Ten Toes Up
Bridges & Breakdowns
"Dont You Realize
You might think Dave Mustaine is about to start snarling as the first crunchy riffs and wailing guitar solos kick off opening track "Summertime" on Myrtle Beach-based Ten Toes Up's latest studio effort. Two minutes into the song, however, the heavy rock morphs into a funky bass-driven boogie. That's indicative of the whole album; a 30-second clip here and there might sound like the random band playing your college's student union in the mid-'90s, but it's followed up by the downright dirty slide work of a song like "Don't You Realize" or the seven-minute "Can You Help Me," which begins as a ballad before shifting abruptly into a sax-laden dance track with Santana-esque layered solos. Lyrical topics range from alcoholism to homelessness to war — not necessarily party fare — but it's all over a consistent upbeat groove. Complemented by four very talented musicians (including a killer rhythm section), lead singer BJ Craven's subtle way of telling the frame of a story may be the group's greatest asset. Poetry's always best with a funky bass line. (www.myspace.com/tentoesup) —Stratton Lawrence
Ten Toes Up performs at the downtown Wild Wing Café on Fri. Dec. 19.
Lust After Love
Lust After Love
Black and White
The bad news: alt-rock band Lust After Love's "limited edition" full-length debut features one of the lamest, least creative local album covers of the year — it's just an angled shot of an anonymous pair of big tits bulging in a band T-shirt with the nipples popping out and a tattoo of the lead singer's name just above the cleavage.
The good news: the band's music is less gaudy and more interesting than the album's cover. Frontman John Moseley's muscular singing voice — and his occasional shouting and hollering — is hit or miss. Wobbly on tone and delivery, it sounds too much like the singers in the bands LAL seem determined to emulate (Pearl Jam, the STPs, Staind, perhaps?). Co-songwriter and arranger Patrick Vinti's acoustic and electric guitar parts add most of the color and texture to the band's modern rock style, as demonstrated on the broken-heart anthem "Misery Loves Me" and the rebound-love song "Better Than Nothing." Opening track "Suddenly" goes from a mid-tempo plod to a grand, high-volume fist-pump. The cleaner, funkier pop-rock of "Face" and "I Was Wrong" veers noticeably away from the grunge clichés.
The great news: Dustin Textor's solid back beats, varied rhythmic patterns, and beefy tom and snare fills are top-notch. He and bassist Prince William Curry lock together nicely on most of the tunes. (www.lustafterlove.com) —T. Ballard Lesemann
Lust After Love performs at Weekend's Pub in Goose Creek on Sat. Dec. 6.
Twisted Tales from Torture Town
Down in Flames
"Your wheelin' and dealing has taken a toll on your soul ... yeah, baby!" booms singer/guitarist Doug Walters on the gritty and brutal opening track of Torture Town's 11-song debut. The frontman sounds pissed, pained, and ready for trouble. He's seems even more wicked on the following track, belting it out like Dickenson and Lynott on the head-banger "Long Live the Blade." The swagger, simplicity, cockiness (and dry production style) of the swingin' "Down in Flames" resembles the best of Urge Overkill. "Resentment" could easily be a track from Stooges' Raw Power. "Balls on Fire" could easily be an extra from AC/DC's High Voltage.
Be warned: there are more than few thinly veiled references and borrowed lyrics from Bon Scott and the gang — from creepy tomb scenes to bulbous shout outs for big balls.
This shit rocks. Hard and loud. No frills. No muss. No fuss. Despite its unapologetically derivative nature, this impressive and almost ridiculous chunk of cussy rockisms is a nice surprise from a fairly new local power-trio on the scene. What it lacks in originality, it more than compensates with wild personality — and with barely a brain cell to spare. (www.myspace.com/torturetown) —T. Ballard Lesemann
Torture Town performs a CD release show at the Tin Roof on Thurs. Dec. 4.