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August 1999 Reviews by

RATING SYSTEM | Anti-Heros | bis | Bows | Brandtson | Brilliantine | Dana DeRose | Drain sth | Dream City Fan Club | Fanmail | Fastbreak | Fireball Ministry | The Hang Ups | The Kennedy Plane Crash | Suzanne Langille | Lyle Lovett | The Mullens | Napalm Death | Elvis Presley | Schneider TM | Smartbomb ca | The Sons of Hercules | Taxiride | Thin Lizard Dawn | Today Is The Day |

*Additional Items Received*


ANTI-HEROS - Underneath the Underground (CD, G.M.M., Harcore/rock)
A cool controlled ROAR. Playing hardcore music with all the gusto and balls that made it such a household staple in the eighties, Anti-Heros are the real thing. True, there are thousands upon thousands of screaming hardcore bands currently blaring our there in the world...but the majority are samey and completely unincredible. What strikes us best about this band is that despite the loud volume and screaming/screeching vocals, the songs still manage to take center stage. Plus...the lyrics are a goddamn HOOT. Most hardcore bands take themselves way too seriously. That is NOT the case here. Give a listen to "More Stupid Than Stupid" or "Rich People Don't Go To Jail"... The band's sense of humor is sandwiched in between words that are definitely food for thought. It's cool when a band can rock this hard and still manage to have something valid to say. Way COOL! (Rating: 5)

bis - Social Dancing (CD, Capitol, Pop/rock)
This band has come a long way in a very short time. Scotland's bis emerged as a quirky bubblegummy techno act (which they still basically are), but the band had a very jagged sound which was somewhat jarring and peculiar. Several years into their career, the band still retains many of their original traits...but now their sound is much more mature, and the songwriting is much more varied. bis pop is boy/girl nineties techno pop. Social Dancing presents a band that is now much more mature and professional in the studio. The vocals are greatly improved, and the arrangements are more intricate and focused... This is the disc that could shift the band from their current "alternative" status into bigger commercial acceptance (particularly true with the dub pop track "Detour," which sounds extremely radio friendly). Simple upbeat fun...ought to please fans of The B-52s... (Rating: 4)

BOWS - Blush (CD, Beggars Banquet, Ambient pop)
Neat, neat, NEAT! Bows is the latest project spearheaded by ex-Long Fin Killie member Luke Sutherland...and it's a KEEPER. This band's music is a mix of ambient, electronic, dance, and dub music not unlike Morcheeba. The tunes on this disc have a nice organic sound (something sorely missing in most electronic-based artists' work) the female vocalist is KILLER. The sum of all the parts is a very moody and just slightly surreal batch of compositions that are both sexy and just slightly trippy. This is the kinda music that could appeal to both young and old, as the music follows neither trendy styles nor gimmicky patterns. Abstract in a very cool way... (Rating: 5)

BRANDTSON - Fallen Star Collection (CD, Deep Elm, Pop/rock)
More nice fresh guitar rock from Cleveland's Brandtson. It's hard these days to find a guitar band that doesn't sound trite, samey, and redundant. This band possesses none of these traits. Rather than mimic samey formulas and drown in their own self absorption, these four musicians seem intent to focus in on their emotions and then channel them through their tunes. The band manages to balance familiar similarities with just enough original twists to make their music both interesting and original. All the pices fit here. This one sounds really nice. (Rating: 4)

BRILLIANTINE - My Life and the Beautiful Game (CD, Deep Reverb, Pop)
This CD caught my attention immediately for two reasons. Number one, because this band is the continually evolving collective of musicians supporting Dave Derby's top-notch songwriting (the last Brilliantine album was a blast). Number two, because I was a big fan of Dave's former band, The Dambuilders (a criminally overlooked band). Whereas the last Brilliantine album had some ragged edges, things are much smoother this time around. Mr. Derby sure knows how to pick 'em... Showing up on this project are, among others, Dominique Durand (of Ivy), and Hilken Mancini and Winston Braman (of Fuzzy). The songs on this disc are basically understated pop tunes played with little if any frills. This probably won't be heating up the doesn't have that "polished" sound that people seem to gravitate towards. If, however, you're in search of genuine, sincere, and real'll want to pick this up. Though The Dambuilders are no more (dammit to HELL!), Mr. Derby continues to write and record in his own unique and superb manner... (Rating: 5)

DANA DEROSE - Another World (CD, Sharp Nine, Jazz/Female Vocalist)
Sounding just a wee bit like Doris Day (one of our favorite female vocalists), Dana DeRose has a vocal style that is smooth and gripping. Listening to this, one can almost imagine sitting in a cuddley restaurant playing footsies with a stick of chewing gum. The music is sultry and heartfelt, and Ms. DeRose succeeds where many being both seductive...and believable. The entire disc cooks mighty nutty buddies...but our favorite is definitely the haunting "You've Changed." Not your average female vocalist, that for sure... (Rating: 5)

DRAIN sth - Freaks of Nature (CD, Island/Def Jam/Mercury, Heavy metal/pop)
We opted to review this not so much because we like the music...but more so because this band just doesn't fit in where they ought to fit in...and we LIKE that. Four Swedish ladies ought to play soft pop music, right? Wrong. These four women play heavy metal pop. Heavy metal pop musicians have lots of tatoos and look like freaks, right? Wrong. These four ladies are surprisingly normal looking. Heavy metal vocalists basically scream unintelligble gibberish, right? Wrong. Underneath the loud guitars and complex production, the vocals are clear and distinct. Yup...the four girls in Drain sth just aren't fitting in where they ought to. Hopefully they will help other bands to realize that you don't have to do the things that bands normally do in order to succeed... (Not Rated)

DREAM CITY FILM CLUB - In The Cold Light of Morning (CD, Beggars Banquet, Pop)
Strangely distant and unfamiliar, the music of Dream City Film Club is a hazy and obtuse experience. Whereas most bands have an in-your-face sound and attitude, these folks are just the opposite. The is the second release from this British band, and it's another interesting collection of tunes. There's a great deal of reverb slurred throughout these slightly trippy tunes...and the overall effect is that you are sitting in a bar in some distant, faraway place listening to a very peculiar obscure band playing their tongues out on the other side of the room. If this all sounds obtuse, that's because this band IS obtuse. This isn't for everyone...but if you're into stuff that is just slightly off the beaten path, this band may well hump your pappy dawg... (Not Rated)

FANMAIL - The Latest Craze (CD, Tooth & Nail, Rock/pop)
Nice punchy catchy pop with a cool hypnotic buzz. Though this is an EP, you still get a lot for your bucks...eleven tunes in all...and they're all quite good. The band's fast rhythms and fuzzy guitars provide a solid backdrop for the exceptional vocals...which are (fortunately) way out front in the mix. The lyrics are light and playful, and the harmonies are damn fine. Don't think...just turn it up and dance. That seems to be the motto of this refreshing four piece. Lotsa keepers like "Messed Up" and "Shirley Maclaine" make this disc a great listen. (Rating: 4)

FASTBREAK - Whenever You're Ready (CD, Revelation, Hard rock/pop)
Like a line of fast race horses breaking through the sirens, Fastbreak immediately hurl their subconsciousness into the facial plane of the listener like a boltnut on speedo. It's not hardcare...but rather fast, loud rock music with definite pop undertones. These guys are young...but they play with confidence and balls that puts most old musicians to shameful wrong. Smack dab crunching on the lab like panola and rice cakes...Fastbreak have the cheeks to knock out front teeth plus. Check out "Not So Complicated" and/or "Good Dreams or None At All." Heady, hard, and humble. (Rating: 4)

FIREBALL MINISTRY - Ou est la Rock? (CD, Bong Load Custom, Rock)
Seventies style ball rock in a vein very similar to Fu Manchu. Being big F.M. fans ourselves, we definitely dig the sound of Fireball Ministry. The band's fuzz-guitar driven riff rock is heavily sedated in pot-infused head rushes. It's a true rock and roll sound that packs a monster of a punch. Our fave cuts include "The Man," "665," and "Levites." Totally macho! (Rating: 4)

THE HANG UPS - Second Story (CD, Restless, Pop)
Ah... Yes, yes, yes, yes... This is ssssssssssoooooooooOOOOOOOO goddamn good! More instantly addictive music from one of our favorite pop acts of this decade. It never fails. If you put out top notch and truly credible music, you will be largely ignored by the public...which is exactly what has happened thus far for this absolutely spectacular pop band. But even if most people don't even know they exist, The Hang Ups still manage to be one of the best pop acts around. How do they do it? By simply playing, and by playing simply. There are no gimmicks. No stupid studio tricks. No dumb haircuts. Nothing but pure and breezy melodies and soaring vocals...and guitars that sound like no one else. Once again, they've outdone themselves. Our initial faves are "Caroline," "Beneath A Tree," and "Long Goodbye"...but things may change over the course of the next two hundred spins... (Rating: 6)

THE KENNEDY PLANE CRASH (Boring sort of who cares kind of thing)
Everyone boo hoo hoo over the plane crash that killed a celebrity that none of them ever even knew. And WHY do they go boo hoo hoo? Because the shit-covered little lambikins like to have their stinky little noses tugged about by all the worthless television shows, newspapers, and magazines that focus on such trivial things. How about that plane crash somewhere off the coast of San Diego that killed an obscure family that no one was familiar with? Does anyone care about THAT? The Kennedy Plane Crash is yet another example of how goddamn stupid and gullible people are. we all know...everyone is just dying for that latest tragedy to glub glub glub to each other about and yackity yack yack about how tragic and terrible it was (all the while doing absolutely nothing about anything in reality other than just yap at one another). Another Kennedy death? Who cares? So what if everyone dies? Who cares? (Rating: 2)

SUZANNE LANGILLE - Let the Darkness Fall (CD, Secretly Canadian, Soft pop)
I've been trying to find the right word to describe Suzanne Langille's music ever since I heard her last CD. Perusing the press release accompanying her latest disc, I fortunately came across the word that says it all: BLEAK. Ms. Langille's music is almost totally stark, minimal, and very, VERY bleak. To say there's not much going on is putting it mildly. This is about as understated as music gets. Actually, some folks might even attempt to categorize this as "gothic"...although that would be an obvious error in judgement. This lady's sad, melancholy tunes sound nothing like anything else currently on the horizon (save for say, possibly, Amber Asylum...but to compare these two is even stretching the truth). Personally, I find this music hypnotic in an extremely peculiar way. Seven songs. About as slow and subtle as you can get. Great stuff, yes indeed... (Rating: 5)

LYLE LOVETT - Live In Texas (CD, MCA, Pop)
Although we're not quite sure what we think (or what you think for that matter) about Lyle thing is for certain. This live CD captures the essence of what this show must've been like. Interestingly, although Lyle is the artist the CD is credited to, this is definitely a group endeavor. There are lotsa mega-talented folks lending their talents here...and a host of other vocalists as well. The players are slick and the songs all strangely familiar...yet in the end, it's the actual spirit of the playing that makes this recording such a treat on the ol' homo stereo. This is good music for drinking, or for playing during that late night get together with friends. Solid. (Not Rated)

THE MULLENS - Go Where the Action Is (CD, Get Hip Recordings, Rock)
Along with a lot of other folks, we went rather nuts over the debut CD from The Mullens. Well, the band is back with their second release...and it's another goddamn bull's eye. Recorded in their own studio, Go Where the Action Is contains more of the same straight-from-the-hip minimalist rock that made these guys such a favorite in the first place. The formula is simple. Turn it up, and just let 'er RIP. In this case, the formula works just fine...making ditties like "Egg It On," "Don't Come Back," and "Miserable Party" a whole heaping hoo-ha of fun. This is garage rock in the purest sense of the word...conjuring up all kinds of images of the great garage bands of the past. Can The Mullens keep it up? From the sound of this one...the answer is YES! (Rating: 5)

NAPALM DEATH - Bootlegged In Japan (CD, Earache, Metal)
Folks seeking a non-stop blare of hateful anxiety and noise may find a friend in Britain's Napalm Death. The band has been putting out loud, blaring, screaming metal music for many years now and show no signs of letting up. This live recording was submitted to the band anonymously from their Diatribes tour...and shows why N. Death live shows are so popular among today's misguided youth. Frenetic rhythms, nervous blaring guitars, and a vocalist who screams so much that its virtually impossible to understand anything of what he is saying... It all adds up to a healthy, intense dose of metal that will absolutely drive your mother and your father NUTS. And, after all, isn't that the point of rock music in the first place? (Rating: 4)

ELVIS PRESLEY - Artist of the Century (Triple CD, RCA, Rock/pop)
Believe it or not...this is the first Elvis Presley album (actually three in this case) that I have ever heard all the way through. As a five-year-old Beatles nut, Mr. Presley just seemed too square to be bothered for the next thirty or so odd years I pretty much ignored this influential artist's entire career. As a result, hearing this lengthy retrospective now is a rather interesting experience. Particularly revealing are the early tracks contained on disc one...before Elvis became a legend. There's an odd raw freshness to the music and particularly in his vocals that I never noticed before. Remastered tracks like "That's All Right," "Trying To Get You," and "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care" are actually downright appealing...and they spotlight a man whose early career vindicated his success. Whereas disc one showcases a young man somewhat out of control, disc two presents a more mature Elvis...decidedly more romantic and toned down. The more polished studio sound fits Elvis' voice well...particularly on "Are You Lonesome Tonight" and "Memphis Tennessee." Disc three covers the last phase of Mr. Presley's career which was bogged down with all kinds of personal and physical problems. But even though he was having difficulty performing live, Elvis could still pull off his schtick in the recording studio. The three booklets included with the set (unfortunately glued to the CD cover...!) offer some great liner notes as well as reproduction after reproduction of the original cover art from the incredible number of albums and singles this man released. Overall reaction? I am impressed. "Artist of the Century" might be an overstatement...but Elvis was at least "An Important Artist During the Century." Hats off to the folks who put this one together. It's a very nice and well-packaged retrospective of one of the most famous singers of all time. (Rating: 5)

SCHNEIDER TM - Moist (CD, Mute, Electronic/techno)
Interesting. This isn't really techno...nor pop...nor standard electronic fanfare. Actually, the music of Schneider TM is a combination of the three...with some peculiar twists thrown in for added flavor. The band is actually the creation of a German fellow named Dirk Dresselhaus. Dirk has a way of playing with the listener's head and hemisphere. If you think you know where things are heading, this fellow takes the logical progression of a composition and screws with it. It's an oddly exhilerating experience, to be certain...and it's a hell of a lot more interesting than your average electronic hubbuh bubbuh dribble. All the tracks crackle...but our favorites are "Moist," "Masters," "Starfuck," and "Camping." Neat and just slightly different. (Rating: 5)

SMARTBOMB CA - Savor the Moment (CD, Creativeman Disc, Rock/pop)
Smart and fast fuzzpop. It's a speedy little melodic journey tripping through the music of Smartbomb ca. Based in Sacramento, these guys play fast pop that is heavy on the melodies and lyrics...but the band has a nice hard edge that features a driving rhythm section and some very cool fuzzed out guitar work. Hidden in the middle of the disc is a cover of "White Wedding" that is definitely superior to the original (!). Plenty of hard rockin' fun in tunes like "Spinning Cirlces" and "The Last Line." Fun stuff. (Rating: 4)

THE SONS OF HERCULES - Get Lost (CD, Get Hip Recordings, Rock)
Punchy fast rock with attitude galore. San Antonio's The Sons of Hercules sound something like a sped-up New York Dolls. The songs are simple, the guitars loud and fuzzy, and the vocalist sounds very much like a nineties version of David Johannson. The guys in the band look like they just stepped out of London in 1963...and they write clever, masculine tunes that'll have you rockin' and reelin' on the dining room table in no time flat. Our top faves are "Get Lost," "No, No, No," "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" (a cover of the Byrds tune) and "Don't Wanna Be Like You." Way fun and revved up ALL THE WAY. We'd bet these guys are a BLAST in concert... (Rating: 5)

TAXIRIDE - Imaginate (CD, Sire, Pop)
Do you miss Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young? If so, Taxiride may be the answer to what you've been looking for over the past twenty years since. Yup...churning out catchy pop tunes full of ultra-thick harmonies seems to come to these guys as easy as cream cheese on black sheep. It's an unashamedly upbeat pop experience (which may not be to some folks' liking), but unlike a lot of the commercial pap slapped out by the big companies...this band has the chops and the talent to make their schtick work. If you don't like it ultra slick, then you'll want to steer completely clear of this. It's completely commercialized and accessible (!). Those who like FM radio pop from the seventies will most likely eat this one up! (Not Rated)

This is the one we've been WAITING for!!! Highly touted amongst a small group of reviewers as one of the best new pop bands of the decade (and virtually ignored by everystupidone else), Thin Lizard Dawn is a refreshing pulse of guitar driven melodic pop harmonies. In case you missed the band's self-titled debut disc (it's all over the cheapie bins), it is nothing short of incredible. The same is true of Go. Although not quite as quirky and obtuse as the last release, this disc is chock full of pure pop thrills...charged up melodies beefed up with defined rhythms and chunky guitars...and those heavenly harmonies remain intact. Band leader Greg Lattimer's vocals are absolutely the best...the guy sings with such passion and sincerity that the listener is pulled helplessly into his musical head trip. While the harder edged tunes are killer (as I expected), it's actually the softer, mid-tempo tunes that tug our chains the hardest this time. Top favorites include "Soda Pop & Lemonade" (wow!), "Thrill Ride," "New Kid" (yes!), "Turn Yourself In," and "Under Dina Vinga (Under the Wing)". Heck, that's practically the entire disc... This band runs circles around other bands. We admit that we miss hearing more of the toy instruments, but maybe they'll play 'em more next time around. Uplifting to the max...this one's HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! (Rating: 6)

TODAY IS THE DAY - In The Eyes of God (CD, Relapse, Hate metal)
Few bands spew hatred in such a manner that it is entertaining and creative. Perhaps that is why Today Is The Day is such a refreshing change from your average speed metal/death metal/thrash band. Sure, the band plays the standard blinding harsh noise thing that we've all heard before...but the band's lyrics are WAY better than average. Plus, they have a knack for throwing in odd things that aren't normally associated with death metal (like changes in tempo, natch!). Or...just perhaps...there's an actual believable evilness underneath all the noise and ranting...a hatred and venom that surpasses the average "nasty" band...and a genuine, calculated mistrust for all people and mankind in general. It's neat to hate other people, in any way, shape, or form that you choose. Accordingly, Today Is The Day once again get THE CROWN. Great obnoxious stuff that is certain to have parents climbing the walls... Can you HANDLE it? (Rating: 5)


Ace and the Ragers - Light This Sucker Up! (CD, Pin-Up)
Alastor - Nothing for Anyone (CD, Gate Crasher)
Amen - Sunglow(CD, Primal Music)
Appleseed Cast - Planes Mistaken for Stars/Race Car Riot (CD, Deep Elm)
Ativin - Summing the Approach (CD, Secretly Canadian)
Bloodroses - Demonstrations From the House of Faith (CD, Silversongs)
The Blue Hawaiins - Savage Night (CD, Interscope)
Blue Ryder
(Magazine, Vol. 2)
Bolt Thrower - Who Dares Wins (CD, Earache)
Boukman Eksperyans - Live At Red Rocks (CD, Tuff Gong)
Ralph Carney -I Like You (A Lot) (CD)
Chlorine - Primer (CD, Time Bomb)
The Cinematics - Meringue (CD, Spilt My Soda)
Eric Clapton - Blues (Double CD, Universal)
Billy Crawford (CD, V2)
Nanci Darvish - Hi-fi drowning (CD, Luminous)
The Dingees - Sundown to Midnight (CD, BEC)
Diselboy - A Soldier's Story (CD, Moonshine)
88 Fingers Louie - Kid Dynamite (CD, Sub City)
Engine (CD, Metal Blade)
Entombed - Monkey Puss (Live In London) (CD, Earache)
EQ (Magazine, July 1999)
Falling Sickness - Dysentery (CD, Sub City)
Face To Face - Ignorance Is Bliss (CD, Beyond/BMG)
Fastmusic Kills (CD, Fastmusic)
Fenix tx
(Advance cassette, MCA)
Flamingo (CD, Not Lame)
Kathy Fleischmann - Ten Doors Down (CD, Chess With Death)
The Frantic Flattops - Rock n roll murder (CD, Get Hip)
Godflesh - Us and Them (CD, Earache)
(British Music Magazine)
Highway 13 - Thrill Show! (CD, Get Hip)
The Hippos - Heads Are Gonna Roll (CD, Interscope)
Hit List (Magazine, June/July 1999)
In Extremo - Wekt Die Toten! (CD, Metal Blade)
The Irving Klaws - The pervasonic sounds of... (CD, Get Hip)
The Jackie Papers - I'm in Love (CD, Panic Button)
Jact (CD, Trama)
Jazz is Dead - Laughing Water (CD, Zebra)
Jon Cougar Concentration Camp - Hot Shit (CD, BYO)
Keyboard (Magazine, August 1999)
Jordan Knight (CD, Interscope)
Kowtow Popof - Eat my dust (CD, Wampus)
La Makita Soma - Monkey Island (CD)
Leatherface - Cherry Knowle (CD, BYO)
Leather Hyman - Sunshine and other forms of radiation (CD, A True Classical CD)
Limp Bizkit - Significant Other (CD, Interscope)
The Lures - When I Was Broken (CD, Ten 23)
Mac McAnally - Word of Mouth (CD, Dreamworks)
Justin Mikulka - Consumer (CD)
- Chainsaw Dismemberment (CD, Relapse)
Motorama - Rocket Powder (CD)
MxPx - At The Show (CD, Tooth & Nail)
My Favorite - Love At Absolute Zero (CD, Double Agent)
My Superhero - Station One (CD, Risk)
Neil (Ind. CD)
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Bang Bang Bang (CD, Dreamworks)
Noah's Red Tattoo - Heartbreak Traveling Band (CD, TDM)
Orange 9MM - Pretend I'm Human (CD, BMG)
Other Star People - Diamonds In the Belly of the Dog (CD, A&M)
The Pawn Rook Four - Songs For a Romantic Evening (CD, Super 6)
Peggen - My fluffy period (CD, Primal)
Suzanne Pittson - Resolution (CD, Vineland)
Q.U.E.E.R. Zine (Magazine, #4)
Quickdummies (Zine, #12)
Relix (Magazine, Vol. 26, No. 3)
Return of the Grevious Angel - A Tribute to Gram Parsons (CD, Almo)
Chris Rock - Bigger & Blacker (CD, Dreamworks)
Rodriguez - Swing Like a Metronome (CD, Devil In The Woods)
Run Lola Run - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD, TVT)
Screamfeeder - Kitten Licks (CD, Time Bomb)
Shallow - Jumping away from something exploding (CD, Devil in the Woods)
Bree Sharp - A cheap and evil girl (CD, Trauma)
Sidecar - All those opposed (CD, Fastmusic)
Siggy - Harlow's Girl (CD, Viking Girl)
Sister Carol - Isis (CD, Tuff Gong)
Skunk Anansie - Post Orgasmic Chill (CD, Virgin)
Slipknot (Advance CD, Roadrunner)
The Slippery Ballerina (CD, Casino Music)
The Smarties (CD)
Staring Back - The mean streets of goleta (CD, Lobster)
The Star Room Boys - Why Do Lonely Men and Women (CD, Strictly Bush)
The Statue Factor - A Mission of Five (CD, Nebulon Community)
Step Kings - Let's get it on! (CD, Fantastic Planet)
The Stereo - Three Hundred (CD, Fueld By Ramen)
Stereophonics - Performance and cocktails (CD, V2)
Stroke 9 - Nasty Little Thoughts (CD, Cherry)
Sway & King Tech - This or That (CD, Interscope)
Teenage Frames - 1% Faster (CD, Jump Up!)
This Is Your World (Zine, #3)
Torchbearers - A compilation of 11 club culture vanguards (CD, Risk)
Tormentula - Submit Your Unworthy Soul (CD, Speakeasy)
Twist and Shake (Magazine, #13)
The Verve Pipe (CD, RCA)
The Waking Hours (CD, Time Bomb)
Watts CD, Estrus)
Peter Welker - We'll Be Together Again (CD, Brownstone)
The X-Impossibles (CD, Kick It!)

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