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Crowns on 45
If Crowns on 45 had been around 10 years ago, they would have easily been part of the Great Indie Rock Boom. They would have been players on the put-out-a-release-on-an-indie-to-get-courted-by-a-major-that-will-put-out-a-big-budget-follow-up-with-no-label-support-whatsoever-and-then-drop-your-collective-ass circuit. Instead, they are a bright spot in the aftermath. They are punk, in the way punk should be: tousled, catchy, and in-your-face. The drumming is fierce, the two-note guitar riffs are played without much thought to intonation, and the singers often choose to scream instead of worry about hitting the high notes. Crowns on 45 are all about the rah-rah chant a la Cold Cold Hearts, particularly on album closer “Love Songs (Are for Losers)”—except they’re a little more But I’m a Cheerleader than Bring It On. Heather Hellskiss, who’s got more than a little Allison Wolfe in her, and Chris Ohnesorge, whose crooning on “Near Miss” is so earnest it’s enough to make Mark Robinson swoon, lead the squad, which kicks up a racket that would have been right at home on Neopolitan Metropolitan. Crowns on 45 are New Yorkers, though, as is made abundantly clear by “Walk in the Park,” a song that criticizes the Giuliani administration’s apathy toward victims of the June 2000 Central Park riot. That kind of posturing is certainly appropriate in punk, and Crowns on 45 have at it in a way that bypasses anything riot-grrrl or cuddlecore. It’s a welcome change to the way things used to be. —Tina Plottel