Crappy Little October 1998 Reviews

RATING SYSTEM | Ambush | Audio Explorations | Appleseed Cast | Badi Assad | Mandy Barnett | California Guitar Trio | Cheap Trick | Vic Chesnutt | Crumb | Dead Voices On Air | Electric Frankenstein | Michael Feinstein | Galactic | The Glands | Jim Greer | Gumby | Haze | Industrial Tepee | Susan James | Suzanne Langille | Light Bulbs | Living | Local H | Lunachicks | Marilyn Manson | The Minders | Morcheeba | Mr. Zero | Of Montreal | Pilsner | Pocket Fishrmen | Project Dark | Progress | Publicists | Rx | Jerry Seinfeld | Sloan | Spock's Beard | Sunday Puncher | Syrup | Amon Tobin | Jen Wood |

*Additional Items Received*


AMBUSH - Rumours (CD, Possible/Invisible, Drum and bass)
Extremely sparse drum and bass music. This was originally released on Mick Harris' Positive Records in Great Britain, and the fine folks at Invisible are making it available for folks in the U.S. This is a bit different than most drum and bass releases I've heard, mainly because of what's not there. There's no flash or extras added to this music. Ambush simply provide a steady rhythm with some very subtle, slightly spooky, background effects. This sounds like the kind of thing British kids must listen to in the clubs after 4:00 a.m. This one's kinda hard to rate, but it gets a "4" because it's actually rather pleasant in a mind numbing kind of way... (Rating: 4)

AUDIO EXPLORATIONS - Who Wrote The Words To Everyone's Dreams? (CD, Stripmine Recordings, Soft/moody pop)
Very soft introspective minimalistic pop music that works amazingly well...especially considering that this is an independently produced project. Not only is this a compelling collection of tunes, but this duo comes across as anything but pretentious. James Tritten and Steven Haley are Audio Explorations, although some special guests pop up on a few of the tunes. As hard as I have tried to come up with comparisons, the only similar artist that comes to mind is Donovan...mainly because of the simple nature of the tunes and the breathy vocals. The subtle trippy nature of this music is a refreshing change of pace from too many artists whose music is so overarranged and overproduced that it tends to all blur into one big disappointing wash. There are some absolutely stunning tunes here...making this disc a totally cool listen. Check out the band's web site at Neat, neat, NEAT. (Rating: 5)

APPLESEED CAST - The End of the Ring Wars (CD, Deep Elm, Pop/rock)
Good driving music that reminds me of mid-eighties Boston rock (the city, not the band). An interesting note is that this band claims that they are not based in any particular city, as they currently live on the road touring. You can tell from listening to this that these guys are truly into what they do, and that this is more than just another droning rock band. The thing that sets Appleseed Cast apart from the growing mountain of rock bands is that they evoke moods and emotions with their songs. The End of the Ring Wars features a wealth of good guitar driven pop/rock music that ought to please most underground rock fans. (Rating: 4)

BADI ASSAD - Chameleon (CD, i.e. Music,/Polygram, Folky Brazilian pop)
Sexy acoustic guitar-based folky Brazilian pop music. The sound quality on this disc is excellent...and Badi Assad's playing and singing ring strong and true on almost every track. This disc is appropriately named as there is a good bit of variety among these tracks. Our initial faves are "Butterfly," "Naked," and "Waterfall"...while the cover of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" works quite beautifully as well. I can't help but wonder if this lady's name is made up. After all, it sounds suspiciously close to "bad ass"...which I bet Mrs. Assad has, based on the publicity photos. Never matter, never mind. It's the music that matters, and these tracks sound pretty goddamn good. This should appeal fo Arto Lindsay fans... (Rating: 4)

MANDY BARNETT - I've Got The Right To Cry (Advance cassette, Sire, Pop)
Man oh man. A lot of people are going to be pissing in their underwear over this young lady. Why? Well...mainly because she sounds almost exactly like Patsy Cline did before her plane accident. This collection of tunes is definitely a blast from the past, harkening back to the time when male and female vocalists ruled the music charts. I can't give too much personal information about this artist as no biographical information accompanied this advance cassette. Just be prepared to see (and hear) the name Mandy Barnett...because the name is going to be popping up a lot in the months ahead. Good stuff. (Rating: 4)

CALIFORNIA GUITAR TRIO - Pathways (CD, Discipline Global Music, Instrumental)
None of the three guitarists in this trio are from California. Instead, they hail from Brussels, Tokyo, and Salt Lake City (!). Regardless of their geographic origins, these three fellows have managed to come up with new ways of utilizing acoustic guitars. Instead of going for a folky sound, these guys' music is much more baroque in nature. They play all kinds of stuff that is normally never played on a guitar. The trio consists of Bert Lams, Hideyo Miroya, and Paul Richards. These guys are DAMN good at what they do. All three attended guitar classes given by Robert Fripp...which may explain why they are so technically proficient. This is a well-executed idea, worthy of many repeated listenings... (Rating: 4)

CHEAP TRICK - Cheap Trick (CD, Epic/Legacy, Rock/pop), In Color (CD, Epic/Legacy, Rock/pop), Heaven Tonight (CD, Epic/Legacy, Rock/pop)
Re-live some of the best music of seventies pop music with Epic/Legacy's latest remastered reissues of the first three Cheap Trick albums. When the band first made its presence known, few folks would probably have believed that this band would have had the influence and staying power it has had. Let's look at each album individual, shall we?
Cheap Trick. The band's debut album didn't blow me away then, and it doesn't blow me away now. The music is okay...but there's just not too much focus, and the tunes don't trab the listener. It's almost like throwaway rock that sounds too generic. A couple of good songs, but overall rather forgettable. (Rating: 3)

In Color. By the time Cheap Trick recorded their second album, they had transformed from a samey rock band into a focused sharp shooting unit. The band's songs were drastically improved. Opening with the totally bitchin' "Hello There," the band's hyperactive power pop abilities are evident. "I Want You To Want Me," the hit single, was light but catchy fare...and it still sounds good today. Modern pop groups could learn a thing or two about the clean, uncluttered pop in tunes like "Downed," "Southern Girls," and "So Good To See You." The guitars ring loud and true, thrusting Rick Nielson's talents firmly into center spotlight. By this time, word of the band's live show was spreading...creating an even more intense buzz. In Color had some truly great moments, but the best was yet to come... (Rating: 4)

Heaven Tonight. It is this writer's humble opinion that Heaven Tonight is the best Cheap Trick ever. Shrugging off some of the more rock and roll aspects of their earlier work, the band this time opted to shoot pure power pop hits directly into the center of the planet...and it WORKED. There's a cool urgency to this album that somehow captures the essence of what the band was about. Almost bubblegummy tunes like "Surrender," "On Top Of The World," "Takin' Me Back" (this one still sounds particularly vibrant), and "How Are You?" grabbed America's concsiousness and made everyone stand up and take notice. (Most folks probably still think "California Man" is a Cheap Trick tune, despite the fact that it was actually penned by pop legend Roy Wood). The production is crisp, but not too slick. The band rocks, but not too hard. Above all, these guys came up with some searing melodies that have stood the test of time. Totally bitchin' in the best kind of way, this is an album that makes you want to move. (Rating: 5)

VIC CHESNUTT - The Salesman and Bernadette (CD, Capricorn, Pop)
I usually HATE artists who are as hip and cool in an underground sort of way as Vic Chesnutt...but fortunately my tendency to prejudge didn't get in the way of being able to appreciate the subtlety of this man's music. The guy's understated pop music brings to mind artists like Cat Stevens and Tom Waits...although he really sounds like neither. With so many struggling artists trying so damn hard to please, it's refreshing to hear a man simply put forth tunes that seem to come so naturally. The arrangements are just right, and the vocals extremely laidback and relaxed. Nice, simple, real lyrics complete the picture...making The Salesman and Bernadette a completely worthwhile experience. (Not Rated)

CRUMB - Seconds>Minutes>Hours> (CD, Red Ant, Pop)
Though it's a formula that's been used thousands...even millions...of times before, when you layer great vocal harmonies over good pop music the results can be substantial. Such is the case with Crumb, a pop band that has been garnering a good bit of press in some notable music magazines of late. Unlike many pop bands who maintain that lo-fi is better, Crumb is a band that is proud of the fact that their tunes are slick and well produced. Their attitude is justified, as the excellent sound quality of this disc is anything but detrimental. Although I will admit that the glossy sound does tend to make almost all pop bands sound more generic, in other ways it makes the music soar to levels that wouldn't be possible in the world of lo-fi. Hi-fi. Lo-fi. Fuck-it-fi. Fe-fi-fo-fum. The tune "Month To Month Apt." is GREAT. I smell the pop songs of a good San Francisco band... (Rating: 4)

DEAD VOICES ON AIR - Piss Frond (Double CD, Invisible, Electronic/pop/instrumental)
Boy. What a mouthful. Dead Voices On Air songs go all over the goddamn planet on their latest double disc. One minute you think you have the band pegged, but then the next song loses you completely. It's this obtuse quality that keeps the listener's interest throughout the entirety of this lengthy release. To try and describe this is difficult, because so many of the songs are so drastically different from one another. From orchestral to droning electronics to dub to techno to ambient and back, these folks refuse to be pigionholed into one particular style. Surprisingly, the discs are rather cohesive. It's hard to pick favorites, but the initial standouts seem to be "Geong G'uma," "Swan Flax," "Of Hare Hill" (not to be confused with "On Hare Hill"), and "Irthing Fell." Overwhelming. (Rating: 5)

ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN - Spare Parts (CD, Get Hip Recordings, Rock)
This one's a scorcher. Electric Frankenstein already won us over with their last 10" vinyl release, but this one's even better. The band's flailing, driving rock music sounds like it's continually about to spin out of control. The studio tracks on Spare Parts were previously available on a 10" EP in Switzerland. This CD combines those tracks with three live cuts, giving the indication that this band may even be better live than they are on their studio recordings. Simultaneously loose yet very, very's almost impossible to keep still when this band's music is playing. Cool tunes like "Devil Dust" and "Man's Ruin" are cool as shit...and the band even does a blinding cover of The Dictators' "Borneo Jimmy" that does the tune justice. GREAT! (Rating: 5)

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN - Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin (CD, Concord, Pop/male vocalist)
What a SLICK collection of Gershwin tunes. Michael Feinstein recorded this compact disc of fifteen tunes in celebration of Gershwin's 100th birthday...and what a collection it is! These timeless compositions are given an astounding fresh breath of new air here...making it all sound brand new again (even though we've all heard these tunes many times before). Mood evoking pieces include "Embraceable You," "Love Is Here To Stay," "Funny Face," "Love Walked In," and "Swanee." There are few discs I have heard this year that have this true of a romantic ring to them. This is beautiful music played the way it was meant to be played. Nice and...EASY. Ah... (Rating: 5)

GALACTIC - Crazyhorse Mongoose (CD, Capricorn, Jazz)
Excellent funky jazz created by six solid musicians. Galactic music is tripped out jazz in the same vein as Medeski, Martin, and Wood...but the music is somewhat more traditional in nature. Most of the tunes are instrumentals that have a very timeless sound to them. Galactic is breathing fresh air into a medium that can, at times, be tiresome and samey. There's a wealth of inspired music here. Our faves are "Love On The Run," "Metermaid," "Tighten Your Wig," and "Start From Scratch." This gets better the more you listen. Outa SIGHT. (Rating: 5)

THE GLANDS - Double Thriller (CD, Bar/None, Pop)
Athens, Georgia's The Glands don't sound like bands you would normally associate with the legendary isolated college town. Instead of sappy jangle pop or goofy dance plop, the band plays intelligent studio pop in the vein of Self, Thin Lizard Dawn, or even (at times) The Beach Boys. Yet at still other times, the band's music almost sounds like Ween, The Flaming Lips, or even Thunderclap Newman. Get the point? This is a band that doesn't have just one sound. Instead, singer/songwriter Ross Shapiro dabbles in a wide variety of sounds and styles...making his music very hard to categorize or classify. In the end, that's a very good is evidenced by strong tunes like "Two Dollar Wine," "Welcome To New Jersey," "Sunshine Happiness," and "World Half Over." Interesting and very, VERY diverse. (Not Rated)

JIM GREER - Rover Songs (CD, Fortune, Pop)
A different sort of pop music. So many popsters take exactly the same approach. No wonder that are so many carbon copy pop bands around. You'd think that simply being able to tap into one's imagination wouldn't be sure a rare thing, but it is. Jim Greer is a gem in the world of underground pop because he's not following any particular path. Instead, Jim simply follows his own unique muse. It's hard to describe this guy's "sound" because, although he has his own sound, he treads in a wide spectrum of musical influences. "Southern States," the opening track, almost sounds like Ben Folds Five. But by the second tune, that comparison no longer holds. No matter how he chooses to get his point across, Jim succeeds in getting to the point with his songs. Even the piano instrumental ("Hunker in the Bunker") is a standout. If you can't find this in stores, e-mail the label at (Rating: 5)

GUMBY (Playdough little kid kind of entertainment figure)
Dumb ol' Gumby wasn't good for nothing. His goddamn dough-like head and his warp seven ankles bashed his boney out of Cincinnatti. The shoestring mouth and the sloping head brought injustice into the homes of our children and their children...promoting a puppetassed world where nothing ever happened. Pokey wasn't any better, pumping his sloppy orange ass around the screen like a sex object for Marsha. The ugly little playdough world was nothing more than a dash of pepper and a hashing of brats. The shame fell upon the producers and animators, opting for the balance of a more obvious nature... (Rating: 1)

HAZE - Master of the Powerless (CD, Emerald Forest Entertainment, Pop/rock)
My first reactions are rarely wrong. However, my giggles and initial bad reaction to this CD were dismissed as soon as I put the disc in and pressed PLAY. Though her image is similar to thousands upon thousands of talentless retards, Haze rises high above the onslaught of current female music artists. To put it simply, she has good she's got a great sultry, sexy vocal style that grabs your attention immediately. The music is well produced rock/pop with an industrial edge. In addition to her own cool tunes, Haze also presents surprisingly credible covers of "Tracks of My Tears" and "Tom Dooley." This lady is an exciting new artist with the stuff it takes to really go somewhere. Check out Haze's web site at (Rating: 4)

INDUSTRIAL TEPEE - What Diving Engine (CD, Mother West, Pop/rock)
This is NOT an industrial band...but it is an INDUSTRIOUS one. Industrial Tepee is the duo of Tom Shaner and Bob Sharkey (with some additional musicians adding support). Together they write, sing, and play some great goddamn pop music with just the slightest hint of country. Some of these tunes remind me of mid-period Kinks, although overall this band has a very different sound. Excellent melodies, smart lyrics, snappy arrangements, and an overall good feeling are present in all of the tunes on this disc. There are some real beauties here, too. Check out "Swim (The Tide of Love)" or "Joe's Airfield." This band is writing tunes straight from the heart, yet the end result is neither sappy nor emotionally draining. Simply put, Industrial Tepee is a damn great little outfit creating some amazingly credible pop tunes. Yes. (Rating: 5)

SUSAN JAMES - Fantastic Voyage: A Double Album (Double CD, Red Letter, Pop)
Ultra-sweet voiced Susan James is a surefire hit for folks into artists like Joni Mitchell and Sinead O'Connor. Ms. James' intricately arranged progressive pop music is just what a lot of folks are probably searching for in music. The melodies are strong, and the music extremely accessible. This double CD contains twenty tracks which include "Manna," "Every Side of Lonely," "The Bean March," and "Stranger Bedfellows" among others. Though this doesn't really push my peculiar buttons, I would still recommend this for folks into the aforementioned similar-sounding artists... (Not Rated)

SUZANNE LANGILLE WITH LOREN MAZZACANE CONNORS - The Enchanted Forest (CD, Secretly Canadian, Extremely soft pop)
This is one of the quietest CDs I've heard this year, but unlike most quiet CDs that we receive this one isn't trance or ambient music. Instead, Suzanne Langille plays extremely quiet guitar pop that is so subtle that it almost isn't even there at all. Ms. Langille's restraint in her music is what we find most appealing, as her words and sparse music are rather engaging while simultaneously mentally challenging. Possibly the most interesting aspect of this disc is its timelessness. For all intensive purposes, this could have been recorded in the twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, or nineties. Suzanne's music has an eerie obtuse quality that doesn't quite fit into any specific genre or time period. In a word, this is...unique. And in today's climate of "everybody sounds just like everybody else"...that's saying something. Very different. (Rating: 4)

LIGHT BULBS (Fragile glass light producing stupid kind of things)
Light not necessary. When sun come up is time for seeing. When sun go down, no need to see. Big wow for person what discover light bulb. Bulbs everywhere make for life not as good as before...make for too much work...too much chaos...and cause for computer. Do away with all light bulb action for better. Everyone always think progress good. It not. Progress bad. (Rating: 1)

LIVING (State of being kind of thing)
Living just isn't what it's cracked up to be, or isn't even what it once was. The life that you think you have isn't what you think it is at all. Your friends' lives aren't what you think they are. Everyone tries to present a distortion of what their life is really like because they don't want to face (to themselves or to others) what they are really going through in their day-to-day life. Though living is an overrated state of existence, dying probably isn't everything it should be either. In the end, nothing is anything. The only distance between immediacy and the hereafter is tiny little doll arms. The arms talk and move in circles, sometimes hovering in and out of your line of vision. At the end of an exhaustive cloud of product, a lonely little Donna pouts a frown to let everyone down. Donna's frown is eventually replaced by Andrew the Locksmith, who seems to have keys for everything imaginable. Power to the ol' pokey dog, power to the stroker. (Rating: 1)

LOCAL H - Pack Up The Cats (CD, Island, Rock/pop)
Local H is one KICKASS ROCK BAND. They've approached things from a different angle than most bands, yet have had amazingly big success doing it THEIR way. Pack Up The Cats picks up where the last disc left off. This is rebelious high school angst prepared and produced by two guys who haven't lost their innate desire to play loud music. The band's pop influences have never been stronger, but that doesn't in any way detract from the power or intensity of their music. I particularly like the way the band incorporating some everyday common house sounds into the tunes (cats meowing, someone walking around whistling). Few popular bands are deserving of the praise and attention they receive. Local H keeps getting better with each release. Their music is rebellious enough for kids, while smart and creative enough for older farts. A whole slew of crunchers including "All-Right (Oh, Yeah)," "Lucky," "Stop Worry And Love The Rock," and "Laminate Man." This is a GREAT CD. (Rating: 6)

LUNACHICKS - Drop Dead Live (CD, Go-Kart, Rock/pop)
Whew. Bizarre hard rockers Lunachicks pump like a monkey's ass on their latest live CD. I have unfortunately not caught this band live, but this batch of tunes gives excellent insight into what the concert experience must be like. The music is frantic and wild enough, but these gals have always been into extreme visuals with their outfits and that probably adds even more ooooOOOPH! to the music. There are few girl groups around who have the high-charged impact of the Lunachicks. It just goes to show what you can do when you write good songs and stick to your guns. Brain-smashing tunes include "Yeah," "The Day Squid's Gerbil Died," "Don't Want You," and "Dear Dotti." Now that the Red Aunts are no more (sob!), the Lunachicks are even more vital to underground rock. This KICKS. (Rating: 5)

MARILYN MANSON - Mechanical Animals (CD, Nothing/Interscope, Rock/pop)
No matter what the quality of his recordings and concerts, I am always impressed with Marilyn Manson. How many other big name performers can you think of who have based their career largely on great publicity photos? Mr. Manson initially started out influenced by Alice Cooper, but nowadays his image and sound are more closely aligned with David Bowie. Witness the "shocking" cover photo of a "naked" Manson. Can you believe that anyone would get upset by this cover? Sheesh. Compared to most stuff out there it's so incredibly TAME. And the music inside? Manson has toned down the harshness so that this almost sounds like FM radio pop. This doesn't in any way match the balls of Antichrist Superstar. But then, I get the impression that this man isn't trying to stay in the same vein he's been in. This isn't a bad CD, but if you're looking for harsh and evil...this just ain't it. Even though, it's still a good listen. It'll be interesting to see where this guy heads next. He's beginning to seem more and more like Ru Paul... (Rating: 4)

THE MINDERS - Hooray For Tuesday (CD, spinART, Pop)
Soaring pop that harkens back to British sixties pop. This reminds me in many ways of Herman's Hermits in that the music is presently simply and melodies matter first and foremost. This is the kind of pop music that makes you forget whatever is on your mind. There aren't enough bands who use the approach that less is more. The Minders are spearheaded by an English fellow named Martyn Leaper. Mr. Leaper certainly has a command of the language of pop. Every tune presented here is clean, precise, and direct. I have a feeling this band's name is going to be discussed a great deal in the months to come among underground pop fanatics. Produced by Apples In Stereo's Robert Schneider, you can certainly hear his influence bleeding through the speakers ("I've Been Wondering" sounds almost exactly like a Schneider-penned tune). This is an excellent collection of tunes that'll hold up to a great many listens... (Rating: 5)

MORCHEEBA (Live performance, September 15, 1998)
Morcheeba are on top of the heap of trip hop/dub/soul pop bands of the nineties. I suppose I didn't realize just how true this was until I attended a recent live concert which was almost sold out. Being an early supporter of this British band, I assumed that...since they were so good...most people wouldn't go for it. After all, when bands or artists put out quality music they are generally ignored by the masses. Morcheeba is one band that has managed to combine quality and integrity with accessibility and commercial success. In concert, the band sounded as good...or even better...than on their recordings. Whoever was at the board mixed this band so well that it was almost unbelievable. Surrounded by candles and subtle lighting, watching this band was a very hypnotic experience. Though they are technically a trio, there were three additional musicians on this tour. The guitarist in particular was amazing...playing some absolutely blistering solos. Lead vocalist Skye Edwards is a true performer. For such a small lady, she has a deep and resonant voice...and her eyes are mesmerizing. And instead of having the kind of attitude one usually associates with techno/trip hop artists, she came across as a very real and genuine lady (her bright orange hair was somewhat shocking). The band was obviously having a good time playing their music...and they had the audience in the palms of their hands from the very first tune. Though you may have to fight the crowds to see them now (bummer), this band is still pleasing our pants off in babysueland. This was a GREAT concert. (Rating: 5)

MR. ZERO - Voodoo's Eros (CD, Get Hip Recordings, Garage rock)
Nice lively garage rock that's particularly good in the rhythm department. Mr. Zero is a project spearheaded by Oli Dolot (formerly of Squares and Headcoats). The cuts on this CD are sparse and simple, yet there's a great deal of energy present due to spirited playing and extra crunchy production. The guitars are loud and distorted, and the vocals intense. Mr. Zero is a garage party band to be certain, with more punch and circumstance than a barrel full of pollydogs. This one's a HIT. (Rating: 4)

OF MONTREAL - The Bedside Drama A Petite Tragedy (CD, Kindercore, Pop)
Athens, Georgia's Of Montreal play a peculiar brand of pop music that wouldn't sound out of place amidst music recorded around 1934 or 1947. That is to say that this band's acoustic driven pop music has a sound that harkens back to a time gone by. Songwriter Kevin Barnes has a breezy, light songwriting style that stands out from the pack like mashed potato acid. The only slight negative here is that there needs to be more variation in the vocal department. Either that or a few instrumentals would help to break things up. A slight problem, as this is still heads above most pop CDs I've heard of late. This cool band will appeal to fans of Apples In Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel... (Not Rated)

PILSNER - Autosuggestion (CD, Get Hip Recordings, Rock)
Straight ahead, driving, going-to-hell rock music delivered without extra trimmings. Pilsner forgets the side dishes and gets right to the meat on the cleverly titled Autosuggestion. Instead of gimmicks and studio tricks, this band simply gets down and plays like the world is going to end. These guys have a really rough screamer of a vocalist (he does calm down occasionally), and authentic garage rock guitars that scream and howl like Heathermockers. Some of the band's louder moments almost sound reminiscent of early Alice Cooper (check out the chorus of "Fish Song" or "Shut Up!"). For hellraising rock music, you won't do much better than this. Pilsner is one FAT piece of LEAN MEAT. (Rating: 5)

POCKET FISHRMEN - Simian Dreams (CD, Enhanced, Rock/pop)
One of my top favorite Austin bands ever returns with a mighty curious batch of new tunes. Pocket Fishrmen is a wild and totally over the edge band that sounds something like a cross between the Buzzcocks, The Bonzo Dog Band, The Sex Pistols, and The Dickies. On this release, the band concentrates their energies on merkins and promoting the idea of having sex with gorillas. The lyrics and music are a weird blur of craziness...but the bizarre lyrics are offset by a band that is actually quite tight and proficient. Fronted by Brant Bingamon (easily one of the sexiest goddamn fellows in music), the Pocket Fishrmen are one of the best...and funniest...buzzsaw rock bands EVER. My top picks this go 'round are "One Blowjob, One Handjob, One Vagina Job" and "Missy LeHand," the latter of which almost sounds like it could've been an outtake from Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album. This is a great band that is truly worthy of more recognition... (Rating: 5)

PROJECT DARK - Excited By Gramophones Volume 4 (CD, Sentrax/Invisible, Experimental/techno/electronic)
The confusingly titled Excited By Gramophones Volume 4 (confusing because it is the band's first full-length release) is an interesting collection of technological compositions driven by some very compelling rhythms. Sometimes relatively tame and at other times rather noisy and distorted, Project Dark is a band that is unafraid to take chances with their music. There are plenty of accidental sounds as well as unidentifiable audio clips that shoot from the speakers. This music was created for a very select audience...that being the truly adventurous electronic music fans who don't always require odd tidbits like melodies and structure in their music. Word is that the band puts on some rather intriguing live performances. This isn't for everyone, and doesn't try to be. (Rating: X)

PROGRESS (Overrated "never for the better" kind of thing)
All progress is bad. Everyone thinks that it is good, but it is not. Do we really NEED to know more than we already know? No. Do we need any more cures for things than we already have? No. Do we need to have computers than run faster than the ones we have now? No. And should there ever in a million years be a need to build more buildings than we already have? No. People are stupid. The stupidest ones are the ones that try to find new technologies...and new ways of doing things. Progress. What a pile of SHEEE-yuttt... (Rating: 1)

PUBLICIST (Good kind of get free things from type of people)
Some publicist good, some bad. Some call too often, only interest in trying for review. Many other however like nice friend what calls for offering free thing and not even caring whether to review or not. Good publicist easy to spot. Is publicist what main subject not always discuss latest band trying to push, but rather just stay in touch. Bad publicist is person what has main concern of only talking quickly about new artist and then having to go. Because publicist go both way, is impossible for one rating so give two instead. "1" is for bad publicist, "6" is for good.
[Thankings to Michelle Ferguson for review idea.] (Rating: 1) (Rating: 6)

Rx - Bedside Toxicology (CD, Invisible, Electronic/pop)
Rx, the long awaited collaboration between Martin Atkins and Ogre may surprise a lot of folks. It certainly isn't what I was expecting. Instead of harsh electronic noise, this disc is a collection of (mostly) electronic pop with a surprising acoustic slant. Supposedly, in this project both artists were attempting to create something unlike their previous work. They succeeded. The new formula works well in most cases. "Scarecrow" and "Crackhead Waltz" are surprisingly normal in their content and sound, while other tracks tend to go off the deep end just a bit. The only track I don't care for is "Downtown." Overall, this is a much more musical and accessible endeavor than anyone would have imagined works. (Rating: 4)

JERRY SEINFELD - I'm Telling You For The Last Time (CD, Univeral, Stand-up comedy)
People who reach the top of the heap usually stink. Whether you're talking about comedians, politicians, artists, singers, whatever...for some reason success makes people turn shitty (or they were really shitty in the first place). Occasionally the public at large embraces someone who actually has talent. Jerry Seinfeld is one such man. Making sitcoms once again seem valid in the nineties, Mr. Seinfeld's television show was a laugh riot. The scripts were well written, and the characters strong and vibrant. Amazingly, people went nuts over the show...making it one of the biggest hits in television history. It was almost like another I Love Lucy...except the characters were more similar to our present selves. One of the best things Mr. Seinfeld ever did was to quit while he was ahead. It was so much more dignified than watching Lucille Ball slowly whittle away over the decades...becoming less and less humorous with each passing season. Surprisingly, this is Jerry's FIRST comedy album ever. And it's good. Really good. Recorded live, Jerry has the audience in his hands from moment one. There's no appropriate rating here, because as good as any comedy album is I simply don't want to hear them more than once. This has some extremely funny stuff. Highly recommended for fans of standup comedy. (Not Rated)

SLOAN (Live Performance, September 25, 1998)
Canada's Sloan is setting a fine example for rock bands the world over. Instead of letting obstacles get in their way, the band remains steadfast in their mission to provide excellent quality pop music to the world. Whereas most bands would split up and give up after a couple of label deals that went nowhere, the guys in Sloan decided they'd take their situation into their own hands. In doing so, they produced and put out their best release yet (Navy Blues ) on their own newly formed Murderrecords label. Sloan is not a band for folks who are into the trendy or showy concert experience. The four band members focus exclusively on executing their songs to the best of their ability...and they trade off instruments frequently. This is one of those rare cases where each member of the band seems to be of equal importance in terms of their overall contribution to the band. What surprised me most about this show was the attendance. If this show wasn't sold out, it was damn near close. And you could tell that the folks in that crowd were very familiar with the tunes. For all those bands who say you can't make it on your own, check out Sloan. They may just revive your believe in the power of the mind. (Rating: 5)

SPOCK'S BEARD - The Kindness of Strangers (CD, Metal Blade, Progressive rock)
Interesting. Spock's Beard is playing a style of music that was extremely popular in the seventies...but is now almost completely dead. The band's music is an interesting blend of a variety of seventies progressive rock acts including Camel, Yes, and Utopia. What is most surprising is how well their recreation of this genre works. This can most likely be attributed to (1) good songs and (2) damn near astounding musicians. If you enjoyed oldies progressive rock bands but you played their records into the ground decades ago, Spock's Beard just may reignite your interest in this form of music. did it for me! These guys are GOOD. (Not Rated)

SUNDAY PUNCHER - For Your Everchanging World (CD, Turnbuckle, Rock/pop)
Sunday Puncher is an excellent up-and-coming band that has a jagged yet hypnotic sound. Although the band will probably be confused by the comparison, in many ways Sunday Puncher reminds me of Seely...except for the fact that they are much more abrasive and loud. Loud as they may play, this disc is not as harsh as the band's last release. In fact, this disc is much more moody and complex. It's to the band's credit that they're heading in the direction they're in. They aren't copying anyone else's style, they're getting better, and their sound is more focused. This is a confusing band creating music that's easy enough to listen to, yet they somehow tend to perplex the listener... (Rating: 5)

SYRUP (Live performance, September 11, 1998)
On yet another recent trip to Savannah, luck was with me. Scanning the newspaper for concerts, I was pleased as punch to find that Tallahassee's Syrup was playing at a small club called the Velvet Elvis. The band's latest self released CD kicks mighty ass...and live the band sounds even better. Syrup should appeal to fans of bands like Fu Manchu (a favorite on this little grassy hill). The guitars are loud and the drums and bass pound like a mother. The band adds a distinctive flair to their live show by doing hilarious choreographed dancing and foot movements...all the while playing their instruments without missing a beat. If there's a band around the Southeast with motivation and team spirit, Syrup are it. These guys are a balls to the wall total blast of unrestrained rock and roll fun. This band is worth paying to see. BEEEEEEEEG FUN. (Rating: 5)

AMON TOBIN - Permutation (CD, Ninja Tune, Instrumental)
Amon Tobin is a talented guy. I went totally nuts over his last full-length. It was an extremely heady and moody experience that bordered somewhere between trance and experimental electronics. Amon's follow up is a good listen. He continues to provide some very cool atmospheric sounds, but this time the tunes are mostly based around very busy percussive beats. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the fast percussion seems to detract from the overall mood of this disc. There's still some good stuff here...but this one didn't meet my admittedly overly high expectations... (Not Rated)

JEN WOOD - No More Wading (CD, Tree, Folk/pop)
I'm not sure why, but usually when a woman (or a man) picks up an acoustic guitar to play solo folk/pop, it usually spells S-H-I-T. The motivation is usually to express one's pathetic emotions in a corny way or to express political sentiments (vomit). Fortunately there are occasional lapses when an artist seeps through the cracks who doesn't take such a trite approach. Jen Wood is such an exception. Using nothing more than an acoustic guitar, Ms. Wood proves that the medium doesn't have to be annoying and dull. With a vocal style somewhat reminiscent of Julianna Hatfield, Jen shows an amazing maturity and depth in her songwriting style. This is particularly true in tunes like "Aching Heart," "Your Own Words," "One Fist To Fight," and "Imperfect." The lyrics are smart, the melodies intriguing. This is a disc that STICKS. Cool. (Rating: 4)


Alpha - Pepper (CD EP, Melankolic/Astralwerks)
Apathy - Songs For Dancing Dave (CD, Farco)
Ape Foot Groove - Hung Like a Monkey (CD, AFG)
- New Bedford (CD, Load)
Aware 6 - The Compilation (CD, Aware, Various artists)
Bad Boy
- Best of Bad Boy (CD, Surgeland, Rock)
Bare Jr. - Boo-Tay (Advance CD, MCA)
Beave Jerky (Zine, Issue #14)
Bio Ritmo - Rumba Baby Rumba! (Advance cassette, Mercury)
Bite - Take It Like A Man (CD, Cooldaddy Media)
(Zine, #5)
Lucinda Bright - With All Your Charms (CD, Face Down)
The Candyskins - Death of a Minor TV Celebrity (CD, Velvel, Pop)
The Circus - Transients Welcome (CD, Circus)
Clay Pigeons - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD, Universal, Various artists)
The Commercials - First Time For Everything... (CD, Rent A Pig)
The Concord Jazz Heritage Series - The Sampler (Double CD, Concord, Jazz)
Core 22 - Not Your Size (CD, sol3/Mutiny)
Dalek - Negro Necro Nekros (CD, Spokenwerds Music)
Dance Hall Crashers - Blue Blate Special (CD EP, MCA)
Darkest Hour - The Prophecy, Fulfilled (CD, AMC)
Deep Thoughts - by Nitro (CD, Nitro, Various artists)
Deniz Tek - Equinox (CD, Citadel)
Devics - If You Forget Me... (CD, Splinter)
Dial-7 - Never Enough Time (CD, Warner Bros.)
Digital Underground - Who Got The Gravy? (CD, Jake, Various artists)
Dropdead - Pleasurehorse (12" vinyl single, Load)
Drown - Product of a Two Faced World (CD, Slipdisc)
88 Fingers Louie - Back On The Streets (CD, Hopeless, Rock)
The Easton - Special 20 (CD, Heathen)
Alec Empire - The Destroyer (CD, DHR)
EQ (Magazine, September 1998)
Exotic Magazine (Magazine, August 1998)
Fiendz - Cole (CD, Black Pumpkin)
Fifty Tons of Black Terror - Fifty Tons of Black Terror (Advance cassette, Beggars Banquet)
Filet of Soul - Incommunicado (CD, Shank)
Firewater - The Ponzi Scheme (CD, Universal)
Flick - "The End" b/w "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" (7" vinyl single, Columbia)
Foetus - Corruptus Rife (CD, Invisible)
Fortune & Maltese and the Phabulous Pallbearers (CD, Get Hip Recordings)
Four Eyes - Four Eyes (CD, Hairy)
Franklin - "Personal Emergencies" b/w "Major Taylor" (7" vinyl single, Tree)
Fun Size - Glad To See You're Not Dead (CD, Fueld By Ramen)
Rob Gee - Heroes of Hardcore (CD, Red Ant)
Gig Magazine (Magazine, September 1998)
Great Big Sea - Rant and Roar (CD, Sire)
Great Oldtime Moviestars - ...And They Had Cannon (CD, No Food)
Gush - Ambition (CD, Indigo)
Scott Hamilton and Bucky Pizzarelli - The Red Door (CD, Concord, Jazz)
The Hanging Mums - Angels in Black and White (CD, Eye Suppose)
The Huntington Cads - Introduce the New Sound (CD, Mai Tai)
Iridesense - Cool Dream Tomorrow (Independent CD)
Jejune - This Afternoon's Malady (CD, Big Wheel Recreation)
Jumprope - Bookshelf Adventures (CD, Reverse Curve, Pop)
The Kaisers - Squarehead Stomp! (CD, Get Hip Recordings)
Kent - Isola (CD, BMG)
Keyboard (Magazine, October 1998)
Michael Khouri - Two Places At Once (CD, MBA)
King Crimson - Absent Lovers (Double CD, Discipline Global Music)
The Kiss Offs - Goodbye Private Life (Advance cassette, Peek-A-Boo)
Knowledge - A Gift Before I Go (CD, Asian Man)
The Lapse - Betrayal (CD, Gern Blandsten)
Libido - Lying Through Her Teeth (CD, Fire)
Lucid Moon (Magazine, Issue 25)
mig - Tongues (CD, Urlinie)
Mike Mertz & the Can O' Worms - Buzzkill Nation (CD, Archangel Media Empire)
Mike Min - Popollution (CD, CoverBear)
Moonchild 98 (CD, Moonchild, Various artists)
Moths - Moths (CD, Wagon Train/MMG)
Motley Crue - Greatest Hits (CD, BMG)
My Choice! (Zine, Number 2)
My So-Called Band - My So-Called Band (CD, Yesha)
The Neanderthals - The Latest Menace To The Human Race! (CD, Get Hip Recordings)
Nine Lives - Reignition (CD, Mendit)
Pigface - Below the Belt (CD, Invisible)
Popsmear (Magazine, #17)
Pro Sound News (Magazine, September 1998)
Protooner (Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 9)
Recorder - "Illusion of a Preconceived Confusional Wall" b/w "Set Apart" (7" vinyl single, 2 Piece)
Red River - The Crossing (Independent CD)
Rialto - Rialto (CD, Sire)
Scott 4 - Recorded in State LP (CD, V2)
Sheep On Drugs - Two For the Show (CD, Invisible)
Slander (Zine, Summer edition #1)
The Slant - Try This (Independent CD)
Spooneye (Zine)
Spring-Heeled Jack - Songs From Suburbia (CD, Ignition)
Steel Miners - Ballin' (CD, Get HIP)
Stradlatter - Mariposa (Independent CD EP)
Sturgeon General - Stout (CD, Radical Records)
Supermodel - "Unbelievable Jolly Machine" b/w "Dad's Buddies," "Ode" (7" vinyl single, Sterling)
The Teacups - This Will Come Back To Haunt You (CD, Kindercore, Pop)
Terabithia - Yes, I Am Talking To You (CD, 76.2%)
Thirty Four Satellite - Stars (CD, Hideaway)
Thunderdrome - Arcade America (CD, Red Ant)
Tinsel - I Wish The Talkies Never Would've Come Around (CD, Keyhole)
Token Entry - From Beneath the Streets (CD, Go-Kart)
Trinket - Trinket (Advance cassette, RCA)
Underdog - The Vanishing Point (CD, Go-Kart)
Vanilla Ice - Hard To Swallow (Advance cassette, Republic)
Watts - Flash! (CD, Luminosity Music Group)
Steve Wilson - Generations (CD, Concord, Jazz)
You've Got the Fucking Power (CD, Digital Hardcore Recordings, Various artists)
Sean Paul Zitello - Subrealto Protoplasto (CD, eiei/o media)

©1998 LMNOP

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