“Low Budget Dreams”
(Trash Dog)


I’m going to admit it, because this tape kicks off with a track called “Die Hard II,” I was pretty intrigued. Commander Keen, four scamps from Cookeville, Tennessee, make rock-and-roll music like they used to in Boston, or they still do if the “they” in this sentence is signed to Exploding in Sound Records (a nice label to release your music, truly). Like a cross between Loewenstein-fronted Sebadoh and early Foo Fighters, Commander Keen blaze like guitar-shaped rockets and burst over packed arenas in a volatile blaze. There’s a Gas Station Dogs joke to throw in here somewhere – something along the lines of, when do Low Budget Dreams become “Rock and Roll Dreams [That] Come True”? Or something. I tried.

“Die Hard II” makes with the rock, and I’m happy with it, as I am with the also-awesomely-titled “Shark Week.” I’m totally down with “Brain Waves” and “Knoxville,” too. I could take or leave the long songs (“The Camel,” “Nashville”) but that’s mainly personal preference. I’m not at the stage in my life where I want straightforward rock songs that bloom with lengthy solos and then into denouements. But if I know what you kids are listening to these days – and I really fucking don’t, so take that for what it’s worth – you’re going to love it.

--Ryan Masteller