J.Rod’s Music World

Justin Rodstrom

VietNam storm The U.S.

You can read pedigree all over these Brooklyn-based hippies. They are the realization of the efforts of Bob Dylan’s stint with The Band, harnessing the understated eeriness and off-kilter structures of The Velvet Underground.

This is down and dirty Rolling Stones music made by rockers living the New York bar-fighting, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll dream. These sentiments are summed up quite eloquently on the track “Mr. Goldfinger” – “Money and class are just a pain in the ass.”

The self-titled debut has everything classic, with lyrics that poke fun at everything from New York’s club scene to high class society sung by the rough-voiced, protesting sound of Joshua Grubb.

You can tell in their performance that these guys are having a good time and are seriously looking to pick up the mantle and lost art of rock ‘n’ roll. This passion comes through nowhere clearer than on the track “Apocalypse.” VietNam is a bunch of new age long-haired hippies with a rootsy, indie sound – just look at their album cover … just look at their name! This is a must for anyone looking for good time, old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll music.

Rocking tracks: Pretty much every song, just go out and get it.

Sick Puppies EP release

Kicking and screaming with its first release, Sick Puppies welcome us into a world of Foo Fighter riffs, aerial screams and fast-paced living.

This power trio from Australia really kicks the door down on songs like “Pitiful” – a song with a death wish, a mean hook and explosive riffing.

Owing much of their fame to a unique Web-friendly campaign called “Free Hugs,” Sick Puppies have quickly risen in popularity around the world.

The campaign is as simple as the title – the band goes around to local malls giving out free, uplifting hugs to anyone who might need one. This strange, yet effective, campaign has helped propel Sick Puppies into the spotlight. Their fame is sustained by rocking performances and a high-energy EP release to back it all up.

The album offers up a brooding collection of sentiments from a group of social outcasts looking to find themselves in an unkind world.

Dealing with everything from stinging failures to drug problems to bad parenting, Sick Puppies put a positive spin on their past with their “Free Hugs” campaign and the song “Deliverance,” meant to offer hope to fans for a brighter tomorrow.

Sick Tracks: “Pitiful,” “All The Same”

The Showdown’s Temptation

Stealing Zakk Wylde’s riffs is no easy job – you need the chops, but also the attitude of the Southern madman himself.

The Showdown pulls it off in the hands and fingers of the very capable Josh Childers and Travis Bailey.

With menacing guitar work and burning, challenging lyrics, The Showdown is anything but your typical Christian metal band.

“Temptation Come My Way” is certainly no sophomore slump, coming after 2004’s “A Chorus of Obliteration.”

The quintet from Tennessee plays with a polished yet grungy feel, big Southern metal riffs and epic solos.

The Showdown even delves into hard rock and Southern rock styles, evident with “It Drinks from Me.”

Bassist Eric Koruschak says of the band, “We are about power, fire, rocks and heavy.

“We want to have fun and take it to the extreme on and off the road.”

The Showdown has certainly taken it to the extreme with an explosive release.

Explosive Tracks: “Six Feet Under,” “It Drinks From Me,” “Temptation Come My Way” P.S.

Chimaira performed at the Electric Factory on Wednesday. I will be reviewing the band’s latest album next week.