The Soviettes
Fat Wreck Chords

With the whoa-whoa pop-punk catchiness of The Ramones and the saucy voluptuousness of Pat Benatar, The Soviettes appear to have the proper ingredients to mainline straight into the hearts of music lovers across the board. Their new album is a furiously tight feat of hot hooks that begs for pumping fists and maniacal calisthenics.

“Multiply and Divide” dominates the disk’s other entries by virtue of the same sort of hook-in-your-brain quality that made Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” such an enduring anthem. It would take a mountain of gladiators to keep you from getting swept up in the jovial chorus of “Thinking of You” or the head-shakin’ twist-and-shout of “Rollergirls.” Add to that the partying theme song “(do) the Stagger,” a commanding tune that pleads for a live rendition.

Naysayers and indie connoisseurs alike might hesitate at the gleaming production quality of LPIII, and the ease with which the album’s angst is flippantly tossed off. Suspiciously crisp? Not enough edge? Just depends on your pop threshold and your punk standards. Whatever the case, the album undeniably reflects aesthetic know-how and a knack for poetic tension. (Erika Fredrickson)

The Soviettes are scheduled to play Total Fest Friday, June 24. Music starts at 7 PM at the American Legion Hall (825 Ronan St.).

Single File
Single File

Blessed with the blood of Steve Malkmus, Masters of the Obvious, or M.O.T.O., promises to be the biggest thing you never heard of—a lurking vampire stalking obscurity instead of the more sought after prey of mainstream success. Not an easy feat for a band with 13 well-received releases since 1981 under its belt.

Some background: M.O.T.O. frontman Paul Caporino is reported to have once bitten the neck of Malkmus, the genre-leading icon of Pavement and Jicks fame. While apparently no direct stylistic connection was established through the swapping of spit and blood, M.O.T.O. does share the indie rock idol’s love of flamboyant effrontery. M.O.T.O.’s sound, however, and most tracks on Single File (a collection of hard-to-find 45s from ’88 to ’94) speak to the more jagged stylings of Guided by Voices, crossed with the cleanliness of The Clash. With songs like “it’s so big it’s fluorescent” and “dick about it,” M.O.T.O. shifts gears effortlessly between the punk growl and an almost-catchy-but-still-too-cool-for-radio sound. In between are songs like “love back,” a likable but sarcastic and raw track conjuring the nonsensical efforts we sometimes make to lure back that one person who’s long gone.

With M.O.T.O., the oft-ascribed punk-pop label is fully appropriate. (Haines Eason)

M.O.T.O. is scheduled to play Total Fest Saturday, June 25. Music starts at 7 PM at the American Legion Hall (825 Ronan St.).

Mutiny Sunshine
Lucky Madison

Maybe it’s time to abandon the conventional guitar-bass-drums setup. Bands need to stand out to establish themselves, and Portland’s Talkdemonic has found a way to do that by maintaining the drums, trading the bass for a laptop and swapping the guitar with a viola. That’s right, viola—the slightly larger sister of the violin.

And make no mistake, Lisa Molinaro’s evocative viola radiates. Kevin O’Connor’s drum kit kicks out intricate hip-hop-influenced beats. The laptop streams a synthetic symphony. The result is intensely original—nomadic instrumental mood music that never turns tedious.

The overall tone of Talkdemonic borders on the absurd—beyond the unusual setup, Mutiny Sunshine ebbs and flows with the murmur of mellow acoustics, East Asian drones and digital pop. “Final Russian,” the longest track, manages to touch all the bases in one fluid stretch. There are no vocals in this eclectic mix and, really, no need for them. The entirety of Talkdemonic is rich and textured enough to stand alone, and when Molinaro’s viola is featured, she conveys a tension and emotion few crooners could match. This is a delightful new stew. (Skylar Browning)

Talkdemonic is scheduled to play Total Fest Saturday, June 25, at the afternoon record swap. Music starts at noon in the Big Dipper parking lot at 631 S. Higgins Ave.


What you might expect from stoner rock, JETOMI (aka Jewel Encrusted Titans of Modern Industry) delivers on this debut album: planes of heavy yet dreamlike ambience and slow, psychedelic riffs pieced together with deeply somber vocals. The design is familiar but JETOMI spikes the punch bowl with a dirty rock flavor and slivers of classic ’80s metal.

Gabe Jaramillo opens the first song, “Stuntwoman,” with subdued vocals resting on the buzzing guitars of John Casebeer and Ray Walker; the tune is reminiscent of bands like Hammerbox and other early grunge rockers. Though the soundscapes seem to evoke the homogenous desert panorama from which the Flagstaff band hails, the brief gusts of dueling guitar and stormy drum solos break up any potential monotony. “Some Thoughts on the Effectiveness of Chemically Induced Self-Assuredness” is a punk-injected car chase of heavy rock. Likewise, the final track, “Dirty Needles,” is infested with animated intonations, gruff barking and sludgy do-do-dos that add kick to the extended tidal waves of droning power chordage.

Proto is a fine listen, but here’s betting that their sweaty rawk translates better live. (Erika Fredrickson)

JETOMI is scheduled to play Total Fest Friday, June 24. Music starts at 7 PM at the American Legion Hall (825 Ronan St.).

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