Laser Flames on the Great Big News Lambs to the Slaughter

It's tempting to say that Laser Flames on the Great Big News came out of nowhere and, to be cynical and a tad snobbish, they sort of did: Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to be exact. A combination of deep-fried Southern rock, a bit of Beatles-esque pop sensibility, with some deep groove ("Dead River"), a dash of fucked-up-tempo death metal and tons of raw talent, their five-song debut makes you wonder what else they have up their sleeve, and how soon they can pump another album out. Led by John Judkins (bassist for Rwake), his vocal harmonies with co-singer/guitarist Stephenie Bailey, who deftly alternates between a bluesy, whiskey-tinged coo ("Monster Truth") and vicious sneer ("Faith of the Blackened Heart"), are filled with smart and catchy hooks, and the bare-bones production lets every band member shine. This is an excellent debut for a band that if things go the way they should, could be around for a long time. (Handshake Inc.)