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February 2000 Reviews by

RATING SYSTEM | A Silver Mt. Zion | Blindside | Brown Liquid | Dave Bush & Food | Ray Carmen | Come On | Duochrome | Escapade | Fishsticks | Hudson Falcons | The Lapse | Loving the Alien | Magnified | Make Lisa Rich | Mindless Self Indulgence | William Orbit | Pollen | Screeching Weasel | Star Ghost Dog | Stereolab | Stuart Little | The Timbre Project | Valvola | Vertical Horizon | You Get What You Give


A Silver Mt. Zion - He has left us alone but shafts of light sometimes grace the corner of our rooms (CD, Constellation, Modern classical/experimental)
Man...we LOVE this band name! Not only is A Silver Mt. Zion unlike any name we've heard before, but the music is just as unique. Released by the totally fabulous Canadian indy label Constellation, this one's a keeper all the way around. First, you get packaging that will knock your socks off...stark cover art...nice embossed metallic ink...tasteful inserts...and these images match the style of music perfectly. We're going to place this in the "modern classical" category...simply because these folks are so damned experimental. Actually, sometimes things are quite musical, and yet at other times they are not. When they're playing their style of "music"...these folks are reminiscent of the more classical compositions by the criminally overlooked seventies band Curved Air. When they're playing "non-music"...they sound like a variety of difficult musical artists who push the limits of what music is. Not standard in any sort of way...and about as accessible as a monopoly bullet...this is a cool, sincere, well packaged and produced disc. I'm going to have to check out the web site... You should toooooooooooooooooooooooo... (Rating: 5)

Blindside - A Thought Crushed My Mind (CD, Solid State, Hard rock)
Music to induce heart attacks. Tons upon tons of extremely hard rock CDs pass through our meaty little hands...but seldom does a band pack the punch of Blindside. This is, without a doubt, so harsh and insensitive...that few people will be able to withstand it. The music is loud...and the vocalist is a complete WILD child. This music is CERTAIN to make you feel very, VERY uncomfortable. It's a pure rush of hatred and violence...along with a few dashes of alienation thrown in for good measure. Not only is this band the real thing, but their brand of raw anger is a lot more creative than we are used to hearing in this vein of music. Tunes like "Vow of Silence," "My Mother's Only Son," and "Across Waters" not only blow your shoes off...but they also make you think. The artwork of "average folks" with monkey faces pasted on are a complete well as a reminder of our true roots... A cool and total BLAST. (Rating: 4)

Brown Liquid (All over the place kind of sloppy sort of thing)
All over the world, everywhere and everyone...brown liquid. Brown liquid flowing out of bowls and onto plates...trailing from motors and slopped into porcelain footholes. The more liquid that is created, the more that is left to fill in the cracks and crevices of the earth. Peach flavored...meat induced...power packaged and ready to glow, the filthy stench brings hearty appetites to beach on the sand. The magnetized bingo babies prop up their chins to chomp, and featherized pusher pumps go "dah dah dah" all over the laboratory flooring. A dash of this and a dash of that...brown liquid...the world is...flat... (Rating: 2)

Dave Bush & Food - The Big One (CD, LoBal, Pop)
Well written, performed, and produced lush pop music. This band is fronted by Dave Bush and his wife April Kline. This is a nice refreshing dose of smooth pop music. The melodies are damn near outasight, and the vocals are virtually perfect and warm. Mixed by John Alagia, the sound quality is just slick enough without being too slick. For an unknown artist, this borders on us the feeling that before too long this band will have (at the very least) a rather big underground following. If you're looking for massive kicks of loud anxiety and hard rock kicks, you'll want to look elsewhere. If, however, you've had a hard time finding that new soft pop artist popping up through the cracks...this band may be your next key find. Beautiful tunes like "Great Unknown," "Day By Day," and "The Price" make this disc a cool spin. Their web site is (Rating: 5)

Ray Carmen - November EP (CD, Pop! Productions, Independent cassette EP)
Released in November 1999 (thus the name), this home produced cassette offers five more tunes from one of the true heros in the world of underground pop. While others around him seem to shift sounds and change strategies, Ray Carmen stays in the same tried and tested path. It's nice that some things don't change all that much, particularly in the case of musical artists. The songs on November are, for the most part, about the death of Carmen's parents. Accordingly, the lyrical content is particularly intriguing this time around. While the majority of this EP consists of what fans have come to expect, the surprise gem is "Say You're Sorry"...which we are relatively certain is nothing more than Ray and his guitar being fed direct to tape with no overdubs. The composition is poignant, direct, and gripping...and it proves that you don't really need overdubs or studio gloss or effects when the actual meat of a song is strong. You can't buy this in stores, so you have to deal directly with this friendly and always entertaining eclectic artist. The web site is Check it out. (Rating: 5)

Come On - New York City 1976-80 (CD, Heliocentric, New wave pop)
This is an intriguing CD for several reasons. First, it brings to light the fact that for every band that "succeeds"...there are hundreds of other bands who are just as good who get left by the wayside. Secondly, the disc presents a band that most of us have probably never even heard of... Come On were a band playing the New York Scene at about the same time that other notables like Patti Smith, Television, Richard Hell, and Talking Heads were just hitting it big. For whatever reason(s), Come On did not "make it" as they say...and they and their music were left by the wayside. This disc contains the band's single, demo recordings, and some live tracks. The sound is surprisingly similar to the aforementioned Talking Heads at times...which makes one wonder... (Seeing what a big shithead David Byrne has become, we'd just as soon assume he stole his tricks from this obscure band...but alas, we don't know that for a fact.) It'll probably be difficult to find this in stores...but you can e-mail the label at (Not Rated)

Duochrome - Tactical Knives (CD, Vital Cog, Pop)
Nice unpretentious indie pop music. Lots of guitars and straightforward rhythms drive these tunes which feature nice melodies and really good vocals. In addition to good tunes, this disc also sports superb sound. Neither over- nor under-produced, the sound quality fits these songs to a T. Fourteen obscure little hits...including "Shimmer Projector," "Girls Deluxe," and "Negotiating the Driveway" (great song title!). Our favorite is "Professional Drinking." You can find out more about the band through the label's web site at: (Rating: 4)

Escapade - Due to a Faulty Premonition (CD, Mother West, Instrumental)
Cool name for a CD. We've always been partial to the word "premonition." So...what is this Escapade? This New York city based band began in 1996, and has released several albums to date. The music is partly experimental...partly jazz-ish in an odd way...and just slightly abstract and spacey. In the word of Escapade, accidents can and do happen. Kinda like music to dream by, these pieces drift in and out of all kinds of musical arenas...usually all within the space of a single track. Due to a Faulty Premonition contains six length pieces. This should appeal to fans of accidental music and modern classical. Check out the Mother West web site at: (Rating: 4)

Fishsticks - Disko (CD, Theologian, Stoppy starty thrash)
If we...wuz ultimately disappointed in Anal C*nt...then Fishsticks may be more to your liking (yuk yuk). Hard to believe this name hadn't been used before, ain't it? What we have here is a band that plays very fast, loud, hard, and furious...and they don't like to play any one song for very long. Songs start like buzzsaw assaults, the vocals come in and the fellow screams four or five lines and then...BOOM...the song ends and another begins. That's the basic format here, and it works much better than the aforementioned A.C. Although destined for a very limited audience, this is neat...kinda like a 2000 version of Wire's Pink Flag LP... (Not Rated)

Hudson Falcons - Desperation and Revolution (CD, GMM, Hard rock)
Another great hard rock release from the fine folks at GMM...the first and only completely credible and successful hard rock record label in Atlanta. Hudson Falcons play a no-holds-barred style of rock music where the idea is to basically just let loose and flail like crazy. This band is not...we repeat NOT..."hardcore"! Instead, these guys play really, really HARD rock music in which they combine great melodies and raspy vocals with assaultive guitars and propulsive rhythms. The overall effect is something like being inside a tornado while shooting up speed. Candy Snatchers fans will LOVE this band. The disc contains fourteen extremely genuine rock assaults...including "Working Class War" (yeah!), "Free Lori," "Jersey City," and "Abandoned Vets." Excellent stuff for dancing, if you can keep up with 'em... (Rating: 5)

The Lapse - Heaven Ain't Happenin' (CD, Southern, Rock/pop)
Unpredictable in a nice, unique sort of way...yet totally accessible. The Lapse is the new band formed by Chris Leo and Toko Yasuda (formerly of the band Van Pelt). 'Tis great they didn't throw in the towel, because these two have a great deal to offer...both musically and lyrically. Instead of tossing out what you'd expect, the duo continually throw diverse curves at the listener...with surprisingly good results. The words in particular make you think...while the music just seems to just shift and put you in the driver's seat. Just slightly peculiar in the best sort of sense, this disc will hold up to many repeated listenings. Great stuff. (Rating: 5)

Loving the Alien - Athens Georgia Salutes David Bowie (CD, Fire Ant Music, Various artists compilation)
This is, quite simply, the best David Bowie tribute CD I have heard yet. It took a few listens to determine why. The usual approach in covering a song is for a band to try and be incredibly clever and cute...but in doing so, they normally miss the entire point of the original song in the process. That is certainly not the case here. This is a very cool glimpse into the mind of the man himself (Bowie) as seen and heard through the senses of some neat underground artists. Born To Worry absolutely capture the essence of "It's No Game, Part 3"...and the vocalist sounds eerily familiar. The Quiet Men do a great version of "Big Brother"... Wait. Instead of going track by track, let's just say that this is a rare case where a tribute disc is worthy of your attention. As is usually the case, we don't rate compilations... But our advice is...check this one out. (Not Rated)

Magnified - Stand In Traffic (CD, TVT, Pop/rock)
Produced to the max with high gloss and tons of mass appeal, Magnified is actually a rather enjoyable band. Though there is a certain generic sound to these tunes, in the end the band does write some decent tunes. This is extremely radio friendly stuff....with a good chance of racking up some mighty airplay and saucy sales. (Rating: 3)

Mindless Self Indulgence - Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy (CD, Elektra, Techno/rock)
This band's name certainly fits their music. These short electronic blasts of thrash/punk/hip-hop are distinct and calculated. There's an element of offensiveness to many of the tracks, but that is lessened by the fact that it is virtually impossible to understand the lyrics. This is much better than your average thrash techno these folks continually throw obtuse surprises into their music. This disc contains no less than 30 tracks...and they're all chock full of spacey electronics, funky beats, and distorted vocals. A note to all you TEENERS out there...your PARENTS will HATE this stuff...! (Not Rated)

Make Lisa Rich - Another Venus (CD, 2000 Boy Love, Pop/rock)
After listening to this collection of punchy, punctuated pop...we can't really do better than describe this in virtually the same way the band defines their own music. This is very much like a cross between Elvis Costello and Tommy James (more the latter than the former). Starting off with the wildly addictive "Fetish" (GREAT tune...oughta be a single!) these folks serve up eleven tracks of modern bubblegum with an aggressive attitude. The guitars are loud and the rhythms pumped up...but the songs themselves are very much rooted in sixties AM radio...which is okay with us. The vocals are particularly appropriate for this style of music. Although there is a certain retrospective sound, these tunes also have a great many aspects that make them sound very much up to date. Easy and upbeat. See the web site at (Rating: 4)

William Orbit - Pieces in a Modern Style (CD, Maverick, Varied/instrumental)
Most people probably think of William Orbit as the guy who helped Madonna out on her Ray of Light album. True, he did do that... But make no mistake about it. Mr. Orbit is most certainly an artist whose work stands squarely on its own. Having not heard any of this man's work prior to this, you can immediately color this reviewer's opinion a bright and brassy red. Playing dreamy and just slightly tripped out covers of classical composers lke Samuel Barber, John Cage, Vivaldi, and Beethoven (among others) and making the whole thing sound refreshing and cohesive is not an easy task...but William Orbit rises to take his best shot, and he shoots out a stream of intensely imaginative colors. Modern classical music has never really received the acclaim that it deserves. Composers like Wendy Carlos have proven that you can successfully experiment within the electronic framework and mix styles from different centuries... William Orbit is skipping through this same sort of fanciful territory....creating electronic music that is both fascinating and strangely lovely. As Madonna says, "William is a visionary and incredibly talented musician..." Madonna does not lie. We agree. This is SUPERB. (Rating: 6)

Pollen - Chip (CD, Fueled By Ramen, Pop/rock)
Punchy buzzsaw guitar power pop from five young guys in Tempe, Arizona. These guys have a nice thick sound that is characterized by strong urgent vocals and LOTS of tricky stop-starts in the music. Actually, it is this second trait that makes this band stand out. Whereas too many bands of late just thrash mindlessly through their tunes in a monotonous, drony fashion...these guys throw plenty of immediate stops and starts in their tunes which makes the music immensely more exciting. This discorama features fourteen tunes, including "Caramel," "Wing Walkers," and "Olive-Eyed." Good stuff, and the sound quality is the BEST. See the label's web site at: (Rating: 4)

Screeching Weasel - Thank You Very Little (Double CD, Panic Button, Rock)
This band has a fan base that is as dedicated as a telephone line. For all you Screeching Weasel fans out there...this is the one you've been waiting for. This is a DOUBLE DISC set featuring demos, outtakes, covers, limited compilation and EP tracks, B-sides, live stuff, and more. There's a total of 51 (!!!) tracks some intense liner notes and cool live photos. There are so many wannabe punk bands out there... Screeching Weasel is the real thing. They're loud. They've got attitude. They play fast and simple. And they are absolutely full of furious intent. On the always entertaining Panic Button label... (Not Rated)

Star Ghost Dog - The Great Indoors (CD, Catapult, Pop/rock)
An almost perfect blending of the bands Fuzzy and That Dog...which makes us wonder why they didn't call this band Fuzzy Dog (hyuk hyuk). Another interesting connection is that Star Ghost Dog is connected with Fuzzy's record label, Catapult. This CD contains a wealth of melody heavy guitar pop with super smooth female vocals. The harmonies are virtually flawless. This ought to appeal to fans of the aforementioned bands as well as Ivy fans. We had to listen to this one a few times to figure out whether it was fluf or the real thing. It took about five or six listens...when we finally realized how much we really love this band's music. It's upbeat and slick to be certain...but it is also very genuine and sincere. Great tunes like "Knock Down," "Erase Me," and "The Great Indoors" make this disc a super listen. Great music for Spring! Recommended. (Rating: 5)

Stereolab - Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night (CD, Elektra, Obtuse pop)
The more popular this band gets, the more puzzled we are. Instead of heading into more accessible terrain...these folks' music seems to become more peculiar. So many folks have attempted to describe the music, with varying results. This eclectic disc presents more of what Stereolab fans have come to expect from their esoteric idols. Sometimes the tunes border of plain ol' pop...but there's always something just not quite right... The layered vocals sound simply stellar this time...and the arragements are even more off the wall than normal... This band is a definite case where listeners either LOVE 'em or HATE 'em. As a fortunate event, we fall into the latter category. Everything we've heard from these folks is top notch. So what if they ARE a "hipsters delight"? This is one of those cases where all the oohing and dribbling is warranted. A MUST have disc. (Rating: 6)

Stuart Little (Film)
Our opinion of what is great seldom coincides with the opinion of the public at large. The film Stuart Little is a definite exception. If you've been avoiding this one because of its popularity (like we did initially), do yourself a favor and see this while it is still at the theaters. Never has there been as expressive an animated mouse as this lovable little furry white creature. And although we don't particularly care for Michael J. Fox as an actor, as the voice of a mouse he is PERFECT. Unlike many modern "G" rated movies where there is some underlying adult theme or humor (so that the retarded adults "can enjoy it too"), Stuart Little is unabashedly squeaky clean from start to finish...and that is precisely why it is so brilliant. In an age where everyone is using violence and sex to entertain, this film clearly proves that you don't need either to make a killer film. The first time we saw this we were with we had to hold back when our tear ducts started going wild. So...we went a second time (by ourselves)...and just groveled in a big ol' uncontrolled crying frenzy. It's strange...when we see "adult" films that present stories of human suffering and human triumph, we are not moved and barely affected. Yet...when we are presented with a fictional talking mouse, we suddenly turn into an emotional pile of drooling blubber. Gina Davis is incredible as the mother. A true tear jerker and heart warmer. One of the best films ever made. Honest. (Rating: 6)

The Timbre Project - Free Sourvenirs (CD, Ice Cream Headache Music, Pop)
Nice organic (mostly acoustic-based) pop music. Fronted by Jaime d'Almeida (also with the band fIVE dOLLAR mILKSHAE), this band features very free flowing pop music that is accentuated by pedal steel guitar and other less conventional instrumentation. Almeida's nice husky vocal style is perfect for the type of music he writes. The music is upbeat, but there's a definite serious thread running through these tunes. Our favorites are "Ho-Ho's Legacy," "Fair E," and "Junkie Disco Girl." A thoroughly entertaining and well executed batch of tunes. Check out the web site: (Rating: 4)

Valvola - Teenagers Film Their Own Life (CD, Third Gear, Esoteric)
Merging an assortment of sounds and styles to create their own thing, Italian three piece band Valvola are an engaging and entertaining unit. The music ranges from lounge-ish (at times) spaghetti soft even further... The band's engaging interaction between analog keyboards and sixties style guitars works like a charm...and the distant, hazy vocals fit the music in a rather superb manner. Subtle yet intriguing, this is a very good listen...different that what you may be accustomed to hearing... (Rating: 4)

Vertical Horizon - Everything You Want (CD, RCA/BMG, Pop)
Generic, samey, bland, processed, and ultimately forgettable...Vertical Horizon will most likely sell millions of CDs. They sound very much like mega-shithead Peter "Asswipe" Gabriel. (Not Rated)

You Get What You Give (Lesson to be learned sort of thing kind of thing that most people never get kind of thing)
It is truly amazing how many people never seem to learn this one super simple lesson. We always find it amazing in our own lives how many people ask us for things...beg for our help...whine for our support...and then these same people give back absolutely NOTHING in return. In the end, however, we always find that these pathetic excuses for humanity are the very ones who...later in life...end up desperate because NO ONE will lend them a hand when they need it the most. You see, dear friends, while assholes may win in the short the long run, they always end up pathetic losers...and this is because in the game of get what you give... It's the truth...honest. (Not Rated)

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