About E-mails | The babysue® Store | General Info | LMNOP® | Quotes | Official T-Shirts | Review Policies
October 2003 Fussy L'il Reviews by

 Big Collapse
Robert Bradley and Blackwater Surprise

The Collisions
Comment Piece
Kris Delmhorst
Del Rey

Feable Weiner
Gacy (soundtrack)

Fiel Garvie*
Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers

The Graves Brothers Deluxe
Linda Lewis*
Magic Box
Majestic Twelve
Manta Ray*
Mr. Encrypto
The Queers / Manges
The Dave Rave Group
Paul Rucker
The Russian Futurists
Saeed & Palash

The Three 4 Tens
To My Surprise*
The Vexers


*Top Goddamn Picks


October 2003 Comment Piece: This Is Good

La la la la la...everything is happy, happy and nice. The world is a nice thing and so is everything in it. And it is all because of us. The quiet hum of life, the natural flow of the breeze...the beauty in the wind...and the majesty of the trees. Everything that was ever created...was created by us. This is our world. We created it...and we did whatever we pleased with it. Long, long ago we blew a heavy hot breath into the dark void of nothingness...and a planet was magically born out of our fine crafted spirit. We nodded our proud little heads and said, "This Is Good." And then we sporked up some really neat kinda stuff and out of that came...the oceans. And from the oceans sprang land...and from the land sprang plants and trees. And we nodded our snooty little cattle bonkers and said, "This Is Good." And then we decided that animals would be a blessing. So in the oceans we created fishes and on the land we created mammals. We filled the skies with birds of all shapes, sizes, and colors. And when we had finished we looked at all the crazy animals we had done made up and we said, "This Is Good." And then...on the final day of our creative splatter...we created man...who then proceeded to create a woman out of some spare intestinal parts that he didn't really need. Then we did the most horrible, unthinkable thing imaginable...we gave them the power to (gulp!) reproduce. It was the worst day of our entire lives. We looked down at man and woman and shook our nasty little nodders and frowned. "This Is Really Bad," we said. Then we flew light years away as far as we could to get away from the ugly, smelly stench that we had created. "People Is Bad," we said to ourselves as we dove into the ocean of slightly passive rejection. "People Is Really, Really Bad."

Big Collapse - Prototype (CD, The Militia Group, Rock)
Big Collapse features former members of Shift, Burn, Absolution, and Die 116. But if you think that the band has the tired sound of burned out musicians who have played in too many bands for too long...think again. Prototype is an energetic and intelligent excursion into loud modern melodic pop with a good healthy dose of progressive rock. The band consists of Josh Loucka (vocals, guitar), Matt Kane (guitar), Gavin Van Vlack (bass), and Kyle Stevenson (drums). These guys play with the thick and tight fury of Queens of the Stone Age. The playing is inventive and intense...the vocals passionate and urgent...and the tunes are based upon steady driving rhythms that are meticulously inspired and direct. This handsome quartet has written some real whoppers for this album. "Love Empire," "Private War," "Automatic," and "Phantom Power" present a band with something to say...and the chops to say it well. Stylish loud rock with a difference. (Rating: 5)

Robert Bradley and Blackwater Surprise - Still Lovin' You (Advance CD, Vanguard, Bluesy pop)
Still Lovin' You, the fourth album from Robert Bradley and Blackwater Surprise...is a direct HIT. This album will appeal to anyone who ever loved the greatest, smoothest soul and R&B music of the 1970s...for this seems to be Bradley's greatest source of inspiration. There's a lot to like here. Bradley's deep raspy voice is inviting and impressively expressive...and his band plays with plenty of funky spirit. In some ways, Bradley might best be described as a modern day Ray Charles. Not only because he happens to be blind...but because his overall approach and sound are similar. Bradley's songs are more energized and updated, however...and the band rocks harder. This highly entertaining album features ten meaty cuts including "All I Wanna Do," "Still Lovin' You," "Don't Take the Love Away," and "Hollywood." As is the case with all twenty-first century Vanguard releases, the sound quality is exceptional. Excellent stuff. (Rating: 5++)

Cafeteria - Hear (CD, *69, Various artists compilation)
Hear was remixed by Grammy Award winner Peter Rauhofer and compiled with the assistance of Mark Thomas Amadei. Various artists and/or dance mix albums can often times be tedious and trite...but this is most definitely not the case here. Rauhofer and associates have created a wonderfully satisfying album of soulful pop featuring a impressive array of artists including Waldeck, Nu Sound, Laroz, Vanessa Daou, Yoko Ono (!?!), and more. The tracks flow seamlessly into one another...creating a wonderfully cool vibe (which should be the goal of all great dance mix albums). The album features original mixes and alternative mixes. Ono's "Walking On Thin Ice" receives a particularly fitting treatment, scrapping the tune down to its bare essentials...it may be even better than the original. Other standout cuts include the sensual "Can Hardly Wait" by Bonnie Bailey, the soulful sounds of Lamya's "Black Mona Lisa," and the soft and spacey "The Arrow & The Song" by Elisa. The creators of this album had the good common sense to leave crappy rap and dumbo hip hop out of the picture (thank GOD!!!). An exceptional collection of music presented with class and style. (Rating: 5+)

The Collisions - Talk Is The New Action (CD, Windjam, Rock/pop)
The Collisions are Dave of the Universe (bass), Johnny Finger (drums), and Bo Barringer (vocals, guitar). Talk Is The New Action is a hard-hitting, punchy collection of rock/pop tunes reminiscent of The Pixies and early Rolling Stones. For a trio, these guys have a mighty big sound. Their tunes are driven by an incredibly masculine rhythm section and thick fuzzy guitars. The band's songs are smart and often unpredictable. Instead of churning out an album's worth of toons that all sound the same...The Collisions offer a great deal of variety in their music. Barringer's vocals are absorbing and effective. The lyrics are especially intelligent and inviting...offering much more food for thought that one normally gets from modern rock bands (!). These guys serve up their brand of rock the right way...serving up cool tunes like "The American Dream," "Gasoline Can," "Amateur," and "Your Gun." Nice heady stuff with a definite KICK. (Rating: 4+++)

Kris Delmhorst - Five Stories (CD, Acoustic Roots, Folk/pop)
Kris Delmhorst is an up-and-coming Massachusetts singer/songwriter...who has the potential to become HUGE. Her pensive and wonderfully melodic acoustic pop tunes are direct and extraordinarily effective. She has a fantastic smooth vocal style that is virtually perfect for the style of music she plays. Five Stories is a glimpse into the personal world and real feelings of this young woman...who seems strangely open and honest about her life. Her ability to write tunes that seem to touch the soul is amazing. Thoroughly absorbing tracks on this album include "Damn Love Song" (a real standout), "Just What I Meant," "Mean Old Wind," and "Lullaby." Singer/songwriters have gotten a rather bad reputation over the years because too many of them are insincere clods. Kris Delmhorst's music is real...coming straight from her heart...and hitting the target dead on. Classic stuff that will sound great decades from now... (Rating: 5++)

Del Rey - Darkness and Distance (CD, My Pal God, Instrumental/rock)
We've said it before and we'll say it again. Instrumental rock bands are possibly the most committed of all to their cause for the pure and simple reason that instrumental CDs traditionally do not sell well. In addition, people generally tend to forget instrumentals because there are no words to sing along with and it is more difficult to remember the song titles and band names. But Darkness and Distance, the second full-length from Chicago's Del Rey, proves just how rewarding instrumental rock can be for those with the diligence and patience to weed through it all. The guys in this band are all extraordinarily proficient on their instruments. Their music is not direct, but rather seeps into the consciousness from behind...surging and swelling...and slowly developing from one tune to the next. This album features seven lengthy tunes that are somewhat epic in nature. Interestingly, these tunes actually say more than most songs with lyrics. Del Rey's haunting intense sound is immediately gripping...and yet the full effects of the music are only truly realized after several focused listens. Truly credible and incredible stuff. Features the tunes "Asimov," "Dust Huntress," "Staph & Strep," "Redfivestandingby," "Dual Sun System," "Deploy," and "Vega." Great stuff. (Rating: 5+)

Feable Weiner - Dear Hot Chick (CD, Doghouse, Rock/pop)
Get ready for the avalanche of great Tennessee bands hitting the horizon. First came the knockout butch sound of Kings of Leon...followed hot on the heels by the powerful buzzsaw pop stylings of Feable Weiner. Originally released on the band's own Heinous Records label, the folks at Doghouse had the good sense to remaster and re-release this album to a larger audience...with four new songs added for good measure. The band's music has a good deal in common with Self, one of the most fantastic and underappreciated acts ever to come out of Tennessee. (Both Matt Mahaffey of Self and the guys in Feable Weiner hail from Murfreesboro). Feable Weiner tunes are loud and aggressive...but they feature cool threads of bubblegum running through the core...which makes them particularly appealing. The vocals are truly outstanding (love those ooohs and aaahs...). Dear Hot Chick is chock full of chunky thick pop that oughta please the pants off of just about everyone who has a good ear for power pop. Hot and catchy cuts include "San Deem Us Ready," "Lameface," "U Minus Cool," and "Attorneying Me On." (Rating: 5+)

Fiel Garvie - Leave Me Out of This (CD, Words On Music, Soft dreamy pop)
Wonderfully soft, pensive, smooth, and slightly eerie British pop. The folks in Fiel Garvie craft their unusual pop compositions with elements derived from some of the best English artists of the 1980s and 1990s. The band's tunes bear similarities to a variety of artists including (but not limited to) Cocteau Twins, Wire, and This Mortal Coil. While the main focal point of the band is the breathy silky smooth female vocalist...the other members' contributions are actually and, in fact, just as equally important to the overall sound. In some ways, Fiel Garvie tunes might best be described as a bizarre cross between Ivy and Spiritualized. The tunes are thoughtful and possess an honest quality...yet there is a subtle drone to the music that is offbeat and compelling. Leave Me Out of This features eleven peculiar stream-of-consciousness tracks...including "B-Rock," "Got A Reason," "Talking a Hole In My Head," and "Flake." Beautiful dreamy stuff, well outside the norm... (Rating: 5+++)

Gacy - Original Motion Picture Score (CD, Pascal, Film soundtrack)
Being one of our favorite personalities of all time, we were curious to see how Erik Godal and Mark Fontana (of the group The Blue Hawaiians) would interpret the mind of John Wayne Gacy through their music. The end result is...an overwhelming success. Gacy is a strange and haunting journey through the mind of the madman...as told through 29 compelling compositions. Listening to this music, one can almost begin to understand the alienation and frustration that would lead an individual to succumb to their innermost desires. What differentiates the sane from the insane is that, supposedly, sane people have the ability to refrain from doing things that their mind tells them to do...whereas the insane do not. Whether this is true or not is still up for debate...but one thing is for certain. Those who have the desire and the ability to murder countless numbers of people for months and months without being detected still hold a curious fascination for the rest of us. Even without the visuals, this album stands squarely on its own...as an extremely mental...and sometimes horrific listen. Ending on the surprisingly poppy "Cruel World"...the song eventually disintegrates into odd dissonance. Easily one of the best soundtrack albums we have heard, Gacy is an abstract and bizarre experience. (Rating: 5++)

Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers - An Evening With Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers (DVD, The Magnet Music Group / Compendia Media Group, Country/pop)
This is the first of a two part series DVD release, the second being Christmastime with Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers. This DVD was recorded shortly after this well-known trio returned to performing after a ten year hiatus. Captured at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee...Larry, Steve, and Rudy Gatlin put on an entertaining and at times humorous show to a packed house. Appropriately recorded in decidedly low tech fashion, this DVD is more like a snapshot of a performance...rather than a series of tightly edited video clips cluttered with effects. Instead, the concert is delivered straight up...with editing kept to a bare minimum...and with an emphasis on the music. Over the course of their lengthy career, the trio's tunes have been recorded by a wealth of big names including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Roy Orbison, The Bee Gees, and many more. That they are still so focused on their art is a testament to their staying power. This particular concert features the trio performing thirteen classics including "Night Time Magic," "Help Me," "The Heart," "All the Gold in California," and "Stand Up." While Larry is the focal point of the trio, his brothers play extraordinarily strong supporting roles. That thar Larry feller sure does like to talk (!)--and he does a whole lotta talking during the show. Seeing this kinda...makes us wish we'd have been there... (Rating: 4+++)

girlsareshort - earlynorthamerican (CD, Upper Class Recordings, Electronic pop)
girlsareshort is an odd little musical duo...and earlynorthamerican is an odd little album. Brimming to the edges with dated electronica...the duo of Daniel Zabawa and Alex 'Alistr' Puodziukas deliver a dazzling array of unpredictable delicacies. In order to like this music, you must have an open mind when it comes to programmed percussion...because this disc is full it. That said, there is a strangely inviting personal charm to this album...despite the fact that it is highly programmed and has a computerized sound. Zabawa and Puodziukas let their imagination shine through on tracks that range from spacey instrumentals to hummable happy pop. The music tends to give the listener the feeling of floating. Recommended cuts: "Sunshine," "Perfect Sound Always," "London Ontario," "Beautiful Yourself." Neat stuff. (Rating: 4+++)

Goldblade - Strictly Hardcore (CD, Thick, Rock)
Don't be fooled by the title. Despite it's title, Strictly Hardcore is, thankfully, not a hardcore album. Instead, Britain's Goldblade is a loud pop band whose music is filled with hooks and catchy melodies. The band's music sounds something like a cross between The Sex Pistols and The Clash...except more direct and accessible than either. Many of the tunes on this album are anthemic in nature...with plenty of group yells to add some extra enthusiasm to the tunes. Sometimes the backing vocals add to the flavor...sometimes they detract. This band is at their best when they get loose and just let 'er rip. The title track and "Home Turf" are good examples of this. Peppy and vibrant, Goldblade provide plenty of firey energy to keep the kids pumped up. (Rating: 4++)

The Graves Brothers Deluxe - Filter Feeders (CD EP, Good Forks, Rock/pop)
The Graves Brothers Deluxe continue in their mission to provide moody rock music that is anything but obvious. Filter Feeders features six sneaky little tunes that will invade your consciousness with their seductive subtlety. Many years from now, Thin White Rope will be recognized as one of the greatest rock bands of the twentieth century. Until that day arrives...music fans can continue to be entertained by the intensely sexy vocal stylings of Stoo Odom via this, his latest endeavor. Joining Odom in this band are Willy the Mailman (?) and Marco Villalobos...both playing various other roles. Odom's vocals are beginning to sound more and more like a scary version of Leonard Cohen (whose own vocals can be rather frightening at times...). Filter Feeders is yet another tasty treat from a trio that defies categorization. Includes "Right As Rain," "And Then the Conversation Turned to Sex," and "The Powers That Be." (Rating: 5++)

Kraftwerk - Tour de France Soundtracks (CD, Astralwerks, Electronic)
The first new Kraftwerk in over twelve years, Tour de France Soundtracks was well worth the wait. Further perfecting the art they created decades ago, Ralf Hutter, Florian Schneider, Fritz Hilpert, and Henning Schmitz remain masters of their craft. Soundtracks refines the original Kraftwerk sound...while proving that these German gentlemen are still intent on riding the upper crests of the waves of technology. Part of this band's main appeal was always the fact that the ideas were so simple...but well executed. The quartet retains their basic view of music...leaving plenty of open space in their recordings...and giving the listener a wealth of mental landscapes. Peculiar and subtle, Soundtracks will appeal to diehard Kraftwerk fans...as well as fans of twenty-first century electronic music. Soothing and dreamy cuts include "Prologue," "Chrono," "Titanium," and "Tour de France." Another exceptional album from the original electronic pioneers... (Rating: 5+++)

Linda Lewis - Reach for the Truth: Best of the Reprise Years 1971-1974 (CD, Rhino / Reprise, Soul/pop)
Linda Lewis has always been our favorite female soul/pop singer from the 1970s. Though her music never received that much recognition....Ms. Lewis' fantastic voice and sincere presence always affected us like no other singer...and it still does. For those who loved Linda's music or for newcomers...this compilation is a wonderful treat. Chock full of some of the best tracks from Linda's early 1970's albums, Reach for the Truth presents this artist in the prime of her career. Words cannot express the supremely beautiful sound of tracks like "Red Light Ladies," "Fathoms Deep," "I'm In Love Again" (a real knockout), and "Rock A Doodle Do" (which should have been a major hit when it was released). The accompanying booklet chronicles Linda's career...closing with her own comments about each song. Produced by Jim Cregan and mostly recorded at Apple Studios...these songs sound as smooth and arresting as they did when they were created. Interestingly, Ms. Lewis is playing some limited live engagements to coincide with the release of this disc. Here's hoping this CD opens up the eyes and minds of more people to this stunning and enchanting lady's phenomenal spirit. Top notch stuff. (Rating: 5+++)

Magic Box - Bliss of a Madman (CD, Pascal, Instrumental/progressive)
Magic Box is the duo of Tom Maxwell and Steve Denny. Together, the two create wonderfully heady and free flowing progressive instrumental music that titillates the senses and challenges the mind. In some ways, these fellows' music reminds us of a more organic sounding Grassy Knoll. Rather than let their music be harnessed by boundaries, Maxwell and Denny instead prefer to just let things happen...and therein lies the true magic in this particular box. The compositions on Bliss of a Madman evoke specific moods and feelings in the mind of the listener. Musical sounds and ideas from around the globe collide in one easily digestible twelve track album. Listening to this music gives us the feeling of flying...or floating on water...or just the feeling of being really, really high. But the nicest thing about this music is that...you don't have to be high to enjoy it (!). Instead, the music itself provides a quality high...as is evidenced by such groovy cuts as "The Alchemist," "Trane to Birdland," "Surreal Games," and "The Book of the Dead" (this last one is a real killer). Suggestive music for suggestive minds...Bliss of a Madman is...exceptional. (Rating: 5++)

Majestic Twelve - Searching for the Elvis Knob (Independently released CD, Pop)
Something like a cross between The Violent Femmes, The Chainsaw Kittens, and They Might Be Giants...without really sounding like any of them. Wilmington, North Carolina's Majestic Twelve is a band that isn't waiting around to be discovered by a record company. Instead, these fellows hired professionals to help them record their album (Jerry Kee, Chris Stamey). The end result...is a batch of tunes that is comparable in quality to most of what is released by major record companies. The band plays with a fierce tightness that is impressive and entertaining. "I Don't Have A Job" is a particularly impressive track, both in terms of lyrics and melody. These guys prove that you don't need a record label these days. All you need is some good material...and the ability to professionally record it to tape or disc. Our guess is that these guys' best work has yet to see the light of day... (Rating: 4++++)

Manta Ray - Estratexa (CD, Acuarela / Film Guerrero, Electronic/pop)
Hypnotic dark electronic pop. Spain's Manta Ray is a band that has a sound that is something like a combination of Devo, Pan Sonic, Eno, Hawkwind, early Ultravox, Kraftwerk, and Suicide...without really sounding too much like any of them (!). Estratexa is a strange spin. The album takes plenty of unexpected twists and turns...delving into pop, rock, electronica, and space drones. This band possesses a unique and rare trait in that...once you hear their music...you want to hear it again and again and again. The band's poppier pieces work wonderfully...but so do the more abstract, offbeat pieces like "Anada," "Another Man," and "Ebola." The band has the good sense to combine electric guitars with their electronics...creating a sound that is absorbing and spacey...and yet still manages to pack a crunchy punch. Estratexa is a truly mind expanding experience...drawing from a multitude of sources...without ever sounding derivative or tired. Easily one of the best releases of the 2003. KILLER. (Rating: 5+++)

Mr. Encrypto - Secret Identity Crisis (CD, Silent Bugler, Pop)
Formerly known as Eclipso, Bruce Gordon was convinced to change the name of his band after being contacted by the folks at Warner Brothers/DC Comics. Though the name may have changed...the music retains the same integrity and charm that was found on Gordon's last album. Like the previous album, Secret Identity Crisis was co-produced by Earle Mankey. Here we have eleven tracks stripped of any nonessential elements...and casting a definite spotlight on vocal melodies. Gordon has a great voice...and these songs show just how good his voice is. Crisis consists of original tunes and some well-chosen covers. There's a particularly well-done version of Ray Davies' "Dreams" that sounds so good that it rivals the original. Other standout cuts include "The One You Love," "The Big One," "Silver Chain," and "Rock and Roll Is Killing Me (Loudly)." Mr. Encrypto is one of those obscure records that only few will hear...but many will remember for years to come... (Rating: 5+)

The Queers / Manges - ...in Love and Let Die (Split CD, Stardumb, Rock/pop)
Netherland's Stardumb label has harnessed an impressive array of artists in a very short amount of time. Bands who call the label home include Groovie Ghoulies, The Methadones, The Apers, Darlington, Backwood Creatures, Sonic Dolls...and more. This disc is a split album featuring The Queers and Italy's Manges. The Queers have always had a knack for serving up choice covers...but they really outdo themselves here...offering super satisfying versions of "Chewy Chewy," "Ft. Lauderdale," "Girl About Town," "Sunday Morning," "Wipeout," and "With a Girl Like You." Every cut is a gem. Interestingly, The Queers are starting to sound more and more like...The Young Fresh Fellows (?!?). The second six-pack is fired from Manges...who turn up the heat with five originals and one cover. Manges' buzzsaw rock is a fitting match for the catchy music of the Queers. These guys play loud...but they're smart and they focus on melodic hooks. Fearless rockers include "Frontline," a cover of Cheap Trick's "Surrender," "Barrage of Hate," "Saving Private Pierson," "I Don't Wanna Live in Hell," and "Morphine." Manges is a truly GREAT l'il rock band. Rarely do split EPs succeed this well... KILLER stuff...!!! (Rating: 5+++)

The Dave Rave Group - Everyday Magic (CD, Bongo Beat, Pop/rock)
Folks who appreciated the crystal clear pop of Chris Stamey, Alex Chilton, The Beatles, and Let's Active will almost certainly be bowled over by the upbeat melodic sound of The Dave Rave Group. Dave Rave originally came to the attention of many folks as the guitarist and lead singer of Teenage Head...before later leaping off on his solo career. Everyday Magic is the first new album of original material from this band since the 1989 album Valentino's Pirates. Oddly, Rave is the only original member appearing on this album...although members of his former bands (Teenage Head, The Shakers) lend a helping hand here. Dave's music involves a wide range of influences from the 1950s right on through to the present. But whether he's bopping or rocking...or providing pure pop...the thing that makes this man's music shine is his sincere and genuine love of what he is doing. This sincerity is clearly evident on such juicy numbers as "Madeleine Says," "Help Me Please," "Cry Myself to Sleep," and "Gone Again." Honest music for folks who enjoy the real thing. Hates off to Dave Rave for making music for the right reasons. (Rating: 5)

Paul Rucker - History of an Apology (CD, Jackson Street, Instrumental/progressive/jazz)
Recorded between November 2001 and March 2003, History of an Apology is a cool and inviting trip indeed. The tunes on this album are based on the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment...although it is difficult to discern exactly how, being that they are instrumentals (!). Paul Rucker is aided by a stunning array of guest artists on this disc...including but not limited to Bill Frisell, Julian Priester, Hans Teuber, Jacques Willis, Erik Anderson, Bill Horist, Issac Marshall, and Flora McGill. Although too many cooks might spoil the broth, a wealth of talented musicians do anything but (!). This is an extraordinary collection of compositions...sounding something like modern mood music merged with free form jazz. It is difficult to describe the sound here because it is so liquid and, at times, strangely abstract. Suffice to say, however, that the eight cuts on History of an Apology are heady, mind-expanding, and ultimately entertaining...spin...after spin...after spin. Classic cuts include "I Never Saw My Parents Dance (Intro)," "All the Things I Thought I Didn't Want," and "Lost Years." (Rating: 5)

The Russian Futurists - Let's Get Ready to Crumble (CD, MAPL / Upper Class Recordings, Pop)
As the insert states, "The Russian Futurists is Matthew Adam Hart." Rather than following in the footsteps of other one man bands, however, this young Canadian is charting his own unique musical territory. So...if you're expecting familiar pop recorded in a traditional vein...this content may very well surprise you. Hart's music sounds something like a lo-fi version of Harper's Bizarre...if they had been recording at home in the 1980s with casio keyboards. This music sounds different because it was created differently. Matthew is not a trained musician...and he only memorizes his tunes long enough to play and record them. After that...well, it's onto another recording. This unusual approach results in...some rather unorthodox underground pop. What some listeners may have difficulty with initially are the rhythms. The drum beats sound very dated...and they are often quite loud in the mix. Once one gets past this strange obstacle, however, there are many lovely tunes to be found haunting around here. The song titles offer a good indication of what this man's music is about: "When the Sun Drops Like An Anvil"..."A Telegram From the Future"..."It's Not Really Cold When It Snows"... Imaginative stuff that is presented with sincere style and a sense of humor. A cool spin indeed... Recommended. (Rating: 5)

Saeed & Palash - Addictive Beats (Double CD, *69, Various artists compilation)
We knew these guys had their heads in the right place when we read their quote on the CD insert: "Make music not war." (If only everyone would abide by such a philosophy...not only is it less destructive...it is also more creative!) The appropriately titled Addictive Beats features plenty of...just that. This double disc compilation not only proves that club music is not dead...but it also offers evidence that there is plenty of cool throbbing stuff bubbling deep beneath the surface. Instead of choosing brain-numbing idiot dance artists that the general public eats up like retarded fat chickens...Saeed & Palash present wonderfully imaginative and absorbing underground artists such as Formula Express, Hess, Thick Dick, Dark Clark, Tribal Tech, and Grassinimoto. There's some funny stuff thrown in as well...particularly "Phat Dope Shit" by Loco Dice (silly one, that...haw!). There's enough stuff here to keep the party going until well after midnight...and beyond. A killer collection. The folks at *69 obviously have their fingers firmly gripped on the pulse of the underground dance market... (Rating: 5)

stellastarr* - stellastarr* (CD, RCA, Rock/pop)
Highly produced pop/rock in the same general vein as Adam Ant (the yelpy-like vocals are particularly similar). Meticulously produced by Tim O'Heir, this album is a thick and swirling affair featuring epic tunes literally dripping with overdubs. Ten tracks, including "In the Walls," "Jenny," "No Weather," "Somewhere Across Forever," and "Untitled." We have no particular opinion on this particular release...so we'll just let you draw your own conclusions... (Not Rated)

The Three 4 Tens - Taking Northern Liberties (CD, Rainbow Quartz, Pop/rock)
Authentic garage rock featuring exceptional tunes and great attitude. Formed in 1997 in Philadelphia, The Three 4 Tens make music that sounds something like a cross between early Rolling Stones...and Redd Kross (?!?). Taking Northern Liberties is the band's second full-length album...thus, these guys are obviously taking their time with their career. Several of the tunes on this album bear a strange and subtle resemblance to the previously mentioned Redd Kross' Neurotica album. Whether this is intentional or not is unclear. The cover art is great...the back is a mirror image of the front...complete with backwards lettering. But songs are what matter most, of course...and songs are what make this album such a sheer pleasure to spin. Creativity is the key here...as is evidenced by cool cutting edge tracks such as "Philly Blues," "Waiting for Mary, " "My Stoned Ass," and "Whore House and Suicide." The band consists of Joe Tagg (guitar, vocals), Jamie Mahon (bass, vocals), Brian McNamara (guitar, vocals), and Mike Ambs (drums). Kinda spacey, kinda poppy, kinda rocky...The Three 4 Tens play the kinda great psychedelic hippy pop/rock music that made the early 1990s such a gas... (Rating: 5++)

To My Surprise - To My Surprise (CD, Roadrunner, Rock/pop)
You can't always judge a band by their label. (Actually, you usually can...but this band is an exception to the rule.) To our surprise we found that To My Surprise is not a death metal band (which is, of course, the kind of band the Roadrunner label normally associates itself with). This band is, instead, a progressive pop/rock band with wonderfully melodic tunes and crystal clear arrangements. In many ways these songs remind us of Johnny Society (particularly the vocals)...except the band rocks harder. Some tracks even have a sound similar to Local H. To My Surprise is the trio of M. Shawn Crahan, Brandon Darner, and Stevan Robinson. But just because they're a trio, don't expect a tiny stripped down sound. Instead, these three guys have overdubbed their tunes with plenty of extra vocals and instruments...giving their pop-oriented tunes some rather thick and intense flavors. The rhythms are furious and intent...the vocals masculine yet right on key...and the guitar playing is nothing short of spectacular. So many bands have a tired and tedious sound. The guys in To My Surprise use all the same ingredients as the others...yet their music sounds ten times more original and vibrant. It could be due to the fact that they write excellent songs. Cool rockers include "Get It To Go," "In The Mood," "This Life," and "Who's To Say." A killer spin indeed... (Rating: 5+++)

The Vexers - Gangland Ballads and the Death Sex Set (CD EP, Ace Fu, Rock/pop)
The music of The Vexers will appeal to virtually anyone who ever loved the music of Lene Lovich and/or Siouxsie and the Banshees. The band's sharp, jagged music is reminiscent of early 1970s new wave bands (before the underground phenomenon became the overground rip off catch phrase of the 1980s). This EP offers more of the infectious rock the band served on their debut album. The songs are slightly spooky...yet melodic and easy to follow...with a definitely appealing groove. The main focal point of this band is Jennifer Taylor...whose slightly spastic vocal style is gripping and arresting. This little EP sets the stage for what is bound to be an incredible second full-length... (Rating: 5)

Vue - Down for Whatever (CD, RCA, Rock)
RCA has been on a roll since the turn of the century...signing The Strokes...then Kings of Leon...and now Vue. This label has obviously developed very good taste...and we say this mainly because it is now closely aligned with ours (!). Previously on the unfriendly, stingy, and more often than not disappointingly pretentious and closed-minded Sub Pop label (they never were hip and cool...), Vue has jumped into the major leagues...and the band now has a hit on their hands with Down for Whatever. Vue made the necessary, smart move to dump Sub Pop...and sail the high seas with the fine folks at RCA. The band's beginnings date back to the 1990s hardcore-emo band Portraits of Past...which eventually evolved into the current Vue line-up. Slamming out of the gates with the incredibly catchy "She's Sweet," the band firmly implants their sound in the brain of the listener...engaging their solid attention for the remaining eleven cuts on this album. The sound is 1970s hard garage rock all the way...with vocals that recall a bluesy Jagger-esque version early John Foxx (when he was in Ultravox). These guys have attitude...but more importantly, they have songs that hold up to many repeated spins. Other standout cuts include "Some Kids," "Do You Ever?," and "Take Two Kisses." Raw and witty stuff...that sticks in the head like glue. (Rating: 5++)

Home | Table of Contents | The babysue Store

©2003 LMNOP®