of them will bite your neck. 


    Pretend You’re Alive

    Music: Hailing from Ohio (but don’t let that fool you), Lovedrug has all the indie sound and cred of those Gardenstate groups that dominated 2005 but with amps that go to 11 and tempos that every now and then make it past 60 bpms. Songs range from the right-out rocking “Rocknroll” to the lighter-waving sing-along “Paper Scars” to the introspective “Spiders.” The pleasantly high-pitched vocals of Michael Shepard will keep you coming back for more. 

    Drumming: Matthew Putman’s drums are prominent in the disc’s mix, which makes us happy, because his playing is worth hearing. Primarily a pocket man, Putman creates nuanced, textured beats that perfectly support the band’s sound. Give a listen to his tasty hi-hat patterns on “In Red” and “Blackout.” And be sure to get your fix with the hammering, syncopated “Pandorama.” 

    Verdict: Don’t just pretend. Inject a little Lovedrug, and feel that you really are alive. 

  • Music Reviews: Franz Ferdinand, Augustana, Niacin, Clayton Cameron

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat. We also read a book this time. And even tried to play jazz with brushes!

    Franz Ferdinand

    You Could Have It So Much Better

    Music: Franz Ferdinand might have come together for the primary purpose of making girls dance, but the boys from Glascow got more than booties shaking when they released their self-titled debut album last year. Cookie-cutter bands everywhere quaked as the Scots effortlessly (even uninterestedly) conquered women and airwaves all across Europe and the States. A new era of music hip had begun, and fans loved Ferdinand for it. The boys’ tight pants, though, probably helped a bit. 

    Ferdinand returns with a disc that doesn’t fall to the sophomore curse. All the qualities that made the first album so refreshingly art-school-punk-cool—unique, prominent guitar parts, clever lyrics, and unusual melodies—are here, but the band stretches out a bit, assimilating more genres into their own style. Disco gets a new lease on life in “I’m Your Life,” and the standard, plaintive rock ballad becomes something you’ll actually want to hear in “Walk Away.” The Franz faithful should first check out “The Fallen”—which features one of the signature guitar licks that made “Take You Out” from the first album so infectious—and limber up the booty muscles for “Do You Want To.” Be prepared though: All the tunes feel a little more pop-radio friendly this time around. Or maybe pop-radio has now become a little more Franz friendly. 

    Great tunes aside, attitude is the most intriguing thing about Franz Ferdinand. The guys nearly named the new album the same as their first, changing only the color of the cover (can you imagine the ensuing confusion from purchasers and sellers alike—disorder, destruction, a new world order?), but they opted at the last minute for You Could Have It So Much Better. Is the title an ironic nod to their success? A sarcastic comment on the state of radio? Hmmm. The band steps back with a jaunty, haughty indifference that is, of course, very British but also just plain, well, smart. Buy their CD or not: They’ll still have a go playing pubs and wooing women and making better music than you could sell your soul for.

    Drumming: Paul Thomson, billed as the “best drummer in Glasgow,” isn’t your Gavin- Harrison-shredder-type, but he lays down good, solid, song-oriented drumming. You’re not going to find any licks to woodshed for weeks on end, but you’ll spend plenty of time trying to play so good in time. 

    The Straight Poop: Maybe we could indeed have it so much better than Ferdinand’s new effort. But you’re not likely to hear a hipper album this coming year. Sit back, watch the girls dance, and accept your assimilation. If you need me, I’ll be in the bathroom, squeezing a rolled up a sock into my tight pants. 


    All the Stars and Boulevards

    Music: This 4-piece group was officially together for all of two weeks before getting signed. Listen to a song—any song—and you’ll hear why: big hooks, thick guitar-scapes, rich piano noodlings, introspective lyrics. Yes, these are in a sense pop tunes (pop in that they are going to be extremely popular) but by no means bubblegum: You won’t be ashamed if someone sees them on your iPod. Just about every track could be released as a single, but if you’re new to the band and are in a particularly melancholy mood, give “Boston” a listen.

    Drumming: Justin South does own a ride cymbal, but it’s left abandoned and unloved on most of the record. He prefers instead the undefined wash of a big, ringy crash, and that’s cool with us: What’s in a ping anyway? The drumming here is all meat and potatoes—but it’s filet mignon and butter-soaked baked potatoes. Dig in.

    The Straight Poop: On the opening track, “Mayfield,” lead singer Dan Layus plaintively wonders, “Are we gonna’ make it?” Smile, boys. There’s a whole country full of college girls who know you already have. 



    Music: It’s been some time since we’ve had a bona fide drum god in our reviews. Light a candle, then, because Dennis Chambers is back and shredding with Niacin. The trio includes Billy Sheenan—who puts the word guitar in bass guitarist—and is completed by John Novello and his ridiculously hip Hammond B-3. The tunes are fast, loud, and so skillful that you’ll wonder how you’ve made it this far through life without them. The first cut is the aptly titled “Barbarian @ The Gate,” which knocks down your defenses (if you even had or wanted any) with a rapid flurry of tutti sixteenth-notes. Put on “No Shame” for a progressive funk fest that will clean out your system.

    Drumming: The disc clocks in at 60 minutes: That gives Chambers enough time to bust out a couple hundred thousand notes. With his foot. 

    The Straight Poop: If great drum music is sex, then Organik is sex and a sandwich.

    Clayton Cameron

    Brushworks: The New Language for Playing Brushes

    I had to chip away the dust from this gem of a book. It had long lain—forgotten or spurned—on our review shelves because we are an admittedly heavy-handed, tree-trunk-wielding bunch. 

    So we truly do understand what you’re thinking: “….Brushes?

    Now, don’t click away just yet, because we’re not going to give you the hard sell. It’s certainly possible to get away with being more of a brush bluffer than a brush player these days, but for those gigs when blast beats—or even some limp-wristed, tepid tapping with bundled rods—absolutely will not do, here’s how to shred on the softer side of drumming. 

    Clayton Cameron (a.k.a. Brush Master, King of the Brushes, Sir Brush-a-lot, and so on) guides you through all the delicate flutters and sensitive swirls. The book’s chapters move incrementally from the basics of holding brushes (there are eight different grips) to playing advanced and specialty strokes. Each brush movement is well diagrammed, and there are numerous examples that will test your skills. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, Chapter 7 offers up six solos—including the very challenging and syncopated “Just Duets”—for you to dazzle disbelievers with. And so that you know you are in good company, the final chapter breaks down the stylistic intricacies of brush (and drum) masters such as Papa Jo Jones, Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Elvin Jones. 

    For your listening and learning pleasure, the included CD features Cameron demonstrating 99 examples from the book, a few of which are extended songs and solos that will have you burning through brushes like you do with your trusty 2Bs. Comprehensive and learner-friendly, Brushworks is an altogether excellent way to discover drumming’s lost art.

    And here’s the really cool part. Further confound the guitarists in your life by talking about a whole new set of brush-specific rudiments: the sweepalet, the sliddletap, the sliddlesweeptap, the parafriddle, the fleuruff, the flexamaque, and—my hands-down favorite—the enticingly scandalous parasliddlediddle.

    Mmmm. Sounds dirty.

  • Music Reviews: Jamiroquai, The Goons of Doom, Tony Verderosa

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat. We even read a book this time. Yay literacy.



    Music: It’s been four long years, but Jay Kay and his band of acid-jazz Brits are finally back. Guaranteed to blow out sound systems and dancing shoes everywhere, Dynamite delivers everything from the disco-flavored title track to the Sade-sounding “Talluah” to the inevitably funkified “Hot Tequila Brown.”

    Drumming: Drummer Derrick McKenzie and percussionist Sola Akingbola have been playing together for a decade, and you can hear it in their tight, complementary performance. On a disc loaded down every which way with deep grooves, “Starchild” is a surprise standout, showing it’s possible to funk with a four-on-the-floor bass drum and a simple 2 and 4 on the snare. And if you ever feel like blowing off steam, grab a cowbell and bang along with the rockingly fun “Black Devil Car.”

    The Straight Poop: Dust off your buffalo hat, and obey what Master Kay has to say: “Baby, you’ve got to rock the floor tonight.”

    The Goons of Doom

    Bikey Zombie

    Music: These Australian surf punks can hit a few more notes than the Sex Pistols did, and they’re almost as much fun. Fronted by the dyspeptic vocals of Vaughan Dead and Bang Bang Bunny Fang, the band sweats out tunes that are generally under three minutes long, usually peppered with profanity, and always chock full of attitude. Primp the mohawks and polish the cheek rings for “She Wore Rat Skin Boots” and “Blood on The Streets.” 

    Drumming: A ruffian called Cut-Throat Cowboy handles drum duties, and he might have picked up the sticks yesterday. Or maybe the day before. But that’s okay. Cowboy doesn’t have to ride fancy—or even steady—to guide this irreverent group. Forget for a moment groove, chops, and meter. Sit back and get a dose of loose, loud, and crazy.

    The Straight Poop: The Goons remind you how to use the business end of your middle finger. Point it proudly.

    Tony Verderosa

    The Drummer’s Guide To Loop-Based Music: The Essential Reference For Techno Drum Styles

    If you think that jungle beats have something to do with the Amazon, pick up Tony Verderosa’s comprehensive gem to techno drumming. A reference work rather than a straight instruction manual, the book comprises three reviewable sections—styles, interviews, and gear. Each of techno’s “rudimentary” rhythms—Trance, Think, Apache, Amen, and so on—is notated here, and you can hear each performed on an included one-hour CD.

    Once you’re plugged into the basics, advance your skills by sneaking a peek behind the processors of e-luminaries such as Roy “Futureman” Wooten and JoJo Mayer. The gear analysis quickly gets you up and grooving, and a handy glossary is provided so that you can talk the talk.

    Bonus goodies on the second CD include a free version of Acid XPress (for making and mixing your own loops) and performance pieces featuring Vederosa and his fleet-of-hand playing/sampling. Watch his sticks, wonder at the sounds—welcome to the 21st century.

  • Music Reviews: Tristan Prettyman, Garage A Trois, Jake Shimabukuro, KJ Sawka, Baumer

    Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat.

    Tristan Prettyman


    Music: Here is something novel. Tristan Prettyman actually plays guitar, writes her own tunes, and—sorry Britney—sings. And she’s really good to boot. Twentythree serves up nuanced acoustic folk-pop that is irresistibly sprinkled with whimsy, honesty, and melancholy. Think Ani DiFranco meets Jason Mraz meets that breathy-hot-girl-poet-in-high-school-who-was-way-too-smart-to-talk-to-you. 

    Drumming: No syncopated, 11/16, prog-jogging riffs here—just deep-in-the-pocket grooves delivered by Matt Johnson (on most of the CD) or Nir Z (on two tracks). Percussionist Leon Mobley nicely complements both drummers, and no matter which pair steps up to play, the combined rhythms snuggly fit each song. Check out “Love, Love, Love” and “Always Feel This Way” for tune-conscious drumming done the way it should be.  

    The Straight Poop: Soon enough, Prettyman is going to dominate the airwaves. When your troglodyte guitarist friends finally crawl from their musical caves to give her a listen, just sit back, scoff, and say you heard her way back when.

    Garage a Trois

    Outre Mer

    Music: Composed for the avant-garde French film Outre Mer, the tracks on this disc apparently mirror the main character’s journey through joy, sorrow, isolation, devotion, and romantic love. Well now, that’s a little too highbrow for us: all we hear is the best and nastiest New Orleans jazz/funk that has ever crawled from the bayou. If the Swamp Thing wanted to get his groove on, Outre Mer would be on the turntable.

    Drumming: You wish you were this good. Drummer Stanton Moore and vibraphonist/percussionist Mike Dillon get downright filthy with deep tom grooves, playful vibes, and a fat cowbell. Every track—especially “Outre Mer,” “Bear No Hair,” and “Merfati”—demands a head-bobbing, arm-jerking, leg-flailing response. But it was “Antoine”—with its slithering half-time feel and ringing snare—that had us getting naked and grabbing hold of the inner swamp creature. 

    The Straight Poop: Stanton Moore’s drumming, ya’ll. Get a nightly taste. Serve it over gumbo. 

    Jake Shimabukuro


    Music: A fucking ukulele? Yep, native Hawaiian Jake Shimabukuro shreds on the tiny, two-octave “gee-tar” you thought was just a toy. Combining nimble fingers, cleverly integrated effects pedals, and a whole lot of creative chutzpah, Shimabukuro’s playing on this CD ranges from latin-tinged fusion jams (we like those) to softer, island-inspired songs (for the weepy set). But rest assured: this is not a collection of your great-grandfather’s Don Ho–inspired instrumentals.

    Drumming: Noel Okimoto, who has played with jazzers Stan Getz and Wynton Marsalis, runs the gamut here. He tears it up on “Shake It Up,” the disc’s opener, and he stomps all over the pieces on “3rd Stream.” Bouncy cross sticking and rim-clicks guide “Me & Shirley T” and “Toastmanland.” And the softer “Touch” allows Okimoto to lay back with delicate, fluttering brush work. 

    The Straight Poop: Go buy two copies—one for listening to, one for drooling over. Hawaiian hipsters unite!

    KJ Sawka

    Synchronized Decompression

    Music: On first listen, KJ Sawka is simply good drum ’n’ bass. With the addition of Christa Wells’ ethereal, soothing vocals (the perfect complement to the songs’ frenetic pace and jarring rhythms), the music soon becomes very good indeed. But only when the secret is out do you realize you have heard something outstanding: the band’s driving, computer-generated beats are in fact played by Kevin Sawka himself, a real drummer wailing on real drums in real time. 

    Drumming: If drum machines ever take over the world, this is the guy who will infiltrate their ranks and live among them. Wresting from his acoustic kit the tight, staccato sounds endemic to electronic music, Sawka is somehow capable of maintaining intricate, repetitive patterns at rapid tempos. By all rights, his hands should bust playing the frantic “Future Juju Soundsystem” and “Close Your Eyes.” Is Sawka man, machine, or cyborg? Who cares. Just plug him in.

    The Straight Poop: Creative and inspired and wild and freaky and….


    Come On, Feel It

    Music: The Americans are coming! Finally, we have a homegrown varietal as tasty as Travis, Coldplay, and Keane. New Jersey’s soon-to-be-darlings have done good on a freshman effort full of infectious, danceable melodies that are a little too clever, a little too dark to be labeled pop. Check out “Not Done With You Yet,” “Perfect Day,” and “Do The Choo Choo.” Just try to stay in your chair.

    Drumming: Caleb Weathersby joins the ranks of contemporary players who effortlessly mingle their live drumming with programmed sounds and loops. Backed by a phalanx of electronics, he in turn provides a dynamic foundation for the rest of the band. Listen as he matches the aggressive guitars on “Take What’s Mine” by riding on crashes and laying into his kit. Despite the disc’s inevitable tender moments, there is plenty of unbridled drum abuse for you bruisers.

    The Straight Poop: Come on, and feel it. Don’t be nervous: that’s your dancing feet coming to life.