And Then There Was You
And Then There Was You (Indianola Records)
Powerful, melody-driven three - and - a - half - minute ditties propel this album above and beyond the muck of what has sadly become of the post-punk/hardcore scene. The extremely adept rhythm section of Alex De Renzis (drums) and Steven Vasquez (bass) do the real rhythm's job of setting up the template for the twin guitars of Bret Swenson and Eddie Castineira. In turn they set up the soaring vocals of Armando Soler. This record comprises 10 tracks of endearing sing-alongs; only the very first, "The Beloved," is perhaps too kitschy. Everything else rocks pretty hard. My repeat faves are "Star Struck" and "The Devil vs. Father Moore."
Black : Guayaba
No Hay Espacio (Machete Music)
Black : Guayaba exists somewhere between Miami and Puerto Rico and plays a hard-driven form of Latin rock, with a straightforward sound that doesn't rely on demographical aims. This disc contains t13 Spanish-language songs that do their job. "Peso de Amor" has a definite Living Colour sound going for it, while some other tracks get a bit of the middle-period U2 treatment, and the rest, I guess, I can just compare to Soda Stereo and Maná. This is not a bad effort from La Isla del Encanto.
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Dreams You Die In
The Ties That Bind (Significant Records)
This is one of those discs that slipped through the cracks at first ... but not on my watch! This is a five-song EP of angry, Miami-stylehardcore a la Minor Threat and the Cro-mags, or, locally, Trust No One and DNME. The twin guitar assault of Nery and Gino glides well over the rhythm of Vladimir and Patrick, with Adam's vocals leading the onslaught and guiding the few gang vocals. This is available as a seven-inch, which I suggest you seek out, 'cause it's what hardcore is all about. Still, the CD has slightly more informative packaging. "Why Couldn't We Play Catch" is a scathing father/son commentary and "Follow Your Leader" tackles the usual scene politics. Fun.
-- Abel Folgar