MACHINE GUN ELEPHANT, THEE: Rodeo Tandem Beat Specter: CD

Something about them Japanese. Like the Mad 3, these guys can take influences from three decades – the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, put them in a time warp/blender, and come up with some super satisfying 2002 rock’n’roll. It’s heavy on grooves and establishing a big atmosphere, but it doesn’t sound overblown and dumbnutty because the chords and chops come from unexpected places, yet fit in perfectly, and the vocals don’t sound like someone’s nuts are in a vice. If you’re looking for Link Wray meets Mott the Hoople meets the Controllers, all sung in Japanese, this is a good way to open the brain a little without missing out on the rock. It’s also a pretty darn good to play for the parents because it’s motivated and jumpy but there’s no swearing (in English at least).

 –todd (Alive/Bomp)