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July 2000 Reviews by

RATING SYSTEM | A Request For All Young Mothers | Willie Akins | The Boondock Saints | Richard Davies | The Diane Linkletter Experience | Galactic Cowboys | Harpsichord 2000 | Huevos Rancheros | The Kitty Vermont | Patty Larkin | Lorenzo's Music | The Lucky Stars | Billie Myers | Nashville Pussy | The Nerve Agents | Yuji Oniki | Queens of the Stone Age | Quick Fix | The Quiet Room | Raven | Sgt. Rock | Sonic Youth | Standing Up For What You Believe In | Suicide | Vader | Vasoline Tuner | Why Did Martin Mull Stop Making Music?


A Request For All Young Mothers (Obvious request for young little mini-mommas)
Are you young and pregnant? Are you confused about your pregnancy? Can't decide where to have your baby? And are you confused about what to do with your baby after you have given birth to it? Relax and feel at peace with the universe...because there is a simple solution for all of you young mothers-to-be out there in future parentland. When your time comes, you need not call friends or your family or a midwife or even the hospital. Simply prance your prannie into the bathroom and let your baby drop into the toilet. It is easy, simple, and clean. All the potential mess will go right where it belongs...deep down into the sewer. And once your not-so-precious little lump of human flesh pushes its head out of your swolen hole, it will then drop gently down into a dirty pool of water...only to drown in a pile of your waste material and blood. The important thing to bear in mind is that the unfortunate little byproduct of your sexual misconduct isn't going to amount to anything anyway. And deep down you already know that it will only make your life more difficult as well increase your living expenses. Soooo....why not do us all a favor and give birth in the best place possible. Have your baby in the toilet, future mothers of the world. You'll be GLAD that you DID... (Rating: 6)

Willie Akins - Alima (CD, Catalyst, Jazz)
Tenor and soprano saxophone player Willie Akins has been crafting his skill for the past 40 years...and it certainly shows on his latest CD, Alima. Brimming over the top with nice sultry jazz, this collection of recordings effectively captures the essence of true jazz genius. Akins penned three of the tunes, while the remaining eight were written by others. Whether playing his own compositions or offering his own slant on the work of other songwriters, Akins has a unique way of getting his message across simply by making his instrument talk. Of course, one cannot discount the ambitious and wildly talented backing trio which consists of Simon Rowe (piano), Willem von Hombracht (bass), and Montez Coleman (drums). This is truly dreamy and beautiful stuff. Tasty and totally impeccable... (Rating: 5)

The Boondock Saints - Release the Hounds (CD, Lava/Atlantic, Rock/pop)
Man, these guys have a cool visual image happening. Two brothers head the band, and they look like they're identical twins. To make things even more striking, the bass player and drummer also look like they could be twins (or brothers, at least)...although they are not. Once you get past the image, the music is much more standard. The Boondock Saints are basically a loud pop band who base their tunes around overdriven guitars that one would normally associate with a heavy metal band. But while the rhythms are macho and the guitars really loud, the vocals consist of real singing (as opposed to screaming). The overall sound is appealing. These guys are obviously looking for commercial success, and they are likely to achieve it. This is the sort of thing that teenage boys will lick up off the kitchen floor...and there's nothing wrong with that. If you don't mind your loud rock polished up a bit, you'll get a lot of bang out of this. (Rating: 3)

Richard Davies - Barbarians (CD, Kindercore, Pop/rock)
Although still virtually unknown in the big scheme of things, in the world of underground music Richard Davies has already achieved legendary status. As a former member of the Australian band The Moles, Mr. Davies eventually opted for releasing his own solo material...quickly garnering rave reviews from hipster writers all over the world. Barbarians is an interesting CD. Equally sincere and quirky, the tunes on this disc are not your standard pop fare. The compositions have a cool random nature, sometimes sounding as if the ideas came to Davies spontaneously as the band was playing in the studio. There are no obvious influences to mention, although there are thousands of similarities to other bands. The haunting vocals and accidental guitar lines are a refreshing change of pace from too many popsters who all sound the same. Lots of cool tunes here like "Palo Alto" and "May" make this disc a very cool listen... (Rating: 4)

The Diane Linkletter Experience - Too Hard to Disguise (CD, Vital Cog, Pop/rock)
With all the bands and artists out there trying so desperately to stand out...inevitably it always seems as if the true originals are the ones who just let it come naturally. The latter is the case with the humorously titled Diane Linkletter Experience. The band's subtle yet extremely effective pop music flows by as easily as a slice of Mammy's blueberry pie. These fellows have a wonderful way of turning a tune, as is evidenced by cool ditties like "Never Gonna Tell," "Human Furs," "Please," and our favorite..."Crime of the Century." Simple guitar rock without frills, attitude, or gimmicks... The Diane Linkletter Experience is a nice fresh blast of uplifting pop. A nod of the head to the always vital Vital Cog label for sending this CD out WITHOUT a press release, biography, or (vomit) publicity photo. After all...when the music is already great, does one NEED to try and sell everyone with a bunch of paper garbage? Certainly not. This band sells themselves based solely on their talent and skill. Real NEAT. (Rating: 5)

Galactic Cowboys - Let It Go (CD, Metal Blade, Pop)'s been a while since we've heard from Galactic Cowboys. And when we first popped this CD in our player, our first reaction was...OH NO WHAT HAPPENED...?!? But...fear not...the first "tune" on this CD has nothing WHATSOEVER to do with the rest of the disc (?!?). Thank God...because for just a few brief moments we thought the Cowboys had given up their great British influenced pop sound to jump on that awful goddamn rap/hip-hop bandwagon. NOT SO...because as soon as the second track ("T.I.M.") rips through your speakers, you realize that these guys are still clearly on the RIGHT TRACK. Though this band's overall sound is quite accessible, don't think for a minute that they aren't smart, inventive, and original. The Cowboys' sound is filled to the tip top with churning guitars and vocal harmonies (a la Badfinger) that would make a proud bastard smile hard. But melodies are where these fellows really show their sturdy stuff...the melody lines soar up and down and just gush with excitement and energy. So many SUPER tunes here...but the initial standouts for us are "Life and Times" (WOWWWWWW!!!), "Another Hill," and "Bucket of Chicken." This band will appeal to fans of King's X...who they just happen to be friends with (!). Great stuff. (Rating: 5)

Harpsichord 2000 - Harpsichord 2000 (Italian import CD, S.H.A.D.O., Experimental pop)
Are you ready for the (re)invasion of the...harpsichord? Well ready or comes Italy's Harpsichord 2000...a various artists compilation of dreamy electronics to trip all over your sloppy plate. As you might guess, the main instrument is the often ignored harpsichord (an instrument that we have always felt deserves more attention). The tunes themselves go all over the place...ranging from silly to pensive to bizarre and back again. The territory these artists are working in is similar to (but in no way a rip off of) Stereolab. There are lots of sixties influences floating around in the mix as well as a healthy dose of synthesizers (to make things sound even MORE odd than they already are). Vocals bounce back and forth from male to female. The overall sound of this disc is something like the soundtrack to a 1960s James Bond flick...but better. There is a lot to munch on here...23 tunes, to be exact. Bands featured include Harpsichord in Hi-Fi, Valvola, Die Moulinettes, The Secret Goldfish, Stereo Total...and tons more. Lots of inventive ideas abound throughout, making this a cool audio feast. Check out this obtuse Italian label's web site at We like this baby A LOT. (Rating: 5)

Huevos Rancheros - Muerte del Toro (CD, Mint, Guitar instrumentals)
Guitar instrumental twang bangers Huevos Rancheros are back with their fourth release. Produced by Dave Alcock (of Chixdiggit fame), Muerte del Toro contains more cool rockers that are sure to please the band's continually growing fan base. Much to the band's credit, their sound is more rock than surf...and their approach focused more on playing simply rather than playing too much (which, in the case with guitar instrumental bands, is RARE indeed). Yup, Brent, Richie, and Tom sure know how to crank out some mighty tasty rock tunes...and because they keep it simple, they win...AGAIN. Good drivin' music... See the label's web site at (Rating: 4)

The Kitty Vermont - Wonderful You (CD, Motorcoat, Soft pop)
The Kitty where do you suppose the name came from? We cannot even wager a guess... Sporting a soft semi-technological sound with a slightly French twist, main Kitty Mark Proksch provides plenty of nice soothing easy listening pop with a different flair on Wonderful You. By utilizing unconventional instruments and experimenting within the confines of his nicely hummable songs, Mr. Proksch is able to carve out his own unique identity in this sometimes overwhelming world where it sometimes seems that everyone and his pineapple chariot is recording music (!). The song titles on this disc are great. You can check out the label's web site at Quite the diggable one, this... (Rating: 4)

Patty Larkin - Regrooving the Dream (CD, Vanguard, Soft pop)
Previous Windham Hill recording artist Patty Larkin has a comfortable new home on the Vanguard label. Though Ms. Larkin has been recording and releasing material since the mid 1980s, this is the first full-length release we have heard. The tunes on Regrooving the Dream are pensive, subtle, and provocative soft pop pieces that are both sincere in delivery and original in style. Instead of going the easy route of providing a steady drone of easy listening pop dribble, Ms. Larkin instead opts to challenge the listener with unconventional arrangements...singing in a nice husky voice that is simultaneously haunting and arresting. This multi-talented lady plays a wide variety of instruments, but also invites help from a wealth of other choice friends...rounding out the sound and making this CD a substantial and inviting listen. Very mature and thought provoking cheese food here...! Check out the label's web site at (Rating: 5)

Lorenzo's Music - Schematic (CD, Crustacean, Rock/pop)
Whereas most new artists have a sound and style that is esoteric and difficult, Lorenzo's Music are starting out with a rather accessible sound and style. The press release probably offers the best comparison. These six guys sound something like Tom Waits singing tunes penned by Elvis Costello. The sound is full, punctuated by an intelligent horn section. The music ranges from swift pop to bluesy stuff to just about whatever. Nice sounding material, and just slightly different. Neat. (Rating: 4)

The Lucky Stars - Hollywood & Western (CD, Ipecac, Western/hillbilly/swing)
Way back when and once upon a time, the Squirrel Nut Zippers proved that you could revive music from the past with passion and style. But that was early in their career, before they were eaten butt, smut, and zipper by the incredible demands of instant stardom. What the Zippers did for their genre, The Lucky Stars are doing for hillbilly swing. Instead of pseudo pandering and mindless meandering, this swell band plays music that sounds as genuine as their original heros ( which include Bob Wills, Hank Thompson, Merle Travis, Tex Williams, and others). The music is pure and simple, somewhat silly, and as true to form as you can get in the year 2000. One listen to Hollywood & Western and your toes will be popping right off of your feet and going to tinseltown. See the band's web site at (Rating: 4)

Billie Myers - Vertigo (CD, Universal, Pop)'re probably thinking...those nasty LMNOP folks are going to RIP the new Billie Myers CD to SHREDS...right? Well, once are WRONG. Although we are usually turned off totally by big time popular artist the case of Billie Myers, we are actually rather impressed. Sure, the music has an unnecessary amount of gloss and polish...but underneath all the studio crassness there are actually some rather neat tunes here...and Ms. Myers' gushy vocal style is demanding and unique. Upon playing this, we were surprised to find that we were actually tapping our toesies and singing right along as we began to grovel and paw. Does everything that is good have to be noisy and weird? Certainly NOT. There is always good stuff out there in the world...even in the usually disappointing world of commercial music. Vertigo is a refreshing dose of accessible pop music from a solid new star. Cool stuff here! (Rating: 3)

Nashville Pussy - High As Hell (CD, TVT, Rock)
We've admired this band's name and image for some time now...but it is only with the release of High As Hell that we have actually had the opportunity to hear an entire album. Call us late bloomers...or call us caught in a dormant fog...but even though we're late, you can color us awfully goddamn impressed with Nashville Pussy (!). The band's blend of ultra-hard rock with redneck attitude and a heavy emphasis on sexuality and drugs is as engaging as hell. We were particularly surprised to find that although there are two lovely ladies in the band (sexy, SEXY!), it is actually the heavy hairy white guy (also sexy, SEXY...) who handles the lead vocals. And what a voice this man has. His method of screaming/singing sounds very reminiscent of Alice Cooper from the Killer era. Just as good as the tunes are the titles and subject material: "Struttin' Cock," "She's Got the Drugs," "High As Hell," "Blowjob From a Rattlesnake"... Listening to this music, we get the definite feeling that these folks actually ARE living the lifestyle they are singing about. Which is to say...we thinks these folks like to get high as hell and PARTY DOWN. Bigass fun in the best sort of way. Produced by Kurt Bloch (easily one of the best songwriters, guitarists, AND producers of our era), this CD will KICK YOUR PORK DOWN YOUR PANCAKE BATTER. Nice, thick, and meaty sound served up just right for a generation that doesn't give a goddamn. Greeeeeeeaaaaat STUFF! (Rating: 5)

The Nerve Agents - Days of the White Owl (CD, Revelation, Rock)
Although the band might prefer to be labeled as a punk band, in actuality The Nerve Agents would more accurately be categorized as a hard, fast, and loud rock band that is very reminiscent of The Candy Snatchers. This is the sort of out-of-control rock music that teenagers and college students relate to...and the sort of thing that drives everyone over 30 running for cover. The rhythms are tight and furious...the guitars loud and intense...and the vocals are an exercise in crisis mismanagement. After spinning this here disker twice...we'd be willing to bet our whiskers that these fellows are one of the most wild and over-the-edge live bands out there. This disc is so loud and intense that it literally seems to crawl right out of the CD player. An unforgettable experience for sure, Days of the White Owl is one CRAZY goddamn CD...! VERY INTENSE. (Rating: 4)

Yuji Oniki - Orange (CD, Future Farmer Recordings, Soft pop)
Nice sparse soft pop music with just a slight difference. Yuji Oniki's style of writing, singing, and playing is just a bit off center. The tunes sound somewhat familiar...yet there is something very slight and subtle that is definitely very unfamiliar. Mr. Oniki shifts languages during the course of this disc, which is VERY cool! These songs come across as personal glimpses of this man's experiences and views of the world. The arrangements are delicately woven to create a solid backdrop for some very engaging soft pop numbers. Collaborators on this CD include Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices), Bill Swan (Beulah), and Steve St. (Beulah). In addition to cool songs and stellar arrangements, Mr. Oniki's vocals are also WAY above average. His soft breathy vocal style is both engaging and perfect for the style of music he creates. Very relaxing and reflective stuff... (Rating: 4)

Queens of the Stone Age - Rated R (CD, Interscope, Rock/pop)
Cool moody rock music with a difference. The title track grabbed our nuts right off the bat with its obsessive repetition of the lyric "Nicotine, valium, hycodan, marijauna, ecstasy and alcohol." We've not certain about this, but we get the impression that this band JUST MIGHT BE advocating illicit drug use (!). Those bad, BAD evil rock musicians. Promoting things that are bad for people. How could they? The propulsive repetition of the title track will surely lure you into this band's hemisphere...after which you will most likely continue to be hooked by cool tunes like "Leg of Lamb," "Better Living Through Chemistry," and "Quick And To The Pointless." Intelligent lyrics and smart songwriting abound throughout this CD. The amazing part? This band is actually (gasp!)...POPULAR. This is one of those rare cases where the general public is actually supporting something GOOD. That don't happen very often now...DO it?!? You can check out the band's web site at Great stuff. (Rating: 5)

Quick Fix - Get Yours (CD, Man With A Gun, Rock/pop)
Attitude is definitely alive and raw on the debut CD from Quick Fix. This Boston band has a nice hard edgy sound with just the right amount of pop thrown in to make the tunes work. The guys in the band can all play like holy hell. Shayne Phillips (drums), Paul Natale (bass), and Jake Zavracky (guitar/vocals) conjure up a great big goddamn sound for just three people (!). The lyrics are snotty and sometimes rude which fits in nicely with the band's slightly trashy glam rock stance. If you're looking for loud stuff that you can sing along with (as well as dance to), you'll probably get a big bang out of Quick Fix. These guys definitely rock BIG TIME...and from the sound of this disc, we'd bet they are major fun in concert. Good stuff...! Check out the label's web site at (Rating: 4)

The Quiet Room - Reconceive (CD, Metal Blade, Progressive metal)
"Progressive metal" may sound like an odd term, but it aptly describes the thick, complicated, and abrasive sound of The Quiet Room. Although the band has been around for no less than eight years, this is only their second full-length release. The Quiet Room has gone through some personnel changes, but apparently the changes have been for the better. The sound is centered around huge overdriven guitars and a blinding rhythm section, but instead of just blaring away at top volume into oblivion (as most death metal bands seem to do), these guys layer in lots of stuff that you wouldn't normally expect...such as heavenly backing vocals, synthesizers, and various other odd effects that keep the listener in a sort of peculiar quandry. The band's style is by no means standard, and their approach...though similar in many ways to other actually quite unique. One minute they're a head banging nightmare...and the next minute they're soft cuddley kitty cats. The mixture of sounds and styles works in the band's favor...making Reconceive a complex and innovative blend of musical stylings... (Rating: 4)

Raven - One For All (CD, Metal Blade, Metal/pop)
Heavy metal popsters Raven know how to turn it up and crank away. These guys are definitely tight where it counts...rocking out with fiery intensity on virtually every track of One For All. These guys have been at it since the 1980s and it shows. Their playing is punctuated with power and style...and the vocalist has a very believable scream/singing style that is just right for the band's arena rock sound. Raven will most likely appeal to big fans of Rush... (Rating: 3)

Sgt. Rock - Live the Dream (CD, Beggars Banquet/Wiiija, Electronic/dance)
The problem with the vast majority of dance music is that the people making it take themselves too seriously. That just may be what separates Sgt. Rock from the rest of the pack. Instead of overly serious pandering, the Seargent (a.k.a. Jim Burke) creates dance crazy electronic compositions that are almost silly in nature. But that is exactly what makes this CD so endearing. Mr. Burke doesn't seem as if he is trying to impress anyone, as much as he is simply interested in providing some great dance beats and strangely repetitive tunes. And instead of overworking his music (which is so prevalent among many electronic recording artists), Mr. Burke leaves enough space in his recordings to give the listener space...and move and enjoy. Crazy, funky, and fun. (Rating: 4)

Sonic Youth - NYC Ghosts & Flowers (CD, Geffen, Rock)
Almost everyone has a definite opinion about Sonic Youth. Folks either love 'em or hate 'em. On the issue of the youths who happen to be sonic, we are actually fence sitters. While we appreciate the band's experimental tendencies, our opinion has generally been that we like what we hear...but we are not completely blown away. Our opinion changes not with the release of NYC Ghosts & Flowers. The disc has interesting twists for sure...and the band still delves into noisiness for noisinesses sake. "Free City Rhymes" is distant and bizarre, yet somehow lacks focus...and such is the case with the remaining seven cuts. This music is enjoyable, but in the end doesn't really stay with us. Interesting in a subtle way, yet somehow distant and lacking true focus... (Not Rated)

Standing Up For What You Believe In (Ridiculous sort of idea meant for morons kind of thing)
From the moment we are born, we are constantly persuaded to "express ourselves"... to "speak what is on our minds"...and, above all, to "stand up for what we believe in." These ideas are embedded into our consciousness in schools, films, books, television, and by our parents and friends. we all know...these very things that are embedded into our brains are actually GREAT BIG LIES. The truth of the matter is that everyone wants you to stand up for what you believe in...AS LONG AS it fits in with their idea of what is RIGHT and GOOD. Never has there been a better case in point than baseball player John Rocker. For once (and only once), a famous baseball player actually says WHAT HE REALLY THINKS about people and the world...and what happens? Everyone belittles him and turns against him, and he is harrassed to no end. So in actuality, what people really want is for others to LIE to them. Even though everyone CLAIMS that everyone should stand up for what they believe in, in actuality they only want to hear specific (and very narrow) viewpoints...and when anyone's views don't fit in with what is considered to be "polite" or "socially acceptable" then everyone gets angry. And of course, the main issue that everyone is so upset about is the fact that Mr. Rocker "hates" other what does the public do? They express their "hatred" for him. That makes A LOT of sense now, doesn't it? So dear readers, if you think that standing up for what you believe in is the thing to do...THINK AGAIN. If you actually want the support of all those retarded jerkoff turds all over the world, then the best thing to do is to LIE. Say what they want to hear, even if you don't believe it. After all, that's what all the really FAMOUS and POWERFUL people do...and look how good it works for THEM... (Rating: 1)

Suicide - Half Alive (CD, ROIR, Experimental)
Who would've thought when they first hit the scene that Suicide would have such lasting and dramatic effects??? Although nowadays it seems that everyone and his barnhole brother is screwing around with electronics and screaming like panda bears in heat, way back in the early 1980s when Suicide were doing their one else WAS. And for that reason, pure and simple, Alan Vega and Martin Rev have secured their own unique niche in the history of pop music and electronica. This CD is a re-release of the original ROIR cassette-only release from 1981 with three extra tracks added. Weird electronics...and lots of screaming...just what you would expect from early Suicide. Either you like it or you hate it. In these here parts, we always kinda like hearin' people scootin' around on their instruments like they have worms or sumpin'. This was weird sounding stuff then...and it still sounds weird NOW. Probably only for electronic nuts and Suicide buffs, Half Alive is an exercise in dementia... The label's web site is (Rating: 4)

Vader - Litany (CD, Metal Blade, Death/speed/metal)
Music to induce heart attacks. Death and/or speed metal is alive and well, as is evidenced by the latest release from Europe's Vader. This band will throw you splattered and smattered into a brick wall and leave you there to die. This is one of those cases where you will actually have to hear the band to believe how incredibly FAST they play. The rhythms are so furious that it becomes quite difficult to discern what is going on...but to tide you through the murky and decaying waters you can always rely on that harsh and hateful screaming snarl of a vocalist to pull you through. And just as soon as one tune has slapped you hard on the hiney, along comes another to punish you some more. There are probably VERY FEW folks who can withstand or listen to this sort of music...which probably makes diehard Vader fans even MORE diehard than they already are. Fast, harsh, loud, abrasive, insensitive, satanic, and awkward in a very mean sort of way...Vader gives death metal a GOOD name. We thinks this sounds as neato as a great big ol' bingo dolly. Happy days are for floaters... (Rating: 4)

Vasoline Tuner - Solid Gold Shopping Cart (CD, Hallucinatti 22 Music, Rock/pop)
Really fun...really druggy music...! If you thought psychedelic meant boring, think again. There is SMART drug music...and then there is redundant droning CRAPPY DRUG music (the latter of which seems to be the norm in most cases). Vasoline Tuner create very engaging, very surreal SMART drug music that just happens to be psychedelic as hell...while still retaining definite pop sensibilities underneath the bizarre haze of nightmarish arrangements and semi-psychotic vocals. The band's sound is thick, but certainly not overproduced. In addition to the slightly scary and intense sound, the band comes up with some KILLER lyrics and song titles. "Nobody Takes My Calls," "Little Bubbles," "Bambi Meat"...these guys' lyrics are smart and funny to boot. While listening to the overwhelming assault of the music, you almost forget how ridiculous the words are (which is a BIG compliment in this campground, natch...). These three guys may be playing to a very small audience who just happens to be smart enough to understand their sense of humor. Want something REALLY and TRULY different? Vasoline Tuner are IT. Lots of GREAT stuff here...!!! This should appeal to fans of early Flaming Lips material. You can e-mail the band at We LOVE this... (Rating: 5)

Why Did Martin Mull Stop Making Music? (Puzzling sort of thought sort of thing)
Does anyone remember all those GREAT albums Martin Mull released many, many years ago? Man, he was such a musical comic GENIUS. Although his tunes were definitely peppered with an intense sense of humor, underneath the funny stuff the guy had a GREAT voice and a fantastic way of turning a tune (for reference, one might consider checking out compositions like "Ventriloquist Love," "In the Eyes of My Dog I'm A Man," or "Normal"). In addition to his great recorded efforts, there were few performers who could top Mr. Mull's live shows. Nowadays, Martin has turned his attention to acting which, sadly, pales in comparison to his skills as a singer/songwriter. We'd like to request that anyone who knows Mr. Mull pass along the idea that he might...just perhaps...take time out from his busy acting schedule to record another album...for those of us who still long for his music. Could you do it for us, Marty...just maybe? For anyone who missed the early Martin Mull albums, they have yet to be released on CD (with the exception of the truly tasty Fabulous Furniture LP) you'll have to search around for the vinyl. Please record some new music, Mr. Mull? PLLLLEEEEEAAAASSSEEE...???? We will always love you, but we'll love you even MORE if you put out a new CD (!). (Not Rated, but anything that the man might record in the foreseeable future most certainly WOULD be...)

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