September 26, 2008

Vent or Laugh With These Local Acts

By Jason Bracelin

Rage-addled metalheads, rap cutups and, uh, Wayne Brady lead the way in this month's roundup of Vegas releases.

STRIKT-9, "Strikt-9" ( One of the tunes here, the feel good hit "Waste of Skin," opens with the sounds of gunfire, warfare and bloodshed, but if anything, it feels kind of anticlimactic after the riot of violence that has preceded it.

A venomous new school thrash quartet with none of the retro-isms that have engulfed the scene of late, this bunch swan dives into the same dirty gene pool as bands such as Exhorder and Lamb of God. Its frontman sings of being consumed by his demons over a backdrop of charred-black riffing and near-pneumatic drumming.

Scratch that, the dude doesn't sing at all, instead, he vents like a guy who has been stuck in line at the DMV for a fortnight on songs that range from knotty epics ("Seconds from Death") to hooky, midpaced battle cries ("Frozen Fist of Hate").

And yeah, their tunes are better than their spelling.

DEE-MIZE & D. ROCKZ, "6 Years Later" ( Not even a minute into this disc, Dee-Mize is warning the ladies that he might take a dump in their purse.

And that's nothing compared to what these two do to your iPod.

A tongue-in-(butt)-cheek satire of gangsta rap tropes mixed with the bawdy humor of a book of fart jokes, this pair rhymes about schizophrenic reindeer, eatin' puppies and peein' on people over spare, old-school beats and bright synth lines. They're at their best when spoofing hard-core rap macho-isms ("Boom (Doom)") and warning the youngins about the dangers of consuming open flames ("Don't Eat Fire").

It may be six years later, but these dudes haven't grown up any. We'd tell 'em to keep it that way if it wasn't already a given.

WAYNE BRADY, "A Long Time Coming," (Peak Records): "Don't need to reach for the stars," Wayne Brady sings at the onset of his debut CD. "I love my beautiful, ordinary life."

Brady has always been like that, a talented yet self-effacing kind of guy who's more about finesse than fireworks.

Here, he's right in the pocket, coming with warm-sounding, throwback R&B that takes its cue from Marvin Gaye, not R. Kelly. Whether blanketed in finger snappin' funk ("Ordinary") or the wah- wah guitars and dramatic strings of a '70s spy flick ("F.W.B.") Brady proves himself to be a steady, welcoming presence on the mic, his voice sunny, smooth and malleable as wet taffy.

Occasionally, he swings for the fences, such as on a stirring take on the Sam Cooke classic "A Change Is Gonna Come," which Brady belts out like it was the national anthem.

Considering the song's subject matter - perseverance in the face of adversity - perhaps it should be.

Contact Jason Bracelin at [email protected] or 702- 383-0476.

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