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Child Labor: Matt Makes His Daughters Review Promo CDs

Posted by July 25th, 2010 No Comments »

Promote This: July 2010
The Glad Girls / Champagne Sunday / SNEW / In to the Storm
By Eloise, Iris & Matt Ashworth 

When we first started in 1997, I mailed letters to labels asking them to send us promotional materials and, for the first couple years, we reviewed a high percentage of what we received, good or bad.

We’ve always prided ourselves on giving emerging and unsigned bands a fair shake, but, unfortunately, the number of CDs coming in grew increasingly unmanageable and we did less and less of that.

Now, through the magic of human reproduction, I have two willing indentured servants to help me wade through the piles of CDs. Sure, they’re young, but they work fast and they don’t pull any punches. If they don’t like something, they’ll tell you.

Plus, at six and almost four, they probably have a deeper exposure to the history of pop/rock music than your average Pitchfork writer.

The Glad Girls - The Burning Moon and Stars (2010)The Glad Girls
The Burning Moon and Stars (2010)
Unsmashable Records

This is straight-ahead rock ‘n roll from the Unsmashable Records musical collective. Ryan Maxwell and Wesley Nelson, co-songwriters for the excellent, but now-defunct Young Spoprtsmen, serve as the rhythm section for Riffbroker Healther Millward to try her hand as front woman. She’s got a warm singing voice and some solid songs, but she’ll need to get more confident with her vocals if the Glad Girls are destined to be a full-time thing.

Iris: I like it Daddy. I like the music the best.

Eloise: “I like it too let’s keep listening! Is she going to say ‘Glad Girls?’ Why is she so glad?”

Grade: (5/10)

Champagne Sunday - Random Acts of BlindnessChampagne Sunday
Random Acts of Blindness (2009)

According to this Ventura, California band’s bio, Champagne Sunday “attacks the stage with the theatrical flair of Queen, the seemingly simple writing style of the Beatles, and the plain language poetry and restless urgency of Tom Petty.”

Not surprisingly, this amounts to inexplicably bland, pedestrian bar pop. The kind that made it easy to stop listening to unsolicited promos in the first place.

What do you think, girls?

Eloise: “I don’t like this one.”

Iris: “Yeah this is weird. Can we go to the next one?”

Grade: (2/10)

SNEW We Do What We WantSNEW
We Do What We Want
Moman Music (2010)

Holy AC/DC wannabees, Batman!

This Hollywood hard rock band makes it work, though. SNEW has the schtick down pat with catchy songs with big riffs, simple titles like “We Do What We Want,” “Feedback and Distrortion” and “Power Pack,” and even some spot-on Brian Johnson vocals.

Eloise (After fashioning a blankie in to a cape and grabbing a makeshift microphone): I like it; this is rock ‘n roll!”

Iris: “This is too rock ‘n roll for me.”

Grade: (6/10)

Into the Storm
Amidst a Sea of Chaos
Self-released (2009)

Amidst a Sea of Chaos is a dense, throbbing mess of hardcore and metal influences. I like it best when singer Garth Reeves steers clear of the clichéd metal Cookie Monster vocals, like on the verses of “Between Disaster and Tragedy.” There’s also some interesting guitar work going on here by Matt Jahn. In to the Storm have potential.

Iris: “This one is just too…too… (makes indescribable buzzing/screeching noise). I just don’t like it.”

Eloise: I like it. It makes me want to dance!

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