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March 2001 Reviews by

RATING SYSTEM | Monique Berry | Blow Your Horn At People Talking On Cell Phones, Goddamn It. | Boris the Sprinkler | Catastrophic | The Chevelles | Chinchilla | | The Diablo Project | Dumptruck | The Embarrassment | The Foxymorons | Fred Savage Fanclub | Reeves Gabrels | Gotohells | Guided By Voices | Idlewild | The Immortal Lee County Killers | King Diamond and Black Rose | Kleenex Girl Wonder | Lonesome Brothers | March 2001 Comment Piece | Cole Marquis | Mojave 3 | Mumble & Peg | novasonic down hyperspace | Gary Numan | OhGr | The Ringles | Roachpowder | Jackie Ryan | Scannerfunk | Shearwater | Shoe Fetish: A Tribute to Shoes | Silver Scooter | 10 Ft. Ganja Plant | Texas Terri and the Stiff Ones | Waldeck


March 2001 Comment Piece

Because there are so many ultra-positive reviews this month, it seemed as if some sort of goddamn explanation was in order. We have been reviewing music for many years now...but in the past couple of months we have been receiving SO INCREDIBLY MUCH STUFF that we finally decided that our time would best be spent ranting about what we feel is the very best material out there. Of course it would be very easy to just go off on a rampage tearing everyone's music to shreds in a sad attempt to be "hip"... But because we are not now...nor have we ever have been..."hip" (hate the word AND the idea)...we would rather spend our time trying to inform folks of things that really seem worthy of some attention. Of course, everything is subjective...but what we are trying to do is to simply make the world aware of some that folks can then go out on their own (we would suggest "surfing" but we hate that word also) and decide what it is that really scratches their appropriate area. As much as it hurts to admit it, we do NOT know everything. But even though that may be the case, we still like to THINK that we do (which may explain the superior attitude that sometimes prevails). In any case, the real truth is that we had never included a "comment piece" in our review section before and we thought that it would be something different. it really different? No, not particularly. But then, nothing anywhere is really different. Everything is just the same old rotten trash...over and over and over and over... So, bearing that in mind, here is yet ANOTHER "wurfliss" batch of reviews for all you barnhole boosters out there...

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Monique Berry - Monique Berry (CD, B&M Music/Universal, Female vocalist)
Monique Berry is an extremely talented woman, and we find it rather mindblowing that this is a debut CD...because it takes most folks four or five albums to reach this level of writing and recording. Ms. Berry's tunes are thoughtful and sincere piano-based pieces that are not unlike some of Kath Bush's early material. The songs are well constructed and offer a great deal of insight into the mind of this beautiful woman. And as corny as it may sound, we are very impressed that she chose to thank her family and close friends in the liner notes. Berry's music has just a slight hint of country seeping in at the seams...but overall this is basically music for the soul (although it is definitely not soul music). The vocals are nothing short of splendid. Soft and introspective...yet intelligent and moving...Monique Berry is not trying to impress anyone. Rather, she just seems concerned with putting out some DAMN good vibes with the magic of her music... (Rating: 4++)

Blow Your Horn At People Talking On Cell Phones, Goddamn It.
Because our government is as slow as snails (naturally) to react to this pathetic and totally irritating problem, it is time for US to react. How many times have you almost had an accident because some moron driving near you is talking on one of those goddamn cell phones? It's happened to all of us at one time or another...but what most people do is just walk around bitching and moaning. In our own little universe at babysue, we have begun a practice that works quite well in dealing with the cell phone retards. Whenever we get near a car...ANY car...and notice that the driver is talking on a telephone...we immediately start blowing our horn. What happens is that the driver automatically gets paranoid and thinks that they have done something wrong...many times driving off the side of the road in confusion and panic. Our basic philosophy is to PUNISH BAD PEOPLE. So...because these "people" (term used loosely) are being bad, we blow our horn at them whenever possible to punish them. Now...if everyone were to adopt this practice...what do you think just MIGHT happen? Think of it...if every time you tried to talk on a phone while you were driving you were suddenly bombarded with horns blowing at you from all you think you would want to continue this practice? Probably NOT. So...we urge you to join us in our mission... Whenever you spot one of these shitty your part to RUIN THEIR DAY. Lay down on your horn...long...loud...and OBVIOUS. CAN make a difference in the lives of others...

Boris the Sprinkler - ...Gay! (CD, Go Kart, Rock)
Boris the Sprinkler is a wildly entertaining band. They're loud...out of control...and they have a great sense of humor. Interesting that the band should use this particular word ("Gay") to name their CD...because this is one of only a small handful of words that we find TOTALLY OFFENSIVE (another one that offends us is "African American"). But back to the band...hey, you've gotta love any band that starts off a disc with a tune like "Motherf*cker Are You Ready To Rock?" It's a kickass tune too...with insane frontman Rev. NorB singing the words so fast that they almost become unintelligible. The cover art is GREAT...with every variety of day glow red, pink, and orange incorporated into the graphics. The more we hear from this band, the more they remind us of the insanely overlooked band GAM from Savannah, Georgia. From every account we have read thus far, this goddamn Sprinkler is a FANTASTIC live band. The guys are touring to promote Gay (Ouch! It hurts to type that awful word!) we may finally get the chance to catch 'em in concert. Sure HOPE so. As is almost always the case, if it's on the Go Kart label, you can bet that it's a SUPERCHARGED rock and roll PARTY DOG. This one's a big ol' jolt of F-U-N... (Rating: 5)

Catastrophic - The Cleansing (CD, Metal Blade, Death metal)
Catastrophic was formed by Trevor Peres (former rhythm guitarist for Obituary) and various members of the band Pyrexia. Both bands were loud metal powerhouse entities. This band has a mighty big and mighty satanic sound. The music is propelled by jerky rhythms, chunky guitars, and a true screamer of a vocalist by the name of Keith DeVito. If you are not into death metal, then you are NOT going to like this music. It's harsh...violent...and mean. For folks into this sort of thing, you may very well be genuinely impressed with Catastrophic. The band's tunes are smart...but what impresses us the most is that these guys realize that it is best to NOT play at top speed all the time (!). So many death metal bands are guilty of plodding along aimlessly at ten thousand miles per hour. But what they don't realize is that when they do this...virtually every song sounds just like the other. Catastrophic is a hard rocking band, but they're smart about what they're doing. They know how to vary things just enough to keep their listeners interested. In addition, we also like the image being presented here...three guys with shaved heads and two guys with extremely long hair. Visually, it's a LOT more interesting than all those bands where every member is a carbon copy of the other. Hard metallic cock rock for those who don't have heart problems. Catastrophic is big, loud, evil, and SEXY... (Rating: 5)

The Chevelles - Sun Bleached (CD, Zip, Pop)
Zip Records is a serious American connection for up and coming Australian pop bands. One of the label's first releases for 2001, the new EP by The Chevelles is a pop lovers delight. Fuzzy loud guitars surround bubblegummy vocals while energetic rhythms drive the tunes home. The band's simple arrangements are most arresting, and the vocal harmonies are absolutely super. The only problem? Hey...only five (!) tunes? We wanna hear MORE... Great upbeat stuff that is both intelligent and inventive... (Rating: 4+++)

Chinchilla - Madness (CD, Metal Blade, Rock)
Thick and well-polished arena rock from Germany. Chinchilla has been around since 1988. Their music is quite reminiscent of American rock music from the 1970s. The band's guitar-based rock tunes are based around complex melodies and feature some spectacular guitar work. Madness will obviously be much too glossy and produced for your average metal head...but at the same time it is probably too abrasive and loud for pop fans. Accordingly, the five fellows in Chinchilla seem to be striving for that fan base consisting of folks who want their music to rock...but not TOO much. The anthemic vocal overdubs bring to mind monster bands like Uriah Heep. Unlike many other loud guitar bands, these guys also incorporate keys into their sound...making many of the tracks here have an orchestral feel. Our favorite is the all-out rocker "I Stole Your Love." This band's music is smart, complex, and very appealing in a commercial sense... (Rating: 4+)

The Diablo Project - Volume 1 (CD, E-Magine, Eclectic rock/pop/instrumental/experimental)
With most musical artists, you can sum up the basic idea and sound with a couple of words. With something as varied and obtuse as The Diablo Project, this is not possible. This "band" is a project spearheaded by Jai Diablo, a fellow who dabbles in all kinds of sounds and styles. What struck us initially about this disc is that Diablo uses REAL drums and opposed to the easily programmed and generic drums that most folks would use in creating a disc like this. The real drums add a wonderfully human element to the rhythms...while Diablo's bizarre and often-times accidental arrangements skip across the musical landscape. Experimenting with sounds and ideas is the key here...and there's a great deal of experimentation happening on this disc. Incredibly, almost every track works...which is not usually the case when an artist goes off the deep end like this. Although this list is by no means comprehensive, musical styles present include lounge, easy listening, jazz, trance, electronic, dance, and mood music. How's THAT for varied...? This is a wild and inventive trip into the mind of an individual who knows how to put the pieces together... (Rating: 5)

Dumptruck - Lemmings Travel to the Sea (Double CD, Devil in the Woods, Pop)
What a surprise...Dumptruck is still around! The last release we heard from this band was their incredible For The Country album, which is still one of our favorite pop records ever. To our ears, the band's music hasn't changed all that much...which is a very good thing. The calm melodies remain, as do the wonderful jangly guitars...and the vocals still have that subtle urgency which was what made us love this band in the first place. The first CD of this double set is the band's new studio album which contains nine wonderfully dreamy new tunes. Dumptruck fans are sure to be pleased as punch, as the new tunes are as good as the old stuff. Particular standouts for us are "Stars Grow Colder," "Too Many Times," "Lemmings," "This Was A House," and "Water For Tears" (KILLER guitars!). The second CD contains over 70 minutes (!) of live material that the band recorded in 1986 and 1988. The combination of the two discs is the band's way of looking back and looking ahead, as this release marks their 15th anniversary. It's amazing that this band is still relatively obscure...but that is probably because (as is the case with most very talented bands) the public doesn't want good music...they want shitty stuff that is shoved down their throats by the media moguls. In any event...this is extremely savory and wonderful...both discs are SUPER... (Rating: 5)

The Embarrassment - Blister Pop (CD, My Pal God, Rock/pop)
Destined to always be an esoteric legend, The Embarrassment have always been a odd curiosity...and Blister Pop only drives that point home further and forevermore. Every recording we have ever heard from this band has been extremely rough and unpolished...but then, that seems to have been exactly the point. The band was not out to make "hits" nor "polished studio recordings." Instead, they recorded their songs simply and without fuss. But the results were usually engaging and intriguing. This disc contains previously unreleased demos, live tracks, and cover songs. To be honest, this is a confusing disc. There are some real gems tossed in here...but at the same time we could live without the cover tunes. For fans of The Embarrassment this will undoubtedly be a "must have." Others may be completely lost...? In any case, there's some great stuff in here if you have the patience to sort through the material... (Not Rated)

The Foxymorons - Rodeo City (CD, American Pop Project, Pop)
An excellent follow-up to Calcutta, the band's last full-length. The Foxymorons are a duo from Dallas, Texas. Their music creeps up on you slowly. And though at first you may not realize it...after a listen or two you are almost certain to find a lot to love about this band. Before we get to the drooling, we want to first prepare you for what you're getting into. First, many people would probably say that this is a collection of demos rather than an album. Second, the band's material sweeps long and strong across a wide range of areas. Third, the sound quality does seem to vary from song to be forewarned that this is a very "indy" sounding release. Now that we've gotten through these first three points...we absolutely LOVE The Foxymorons!!! Just as was the case with the last disc, you never quite know what will come next on Rodeo City. But one thing is for certain...this is a pure dose of heavenly pop music with wonderfully creative melodies and heartfelt sincerity. It's actually hard to describe what makes this music so great. These two guys don't use studio tricks or gimmicks or anything out of the ordinary to create their music...but yet it just has that certain something that makes it stand out BIG TIME. All the tracks cook our bonnets, but particular favorites are "Baby Blue, " "Ready to Go," "Nighttime," and finally...our top favorite "Summer Bummer" (such a GREAT goddamn tune!!!). yourself a favor and head off to the Foxymoron web site (link above). Super stuff... (Rating: 5)

Fred Savage Fanclub - Jellybeans with Belly Buttons (CD, She's Gone, Pop)
What?!? No record company link OR link to an artist's web page?!? Can this BE?!? It's... It's... Why, it's totally AMAZING! An artist and (small) record company promoting something WITHOUT using the goddamn Internet. How REFRESHING!!! (Plus, we don't have to type in another one of those goddamn ULRs!) This particular situation got us thinking...perhaps you don't NEED those "gimmicks" when you're dealing with an artist who is simply talented and genuine. Sara Radle (who in this case is the entire band) is a very talented and genuine young lady. And if you want to hear this CD, you'd better act fast...because only 500 copies were pressed (e-mail the label at So, onto the music. It used to be that...once upon a time...there were tons of one man bands but very few one woman bands. That has been changing over the years, and Ms. Radle is a welcome newcomer in this niche. Instead of going the easy route and spewing out computer generated dribble...she plays REAL drums (!!!), bass, guitars, and handles all the vocals. And what a voice this young lady has. She's got a great breathy voice (not unlike Fuzzy), and her harmonies are KILLER. Even better yet are the songs. The tunes on Jellybeans with Belly Buttons are extremely simple and direct, at times bordering on bubblegum. It's a totally hummable and upbeat affair, and we found ourselves tapping our head and shaking our toes INSTANTLY. Great lo-fi pop stuff, worth seeking out... We are very impressed indeed... (Rating: 5)

Reeves Gabrels - Ulysses (Della Notte) (CD, E-Magine, Rock/pop)
Very interesting. Best known for his collaborative work with David Bowie. this is Reeves Gabrels' second solo release. This fellow is impressively creative in his unusual use of the electric guitar...but his compositions are also amazingly multi-faceted. Ulysses is a thick and heady trip through the world of state-of-the-art music technology. Gabrels' tunes are reminiscent of the more melodic side of Nine Inch Nails as well as the more surreal side of David Bowie. This disc features guest appearances by Bowie, Dave Grohl, Frank Black, and Robert Smith. But whereas your average artist includes celebrity guest appearances to compensate for a lack of creative material, the guest artists here are present to support an artist who already has his own career squarely on target. This is most certainly one of those releases where you just don't know WHAT will come next. Is it rock...or industrial...or electronic...or what? Actually it is a combination of all of these and more. While some tracks have very slight commercial appeal, other compositions are totally trippy and spaced out. The wonderfully bizarre "Thirteen Years (Della Notte)" is a good example of how unusual Gabrels' music can be. "Accident" is a cool musical experiment that is both spooky and introspective. "Standing" is a great track and probably the most Bowie-esque of the bunch. An artist too far outside the boundaries of normalcy for your average music listener, this man provides content from his own cool and unique perspective... (Rating: 5)

Gotohells - Rock n Roll America (CD, Vagrant, Rock)
We've seen this band's name around and loved it (it truly is a great band name)...but this is the first release we've heard from Gotohells. WwwwwwoooooOOOOOWWW!!! Every once and a while a band comes along and hits you just right, and these guys were just the jolt we've been needing this month. The band plays chunky masculine punchy cock rock with true spirit and inspiration. The tunes are sharp, tight, and instantly catchy. The guitars are as loud and dark as a donkey's barnhole...and the vocals have just the right amount of cool snarl. But above all, the band's tunes stand out BIG TIME (particularly in a world where most hard rock bands just don't have the tunes to cut it). If you react to this like we do, you'll find it virtually impossible to stay still while listening to this stuff. The band totally THROBS like big ol' hog gristles throughout all eleven songs on this disc... It's a wild ride that's sure to get you all speedy and ready to lose your brains or lose your Hanes...possibly BOTH. Shit, ya'll...we can't WAIT to see these guys in CONCERT... Yeeeeeehawwwww!!! (Rating: 5+)

Guided By Voices - Isolation Drills (CD, TVT, Pop)
This is the most rockin' CD we've heard yet by the legendary Guided By Voices. Unlike other ultra-hip bands lurking about, this band is different in that they are very much worthy of the unstoppable frenzy that they have created. Part of what is so fascinating about Bob Pollard's songs is that they actually sound quite similar to a million other bands...and yet there is a cool sincere undercurrent that makes them sound completely genuine and original. Actually what pushes these tunes to the next level are the vocals. Pollard's vocals are right on target every time...and he possesses a wonderful urgency that fits the music perfectly. But in addition to having great songs and great vocals, this band also has a solid understanding of how to get their point being direct...and by using simple, driving rhythms. Isolation Drills is like a non-stop string of hits that you've never heard before. Every tune is a keeper but our initial favorites are "Fair Touching," "Chasing Heather Crazy," "Sister I Need Wine," "Unspirited," "Glad Girls," and "Pivotal Film" (even the song titles kick ass). There's so much to like about this disc that we could go on and on... Let's just sum things up and say that this one is a MUST HAVE disc that is sure to please the band's fans as well as bring several thousand more on board... (Rating: 6)

Idlewild - 100 Broken Windows (CD, Capitol, Pop)
An up and coming pop quartet from Edinburgh, Scotland. Idlewild has a great many things going for them. The guitars are smart and inventive...they write good tunes...and they've got a big punchy sound that should go over well on commercial radio stations. We tried to like this but... Unfortunately, this band sounds WAY TOO MUCH like R.E.M. (particularly the vocals...eeeeeeeyuuuchhhh...). Accordingly, this one gets a thumbs down... Hopefully the band will stray off into another direction soon, as this is just too obviously derivative of one of the worst bands on the planet... (Not Rated)

The Immortal Lee County Killers - The Essential Fucked Up Blues! (CD, Estrus!, Rock)
YeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEOWWW!!! Yet ANOTHER killer LOUD rock BAND from those wild folks at Estrus! The Immortal Lee County Killers are one HELL RAISIN' out-of-control duo. The music is loose, wild, raucous, crazy, and just plain fucked up. The band is similar to Flat Duo Jets in that the only instruments used are guitar and drums. But OH GAWD JESUS CHRIST ALMIGHTY can they create a wall of sound using only the basics. The music is fuzzy blues-based guitar rock. You won't even miss the bass guitar because the guy runs his guitar through two amps which completely solves the problem. But what pushes this music totally over the edge are the "vocals" of Chet Weiss (note that the word is in quotation marks because this man almost defies the term). This guy screams, yells, squeals, wails, and just goes NUTS. Meanwhile drummer Boss Sherrard keeps a steady beat using a stripped down drum set. The guy pounds and beats the skins into oblivion and then some. This music is probably too intense for most folks...and that's probably just how these two gentlemen planned it. Every song is a lesson in blistering overkill...but our favorites are "Let's Get Killed," "Go To Hell On Judgement Day," and "Sometimes the Devil Sneaks Inside My Head." WOW. One of the best things we've heard yet on the Estrus label... This one's a true MINDBLOWER... (Rating: 5+++)

King Diamond and Black Rose - 20 Years Ago: A Night of Rehearsal (CD, Metal Blade, Rock/pop)
Rock music has become so incredibly polished with studio gloss that at times it is easy to forget what a real band actually sounds like when they play...without all the icing and putty. In case you have forgotten what a band really sounds like when they are playing in their own environment...the REHEARSAL studio...then 20 Years Ago is going to be a truly uplifting experience indeed. Black Rose was the first band that lead vocalist King Diamond was involved with. The band was heavily influenced by bands like Deep Purple and Golden Earring (the disc even closes with a cover of "Radar Love"). This collection of twelve tunes was recorded direct to tape in the band's Denmark rehearsal studio using only eight microphones. Mistakes are left untouched and even patter between songs is left intact. What is surprising about this disc is how tight this band actually was...and how they apparently never gained much attention at the time. While rehearsal tapes inundate the bootleg market, very few are actually released by "real" record companies. Metal Blade did the right thing be such an old recording, this thing kicks Mr. Cracky's TROUT! Absolutely KILLER guitar work here... Good sound quality...and very, VERY tight... (Rating: 4)

Kleenex Girl Wonder - Smith (Double CD, MOC, Pop mixed with other...uh..."stuff"...)
Wait, wait, WAIT!!! Don't stop reading NOW. Just because this has a rating of "3" don't overlook this disc...because it has a LOT to offer...if you have the TIME to extract it. This is an extremely difficult album to review. That is mainly because it is as wonderfully entertaining as it is frustrating and tedious. In the past we reviewed another one of this band's albums. That CD still rests in our permanent collection because it is quite odd and yet fascinating. These same two adjectives can be used to describe Smith. But to be blunt...this is a double CD set that should have been a single disc. It's great that the band is willing to take this many risks, but it is just as frustrating as it is great. You see...this is a "concept" double CD set of sorts. There are some WONDERFUL tracks on these two discs...but those tracks are, unfortunately, separated by "spoken word" pieces that are interesting...but just don't hold up to more than one or two listens. we love this or hate it? Well actually...BOTH. The songs are great, but we don't like the filler at all. What we would suggest is that you definitely BUY THIS ALBUM. But with a word of're going to need to pick out the good tracks and burn a SINGLE DISC of the actual songs. If you don't mind doing this, you'll end up with a wonderfully inventive disc full of clever hooks, great lyrics, and fantastic arrangements. But if you don't burn a separate disc (WITHOUT the filler)...that you'll probably find this almost impossible to listen to. We sure hope that this band takes a more straightforward approach next time...because they have the potential to be one of the best underground pop bands around...if they will take their listeners' feelings into account next time around... (Rating: 3)

Lonesome Brothers - Swamptown Girl (CD, Captivating Music, Country pop)
Whew! It took several listens for us to decide that we REALLY dig this CD. We liked it initially...but the more we played this, the BETTER it sounded. Should've known it'd be good...seeing as how the disc is on the Captivating Music label. Lonesome Brothers is the trio of Jim Armenti, Ray Mason, and Bob Grant. They've been making music under this name since 1986, which accounts for the fact that these guys play with a very intuitive feel. Swamptown Girl is chock full of country flavored pop music that is well written, well executed, and played with guts and conviction. What we like most about this band's music is that it is completely unpretentious. These tunes are played straight from the heart, and you can tell that these guys are sincere about what they're doing. All twelve tunes are keepers, but "Early in the Spring" and "Reckless World" (yeah!!!) are the standout tracks for us. Produced by Jim Weeks, this disc is a damn fine listen...good driving music, that's for certain... (Rating: 5)

Cole Marquis - Treasure Island Serenade (CD, Devil in the Woods/Amazing Grease, Pop)
Excellent guitar pop that is reminiscent of some of the best guitar bands of the 1980s...but with modern day effects added for a slight touch of mild psychedelia. This is the second full-length release from Cole Marquis. Though you might not know his name, you have probably already heard this fellow in some form or another. Thus far, he has already worked and/or played with Richard Buckner, Birddog, and F*ck (among others). Marquis writes subtle pop tunes that are characterized by very subdued vocals and wonderfully cool atmospheric guitars floating around in the mix. Slow and mesmerizing, the tunes on Treasure Island Serenade are amazingly effective in execution. And we are rather nuts about Cole's vocal style, this is no lie... There's not a bad snapple in the bunch, but particular favorites in this neck of the woods are "The Landing Lights Are Always On," "Marysville Buttes," and "Sun Necklace." Judging from the latest couple of releases on the label, we'd bet that Devil In The Woods is one to keep an eye on for great stuff in the future... (Rating: 5)

Mojave 3 (Live performance, February 9, 2001)
Mojave 3 is an exceptional British band, playing super soft sentimental pop with a difference.  In this concert at a small club in East Atlanta, this five-piece band did a remarkable job of recreating their recorded sound in concert.  Whoever was mixing the sound that night was more than capable, as all the levels...and the volume...were JUST RIGHT.  The band played a variety of their tunes old and new for about 45 minutes.  Never having seen Mojave 3 play live before, we were particularly blown away by the vocals.  Man, can this fellow SING.  And the female bass player's harmony vocals were always perfectly in tune.  In addition, we really dug the pedal steel guitar featured in many of the tunes.  Some might complain that the band is somewhat drony. And it is true, most of the songs sound very similar to one another.  But it is our opinion that when the music sounds this good...who CARES?  While the band was exceptional and truly mesmerizing...the majority of the capacity crowd at the club was quite annoying.  Instead of paying attention to the band and getting in the groove, most folks at the club were much more concerned with smoking cigarettes, getting drunk, and licking each others' faces.  This reminded us a great deal of a great Low concert we saw a year or two ago where that band's slow, low-key music was virtually ruined by a cluttered mass of rude and noisy fans.  Atlanta concert goers seem to always do the wrong thing.  When a concert requires peace and quiet, they are noisy and obnoxious.  But then...when a great LOUD rock band needs noisy support (and above all dancing), then the audience seems to stand still and quiet in a distant haze.  Oh well...this Mojave 3 concert was simply a case of a great band that would've been much more enjoyable had they been playing to a more considerate crowd.  Don't get us wrong...the Echo Lounge is BY FAR the very BEST small club in the Atlanta area.  But the club is at its best when there are fewer patrons OR when the band that is playing is loud and abrasive.  In any case, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND seeing Mojave 3 in concert.  The band's mesmerizing music comes across extremely well in a concert environment... (Rating: 5)

Mumble & Peg - All My Waking Moments In a Jar (CD, Vaccination, Rock/pop)
Smart and different. Mumble & Peg is the trio of Matt Lebofsky, Jenya Chernoff, and Eric Carter. These folks have created a rather credible underground their inventive and just slightly skewed music is simultaneously fascinating and hypnotic. Unlike most bands that have one sound, these folks have many. While the opening tune ("Resigned") is excellent growler guitar rock, by the time the fourth track ("Third Person") rolls around, the band has become pensive and the music is beautifully subtle. As with most great bands, the main key to success is a convincing vocalist. But while Eric Carter is really adept at the growler/scream thing...he seems just as comfortable crooning softly. This makes for some very interesting listening...for whether things are soft or really loud, the man at the helm is still confident and strong. Another interesting point is that the rhythm section is switched from what you may be accustomed to. Sure, all of us know bands with a female bass player and male drummer....but here we have the reverse. But don't worry...Jenya Chernoff can really kick out some mighty shit on a drum kit. The lady's good...never missing a beat and throwing in a lot of clever rhythm tricks that propel this music straight up and into the sky. Bassist Matt Lebofsky meanwhile lays down thick and solid bass lines that hold the entire picture together tightly. Add it all up...and you have a completely mesmerizing and creative band...doing what many other bands are doing...but they're a HELL of a lot better at it. This is a truly great album that doesn't fit into any specific category. We particularly dig "Handwritten Mail." Wow...lots of GREAT stuff here... (Rating: 5+)

novasonic down hyperspace - Mathing Moonlight (CD, Spectramobile, Soft atmospheric pop)
Neat, neat, neat, neat, NEAT!!! Abstract, introspective, experimental, soothing, surreal, hypnotic, intelligent, and quite peculiar indeed. novasonic down hyperspace (note that the name is ALL LOWER CASE LETTERS...) is the constantly evolving congregation of musicians led by Paul Heintz and Stephen Munoz. The band lives and records in Chicago, but don't let that influence you...this band sounds NOTHING like other acts we have heard from the "trendy city." We hesitate somewhat even calling this pop, because at times it goes so far into oblivious territory that it really isn't much like pop at all. There's a lot of random interpretation happening in these tunes that is not unlike jazz music from long ago...except it is being played on different kinds of instruments. The compositions are, for the most part, built around keyboard lines...but the very cool and subtle atmospherics happening in the background turn many of the pieces into experimental art. Unlike most CDs that become tiring after one or two listens, you can be certain this is one that will hold up to many, MANY repeated listenings. Very cool and very unique. (Rating: 5+)

Gary Numan - Pure (CD, Spitfire, Electronic pop)
We really dug the first Gary Numan album that was released long ago...but everything we heard afterward lost us. This is the first thing we've heard from Mr. Numan in several years and...hey, he's got our attention...again! If there is any artist who is ripe and ready for a comeback in a big way, it must surely be Gary Numan. He was recording electro-pop before it was hip, and he's kept waving the flag for a very long time. The electronic soundscapes on Pure are impressive. Some of the tunes have a hard industrial beat...while others are more atmospheric and ambient in nature. But reigning supreme up above are those unmistakable vocals. Fortunately, Gary's vocal style remains basically the same...distant...removed...and strangely provocative. The biggest difference between then and now is that then...Gary was one of a small group of people producing this sort of music. Now, of course, the scene is cluttered with thousands upon thousands of new electronic pop artists...and most of them are complete throwaways. Pure is a highly entertaining times even sounding like Nine Inch Nails (?!?)... Impressive and well-executed... (Rating: 4++)

OhGr - Welt (CD, Spitfire, Electronic)
Five years in the making, the debut CD by OhGr is full of surprises. OhGr is the duo of Nivek Ogre (of Skinny Puppy fame) and producer Mark Walk. Now...if you think you're going to hear complete atonal noise in the vein of the infamous puppy...think again. The tracks on Welt are actual songs (gasp!)...with actual beats...and what is probably most surprising...actual MELODIES (!). Hell, you can even understand most of the...LYRICS!!! Now if you think we're being sarcastic or snotty, think again. We absolutely loved the harsh noise of 'the Puppy.' The band challenged conventional music in a big way, and the fact that they made such a big splash using such an unusual approach always amazed us. Welt is basically a dance/techno/industrial disc. Sure, there are plenty of crazy noises happening...but the tunes are mainly built around heavy dance beats and obvious song structures. This actually has a great deal in common with ultra-hip dance pioneers KMFDM. Our favorites here are "Kettle," "Pore," and "Solow." This is sure to please many fans while alienating a great many more. Nivek Ogre is a man who seems destined to always approach things from a different angle, no matter what he's doing... (Rating: 4)

The Ringles - Dish Full of Ringles (CD, Jam, Pop)
Super melodic sixties-influenced trio from Princeton, Illinois. These fellows have done an amazing job of not only writing tunes that take you back in time...but the actual recordings themselves even sound as if they were made four decades ago. We're guessing that the band probably used analog equipment to record these tracks (?) because they sound authentic. The music is jangly guitar pop with definite hints of bubblegum and just the slightest hint of psychedelia. The vocals are wonderful, particularly the multiple layers that are interwoven in several of the tracks. As far as influences go...we'd bet that The Ringles are probably influenced by The Beatles, Emitt Rhodes, The Monkees, and possibly even The Apples In Stereo. If you must have your music super slick and polished, the lo-fi sound of these recordings may sound foreign to you. Our guess is that the band achieved exactly the result they were striving for. Fun, sincere, upbeat, and instantly likeable... (Rating: 4+)

Roachpowder - Atomic Church (CD, The Music Cartel, Hard rock)
Whew...anyone have some sedatives they can give these guys...? Roachpowder is one loud, mean, abrasive, and intense Swedish band. Actually, they're not entirely Swedish. Two brothers in the band were originally from Chile, but fled to Sweden because they were supporting political revolutionaries in their home country (naughty, naughty...). There they combined talents with two native Swedes to create one loud blurry sludge of a rock band with a definitely evil slant. The name comes from the William Burroughs book Naked which the author goes into detail about his addition to shooting up roach poison. From the sound of Atomic Church, it seems as if the members of this band have adopted the same pastime. No actually...and in all honesty...these guys are damn tight on their instruments...but the overall sound here is definitely an exercise in drug abuse. The guitars are loud and intense...the vocals drenched in effects...the rhythms thick and heady... Roachpowder is an intense musical monster with a definite psychedelic edge that is most appealing. This is CERTAINLY too "far out" for your average music listener. Personally, we like things hot, heavy, and overdosed. Particular favorites are "House of the Wicked," "All Hail and Kneel Before Me," and "Oceans Red." There are so many loud bands lacking in creativity. These guys (like The Melvins) use the idea of loud sludgy metal as a springboard to go off on some mighty creative tangents. This is WEIRD and very, very INTENSE... (Rating: 5)

Jackie Ryan - For Heaven's Sake (CD, BluePort Sound, Jazz/female vocalist)
Mmmmmmm, mmmmm! What nice EYES you have, Jackie Ryan! And what nice TEETH you have, Jackie Ryan! And my oh my...what a FANTASTIC VOICE you have, Jackie Ryan! Jackie Ryan is no grandma, that's for sure...but the wolves will be after her once they hear her smooth vocal stylings on For Heaven's Sake. On this release, Ryan is accompanied by the Mike Wofford Trio (Wofford has worked with other big names such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan). The musical arrangements are subtle and sparse (the only instruments are piano, bass, and drums)...and this works just perfectly with Ms. Ryan's deep and sultry voice. This live recording was captured at the Lime Leaf Club in La Jolla, California...and it perfectly captures the essence of what must have happened at the club on that particular evening. Ms. Ryan is amazing singing in English...but she's even more delightful singing in Portuguese (as she does on three of the tunes). There are some wonderful jazz talents bubbling up under the surface of late...and Jackie Ryan is surely one of these... (Rating: 5)

Scannerfunk - Wave of Light By Wave of Light (CD, Sulfur/Beggars Banquet, Electronic/dance)
Scannerfunk is a one-man band that is normally known as Scanner...but the actual individual's name is Robin Rimbaud whose nickname is...Scanner. Anyone lost yet? So anyway...apparently the British press is going NUTS over Wave of Light By Wave of Light. Whenever the British press goes absolutely nuts over something, the United States usually follows in turn by virtually ignoring the item in question...particularly if the item in question is actually credible and entertaining. Accordingly, you can bet your bottom britches that the U.S. will most likely not take notice of the latest CD by Scannerfunk. Why? Because it is highly imaginative, very entertaining, and...above all does not sound like anything else in particular. Apparently Robin Rimbaud's earlier releases were more ambient in nature (without the electronic percussion that is prevalent on this disc). We never heard the earlier releases so we cannot compare the old with the new. Basically what we have here is a nice merging of electronic experimentation with some relatively accessible beats. Rimbaud doesn't try to hide beneath any screens...this music is purely and obviously all electronic. And that is actually the beauty of it. Some of the tracks are spacey ambient pieces...while others are based around a dance beat. But this is not just geeky computer generated dance music. This guy is smart and he interjects all sorts of creative ideas into his compositions. Our top favorites here are "Light Turned Down," "Cosy Veneer," and "Thumb Print." Just as is the case with rock music, there are millions of electronic artists out there...but very few who actually grab our...uh...attention. As an added bonus, the artwork is beautifully COOL as HELL. Wonderful stuff, quite heady and abnormal... (Rating: 5)

Shearwater - The Dissolving Room (CD, Grey Flat, Soft pop)
Although the sound is quite different, the general approach here reminds us of Bright Eyes...probably because (a) the vocals sound very peculiar and (b) the music has a strangely depressing feel. Now if you might be thinking that either one of these are "bad" traits, then you must think you're reading some "other" web site...cuz we SHORE as Hell like depressing, peculiar stuff. Shearwater is the duo of Will Sheff and Jonathan Meiburg who got together specifically to record this CD. So...wuzzit, huh? Well...the tunes are basically slow, somewhat plodding, and quite minimal soft pop (for lack of a better word). The emphasis is on the melodies. The arrangements are simple...leaving the songs sounding almost naked. These fellows use a wide range of instruments. Along the way you will hear banjo, accordion, dobro, glockenspeil, harmonica, windchimes, pedal steel guitar, and much more. But instead of achieving overkill, all of these instruments are used with such surprising restraint that you hardly realize that all of this is going on. Good late night music...or if you are considering suicide perhaps... No, actually the tracks here are quite beautiful. But just bear in mind that this is definitely NOT upbeat music (!). Cool stuff from Austin's Grey Flat label... (Rating: 4)

Shoe Fetish - A Tribute to the Shoes (CD, Parasol, Various artists/pop)
This CD is a very interesting listen because it is a tribute to one of our top favorite pop bands of all time The Shoes. Toiling away in relative obscurity for over two decades now, we still find it difficult to believe (as well as ridiculously stupid) that more folks have not picked up on the mind-boggling music created by Illinois residents Gary Klebe, John Murphy, and Jeff Murphy. Of course as we could have already predicted, no one can cover a Shoes tune that can match the peak of the original...but several of the artists on this disc come mighty close. There are a whopping 22 tracks here (!) and several really made us sit up and take notice... The disc gets off to a great start with DM3's truly credible version of "Too Late." Following is an amazingly accurate recreation of "Karen" by Matthew Sweet. The next standout cut is the Sparkle*Jets U.K. version of "Cruel You" (one of our favorite Shoes tracks and these folks do it RIGHT). The Lolas also do a commanding performance of "I Can't Go Wrong" which leads right into one of the most interesting takes on the disc...Jeffrey Foskett's rendition of "Your Very Eyes." The original Shoes recording is incredibly beautiful and even though Foskett's version is slightly different, it sure strikes major chords with us. The Spongetones have never let us down yet, and their version of "Curiosity" is a direct hit. Michael Carpenter does some amazing vocal stuff on his cool cover of "Love Is Like a Bullet" (hard to believe this song never became a hit?!?). Finally Shane Faubert's version of "I Don't Know Why" sounds so good that it almost had us simultaneously laughing and crying. Pop music enthusiast John Borack put this collection together and deserves major bonus points for a job well done. The Shoes are long overdue for some real attention in the United States...and perhaps this collection of cover tunes will focus more attention on their music. In all honesty, the Shoes have NEVER recorded a bad album EVER. We recommend getting them ALL. Because one of our own recordings appears on this disc it would be unethical to rate it... So...all we can say is hats off to the Shoes for making so much incredible music for such a long, long time... (Not Rated)

Silver Scooter - The Blue Law (CD, Peek-A-Boo, Pop)
Vocals are usually the weakest link in the chain when it comes to music. After all, there are tons upon tons of bands who can play really well and write decent music. But if you're looking for a truly great vocalist...well, SORRY SONNY...because they are FEW and FAR BETWEEN. Silver Scooter is a band that not only has great songs but a truly remarkable singer as well. The lead vocalist reminds us very much of the lead singer in Harpers Bizarre (one of the all-time great bands from the 1960s who STILL don't seem to get the recognition they deserve). But back to the present... Silver Scooter tunes are simple, direct, and without frills. But who needs clutter when your basic product is...virtually PERFECT? This band shoots out hummable little ditties with precision, always firing direct, and hitting dead center. Some folks might accuse this band of having but one sound...and it is true, they do pretty much have one sound and they stick with it. will either love what you hear or you won't. In the event you haven't already figured this out, we LOVE this band. They are an obscure delight in a sometimes dreary world of bland musical clutter. Top picks: "Goodbye," "Dirty Little Bar" (wow!), and "Voice of Authority." We love everything we have heard thus far from these guys...and they just keep getting BETTER with each release... (Rating: 6+)

Ten Ft. Ganja Plant - Hillside Airstrip (CD, ROIR, Reggae)
Really good reggae music doesn't have to be recorded in Jamaica...and here's proof. Ten Ft. Ganja Plant is a group of musicians in upstate New York probably best known for their work playing in John Brown's Body. The tunes on Hillside Airstrip are reminiscent of reggae from the seventies. The tunes are simple and the playing is hypnotic and dedicated. Instead of going for studio overkill, these guys keep their music direct and to-the-point. Ten groovin' tracks here with our favorites being "Long Time Ago," "Two Bulls," and "New Day." Solid stuff... (Rating: 4+)

Texas Terri and the Stiff Ones - Eat Shit +1 (CD, Junk, Rock)
This took a couple of listens to sink in, and that's usually a very good sign. This is a CD reissue of Eat and now including an additional track. We never heard the original this is our first time hearing these tunes. Texas Terri is a female vocalist who is probably influenced as much by Iggy Pop as Patti Smith. The lady is a true character with her hot red hair, heavy make-up, and wild costumes. And man can she belt out a tune. When she's really smokin', Texas Terri has a growl that can match any of the big burly guys out there. But the real plus here are the tunes. While the music is basic buzzsaw guitar pop, what really grabs our attention is that the band has a great sense of humor...and they also pen some great tunes. The entire disc is entertaining...but our particular favorites are "Lifetime Problems," "Me Mad," and "Baby Bird Shuffle." "Shuffle" in particular is great because it breaks out of the standard verse/chorus song structure to explode into short and to-the-point commentary. Special mention must be made to Nancy Farber who designed the CD cover...the artwork is KILLER!!! Well...this ought to please lots of lonely punksters out there. If they could get their their hands on the music, we'd bet that teenage boys would go APESHIT over this band... (Rating: 4++)

Waldeck - This Isn't Maybe (CD, E-Magine/Dope Noir, Dub/pop)
A really cool soft listen that is as danceable as it is subtle and relaxing. Waldeck is Klaus Waldeck, an electronic musical artist from Austria. On this CD, vocals are more than adequately handled by Joy Malcolm (former Incognito vocalist). The arrangements are basic dub and electronic dance in nature, but Waldeck's subtle slight-of-hand manipulations of the instruments (and particularly the vocals) are what make this a superb listening experience. Though the disc is short (under 30 minutes), it is still mighty satisfying and sexy. Five cool tracks from a superior new artist... (Rating: 4+)

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