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January 1999 Reviews

RATING SYSTEM | 1999 | Bam Balam Explosion | The Boo Radleys | The Buddyrevelles | Wendy Carlos | Custom Made Scare | Dave Davies | Dripping Goss | Everready | The Gigolo Aunts | Gold Water | MJ Harris-Martyn Baytes | Hednoise | Jet Set Six | Jimmy Eat World | Kill Allen Wrench | NOTV | The Remnants | Schrasj | Screeching Weasel | Should | John P. Strohm | Synergy | The Threes Because We Don't Give Enough Threes | T. Rex | Twist and Shake | Varnaline

*Additional Items Received*


1999 (Another stupid year kind of thing)
1999 will be another shitty year, just like 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, and 1990 were. Let's face it. All years are bad...because all time is bad. Why is time bad? Simply because all people are bad. And because there are so many people on the earth, badness is bound to abound everywhere. Don't give up, though. And don't try to improve your situation, because it will only get worse. This year is the year you will die a miserable, pointless death. Oh least that's something to look forward to... (Rating: 1)

BAM BALAM EXPLOSION VOL. V - USA Power Pop Compilation (Spanish import CD, Bam Balam, Various artists)
To hear that latest in American power pop, you just may have to go to Spain to hear it. Yup, some of the best pop music in the U.S. is still virtually ignored by major we must depend on underground European labels instead. This meaty little collection of "hits that oughta be" includes great selections from Van Gogh, Red Letter Day, Jeff Strell, Spinning Jennies, The Lears, Rich Arithmetic (yeah!), The Rubinoos, and seventeen more artists...making this a mind bending look into late nineties underground pop. (I'd rate this one really high...except then I would be accused of being unethical because one of my own recordings is included!) Check out the label's web site at: COOL! (Not Rated)

THE BOO RADLEYS - Kingsize (CD, Creation, Pop/rock)
This very British sounding band has been at it for many years now. The Boo Radleys still maintain their heady, somewhat commercial approach to pop. Kingsize finds the band treading in more complex terrain, as the arrangements are busy and thick. Yet underneath all the baroque instrumentation, the band still manages to get in a groove and stay in it. These fellows obviously spent a great deal of time recording this disc. Though the spark of spontaneity is missing in many of these tunes, this band has still come up with an entertaining and enjoyable collection of tunes... (Not Rated)

THE BUDDYREVELLES - September, November (CD, Motorcoat, Pop)
Nice moody slightly peculiar guitar pop. These three guys have a good knack for writing pop tunes that are melodic, yet have just slightly skewed arrangements. The combination of melodies and strangely subtle arrangements works...making these tunes easy on the ears, yet challenging enough NOT to be boring (!). The guitar work is intelligent and sometimes rather intense (in the vein of Television at times). The production is clean, but not digitally crisp (thank God)...making this disc a pleasantly nice surprise. Fourteen tunes, including "C'est Super," "Morse Code," "The Crush," and "Sept./Nov." NEAT. (Rating: 4)

WENDY CARLOS - Clockwork Orange: Complete Original Score (CD, East Side Digital, Classical/electronic), Sonic Seasonings (Double CD, East Side Digital, Ambient/electronic), Tales of Heaven and Hell (CD, East Side Digital, Electronic)
Wendy Carlos is what you might call a true genius in the world of twentieth century music. She's always been ahead of her time...expanding boundaries and challenging listeners and herself. Hats off to East Side Digital for seeing fit to re-release earlier Carlos recordings as well as her latest work. Wendy's first major claim to fame was a recording called Switched On Bach, which literally changed the way the world listened to classical music (it also ended up being the first platinum classical album EVER). The re-releases of Clockwork Orange and Sonic Seasonings were remastered by Wendy herself, so you KNOW they sound dynamite...and both releases include extra tracks that weren't included on the vinyl releases. You'd think that an electronic recording from 1972 would sound dated and trite, but this is definitely not the case with the Clockwork soundtrack. It sounded futuristic and incredible then, and it sounds just as amazing now. From the frightening "Timesteps" right on through "Country Lane," this represents state-of-the-art technology in the early seventies. The music has held up well, still sounding better than most current electronic discs released of late. Sonic Seasonings was Wendy's foray into ambient music (although at that time I doubt such a label existed). The music on Seasonings consists of four lengthy pieces divided up into "Spring," "Summer," "Winter," and "Fall." The music captures the essence of the seasons, with subtle electronics rounding out the sound. The real treat on this double CD, however, is the last track entitled "Midnight Sun." Unreleased until now, this hypnotic piece represents Wendy at her best. Layers upon layers of thick heady tones that sound like you've died and gone to heaven. But if you think that her past work overshadows her current endeavors, spinning Tales of Heaven and Hell will change your mind. Possibly the most intensely orchestrated work she has yet to produce, this disc leaves other electronic musicians in a trail of dust (but then, Wendy always WAS ahead of her time...). The tunes on this disc sound like the soundtrack to my worst (and best) nightmares. Ms. Carlos throws so much at the listener that you can't help but feel overwhelmed...but in a very good way. Beautiful, frightening, surreal, psychedelic...there aren't enough adjectives to describe this music. Each tune is meticulously and painstakingly crafted. There's no telling how much time Wendy spent creating epics such as "Transitional," "Clockwork Black," or "Memories." Suffice to say, the lady who is largely responsible for the entire world of electronic music is still light years ahead of the rest. Easily one of the best CDs I've ever heard in my life, Tales is a rich and rewarding trip into unlimitless imagination. Wendy Carlos is in a category all her own. MIND BOGGLING. (All three CDs get a rating of...6)

CUSTOM MADE SCARE - The Greatest Show On Dirt (CD, Side 1, Rock/pop)
If you think the only labels putting out quality power pop/punk are Epitaph and FatWreckChords, you may want to start checking out the latest releases on the newly formed Side 1 label. Custom Made Scare crank out some mighty powerful pop/rock with a nasty bite. The music is ultra fast, the production thick, and the playing is damn near perfect. It all adds up to a lightning blur of really loud pure ROCK. If these recordings are any indication of what this band is like live, I'd suggest checking out your local listings to make sure you catch these guys next time they play your town. A whole trunkload of crunchy rockers including "Peterbilt," "White and Lazy," "White Trash Girl," and "Texas Didn't Wreck Us." (Rating: 4)

DAVE DAVIES - Unfinished Business: Dave Davies Kronikles, 1963-1998 (Double CD, Velvel, Pop/rock)
Though he will probably always be overshadowed by his brother, Dave Davies is a pop genius in his own right (even if he is much less prolific than brother Ray). This long-overdue double CD is a fitting tribute to a man who is deserving of a great deal more attention than he has received in the past. The first disc consists mainly of Dave's solo tunes played with the Kinks. A lot of this disc sounds very much like what it is: garage rock with a heavy blues emphasis. Disc Two is where the real treats lie...and it showcases just how good of a songwriter Dave is and what a GREAT voice he's got. Disc Two includes such unforgettable tracks as "Unfinished Business" (great track never released before now), "Imagination's Real," "In You I Believe," "This Man He Weeps Tonight," "Death of a Clown," "Strangers" (possibly my favorite Dave Davies tune), and many more. This is a great collection of remastered tracks that is a MUST HAVE for fans of both the Kinks and pop music in general... (Rating: 5)

DRIPPING GOSS - Blue Collar Black Future (CD, CBGB, Rock)
Fluctuating in and out of a myriad of musical styles, Dripping Goss's debut disc for the CBGB label never stays in the same style for long. Prancing in and out of punk, pop, jazz, rockabilly, and progressive rock, the four guys in Dripping Goss display their keen ability to get in a groove and stay in it. The lead vocals are strong and urgent, and the band sports a dedicated rhythm section. While the band is adept at all the styles they play, we thinks we likes them best when they just lets loose and plays LOUD. Eleven tunes including "Long Black Motorcade," "Save Your Prayers," and "Darkhorse Connection." (Not Rated)

EVERREADY - Festavus For The Restavus (CD, Cool Guy, Power pop/punk)
We used to think that every inch of usable space on every CD had to be utilized. That was until we heard Chixdiggit do more in 30 minutes than it takes other bands an hour to accomplish. Taking the same basic stance (30 minutes of loud, fast, short pop songs in fast succession), San Diego's Everready are fast, catchy, and punchy as shit. It's a formula we've heard a thousand times before but...when it's done still pushes magic buttons in Charmin Chattyland. This band's songs are reminiscent of the Dickies and (of course) the Ramones...but they also inject their own unique energy and style into their tunes. The band's melodies are way above average. This one's a BIG KICKER! Huh! (Rating: 5)

THE GIGOLO AUNTS - Minor Chords and Major Themes (CD, E Pluribus Unum, Pop)
More excellent pop from a truly great band. Smooth, slick, and ultra-melodic, these tunes are first and foremost easy on the ears...and they stick in the brain like plexiglass. Though they use a formula that's been used millions of times before, the Gigolo Aunts stand out simply because they write songs that are light years ahead of your average pop band. And they have the good sense to keep their arrangements simple...letting the words, song structure, and melodies take center stage. Unfortunately, contractual problems have kept this band from putting out material as often as they'd probably like...but hopefully they've got that all sorted out now. It's a good thing for us...because releases like Minor Chords and Major Themes are a rarity. A simply wonderful new release from one of this decade's most memorable poppers. (Rating: 5)

GOLD WATER - Dustbowl (CD, Invisible, Electronic/noise)
Creating a collage of sound takes skill. Some folks have the knack for it, others don't. Gold Water is the one man project of John Roome (who also did the artwork for this CD). These compositions are somewhat stark...consisting of odd noise and subtle keyboard lines. Listening to this is almost like listening to audio from a science fiction movie with all the speaking parts removed. Somewhat spooky and at other times surreal, these recordings can (unfortunately) only be recommended to those individuals who have a peculiar interest in experimental electronics. Other folks will most likely be...lost. Seven lengthy pieces, including "Dried Interior," "As Precious As Blood," and "Womb of the Desert Sun." 'Tis neato. (Rating: 4)

MJ HARRIS/MARTYN BAYTES - Murder Ballads: The Complete Collection (Triple CD, Invisible, Eerie stuff with vocals)
This triple CD includes all the material from the prior releases Drift, Passages, and Incest Songs. As anyone might guess who is familiar with either or these artists, this is NOT your average electronic garbage. MJ Harris creates creepy electronic soundscapes while vocalist Martyn Baytes speak/sings his obtuse narratives over the top. It's a combination that's not likely to crack the American Top 40 anytime soon...but that's not really the point, of course. Some of these odd pieces have actual vocal tracks where Mr. Baytes actually sings, others feature experimental vocal layerings. This is a lengthy listening experience that's ultimately not for everyone. These eerie compositions are dreamlike and surreal...and they seep into the listener's subconcious like melted iron dripping into a large cauldron. It's a style of music unlike anything else out there. Very...far out... (Rating: 5)

HEDNOISE - Searching For The End (CD, TVT, Techno/industrial/dance)
Highly produced techno dance music that sounds something like a cross between the Pet Shop Boys and Nine Inch Nails. The sound is harsh, but not too harsh. The sound is soft, but not too soft. The bed is soft, but not too soft. The porridge is cool, but not warm enough. The chair is small, but not large enough. Oh my God...the bears are coming HOME from their WALK in the FOREST! We've got to hide...but WHERE? I know! Let's hide on the DANCE FLOOR! Let's put on lots of ridiculous eyeliner and leather...and dye our hair weird colors. That way the bears will NEVER recognize us! We can live out our fantasy lives here inside the smelly stench of this filthy rotten nightclub. Oh me, oh my! Hopefully they won't find us. We really want to die. (Not Rated)

JET SET SIX - Livin' It Up (CD, Mutiny, Male vocalist)
My first reaction to this was..."Not more of that goddamn SWING REVIVAL CRAP!" And I almost yanked it from the CD player. Fortunately, I was patient enough to realize that this is actually more in line with Las Vegas music in the style of Wayne Newton or even Frank Sinatra. And it's GOOD STUFF! Yup...instead of more of that tired, samey old swing thing (that's being overdone by everyone under the sun), the folks in Jet Set Six are taking a different approach...and making the idea of male vocalists seem really cool all over again. Eleven toe tappers, including "Every Single Day," "The Dame That Knotted My Rope," and "Hotline." You can visit the band's web site at Good stuff! (Rating: 4)

JIMMY EAT WORLD - Jimmy Eat World (CD EP, Fueled By Ramen, Pop)
When you think Florida, you probably think of speed metal and Satan. When you think of the Fueled By Raman label, you probably think punk music (Less Thank Jake). You'd be wrong on both counts, however, as Jimmy Eat World is a pure pop band. The band's highly polished radio pop is heavy on breathy vocals and jangly guitars...and it's all propelled by an infectious, driving rhythm section. Even the lyrics are upbeat and listener friendly. Usually overly accessible pop means unlistenable and crappy. Not so here. Jimmy Eat World's music is excellent calibre pop bursting at the seams with energy and enthusiasm. This is a precursor to the band's upcoming full-length. Odds are you'll be hearing and seeing a lot more about these guys very soon... (Rating: 4)

KILL ALLEN WRENCH - My Bitch Is A Junky (CD, Devil Vision Motion Picture Company, Rock)
Fun, fun, fun, fun, FUN! Kill Allen Wrench recorded and produced this CD in their home studio...and it KICKS ASS! Full of completely offensive (for those who can actually BE offended, that is) lyrics, this is one rocking batch of tunes played at a fever high energy level...and the vocals are KILLER. This is HARD ROCK with a very BAD ATTITUDE. The song titles say it all: "I Want To Date A Porno Star," "Can't Stop Getting High," "But Fuck Princess"... The main themes here are to worship the devil, take drugs, get drunk, and treat women like scum. These are the kinds of morals that I can really appreciate. Even if you don't listen to the words, the music STILL rocks! These guys came up with a winner...on the basis of sheer determination and BALLS. The web site is (Rating: 5)

NOTV - NOTV 1 (Independent video, Various artists), NOTV 2 (Independent video, Various artists), NOTV 3 (Independent video, Various artists)
This is an excellent glimpse into the wonderfully obscure music and art scene in Savannah. Mainly thought of in historical context, Savannah has recently (and unfortunately) been pegged as some city in Georgia where some goddamn bestselling book was written. True, Savannah is historically (and architecturally) mindblowing...and there was a faggot murder book written there...but underneath all the other images there is a city thriving with innovative artists and musicians. Savannah's art and music is at times perplexing and at other times just extremely bizarre. And yet, because the city is geographically isolated, few people outside of Savannah are aware of it's deranged undercurrents. Produced by Michael Kienzle, the NOTV videotape series is a great primer for the uninitiated. Full of experimental, noise, punk, and pure psychedelia video, these tapes shed light on some largely neglected yet extremely innovative artists. NOTV 1 (the first of the series, obviously) showcases a bundle of acts I wasn't familiar with. After a great computer generated introductory piece comes a long slew of band videos. Standouts from this video include "Seeds" by Dandelion Wine, which is an almost completely abstract instrumental with obtuse kaleidoscopic video effects. Extremely trippy stuff. Erok Trio's funky stream-of-consciousness "God Is Good Food" is a strangely cool live video with stop/start effects. Snout! make a brief appearance with a spastic and furious instrumental. Flexicoil's "White Rod" is a peculiar piece with its spinning heads and flashing messages. The Stretchmarks' short video featuring a male go go dancer made me snicker. One of the more violent pieces is by the band Spo-Its, which features lots of fire and things being thrown and destroyed. Other notable mentions include the death metal of Damad, the oddball pop of City of Lindas, and Loaded's "Couldn't" (the video isn't so great, but the song is killer). The closing video is, appropriately, "Brain Damage" by GAM (the reigning kings of Savannah's psychedelic scene). The video adequately gives the viewer an idea of the overwhelming audio and visual assault of the band's live show... The second and third videos in the series are much shorter and also feature experimental pieces sandwiched in between the band videos. NOTV 2 features heady stuff like the cool animated story of "The Shadow," with it's John Peel-like narrative; "Labor Force," a short piece in which an employee's job entails feigning child birth on a desk; another animated short "The Lamp That Danced Till It Died"; Spo-Its' almost unbearable version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"; GAM doing one of their more lengthy, abstract King Crimson-esque numbers; and "Episode One: The Death of White Rod" in which local "superhero" White Rod goes back in time (which features some really funny sound effect overdubs). NOTV 3 includes a press conference where the upcoming full-length White Rod film is announced; a cool computer generated animation clip called "Chirp In A Blast"; "Tales From the Hick," in which an anonymous young lady reveals family secrets; and a funny preview of an "upcoming film" called Astro Hard Corps. The only negative about these three videos is that some of the band clips are repeated from one video to the next. The real positive for me is that none of the material contained in these three videos was obtained from other sources (most underground videos unfortunately do contain images and music stolen from other places...NOT SO HERE!). A great glimpse into Savannah's unusual underbelly. Contact Michael Kienzle, P.O. Box 10283, Savannah, GA 31412. (Not Rated)

THE REMNANTS - Double-Wide (CD, Slow Summer, Pop/rock)
More punchy pop/rock from Annapolis, Maryland's the Remnants (word has it that there are no less than THREE bands around the country currently playing under this name!). For a three piece band, these guys produce a shitload of energy. It's a pop/rock style that is derived from the sixties, seventies, yet sounds quite up-to-date. The thing that makes a band stand out nowadays is if they can get in a groove and stay in it. This is where the Remnants really excel. The band's rhythm section drives like a bat out of heaven, the guitar twangs and grunts...and the vocals are gutsy and pronounced. The band never misses a beat. Cool, upbeat tunes like "Give It Back," "Small Circles," and "Take This Ride" make this CD...SOLID. Excellent sound quality to boot! (Rating: 5)

SCHRASJ - F (CD, Ojet, Pop)
Interesting. Though I don't know how to pronounce the name, I like it because at least this band is not ripping off someone else's name (like everyone else seems to be doing these days!). Schrasj is a Houston based band, and they play music that is an odd hodge podge of a variety of other bands. More than any other band, however, Schrasj's approach to music reminds me of the Feelies in that the band starts slowly and builds to some rather unusual crescendos (note that some of the basic ideas are like the Feelies...NOT the overall sound!). The band is taking an interestingly different approach with their music. I find this intriguing and ultimately very listenable. Check out the band's web site at (Rating: 4)

SCREECHING WEASEL - Beat Is On The Brat (CD, Panic Button, Rock)
This is a re-release of an album that's been unavailable for about five years. The interesting thing about this disc is that it is a cover of the ENTIRE first Ramones album. Yup, that's right. From "Blitzkreig Bop" right on through to "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World," Screeching Weasel play it straight...covering this album with surprising precision and amazing dedication to the original. Covering an entire album is a strange idea that has surfaced over the past few years, and I have to admit that in a way I'm lost. But at the same time it's a different way of looking at albums we know all too well, and it often sheds different light on 'em. This release also includes the four tunes from the band's "Formula 27" EP that was released in 1997. (Not Rated)

SHOULD - Feed Like Fishes (CD, Words On Music, Pop)
Nice slow fuzzpop. Originally called shiFt, Should changed their name to avoid convusion with another band of the same name. In our opinion, Should is a better band name anyway. The band's slow pop is infused with some killer fuzzy guitar work and nice laid back vocals. The reflective songwriting style is a refreshing change of pace from many of today's samey sounding bands. This doesn't really sound like your average soft pop, slowcore, or light rock music. Instead, Should have their own curiously inviting sound. We like this. A LOT. Includes "Fish Fourteen," "Aside," "Memdrive," "Both Eyes Open," and more. NEAT. (Rating: 4)

JOHN P. STROHM - Vestavia (CD, Flat Earth, Pop)
It's amazing that John P. Strohm is not already a household word. Everything we've heard thus far from this man has been superb, whether released under his own name or the various band monikers he's recorded under. Vestavia is yet another collection of cool, clean, ultra-hummable pop tunes played with no frills and no gimmicks. Strohm's guitar-based pop comes straight from his heart, and the man's got a voice to kill for. The production fits the music to a T. The sound is clean and professional, yet not so glossy and digitized that it sounds generic. Above all, however, John's melodies are what make his music soar above the monotony of generic guitar pop bands. Twelve tunes, including "Wouldn't Want To Be Me," "Home," "Ballad of Lobster Boy," and "In Your Dreams." Thoughtful, intelligent, and well-crafted pop. GREAT stuff! (Rating: 5)

SYNERGY - Computer Experiments Volume One (CD, Chronicles/Polygram, Electronic), The Jupiter Menace (CD, Chronicles/Polygram, Electronic), Metropolitan Suite (CD, Chronicles/Polygram, Electronic)
Digitally transferred and remastered by Larry Fast himself, these discs represent the first in a series of re-releases of Synergy albums on the Chronicles label. At the time when these albums were first released, Fast was a pioneering force in the world of electronic music...and his music was on the cutting edge of technology. Admittedly, some of the material now sounds a bit dated because of all the spiraling technological innovations that have occured since. Larry knew what he was doing, however, garnering a great deal of attention for his work. Computer Experiments Volume One consists mostly of single droning tones that blend, seep in and out of one another, and expand and contract. The Jupiter Menace (which was the soundtrack for the first film score composed by Fast) is a much more complex orchestrated piece of work. Metropolitan Suite is the first Synergy release to be recorded digitally (although analog synths were used). These discs are essential listening for folks interested in hearing how the electronic revolution got started. The sound quality is excellent, and the packaging top notch. (Rating: 4)

The Threes Because There Aren't Enough Threes were formed for the pure and simple reason that we noticed that we rarely give the "three" rating to any artists here in babysueland. It doesn't really matter who the band sounds like, who they were influenced by, where they are from, or who plays what. The only thing that matters is that we can give this one a "three". Knick knack paddy free, give the threes a three... (Rating: 3)

T. REX - Unreleased Recordings Volume 5: 1974 (CD, Chronicles, Rock/pop), Unreleased Recordings Volume 6: 1975 (CD, Chronicles, Rock/pop), Unreleased Recordings Volume 7 (CD, Chronicles, Rock/pop), Unreleased Recordings Volume 8 (CD, Chronicles, Rock/pop)
Marc Bolan's words and music influenced my life in a very substantial way when I was a teenager. His peculiar words and music...particularly on the albums Unicorn, Beard of Stars, T. Rex, Electric Warrior, and The Slider...seemed completely original and out of synch with everything else going on in music at the time. While Europe went apeshit over Bolan early in his career, America never seemed to get T. Rextasy...probably because of the nonsensical lyrics and strange vocals. Only after Bolan's tragic death did his music finally catch on in the United States, at which time everyone and their grandmother began claiming that Marc was their biggest influence. While early to mid-period T. Rex completely blew me away, most of Marc's later material was bogged down by his involvement with alcohol, drugs, Gloria Jones (ugh!), and his own uncontrollable ego (although he did finally manage to come up with a winner with Dandy In The Underworld, his last studio album). The Unchained CD series contains a mind-blogging slew of Bolan outtakes, unreleased tracks, and other previously unheard stuff. The verdict? While there are some amazing gems that are unearthed here I can only recommend this batch of CDs to T. Rex completists. There are some eye openings moments (particularly "Baby Please, Baby Squeeze"), but there's also a lot of stuff that obviously wasn't released for a reason. Much of Volume 5 and Volume 6 of the series contain outtakes from the horrible Gloria Jones period in Marc's life (which would be best forgotten if you ask me...particularly since she was driving the car when Marc was killed). However, there are some priceless, odd moments on Volume 7 and Volume 8 that make these CDs essential for folks (like myself) who will probably NEVER get their fill of Marc matter how long they live. If there's one thing these disks make painfully clear, it is that success can greatly hinder an artist's creativity. In the early years, Marc's innocence and naivite were what made his music so unique. It's almost like he didn't really know what he was doing, but that was what probably made his music so unique and amazing. After years of people telling him how great he was, Marc finally believed it himself...and began churning out music that was vastly inferior . These disks shed light on an artist who will probably always be misunderstood because he was coming from such an obtuse direction. And, for that reason, T. Rex fanatics will want to scoop these disks up. (Not Rated)

TWIST AND SHAKE (Magazine, November 1998)
Underground magazines have unfortunately gotten a bad reputation because there are so many folks producing crap. Twist and Shake is a delightful change of pace from your average music magazine. Editor/writer Beverly Patterson not only has great taste (which by chance just happens to be very similar to ours), but her choice of music and musicians is always intriguing. The main focus is on pop bands, particularly lost pop music from the sixties...although every issue certainly includes more current acts as well. This issue features interviews with members from The Del-Vetts, Walter Clevenger and the Dairy Kings, and Joel Larson (who founded the Grass Roots and was a member of the Merry-Go Round). Ms. Patterson's individual reviews are so cleverly written that we always find ourselves reading every one...even if we don't like the band (!). Her writing is that good. What makes this magazine such a great read is that it has such an upbeat, optimistic tone. This one's worth buying. Honest. Write to Twist and Shake, P.O. Box 6474, San Mateo, CA 94403 or check out the web site at Totally COOL. (Rating: 6)

VARNALINE (Live performance, December 18, 1998)
If an exceptionally talented band plays Atlanta, you can be almost certain that few people will come out to support them. Such was the case with a recent mindblowing performance by babysue favorites Varnaline. Playing at the Echo Lounge (Atlanta's newest and best small club), there were less than twenty or thirty folks in the audience. Despite this, the three guys in Varnaline played their BALLS off. Varnaline music stands out from the samey rock crowd for two main reasons. First, the songs...and particularly the lyrics...are extremely personal and genuine. Second, the chord progressions are intelligent and unique...sounding nothing like your average alterna-rock band's same old tired riffs. Though their sound is difficult to pinpoint, after seeing this show I would say the basic sound is somewhere in between Bob Mould and Richard Thompson. All three of these guys were tight, tight, TIGHT on their instruments...playing as if they were in a trance. Varnaline is easily one of the most talented bands of this decade. The music is very accessible, yet completely genuine and sincere in its delivery. Though this concert gets a "5," I am certain that on a good night these guys would rate a "6" on our meter rating... (Rating: 5)


A Future History of the Frigid Polar Night - A Future History of the Frigid Polar Night (CD, Clairecords)
- And I Wonder (Independent CD)
Asha Vida - As One of One (CD, Icon)
Big Rude Jake
- Big Rude Jake (CD, Roadrunner)
Borrowed Ladder
- Notes Passed (Independent CD)
Broadcaster - The Epidemic of Falling Backwards (CD, Congregation)
The Bunkers - Stardust Memories (CD, People's Temple)
Call It In The Air - Just a Morning Thought (CD, Outback Entertainment Group)
Catapult - "Blue is the Color Of..." b/w "What the Hell Do You Want" (7" vinyl single, Clairecords)
- Tampering With the Unnatural (Independent CD)
Certain General - Signals From the Source (CD, CBGB)
Dick - House of Fiction (CD, Gray Cuff)
The Don Campbell Band - I Own the Road (Independent CD)
Durian - "Goodwill" b/w "Dogtrack" (7" vinyl single, Diver City)
Emilia - Big Big World (CD, Universal)
EQ (Magazine, December 1998)
Ester - Hotel Hypercube (CD, Thirsty Ear)
Fifteen - Extra Medium Kick Ball All-Star (CD, Cool Guy)
Fish - Kettle of Fish 88-98 (CD, Roadrunner)
Five Dollar Milkshake - Apart In The Middle (CD, Ice Cream Headache)
Tommy Flake - Bliss (CD, Gonzo)
(Zine, Issue #8)
Gig (Magazine, January 1999)
The Gloria Record - The Gloria Record (CD, Crank!)
The Graduates - Up In Downtown (CD, Beatville)
The Gravel Pit - The Gravel Pit (CD EP, Q Division)
Invisible 1998 Catalog (Catalog, Vol. 1, Oct. 1998)
Jack Pedler - Fairyland It Ain't (CD, Mutiny)
Paul Kelly - How To Make Gravy (CD single, Vanguard)
Keri-Lynn - First Born (Independent CD)
Keyboard (Magazine, January 1999)
Lies Set by the Polar Mob - Lies Set by the Polar Mob (CD, Clairecords)
Lil Bob and the Lolipops - Back Again (CD, Vidrine)
Magnetic Health Factory - Don't Postpone Joy (Blank Stare)
Mahogany - What Will Become of the Key of Reason? (CD, Clairecords)
Music To Kill For - Music To Kill For (CD, Side 1, Various artists)
Newlydeads - Re-Bound (CD, Mutiny)
Ninety Nine - 767 (CD, Endearing)
(Newspaper, December 1998)
Oleander - February Son (CD, Republic/Universal)
Jeff Ott/Amanda - Epithysial Union (Split CD, Cool Guy)
Pearl Jam - Live (CD, Epic, Rock/pop)
The Phasers On Stun - "Chatting Up Birds" b/w "Get Lost" (Canadian 7" vinyl single, Altrokitis)
Porn Flakes - The Number of the Beef (CD, Grappler Unlimited)
Pounder - Pounder (CD, Salient Music Coalition)
Pro Sound News (Magazine, December 1998)
Quincy Punx - Nitro Smasho (CD, Recess)
Register - Register (CD, Roja)
Replication News (Magazine, December 1998)
Serah - Senegal Moon (CD, Great Northern Arts)
Signal to Noise - Skinsandpips (Independent CD)
Sonichrome - "Cellular" b/w "Pack Up and Leave" (7" vinyl single, Capitol)
Sow - Sick (CD, Invisible)
Space Cadets - Da Bomb (CD, Vanguard)
Stud Bulls - Disco Biscuit (CD, Sin Klub Entertainment)
Superdot - Here Comes The Neighborhood (CD, Bowler Derby)
Jon Todd - Vanishing Points (CD, Magic Eye Singles)
Trance Global Nation - Progressive Techno Trance Essentials (CD, Arcade America, Various artists)
Trinket - Trinket (CD, BMG)
Tristera - "Foreshadow" b/w "Smoke Through Glass" (7" vinyl single, Caffeine vs. Nicotine)
Unisex - Deadlock (CD, Double Agent)
Vedado - Vedado (Independent CD)
Vinnie and the Stardusters - Novelty Music for Casual Sex (CD, Gourmandizer)
Paul Weller - Modern Classics: The Greatest Hits (CD, Island)
Xing - Stuff (CD, Ghengis Khan)

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