003_04.htmlTEXTR*chC) mBIN ROCKIST: reviews
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Dashboard Confessional The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
I'm sorry that I let this sit on my floor for so long. I looked at it and saw "guy with guitar" and figured to myself, "how good could it be?" Well, kids, it can be really goodespecially when it's played by someone who takes such an aggressive approach to an acoustic guitar and has the songwriting talent to back it up. He's also made the wise decision to add the backing of a band on a few of the tunes. His tenor punches out from the stereo, daring you not to sympathize or empathize with his feelings. Chris Carrabba wears his heart on his sleeve and opens up his guts to give you a glimpse at the insides (most apparent during "This Bitter Pill" where he ends the record in a primal, throat-wrenching scream). ( PO Box 273645 Boca Raton, FL 33427 chrisscarrabba@hotmail.com; Vagrant Records 2118 Wilshire Blvd. #361 Santa Monica, CA 90403 www.vagrant.net)

De Facto Megaton Shotblast
Impressive full-length debut from De Facto! For those that don't know, dub is the (mostly) instrumental music form created when reggae musicians in Jamaica wanted to cool things out. De Facto features Omar Rodriguez and Cedric Bixler from At the Drive In with Jeremy Ward (cousing of ATDI guitarist/keyboardist Jim Ward) and Ikey Owens (from Teen Heroes and Long Beach Dub All Stars). The interesting thing about this record is that they claim that no samples were used. Fascinating, considering the variety of sounds that they feature. From blips and beeps to heavy and alternately funky grooves, this album is slightly challenging, yeh contains enough fun and revelatory moments to merit a few listens. It also makes an nice bookend to the now defunct band Franklin's self-titled finale. (DefactoGSL@aol.com; Gold Standard Laboratories PO Box 178262 San Diego, CA 92177 www.threeoneg.com/GSL)

Death Cab for Cutie we have the facts and we're voting yes
I have to admit that it's taken me nearly four months to fully appreciate this. The first step was getting past the hype that surrounded the band and this release in particular. Secondly, I was faced with the dilemma of the what seem to be incongruencies between the words that fly from singer Benjamin Gibbard's mouth and his delivery of those words. He has some great lines and his attention to detail is amazing. But something makes me think that at some point he's just going to break out of that Versus/Wheat coma and just yell! Come on, man, she just broke your heart. I don't buy it that you're THAT cool.

But they're the kind of guys that don't get mad, they get even (or am I misunderstanding the words "I re-arrange the furniture as you sleep"?). And they've accomplished that by making one of the most compelling pop records I've heard in a while due to the combination of hushed melodies, impeccably clean-sounding guitars, stellar drumming, and lyrics that draw you in and make you wonder. They've gained such an incredibly word-of-mouth following that by they were able to sell out the Middle East (with the help of fellow quiet young men Pedro the Lion). Bravo! (Barsuk Records PO Box 31016 Seattle, WA 98103)
Death on Wednesday Buying the Lie
Imagine Social Distortion fronted by either Morrissey (more like Smiths-era than that solo crap) or Josh Caterer from the Smoking Popes (who was himself a bit of a Morrissey disciple). Neither terrible nor terribly earth-shattering, but if you like any of the above references, you'll get a kick out of ideas. (19744 Beach Blvd. #418 Huntington Beach, CA 92648 deathonwed@aol.com www.deathonwednesday.com; Sidecho Records 1223Wilshire Blvd. #360 Santa Monica, CA 90403 sidecho@aol.com www.sidecho.com)

Denali s/t EP
Caught this band from Virginia during a brief tour of the East recently and I have to say that I can't remember the last time I was so blown away by a band I had never heard of or heard before. You couldn't help but be captivated by the voice of singer Maura Davis and the cool songs that this band was laying down.

Quite unbelievably, they've only been playing together since April 2000 as they were incredibly tight. Davis's comrades include her borther Keeley (singer/guitarist for Engine Down, whose latest record is a hidden gem), Jonathan Fuller (ex-Sleepytime Trio and currently in Engine Down), and Cam DiNunzio.

I picked up a five song CD-R demo that they were selling at shows and guess what? It's great. It opens with a slow, piano-based song which is incredibly pretty. The pace picks up a bit with the second with minimal guitars and programmed drums leading into a very cool staccato guitar riff. The third song is the clincher for me, the loudest on the disc and the one that has stayed in my head. It reminds me a little bit of Portishead.

The name comes from Denali National Park, home to Mt. McKinley (the highest mountain in North America) and also home to a number of glaciers. And while the music is not particularly slow-moving, it does have a bit of an icy feel to it, not warm and bubbly, but striking in its stark beauty, making this a good record to fall asleep to OR hunt caribou. (denali2001@juno.com)

Dianogah Battle Champions
Cool layout featuring army miniatures. This is a mostly instrumental album as two songs feature Jay Ryan's barritone. The combination of two bass players and a drummer work well to create some surprisingly interesting tunes. (Dianogah PO Box 25541 Chicago, IL 60625 dianogah@xsite.net www.speedsite.net/~dianogah; Southern Records PO Box 577375 Chicago, IL 60657 www.southern.com)
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