Thursday, August 24, 2000
Never You Mind
The New Amsterdams
The Get Up Kids are one of the more successful indie bands to break out of the regional music scene in the last couple of years. Having sold serious numbers of its debut "Four Minute Mile" and being signed to Vagrant Records means that the group's members now have the time and freedom to branch out into a few side projects. The New Amsterdams finds head Kid Matthew Pryor taking just such an excursion, and it proves a trip worth taking. Backed by guitarist Alex Brahl, drummer Jake Cardwell and the Get Up's Robert Pope on bass and organ, Pryor keeps things stripped down and spare on "Never You Mind," downshifting from the Get Up's trademark heavy riffage. Fortunately, Pryor's pop sensibilities shine through even the medium-est of tempos, and he manages to run through a dozen songs in a little more than 30 minutes. Standout cuts include the irresistible "Proceed With Caution," the gone-too-soon saltwater taffy of song No. 5 (no title is listed on the disc) and the shuffling harmonies of "Make Me Change My Mind." The Amsterdam's acidic take on the Afghan Whigs' "When We Two Parted" is searing, managing to out-bitter and out-angst one of rock's most bitter, angst-ridden groups. "Never You Mind" proves to be a great CD that only gets better as Pryor's memorable melodies and heartfelt delivery sink into the synapses and decide to stay awhile.
For Lawrence thrash metal quintet Origin, there is no Dana -- only Zuul. In fact, the growly, refrigerated entity from "Ghostbusters" would probably feel right at home with Origin's Relapse Records debut blasting from the home stereo, violating noise ordinances and scaring the bejeezus out the neighbors. Origin is a band that likes its music raw, visceral and cranked up to 11. The percussive machine gun attack of the quaintly titled "Vomit You Out" is an awesome thing to behold and the Dahmer Party blues of "Manimal Instincts" is sonic "Silence of the Lambs" for the grindcore set. Possessing a brutal, high-speed attack that makes Slayer sound like a jug band and a singer (Mark Manning) who growls, grunts, screams and snorts like a rabid hellhound, Origin's sound is as fully realized as it is pummeling. The twin-guitar histrionics of Paul Ryan and Jeremy Turner serve as the basis for the band's hammering sound, drenching the group's songs in ragged glory and fuzzy logic. With song titles like "Sociocide," "Disease Called Man" and "Mental Torment," Origin won't be winning any Nobel Peace Prizes anytime soon, though the band may well be arrested for assault with a deadly distortion pedal.
-- reviewed by Geoff Harkness