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November 1999 Reviews by

RATING SYSTEM | Anything Related to Y2K | Larry Coryell & The Eleventh House | The Divine Comedy | The Durutti Column | Fight Club | Gorky's Zygotic Mynci | Japancakes | Laptap | Ledenhed | No Use For A Name | Nine Inch Nails | Andrea Parker | Primus | Shades of Al Davis | Winter | U2

*Additional Items Received*


ANYTHING RELATED TO Y2K (Big fuss over nothing kind of goddamn thing)
Wow and oh boy. Let's all get overexcited because the year 2000 is almost here. Big goddamn deal. What if someone had started counting ten years earlier...then 2000 would have already been here. In the end, it's just a number. Just another goddamn meaningless number...and another reason for lots of boring lost idiots to get all frantic and excited. And another way for big corporations to market products and make money. And as for my own personal plans for New Year's Eve 1999? I plan to avoid usual...because the world is filled with so many retarded crapheads...I don't need to be reminded of it...particularly on the ONE BIG NIGHT when everyone and their scummy little sisters feel to the need to "let loose" and "get really, really wasted." Screw everything releated to Y2K...including this review. (Rating: 1)

LARRY CORYELL & THE ELEVENTH HOUSE - Improvisations: Best of the Vanguard Years (Double CD, Vanguard, Jazz)
What a mouthful. This double CD contains tracks culled from Larry Coryell's nine Vanguard albums...and features seven tracks never before issued on compact disc. Appropriately titled Improvisations, this is one healthy dose of cool meaty jazz...showcasing Mr. Coryell's fluid abilities on the guitar. The man seems to effortlessly shift in and out of almost every style of modern music without missing an octave. The sound quality of some of the earlier material may bother some...but for me it only adds to their appeal. What some folks may never realize is that you don't necessarily have to use words to get ideas across. The music on these two discs sends a great many messages to the listener...without the pretentious (and many times failed use of) lyrics. Twenty-six big tracks to sink your snouth into...WOW...! (Rating: 5)

THE DIVINE COMEDY - A Secret History (CD, Red Ink, Pop)
I feel just the slightest bit embarrassed here. For all my whining and complaining about how I dislike overproduced things...I really love The Divine Comedy...! But actually, me thinks to make a distinction here. There is a BIG difference in "overproduction" and "lavishly produced"...and the music of The Divine Comedy definitely fits into the LATTER category. This is glossy show-biz stuff to be certain...but when it's done this goddamn well, it comes off sounding KEEN AS HELL. The band is led by Neil Hannen, a young fellow who can write tunes like crazy and sing circles around your average end-of-the-century wannabe pop stars. The tunes are pensive, thoughtful, and highly melodic. The "lavish production" only adds to the personality and charm that were already there in the first place. Reminds me of very early David Bowie in many ways. This compilation contains tracks from Neil's past four releases as well as two brand new ones, "Gin Soaked Boy" and "Too Young To Die." Beautiful. Just beautiful... (Rating: 5)

THE DURUTTI COLUMN - A Night In New York (CD, ROIR, Instrumental)
Many years ago someone gave me a CD by The Durutti Column. Unlike the vast majority of CDs I receive, this one has stayed in my permanent collection for many years. The music has some peculiar, intriguing quality that is quite unlike anything else. I have not received another CD by this unusual band until now (although the band still exists and still puts out material). What a pleasant delight this is. Whereas I usually dislike live discs, this one is different. Playing to what sounds like a very small yet appreciative audience, this live recording is superb. The playing is pensive and restrained, yet hypnotic and sensual. This recording was originally released by ROIR as a cassette-only type thing in 1987. How delightful that it should now make its way to this recording is certainly worthy of a digital audience. Boy oh boy how I wish some insightful U.S. record company would find it in their worthless little hearts to re-release all of this obscure band's material...and then send me free copies of all of 'em. Great subliminal stuff. Absolutely GREAT. (Rating: 5)

FIGHT CLUB (The new big Hollywood film that everyone is talking about)
Dull, boring, and pretentious.

GORKY'S ZYGOTIC MYNCI - Spanish Dance Troupe (CD, Mantra/Beggars Banquet, Baroque pop)
As unique and satisfying as the name, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci is a rare find in the world of music. The music sounds familiar...yet new and different. The arrangements are traditional...yet challenging and appropriate. The vocals are soft...yet never sappy or trite. The overall sound is one of progressive dreamy semi-classical pop...and the whole sounds very much unlike any other band currently on the horizon. The approach the band is taking reminds me of The Hang Ups or Solipsistics. The sound is very different from either these other two great bands...Gorky's overall sound is truly their own. Strange that sounding original would be such a rarity...but these days, it sure is. This is the first thing I have heard from these folks. I am blown away. Wow. It's GREAT. (Rating: 6)

JAPANCAKES - If I Could See Dallas (CD, Kindercore, Instrumental)
Good band name. Very good. Good band. Very good. Good name. Good band. Good, good, good. Band is what came about with idea for performing only once and playing "D" chord over and over for 45 minute and then to completion. But was not to happen. Instead, member of band enjoy and decide for continuing. Is good idea for continue, because first CD plenty fine listening. Music slight to drone instrumental, shifting to change somewhat over spectrum of variety. We are even liking song title, as being sort of thing such as "Pole Tricks" and "Allah Rahka." Not conventional for sort of sounding, yet plenty of appeal for young people inclining for listen... (Rating: 4)

LAPTOP - User's Guide (CD, MCA, Pop)
Is it just my imagination...or are there suddenly a great number of new artists popping up on the horizon who are primarily influenced by David Bowie? Oops...I almost forgot. I must be right about this...because I'm right about everything. La la la fortunate I am to be me. I know everything, and not only do I know everything...but I like sharing all my great insights with you. Reviewing a band...reviewing some more materials from an envelope...reviewing some band... The name is Laptop. Yes, it does sound like Britpop. Yes, it sounds very much like David Bowie. But what importance is this? Importance is that songs well good done. Very well good done WAH. Wah wah wah wah...eighties deep funk beat techno smoking dance clubs...distant unaffected vocals... Shit, we loved Bowie...we can love this too. A SUPER COOL new artist... FLAWLESS. A full-length is coming soon. Something to look FORWARD to...! (Rating: 5)

LEDENHED - Central Nervous System (CD, 4:20, Skewed pop)
Hmmm... This individual is approaching pop from a different angle. I like it...I like it... This CD took two or three listens to sink in (which is always a good sign)...but once it entered my STUCK. Ledenhed is actually a one man band...but he avoids the usual trappings of such. The music is heady, catchy, atmosphereic, just slightly trippy...and very, VERY addicting. The guy's music reminds me as much of Self as it does Donovan...but the tunes are actually more peculiar than either. The lyrics in particular are nothing short of OUTSTANDING...causing the listener to stop, ponder, and consider whatever the HELL this guy is really trying to say (which is totally up the individual, thank God!). This is one of those rare cases where an artist really does have his own style and sound. The overall feel is subtle and abstract. Our advice? Grab it up! All the tunes kick mighty white ass. This guy's going to catch on like WILDFIRE among underground music snobs (like ourselves)... HOT! (Rating: 5)

NO USE FOR A NAME - More Betterness! (CD, FatWreckChords, Rock)
What a great title for a CD. And I've always admired these guys' band name in particular. There's more greatness than just names here...this CD kicks a bird's entrails out the bathroom window. The music is your basic guitar-driven loud rock...but there are some intriguing melodies soaring above the watts...intelligent thoughts charging in and out of the blare...and intensity and complexity hidden beneath the simple exterior. The more bands play way too fast and way, way too loud...the more bands who know the meaning of restraint clearly stand out. Perhaps twenty years ago playing nothing but a blare of harsh noise for the sake of being hostile and bad meant something. Nowadays, it means that the people involved (usually) just aren't very talented (A.C. instantly comes to mind). No Use For A Name are now more than ever a pop band...but they're all the better for it. Tunes like "Life Size Mirror" and "Fairytale of New York" showcase a very mature band only on the verge of hitting their potential. Great stuff. Recommended. (Rating: 5)

NINE INCH NAILS - The Fragile (Double CD, Interscope, Industrial/harsh/electronic)
Unlike many reviewers, I have always admired the music of Trent Reznor. Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that the guy has presence and talent. I am pleased as punch to report that this time around Mr. Reznor has hit a direct bull's eye...which is to say, The Fragile is a simply amazing piece of recorded art. It's's's trippy and's mesmerizing...and it's certainly a mighty wild venture into the mind of a man who was born to influence. Although hundreds upon thousands of unimaginative little morons have tried to ape his style...Trent is still the best at what he does. You have to hear it to believe it. Twenty-three tunes. Two discs that are a surefire way to spend the remainder of time. Heavy, hard, surreal, mean, beautiful...this is all this...and more... (Rating: 6)

ANDREA PARKER - Kiss My Arp (CD, Beggars Banquet, instrumental/drum and bass)
Hmmm... Abstract, surreal, electronic driven soundscapes that are as entertaining as they are subtly hypnotic. There now...that sounds like something a "professional" reviewer would say, doesn't it? It actually kind of describes this obtuse artist's "sound." What at first seem to be lengthy pieces of drone later turn out to be revolving involvements with exacting adjustment potential. This is neat, somewhat dark, yet somewhat light. Titles explain the idea: "The Unknown," "Some Other Level," "Going Nowhere." Possibly the best female electronic artist yet? Well, we can't forget Wendy Carlos...but yes...Andrea Parker is certainly one of the BEST. (Rating: 5)

PRIMUS - Antipop (CD, Interscope, Rock)
YOWSUH! Primus are back, and sounding as fine as always. There ain't NOBODY what plays funky obtuse nineties rock like these guys...and bandleader Les Claypool is a bonafide true star. The entire band plays like ping-pong fury...all the while shrugging off their talent as if it were nothing to play their almost always complex compositions. Interesting to note here is that five (!) producers worked on this album...each working individually with the band to come up with their own vision of Primus madness. One thing that still confuses me is why critics always pan the band (!?!) while boys in high school dribble in their britches over them (?!?). That puts me back in high school I suppose...which is probably where I belong, considering where all of my middle-aged sad, sad, sad friends who are just too old to have fun any more... But...back to the CD. If you aren't getting what you need from all the radio craphead bands that have nothing to offer, Primus always deliver a distinctive blast of undiluted goddamn fun. Highly recommended for box office boys...or anyone else who hasn't lost their desire to blast music at high volume and get royally blown away... (Rating: 6)

SHADES OF AL DAVIS - The Midwest Peace Talks Vols. 1, 2 (CD, Mallard Pointe Sound Recordings, Pop/rock)
This independently released disc contains an extremely intriguing collection of original pop tunes that remind me of a variety of some of my favorite artists of years gone by...The Kinks and The Jam among many others. These guitar generated tunes not only feature some way-above-average melodies...but the lyrics are far beyond the slop that is normally hidden behind the sidelines in modern music. The songs are well thought out, and there's a certain insight going on here that is sadly missing in too many bands' music. There is no explanation given for the band's name...and you won't find pictures of these folks anywhere on their CD. But if you're looking for some subtle, esoteric underground pop that you're friends certainly aren't aware'll want to check this one out. My favorite tunes are "Ginger," "Irwin and Irwin," and "My Will." I sure hope these guys stick it out...they're just too good to give up before words gets out... SUPERIOR tunes. The sound quality does vary from tune to tune, but that is not such a big problem overall... E-mail 'em at (Rating: 4)

WINTER (A wonderful sort of season kind of thing)
Winter. What a wonderful time to be alive. What a wonderful season...full of holiday spirit...full of gift giving and colored lights...full of shopping and traffic jams...full of naked trees and polluted skylines...full of rat-infested snowmen and plows full of jawbaited hog jowels... When the leaves fall from the trees and a chill fills the's just another reason to withdraw and bask in the ugliness and rampant retardation that is all around us. Ah...winter. What a wonderful time of year. A wonderful time to roll over and drop dead. (Rating: 1)

U2 - "I Will Follow" b/w "Boy/Girl" (Irish Picture Sleeve 7" vinyl 45 on Brown Vinyl, CBS, Pop)
Boy oh boy oh boy. There will probably be a comic strip forthcoming about this little episode. I bought a bunch of vinyl picture sleeve 45s at a yard sale a couple of months ago which included a bunch of U2 singles. Not being a fan of the band, I immediately started putting their singles up for sale on eBay. One particular record auction drew e-mails from Italy...Cananda...Germany...Switzerland...even Japan... Before I knew it, it seemed as if every serious U2 fan in the world wanted this particular little brown 45. As it turned out, it was the only known copy to be pressed on this particular color of vinyl. To make a long story short (read the upcoming comic strip for the full-length account), I made enough money selling this 45 (that I paid an entire QUARTER for) to buy a new Apple G4 computer. The biggest thrill in my obviously boring little life is finding something for nothing...and this time it was just like something straight off the Antiques Roadshow. Anyway...I sold the record... I am happy. The person who bought the record is happy. The nice fellow who helped me to sell the record is happy. Everyone is happy... La la la la la la... But the world is still shitty. (Not Rated)


A.C. - It Just Gets Worse (CD, Earache)
American Beauty - Music from the original motion picture soundtrack (CD, Dreamworks)
A Minor Forest - So, Were they in some sort of fight? (CD, My Pal God)
Amod Amarth - The avenger (CD, Metal Blade)
Ancient - The Halls of Eternity (CD, Metal Blade)
Angry Punk for Urban Skunx
(CD, 45 Revolutions)
Apocalypse Hoboken
- Microstars (CD, Kung Fu)
Appliaince Manual (CD, Mute)
Ash - Nu-clear sounds (CD, Dreamworks)
Aunt Beaph - 2000 AB (CD, Crustacean)
Babylon Whores - King Fear (CD, Necropolis)
Back to School - Domestic Sampler (CD, Dreamworks)
John T. Baker - Woods (CD, Ivey DeMilo)
The Banjo Spiders
(CD, Spinning)
Beefcake - Rejected (CD, Fearless)
Betwixt - The salty tang (CD, Archenemy)
The Black Watch - The king of good intentions (CD, Not Lame Limited)
Blotorch (CD, Earache)
Blue Dogs - Letters From Round O (CD, Black River)
Bottom - Made in voyage (CD, Mudflap)
Bright Eyes - Every day and every night (CD, Saddle Creek)
Cafe Bleu - Presents who what where how & when (CD, This is a Modern World)
The Charalatans UK - Us and us only (CD, MCA)
Choke - Kiss it goodbye (CD, Revelation)
Cinema Beer Belly (CD, Hopeless)
Cinema Beer Belly (Videotape, Hopeless)
Cobra Killer (CD, DHR)
Cyclone Mack (CD, What Ever Land)
- 1000 yard stars (CD, MCA)
The Drones - Live in Japan (CD, 45 Revolutions)
Dropzone - Pint size punks (CD, Skate-key)
Drums and Tuba - Flatheads and spoonies (CD, My Pal God)
Elbow - Panties on the mic (CD)
Emperor Penguin - Extreme gaming (CD, My Pal God)
Enemy You - Where no one knows my name (CD, Panic Button)
EQ (Magazine, Oct. 1999)
The Essex Green - Everything is green (CD, Kindercore)
Estrella 20/20 - Afro Mexicana (CD, Estrus!)
Eye (Magazine, No. 24)
The Faint (CD, Blank Wave)
Flight 180 - Lineup (CD, BEC)
Fono - Goes around comes around (CD, Big Deal)
The Frank and Walters - Beauty becomes more than life (CD, Red Ink)
Michael Fredo - Introducing... (CD, WB)
French Kicks (CD, My Pal God)
Funny Looking Kids - Picture day (CD, Fastmusic)
Gooseflesh - Chemical Garden (CD, Digital Dimension)
Amy Grant - A Christmas to remember (CD, A&M)
The Gravy (CD, Q Division)
Guano Apes - Proud like a god (CD, BMG)
Hangnail - Ten Days Before Summer (CD, TMC)
Hate Eternal - Conquering the throne (CD, Earache)
Heavy Duty Felt - Ashtray floors, dirty clothes & filthy jokes (Ind. CD)
Himsa - Ground breaking ceremony (CD, Revelation)
Lauren Hoffman - From the blue house (CD, Free Union)
If - Bitter extra crunch (CD, Bankrupt)
Jim Jacobi & the Joe Jakimbi Band (Ind. CD)
Jersey - The battle's just begun (CD, Fueled By Ramen)
Jessica Six - All good things (CD, Act Your Age)
Kincaid - Kincaid plays super Hawaii (CD, Kindercore)
Kiss the Clown - Pretty paranoia (CD, Rotten)
Kovenant - Animatronic (CD, Nuclear Blast)
The Last Recordings of Clem Comstock - Where has the music gone? (CD, Mental Giant)
Leadfoot - Take a look (CD, TMC)
Live - The distance to here (CD, Radioactive)
The Lord High Fixers - Is your club a secret weapon? (CD, Estrus!)
Lynch Mob - Smoke this (CD, Koch)
David Mead - The luxury of time (CD, RCA)
Mortis - The stargate (CD, Earache)
Mutiny - Rum rebellion (CD, Hell's Ditch)
98* - This christmas (CD, Universal)
Naive - Post alcoholic anxieties (CD, Kool Arrow)
One People - From within (CD, One)
Lex Orillyon - Da' Chameleon (CD, Orillyon)
Paxton - Ginger's Dish (CD, Nemperor)
Pet Shop Boys - Nightlife (CD, Sire)
Phase Selector Sound - Disassemble dub (CD, ROIR)
Pop Sunday (Zine, Fall 1999)
Psyched! (CD, Beggars Banquet)
Rage Against the Machine - The Battle of Los Angeles (CD, Sony)
Redmon & Vale (CD, Dreamworks)
Rerooted - Beatz from da ground up (CD, City of Tribes)
Rise 13 - Magick rock Vol. 1 (CD, TMC)
Saturnine - American Kestrel (CD, Motorcoat)
Seventeen - Ransom your handsome (CD, Risky Music)
Sixteen Deluxe - The moonman is blue (CD EP, Sugar Fix)
Snow Patrol - Songs for polarbears (CD, Jeepster)
Sole - Skin deep (CD, Dreamworks)
Someday I - Look up and live (CD)
Sparkmaker - Treaure chest 1990-1997 (CD, Reveleation)
Spitshine - Kick Me Hard(Ind. CD)
Spoon - The agaony of laffitude (CD, Saddle Creek)
Sting - Brand new day (CD, A&M)
Strange Medicine - Strange Medicine (Ind. CD)|
Stretford - Long distance (CD, Framed!)
Swank (CD, Fueled By Ramen)
Switchhitter - Academy (CD, Framed!)
Take 6 - We wish you a merry christmas (CD, Reprise)
Tape Op (Magazine, No. 14)
The Tom Collins (CD, Tricorder)
Tonal Evidence 1999 (CD, Mute)
Total Chaos - In God we kill (CD, Cleopatra)
Randy Travis - A man ain't made of stone (CD, Dreamworks)
Twist and Shake (Magazine, Volume 14)
Vue - The death of a girl (CD, GSL)
Whippersnapper - The long walk (CD, Lobster)
Mike Younger - Somethin' in the air (CD, Beyond)

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