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March 2004 Reviews by

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Devendra Banhart*
Butterfly Boucher*
Boxcar Satan

Comment Piece
The Cramps
Catie Curtis

Dead Cat Bounce
Burd Early
Early Day Miners
Entre Rios
Fey Ray*
From Bubblegum to Sky*
Troy Gregory
Haymarket Riot

Local H

Meow Meow*
The Method and Result
The Passion of The Christ

The Poozies

The Pubert Brown Fridge Occurrence

Tony C and the Truth

The Wildhearts*

*Top Picks


March 2004 Comment Piece
It's Okay To Cheat

Funny how everyone seems to agree that cheating is wrong...because it isn't. Consider the old line "Cheaters never win." This simply isn't true. In playing many, many card and board games over the years with friends, we have most certainly come to the conclusion that cheaters do win. We have won time after time by cheating and it has never bothered us in the least. Remember what they say, "It's just a game." Cheaters do, of course, win over and over and over and over again. Most everyone wants you to believe that cheating is morally wrong and that you should therefore not cheat. But the problem with this logic is that virtually everyone is corrupt and without morals anyway...so what business is it of there's what you do or don't do? If other people tell you not to cheat...DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM. Folks who get ahead get ahead by cheating for ONE GOOD REASON...and that reason is...cheating WORKS. Cheating helps you to get better GRADES...to excell in SPORTS...to get a better JOB...and to make more MONEY. So you see, dear readers, there really is no reason NOT to cheat (unless you want to be a loser, that is...). Do yourself a favor. Cheat wherever and whenever possible. At the end of the day when all the mindless morality boosters out there are crying in their sleep because they are bums and losers...you'll be laughing your way right up to HEAVEN and BEYOND. Why cheat...? Simply because...IT WORKS.

Ahleuchatistas - On the Culture Industry (CD, Angura Sound, Instrumental/progressive/jazz)
Funny how unusual music and credible unknown artists seem to bubble up in unlikely places. One such place of late is Asheville, North Carolina...a town not normally known for obtuse recording artists. Actually, a band like Ahleuchatistics would be out-of-place within the musical climates of most U.S. cities. The folks in this band play a spontaneous brand of progressive rock fused with jazz and tons of improvisation. The band's key motivation seems to be to create moods...and On the Culture Industry does just that. The tunes on this album incorporate sounds and ideas from the past several decades from a smorgasbord of artists...reinventing and regurgitating them with unique flair. Some of the band's pieces are rather noisy and nervous...while others have a strangely calming effect on the listener. The band's sound is highly reminiscent of progressive dinosaur bands from the 1970s...presenting vintage ideas while playing with modern intensity. Oddball instrumentals include "The Machines Became Cognizant," "A Thought Like A Hammer," and "Right Sock Brown, Red Leg Blue." A rather peculiar album that holds up to repeated spins... (Rating: 4+++)

All Things Bright and Beautiful - Love and Affection (CD, Northern, Soft pop)
After acting as frontman for the band Luxury for ten years, Lee Bozeman decided it was time to strike out on his own...thus, All Things Bright and Beautiful was born. Love and Affection is a beautiful album featuring a collection of ultra-gliding and aesthetically pleasing compositions. Bozeman's style of singing is not unlike a subdued Freddie Mercury...although considerably less affected. Most of the tunes on this album feature sparse arrangements and very personal lyrics. Virtually every tune works, with the exception of "Fresh, Fresher, Freshest" which seems odd and out of place. This, the first release on the Northern Records label, sets a high standard for future releases from the label as well as Bozeman himself. Top picks: "Speaking in Tongues," "Attractive and Unattractive," "A Happiness," "Wedding Feast of the Lamb: First Movement." (Rating: 4+++)

Devendra Banhart - Rejoicing in the Hands (CD, Young God, Folk/pop)
Sounding very much like a cross between Donovan and Marc Bolan, Devendra Banhart is a unique new talent with a unique vocal style. This young Texan has a sound that is different from anyone else...and yet strangely familiar. His quivering voice is remarkably similar to Bolan's and yet he maintains his own style throughout Rejoicing in the Hands. Melodies are the real draw here, with wonderfully flowing, lilting melodies that extend far beyond the realm of normal songwriting. Banhart is easily one of the most original artists we've heard in some time. He isn't trying to follow trends...or to have a "hit sound"...or to be cool...or anything of the sort. Instead, this young fellow is playing straight from his heart...and his sincerity shines through clearly on each of these sixteen songs. Many of these tunes sound remarkably similar to the material on Tyrannosaurus Rex's criminally under rated Unicorn and Beard of Stars albums. There is a strangely calming quality to this music that is difficult to describe. Every tune is a mystic keeper, but particular standout tracks include "This is the Way," "The Body Breaks," "When the Sun Shone on Vetiver," and "Autumn's Child." A fantastic album from start to finish. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (Rating: 6)

Butterfly Boucher - Flutterby (CD, A&M, Pop)
It is difficult indeed to comprehend the fact that Flutterby is Butterfly Boucher's debut album. This young Australian lady plays with the maturity and class of musicians twice or even three times her age. But even more impressive is the fact that the tunes on this album are the original demos that were submitted to A&M (not reworked versions) on which Butterfly plays and sings everything. It would be difficult to name any other one woman band this talented and accomplished. This is not "lofi" nor "indie" pop...Flutterby is a collection of highly polished classic pop with thick and complex arrangements. These tunes are so slick and professional that upon first listen we were convinced that Boucher was a young unknown talent who had been thrown into a million dollar studio to process her sound clean and make her palatable for the general public. Boy were we wrong. Flutterby is one hell of an album. Young Butterfly Boucher has broken out of the gate running at full speed. Vital and energized. (Rating: 5+++)

Boxcar Satan - Upstanding and Indigent (CD, Dogfingers, Obtuse rock)
Anyone who ever loved Captain Beefheart's Clear Spot album...will almost certainly go ape over San Antonio's Boxcar Satan. Not only is the band's raw and gritty bluesy rock featuring bizarre slide guitars highly reminiscent of the great Don Van Vliet...but the vocals are virtually identical. Tons of bands have been influenced by the great captain...but few continue the great tradition with such integrity and style as Boxcar Satan. While the band may need to develop more of their own identity as they proceed along in their career...in the meantime, the heavy influence seems to be working just fine for them (particularly since Van Vliet no longer creates music and his fans are always still hungry for more...). Cool moody cuts include "Calamity Jones," "I Got Back," "Silent and Automatic," and "Drunk on the Blood of the Lamb." Cool stuff. (Rating: 4+++)

The Cramps - Live at Napa State Mental Hospital (DVD, Music Video Distributors)
This DVD features some very rough footage of The Cramps performing a free concert for the patients at the Napa State Mental Hospital in 1978. The idea is strange...and the concert is even stranger. This footage was shot with a single camera and microphone...adding to the surreal quality of the performance. The person taping the show had the good sense to take note of what was happening around him other than the band (!). Probably the most interesting observation here is how well the band seemed to interact with the patients. Instead of being a freak show...the concert turned out to be a free for all in which everyone appeared to have a great time. Watching this, it definitely gives you the feeling that you wish you had been there. While this DVD features great vintage footage of one of the greatest live bands of all time...there are some problems. First, the "Copyright Target Video" blurb that appears on the screen throughout the entire show is incredibly irritating. Second, this disc is short. The concert features a mere eight tunes. The rest of the disc is filled up with promotional material...space which could have been used to feature more concert footage of the band playing live at other locations. A must for Cramps fans...and an oddity for everyone else... (Rating: 4++)

Catie Curtis - Dreaming in Romance Languages (CD, Vanguard, Folk/pop)
Remember the name Catie Curtis...because you're going to be hearing a lot about this young lady in the future. Dreaming in Romance Languages is Curtis' fifth album, but her first on the Vanguard label. Catie is a singer/songwriter extraordinaire with killer songs and a voice that's as smooth as silk. Her country and folk-inspired pop tunes are instantly memorable...combining familiar sounds and traditional instruments to create her own unique sound. Curtis writes lyrics that virtually everyone should be able to relate to. Instead of trying to be overly clever or cute, she seemingly writes directly from her own experiences. The nice part is that...while you don't have to think about the words...the messages are there should you want to. There are several tracks here that are destined to be classics..."Hold On" and "The Trouble You Bring" will undoubtedly be covered by dozens of artists in the years ahead. Smooth and purely entertaining. (Rating: 5+)

Dead Cat Bounce - Home Speaks to the Wandering (CD, Innova Recordings, Jazz/eclectic/improvisation)
Moody avant garde jazz that occasionally swings. As strange as it may sound, Dead Cat Bounce is a group of musicians whose music fits their name. The music on Home Speaks to the Wandering is sassy and saunters about...yet there are segments where the music is actually danceable. This ensemble consists of Jared Sims, Matt Steckler, Charlie Kohlhase, Drew Sayers, Arie Werbrouck, and Bill Carbone. Steckler's saxophones may be the central focus of the music...but all of the players actually add equally to the mix. Modern jazz sometimes gets a bad name because some artists abuse their ability to improvise to the point of neglecting their audience. These folks' music teeters on the edge, providing enough familiar sounds to latch onto...while expanding the boundaries of their sound. Dead Cat Bounce is a group intent on providing plenty of variety while always maintaining integrity and quality. Humorously titled numbers include "Hiram Hinckler's Shrunken Heads," "Dis You, Dear," "I Once Was Vaccinated With a Phonograph Needle," and our favorite..."Angelic and Podlike" (heh heh heh heh heh...). Cool stuff played with style...this is new jazz with a classic feel. Well done. (Rating: 5++)

Burd Early - Mind and Mother (CD, Western Vinyl, Soft pop)
If you're looking for music that will instantly clobber you over the head with intensity, Burd Early may not be your cup of tea. If you don't mind taking your time by giving a disc several spins before drawing conclusions...the music on Mind and Mother may be well worth your while. Upon the first couple of spins, we weren't impressed with this album...but there were qualities that kept drawing us back to the music. So we spun it again...and again... Several days later, we found that we had fallen in love with many of the tracks on this album. Burd's soft and easy pop tunes are extremely laid back and reflective. So much so that many listeners may mistake him for an apathetic hippy-type musician. But nothing could be farther from the truth. This man's messages are just as strong as those provided by artists playing ten times faster and using thousands of watts of power. The difference is...here you have to dig a little to reap the rewards. Early sounds a bit like a very restrained J Mascis...his songs have a slightly awkward quality that is quite effective. Subtlety is the key here...making tracks like "How Far," "Warm Blood," "A Love Wants and Has Not," and "The Web That Weds" permanently memorable... (Rating: 5)

Early Day Miners - The Sonograph EP (CD EP, Acuarela, Slow ambient pop)
Still, quiet, and very sparse. Bloomington, Indiana's Early Day Miners is a loose combination of players with the only constants being guitarist/vocalist Daniel Burton and drummer Rory Leitch. The two (who are both also in the band Ativin) create subtle ambient music that is slow, haunting, and extremely subtle. Sometimes the duo's tunes sound something like very sleepy folk music...and at other times their compositions transform into odd soundscapes...discarding melodies and song structure almost entirely. After spinning this EP, many folks may still be left wandering what the band really sounds like...and that is, in fact, part of their magnetism. This is a beautiful EP that leaves a strong impression long after the disc has stopped spinning. Peculiar tracks like "Albatross," "Bijou," and "Misrach" are strangely compelling...despite their subdued distant auras. Fascinating, intriguing, and strange... (Rating: 5)

Entre Rios - Sal (CD, Darla, Electronic pop), Idioma Suave (CD, Darla / Elefant, Electronic pop)
Free trade, world politics, the internet, and mass media campaigns don't unit people...but music can. A case in point is Buenos Aires, Argentina-based Entre Rios. If you don't speak or understand their native language it doesn't matter...because the messages from this unique trio still come across loud and clear. Employing sounds and ideas from bands like Joy Electric, The Lemon of Pink, and Ivy, these folks have a smooth melodic sound that is driven by pure electronics. The band consists of Isol (vocals), Sebastian Carreras (songwriting), and Gabriel Lucena (programming). While the band's music is technology driven, the overall sound is warm and surprisingly organic. Isol's vocals are the focal point...her smooth and inviting voice is subtle and sublime. Idoma Suave (first album) and Sal (second album) offer plenty of smooth, inviting pop that evokes a genuine mood. It would be hard to choose a favorite between these albums, as both are equally consistent from beginning to end. The music of Entre Rios will be instantly welcomed all over the world. Recommended. (Rating: 5+)

Fey Ray - I Wanna Be New & Perfect (CD, BlueDisguise, Pop)
Smooth and seductive soft melodic pop in the vein of The Lassie Foundation. I Wanna Be New & Perfect is the debut album from Seattle's Fey Rey. With this release, the band has set a high standard for themselves. Despite the fact that their tunes are, for the most part, rather soft and mellow...on many occasions they display a solid sense of power. The band's vocals are most impressive. Wonderfully soft layered harmonies glide over intelligent arrangements to provide danceable yet heavenly pop. This album features super smooth flowing tunes with tons of subtleties adding just the right effect. By combining the best elements of progressive pop from the 1980s, 1990s, and the present...these guys have come up with a winning sound that satisfies. I Wanna Be New & Perfect is certain to hold up to many years of repeated spins. Superb cuts include "Morning Sun," "Reflections on Radicalism In America," "Draw the Curtain," and "No Suicide." (Rating: 5+++)

From Bubblegum To Sky - Nothing Sadder Than Lonely Queen (CD, Eenie Meenie, Bubblegum pop)
Brilliant. Absolutely BRILLIANT. The second released from From Bubblegum To Sky is a heavenly trip through the world of modern progressive bubblegum pop. The album features a non-stop string of pop masterpieces...bursting with mind-bending melodies, seamless hooks, and clever arrangements. This band's first release (Me and Amy and the Two French Boys) was a show-stopper...but this, the follow-up, goes even further. The band is the one man project consisting of Mario Hernandez...with various guest artists adding their input) It is sad indeed when one considers the fact that most folks will probably be turned off by this man's vocals...because he actually has a FANTASTIC voice that doesn't sound like anyone else. Although Mario's music is about as INCREDIBLE as music gets...the average dumb listener will, unfortunately, be turned off by the ultra-positive bubblegummy sound. This music is way, way, WAY out of touch with everything else going on in the world...and that is just ONE MORE REASON to GO for it (!). Hernandez writes classic tunes that will sound great decades from now. His music incorporates a wild variety of sounds and styles...involving ideas from artists that range from The Beatles to Andy Pratt to The Archies to the Beach Boys to Milk'n'Cookies to T. Rex to Shonen Knife to...well, you get the idea. There is no reason to pick out standout tracks...because the entire album features nothing but "oughta-be hits" from start to finish. Hernandez' songwriting partners McCormick and Brunn are also due major credit here for creating this album. Pop music doesn't get much better than this. True bubblegum that shoots straight up through the clouds and BEYOND. This will easily be one of the BEST RELEASES of 2004. Very, very, VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...!!! (Rating: 6)

Troy Gregory - Laura (CD, Fall of Rome, Hallucinogenic pop/rock)
Reverb/echo addict Troy Gregory is a true original. A member of multiple bands (most notably The Witches) as well as a solo artist, Gregory's musical output is a seemingly endless stream. His last album (Sybil) impressed many...and Laura is likely to have the exact same effect. Troy's music sounds something like a cross between The Lyres and Bruce Joyner...but his presence is scarier than either. Laura is chock full of garage rock with the only constant being those unmistakable vocals absolutely drenched in reverb and echo (a trademark of the man's vocals). Gregory wrote every song on the album and played most instruments himself. Not surprisingly, every song is a keeper...and from the sound of this album (co-produced by Jim Diamond), you would never know this is a (mostly) one man affair. Fantastic cuts include "Dracula Has Risen From the Pond," "Yer Secret Santa," "In Thee Popsicle Patch," and "Bananas N' Dynamite" (how 'bout them great song titles...!). Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

Haymarket Riot - Mog (CD, Thick, Rock)
Haymarket Riot continue providing more smart loud rock on Mog. Whereas most hard rock bands have one sound or style, these guys' songs go all over the place. While their tunes pack a heavy crunch, the band never regresses into mindless blaring. The superbly heavy duty rhythm section is nicely counterbalanced by cool guitar riffs and jagged lines that never cease to entertain. This is a short album...clocking in at just over 30 minutes. But within this limited time space, these guys manage to inject more fuel and solid ideas than most bands ever come up with. Nine cool crushers here, including "You Might Know Who We R, But We Know Who You R," "Plastic Bottle Kid," and "Sleep." Another excellent release from one of the best new hard rock bands of the twenty-first century. (Rating: 5+)

Local H - Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? (CD, Studio E, Rock)
One of the greatest riff rock bands of all time, the great Local H keeps getting better and stronger with each passing year. The duo of Scott Lucas (vocals, guitar) and Brian St. Clair (drums) has made a career out of keeping things basic and simple. St. Clair is most certainly one of the greatest drummers of all time...and Lucas one of the most intense guitarists/vocalists ever. Together, the two are a formidable force...presenting songs that are simultaneously aggressive and extraordinarily catchy. Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? presents fourteen tunes produced by Andy Gerber. The music is raw yet melodic...brimming with great hooks and singalong choruses. Unlike most bands who (unfortunately) mature over time, these guys continue to play the same style of music they started off playing...providing snappy hard rock for the thinking and discerning listener. This album is chock full of great little numbers including "Everyone Alive," "P.J. Soles," "Heaven on the Way Down," and "That's What They All Say." Another killer album to add to the catalog of one of rock's most relevant duos. (Rating: 5++)

Major - The Bliss Domestic (CD, Laughing Outlaw, Pop/rock)
Sounding something like a cross between Neil Finn and Paul Weller, brothers Dan and Jarrod Murphy play melodic pop/rock that is instantly effective. These brothers' tunes ring with a strange familiarity...and yet their music is original and infused with a genuinely cool spirit. The tunes on The Bliss Domestic are surprisingly catchy and accessible...yet the band's music is a far cry from the commercial dribble that sells so well in the United States. Folks wanting strange and noisy underground stuff won't go for this at all...the music is completely upbeat hummable pop without unnecessary frills and electronics. By playing straight from the hip, these guys are playing to a select crowd...folks who want their pop pure and real. Top picks include "Smart Casual," "Big Deal," "No Regrets No Goodbyes," and "The Time Honoured Way." (Rating: 4++)

Meow Meow - Snow, Gas, Bones (CD, Devil In The Woods, Pop)
Wonderfully melodic and slightly heady intelligent pop featuring occasional bursts of unexpected random noise. Meow Meow sound something like a cross between Fountains of Wayne, The Beach Boys, The Young Fresh Fellows, The Flaming Lips, and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Snow, Gas, Bones is an impressive voyage into the world of modern pop. While these guys don't mind throwing surprise elements into the mix, the band's main draw are their spectacular melodies. Featuring former members of Plexi and Pink Noise Test, Meow Meow is not merely a new band rehashing prior ideas. This album is fresh, vital, intriguing, and highly entertaining. If you think you've heard it all before, think again. Intent is everything...and these guys' intent is pure and real. Simultaneously challenging and instantly memorable, this album is a HIT. Cool curious tunes include "Cracked," "Amourosis," "Disaffected," and "Wear You Down." Highly recommended. (Rating: 5++)

The Method and Result - The Things You Miss (CD, The Losing Blueprint / KiraKira, Electronic pop)
A co-release from Boston's Losing Blueprint and Florida's KiraKira Disc labels, the debut EP from Philadelphia's The Method and Result is a smooth and soothing trip into the world of modern electronic pop. The band is the duo of Megan Wendell and Mason Wendell, a husband and wife team who have managed to create quite a spark in the world based solely on their shows and some songs that have appeared on various compilations. The Things You Miss is wonderfully entertaining. The duo combines real instruments (guitars, keyboards, bass) with their electronics to create smooth, organic tunes that are as smooth as cream cheese. And speaking of smooth...Megan's voice is the best. Her vocals are very restrained and subtle...yet always right on key. Her multi-tracked vocals are particularly impressive. These six songs pave the way for what is certain to be a creative and prolific career. Excellent. (Rating: 5)

Molar - The Time and Motion Studies (CD, False Walls, Electronic/experimental)
Peculiar electronic music with strange flowing qualities. Molar is the trio consisting of Jim Goodspeed (guitar), Matthew Johnson (keyboard, guitar processing), and Lars Fischer (laptop). These three individuals create electronic music that is, for the most part, experimental in nature. Instead of familiar melodies and recognizable song structures, the trio instead opts to create musical soundscapes that evoke odd waves in the brains of the listeners. Particular beats and rhythms are infrequent and/or subtle as the players bend and mutate their oddly layered compositions. Slightly spacey and somewhat drone-ish, The Time and Motion Studies is an album that truly fits its title. Ten odd cuts including "Index," "Pulse," "Chambers," and "Occident." Plenty of excellent mental material here... (Rating: 5)

The Passion of The Christ (A Film By Mel Gibson) (Film Review by Jesus Christ)
"When I first heard about this one I thought, Oh no...more misinterpretations to have to explain to all my friends. After seeing the thing, well...I'm not exactly sure whether to recommend this movie or not."
"The first thing I'd like to comment on is the actor who played me. I mean, what were they thinking?!? My breasts are much, much larger than his...and they're real furry, not smooth. His breasts were super tiny and hardly had any fur at all. I found that insulting. If they're going to have someone pretend to be me the least they could do is find someone with big hairy breasts. I am also much better looking than that actor, but in all fairness...it would be next to impossible to find an actor as handsome as I am. His voice sounded kinda sissyish too but maybe I was just in a bad mood that night, I dunno. Okay enough bitching about the actor, let's get onto the film itself..."
"To set the record straight, the last few hours of my life were not painful and horrible. They were happy and delightful. I've always been drawn to kinky, wild stuff. Every man and woman I ever dated eventually ended up satisfying my crazy urges by giving me a bit of a beating every now and then during sex. So, as you can imagine, being whipped and tortured by my enemies was a very good thing indeed (!). When all of this stuff was really happening I was so goddamn horny that I could hardly keep my hotrod stuffed in my panties. A couple of times when it started sneaking out it made them hit me harder. I liked that because it made me even hornier."
"Being nailed onto the cross was cool and the movie pretty much got that point across. The biggest problem I had with the ending was the fact that the actor made it look like I was real upset and in terrible pain. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was in heaven, I tell you. H-E-A-V-E-N. Having those goddamn nails driven though my wrists was as neat as shit. It was a super fantastic rush. When they nailed me up there I was laughing right in their faces. I remember taunting them, saying You can't hurt me, I'm the goddamn son of God, goddamn it. You're all stupid. Stupid, stupid, STUPID!!! I would also like to point out that I actually bled very little during the ordeal. It was nothing like the movie. Man, they must've poured fifty gallons of fake blood on that sorry bastard. I had a very clean crucifixion...looking very dapper, proper, and clean during the whole thing. If I bled anything, it might've been a pint or two. The other thing that they failed to include...and it's kinda embarrassing to admit it to tell you the truth...is that during the last couple of minutes of my life I was cranking out sloppy loaves that dribbled all over the backside of my thighs. I was never sure whether other people noticed, but it did happen. But what do you expect when you strip me naked and then let me flaunt my stuff in front of a bunch of people...? I was real excited and, well...when I'm excited...stuff just happens, y'know. Something else they failed to acknowledge was that my nuts were hanging out the whole time for the entire world to see. But they didn't showed any of that at all. Probably because they didn't want the film to get an X rating. Then it wouldn't make as much money, y'know."
"So to sum it all up... No, this film was nothing like what really happened. But I have to admit there were several segments that had me literally rolling in the aisles. The close ups of my so-called "friends" looking all sad and concerned...that really was a scream. In real life, none of them gave a shit about me. Nor I about them, for that matter. They were all bottom feeders and losers."
"The goddamn movie was a little long, though. I had to get up three times to go get more soda and popcorn. My suggestion would be to see this one when it hits the dollar theaters. It's good for a laugh, yeah...but it sure ain't worth no $8.00." (Rating: Two Jesus Heads)

The Poozies - Changed Days, Same Roots (CD, Compass, Folk)
The Poozies celebrate their tenth anniversary with the release of Changed Days, Same Roots. This all female British quartet is as refreshing and real as a mountain stream. Their organic folk music is inspired, beautiful, and quite dreamy. As of the recording of this album, the group consists of original members Karen Tweed, Patsy Seddon, and Mary MacMaster, and new member Eilidh Shaw. During the course of their career, these ladies have played with and/or worked with a vast array of important British artists...and yet their own music somehow seems to have escaped the attention of a large audience outside of their home country. Perhaps Changed Days, Same Roots will be the album to change this. The folks at Compass have a knack for identifying and signing the best British folk artists for a small yet growing base of fans in the United States. This highly polished album features spirited playing and super smooth vocals that are out of this world. Our particular favorite here is "All I Want"...a beautifully executed song that is haunting and surreal. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5++)

The Pubert Brown Fridge Occurrence - A Once and Future Thing (CD, Laughing Outlaw, Pop/rock)
Fans of The Kinks and The Move will want to take particular note of The Pubert Brown Fridge Occurrence. Featuring members of the bands X and Radio Birdman, the folks in this band play with the excitement and vitality of a newly formed young band. These folks are obviously paying homage to the bands they loved from the 1960s. The tunes on A Once and Future Thing display a playfulness and optimism that are sadly missing in today's musical climate. The feel of this album is highly reminiscent of The Rutles and The Young Fresh Fellows (one of the greatest bands of all time that will hopefully one day receive the recognition they deserve). This album begins on a confusing note with a strange cover of The Beatles "Eight Days A Week"...before blasting off into ten of the band's original tunes. The hazy hummable songs on this album are pure and uplifting...hopefully igniting a spark that will be heard 'round the world. Killer cuts include "Come Friday Afternoon," "Bite the Sun," "Bottle of Gin," and "Neon and Venom." Great stuff. (Rating: 5++)

Tompaulin - Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt (CD, The Track and Field Organisation, Pop)
This is a collection of previously released material originally released between 1999 and 2002 (plus various other odd tidbits) from Britain's Tompaulin. Though the band has yet to hit it big in the sales department, they have already garnered a great deal of good press. And deservedly so, as the band's simple, sparse music is completely genuine and highly melodic...sounding something like a throwback to folk-inspired pop of the sixties (the dual male/female vocals are particularly reminiscent of the era). Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt presents twelve tunes and two videos...presenting a nice encapsulated bird's eye view of this band's early material. It's always a pleasure to hear music from folks who create for the right reasons...and these folks most certainly do. The members of Tompaulin obviously love what they're doing. That fact rings through loud and clear in these recordings. Nice stuff.(Rating: 4+++)

Tony C and the Truth - Demonophonic Blues (CD, Lava, Bluesy pop)
Tony C and the Truth may very well become a very successful band fast. These six guys play masculine pop/rock with a funky, bluesy influence that is likely to appeal to a wide range of listeners. The vocals are deep and masculine...and the playing is tight and determined. Certain to please fans in concert, these guys are obviously doing most everything right. We are particularly impressed by the fact that, at least visually, these fellows appear to be just regular guys. Smooth hit-sounding cuts include "Who I Are," "Weight of the World," "No Pain," and "Round and Round." (Rating: 4)

Whirlaway - Pompano (Independently released CD, Shoegazer/pop)
Named after their hometown of Pompano Beach, South Florida's Whirlaway have taken their career into their own hands...recording and independently releasing a solid collection of heady pop tunes. The band's mid-tempo fuzzy songs feature slightly psychedelic arrangements and extraordinarily tempting soft vocals. The tunes on Pompano are well recorded...gliding along nicely from start to finish. While the compositions have a slight droning quality, the band manages to focus on melodies and song structures...keeping things from ever regressing into monotony. The playing is top notch as is the recording quality. The layered guitars are particularly exceptional, adding just the right amount of headroom. This impressive album features "Walkthrough," "Drones," "What I See" (our favorite), and "On My Way." Really good stuff...! (Rating: 4+++)

The Wildhearts - Riff After Riff (CD, Gearhead, Rock/pop)
In 1993 The Wildhearts released a great debut album (Earth vs. The Wildhearts). For whatever reason, the album seemed to get lost in the shuffle in the United States...eventually ending up in large numbers in used CD shops and yard sales. In other places, however, things have turned out quite differently. Since that time, the Wildhearts have managed to develop a large and loyal following in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan...spawning more hits in these countries than many top selling superstars. One spin of Riff After Riff reveals why. The Wildhearts' music is raw and riveting...yet extraordinarily hummable and catchy. The band's vocals are amazing...particularly the harmonies. This is one of those rare cases where accessibility meets artistic integrity...and on this album, they deliver both. Riff plays like a non-stop string of hits...each one charging out of the gate with firey fury and melodic intensity. Features "Stormy In The North, Karma In The South," "Putting It On," "Better Than Cable," "Move On" and more. A MUST for pop fanatics. (Rating: 5+++)

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