The Abe Lincoln Story | Abortion Discussers | Abstrakt Workshop | Analogue | Animals That Swim | Artcore 2 | Bad Religion | Bel Canto | Bile | Blanks 77 | The Blueberries | The Blue Eskimos | Tracy Bonham | Boyracer | Bum | Butterflies | C17H19N03 | Cannibal Corpse | Cardinal Woolsey | Casper Fandango & the Knees | Cast | Catherine Wheel | The Chainsaw Kittens | Chimera | China Drum | Clannad | Clarissa | Ken Clinger | Core | Jayne County | Coyote Shivers | Crankcase | The Daisygrinders | Dakoda Motor Co. | Death Ride 69 | Decoryah | Disappear Fear | Doctahri | Ryan Downe | Download | drivin 'n cryin | Edgar Schwartz | El Nino | Ether Bunny | Everlounge | Cesaria Evora | Fastball | Feyeraband | Finn Brothers | Fragile | French | Frente | Fu Manchu | Fun w/ Atoms | Gipsy Kings | Glass Candle Grenade | Global Basics | Godplow | The Gravel Pit | Gren | The Gufs | Gumdrops | Hampton Grease Band | The Handsome Family | A Robbie Hardkiss Mix | Havalina Rail Co. | Fred Hersch | Hayden | Dylan Hicks | His Name Is Alive | Robin Holcomb | Holy Barbarians | hugh | Charlie Hunter Quartet | Hurl | The Husbians | Husikesque | Idaho | Imperial Drag | Ivy | The Jesus Lizard | Joy Electric | Judge Nothing | Killing Joke | Bobby Kimball | King's X | Kiss | Land of the Loops | Bill Laswell | Lifter | Loomis | Loop Guru | Lotion | Love In Reverse | Love Nut | Lustre | Madball | Mad Daddys | The McRackins | The Meanies | Meat Beat Manifesto | Mill Valley Taters | Mineral | The Miss Alans | Modest Mouse | Monkey Feces | Mouth | Muzzle | My Head | NCRail | Nada Surf | The Nields | No Knife | Ocean Colour Scene | Orbital | Outrageous Cherry | Pain | Paleface | Peach of Immortality | Perfume Tree | Pitch Shifter | Planet Dub | Poundcake | Prescott Curlywolf | Primitive Radio Gods | Psyclone Rangers | James Ray | Real Punk | Reservoir | Rocket Fuel is the Key | 7 Year Bitch | The Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies | Shat | Shoegazer | The Sight-Seers | Skold | Skrew | Sleeper | Slobberbone | Patti Smith | Snuff | Epic Soundtracks | Robin Spielberg | Sponge | Spot | Russ Stedman | Stop | Suckerpunch | Super Deluxe | Super Junky Monkey | Survival of the Fattest | Dan Susnara | Svelt | Swirlies | T.H.C. | Telegraph | Thermadore | Johnny Thunders | Tinker | Titanic Love Affair | Townshend | Toy | Trip 66 | Triple Fast Action | Nik Turner | Type O Negative | Urusei Yatsura | Velour100 | The Verve Pipe | Weston | Yum Yum |
= VERY GOOD
THE ABE LINCOLN STORY - We're Havin' a Dance Party with the Abe Lincoln Story! (CD, Flipside, Pop/big band)
Absolutely INFECTIOUS music. Now HERE'S a band that sings about things the common man can identify with: obnoxious phone gimmicks ("I Don't Understand [*69]"), hand signals ("Rock Scissors, Paper!"), day-to-day life ("Get High & Go To Work"), and more. Not only do the song topics go down easy, the music is a bunch of crazy FUN. The Abe Lincoln Story play upbeat pop music that's infected with cool horns from an era gone by. Steve Moramarco has a husky, raspy voice that just pushes things right over the edge. Revival bands like the Squirrel Nut Zippers are coming from a completely different side of the universe than these guys. This is more like soul/street boy pop that has real heart and soul. I sure hope I get to catch this group live, because they sound like they might just be one of the best out there. A total feelgood experience, the Abe Lincoln story gets my vote HANDS DOWN.
ABORTION DISCUSSERS - Make Language Illegal (CD, Lawless, Spoken word)
Of course, as we all know by now, all "spoken word" releases suck SHIT. That is particularly true with the latest release from the Abortion Discussers, whose new CD is a direct response to recent federal legislation making discussion of abortion illegal on the Internet. In the end, my reaction to this is...who cares? Who cares about abortion? Who cares about government? Who cares about AIDS? Who cares about...ANYTHING? This ain't clever. It's a goddamn piece of shit.
ABSTRAKT WORKSHOP 2 - A Collection of Trip Hop and Jazz (CD, Shadow, Trop hop/jazz)
Low-key, trippy, and subtle. Twelve tracks, featuring artists like Jazz Con Bazz, Slop Shop, Rollercone, Sharpshooters, 8 From the Egg, Chugg and more. Good background music or stuff to put on for a sexy dinner by candlelight. As an added bonus (and I think this also comes with the commercially available version), there's another full-length disc of music called "Trip Hop for Jazz Junkies" with a whole slew MORE of great stuff. Much of this music is light and airy, I admit, but in my life there's always a place for that. Smooth and easy does it.
ANALOGUE - AAD (CD, Sonic Bubblegum, Pop/rock?)
Rare is the case when a disc comes in that confuses me. Analogue is the first band that the infamous Sonic Bubblegum label has signed over the Internet, and an odd band it is. The music is as confusing as the CD insert (none of the songs have titles...the lengths of the tunes serve as song titles). Actually, these "songs" are more like soundscapes...different moods and musical ideas appear with each track. Probably the biggest compliment I can give this band is that it doesn't remind me of any others in particular. Most of these tracks certainly defy any sort of commercial appeal at all. Still, the music manages to draw me in and and keep me entertained throughout. This is much more creative and unusual than most of the stuff I've heard lately. Experimental, yes...but in this case that's a very GOOD thing. I love this.
ANIMALS THAT SWIM - Workshy (CD, Big Pop, Pop)
Smooth, clean, well-produced British pop music. This band began in London about five years ago, and they've apparently had quite a bit of success with their music. Listening to this, it almost makes me think that this is what the Television Personalities might sound like if they weren't so quirky and obscure. Not exactly mindblowing, this disc is still quite enjoyable and pleasant. "Sway With Me," is probably my favorite tune here...
ARTCORE 2 - The Art of Drum & Bass (CD, React, Techno/trance)
I'm actually reviewing the British import release of this CD which is also being released domestically (the first Artcore CD was only released overseas). This is an interesting compilation of bands who share the same interest in laying down thumpy, energized rhythm tracks and then overlaying some very dreamy electronic soundscapes over the top. It basically gives you the feeling that you're taking speed and downers at the same time...not a bad feeling at all. This cool disc features twelve tracks from bands like Adam F, Foul Play, Cool Breeze, Optical, J Majik, Eugenix, and many more. Very nice production on these tracks. I suspect this will go over big in the more progressive dance clubs...
BAD RELIGION - The Gray Race (CD, Atlantic, Rock/pop)
More great music from the band that spawned a thousand bands. Honestly, it seems like each month I hear more and more Bad Religion clones. Lucky for the "real thing," they're getting better with age. Several of the tunes on this CD are almost played at a normal (i.e., slower) pace, and this is part of why this may just be my favorite Bad Religion release yet. When the band slows down, it's much easier to tell what's going on. Also, sometimes the lightning speed is unnecessary when you've got such good songs. Oh don't worry...there are still TONS of hyperactive tunes here, but the band throws a few curves in this time and they work. The cover and sleeve art is, as always, spectacular. If you've liked 'em in the past, you'll love this. If you've never heard 'em before, this is as good a place to start as any...
BEL CANTO - Magic Box (CD, Atlantic, Pop)
Bel Canto is the duo of Nils Johansen and Anneli M. Drecker. Nils writes, arranges, and plays all the music. Anneli sings. Both are from Norway. The music on this CD is extremely well-produced and slick. That usually bothers me. With this sort of music it doesn't though. Nils' writes some damn fine music. Anneli sings like an angel. My friends will probably hate me for playing this. That's okay. I hate them anyway.
BILE - Tekno Whore (CD, Energy, Industrial)
Me like BILE. Bile is band what play hard, noisy electronic sound. Very much like first CD, but second CD even better. You think Marilyn Manson hard and offensive? Think again. Bile seeming to not care about any commercial appeal. Only seem to want making UGLY music. Chaos and confusion caused for many by CD likely, but those able to listen get BIG SEXY SPURT from band (key/bassist R. H. Bear very hairy rear end). Even though make ugly, hard noise, band have BIG sense of humor. Check out song title like "No One I Call Friend," "Interstate Hate Song," and "Green Day." Will want to see band again in concert, get big, explosive hard on. Bile KILLER live. MUST SEE band. I happy to recommend Bile. Bile GOOD thing.
BLANKS 77 - Killer Blanks (Advance CD, Radical, Punk rock)
Let's do the time warp...again??? New Jersey punksters Blanks 77 certainly sound like they're heavily influenced by punk bands from 1977. Is this a BAD thing? No. This is NOT a bad thing. This is a GOOD thing. 1977 was a year when punk was GOOD. Many of the punk bands of the 90s are NOT good. They are BAD. So WHO CARES if this band is a throwback to an earlier decade? Not US. We just like GOOD things. This CD is good thing. Blanks 77 will be doing a major tour of the U.S. from June through August 1996. Catch 'em if you can. From the sounds of this advance CD, these guys are HOT.
THE BLUEBERRIES - Museum (CD, Spray, Pop/rock)
Very nice, clean, country-tinged pop from Lexington, Kentucky's The Blueberries. There's a lot to like about this CD. These three guys come up with some really cool vocal harmonies, and the production and arrangements on these tunes are superior. Pleasant stuff to play on a spring day that you may find yourself tapping your foot to. At first the somewhat country-ish tone of some of the tunes was distracting, but the more I listen the more I like that aspect of the music. "Mrs. Shame," "Rain," and "Rape" are my faves here. "Rape" has a nice, long section at the end which is just the sound of nature happening. Ahhh...beautiful. These guys have just the right sensibility about what they're doing...
THE BLUE ESKIMOS - Johnny Guitar E.P. (CD EP, American Standard Recordings, Rock)
This is the debut CD from San Jose, California's Blue Eskimos. Nice lo-fi recording quality on this one. The band plays instrumentals and skewed rock tunes, utilizing a very simple approach and even more limited instrumentation. You get nine tunes here...not bad for an EP, eh? I think what I like best about these here Eskimos is their guitar playing, which ranges from spacey to surf-like (reminds me of Television at times). A very solid debut. I'll be interested to see what these guys come up with for a full-length...
TRACY BONHAM - The Burdens of Being Upright (CD, Island, Rock)
Every so often a piece of music arrives in this office that really grabs my attention. Tracy Bonham's first full-length release for Island is certainly one of those discs. In fact, listening to this I can hardly believe that this is a debut! Ms. Bonham sounds like a well-seasoned songwriter, and she has a voice that'll blow your bananas off. Not only that, her songs cross over several different styles of music...and there's not a bad tune on the disc. In all honesty, all these tunes kick but the ones that I find of particular interest are "Mother Mother," "Navy Bean," "The One," and "The Real." Tracy Bonham is anything but a flash in the pan. This is one person who has the potential to either be a megastar or an incredible artistic success. Let's hope she chooses the latter. At this point, she has won me over completely.
BOYRACER - In Full Colour (CD, Zero Hour, Rock/pop)
Go ZERO HOUR! One of the things I like most about this label is that they have the BALLS to release stuff that bands record in their home studios, seemingly being more concerned with the actual feel of the songs than sound quality. This once again pays off for this adventurous label, scoring BIG TIME with Boyracer. Smooth, simple pop/rock music that is anything but affected and self-centered. This band comes across sounding very genuine and sincere on this 20 song (!!!) CD that spans a wide range of thoughts, ideas, and styles. Sometimes experimental and sometimes direct and simple, this band is completely COOL. Too many good tunes to mention. Just pick this one up and check it out. It's worth your while.
BUM - Can You Spare a Quarter? (CD, Streetlife, Folk)
In case you haven't already heard about this "success story," Streetlife took a portable DAT into downtown Chicago and recorded a retarded bum singing songs. The result? A stinky, slimey no-talent bum...coming off sounding like a stinky, slimey, no-talent bum. This SUCKS.
BUTTERFLIES - Bored Room (CD, Ng, Rock)
Atlanta's Butterflies are anything BUT a "formula band"! Breaking all the rules of songwriting, this band's obtuse, unusual approach to music is inviting and uplifting. Sometimes they play soft like a kitten, and at other times the band almost becomes a blur of chaos. It's this shifting of volume and tempo that reminds me very much of California's Timco, another band that is difficult to categorize. The Butterflies are Susan Holbrook (drums, vocals), Bryan Ciliberto (guitar, bass, vocals), and Bryan Terry (guitar, bass, vocals). Now before you go gettin' all upset thinking that girl drummers are all wimpy, you better hold yer goddamn horses...because Susan crashes and bashes with more hairy ballpower than most of the dumbfuck male drummers out there. This is a hazy, weird collection of tunes that just goes all over the place. Recommended!
C17H19N03 - Terra Damnata (CD, Fifth Colvmn, Electronic)
Just when you thought band names couldn't get any weirder... Seemingly oblivious to any sort of commercial appeal whatsoever, this unusual band catches my attention in a big way. Why? Well, there's not much here to grasp onto...and I like that. Electronic soundscapes that meander, wander, and drift by in a most peculiar manner... Vocals that sound like they're coming from inside the mind... A complete disregard for radio airplay... These are the reasons I like this very unusual CD. Ten tracks. Check out "Penetration" (this is beautiful) or "The Lords of Bone and Machinery." It's not pretty music, but then it's not meant to be. This is anything BUT easy listening...
CANNIBAL CORPSE - Vile (CD, Metal Blade, Death metal)
See the pretty drawing on the cover of the CD. See the nice man who's had his torso split open. See the maggots flowing from his severed torso. See his penis laying amidst the maggots. Vile. Appropriate title for this CD. This music mirrors a harsh, ugly world. These songs are played at a blinding speed. The vocals sound like they're coming straight from hell. Kind of like Morbid Angel, but meaner. You can't get much harder or heavier than this. The song titles say it all: "Devoured by Vermin," "Disfigured," "Puncture Wound Massacre," "Orgasm Through Torture." Highly recommended for children under age 3.
CARDINAL WOOLSEY - Paralyzed With Happiness (CD, Puddle, Rock/pop)
I jumped on this as soon as it hit my mailbox, so I hope I'm the first reviewer to turn you onto this CD. I had already heard a single from Cardinal Woolsey that really impressed me...but this, their first full-length release, is a real mindblower. The band plays pure pop, and they write some GREAT tunes. Actually, what pushes me over the edge with this band are the vocals. Way, way, WAY above average lead vocals...and the harmonies are heavenly. Add to that the fact that this quartet comes up with some breathtaking arrangements...and you've got a CD that will stand up to many, many repeated listenings. This is certainly a case where a band has managed to bridge the gap between accessibility and artistic integrity. Thirteen songs that'll stick to you like glue...and they all kick ass. My initial faves are "Heavenly World," "Colors," "Hey Tell Me," "I Get A Rush," and "Something Right." This is one of the best things I've heard this year for certain. These songs give me chills. GET THIS.
CASPER FANDANGO & THE KNEES - Consumer LP (Independent cassette, Lookit Meee, Pop)
This must be the year for all good drummers to step out from behind their drum kits and take on solo careers. This is a collection of one-man home recordings by Jason NeSmith, drummer for Orange Hat (yeah!) and Feyerabend. I got loads of cassettes in the mail from home tapers, and to be honest...most of them SUCK. I suppose that's why this cassette is such a breath of fresh air. Though only recording with four tracks, Jason squeezes the most out of his machines and comes up with a very impressive (and widely varied) collection of tunes. Sometimes poppy and at other times wildly experimental, this tape is a BLAST. You won't find it in stores, so if you're interested write to Jason at 1226 Stoneybrook Dr., SE, Atlanta, GA 30316.
CAST - All Change (Advance CD, A & M, Pop)
This is John Power's new band, the ex-bass player for the band the La's (whose best known song was the incredibly uplifting "There She Goes"). After the La's split up in 1991, John took three years off to concentrate on songwriting. Now he's back with this pure pop British quartet. John's got quick the knack for writing catchy melodies, as evidenced on this band's debut CD...and his vocals are exceptional. Of course this stuff is only going to appeal to pop fans, because much of this is very happy and sing-songish. These songs are highly polished and well-produced, yet they still retain the human element so crucial to good pop music. This is pretty damned good for a debut CD, and it makes me feel like this band is going to really go somewhere...
CATHERINE WHEEL - Like Cats and Dogs (Advance cassette, Mercury, Rock/pop)
Catherine Wheel is a band that takes some getting used to. I've heard several releases from this band. While I find myself enjoying some of the band's songs, there's a part of me that's turned off by what comes across as a conscious attempt to appeal to a specific audience. Maybe it's just my imagination. Hell, what do I know? Not much, to tell you the truth. But after listening to this cassette, I'm much more pro-Catherine Wheel than I was before. Is the music better this time, or am I just in a better frame of mind while I'm listening to this? I don't know. I don't know SHIT. Make up your own mind, Bub!
THE CHAINSAW KITTENS - Candy For You (CD EP, Scratchie, Rock)
It is very easy for me to gush about the Chainsaw Kittens. Everything I have heard from this incredibly enjoyable Oklahoma band has been top notch and incredible. Tyson Meade is an incredible singer and performer, and the rest of the band is tight and energetic. But the thing that sets this band apart from the rest are the songs. Though this is only an EP, in four songs the Kittens display more passion and urgency than 99% of the bands out there today. The tunes on this EP are "Grandaddy's Candy," "Bones In My Teeth," "Strange" (a cover of the Galaxie 500 tune), and "Bury My Heart." The Chainsaw Kittens totally ROCK!!!
CHIMERA - Earth Loop (Advance cassette, Grass, Pop)
This group hails from Belfast, and their identifying trademarks seem to be chiming guitars (thus the name?), cerebral vocals, and soaring, dreamy melodies. At times reminiscent of the Cocteau Twins (but more accessible), this band has some absolutely remarkable tunes: "Liquid Star," "Catch Me," "All I Need," "Let Met Be Around," "Lost In Space." Though this may sound too "pretty" for a lot of underground music snobs, they'll be the ones missing out. This is a very talented band with a lot to offer. Like sitting beside a lake on a beautiful Spring day, this is a nice breath of fresh air.
CHINA DRUM - Goosefair (CD, 510, Rock)
England's China Drum have a really dense, really hard rocking sound full of energy. Apparently these guys are getting pretty hip lately, touring with bands like Green Day (ho hum) and Supergrass (yeah!). This falls in that same old Bad Religion category (Has anyone noticed how many bands Bad Religion has influenced lately? Jesus!), but these fellows pull off their thing well on their debut for 510 Records. Solid rhythms, good melodies... I really like what these guys are doing. That high polish may scare away the punks, but those guitars might just draw 'em back in...
CLANNAD - Lore (CD, Atlantic, World)
BIG SOUND. Gothic, heavenly, super-polished... Ireland's Clannad win hands down for the best orchestrated vocals around. This is the group's first CD since their highly-acclaimed 1993 release. Kind of like Abba, Steeleye Span, or even Robbie Robertson, this band obviously has so much experience and knowledge in the studio that they leave other folks in their dusty trails. This disc has lots and lots of high points. Maire Brennan's vocals are, of course, breathtaking. This is the kind of music that will hopefully cross over many barriers. Hell, this ain't the kinda shit I normally listen to...but that's EXACTLY why I like it. Everybody needs a change every once in a while, right? RIGHT. Most of this is fucking incredible.
CLARISSA - Silver (CD, Mammoth, Pop/rock)
This is produced by Don Gehman (who has also produced Hootie & the Blowfish, R.E.M., and John Mellencamp). Not a good foot to start out on (yukky doodle!), but after listening to this band I ended up liking them anyway. Rocking with a soft edge, Clarissa produce some very likable stuff on this disc. Sure, it's all very well-produced, layered music that sounds like money played a big part in making it, but it still comes off sounding okay. Hell, the guy's got a really good voice for this sort of thing and those chimey guitars are pretty damned cool. I bet radio stations are gonna EAT this up...
KEN CLINGER - KC.45/46 (Cassette, Bovine Productions, Eerie pop)
Ken Clinger is somewhat of a legend in the world of underground home tapers. I've heard various things he's done with other folks, but this is the first time I've heard Ken's solo material. Wow. Now I know what all the fuss is about. Curious about the title of the cassette? Well, this is Ken's 45th and 46th (!?!) projects in this series. Possessed to create? You betcha! I think we've got yet ANOTHER R. Stevie Moore on our hands. The music? Odd, atmospheric pop that doesn't sound unlike early Gary Numan, except not nearly as accessible. Ken really excels in his arrangements, and his vocals are downright spooky. Mr. Clinger prefers to trade tapes with other folks as opposed to selling his music. Contact him at Bovine Productions, 311 Stratford Ave., #2, Pittsburgh, PA 15232-1108 (or e-mail him at email@example.com...also see his web page in our links section). This is mind blowing stuff for sure...
CORE - Revival (CD, Atlantic, Rock)
This is certainly an appropriately-titled CD. Hailing from the Jersey Shore, Core lists band influences like Led Zeppelin, Cream, Iron Butterfly, and Black Sabbath. Their music certainly has many of the elements of these dinosaur bands of the past. Big, overdriven guitars pulsate over thundering bass and drums to create the illusion that the seventies never really ended. Spaced-out, echo-drenched vocals complete the picture. That the band writes very simple tunes (often with only one or two riffs) plays very much in their favor. Thundering, pothead rock for the new generation of drugged-out misfits.
JAYNE COUNTY - Deviation (CD, Royalty, Rock)
With all the fuss over Pansy Division, one would think that there's never been an in-your-face homosexual rock band before. Jayne County is certainly one of the original fags to dress and play the way he does, and he's still at it after all these years. Well, actually it's SHE, since she's a transexual now (thus the name change from Wayne to Jayne). I remember seeing this guy's mug ALL OVER the pages of New York rock magazines in the seventies...and his (that was then) photos always made a big impression on me. Though I've always admired her, Jayne's music never did much for me in the past. This new one I really like, though. It's punchy, somewhat punkish rock music and Jayne's vocals sound better than ever. Hey, anyone who can cover "Cherry Bomb" and make it work deserves major points. Who said old ladies can't rock? Jayne County rocks like a goddamn motherfucker!
COYOTE SHIVERS - Coyote Shivers (CD, Mutiny, Rock)
This three-piece rock band (fronted by Coyote Shivers himself) has a really big, dense, hard sound. This CD has plenty of intelligent songs played with guts and vigor. I like the masculine sound of Shivers' voice. He whipers, he screams, he growls...and he somehow manages to sound believable no matter WHAT sound he's making with his voice. From the sound of this disc, I'd bet this band is a BLAST live. With ultra-hip tunes like "The Truth," "Happiness is a Warm Bong" (GREAT song title), and "She Drove Me To Drink and Drive," this trio is on their way straight up. Oh yeah...this guy had his nipples cut off and had them replaced with star shapes made from the skin of a goat. Now is that alternative...or WHAT???
CRANKCASE - Scrap EP (CD EP, Static, Rock)
I've been impressed by this Philadelphia quartet before, and they've done it again. Though only an E.P. this time (six tunes), these guys again offer up some mighty tasty rock tunes. My favorite this time around is the six minute "My Left Foot," which is musically quite complex and obtuse. On other tunes, the band is more accessible and rocky. Interestingly, outside the band these guys' occupations are audio/video technician, civil engineer, printer, and biologist (!). Just goes to show that some professionals DO know how to rock...
THE DAISYGRINDERS - Yo-Yo EP (CD EP, Half A Cow (import), Rock)
Punchy, somewhat noisy rock music. This EP features four tunes: "Yo-Yo," "Dodgy," "Hey Sally," and "Girf." "Yo-Yo" is my favorite with its cool intertwined guitars, but "Hey Sally" is also pretty damn neat...sounding something like the Young Fresh Fellows.
DAKODA MOTOR CO. - Railroad (CD, Atlantic, Rock)
You know...I normally HATE bands with combined male and female vocals. The sound of the two usually GRATES on my nerves. Dakoda Motor Co. is a band with combined male and female vocals. In this case, the merging of the two sounds GREAT. This could possible be because the female vocalist (Melissa Brewer) has a real SNOTTY voice which sounds super COOL. This band is led by Peter King (he's the host of MTV's Sandblast as well as a world-class surfer, having appeared on the cover of Surfer magazine four times). Because I HATE MTV, I figured this band would be PRETENTIOUS and HORRIBLE. But they're NOT. They're COOL and they ROCK LIKE HELL. In fact, this band is an incredible batch of fun. They beat the PANTS off most other rock bands out there. Honest. Jesus. Worth checking out...
DEATH RIDE 69 - Screaming Down the Gravity Well EP (CD EP, Fifth Colvmn, Industrial/techno)
Upon listening to this for the first time, I kept thinking that something was wrong. Then it finally hit me. A GIRL singing in an industrial band? Normally industrial bands have male vocalists. I'm not sure why, but that certainly seems to be the case. The female vocalist in this case is Beat Mistress, the drummer/percussionist from My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. Ms. Mistress certainly has the pipes for this kind of music, and I definitely like the title track best. Big production, urgent alienation. Pretty damn cool.
DECORYAH - Fall-Dark Waters (CD, Metal Blade, Progressive rock)
What? A Metal Blade release that is NOT heavy metal??? Hey, more power to the record label that dares to release different styles of music. This band harkens back to the days of seventies progressive rock with elaborate arrangements and intricate musical passages. The band hails from Finland. Maybe that's why their sound is different from most of the stuff I hear lately. Sort of like baroque music for the nineties, this wall of sound is a nice change from what's currently out there...
DISAPPEAR FEAR - Seed in the Sahara (CD, Rounder, Folky lesbian pop)
Whenever any band labels itself as a "lesbian" or "gay" band, I just want to push it back in the closet and lock the door. This is definitely the case with Disappear Fear. No, the music isn't that bad...but the fact that these folks present themselves as an "openly gay band" is one big turn off. The lyrics on this CD are particularly STUPID.
DOCTAHRI - Einstein Was a Bullfighter (CD, Cash Only, Experimental/funk/electronic)
The new Cash Only label starts off with a mighty KICK. Featuring Bret Helm, formerly of P.I.L. and Jennifer Batten, guitarist for Michael Jackson's tours, this band is loud, smart, and heavy. This is a good example of an expensive studio used the right way. Yes, there are tons of effects on this CD...and there are LOTS of musical balls showing their hairy selves. But it's the sheer excitement that comes through in the end, making this batch of tunes both fun as well as challenging to listen to. Even the song titles are entertaining: "Life's Little Questionnaires," "Brain Dead Endorsee," "Coffee Saved My Marriage." This is certainly worth checking out, and it blows most modern industrial bands off the face of the earth. Honest.
RYAN DOWNE - The Hypocrite (CD, Rocket/Island, Pop/rock)
Bad midget rock.
DOWNLOAD - The Eyes of Stanley Pain (CD, Nettwerk, Electronic/industrial)
Just how far can one go in mutating and distorting the human voice? That seems to be the quest for industrial experimentalists Download. Combining industrial rhythms and trance-like electronics, cEvin Key and Mark Spybey throw human voices into the mix...coming up with some of the STRANGEST sounds I've ever heard people make. The industrial/electronic medium can often become trite and annoying because the folks *, *, .. *, *, FINDER DAT" *, +, P å- 9 7 . h côt m l ˙˙˙˙ ˙˙˙˙åR e v i e ôw s - A p r i l åEVIEW~1HTM Ōx" mqP( ĮÍ åESOURCEFRK *, *, åt - 9 7 . h t m l ˙˙ ˙˙˙˙åR e v i e Cw s - A u g u s åEVIEW~2HTM ēYō" tqP( s åb e r - 9 ĩ7 . h t m l ˙˙åR e v i e Hĩw s - D e c e m åEVIEW~3HTM ķĢd# |qP( hų å7 . h t m Ul ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ ˙˙˙˙åR e v i e HUw s - F e b - 9 åEVIEW~4HTM Č;" qP( áĶ å7 . h t m dul ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ ˙˙˙˙åR e v i e uw s - J a n - 9 åEVIEW~5HTM f! qP( Lč å9 7 . h t m l ˙˙˙˙˙˙ ˙˙˙˙åR e v i e Uw s - J u l y - åEVIEW~6HTM .pŅ" ŖqP( ŗŧ å9 7 . h t g5m l ˙˙˙˙˙˙ ˙˙˙˙åR e v i e o5w s - J u n e - åEVIEW~7HTM Uaš" ŽqP( ŧņ å- 9 7 . h eÕt m l ˙˙˙˙ ˙˙˙˙åR e v i e EÕw s - M a r c h åEVIEW~8HTM ėX" ēqP( ˙ å7 . h t m lõl ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ ˙˙˙˙åR e v i e aõw s - M a y - 9 åEVIEW~9HTM Ē" ÅqP( xÔ åb e r - 9 dŠ7 . h t m l ˙˙åR e v i e aŠw s - N o v e m åEVIE~10HTM " ËqP( %Ę åe r - 9 7 dÉ. h t m l ˙˙˙˙åR e v i e lÉw s - O c t o b åEVIE~11HTM " ŅqP( ēÍ åm b e r - ki9 7 . h t m l åR e v i e eiw s - S e p t e åEVIE~12HTM up# ×qP( ķ I hope they retain their soft s de, because the stuff that Chri played with his acoustic guita was probably the best. Chris w ites really smooth pop tunes, a d he has a voice that's even sm other. The young lady who sang nd played violin added just thezing. The tunes kick...the production is crisp and clear...and the vocal harmonies are astounding. Sort of like a cross between the Beach Boys and Frank Zappa (alright...so I DID get that from the press release...), this is an odd little band with more tons more talent and creativity than most bands with big recording contracts. From the bluesy "Uncle Blues" to the eerie "Monster Magik Show" to the haunting strains of "Carnival Connie," this CD never fails to amaze me. Of course, at this point I can certainly say that virtually ANYTHING on the Optional Art label is worth your while. Produced by the one and only Rich Arithmetic. Highly recommended!
EL NINO - El Nino (CD, Flat Earth, Rock/pop)
Another home run for the fine folks at Flat Earth. Over the last couple of years this obscure little label has been putting out some of the finest unknown pop stuff I've heard. Indiana must be LOADED with unknown pop talent, as evidenced by the totally inviting El Nino. On their self-titled debut, this quartet delves into pure pop, dreamy pop/rock, and psychedelia with ease and style. And some of the songs here are nothing short of KILLER. Want proof? Check out "Still the Same" or even better yet, "Fly." Exceptional vocals, spaced-out guitars, and way above average melodies are but a few of this group's strengths. If you can't find this in stores, e-mail the label at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mighty fine stuff INDEED.
ETHER BUNNY - Papa Woody (CD, Fifth Colvmn, Dub/Jazz)
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, FUN! Twenty absolute gems with song titles like "Chauncey Gardener," "Tar Baby," "Tinkerbell Tramp," "Mr. Poopypants," and "Bunny Jump." The music? Well, the rhythm tracks sound very much like dub or even acid jazz. But the music that's layered over the top is WILD. Horns straight out of Louisiana (or even orchestral pieces) oodle and noodle all over the place in a crazy haze of jazz hysteria, creating some of the most fun instrumental Reviews-April-97.html&Ā