August 1997 Reviews

RATING SYSTEM | The Apples in Stereo | Jennifer Batten | Bludgers | Eugene Chadbourne | Comet Gain | Dadfinger | Martin Denny | Fabric | Flux | The Geraldine Fibbers | Gladhands | Headrillaz | Mel Henke | Hi-Standard | Hanuman Care Kit | Neilson Hubbard | Ink Nineteen | Keoki | Mike Ladd | Lampy Doodle | Limp | Mad Caddies | Magoo | Maryjane | Matera | Megadeth | The Misfits | The Mommy | No Knife | Pink Noise Test | The Pistoleros | Plumb | Prodigy | Riverdales | Safari Season | Snuff | Solarus | Spider Virus | Stavesacre | Telegraph | Ween | We Will Fall | The Young Adults


THE APPLES IN STEREO - Tone Soul Evolution (CD, spinART, Pop)
This is easily one of the best pop CDs of 1997. For anyone who was concerned that making the move from lo-fi eight channel to a professional 24 track studio might affect this band's sound in a negative way, relax. There's no need for concern. Instead of harming the charm inherent in this band's music, the glossier sound only enhances what was already there. Great songs, top notch arrangements, and vocals that are way too good to be true abound throughout this disc. Robert Schneider is destined to be one of the standout pop songwriters of the nineties. This ought to appeal to fans of the Beach Boys, Shoes, Beatles, and...hell, virtually ALL pop fans oughta got NUTS over this. Cerebral melodies that'll make you feel like you're soaring through the sky. A must have for pop fanatics... (Rating: 6)

JENNIFER BATTEN'S TRIBAL RAGE - Momentum (CD, Mondo Cargo, Guitar/instrumental)
Here a guitar virtuoso, there a guitar virtuoso...everywhere a guitar virtuoso. While it seems that everyone and his kid brother can play guitar like nobody's business nowadays, this particular artist stands out because...she's a woman. I'm not sure why, but when you think of guitar heros you almost always think of men. Jennifer Batten is out to change that image...and by the sound of this CD, she has succeeded. Probably best known as a live guitarist for Michael Jackson (honest), Ms. Batten's own music is a cerebral wash of guitar pyrotechnics. Though fancy guitar playing isn't normally my kind of thing, folks who are into this style of music should check out this lady's stuff. She's talented as all get out. (Rating: 3)

BLUDGERS - Set Your Sights Low (CD, Hammerhead, Pop)
Most underground bands have a sound that limits them to a small audience. Urbana's Bludgers have a sound that, if marketed correctly, could appeal to a very large audience. The band's homegrown approach to pop is highly melodic and well thought through. The tunes are based on simple guitar riffs and feature excellent arrangements and slick vocal harmonies. This band ought to appeal to fans of Warren Zevon and Richard Thompson. Check out the band's web site at (Not Rated)

EUGENE CHADBOURNE - Jesse Helms Busted With Pornography: The C&W Opera by Eugene Chadbourne (CD, Fireant, Pop/satire)
Though I had heard the occasional song on college radio by underground cult icon Eugene Chadbourne, this is the first time I have heard an entire full-length release. Mr. Chadbourne is something like a looney, out of control Martin Mull. He writes good songs...but more importantly he manages to come up with lyrics that are both funny and thought provoking. This particular CD contains live and studio material, and even includes backup by a couple of the guys in the Violent Femmes. Is this serious music...or is it not? Doesn't matter. This entertains...and that's all that matters in the land of the baby. After hearing this, I'll be sure to catch this guy next time he plays down South. My fave here is "Today's Gun Permits." (Rating: 5)

COMET GAIN - Sneaky (CD, Beggars Banquet, Pop)
With all the band comparisons tossed around on the press release and reviews that accompanied this CD, it seemed very odd indeed that the Pooh Sticks were never mentioned. Comet Gain has a sound that is embarrassingly close to the Pooh Sticks. Pure, upbeat exhilerating pop music that verges on bubblegum and features male lead vocals and female backing vocals. The sum of these parts is a sound that is feelgood pop...the kind of thing you can play on a sunny day while driving your car and leave all your troubles behind. Twelve tunes, featuring "Strength," "Steps to the Sea," "A Film by Kenneth Anger," and "Sunsets at Her Window." One of the best new British bands I've heard this year. (Rating: 4)

DADFINGER - Straight Christian Magic Dice Music (CD, Pineapple, Suicide pop)
Obviously heavily influenced by the now mostly dead British band Badfinger, Dadfinger take their toss from the loin and give a pawprint to the groin. Using the idea of teenage preganancy as a vehicle for mass suicide, the band's live shows offer poison drinks and nooses for the underprivileged. Those who die are thanked with force on the CDs that follow. The music? It's like something the dogs bought at a banana store. Songs like "What? No Matter," "Gay After Gay," "Come and Admit It," and "Without Jews" are something of a dubious neuter, pampering only the wimpy and the frigid. Makes you wonder what Dad actually did with his finger, doesn't it? (Rating: 1)

MARTIN DENNY - Quiet Village/The Enchanted Sea (CD, Scamp, Lounge)
If anyone had told me when I was a kid that I'd now be enjoying those old Martin Denny albums that my parents had, I probably would have told them they were NUTS. It just goes to show what a closed-minded little rat I was. If I hadn't been so infatuated with the Beatles, I might've realized that there was more to the world than just rock music. The Scamp label continues in their mission to again make Mr. Denny's recordings available to a hungry public...this time releasing both Quiet Village (Denny's biggest seller) and The Enchanted Sea. Both sound as if they were recorded yesterday, and the liner notes (written by Denny himself) are thoroughly entertaining. Sheesh...this is so much BETTER than almost all the modern day "lounge" artists. I highly recommend ALL the Martin Denny rereleases. I've gone APESHIT over 'em. (Rating: 6)

FABRIC - Wooly Mammoth (CD, Hep-Cat/Scrimshaw, Odd pop)
Good name for a band...and good band as well. The first identifiable trait of this band is that they are fond of mixing modern electronics with traditional acoustic instruments. Smart move, as each serves to offset the other...making this peculiar batch of pop tunes both listenable and just a slight bit organic. Of course as with most bands, songs are the heart of the matter...and these folks come up with some memorable stuff. Fabric consists of Chris Kupersmith (guitar/vocals), Tina Barbeiri (bass) and Scott Ewing (keyboards). They're based iln Bloomington. This is a cool, original batch of tunes that just doesn't sound like everything else currently on the horizon. Simultaneously accessible and challenging. Neat, neat, neat! (Rating: 4)

FLUX - Protoplasmic (CD, Release, Progressive/experimental)
James Plotkin (who is Flux) was named by Guitar Player magazine as one of the world's 30 most subersive guitar terrorists. Though this information doesn't impress me (that magazine SUCKS)...the music on this CD does. Mr. Plotkin records obtuse, cerebral music that is at times heady and at other times heavenly. These compositions were recorded at Mick Harris's Black Box studio in England (he also acted as co-producer). These eight tunes are reminiscent of seventies progressive music, yet the super slick, high tech sound is definitely nineties all the way. And this guy really can do amazing stuff with a guitar. Kind of like looking through a kaleidoscope, this is a multi faceted work. (Rating: 4)

THE GERALDINE FIBBERS - Butch (CD, Virgin, Progressive rock)
The Geraldine Fibbers are one of those "difficult" bands. They don't fit easily into any specific category, and listening to their music isn't always the easiest thing in the world. The band's odd collage of skewed pop and thrash music with peculiar arrangements may scare most listeners away. For those with the patience and stamina to allow themselves to be drawn into the music, however, there are rich rewards. Interesting lyrics, exceptional vocals, and superb arrangements abound on Butch. One thing is for certain...this band is geared more toward artistic success than commercial success. This is the best thing I've heard these folks do yet. My favorite is "Swim Back To Me." (Rating: 5)

GLADHANDS (Live performance, August 7, 1997)
Sometimes my perception is completely distorted. Because their latest CD (La Di Da) is one of the best pop discs released this year, I just assumed that this band was a big success. I suppose that's why I was so shocked to learn that the band was playing third on the bill at a very small, dumpy club in Atlanta on a Wednesday night. Apparently this band's music hasn't caught on yet, although they've obviously got songs and talent up the ass. Despite the fact that the P.A. system sucked and the sound man didn't seem to be paying attention, these four guys from Chapel Hill played up a power pop storm that was exhilerating and totally fun. Gladhands play pure pop in the vein of Ben Folds Five, early Todd Rundgren, and Squeeze. This is a band with genuinely great songs...the kind of songs I'll still be listening to years from now. No gimmicks, no dumb image, no bullshit...just great pop music from four young fellows who like wearing horizontally striped shirts. The vocals during the performance were just as amazing as on the CD. These four guys came off as normal fellows simply having a good time playing their music. Despite the fact that there was only one other person in the audience who seemed familiar with the band, Gladhands didn't let this hamper their passion for pumping out their stuff. I left this show admiring this band's music even more than before...which is saying a lot, because their CD is one of my TOP favorite releases of the year. A great and virtually unrecognized band that just might hit it really big if radio picks up on 'em... (Rating: 5)

HEADRILLAZ - ColdHarbourRocks (Import CD, V2, Big beat/techno)
The term "big beat" is a new one on me. I'm glad I'm being introduced to this brand of music by Headrillaz...cuz these guys are good at what they do. Big beat seems to be techno/dance music with an emphasis on tom toms and bass drums. The electronic noodling is anchored by a very solid, low, thudding rhythm that's just right for dancing. The domestic version will be released by Gee Street, and will include an additional track. This is a fun listen, and likely to become a solid favorite at dance clubs. (Rating: 4)

MEL HENKE - La Dolce Henke (CD, Scamp, Goofy)
The name Mel Henke didn't ring a bell, but his accomplishments sure do. Mr. Henke started out as a "serious" jazz pianist, and then later focused his efforts on writing advertising jingles. He penned such unforgettable pieces as Ajax's "Stronger Than Dirt" and Chevrolet's "See the USA In Your Chevrolet." This rerelease features a slew of odd compositions that are very reminiscent of Esquivel. Odd, lounge-like pieces with lots of goofy sixties style vocals. Listening to this CD is very much like listening to sixties television shows. The music is silly and jazzy...and it even features a guest appearance by Mel Blanc (!). In addition to all the tunes on the original album, the CD also includes four extra tracks (including the Chevrolet jingle). This is an odd one that's certain to be a big hit at parties everywhere... (Rating: 4)

HI-STANDARD - Angry Fist (CD, Fat Wreck Chords, Punk)
Tight and punchy. This Japanese punk band is now recording for the infamous Fat Wreck Chords, and they've focused their sound since the last release I heard from them. It's amazing how American this band sounds...except for those skewed vocals, of course. For me, the magic moments on this disc are the instrumental sections. These fellows come up with some GREAT guitar lines. I'd sure like to hear 'em do a batch of instrumentals someday... (Not Rated)

HANUMAN CARE KIT - Visited. (CD, Gorgone Productions, Dub/trip hop)
Two fellows. One Englishman (Stig) and one Frenchman (Flazz). Dub music with good electronics, overlaid with spoken vocals. Somewhat trace-like and droning. Sounds like this would be good for slow dancing in a small club. Above average spacey electronics. (Not Rated)

NEILSON HUBBARD - The Slide Project (CD, e pluribus unum, Pop)
Nice urgent pop music that flows by in an effortless sort of way. The Slide Project was recorded in Nashville and mixed at Ardent Studios in Memphis. There's a definite Big Star influence to these tunes, but it's only an influence. Neilson Hubbard might have been influenced by the big "B.S." but he's definitely his own songwriter. Simple, ultra-hummable pop tunes like "Everybody's Doin' It" and "Promise" are infectious from the word go. The songs are great, but this guy's vocals are what push this music over the edge. He's got a breathy style of singing that fits his tunes like a goddamn glove. I've never heard Mr. Hubbard's band The Living Hand (which he co-founded), so this is the first release I've heard from him. This guy is not just a fluke. He's a real talent with a genuine knack for turning a tune... (Rating: 5)

INK NINETEEN (Monthly music newspaper)
One of the best sources around for up-to-the-minute, thoughtful, knowledgeable music reviews. Not only is this one of the best written and edited music newspapers, it is also one of the most timely and consistent. These folks have been putting out their monthly publication...on time (!)...for years now. Though the paper is free in Florida and Georgia, they offer a GREAT subscription deal for folks elsewhere ($21 a year). Music reviews don't have to be retarded and stupid, and Ink Nineteen proves just that. Dozens upon dozens of informed reviews in every issue. Contact: Ink Nineteen, P.O. Box 1947, Melbourne, FL 32902-1947. On the web at (Rating: 6)

KEOKI - Ego-Trip (CD, Moonshine, Electronic/dance)
One of the world's most prominent DJs, Keoki has been a main figurehead in the rave movement. Up until now, the man had only released vaious artists CDs. Keoki is interesting for many reasons. He was born in El Salvador and raised on Maui, and the man has come a long way. He's managed to create an image and demand for himself that would make many folks envious. He also has a constantly changing but peculiar look. His latest publicity photo shows him sitting naked with nails glued to his shaved head. Ego-Trip is a computerized batch of music. The songs are spacey experiments that border on disco. You either like this kind of stuff or you don't...there's little fence sitting with rave/dance/techno music. (Not Rated)

MIKE LADD - Easy Listening for Armaggedon (CD, Scratchie, Dub/spoken word)
Dub music with spoken word from Mike Ladd who currently teaches at Boston University. I like the music, but the vocals are like "spoken word" or rap rambling, and those kinda things don't do much for me. If you're into that kinda stuff, then you'll probably have an entirely different reaction... (Rating: 2)

LAMPY DOODLE - Turning Off the Doodle (CD, Velvetcheese, Rowdy function)
Lampy Doodle recorded Turning Off the Doodle without sound, electricity, recording equipment, instruments, voices, earplugs, dynamite, turqoise, oil, tinkies, or poosie. The press release states that the band "wanted to do something without anything because they didn't know what was going on anyway." I suppose someone somewhere is expecting to cash in on the next big musical phenomenon, but I doubt if very many folks are going to become rowdy function fanatics. As always, any music matter how it is patehtic and annoying. This shakes the blanket. (Rating: 1)

LIMP - Pop & Disorderly (CD, Honest Don's, Pop/rock)
More than any other band, Limp reminds us of early They Might Be Giants. The band has a punchy, poppy sound that's instantly accessible and familiar. Harmony vocals that are right on key complete the picture, making the band's sound both full and furious. Our initial faves are "Far Away," "Three Words," and "Holiday Road." (Not Rated)

MAD CADDIES (Live performance, July 20, 1997)
A sweltering day in the middle of summer. An overcrowded club with inadequate air conditioning. Eight people jammed onto a stage meant for four. Despite all the obstacles, California's Mad Caddies blew the roof off the club. The band's peculiar mix of ska, pop, and punk sounded somewhat familiar, yet still fresh and new. It seemed odd that the audience danced during the slower numbers, but just stood and stared when the band played their fast material. Perhaps the crowd of stoned youngsters couldn't keep up with the caddies. The highlight of the show was when the killer lead guitarist (this guy is GREAT!) traded his axe for a banjo and the band played ragtime. The Mad Caddies are a pure upbeat fun experience. (Not Rated)

MAGOO - The Soateramic Sounds of Magoo (CD, Chemikal Underground/Beggars Banquet, Rock/pop)
Skewed pop music in the same vein as The Flaming Lips. This band is not copying or aping the Lips' sound...they're just playing the same type of noisy, extremely catchy pop. After pawing through several dozen VERY uninteresting CDs, this one stood out like a sore thumb. These guys are clever, simple, and at times just plain looney. Lyrics are way above average, as are evidenced by the song titles ("Your Only Friend," "The Social Event of the Year," "British Cars," "This Red Earth"). In short, Magoo is a smart band crafting thought provoking pop ditties...and making it all sound as if it took very little effort (which I seriously doubt was the case). Excellent experimental stuff that is heads above most of what I've heard this year! (Rating: 5)

MARYJANE - Sympathy Cards (CD, Bear, Pop/rock)
Thick, melodic guitar pop with muscle. Maryjane offer six extremely pleasing tunes on this EP, giving an indication of even better things to come. My favorites are "Unawed" and "She Comes." Great underground pop music. This is also the first of Bear Records' DOSE series ("Disk-Only-SEries")...EPs in little plastic bags. The label predicts jewel boxes will soon die. In my opinion, it can't be soon enough. Bear is a label you can trust, and this little CD is chock full of fun. (Rating: 5)

MATERA - Same Here (CD, Invisible, Dub/ambient/vocal)
I was fairly certain this would be a good listen before I even played the thing, mainly because this duo includes Mick Harris (of Scorn). In this band, Mick teams up with Mauro Teho Teardo (of Meathead) to produce an intriguing collection of tunes. The music is similar to Scorn in many ways, but the main difference is Mr. Teardo's vocals. The idea of vocals mixed with Scorn-like music didn't sound appealing to me until I started listening. In addition to the eight new tracks, the disc also includes three remixes from the Pure Mixes EP. These guys' stuff works great together, making this one of the standout dub/ambient discs of the year. (Rating: 5)

MEGADETH - Cryptic Writings (CD, Capitol, Rock/pop)
Megadeth's eighth full-length release is a hit and miss affair. Apparently the band has lost many of their early fans with their current sound which is more pop than heavy metal. Though I'm not familiar with the band's total output, I rather like some of the new stuff. The guitars crank, the vocals are gutsy, the rhythm section loud and solid... In fact, if I hadn't read the lyrics I might have a much stronger impression of this disc. Simply put, the words are bad...but the music itself is good. Things like "Trust" and "Mastermind" are fine tunes, but "Use the Man" is unbearably stupid. The good and bad even each other out...making this a solid "3". (Rating: 3)

THE MISFITS - Static Age (CD, Caroline, Rock)
We had heard the name forever, but this band's music had never made its way to our mailbox until now. This is a re-relase of the first Misfits album including three tracks that weren't available on the original release. This band plays simple, powerful rock music that is surprisingly unpretentious. It is particularly surprising, since they broke up in 1984, that the band has become so infamous over the past few years. Word of mouth has a way of making things like this happen. Some of this sounds dated, sure...but these guys sound like they were having such fun recording these tunes that it just doesn't matter. Includes such unforgettable tracks as "TV Casuality," "Last Caress," "Teenagers From Mars," and the previously unreleased anywhere "In the Doorway." (Not Rated)


THE MOMMY - Kill Your Babies (CD, Lonnie Dump, Folk)
The Mommy have the right idea about what to do with children, but their unfortunate attempt to plug the plow dumps like a biohazard in the midst of a tarnished pump. How many children must die to fight the cause before the cause is united? Damn bands like this for making a statement. Their only redemption is in the Lord, for they know now what they aren't doing. (Rating: 1)

NO KNIFE - Hit Man Dreams (CD, Time Bomb Recordings, Rock/pop)
I really liked this band's debut album. Hit Man Dreams, their second full-length, is much more accessible. This San Diego-based band has a good knack for guitar arrangements, and their rhythm section is solid. What makes this sound drastically different from the debut are the vocals. The overall sound here verges on power pop. This is neither good nor bad...just different. Though the new sound took some getting used to, after a few listens this actually sounds better to me. Some of the band's fans may yell "sell out"...but there's absolutely nothing wrong with writing songs that people can there? Eleven cool tunes here. We really dig "Testing the Model," "Sweep Away My Shadow" and the title track in particular. (Rating: 4)

PINK NOISE TEST - Plasticized (CD, Interscope, Rock/pop)
This Los Angeles band reminds me of The Jesus and Mary Chain. They play skewed, obtuse pop characterized by weird atonal noise. Actually, Pink Noise Test are a little stranger than that. They throw lots of stuff in their recordings that would make you think you are listening to techno or industrial music. But just as soon as you think you know where the music is going, those fuzzy guitars crank in and throw you into the band's world of fabulous bubblegum pop. The band is headed by Lawrence Glass and Kirk Hellie (Hellie and drummer Peter Kelly had played previously in a band with Steve Jones). Bassist Michael Hill completes the picture. This is good stuff...thirteen tunes' worth. Worth checking out. (Rating: 4)

THE PISTOLEROS - Hang On To Nothing (CD, Hollywood, Pop)
Instantly likeable, hummable, surprisingly accessible pop rock music driven by guitars. The band is led by brothers Lawrence and Mark Zubia. The tunes on Hang On To Nothing have a slight country edge to them, and most of the tunes feature a slick, somewhat thick produced sound. Radio friendly to the max, The Pistoleros somehow manage to maintain their dignity despite their commercial sound. This would make very pleasant music for road tripping. We particularly like the title track... (Not Rated)

PLUMB - Plumb (CD, Silvertone, Pop)
Not bad, but too processed and overly commercial for my taste. The band plays thick, heavily produced pop and they're fronted by a breathy voiced lady named Tiffany Arbuckle. Even though this disc doesn't coddle my throttle, this band definitely has its own appeal. Very radio friendly. (Rating: 3)

PRODIGY - The Fat of the Land (CD, Maverick, Techno/hip-hop/rave)
This is the first thing I have heard from Prodigy, despite the fact that the group is apparently successful in a big way. A friend seemed startled a couple of months ago when he asked me about this band. I told him I had never heard of them. I'm turned onto music through my mailbox...not from MTV or radio or glossy magazines. As a result, this group's big fame escaped me entirely. Prodigy play hip-hop/techno music with a slightly grungy edge. The group is apparently widely known for their theatrical live performances, of which I have not seen. This sounds okay, but this may be one of those cases where you have to see the band play to really understand what they're about. I'll reserve further judgement until then... (Rating: 3)

RIVERDALES - Storm the Streets (CD, Honest Don's, Punk/pop)
All RIGHT!!! Totally simple, fuzzed out bubblegum-like pop/punk that's sure to please fans of both the Ramones and the McRackins. The band was formed from the remains of Screeching Weasel, a band that escaped me during their time in the sun. Riverdales consists of Ben Foster (guitar, lead vocals), Dan Schafer (bass, lead vocals), and Dan Sullivan (drums). These guys are tight, tight, tight...and they have an explosively direct sound that you'll either love or hate. Fourteen upbeat, absolutely brilliant tunes that had me tapping my foot from the word go. Includes such wonders as "Make Way," "Mental Retard," "Cementhead," "Kick Your Head In," and "I Am Not A Freak." This one really ROCKS! (Rating: 6)

SAFARI SEASON - Here Comes Summer (CD single, Independent, Pop)
This little 3-song CD was released independently in Sweden by Safari Season (Anders Lingdren and Lars Ryen). "Here Comes Summer," the first track, is a cool pop number. The second track is a very slow, laidback version of "Help Me Rhonda." The disc closes with "The Search Never Ends." You can contact the band by e-mail at (Not Rated)

SNUFF - Potatoes and Melons Wholesale Prices Straight From the Lock Up (CD, Fat Wreck Chords, Punk)
Neat. Punk music with a real difference. England's Snuff are back with another hard-hitting batch of tunes. In looking over the songs on this disc, I had reservations about any punk band covering Holland/Dozier/Holland's "Shadows of Love" or particularly Burt Bacharach's "Magic Moments." Amazingly, these folks not only pull off these odd covers...they actually inject new energy into the tunes. And instead of doing a parody by simply creaming and making loud noise (like most bands do), these guys actually do the songs justice. Even better here are the originals ("Come and Gone," "Time Dub," "Pink Purple"), which show what good writers these fellows are. The band has a big sound...accentuated by horns and organs. This may be too slick for punk purists...but to me this damn thing CRANKS. (Rating: 5)

SOLARUS - Empty Nature (CD, Release, Ambient/dub)
Verrrrrrrry subtle, trippy stuff. Calling this music "ambient" or "dub" doesn't really do it justice, because it is so much better than a lot of the crap thrown under those all encompassing categories. The music on Empty Nature is very slow and dreamy, and the electronics layered on top are sparse and otherworldly. This project is the duo of Kipp Johnson and Bill Yurkiewicz, and on this particular disk they are joined by guitarist extraordinaire James Plotkin. It's kinda hard to really describe the sound of this band. This is truly relaxing music that'll make you slow down and think. This CD will go into my permanent collection for sure... (Rating: 5)

SPIDER VIRUS - Spider Virus (CD, Ng, Rock)
I caught this Nashville band in concert a couple of years ago almost by accident in a very small nightclub. Their explosive energy was impressive. Spider Virus's new full-length CD was produced by Steve Albini (who's he?). The sound is something like a cross between Harvey Milk and Jane's Addiction. The sound fluctuates between soft and moody and loud and boisterous. The vocalist's raspy voice fits the chaotic nature of these tunes perfectly. This band isn't just playing loud noise, however. Even though things may sound haphazard, there is actually a method to the band's madness...making them both a harsh and odd experience... (Rating: 4)

STAVESACRE - Absolutes (CD, Tooth & Nail, Rock/pop)
It took a couple of listens before it sank in, but Stavesacre sound surprisingly like Duran Duran (!). I hope the guys in the band don't hate me for the comparison, but I swear there's a striking similarity between the two bands...particularly in the vocal area. This is the second full-length from this band which was formed from former members of the hardcore band The Crucified. Actually, these guys are much louder and powerful than Duran Duran...and they use guitars instead of keyboards. Fun stuff, including "Shiv," "Inclusive," "The Two Heavens," and "Wither/Ascend." The more I hear on Tooth & Nail, the more impressed I am with the label. They are helping to dispel people's notions of what they think Christian music ought to sound like... (Rating: 4)

TELEGRAPH - Martian Chronicles (CD, Brazildisc, Mostly instrumental/varied)
Telegraph is the musical project created by mastermind Darren Callahan. I went nuts over the first full-length Telegraph CD. Trying to pinpoint where Darren is coming from is difficult. His music ranges from jazz to experimental to ambient to world music...and that's just the beginning. On Martian Chronicles, the listener is treated to seven lengthy tunes that go all over the place. Mr. Callahan is aided by several pals on this disc, including former Limited Potential label guy Mike Potential. There are so many sounds and styles presented here that you might think this would be one of those "difficult listening" CDs...but instead, these tunes flow quite nicely. The only tune that loses me is "Here Come the Bugs," because it seems so out of place. This is a cool, compelling disc worth seeking out... (Rating: 5)

WEEN - The Mollusk (CD, Elektra, Goofy pop)
All I had really heard by Ween prior to hearing this CD were a couple of radio "hits" with the sped up voices and all. This duo is more talented and diverse than I would have guessed. This CD was recorded at a total of seven different locations, and it sounds as if the guys had their share of problems completing this one. This is their "aquatic" disc, as several of the tunes feature things connected with water ("The Mollusk," "The Blarney Stone," "Ocean Man"). The "serious" tunes are definitely my favorites here (particularly "It's Gonna Be (Alright)" and the title track). The goofy nature of the majority of these tunes sometimes seems unnecessary. I'd like to hear these guys do a "serious" album one day, cuz I bet it'd be DAMN good... (Rating: 3)

WE WILL FALL - The Iggy Pop Tribute (CD, Royalty, Rock/various artists)
Long overdue, this tribute to Iggy Pop is a surprisingly entertaining listen. Iggy's influence on the world of rock music can't be disputed, and this collection of covers is testament to the fact. The roster here is mind boggling: Joey Ramone, Joan Jett, Misfits, Pansy Division, Superdrag, Jayne County...and that's just the beginning. Almost all the artists succeed in recapturing the spirit of the original tunes...something that almost never happens on tribute compilations. Most of the proceeds from this CD go to a charity, but we'll just pretend we didn't know that...because there's a lot of great stuff here... (Rating: 5)

THE YOUNG ADULTS - "I (Probably) Heart You" b/w "One Thing That Matters" (Vinyl 45, Precious, Pop)
Instantly infectious pop from Albuquerque's The Young Adults. Some folks may know bassist Noah Masterson for El Zine de Eugene (a zine and web site) or for his previous Florida band Childress. Fleshing out this band are guitarist Greg Gibson and drummer Chris Bell (no, not that one...). The Young Adults' guitar pop is simple and direct. The songs are about girls and love. The melodies are well above average for a pop band, and the vocals are amazingly unpretentious. All in all, this reminds me very much of the Young Fresh Fellows' approach to music. If you can't find this, write the band at P.O. Box 4961, Albuquerque, NM 87196-4961...or check out their web site at Catchy and fun. (Rating: 5)

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