March 1998 Goddamn Wurfliss Reviews from

RATING SYSTEM | The Bar Feeders | Big Fish Ensemble | Bouncing Balls | Brian Bromberg | Casper Fandango | Charm Pops | Chicklet | Dadawa | Dave's True Story | The Diggers | DJ Micro | Drill Team | The Facet | Front 242 | Good Riddance | Guster | Hagfish | The Hunger | Ilium | Richard Kastle | Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins | Kilgore Smudge | Lodestar | Jenny Mae | Morbid Angel | The Mullens | The Mysteries of Life | The Nekkid Goddamn Bears | New Albanian Riots | Pure | Rammstein | The Saboteurs | Shock To The System | Slowpoke | Soulfly | The Spreaders | Sugarsmack | Suicide Machines | Swervedruver | Teen Idols | Third Harmonic Distortion | The Trike Shop | The Vandalias | Jules Verdone | Wallmen | The Wurfliss Nuffins | The X Spurts

*Additional Items Received*


THE BAR FEEDERS - Scotto El Blotto (CD, Dill, Rock)
Blindingly fast rock music with a buzzsaw guitar sound and frenetic rhythm section. Fast and harsh is how the Bar Feeders hash out their short rock tunes. The lead singer has a really good snotty sounding vocal style that fits this style of music well. I suppose this could be labeled schizophrenic punk because the straightforward rhythms and often upset by crazy starts and stops. This band knows how to deliver a chaotic punk tune, as is evidence by "Solar," "Outhouse of Doom," and "Pissed Off." Hell, the band even has the good sense to include Mr. Rogers introducing a tune. Loud and funny stuff. (Rating: 4)

BIG FISH ENSEMBLE - State Bird of Big Fish Ensemble (CD, Put It On A Cracker, Pop) (Live performance, February 27, 1998)
I enjoyed this Atlanta band's last CD a great deal, and they've hit a home run once again. Big Fish Ensemble is an absolutely great band. They write excellent songs and come up with killer arrangements...and after seeing the band play live for the first time at their CD release party, I can also add that they are killer in concert. The strongest tunes on the new disc are "Normaltown" and "June Birthday," pensive songs that really strike an emotional chord. The new CD has some unforgettable stuff to be certain, but live the band sounds even better. A lot of bands trade off instruments to show how cool or versatile they are, and can't pull it off. The folks in Big Fish Ensemble effortlessly trade off instruments, and never miss a beat in doing so. It is this band's versatility, stage presence, and sheer love of what they are doing that shines through, making them an obvious gem at the bottom of an ocean awash with too many samey bands doing it for all the wrong reasons. One of the brightest pop bands of the nineties. (Rating: 5)

BOUNCING BALLS - Bouncing Balls (CD, Genuine Spurious, Rock/pop)
No fluff. No side items. No artificial coloring added. Just good, solid, simple rock music played the way it ought to be played. Bouncing Balls have come up with a winner, and they've done it without the assistance of a record company. The music? Basic, upbeat, catchy rock music that's instant F-U-N. Lots of cooooooool tunes like "We Need Action Now!", "Too Little, Too Late," and "I Don't Want To Belong." Kinda like early Cheap Trick but with more of an edge. A&R folks would do well to check out this band's image and sound. Not only are they really good, they also have the potential to (gasp) make someone a LOT of $$$. This Chicago quartet is a refreshing change from too many bands trying way too hard and taking themselves WAY too seriously. An easy and fun listen! (Rating: 5)

BRIAN BROMBERG - You Know That Feeling (CD, Zebra, Jazz)
Whew...what a RELIEF. After listening to one too many alternative rock bands, this disc is a breath of fresh air! Brian Bromberg is a jazz bass player, and this is his first new release in five years. His latest CD contains some really smooth, cool easy listening jazz pieces that are well produced and slick. In some ways, this almost sounds like the soundtrack to a film. Guest artists include Jeff Lorber, Rick Braun, Everett Harp, Joe Sample, Greg Karukas, and Alex Acuna. Note that there are NO GUITARS on this CD whatsoever. Mr. Bromberg's smooth bass lines provide a solid foundation for the elaborate arrangements on these tunes. This disc goes down NICE and EASY... (Rating: 4)

CASPAR FANDANGO AND HIS TINY SICK TEARS - How's Your Hand? (Independent cassette, Lookit Meee, Pop)
This home recorded project far exceeds what one normally finds in an independently recorded, produced, and duplicated cassette. Jason Nesmith (no relation to Mike Nesmith) recorded this project in his home studio, and the results are entertaining as hell. The sound quality is excellent, the arrangements inventive and cool...but in the end it's the tunes themselves that make this such an entertaining listen. These tunes are semi-psychedelic pop with hints of a whole slew of bands including the Beatles and 10CC. Hell, there's even an excellent cover version of the Bonzo Dog Band's "Sport"! To top it all off, the vocals and lyrics are downright killer. This package comes inside a surgical glove with a set of twenty bubblegum sized cards containing the lyrics. This is an obscurity worth seeking out. Mr. Nesmith is an obscure artist creating credible, memorable music. E-mail him at or check out the web site at (Rating: 5)

CHARM POPS - Unavailable (CD, Throwrug, Pop)
I've been waiting for Alan Laird to resurface for quite some time now. Thank God he chose to continue with a new band name instead of throwing in the towel. Alan led one of the most incredible (and largely unrecognized) bands of the nineties: Radial Spangle. Under that moniker, Mr. Laird and pals put out two amazing CDs. But because the music and tunes were so intelligent and obtuse, the band (and the discs) never really went anywhere. Charm Pops sounds extremely similar to Radial Spangle, which is a VERY good thing. Alan's latest tunes are heady, sharp, and sensitive...and they have their own unique sound. As I would have expected, the vocals on this disc are light years better than most bands. The clever studio sounds creep in and out of the speakers as inspective yet catchy pop tunes breeze by. This one gives me the feeling that I'm flying high, high, HIGH in the sky. This is destined to be one of the TOP RELEASES OF THE YEAR. Of that, I am certain. This is...a CLASSIC. (Rating: 6)

CHICKLET - Lemon Chandeliers (CD EP, Satellite, Pop)
Wow. This is really GOOD. Extremely clean, melodic pop music with excellent vocals. Chicklet (good band name) is the duo of Daniel Barida (vocals, guitar, drums, keyboards) and Julie Park (vocals, guitar, keyboards). Together, the two create some damn fine pop that's reminiscent of mid to late-sixties pop. They're based in Toronto, Canada but their sound reminds me of British pop bands. This five song EP leave me hungry from more. This is a band to keep an eye on. I bet their next full-length is gonna be SUPER. (Rating: 5)

DADAWA - Voices From the Sky (CD, Sire, Tibetian soft pop)
Man oh man. Those foreigners sure can come up with some WEIRD goddamn music! Although I can't understand a goddamn word this bitch is singing about, this still sounds REAL nice. I guess those Tibetian babes don't have to be able to sing real words to be able to get their messages across. Heh he heh... In all seriousness though...this is some cool atmospheric music created by Dadawa and He Xuntian that is extremely haunting and beautiful. These songs reflect a high regard for nature and the beauty of the outdoors. None of that canned "American" sounding crap here...just soothing, absolutely killer music from another world. I don't know that much about Tibet...all I know is that I LOVE the sound of this damn CD. Very mysterious and...totally KILLER. (Rating: 5)

DAVE'S TRUE STORY - Sex Without Bodies (CD, Chesky, Jazzy lounge pop)
Sexy, soft, smooth, provocative, loungy pop music. No, it's not "slow core" or "soft core" or any of that stuff... This is very standard soft lounge type music minus the piano, with tunes that are based around soft, smooth guitar chords. Dave's True Story is a duo consisting of Kelly Flint and Dave Cantor. If the Squirrel Nut Zippers are too hyper for you at times but you like the general direction they're coming from...then Dave's True Story may be more to your liking. This is certainly a refreshing change of pace from the normal fare landing in the babysue mailbox these it automatically caught our attention. This is extremely soothing and very, VERY soft. Ah... (Rating: 4)

THE DIGGERS - Mount Everest (CD, Big Deal, Pop)
Cool clean pop with enough "doo-doo-wah", "sha-la-la", and "ahhhhh" for everyone. Though the band is Scottish, they have a sound that is very reminiscent of British bands from the seventies. Sort of like Stackridge in an odd way, but much more poppy. This is very upbeat, clean hummable stuff that's gonna be GREAT music for Springtime listening. This is gonna be very, VERY popular among pop music fanatics the world over. Thank goodness once again for the folks at Big Deal...otherwise, it's very likely this wouldn't even have been released in the U.S. Very relaxing and entertaining stuff. Includes "Circles," "Nobody's Fool," "They Said I'd Know," and "Up Against It." (Rating: 5)

DJ MICRO - Micro-Tech-Mix (CD, Moonshine, Various artists)
I can't think of any label that is as supportive of the whole "DJ as artist" phenomenon as Moonshine Music. The label consistently puts out a barrage of compilation CDs by a wide range of DJs whose main intent is to keep a dance club hopping. And hop you may to the latest collection of electronic throbbing from DJ Micro. Mr. Micro strings together tracks by artists such as Vincent De Moor, Keoki, Hardfloor and comes up with a CD that'll have those drugged out club kids tripping all night. Either you like this stuff or you don't. The folks who don't like it are probably too...OLD. (Not Rated)

DRILL TEAM - Hope and Dream Explosion (CD, Reprise, Pop)
This is a case where I wish I had NOT read this band's bio, because I basically like this very upbeat pop CD. The way the band is being marketed is a turn off, though. They're being presented as having magical powers and the lead singer is supposedly causing models to get arrested outside his apartment because they're so in love with him. Give me a BREAK. I guess in big mainstream press, this is the kind of thing that helps sell CDs. Here in the land of the obscure, it just seems like the wrong approach to take in promoting a band whose music could stand on its own without the hype. Yeah, I do like the music and that should be all that matters...but... (Not Rated)

THE FACET - Playing Second (CD, Dill, Rock)
Authentic punk with no frills added. Angry, fast, loud...these guys deliver their stuff straight-from-the-hip with attitude and hyper energy. This is only recommended for folks who like it really, really, REALLY fast... (Not Rated)

FRONT 242 - Mut@ge.Mix@ge (CD, RRE/Play It Again Sam, Techno/dance/electronic)
Question: How do you improve on something that was already good in the first place? Answer: Change it around and update it so that it STILL sounds good...but in a different sort of way. Well, that's certainly the case with this latest collection of Front 242 remixes served up by Prodigy, Underworld, and The Orb. Front 242's music always was both trippy and dance crazy, and those elements remain intact. These remixed tracks add unusual elements to the music that work wonderfully...creating a hazy, psychedelic brand of techno/dance music that is both hypnotic and mentally stimulating. Twelve tracks are treated here, including "Rhythm of Time," "Junkdrome," "Dancesoundtrackmusic," and "Religion" (the last two tracks are my favorites). Cool stuff. (Rating: 5)

GOOD RIDDANCE - Ballads From the Revolution (CD, FatWreckChords, Hard pop)
Pop played at the speed of light, not unlike Bad Religion at times. This is straightforward driving buzzsaw rock music with a nice urgency to it. The band hails from Santa Cruz, CA and they have a mighty big punch. Even though there is an overabundance of bandsd currently playing this style of music, these guys come across sounding genuine and real. Nice. (Not Rated)

GUSTER -Goldfly (CD, Aware/Sire, Pop)
Nice smooth acoustic guitar based pop music that reminds me at times of mid-period Squeeze. This nicely produced batch of tunes goes down smooth...kind of like a chocolate pimp on a hot summer pumper. The arrangements are sparse, the vocals fact, the whole disc is rather subtle in a way. These ten tunes are accessible in a very GOOD way. That is, they're easy to listen to and comprehend but they're not commercial SLOP. Not unlike early Elton John at times. Ten slick tunes, including "Great Escape," "Airport Song," and "Rocketship." (Rating: 3)

HAGFISH - Hagfish (CD, Honest Don's, Rock)
Simple. Straightforward. Punchy. Direct. Loud. Melodic. Powerful. Catchy. Tight. I like the look and sound of Hagfish...a LOT. I think what I like most about these guys is that they play with such ease and passion. They have a sound and style which sounds so damn...natural. This disc would certainly make good driving music. They're not catering to any specific style or sound, these fellows are just being themselves. This disc features fifteen cool tunes including "Anniversary Song," "18 Days," "Sucker," and "100% Woman." Big FUN. (Rating: 4)

THE HUNGER - Cinematic Superthug (CD, Universal, Rock)
Upbeat, energetic, fun CD. This isn't challenging, difficult, harsh music. Instead, The Hunger seem content to provide simple riff rock with catchy choruses and clean, nineties production. In some ways, these tunes remind me of late eighties glam rock. There's nothing here that I haven't heard a thousand times before...but these guys' intent is what makes them stand out. Basically, they sound like they're having a hell of a lot of fun playing and their tunes are tight and easy to sing along with. Thank God all bands don't require a lot of thinking. Sometimes simple and direct is best. My fave tunes here are "Free," "Closer To Me," "Whore," and "Going Down." (Rating: 4)

ILIUM - Plexiglass Cube EP (CD EP, Hefty, Instrumental)
This three-piece instrumental band from Chicago presents some nice guitar instrumentals on this EP. The arrangements are interesting and at times somewhat spastic. I can't refer to specific tracks on this disc because the songs are not named. These folks are definitely on the right track. They're clever and inventive. I'll be on the lookout for a full-length... (Not Rated)

RICHARD KASTLE - Royce Concerto (CD, Yum Recordings, Piano/classical)
There are few things that sound as nice as someone at the piano who knows what they're doing. Richard Kastle certainly knows the keyboard...writing and playing some emotional, absolutely stunning instrumental pieces that go well beyond the normal boundaries of music. Probably freaking out most folks in the world of classical music (Richard's hair is dyed purple and blue), this guy's talent proves he's not just someone out to shock or get attention. Some of the pieces also feature the Philharmonic Orchestra recorded in Blackheath Hall in London ("Piano Concerto No. 5 - Royce Concerto" is particularly impressive). It's great to see artists like Mr. Kastle with a unique approach to classical music with the potential to draw in listeners other than your average stuffy old fart stuffed into a tuxedo. This is totally cool. (Rating: 6)

MIKE KENEALLY - Sluggo! (CD, Immune, Pop)
Whoa...this is an UNEXPECTED disc! This megaproductive guitarist has put out a whole slew of releases, but in the past the music has been mainly progressive jazz. With Sluggo!, Mike shows that he can also write pop music. "Potato," the opener, is a damn amazing tune. By the time it's over, you can't help but happily sing along "potato, potato, potato..." Sure, Mr. Keneally throws in some of the progressive, improvisational stuff he's known for...but along the way, he throws some surprisingly direct pop/rock tunes at the listener that I would have never expected from him. It's always nice when an artist isn't afraid to try different things, particularly when they succeed. I hope Mike has a hit off this goddamn thing. They guy deserves a bigger audience. He's talented, determined, and inventive. (Rating: 4)

KILGORE SMUDGE - A Search For Reason (CD, Revolution, rock)
Macho cock rock. This is loud, in-your-face ballsy rock and roll music with a real husky sounding singer. It's a big, tough sound that relies more on volume than on speed. Almost like metallic progressive speed metal pop at times (how's that for specificity?) this band is appealing to a very distinct audience. We've heard it all before, yeah, yeah, sure, sure...but these guys muster up enough guts to make it sound believable. (Not Rated)

LODESTAR - Jehovahcaine (CD, Sphincter Pop!, Pop)
Don't be misled by the name of the CD or the name of the record company. This is NOT a joke band, nor a fake CD review. Charlotte, North Carolina's Lodestar is a pure pop band all the way...offering up a whole slew of uplifting tunes on Jehovahcaine. At times, the band is slightly reminiscent of Nazz or even early Jam at times...but the overall sound is softer and more pensive than either of those bands. Not only are the melodies on this disc much stronger than what you usually find in a pop band, but the guitar playing is top notch. Charlotte...the "little Atlanta"...seems to have a music scene that is growing rapidly and producing some excellent artists. If you can't find this, write to the record label at 1156 S. King's Dr., Suite 2001, Charlotte, NC 28207 or e-mail 'em at (Rating: 4)

JENNY MAE - Don't Wait Up For Me (CD, Anyway, Pop)
Hmmmm...sounds like the name of a CUPCAKE TREAT or a VACUUM CLEANER, doesn't it? Well, it ain't NEITHER o' them goddamn things. This here's a cutey little pie-in-the-face female pop singer with some nice sounding toons. Not only she got pretty voice, but she got pretty FACE too. Damn! This CD features sometimes THICK production and a wide VARIETY of styles of pop music. Although it doesn't really sound LIKE her, Jenny Mae's approach reminds me of LIDA HUSIK. Probably because she seems to be interested in creating interesting music more than writing a "hit" song. The lady's good, that's for sure. And after scanning over the press kit, I'm not the only worthless little rat's ass who feels that way... (Rating: 4)

MORBID ANGEL - Formulas Fatal To The Flesh (CD, Earache, Death metal)
There are few fence sitters where death metal is concerned. Either you love the stuff or you hate it. Most folks definitely fall into the latter category. I may be one of the few fence sitters, because I like some death metal stuff...but find the majority of it to be tired old crap. Florida's Morbid Angel are one of the few who produce imaginative, good death metal music...and they're been at it for a long, long time now. The band still retains its trademarks...blinding speed, complex guitar work, growling/unintelligible vocals...but nowadays they're continuing to expand upon their formula. Probably my favorite on this disc is the somewhat experimental "Hymnos Rituales De Guerra," with its cool percussion lines. They're not for everyone, but then again Morbid Angel never WERE... (Not Rated)

THE MULLENS - The Mullens (CD, Get Hip, Garage rock)
With so many bands playing snotty garage rock, you wouldn't think that it would be so hard to find bands who are both believable and good. It is rare these days to find a garage rock band with the right attitude and sound, but The Mullens have it. They're loud, they're simple, they've got attitude...and to top it off they've got a frontman with just the right voice and presence to make it work. This is so stripped down and simple that it almost sounds like a practice session. On their debut, this Dallas band presents fourteen cookin' tunes including "Step On The Gas" and "Looks Like Fun." I bet these guys are popular as shit among a small but dedicated group of followers. I hope to hell I can catch 'em live...cuz from the sound of this disc it sounds like they're on FIRE. (Rating: 5)

Nice home grown pop music free of gimmicks and studio tricks. This Indiana band has been at it for some time now, providing hummable pop music based around acoustic guitars and simple rhythms. The band consists of ex-members of Blake Babies, Antenna, and Velo-Deluxe. How's that for credentials? The Mysteries of Life's pop music has much more of a country flavor than any of the aforementioned bands however, despite the fact that this is basically pop music. This isn't breaking new ground, but that's not really the point here. This band just plays good formula pop that's pleasant to listen to. (Rating: 4)

THE NEKKID GODDAMN BEARS - All Nekkid and Sweaty (CD and video, Heavyweight, Jock rock)
Four big hairy bearded guys get nekkid, turn up their guitars to the max, and blow it out their barnholes. I have to admit that this might not have gotten reviewed if it weren't for the video. The music isn't the best or most original stuff in the world, but watching these guys rockin' out in the raw is definitely an experience not to be missed. Goddamn. My only complaint? Not enough close ups. Hey...maybe next time around, eh? (Not Rated)

NEW ALBANIAN RIOTS - The Cream of the Stars (CD, Smiley Jones, Guitar instrumental)
All instrumental CD in the general vein of the Ventures or the Shadows. This Tallahassee based band features 13 tunes including "Walk In Shadow," "Blues On My Mind," and "Never To Return." New Albanian Riots is a trio consisting of Frank Young, Kelly Shane, and Kenny Howes (who is a solo recording artist as well). Visit the band's web page at (Not Rated)

PURE - Feverish (CD, Mammoth, Pop)
I liked the last CD from this Canadian band that they recorded in their own studio. I guess this is their first full-length recorded in a professional studio. Lucky for them, whoever was at the controls managed to enhance their sound rather than suck every ounce of originality from their sound (which is what usually happens when a band makes the leap from recording in their basement to a big studio). Pure back up their poppy sound with clever arrangements and just the right amount of polish. There's a little too much high end for my own perverted taste, but other than that this batch of tunes goes down NICE and EASY... (Rating: 4)

RAMMSTEIN - Sehnsucht (CD, London/Slash, Industrial dance pop)
Sort of like a cross between Falco and the Young Gods...but not really. This German group's glossy dance pop has a slight industrial edge and some experimental elements, but for the most part they play it safe. At this point I've heard so many German bands that are so far over the edge that this comes across sounding relatively tame. Even so, this band's music is a good doesn't tax the brain or fry the ear drums. Instead, the Rammstein are content to simply play nice, throbbing dance tunes. And although I'm not sure why, this kind of music always sounds better with German vocals... Why is that, Mommy? Why? (Rating: 3)

THE SABOTEURS - Espionage Garage (CD, American Pop Project, Surf)
This band immediately caught my attention because the guitarist is none other than Mark Brodie, formerly of Mark Brodie & the Beaver Patrol. Mr. Brodie is the best modern surf guitar player around. He moved to Japan and hooked up with two new fellows to form The Saboteurs. The other band members are Dave Karl (drums) and James Bomb (bass). Together, the three have a sound that is extremely similar to the aforementioned Beaver Patrol. The music is crisp and clean, the playing professional and tight...but it's certainly those cool, atmospheric guitar licks that make this band such a wonderful listen. This disc may not be easy to get hold of, as it has been released on an indie here's the address: American Pop Project, P.O. Box 2271, San Rafael, CA 94912. (Rating: 5)

SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM (Magazine, Issue 9-Winter 97/98)
This underground music magazine is published by Ro Kohli, who some folks may know for his other job working as a publicist for Roadrunner Records. Once, again, Mr. Kohli comes up with an extremely informative and readable magazine covering a wide range of musical artists. This issue features interviews with Powerman 5000, Nothingface, Dub War, Snot, and FE26...but it also includes a slew of individual reviews as well. Shock To The System is a magazine with a personality...a rare thing in the world of underground publishing. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Send $2.00 to 43 Dolores Dr., Metuchen, NJ 08840 or e-mail at (Rating: 5)

SLOWPOKE - Virgin Stripes (Advance CD, Geffen, Rock/pop)
Good guitar lines fly freely in abundance in this Dallas-based band's music. Instead of just ramming their fists down on the strings in a cavelike fashion, these guys actually play notes and creative melody lines on their guitars. The drums and bass provide a pop/rock foundation with a sometimes funky backbeat. The vocals are basic, but fit the music well. Listening to this, I can't decide whether Slowpoke sound more like a college radio band or a commercial FM band. Perhaps they lie somewhere in the middle. Whatever the case, this is good solid melodic guitar pop/rock. Very likable stuff. (Not Rated)

SOULFLY - Soulfly (CD, Roadrunner, Harsh rock)
Sort of like death metal but with more funky rhythms. Loud and harsh guitars and raspy are the key ingrediants in Soulfly's heavy sound. The group's tunes work much better than your average hard rock band because they are centered more around guitar riffs than the obnoxious, egotistical lead guitar playing that hampers so many hard rock bands. Rhythms are critical in this band's tunes, as the drums, bass, and guitar are focused on grooves rather than specific formulas. Vocalist Max Cavalera was formerly with the band Sepultura, and I can certainly hear traces of his former band here. This is overall a very solid, good hard rock album with much more creativity and thought put into it than most... (Rating: 4)

THE SPREADERS - Boom Boom Is Good (Independently released CD, Pop/rock)
Damn! Illinois band The Spreaders prove just how good an independent project can be when enough hard work and dedication is involved. This guitar heavy power pop band reminds me a great deal of late seventies pop bands. The tunes are upbeat, the vocals clear and easy to understand, and there's enough variety between tunes to keep things interesting. This is a really good debut disc. Although I personally like the cover, I think it will mislead the average consumer (or writer or DJ) into thinking that this is another one of those shitty independent CDs (which it certainly is NOT). This band writes some great tunes that wouldn't sound out of place at all on commercial FM radio stations. Our faves here are "Misery Index," "Fool Around," and "As You Are." May be hard to find. Contact the band at P.O. Box 251, Manhattan, IL 60442 or e-mail 'em at (Rating: 4)

SUGARSMACK - Tank Top City (CD, Sire, Rock) (Live performance, February 20, 1998)
I was impressed in a mighty big way when I walked into a tiny club out of the blue a couple of years ago and caught this band playing a set. Though there were only about ten folks in the audience, Sugarsmack was blowing the LID off the club. Of all the ladies in rock and roll, Hope Nicholls is a true force to be reckoned with. Not only does she have pipes that'll blow your brains out, she is so focused that it's virtually impossible to ignore her. This disc finds this Charlotte, North Carolina quartet sounding GREAT. The music is funky and rocky, the tunes upbeat and catchy...and overall surprisingly commercial sounding. I find it somewhat incredible that this band hasn't already become really, REALLY big and popular. This is one of the best pure rock and roll CDs I've heard in the last few months... The band's CD release party reflected the fact that the band has still not caught on in a big way, despite the fact that they are now on a big label (Sire). The club was only about half full. Watching the band in concert, I couldn't help but again being amazed by Ms. Nicholls' presence. Visually, this lady is like looking at a painting...and she's so damn comfortable in front of a crowd. She's very much like a man in a woman's body. I'd like to see/hear a bit more aggression from the three guys in the band, who seem content to take a backseat to Hope's antics. Otherwise, the show was basically a rocking good time...(Rating: 5)

SUICIDE MACHINES - Battle Hymns (CD, Hollywood, Hard rock/ska/punk)
Whew...this is one HARD HITTING compact disc! Listening to this is like listening to your CD player shuffling way too fast from one CD to another. On their second full-length release, the Suicide Machines shift in and out of one style of music to another so fast it's definitely a challenge to keep up. These guys are super tight though...and that's probably why, despite their somewhat crazed approach, these guys succeed. Throughout the 22 tracks (!) on this CD, the band plays HARD and LOUD...but they never forsake composition and structure for the mere sake of volume. This is one CD that is certain to separate your head from your torso. This band blows out all the stops on Battle Hymns, making this one hell of a fun listen... Can't WAIT to see 'em play live if they sound anything like this in concert... (Rating: 5)

SWERVEDRIVER - 99th Dream (CD, Zero Hour, Pop)
Densely produced Britpop. There's an awful lot going on in these tunes. Very busy, very slick sounding alternative rock stuff. The playing and ideas are good, although there's so much going on that at times it's difficult to discern. This ought to please Swervedriver fans. It's the best I've heard from them thus far... (Not Rated)

TEEN IDOLS - Teen Idols (CD, Honest Don's, Buzzsaw Rock/pop)
There are hundreds upon hundreds of hyperspeed buzzsaw guitar rock/pop bands on the planet, so they must all sound alike...huh? WRONG. As is the case in any genre, there are GOOD ones and BAD ones. Teen Idols are a standout quartet playing a style of music that has been played into the ground. The band injects such fresh energy and enthusiasm into what they're doing, however, that it all sounds brand new again. Three guys and a girl (no, she's not the lead singer) play their genitals off at top speed, while all the time maintaining a certain bubblegum-like quality to the music. Not unlike the Ramones (Who DOESN'T sound like Ramones these days?), this band is a big ball of revved up fun. Fourteen tunes, including "Come Dance With Me," "Porno Shop," "Dragstrip," and "Peanut Butter Girl." Really FUN stuff! TIGHT. (Rating: 5)

THIRD HARMONIC DISTORTION - Third Harmonic Distortion (CD, Morphius, Rock)
Nice hard rock music that's not too harsh and yet certainly not soft. These guys' approach to rock has a somewhat progressive side to it that keeps things interesting throughout the entire CD. The guitars are fuzzy and distorted, the rhythms semi-chaotic at times, and the vocals are urgent and raspy. Overall, this music gives me the feeling that I'm falling down the side of a mountain... The track that goes over best is the extended "Pieces" (over twenty minutes in length) where the band just goes all over the place, creating some really impressive and at times almost ambient or psychedelic instrumental stuff. They even do a believable cover of the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer." Good stuff. (Not Rated)

THE TRIKE SHOP - Mad Pop Inventions (CD, Whispe*-*-r-ma-Phone, Pop)
Interesting stuff. This Fresno, California quartet serve up home recorded pop with a jazzy, progressive feel that doesn't really sound like other stuff out there. In fact, some of this almost reminds me of obscure stuff that was coming out in the very early seventies. The band's complicated approach to playing pop is quirky and unusual...even silly at times. You won't likely be hearing this on the radio or seeing this in record shops. This is one of those obscure little discs that'll probably slide through the cracks, despite the fact that some of the tunes are really quite excellent... (Not Rated)

THE VANDALIAS - Buzzbomb! (CD, Big Deal, Pop)
Nice sing-songy guitar pop that has a certain sixties AM radio sound to it. Somewhat like a more refined and mature Archies at times, this Minneapolis quartet effortlessly tosses out pop tunes like a dispensing machine. Upbeat to the max with some excellent thick harmony vocals, this band has a big teen beat sound that's probably (and unfortunately) just not what most folks are looking for these days. With so many folks into dark, hateful, mean music bands like The Vandalias will most likely end up being a cult obscurity. That's okay, because success might just ruin a very good thing. This will likely appeal to fans of the Pooh Sticks. (Rating: 4)

JULES VERDONE - Diary Of A Liar (CD, Q Division, Pop)
Nice direct pop music from a talented lady I had not heard before. Jules Verdone is somewhat reminiscent of Suzanne Vega or even the lighter side of Patti Smith at times...but she adds her own unique twist to her pop tunes on Diary Of A Liar. Most importantly, she has a flair for writing lyrics that really makes these tunes stand out. Not overly weird or peculiar, Ms. Verdone's subtlety draws you into her tunes before you know what has happened. She's a good vocalist too...damn good. Eleven tracks including "Through My Teeth," "Dumb Rock Song," and "Baltimore or Less." Simply enjoyable soft pop with a sense of humor. (Rating: 4)

WALLMEN - Electronic Home Entertainment System (CD, Wild Pitch, Off-the-wall pop/rock)
They've been around forever and thank God they will always be around forever. Possibly my favorite Wallmen release yet, this CD has some accessible moments...but the band always manages to mutate or shred any real commercial appeal in the end. The Wallmen have always been about taking pop/rock music and distorting it in their own unique way. The music is still as wacky as ever, with even more heavy electronic distortion this time around. There are some real surprises, too. "The Gauge" is amazingly normal, if you can avoid paying attention to the words. "Evil Jim" is totally screwed up, yet pleasantly catchy. "Medium Girl" and "You'll Never Learn" sound like the singles (if there are to be any singles). The blurrily psychedelic "Todd Is Still the Scene" is a weird trip indeed...even for the Wallmen (and that's saying something). After all these years, this band still retains that peculiar fresh spontaneity of a band that has just learned to play. There's no one like 'em. This is totally crazy stuff. I love it. (Rating: 5)

THE WURFLISS NUFFINS - Hoo Sedd Dat? (CD, Howdo, Rap)
The Wurfliss Nuffins came from nothing...and that's probably where they'll stay, judging from the "tunes" on this "CD." Rap, rap, rap. Bitch, bitch, bitch. Yappity, yappity, yap. You know why there are so many folks cranking out this rap crap? Why, cuz yuh ain godduh habb no BRAANZ tuh DUZZ it! Rap = crap. At least this time around the name fits the band. (Rating: 1)

THE X SPURTS - Leave It To The X Spurts (CD, Boleo, Teen rodeo)
This Korean trio plays in the nude, blows cannons off their foreheads, and wraps the whole thing up in a blood and bacon burrito. Throwing manners and Toto (yes, the dog) to the wind, these folks blow their snot into the rotting cavity of society's ills. The band consists of Kacker Plow (vocals), Lampy Vicious (vocals and chowder), and Marrow Bossie (reinforcements). "Teen Rodeo Anthem," the opening track, is tedious and futile...and things go straight downhill from there. This is the worst CD ever recorded. The cover of "Diamond Dogs" REALLY sucks... (Rating: 1)


All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors - Turning Into Small (CD, Gern Blandsten, Pop)
Anne Summers
- The Dandy (CD, PC Music, Pop)
Armitage Shanks - Cacophony Now (CD, Damaged Goods, Pop)
Big Dirty Beats - Big Dirty Beats (CD, Moonshine, Various artists compilation)
Billy Syndrome's War Stories (Zine, Issue #4)
Both Worlds - Memory Rendered Visible (Advance cassette, Roadrunner)
The Boxer - Music From the Motion Picture (CD, MCA)
Cookie Galore - "Leaves & Philosophies" b/w "Communion" (7" vinyl single, Heat Beat)
Cult Ceavers - The Sultry Sounds of Collision (CD, Broken Note, Rock)
The Dagons
- "You Kill the Dream," "Not Enough" b/w "I Saw You Die (7" vinyl single, Dead Sea Captain Records)
Deep Reduction - "Gotta Say No" b/w "Black Tulip" (7" vinyl single, Get Hip)
Defleshed - Under the Blade (CD, Metal Blade, Speed metal)
Diesel Boy - Venus Envy (CD, Honest Don's, Rock)
EQ (Magazine, February 1998)
The Erratics - The Erratics (CD, Touchwood, Rock/pop)
Eve 6 - Eve 6 (CD, RCA, Rock/pop)
Facilities (1998 Annual Directory)
Flipside (Magazine, #110)
Paul Foisy - Windows, Walls & Doors (CD, Sun Goat)
Funkdoobiest - The Troubleshooters (CD, RCA, Hip-hop)
Gates of Ishtar - The Dawn of Flames (CD, Death, Death metal)
Gig Magazine (Magazine, March 1998)
The Glory of Destruction (CD, Catastrophe, Various artists compilation)
Gravitron - Wash the World Down (Independently released CD, Pop)
Scott Haskitt - Third Wish (CD, Twilight)
(hed)pe - (hed)pe (CD, Zomba Recording Corp.)
The Hellacopters - "1995" b/w "Tilt City"/"Freespeedin'" (7" vinyl single, Get Hip)
Hellbender - Con Limon (CD, Reservoir, Rock)
I-45 - The Regal Beagle (CD, Broken Note, Rap/hip hop)
Icecake - ...An Ambient Experience (CD, Supple, Instrumental)
The Insect - "Hard To Cry" b/w "Styler"/"No Next Time" (7" vinyl single, 360 Twist!)
Jolene - In The Gloaming (CD, Sire, Pop)
Keyboard (Magazine, March 1998)
Keyboard (Magazine, April 1998)
Killer Barbies - "The Phone" b/w "Love Killer"/"Chainsaw Times" (7" vinyl single, Get Hip)
King Diamond - Voodoo (CD, Metal Blade, Metal/rock)
Lord Sterling - Your Ghost Will Walk (CD, Chainsaw Safety, Rock)
Lower Class Brats - Rather Be Hated Than Ignored (CD, GMM, Rock)
Mach Five - Mach Five (Advance cassette EP, Island)
Major Accident - The Ultimate High (CD, GMM, Rock)
Man's Ruin - Whoyoucallin' Cracker (CD, GMM, Rock)
Mithotyn - In The Sign of the Ravens (CD, Death, Death metal)
Moonshine Mixed Vol. 2 (CD, Moonshine, Various artists)
Motherfucker 666 - "High For Christmas" b/w Steel Miners - "I Hate Christmas" (7" vinyl single, Get Hip)
Murder City Wrecks - Get Wrecked (CD, GMM, Rock)
1998 Grammy Nominees - 1998 Grammy Nominees (CD, Grammy/MCA, Various artists)
Nashville Pussy - "Go Motherfucker Go" b/w "Milk Cow Blues" (7" vinyl single, Get Hip)
The New Patrons - The New Patrons (Independently released CD, Country/pop)
North Street - Thousand Times Told (CD, Independent release, Rock/pop)
Oblong (Zine, #7)
Own - The Others' Parts (CD, Channel 83, Pop)
POPsmear (Magazine, Issue #14)
Promised Land - Fourth Dimension (Double CD, Mutant Sound System, Various artists/drum and bass)
Pro Sound News (Magazine, February 1998)
The Push Kings - Blowin' Up! (7" vinyl single, Sealed Fate)
Quintron - Satan Is Dead (CD, Bulb, Noise)
The Razels - "Can't Forget About You" b/w "Excuse Me"/"Outta My Head" (7" vinyl single, Get Hip)
Replication News (Magazine, February 1998)
Replication News (Magazine, January 1998)
2 Skinnee J's - 2 Skinnee J's (Advance CD, Capricorn, Rap)
Saturnhead - Introducing...Arizona's Thin Mistake (CD, Resolution, Pop)
The Seculars - "The Rolik"/"Social Skills"/"Calm You Down" b/w "I Believe In Dr. Rokkett"/"Done Wrong Now" (7" vinyl single, 360 Twist!)
Shooting Fish - Shooting Fish (Advance cassette, Capitol, Various artists compilation)
Simple Souls - Simple Souls (CD, Life Music)
Sinister Six - Sinisteria! (CD, Get Hip, Rock)
Sip More Tea! - Beggars Banquet Compilation CD (CD, Beggars Banquet, Various artists)
Sometimes Seven - Static From the Blender (CD, Kid Cadmium, Rock/pop)
Tattoo of Pain - Vengeance Is Mine (CD, Antler-Subway, Techno/rock)
Thee Headcoats - The Messerschmitt Pilot's Severed Hand (CD, Damaged Goods, Garage rock)
Tim - German Engineering (CD, Vital Cog, Rock)
Train - Train (CD, Aware, Pop)
U.S. Chaos - We've Got The Weapons (CD, GMM, Rock)
Ana Voog - Please God (Enhanced CD single, Radioactive)
Welcome to Woop Woop - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD, Cherry/Universal, Various artists)
Chris Whitley - Dirt Floor (Advance cassette, Messenger)
Wolfgang Parker - Hep City Swing (CD, Hep City)
Your Mom - The Standard Rock Outfit (CD, Fish Eye, Pop)

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