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September 1999 Reviews by

RATING SYSTEM | Asleep at the Wheel | Frank Bango | Bums | Core | Favez | FENIXtx | For Stars | The Foxymorons | The Frames | Jakkpot | Johnny Society | Lights in a Fat City | L'ill Chillrins | Lilys | Lonely Kings | P. J. Ollson | Jim Matheos | John Stuart Mill | Other Star People | Outrageous Cherry | Please Send Us Something OTHER Than CDs To Review | Radar Bros. | Rrrr-belch Wiffuh Burgah Doo-Pix | Self | Vermont | Zenith

*Additional Items Received*


ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL - Ride With Bob (CD, Dreamworks, Country swing)
Heeeeeeeey...this is NEAT! Not quite fitting in with any current genre (yet combining aspects from several), Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel have created a CD that is pure undiluted FUN! This isn't more of that generic swing revival crapola that seems to be infecting every nook and cranny of the world. Instead, this is music that harkens back to the thirties and a time when lyrics and melodies were simple...arrangements were king...and people liked to dance up a storm. Hefty fiddles and plenty of toe-tapping rhythms abound on this absolutely stellar disc. Killer tunes include "Bob's Breakdowns," "Roly Poly," "Faded Love," and "Going Away Party." EXTREMELY ENTERTAINING! (Rating: 5)

FRANK BANGO - Fugitive Girls (CD, Not Lame, Pop)
Totally poppy guitar tunes about girls, girls, GIRLS. The Not Lame label always suggests quality...and there's plenty of quality pop to be heard on this disc. The guitars ring loud and true, and Frank Bango's got a mighty kickass vocal style that really makes these tunes work. Fourteen tunes...with our top picks being "Candy Bar Killer" (great tune), "Blue Sweater," and "A Monster In Your Cookie Jar." Nice sound quality and excellent melodies make this one big fun... (Rating: 4)

BUMS (Subhuman sort of rat's ass kind of things)
Bums, bums...everywhere you go. Bums, bums, and MORE bums. And what do people say? "Awwww...those POOR homeless people! We must HELP them!" "Homeless people have rights, too!" "We must build a SHELTER for these poor unfortunate souls!" These empathetic scuzzballs only help to create an environment which makes it easier for more and more bums to survive. And then everyone wonders why there are SO MANY bums on the streets!!! Bums do deserve something...they deserve to be shot on sight. Don't call them "homeless people" them what they REALLY are... worthless BUMS! (Rating: 2)

CORE - The Hustle Is On (CD, MIA/Tee Pee, Rock)
Cool pothead seventies rock! The guitars are turned up ALL THE WAY and the drums and bass drive like a freaked out hippie on crystal speed. This band is definitely in the same vein as babysue favorites Fu Manchu (who, coincidentally, Core have toured with). These guys' debut disc was on Atlantic...but after getting a dose of big label treatment they made the right choice by moving to MIA/Tee Pee...who seem to really be behind what the band is doing. The sound quality is punchy and tight...the music hard psychedelia...and the vocals have that whatever-the-hell-who-cares attitude that just makes us go all gushy gushy. Thirteen tunes full of chock hearted LOUD raunch rock. WAY cool! (Rating: 5)

FAVEZ - A Sad Ride on the Line Again (CD, Doghouse, Pop)
Slow dreamy pop that's played just the way that it ought to be played. Favez is the name of the project spearheaded by Chris Wicky...a fellow who has an uncanny knack for writing a good tune, and he has the breathy pipes to make his compositions come right through like lines of crystal. As much as we have tried, we can't really figure out who this man's influences are (George Harrison perhaps?)... His style of songwriting is similar to a great many other artists, yet it doesn't sound exactly like anyone else. The thing about this music that stands out is that the words and melodies seem to be coming straight from the heart. There's no big production fancy choral vocal synthesizers (I don't think so, anyway)... There are some absolutely beautiful clinchers on this CD. The sparse arrangements fit these tunes to a T...making this disc a fancy filled delight for fans of soft pop... (Rating: 5)

FENIXtx - FENIXtx (CD, MCA, Rock/pop)
Damn. This is one PUNCHY disc. Whoever mixed this one made the music sound so alive that it absolutely THROBS in the speakers like globs of doodoo clusters. The music is smart, precise, powerful pop with extra tight musicianship. Amazingly, this is a re-release of the band's debut that was originally independently released. Thirteen tunes including "Minimum Wave," "Ben," and "Rooster Song." (Not Rated)

FOR STARS - Windows For Stars(CD, Future Farmer Recordings, Soft pop)
Like a peculiar slow mix of Chris Stamey and Harper's Bizarre, For Stars is certainly a band that does not sound like all the rest. Despite the band's extremely reserved sound, they are definitely NOT "slow core"...nor are they folk...nor are they pop in the normal sense of the word. Instead, these peaceful, introspective compositions reflect the inner mind of a fellow named Carlos Forster...who has exactly the kind of killer voice you need to pull this kind of thing off. Plaintive and slightly peculiar...this is a very dreamy set of tunes perfect for relaxing or just doing whatever you feel like... Real nice stuff, to be certain... I like this even better than the last release... (Rating: 5)

THE FOXYMORONS - Calcutta (CD, American Pop Project, Pop/rock)
All hail the band that doesn't neatly fit into any specific category...because there are so many carbon copy pretty-much-horrible bands dribbling away out there in noonooland. I hope the guys in The Foxymorons register their band name with the trademark office because if they don't...someone is certain to steal such a great name. So...the music? This duo writes and records fuzzy, somewhat hazy pop music that has as much in common with The Beach Boys as it does with The Pixies. Pop music...unfortunately...has gotten a bad reputation over the years because of the plethora of folks claiming to be popsters...when they are really and truly nothing more than SLOPSTERS. These tunes capture the energy and excitement of two young guys who obviously love what they're doing...and they don't seem as if they're trying to impress anyone other than themselves. My favorites here are "The Duke of Gloucester" and "Broken Heart." Fourteen refreshing tunes. Visit the band's web site at (Rating: 5)

THE FRAMES - Dance the Devil... (CD, Universal, Pop/rock)
Nice pop rock band from Ireland that sounds nothing like U2...thank God! This guitar-driven pop band displays quite a bit of diversity in their songwriting on this disc. In the end, however, it's those extremely soft tracks ("Star Star" is particularly good) that grab us the most. Some tunes are reminiscent of Peter Gabriel ("Seven Day Mile" in particular)...way back when before he turned into a craphead. I'd bet this band does rather well in the sales department with tunes like this... (Not Rated)

JAKKPOT - Always Bet On Black (CD, Royalty/Wasabi, Hard rock)
Whew...what blur of intense hard rock/pop played really, really fast...really, really loud. Actually, the music of Jakkpot is nice snug positive kick in ass (as opposed to nice snug negative kick in ass). Personally, we like feeling of getting kick in naturally we like loud, harsh band what make sound like having riot is okay for today. Few band what have hear of late with so much intense and play so very hard. Is for making tune such of "Burnin' In '77," "Hit or Miss" (yow!), and "Insomnia" being of big funball in Marsha brassiere. Match for burning, burn up for hot. Jakkpot burn like wild design on bald penis. (Not Rated)

JOHNNY SOCIETY (Live performance, August 20, 1999)
I almost didn't attend this show...not because I didn't WANT to...but because it was on a Friday night at a club that is always very crowded...and I was certain that a band like Johnny Society would have the place jammed with rabid fans. Boy did I make the right decision to attend this one...! As it turned out, I was the only person there (I believe) who had even heard of the band (!). Walking into the club a few minutes before the show, my friend Mary Elizabeth and I were astounded to find that there were only about fifteen people in the audience. As it turned out, apparently the band had received virtually no airplay or reviews in the always shitty city of Atlanta...and because music fans are always tugged about by their snouts like retarded sheep dogs...almost no one came to the show. After playing the band's two (and only two) CDs into the ground I couldn't believe I about to witness was virtually amounted to a private performance. Speaking with Kenny (guitar), Brian (drums), and Gwen (bass) briefly before the show, I found out that the reason the band's music sounds so incredibly similar to The Move and Roy Wood is that the folks in the band are heavily influenced by Mr. Wood. (In fact, they were actually slated to open up for Mr. Wood in a concert in NY earlier in the year before Wood had to cancel due to illness.) I have never heard any singer who sounds as much like Roy Wood as Kenny Siegel does. Not only can this guy write tunes that will blow your socks off, but he is also one of the most amazing vocalists in music today. The band's live sound was rawer and more aggresive than on their CDs. It was great watching Brian crash away madly at his drums while Gwen (who also records under the name Blueberry) masterfully pumped out the throbbing bass lines. I was really bothered by the fact that the person running the soundboard wasn't paying more attention. I wanted to walk over to the board and tweak things myself...but I know better. This was a show that could easily have been a "6" if it were not for a few variables outside the band's control. Johnny Society is easily one of the best bands of the nineties, yet thus far relatively few people seem to have taken notice. Do yourself a favor and pick up either of the band's discs (on Messenger Records). You will not be disappointed. If these folks can just hang in there and weather the retarded stupidity that always runs rampant in the music industry...they will eventually have people drooling all over them. They are that good. Meeting and hearing a band whose work I regard so highly was a total ego rush. A night that I will never forget... (Rating: 5)

LIGHTS IN A FAT CITY - Memory Ground (CD, City of Tribes, Instrumental)
Cool atmospheric almost completely noncommercial instrumental band. Lots of air instruments tooting around...sounds from the city and sounds from the almost complete disregard for rhythms and structure... Very subtle, yet very effective. Calming, relaxing, and just slightly disarming... (Rating: 4)

L'IL CHILLRINS (Small subhuman no-no kinds of things)
I'ze noze dat awe yaw probbleh faink we'ze heh hatez awe dem wurfliss L'il Chillrins wutt beez runnin' rown awe oh-buh duh plannit...but yawz-udd beez rawng. Axe-shullie...we'ze rabbuh LAX l'il chillrins...jass azz lawng as daze beez GOOT l'il chillrins. Buttz wuttz mose fokes dawn wawntz tuh at-mitt izz dat DAY IZZ BAD CHILLRINS. Inn fax, daze EVVUH-war! Daze moe BATT dan GOOT, an dazz whize we yoo-shullie HAATZ 'em awe so gott-dayum mush. Been duh finkin peepuzz datt weez izz, wee awe seff ain NEBBUH gawn hazz gnaw chillrins. Ain dat summ GOOT NOOZ? (Not Rated)

LILYS - The Three Way (CD, Sire, Pop)
There seems to be a great deal of debate of late over whether Lilys are the greatest thing since whipped cheese...or the most pathetic band on the planet. Our opinion is most definitely the former as opposed to the latter, as this unpredictable band proves once again that they are light years beyond everyone else. Despite the fact that the band's tunes are incredibly complex, they come across sounding so slick and easy that you almost forget how adventurous this music really is. Possibly the best thing about Lilys tunes is that one composition is actually equal to about ten tunes by any other band. Rhythms, riffs, and melodies change around so much within the space of three minutes that it's actually like hearing an entire medley of songs. Of course, those effervescent vocals remain as heavenly as ever. If there is a reason why this band has not yet had more success, it must surely be that the music is simply way over the heads of most folks. About as smart and as inventive as you can get (while still basically playing pop music), this truly is the BEST BAND OF THE DECADE (!). GET THIS. (Rating: 7)

LONELY KINGS - What If? (CD, Fearless, Rock/pop)
Sounding something like a cross between Dusker Hoo and Bracket, Lonely Kings are a nice fresh blast of easy to digest rock/pop. It's that three piece drum/bass/guitar thing that's been done so many times before, but these guys are living proof that if you do it right it STILL sounds damn good. Of particular interest here is that the band DOES NOT play at a blindingly fast that's something DIFFERENT (!). Plenty of good tunes here to keep your car stereo pumping out the stumps. Our favorites are "Runaway to Spain," "Money," and "Radio Roulette." (Rating: 4)

P. J. OLLSON - Words For Living (CD, Columbia, Techno pop)
There's an awfully big buzz going on around Michigan's P. J. Ollson. So...what's the DEAL? Mr. Ollson's music sounds not unlike a poppier Moody Blues...or even Pink Floyd...with a definite drum and bass style going on in the rhythm department. It's an odd merging of past and present, with even odder influences dripping in and out of the mix. More modern elements creep in and out, but it's all basically still a pop experience. It's those incredibly beautiful vocal harmones that seem to be the cornerstone of this artist's sound The guy has a great voice, there's no doubt. This music reminds me of Self, but not quite as focussed... (Rating: 4)

JIM MATHEOS - Away With Words (CD, Metal Blade, Instrumental)
Jim Matheos' new CD is appropriately titled, as this disc contains nothing but light and intriguing instrumentals. These compositions are very reminiscent of British seventies progressive bands. A variety of instruments are used, and the overall approach is rather classical in nature. Miraculously, these tunes are not overworked or Jim shows how restraint can work in his favor. Light and airy music just right for an afternoon of cigarettes and smoothies...and a picture full of pokie doo. (Not Rated)

JOHN STUART MILL - Forget Everything (CD, SeeThru Broadcasting, Pop/rock)
What a great name for a CD..."Forget Everything" says so much (and I'm not being sarcastic here). John Stuart Mill, a former member of underground sensation Brainiac, is now out on his own. So...about this music... This disc is schizophrenic to say the least. The styles of music fade hazily in and out of one another...showcasing an artist whose style is both difficult and hard to categorize. It's all basically pop, I suppose...but there's so much mind bending and altering of expected melodies HAPPENING...that as a whole this disc borders on absurd. Absurdity is a good thing, of we recommend that you at least hear this disc...and then draw your own conclusions. Experimental, just like a drug overdose... This SeeThru Broadcasting label is putting out some INTERESTING stuff...! (Rating: 4)

OTHER STAR PEOPLE - Diamonds in the Belly of the Dog (CD, A&M, Pop)
My first thought upon hearing this band was...they remind me of the Bugaloos (!). Now you may think that's a cut...but it's actually a grand compliment, considering how highly we regard the great lost Bugaloos. This quartet plays power pop bubblegum in the purest sense of the word...and they seem somewhat obsessed with singing monosyllables. "Drip," the mesmerizing opening cut, has a chorus that consists of the words "drip, drip, drip, drip, drop." The music is simple yet urgent...the vocals reminiscent of Milk 'n Cookies (a great lost underrated band), and the overall vibe is one of uplifting positive energy. This will turn a lot of "underground types" off because...even though they claim to be so goddamn open minded...they're really closed minded about anything that doesn't fit into their own narrow way of thinking. This band is GREAT fun...and a nice refreshing change from all those crock (that's not a typo) bands who take themselves way too seriously... (Rating: 5)

OUTRAGEOUS CHERRY - Out There in the Dark (CD, Del-Fi, Pop)
We reviewed an earlier disc by Outrageous Cherry that we were rather nuts about...but this one's even BETTER. If you ever wanted to relive the early sixties...without hearing the same old tired songs from that era...these folks are doing a stupendous job of recreating the sound, while presenting some rather spectacular new tunes (courtesy of songwriter Matthew Smith). This is a low-fi recording extravaganza, yet the actual sound quality is good. There's a lot to like here...thirteen tunes that skirt in and out of straightforward pop to slight psychedelia. The cover art is killer...and is a good indication of what the music inside is like. These could have easily been radio hits in the sixties. that the airwaves are ruled by corporate slop bands...this one will be destined to be an underground favorite appreciated by only a few. BIG fun! (Rating: 5)

PLEASE SEND US SOMETHING OTHER THAN CDs TO REVIEW (Sincere pleading kind of request sort of thing)
Don't be a mistake, now...we love music...and we love getting CDs...CDs of all kinds...rock, classical, jazz, electronic, whatever... But...we need a CHANGE. We need to review OTHER THINGS. So our plea is...PLEASE SEND US SOMETHING OTHER THAN CDs TO REVIEW! It can be anything...banana pops...laundry detergent...magnets and bullets...little cut off paws...building supplies...nekkid pictures with underwear...bags of stuff... The more unusual or original the item, the more likely it is to be reviewed. Doesn't matter how large or small or how dangerous the item is...if it can be reviewed, this is THE place to send it. So c'mon folks...the world doesn't revolve around CDs (although at times it SEEMS as if it does). Send OTHER STUFF...please!!! (Not Rated)

RADAR BROS. - The Singing Hatchet (CD, SeeThru Broadcasting, Soft pop)
The best release yet from this extremely soft underground pop band. I've been nuts about these fellows' music since I first heard them. The music is still very reminiscent of Pink Floyd's softer stuff. Bandleader Jim Putman's songwriting just keeps getting better and better...and the guy easily has one of the best breathy pop voices I've ever heard. This band's music is a lesson in restraint. Though some may find this to be somewhat drony and one-dimensional...we find it as pleasant as a snowy afternoon on our brisk mountain hilltop. Twelve killer tunes including "Tar the Roofs," "Find the Hour" (yeah!), "You're On An Island" (double YEAH!), and "Gas Station Downs." Highly recommended stuff from a band that is certainly worthy of a great deal more attention... (Rating: 5)

RRRR-BELCH WIFFUH BURGAH DOO-PIX (Distant sort of pocky pocky panker snoo)
Zah...lakkah dinko Rrrr-Belch Wiffuh Burgah Doo-Pix! Okkit adduh play sgitter gnax phud dubbuh PLAIR...summaw duh plek, plek, plek...dawdy awe duh bumbuh whah. Sssssssssseeenie...mista brakken tash, brakken bish, brakken baw...appity plappity bing daw duh froodie haw. Der ningin baptiss paw ninger? Der koont gess awe murdy ownduh possy baw, maxie taw, frassie griss. Ting, tong...dugh BRASSY fong...annit sassuh massuh FUVVUR! (Not Rated)

SELF (Live performance, August 13, 1999)
The night of this show I was rather tired and lethargic from an earlier birthday party I attended...but I had already committed to see this concert so I chunked down a soda pop and headed off. Although I was emotionally sloggy and out of it, that immediately changed when Self hit the stage. Playing their best Atlanta show yet, this band was an incredible burst of well-controlled energy. From listening to the band's recorded work, you wouldn't think they'd be able to pull it off live. The music is very technical and very precise...and obviously requires a great deal of concentration and skill to play. These five guys played their asses off for the crowd...and I was amazed at how many people seemed to know every song note for note. Bandleader Matt Mahaffey was in fine form...gyrating and being the ultimate performer...all the while never missing a note on his guitars and keyboards. The drums and bass pumped like a monkey's uncle...and the second guitarist and keyboardist were nothing short of superb. I couldn't help but notice after a few songs that everyone else who was dancing nearby was either in their late teens or early twenties...except for one older woman right next to me who knew every word to every tune. Finally, I turned to her and said "You seem to know this music even better than I do." Her response? "Two of them are my sons...that's why!" I later found out she was telling the truth...the lady dancing her shoes off next to me actually was Matt's mom (!). This show was a totally cool rush of upbeat, positive pop. Such a refreshing change from all those crappy sappy popsters out there...and nothing like all the overly serious "nasty and mean" noise acts infiltrating the horizon. This show proved (once again) that Matt and crew are one of the most talented and unique pop acts of this decade. I can't remember when I've had this much fun at a concert. WOW. (Rating: 6)

VERMONT - 05/Living Together (CD, Kindercore, Soft pop)
Real nice smooth introspective soft pop music. It's not soft-core, but rather soft pop. Featuring ex-members of The Promise Ring, Vermont is a band with good tunes. There are a wide variety of influences creeping in and out of the mix here...but overall, I'd say these fellows have a certain unique something that sets them apart. Eleven tunes here including "Indiana Jones," "Broadway Joe," "Old Blue," and "My Favorite Legend." Very sincere, very well executed... (Not Rated)

ZENITH - Flowers of Intelligence (CD, TMC, Electronic)
Cool electronic music that sounds something like a movie soundtrack. Zenith is actually a one man project...namely a fellow named Federico Franchi. Mr. Franchi cites as his influences folks like Aphex Twin, Steve Rich, and Miles Davis...and we can certainly hear traces of all three in his music. A lot of this is totally experimental stuff...some folks may even question whther it is music at all. After hearing way too many electronic artists whose music consists of nothing more than canned rhythms and boring dance beats...this comes as a refreshing change of pace. You won't be hearing it on the radio...and I doubt you'll hear this in clubs...but overall, it sounds pretty goddamn cool to us... (Rating: 4)


Almost Speechless (CD, Sike)
Amduscias (CD, Metal Blade)
Anthemic Pop Wonder - Wild Thrill-hungry gurls (CD, Bombardier Recording Co.)
At The Drive In - Vaya (CD, Fearless)
Big Bad Bollocks - Night on the tiles (CD, Monolyth)
The Billy Syndrome (Double vinyl LP, Slutfish)
Blue House - Almost 10 (CD)
Bob Log III - Trike (CD, Fat Possum)
Boom Boom Satellites - Out loud (CD, Columbia)
Camden (CD, Snapping Turtle)
Candiria - Process of self development (CD, MIA)
Chaotic Past - Yer-in (CD, Ace of Hearts)
Chong - Marker (CD, Silvergirl)
- Stop & panic (CD, Moonshine)
The Clay People (CD, Slipdisc)
Cloud Eleven (CD, Del-Fi)
Clusterf*ck (Double CD, TMC)
Cooter - Looking up (CD, Fastmusic)
The Cowslingers - Americana A Go Go (CD, Shake It)
Dallas (CD, High Park)
Dance Hall Crashers - Purr (CD, Pink & Black)
Death In Vegas - The contino sessions (CD, Time Bomb)
DJ Aaron Carter of Cirrus
- Lit up (CD, Moonshine)
The Dan Emery Mystery Band (CD, Mekkatone)
Double Agent - Compilation (CD, Double Agent)
Down By Law - Fly the Fag (CD, Go Kart)
Drown - Kerosene EP (CD EP, Slipdisc)
Duke Nukem - Music to score by (CD, REDi)
Dum Dum Bullets - Lullabies for Tightrope Walkers (CD)
EQ (Magazine, August 1999)
Eye Magazine (Magazine, No. 23)
Farces Wanna Mo
- "Recording @ Home Plus Seven" (CD)
Flipside (Magazine, #118)
Robert Frost - Simple Message (CD)
Frosted Ambassador (CD, Kindercore)
Frozenbeats (CD, Maverick)
The Get Up Kids - Red Letter Day (CD, Doghouse)
Gigolo Gypsy (CD)
G. Love and Special Sauce - Philadelphonic (CD, Sony)
Donald Gluade - Off the hook (CD, Moonshine)
Mark Growden - Downstairs karaoke (CD, Wiggle Biscuit)
Headcase - Mushiness (CD, TMC)
Homemademusic (Zine, Summer 99)
The Hound Dogs - In the doghouse again (CD)
Indangered Species - Indangered Species (CD, Fanatic)
The Insects - Return to the foreign legion (CD, Zap)
Jact - Jact (CD, Trauma)
DJ John Kelley - High desert soundsystem (CD, Moonshine)
Keyboard (Magazine, Fall 1999)
Kimestry - Bad girls (CD, Albatross)
Labyrinth - Timeless crime (CD, Metal Blade)
Magnolia - Dust (CD, Trolleynine)
Metroschifter - Strawberries (CD, Doghouse)
Minster Hill (CD)
The Modifiers - Show and tell (CD, Cool Basement)
Mystery Men - Original motion picture soundtrack (CD, Interscope)
The Neckbones - The lights are getting dim (CD, Fat Possum/Epitaph)
One Lady Owner - There's Only We (CD, Creation)
Panic Strips (Zine, Fall 1999)
Ramble - Yeah whatever (CD, Ultra-groove)
The Robustos - The new authentic (CD, Beatsville)
Dave O'Shani - Half Fool (CD, NOV)
Sharks Keep Moving (CD, Status)
Slick Sixty - Nibs and nabs (CD, Mute)
Snicker (Newspaper)
Songs From the Penalty Box - Volume 3 (CD, Tooth & Nail)
Songs of Christmas - All original Christmas songs (CD, Henderson Ent.)
Sons of Society (CD, Metal Blade)
Steel Pulse - Living Legacy (CD, Tuff Gong Int'l.)
Super Hi-5 /Man Without Plan (Split CD, Fastmusic)
Tape Op (Magazine, No. 13)
Tarwater - Silur (Mute, CD)
Tips Fourteens - You're So Famous (CD)
Tooth & Nail Rock Sampler Volume 2 (CD, Tooth & Nail)
Umsvartner - The Trollish Mirror (CD, Metal Blade)
Warlord - Rock the Foe Hammer (CD, Solid State)
Watsonville Patio - Population 02 (CD, FMA)
White (CD, The End)
Zao - Liberate te ex inferis (CD, Solid State)

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