by Mike Corrigan, Joel Smith, Leah Sottile, Clint Burgess and Miranda Hale

You sent 'em, and we reviewed 'em -- briefly and honestly. This way, consumers of local music know what they're getting before they buy, and local musicians get tidy little capsule reviews for their press kits (or, perhaps, trash cans). We usually only do local CD reviews once a year, so we wanted to do it right while covering as many local recordings as we could get our greasy mitts on. Though some are demos, many of the following CDs can be purchased from the artists and at area record stores that support local music such as 4,000 Holes, Unified Groove Merchants, area Hastings stores and at the Long Ear in Coeur d'Alene. Enjoy.

(Reviewed by Mike Corrigan, Joel Smith, Leah Sottile, Clint Burgess and Miranda Hale)

Thine Eyes Bleed

In the Wake of Separation -- Thine Eyes Bleed kicks off In the Wake with a double bass that makes me want to purr like a kitten. While the song titles are total metal clich & eacute;s ("Cold Victim," "Live To Die" and "Corpse You Up") and there are some Korn-ish sounds here, T.E.B does the devil's music (metal) well -- screechy, somewhat understandable and full of joyous evil. (LS)

Walk Thru Walls

I'm Still Waiting -- Brooding and complex (both emotionally and sonically), this is strange fruit born of three of the guys who once propelled local band Neckless to insane heights of musical exploration and fearless performance. Looped, swirling and squealing guitars and solid, primitive beats create the rich atmospheres against which singer Jim Graeff launches his social and political lyric barbs. Oh, yeah. (MC)


Status-Nine -- It's hard to tell which draws more fans -- Status-Nine's fuzzed-out '80s-style punk or middle-aged drummer Tom Pichette's mullet and shiny leather pants. All we know is that if Brent Forsyth sings any harder, he'll be out of wind by the time he's 30. These guys rock it hardcore. (JS)


Cathedral -- Comfortable compositions of uncommon frailty and vitality comprise this gem of an album. The subdued yet beautifully virtuosic guitar by Michael Millham is reason enough to fall in love with this disc. Add the dream-like vocals of Kelleren Millham, and the combination found here is one that will leave listeners yearning for more. (CB)

Yard Sail

Untitled -- This pleasant surprise is filled with catchy, pop-punk-y, reggae and ska-influenced music that is both danceable and somewhat cerebral. It seems to deal with both personal and social issues in a way that brings some depth to the music, while still remaining fun and boisterous. Good times. (MH)

Coretta Scott

Coretta Scott -- The glammest band in town jiggles and hammers away at their guitars ad nauseam on their self-titled EP, following no real style or genre. Singer Seth Woodward (and we suspect this is the kind of band with a "front man") risks blowing a jugular more than once throughout this five-song variety pack of a record. (LS)

Burns Like Hellfire

One For the Losers -- A ferocious, confident debut from a band that backs its genuine feel for the alt-country thang (cow-punk, we used say) with wicked musical and vocal chops. Boozin', dopin', lovin' and cheatin' form the lyrical basis of this baker's dozen. But pigeon holin' BLH ain't easy, due to a welcome attention to variety in the arrangements, particularly the guitar textures. (MC)

Jonathan Nicholson

Sojourn -- Nicholson could very easily be signed by Windham Hill some day. His solo guitar work is superbly executed, melodic and haunting, laden with emotion. It's what makes him such a fixture at ella's Supper Club. And if he can inject a little oomph, a little attitude, there's no doubt he can transcend the dubious background music genre. (JS)

The Side Project

14 -- Everyone regards the Side Project as Spokane's darlings, but they're more like our very own local Debbie Downers. On the band's debut, Young and the Restless pianos lurk beneath Suzie Anderson's warbling, heavy-handed vocals. Including a cover of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," 14 will force you refill your high school lithium prescription and sniffle yourself to sleep. (LS)


High School 101 -- Ultra-catchy, Southern California-sounding punk anthems, compliments of a trio from the Inland Northwest. The recording quality is very slick, and the songs are well fashioned, considering the high school age of the band members. All songs are pretty much in and out in three minutes, and only one song falls under 120 beats per minute. (CB)

The Carter/Smith Band

The Carter/Smith Band -- Once C/S cleans up their muddy production values, you might actually dig this disc, especially on a sunny weekend afternoon with a couple of beers. Classic rock with a bluesy, Southern-rock sensibility. (JS)

The Eastern Seaboard

Untitled -- This is strange and poignant music. Synthesizers, spoken lyrics, dissonant sounds, bits of media broadcasts and heartbreakingly beautiful piano all make for a postmodern and endearingly nervous search for beauty and meaning amid a BS-saturated culture. This is the best kind of Sunday morning music. (MH)

Abe Kenney

Randomness -- Spokane has long wondered at Kenney for his seriously bipolar musical nature -- half classical picker, half Pathos death metalist. This is more of the former. But he also finds some weird middle ground, combining mind-blowing classical and Spanish-style guitar with heavy beats here and sitar jams there. His "Atonal Opera" (both acts) is one of the more bizarre things we've ever heard. (JS)


Without Borders -- Without Borders seems lost in time. Luster unquestionably has chops, but what are listeners supposed to do with songs that throw hissy '80s metal distortion, funky bass lines and unrelenting wah-wah together in the year 2005? For all the groove here, it's surprisingly flat-footed. The straight-ahead, upbeat "Only the End Will Tell" is much more approachable. (MC)

Blue Ribbon Tea Company

Storyteller 1, Blue Days and Blue Nights -- The press and the public have (rightfully) made a big deal of the Woody-Guthrie-esque "Rathrdum Prairie Refueling Depot Disaster," but Bill Kostelic's just as sharp on "Social Insecurity" and "The Big Tax Cut Deficit Flu." His reedy, beating vibrato may be at its best on the disc's opening track, "Going Nowhere." (JS)

State of Change

Flight to Uluru -- State of Change is the kind of band you'd listen to, say, when trying to hold that Down Dog pose in Yoga or perhaps during a meditative romp through a field of tall grass. This five-piece band expresses themselves in hopes of promoting healing, health and wholeness. For me, it's all about something else. One word: didgeridoo. (LS)


Use Your Imagination -- Painful monotony is a risk with instrumental music, and 3H doesn't rise above that with this 77-minute release, a ping-pong game of hard rock and noodly, chorused guitars. This father-sons trio is highly competent, but they either have to branch out stylistically or cut this thing in half. (JS)

Kagah tha Ninja

Untitled -- Kagah tha Ninja, our very own local Insane Clown Posse wanna-be, methodically flows through his latest eight-song EP with songs like "1-800-SUICIDE" and "How F--ed Up." The music is not nearly as bad as you'd think from a clown-masked rapper from Spokane -- but Kagah quickly gets repetitive with his doomsayer, threat-heavy songs. (LS)

Mikayla & amp; the PawPrint

Untitled -- Mikayla Droz hasn't really found her emotional core yet. On her three-song debut, she sounds hesitant. Though she experiments with various styles (including a healthy dose of scat-singing), it's clear that she has yet to commit to a distinct sound or style. But then that could be because she's, you know, 11. (Bonus points for the press photo of her holding a kitten.) (JS)

Fast Recovery

Out There and Back -- Pedestrian bar-rock mix of originals and covers from the band's favorite Jims (Hendrix and Morrison) and others. The arrangements and swagger are plucked from late-'70s hard rock, but genuine emotion is curiously absent. The by-the-numbers reworking of "The Wind Cries Mary," for instance, has all the right notes but none of the soul of the original. (MC)

10 Minutes Down

Buckle Up -- Through all the years and lineup changes, 10MD has managed to stay true to its original feverish ska-punk course -- and the band's new five-song EP is no exception. Although metal influences are well-represented here (check out the crushing riff that introduces the opening cut, "Destiny"), the singer's affected delivery can be a bit wearing. (MC)

Locke & amp; the Chris Wilson 5

Loose Ties -- How could you not like this band? Really, they make it impossible. Locke on his own is one of those likeable, positive hip-hop emcees you can't ignore. And the CWFive -- they weave an inoffensive, deliciously funky brand of hip-hop jazz behind Locke's flows. They grab your attention, tap your toes and snap your fingers for you. It's hip-hop with a soul. Ignoring it would be, well, it would just be mean. (LS)

Buffalo Jones

Untitled -- Buffalo Jones (aka Jason Johnson) plays country-tinged, introspective, occasionally moody songs about love and watching TV, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. That said, his claim that it's "music that strays from the herd" is suspect. Still, he's got potential, and with a full band behind him, he might make for a hell of a hootenanny. (JS)

Keeler, Melvin and Morse

Untitled -- White guys singing the blues -- that can be tough to pull off. These three -- Brad Keeler, Laddie Ray Melvin and Lonesome Lyle Morse -- are technical whizzes on guitar, dobro, mandolin, etc., and touch on genres from ragtime to bluegrass to jazz. But they still lack a certain something -- they sound too clean, like they're one flask short of a barn fire. (JS)


Untitled -- Right now, it's '80s music that's enjoying popular revitalization. But when the sounds of the '90s come back into vogue, Kite's going to be flying. With a tight, funky, jammy sound somewhere between Collective Soul and the Spin Doctors, this has the Clinton years written all over it. (JS)


Skyhook -- Heavy doesn't even begin to describe it. But it's a mature heavy: no Cookie Monster vocals here. Good use of multi-tracking on the vocals, and technically, the guitars are top-notch. Imagine sticking Alice In Chains, Metallica and Godsmack in a blender -- the result would be Skyhook. (CB)


Battle Cry of the Ugly Man -- Nothing kills a promising-sounding song like a melodramatic singer (though that seems like Spokane's curse). And that's the case here. The music is uber-catchy -- pop-punk with a touch of twang -- and sharp. But vocalist Brandon Pyle is trying way too hard to sound edgy or distressed or whatever. Unfortunate. (JS)


Untitled -- This is bluesy funk that tries much too hard to be authentic and edgy. There's not much originality or depth here, but it is definitely catchy and fun in that mindless shake-your-booty kind of way. But, really, does the world need another Blues Hammer? (MH)

Cheryl Branz

Untitled -- A relative newcomer to music, Branz seems to still be ironing out her style on this demo, recorded live at the Shop. On "Solve Me a Riddle" and "The Elephant Song," her vocal style sounds unnatural, affected. But it soars effortlessly and powerfully over the gentle, arpeggiated picking on "Land of Plenty." (JS)


Untitled -- Spokane's musical diaper is filled to the waist with rock and needs a little something extra in its diet. Ramon140 spices things up with three delicious songs that could get both ravers and hipsters on the dance floor. His sound is the handcrafted, beat-heavy house music you'd hear bumping out of any big-city club. With Ramon140, that big city sound has officially landed in Spokane. (LS)

Publication date: 05/19/05

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