CMJ Thursday: Bands with Crazy Names Edition


CMJ thoughts continued….

by Thomas Collins

Mass Solo Revolt

Mass Solo Revolt is exactly what I would be doing if I had continued trying to play guitar after a failed two-week stint in the eighth grade.  All I ever really got into doing was moving the guitar alternately back and forth in front of the amp, trying to make the best distorted screech possible.  This is Mass Solo Revolt’s specialty, punctuated by both intense riffing and the sort of bluesy guitar solos you have to look back in time for.  Live, MSR is a one man band, but his off-kilter instrumentation sounds much bigger than your typical dude with a loop machine.

Salt to Bitters

Salt to Bitters’ frontman, Tony Raver, proudly proclaims that this banjo-punk outfit’s songs focus on two subjects only: drinking and sleeping around.  As great as this sounds so far, the whole performance seemed somewhat forced, and it was hard to look past some very obvious failures.  Throughout the thirty minute set, at least three songs included the lyric “my mouth is like a shovel”; whenever he sang this line, the yelping Raver would grab his microphone stand which inexplicably had a shovel attached to it. My mind wandered as he smiled smugly into the audience.

New Town Drunks

New Town Drunks are kind of like the Pixies if Frank Black would have fully indulged his Spanish-language fetish.  Their sound is in the vein of classic indie rock with fuzzy guitars and all, but they blend this with a Latin flair, the lead singer serenading the audience in dance, pulling random people to the center of the floor to twirl her. New Town Drunks, as the name may suggest, sang much about alcohol, but it never became boring due to their command of the stage.

Western Civ

Western Civ are so needy.  They began the set by making sure the crowd knew they were “whores for your attention,” and I don’t know if the vibe was already present, or if that clingy gesture created it, but people were just not feeling this set.  The audience didn’t even get up from the bar to go to the stage until Western Civ were halfway done.  It could also have been due to the fact that Western Civ may be one of the most repetitious bands of all time; how many times can you rip off Pavement in one song?  The one highlight was when they acknowledged their heavy influences and played “My Valuable Hunting Knife,” a Guided By Voices cover.

Thomas Collins is a staff writer. Email him at



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