Tonnage – 2 – Review

Tonnage 2

by Joshua Brown

Fifteen bands, each providing one track. Oasis start off with a cover of Slade’s 1972 #1 UK hit “Cum On Feel the Noize.” (Quiet Riot popularized it in America in the ’80s.) It’s everything one hopes for in the merging of super-powered fashionability and such a raw rock song. Next, another Brit pop act, Echobelly, who mix Blondie/Pretenders vocal stylings with the sub-noise pop drive of the best ’90s “alternative.” Perth, Australia’s Ammonia, burden us with post-emo boredom. There are too many bands playing this style (jangly, but heavy guitars, sensitive boy talk-sing), and not enough are coming up with anything fresh or exciting. Next is a new supergroup of sorts, New York’s Handsome. Bands the members recruited from include Helmet, Murphy’s Law, Cro-Mags, Quicksand, Insight, and Iceburn. It’s the pounding influence of Helmet and the pulsating groove of Quicksand that saves them, since in their dubious attempt at a “progressive” hardcore sound, they are pulled in too many directions at once. Shudder to Think, a band that helped extricate post-hardcore from a rut by introducing Freddie Mercury-ish vocals, provide an edited version of “So Into You” from their Pony Express Record. Far try their hand at Seaweed’s approach, and don’t do much better than the plethora of bands who ape Seaweed’s unreplicable sound. Australia’s Silverchair, a group drafted by the majors as a between-album fill-in for Pearl Jam, perform the job they were hired to do. Unwritten Law do the Southern California pop punk slickster shtick that’s fast becoming one of the most tired formulas in rock. 3 lb. Thrill are an Atlanta, Georgia alt-rock band in the most tedious sense of the concept. For Squirrels play an intriguing blend of grunge, Herman’s Hermits, and schmaltzy classic rock (think along the lines of “Carry On My Wayward Son”). The G. Love & Special Sauce track, “Coming Home,” is a tight, surprisingly melancholy (considering their usual upbeat funk) minimal blues number with harmonica. Reef play metallized blues with Black Crowes-ish vocals. Boston’s Dirt Merchants sound quite similar to the Pixies on the single, “Love Apnea.” Next, we’re treated to a remix of Korn‘s “Shoots and Ladders,” a strange and funky example of controlled psychotic rage. Lastly, Skunk Anansie‘s track, “Blackskin Sexuality,” has strong confrontational female vocals backed up by fairly intricate musicianship. The dilemma is that they try to make the music fit their disenfranchisement, rather than the other way around.