"wee-TAW-did" December 1998 Reviews by

RATING SYSTEM | The Ataris | Babyland | Boredoms | Cowboy Mouth | Dig | Dovetail Joint | Ebeling Hughes | Feverdream | Fine China | The Holiday Season | Lagwagon | Laurie Lindeen | Earle Mankey | Natural Calamity | Noo-Nah and Ping Pong | The Notwist | Oasis | Pop Unknown | Psychic TV | Santa Claus | SIMM | The Solipsistics | Sonia Dada | 12 Rounds | The Yukon and You/Pajama Party in a Haunted Hive

*Additional Items Received*


THE ATARIS - Look Forward to Failure (CD EP, FatWreckChords, Rock/pop)
Not to be confused with Atari Teenage Riot, The Ataris are a Santa Barbara, California based quartet playing hard pop in the grand FatWreckChords style (The Ataris are a Kung Fu Records band on loan to Fat for this EP). The tunes shoot in rapid fire succession...all the while maintaining hooks galore and solid melodic twists. That hard hitting California style power pop fused with buzzsaw guitars never gets old when it's done right...and The Ataris are definitely doing justice to frenetic hard pop. Two tracks were produced by Joey Cape (of Lagwagon) and the rest were produced by Bill Stevenson and Stephen Egerton. Quite the cool band, yah, yah, yah... (Rating: 4)

BABYLAND - Outlive Your Enemies (CD, Mattress, Electronic rock)
Electronic punk pioneers Babyland are back with their fourth full-length release. This band has come a long way since their humble beginnings. While certain constants remain (alienated lyrics, metallic/harsh percussion, general intensity), these guys have expanded upon a formula that already worked. Babyland was...and still is Smith (percussion/noise) and Dan Gatto (electronics, voice). It's interesting how many bands have aped Babyland's sound over the past decade. Despite all the imitators, however, Smith and Dan still have the market cornered on harsh electronic punk. The lyrics are as smart and thought provoking as ever...but this time around the tunes themselves (and particularly the arrangements) are more diverse and challenging. Possibly the best Babyland release yet, Outlive Your Enemies is a disc that demands the listener stand up and take notice. GREAT. Check out the band's web site at http://members.tripod.com/~Smith568/index.html (Rating: 6)

BOREDOMS - Super ar (CD, Birdman, Noise)
Though not exactly hummable, this is a lot more musical than earlier releases from Boredoms...which is not saying a hell of a lot, since the early stuff was almost unlistenable by the average listener's standards. Nowadays, Boredoms seem to be leaving their earlier, noiser terrain in the hands of new artists like To Live and Shave In L.A. In doing so, the band has now opted to produce what might actually be called songs...songs more reminiscent of early material from bands like the Butthole Surfers and/or Amon Duul (remember them?). Despite the new, more edible style this band is still noisy and abrasive to the point that most folks won't be interested. Hopefully, Boredoms will never sell out. After all...that would be so...boring... (Not Rated)

COWBOY MOUTH - Mercyland (CD, MCA, Pop)
Commercial yet damn enjoyable. New Orleans' Cowboy Mouth prove that you can be radio friendly and accessible without churning out shitty tunes. The band's direct, slightly country flavored pop is smooth and clean...yet strong melodies and simple lyrics make this disc stand out from the increasing flood of commercial dribble being peddled by mindless record companies competing to market the "next big thing." Sometimes reminiscent of the Lemonheads ("Great Wide Open World") and at other times The Guess Who ("Shotgun In My Soul"), Cowboy Mouth is playing a style of music we've all heard before...yet they seem quite sincere in their style and delivery. And in the big scheme of things, that means A LOT. (Rating: 4)

DIG - Life Like (CD, Radiouniverse/Universal, Pop)
A few years ago I reviewed a CD by Dig which sounded pretty damn good. I'm glad this band is still at it, as their latest disc has a nice, likable polished sound. The main emphasis is still on multi-layered guitars...and the band's songs are more hummable than ever. Dig is a band that is unafraid to sound commercial. When most bands take such an approach, it is the kiss of death. With Dig, the extreme accessibility only makes the music more endearing. Radio friendly tunes like "Live In Sound," "Life Like," "All Over You," and "Comfortable" make me feel like I'm back in high school digging the tunes I heard on the radio. Neat. (Rating: 4)

DOVETAIL JOINT - 001 (CD, Columbia, Pop/rock)
Lively, likable, and accessible. Perhaps it's just our frames of mind, but lately it seems that there are more and more bands who are able to make accessible music that actually holds water. Chicago's Dovetail Joint is another band proving that you don't have to sound like shit to sell music. Sure, it's a sound we've all heard before...but these folks sound excited about what they're doing and their melodies are good. So...who CARES if it's the most highly original thing that's ever been invented if it's enjoyable? Answer: Not US! We just like to have FUN. Ain't that what it's all about? (Rating: 4)

EBELING HUGHES - Transfigured Night (CD, Zero Hour, Soft pop)
Soft pop infused with subtle electronics which reminds me of the softer side of Pink Floyd as well as another current group called Audio Explorations. Bobby Ebeling's dreamy, ethereal pop tunes are taken to a new level by Chuck Hughes' flair for electronics. Some of the tunes are rather straightforward, others are strangely obtuse. Overall, however, these two create a mood that lasts for an entire disc (a rarity these days)...and they succeed. Fourteen tunes including "Transfigured," Can't You See?," and "Please Thank You." Cool music with just the right attitude. (Rating: 4)

FEVERDREAM - Songs By Strung Out Singles (CD, Satellite, Pop/rock)
Really good hard pop with an aggresive edge. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Feverdream's music is characterized by urgent vocals, fuzzy overdriven guitars, and a driving rhythm section. It's a thick and heady experience to be certain...but the band never forsakes song structure in their mission to make big loud noise. The band has cool rough edges ("Autumn," "Ambivalence") but they also display good sense in tapping into a variety of styles ("Home at the End of the Day," "Frogs," "Interim"). In an age where there really are too many guitar bands that all sound the same, Feverdream stands out as a band with genuine talent and good tunes. Fun stuff. (Rating: 5)

FINE CHINA - Rialto Bridge (CD EP, Velvet Blue Music, Pop)
Mmmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmm! The pairing of Fine China with producer Ronnie Martin (of Joy Electric) is a mighty fine pairing indeed. Both parties were already writing top notch pop. Together, they come up with even top notchier (is that a word?) pop. Fine China tunes are smooth, very calming pop with excellent melodies and ultra catchy melodies. This time around, the band's tunes are more electronic based. The four tunes on this EP: "Comforting, Gondoliering," "Standby," "I'm Sorry" (Joy Electric Remix), and "Rialto Bridge." Excellent stuff. (Rating: 5)

THE HOLIDAY SEASON (Really rotten time of year kind of stupid thing)
Hip hip HOORAY for the HOLIDAYS!!! A time when all the pathetic retards of the world get drunk and fat together and try to pretend they're happy. A time when everyone runs around giving each other presents because they feel guilty or because they feel they owe someone something. A time when families realize how much they truly hate one another, and a time when lovers become disillusioned with their relationships. The only good part of the holiday season is knowing that somewhere out there in the world there are people starving...suffering...and having a miserable goddamn life. Other than that, The Holiday Season is just a bunch of shitty poopoo. So go ahead. Buy your presents. Decorate your trees. Sing your tired ol' singalong songs. And try to immerse yourself in the holiday season so you don't get too depressed and blow your brains out. It'll all start right back again in just a few weeks...and then you'll still be just a big bland retarded blotch of nothing. (Rating: 1)

LAGWAGON - Let's Talk About Feelings (CD, FatWreckChords, Rock/pop)
The increasingly popular Lagwagon is a band that is worthy of the attention they are receiving. Though the band's fast buzzsaw rock/pop is similar to a great many other bands, Lagwagon retain their identity by nature of their clever, catchy, memorable songs. If the folks at FatWreckChords can't sell a million units by Bracket (a band that has always been criminally overlooked by virtually everyone), then Lagwagon may just be the label's ticket to big bucks. This is a band that is aggressive and fast, but they never forsake melody and song structure in the process. Twelve keen tunes including "After You My Friend," "Leave the Light On," "Everything Turns Grey," and "The Kids Are All Wrong" (great song title, eh?). Big rockin' fun. This KICKS! (Rating: 5)

LAURIE LINDEEN - A Pregnant Pause (CD EP, Monolyth Record Group, Pop)
MAN oh MAN. I've been WAITING for this incredible talent to resurface. As leader of the criminally overlooked Zuzu's Petals (one of our top favorite female bands EVER), Laurie Lindeen proved that she was a major force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, both of the great Petals albums virtually fell on dead ears. But fortunately...and for the present...Ms. Lindeen in back doing what she does best...making incredible music. This EP features four original tunes as well as astounding covers of "Don't Go Out Into the Rain" (made popular by Herman's Hermits) and The Bee Gees' "Run To Me." Laurie's songwriting is a bit more focused and mature and the production is much slicker. Her cool intent and totally mindblowing vocals remain intact, however...making this one of the best "comeback" releases of the year. C'mon Ms. Lindeen. Give us a FULL-LENGTH next time around, eh?!? (Rating: 5)

EARLE MANKEY - Earle Mankey (CD, Frigidisk, Pop)
Though I've never heard of the Frigidisk label before now, this new label receives a unanimous round of approving applause from us here in babysueland for having the good sense to release (for the first time on CD) the music of longtime favorite underground pop artist Earle Mankey. Wacko pop tunes like "Mau Mau," "Crazy!," "Weenie Woman," and "Rudy's Arms" sound just as bizarre and cool today as they did when they were originally released. We of course still have all our original vinyl Mankey releases...but that won't stop us from playing the hell out of this CD. It just makes it so much...easier, y'know? Hopefully this disc will turn tons more folks onto this incredible artist who should STILL be recording and releasing music (Are you listening Earle???) instead of simply acting as producer. This stuff is so good...damn, damn, DAMN! (Rating: 6)

NATURAL CALAMITY - Peach Head (CD, Ideal, Soft pop)
Very beautiful soft pop music. Natural Calamity is the duo of Shunji Mori and Kuni Sugimoto (both from Tokyo), but they have several guest artists appearing with them on their latest CD. Peach Head is a successful excursion into soft, bass-driven pop music with a heady feel to the mix. What appeals to me most about the music is the absense of things. Instead of multi-layering (which everyone does to excess in these technologically intense times), Shunji and Kuni have the good sense to keep their pop sparse...and in doing so, they set themselves apart in a very subtle way. All the tunes are quite excellent, but our particular faves are "Dark Water & Stars," "Jessica," and "As You Know (Anything Could Happen)." (Rating: 5)

NOO-NAH AND PING PONG (Some kind of imaginary whatever sort of things)
Noo-Nah and Ping Pong sat proudly atop a large pile of doodoo they had created in the middle of cottageland, when all of a sudden there was a loud knocking at the door. "Whoever could THAT be?" asked Noo-Nah. "Maybe if we don't answer the door they will go away..." suggested Ping Pong. The knocking did not stop, however. Instead, it became increasingly louder until finally the two whatever-they-weres could no longer stand it. "I am going to open the door now!" exclaimed Noo-Nah. As he opened the door, he suddently felt his breath being taken away and all the moisture was slowly vaporized from his body. He cried out for help. Ping Pong sat confused upon the doodoo, wondering what she should do next. "I don't think I'll do anything," Ping Pong quipped. "There's always more noo-nah where that one came from..." (Rating: 1)

THE NOTWIST - Shrink (CD, Zero Hour, Experimental pop)
This German band is a hard one to pigeonhole. The music is basically pop, but there's a peculiar thread running through it that's hard to define. They've released a slew of stuff, so that may explain why the latest disc is so well thought out and cleanly produced. Even with the slightly skewed sound, this is a much more accessible CD than the band's last couple of efforts...so perhaps they'll have more success with this one. There's plenty of cool moody pop here...from the strangely hummable "Day 7" to the almost Laurie Anderson-esque "O-4," this band challenges the listener in a very subtle way. Neat pop with a difference. (Rating: 4)

OASIS - The Masterplan (CD, Epic, Pop)
This CD, from the band that everyone loves or hates, is a collection of Oasis tunes that were formerly only available as b-sides or on hard-to-find British singles and EPs. This collection of tunes will ultimately please the fans, and probably again alienate those who have always hated Oasis. I'm a fence sitter (which is rare). While I don't love this band's sound, I certainly don't hate it. Hey...for commercial music there's much WORSE stuff out there... (Rating: 3)

POP UNKNOWN - Summer Season Kills (CD, Deep Elm, Pop)
Dreamy, just a tad psychedelic, and soothing...Pop Unknown was formed by two fellows formerly of the bands Mineral and Feed Lucy). The moody, shifting guitars are the fain focus of this band's tunes...with subtle yet appropriate melodies completing the picture. This band's approach is sincere, and they've got solid tunes. Five tunes, including "Follow You," "Your Own Personal Wedding," and "Tipping the Scale." A band to watch. (Not Rated)

PSYCHIC TV - The Origin of the Species (Double CD, Invisible/Caroline, Early rave/techno)
This is the first in a three part series of re-releases of material by Psychic TV, the band where infamous Genesis P-Orridge got his claim to fame. It is interesting hearing this music in retrospect, as the music and particularly the electronics sound so tame in comparison to what's out there in today's market. An interesting slice of history, this double CD contains not only original material from the band's early CDs but extra remixes and live tracks as well. These tunes go all over the place, ranging from techno to dance to ambient to spacey pop...to whatever. Excellent packaging (including a glossy and informative booklet) completes the package...making this a must for Psychic TV fans and a good introduction to those who missed out the first time around... (Not Rated)

SANTA CLAUS (Ho ho ho jolly old fat holiday kind of thing)
Do you believe in Santa Claus? Whether you do or whether you don't, you might be interested to know that jolly ol' Santa doesn't give a goddamn about you. In fact, he doesn't even care whether you live or die. And he wouldn't be delivering presents if he wasn't paid to do it. That generous old smile hides the spirit of the devil. Santa hates, rapes, and kills...and then laughs his ho ho ho fatass all the way to the bank. Fractured famlies everywhere. Happy holidays? Have a shitty holiday season...because it's such a stupid waste of time and money. (Rating: 1)

SIMM - Welcome (CD, Invisible, Dub/electronic)
SIMM is the solo project of Eraldo Bernocchi, who most folks will probably know for his work with Bill Laswell, Mick Harris, and Kondo. Mr. Bernocchi's work falls into the same category as the folks he has worked with. This is dark, creepy dub/trip hop music with lots of cool production tricks. The bass is way up front, the beats almost hypnotic, and the sound effects peculiar and surreal. It all adds up to quite a good listen. This is almost certain to appeal to Scorn fans. Originally released on the British Possible label... (Not Rated)

THE SOLIPSISTICS - Whatever Makes You Happy (CD, Frigidisk, Pop), Wish In One Hand (CD, Frigidisk, Pop)
There are so many bands out there with unimaginative names and almost all of them sound just like each other. Here's a band that is as original as their name...and their sound is about as hard to describe as the name is difficult to pronounce. What a breath of fresh air in a climate where there are so many stale artists all shooting for the same image and sound (!). Sparse and simple in the best kind of way, The Solipsistics' songs stand out as wonderfully imaginative snippets of pop that derive from a wild variety of sources. Singer/songwriter Jeffrey Owen McGregor has to be one of the best kept secrets around. Both of these CDs were recorded with pop legend Earle Mankey at the controls. I could try to begin to name influences...early Roxy Music, The Beatles, Stackridge, John Cale (Paris 1919 era)...the list could go on and on. The important thing to remember is that these two discs are wonderful little obscurities that are WAY WORTH GOING OUT OF YOUR WAY TO FIND. (How many CDs can you say that about nowadays?) Quite simply one of the best new artists we've heard all year. I often wonder why I spend my time plowing through the ever increasing stack of music in this goddamn office. Now I know why. WOW! See the label's web site at www.frigidisk.com. (Rating: 6)

SONIA DADA - My Secret Life (CD, Capricorn, R & B/soul/pop)
Instantly infectious (mainly) R & B music that'll make your toes start tapping. This eight-piece Chicago band has a nice organic sound that is built upon tight rhythms and soulful vocals. It's a big singalong jamboree where everyone kicks out the jams and has a good time kicking. It's the time when the lights go out and the smoke begins to rise. It's the time when "Things Change" and "Get To You" before "Morning Comes"...and you end up in "Paradise." The tunes on My Secret Life will appeal to a wide range of people because of the sincerity of the performers and because of the wide variety of styles the band incorporates into their music. This one sounds DAMN good. (Rating: 5)

12 ROUNDS (Live performance, November 9, 1998)
Playing as the opening act for Marilyn Manson is not an easy thing. Attempting to appease hoards of swarming Manson fans was the task at hand for newcomers 12 Rounds, but they didn't seem uncomfortable with the situation. The band's somewhat droning, slightly industrial rock came across a bit harsher in concert than in their recorded work...and the lead singer proved that she's got some major power going on with her vocals. Visually, the band resembled new wave bands from the eighties...but the sound was decidedly nineties. Though the band played an adequate set and seemed confident, unfortunately the crowd just was not mentally in synch with the band on this particular evening. They were much, MUCH more concerned with seeing Mr. Manson to be bothered by an opening band...no matter WHO it was. In effect, 12 Rounds put on a decent show that would have been far, far more entertaining in a small club... (Not Rated)

Everyone being able to record excellent quality music in their home studios is a bad thing and a good thing. It is a bad thing because lots of people make music for all the wrong reasons, and we end up with a glut of independent releases that aren't worth hearing. On the other hand, there are those artists whose music shines with sincerity and creativity...and those are the artists who easily stand out from an increasingly overcrowded music market. This split CD featuring The Yukon and You and Pajama Party in a Haunted Hive (two bands from Boise, ID) is bursting with sincerity and youthful enthusiasm. You can tell from listening to this that these folks had a great time making their music, and it is amazingly good (particularly for an independent project). Real poppy stuff...done really well. The band's music can be purchased through their web site at http://www.geocities.com/sunsetstrip/plaza/5198. (Not Rated)


Adamski's Thing - Adamski's Thing (CD, Universal)
Aldersgate - Dream While You Can (Independent CD)
Bare Jr.
- Boo-Tay (CD, Epic)
Behind the Day - Journey of a Vampire (CD, Domo)
Belloluna - Livid and Loving It (CD, Daemon)
BE/NON - Meet the Person Most Responsible For Your Safety (CD, Turnbuckle)
Blood Red Battle Royal - Various Artists (CD, Blood Red Vinyl & Discs)
Blue Flannel - XL (CD, Universal)
Brian Bromberg
- You Know That Feeling (CD, Zebra, Jazz)
Burton Corea Metheny Haynes Holland - Like Minds (CD, Concord)
The Calicoes - Rumble (CD, Velvet Blue Music)
Jenny Choi - Bittersweet (CD, Ona)
Eric Core - Releasing the Dog Within (CD, Royal Earthen Troves Music)
Cross My Heart - Cross My Heart (CD, Deep Elm)
Da Losers - Mild Obsession (Independent CD)
Taylor Dayne - Naked Without You (CD, Neptune/River North)
DealWright - Searchin' For a Paradise (Independent CD)
Dime Arcade - Free Game (Independent CD)
Epstein's Mother - Epstein's Mother (Independent CD)
EQ (Magazine, November 1998)
Essential Media (Catalog, Version 3.0)
Facilities (Magazine, October 1998)
Fifty Tons of Black Terror - Demeter (Double CD, Beggars Banquet)
Rebekah Florence - Mexican Prozak (CD, Under Stress)
Freeloaders - Northwest Coast (CD, Sunburn)
Full - Hotdogwater Cocktail (CD, ACME Ent.)
Gene & Mimi - 36th Street (CD, Pensive)
Groop Dogdrill - Half Nelson (CD, Beggars Banquet)
Hang 10 - Various Artists (CD, American Pop Project)
Hard Core Logo - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD, Velvel)
Hardknocks Records
- Lucky #13 Sampler (CD, Hardknocks, Various artists)
Gene Harris & The Philip Morris All-Stars - Live (CD, Concord)
Hate Dept. - Release It (CD, Restless)
The Heath Brothers - Jazz Family (CD, Concord)
Hefner - Breaking God's Heart (CD, Beggars Banquet)
Hempilation 2 - Free The Weed (CD, Capricorn, Various artists)
Hurl - We Are Quiet In This Room (CD, My Pal God)
Inside Out - Putting It Out There (Independent CD)
Robert Jackson - Personal Jesus (CD, AIF)
Janus Stark - Great Adventure Cigar (CD, Trauma/Earache)
Jon Cougar Concentration Camp - Melon (CD, BYO)
Jupiter Coyote - Here Be Dragons (CD, Roadrunner)
Kid Rock - Devil Without a Cause (CD, Atlantic)
Kittens - The Night Danger Album (CD, Sonic Unyon)
Latex Generation - Boysrock (CD, Onefoot)
Making a Scene - Making A Scene (CD, Temperamental, Various artists)
Mankind Liberation Front - Center of the Universe (12" vinyl EP, AlphaState)
Mankind Liberation Front - Mankind Liberation Front (CD, so13)
Meet Joe Black - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD, Univeral, Various artists)
The Monsoon Bassoon - "In The Iceman's Back Garden" b/w "Pyramid" (British import 7" vinyl single, Weird Neighborhood Records)
Muddle (Magazine, Issue #14)
MxPx - Let It Happen (CD, Tooth & Nail)
The My Pal God Holiday Record - Various Artists (CD, My Pal God)
Neutrino - Improved Hearing Through Amplification (CD, Reptillian)
Nomad - Affairs of the Heart (Independent CD)
Omega Supreme - Daisies EP (7" vinyl EP, Something's Cookin)
Pallid Pilgrim (Newsletter, Fall/Winter 1998-1999)
Pigface - Eat Shit You Fucking Redneck (CD, Invisible)
Pineal Ventana - Expel (CD, ShoeString)
Plastic Compilation - Volume 02 (CD, Nettwerk, Various artists)
POPsmear (Magazine, Issue #18.0)
Primordial Blues - Beyond Blue (CD, Dali's Llama)
Pro Sound News (Magazine, November 1998)
Radiobaghdad - 665: Neighbor of the Beast! (CD, Onefoot)
Replication News (Magazine, November 1998)
Replication News (Magazine, October 1998)
Rialto - Rialto (CD, Sire)
The Rugrats Movie
- Music From the Motion Picture (CD, Interscope, Various artists)
Runaways UK - Classic Tales (CD, Arcade America)
Poncho Sanchez - Afro-Cuban Fantasy (CD, Concord)
SACPOP - Compilation (CD, Poprockit)
Sepultura- Against (CD, Roadrunner)
Shithook - When A Boyscout Gets the Blues (Independent CD)
Sinister Sirens - Demence (Independent CD)
Skinny Puppy - Remix Dystemper (CD, Nettwerk)
Harry Smith - Call Up (Independent Australian CD)
Superman Curl - Soundcheck (CD, Amp)
Swingin' Utters - The Sounds Wrong E.P. (CD EP, FatWreckChords)
Tales - Interstellar Memories (French import CD, Sit)
Two Man Advantage - Drafted (CD, Royalty)
U2 - The B-Sides (CD, Island, Shitty music)
Jeroan Van Aichen - Today Was Different (Independent CD)
Todd Washko - Going Somewhere (CD, Radionic)
Witchery - Restless & Dead (CD, Necropolis)
Youth Brigade - Out of Print (CD, BYO)

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