FEEL LIKE HELL – The Bamboo Kids (Empty)
EXIT SMILING – Born Liars (Mortville/Cutthroat)
The Bamboo Kids, three New Yorkers with cool, greasy nicknames like “Dee,” “Cheech,” and “Rosie” and the cloned faces of Peter Buck, John Mayer, and Michael Madsen, have managed to wedge hooks and chord changes into all the right slots and create a ragged, juiced-up album with a gooey center.

“When done correctly, rock & roll is bad for the heart, good for the soul” they claim on “Heartattack” and who are we to argue?  “Low Life” swings like the greatest backyard summer barbeque ever, “Child Prodigy” is all hopped up on penny candy and soda pop, and “Ain’t No Fun” flips, skips, trips, and does everything but turn cartwheels.

“Feel Like Hell” unabashedly liberates itself from the rules of commerce which hamstring the biz in the new millennium and howls at the sun, moon, and planets, swinging invincibly and drooling happily.  A bubblegum supernova, The Bamboo Kids will get you happy.  It’s your job to stay that way.

Houston’s Born Liars’ debut is a guitar lover’s dream, six-stringers Jimmy Sanchez and Geoffrey Muller way up in the mix and mugging for the camera, chopping, chording, and flailing their merry way through 11 sweaty tracks like the bastard love children of Wilko Johnson, Johnny Thunders, and Link Wray.  Speaking of Johnson, they turn in an oily, righteous cover of Dr. Feelgood’s “She Does It Right.”

“Finger Poppin” and “Room to Move” amount to what some may view as battles of one-upmanship, but the results are liberating to say the least, chunky, determined, fully formed, and slashing, burning, and scorching anything in their way.   If the Born Liars don’t inspire you to smoke, drink, and hunt for the truth, check that you’re not wearing slippers and smoking a pipe. - Clark Paull

- Bamboo Kids

2/3 - Born Liars