It's a fair bet that the members of a group called Meow vs. Meow have a sense of humor. Yet this D.C. trio is not kidding around, despite such titles as "Subaltern Muppet Theme Song." The band's new mini-album, "The Basement Tapes," employs a somber, driving sound. The three musicians combine the sidewinding rhythms of dance-punk with a direct hard-rock attack.
Leading the charge is guitarist Steve Soly, whose rough-throated vocals and declamatory style dominate the opening "Cinder," a blunt rocker. Bassist Jocelyn Soly (who also plays keyboards) and drummer Todd Rowen are better showcased by such jumpy tracks as "Squall," whose gusts of guitar illustrate the title. Although there are a few mid-tempo numbers, "The Basement Tapes" is best at full roar. Meow vs. Meow indulges an inside joke with the full title of "Episode 19," referring to a Frank Zappa appearance on "Miami Vice," but the song itself is too fierce for prime time.
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