Title:Ridin' The Tiger
Band:Gluecifer (Norway)
Label:White Jazz Records
Highlights:Leather Chair
Bounced Checks
Evil Matcher
Under My Hood

On their first full length album, Ridin' The Tiger, Gluecifier (as in Gluesniffer) come exploding through the speakers like the Kings Of Rock they claim to be. Pumped pull of testosterone and with their fists (or should that be dicks?) firmly raised in the air, Gluecifier have put the sex back into hard rock. (As the liner notes say, hard rock gets you laid...) Ridin' The Tiger itself is like a guided tour through the annals of 70s hard rock, with such bands as The Rolling Stones, Motorhead, The Stooges, AC/DC, Ted Nugent and Black Sabbath all providing inspiration. As such, their sound is best described as 70s hard rock mixed with motor city punk rock guitars amped to the max (and I'm not kidding!). One of the band's strengths is that they're not afraid of being cliched but do so without succumbing to parody. Many ignorant people could easily accuse Gluecifier of being yet another 'metal' or hard rock band. However, Gluecifier just happen to be better at it then everyone else. Match this with their punk rock attitude and you have one formidable band that is impossible to ignore.

Title:Tender Is The Savage
Band:Gluecifer (Norway)
Label:White Jazz Records
Highlights:Ducktail Heat
The General Says Hell Yeah
Rip Off Strasse
Dog Day, Dog Night
Sputnik Monroe

Gluecifer have a made name for themselves over the last 5 years by mixing 70's style hard rock with a punk rock edge; a devastating combination when executed properly. However, Tender Is The Savage, the band's third album, finds the band heading in a more straight ahead rock direction. Despite being a consistently strong listen from start to finish and excellently recorded, I can't help but feel that something's lacking compared to their two previous albums. Songs like I Got A War, Chewin' Fingers and Drunk And Pompous just aren't the ball-breakers rockers that they could be. The main reason (i.m.h.o.) is that the guitars are mixed two low with respect to the drums and vocals. In other words, Tender Is The Savage isn't the powerhouse it could have been. Still, it's not all that bad as tracks like Ducktail Heat, Dog Day Dog Night and Sputnik Monroe prove that Gluecifer are still better than 90% of bands playing this style of music.

Title:This Sad Paradise
Band:Golden Rough
Label:Candle Records
Highlights:April Wind
Don't Overlook Me
Johnsons' Wax
Lovers Rock

Golden Rough are inaccurately yet seemingly best known as an alternative-country styled band. However, the release of their second album, This Sad Paradise, should finally see them leave such tags behind. Instead, This Sad Paradise is a piano based pop album that sounds a lot like a David Orwell solo album with only his fragile yet rough vocals betraying the band's rootsy origins. I'm sure he must be sick of the Joe Pernice/Wilco comparisons but Golden Rough really do sound like a cross between these two artists. While his arrangements and songwriting are consistently strong, especially on the opening track, April Wind, I find David Orwell's vocal style on this album is just too flat for my liking, even compared with similar styled bands. Subsequently, try as I might, I just can't get into This Sad Paradise, which is really fustrating because it contains some great songs with a lot of potential.

Title:The Grapes
Band:The Grapes
Label:Rubber Records
Highlights:Head Of Blue
So You Say You Lost Your Baby
Keith Richard's Sneer
Where The Ocean Meets The Sky

The Grapes is a collaborative effort between Sherry Rich and Ashley Naylor (Even), whose impressive self titled album is too good for The Grapes to be simply labelled as a side project. As to be expected, The Grapes is best described as country-ish pop but with the emphasis on the pop side of things. The songwriting is high indicating that these songs are no cast offs or outtakes. Indeed the brilliant dreamy psychedelic pop of Marmalade would have sat perfectly on side two of Even's last album, Come Again. Other highlights include the mean strut of Keith Richard's Sneer and their cover of Gene Clark's So You Say You Lost Your Baby.

The Grapes should appeal to fans of both alternative country and pop music as it straddles both styles without finding itself stuck somewhere inbetween. It comes across as a quite seamless record despite being disjointedly recorded over a variety of separate recording sessions. The only disappointing aspect is that there are only nine songs, including two covers. Surely two artists of this calibre could have come up with one or two more quality songs. I also wish that they had a proper backing band to help flesh their songs. However, these are only small criticisms against what is a fine album.

Title:Get On The Outside Of This
Band:The Green Circles
Highlights:I'm So Glad
In Her Own Time
make The Night

Adelaide band The Green Circles don't bother to hide to their influences - 60's mod bands like The Easybeats, Small Faces, The Creation etc etc Whilst they do it well, it is also fair to say that they're only going to appeal to the faithful. Unfortunately the band are let down by a poor production that has lead singer Mark Gilbert's voice too high in the mix. On a positive note however, the band come across as a tight little outfit that sound like they would be a lot of fun live, something I wish this CD would project more.

Label:Summer Of A 1000 Dreams
Label:The Gripweeds (USA)
Label:Laughing Outlaw / Rainbow Quartz Records
Highlights:She Surrounds Me
Rainy Day #3
Don't Look Over Your Shoulder
Future Move

As many critics have noted, New Jersey band The Gripweeds, mix strong Byrds like harmonies to Who-like power chords and drumming and update it all for the new millennium. Judging by the cover artwork, I initially judged their third album , Summer Of A Thousand Years, to be another cool yet ultimately forgettable 60's revisionist album. However, it didn't take me long to realize that this album is much better than that. The singing throughout is superb as is the graceful guitar playing of Kristen Pinell, who also plays in another excellent pop band, The Rooks. But really it keeps coming down to the songs and how they're played and this album is full of great ones, none better than first single Rainy Day #3.