"Dan's Reviews"

by Dan MacIntosh
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Chris Blake • Apartment

Cumulonimbus Records
Chris Blake may not have the most distinctive voice in music, nor an original approach to making music, but he sure does have a unique perspective as a writer, and that’s more than can be said for most. His most peculiar song is called "A Woman (and Her Body)" which is all about eavesdropping on a bathing woman, without it at all being about sex. Whatever he is, he sure ain’t Prince. 

Red Peters • Ol Blue Balls Is Back

Ball Bag Records
Red Peters' bio brags that he has appeared on the Howard Stern show, who --believe it or not -- has more class than this second rate class clown. Whether he’s a dull lounge singer ("The Spelling Song") or a sad sack disco duck ("Pullin’ It All Night Long"), Peters is anything but funny. Maybe the bad elementary school students will understand, though, because there’s nothing adult about this adult entertainment.

The Reverend Horton Heat • Spend A Night In The Box

Time Bomb Recordings
One guesses that if The Reverend Horton Heat is any kind of reverend at all, he’s the kind that cruises for hookers in the passenger seat of Jimmy Swaggart’s jag, since he sure creates one hot musical sermon. He’s not completely amoral, though, because "a night in the box" represents punishment for crimes against a relationship. Musically, the good Reverend -- compared with traditional rockabilly -- is like the sound of a drag racer next to your typical transportation vehicle. Faster and louder.

Parasites • Compost

Go Kart Records
Parasites is a high-spirited pop-punk collection featuring Dave Parasite’s sometimes humorous lyrics. "She’s From Salinas," for example, manages to rhyme Salinas with Venus, which is probably a pop music lyrical first. Although none of the other band members take on the group’s last name -- like its singer does -- this group still sounds a lot like a West Coast Ramones. There’s nothing too serious going on here -- unless you consider serious fun. In its own twisted way, this CD will stick with you.

The Amazing Crowns • Royal

Time Bomb Recordings
It makes perfect sense for The Amazing Crowns to share a label and touring duties with Rev. Horton Heat, since -- like the Good Minister -- they also apply gutsy punk energy to their rockabilly rave-ups. One wonders what their true influences are, though. Especially since "Mr.Fix-it" sounds like Johnny Cash singing "Whip It" backed by Devo. Nevertheless, Royal is a royal pleasure -- rather than a pain -- with its high energy good time vibe.

The Forty Fives • Get It Together

Ng Records
For those of you who missed The Plimsouls back in the late ’70s, The Forty Fives might give you an inkling as to just what all the hype was about. This group makes charging power pop with guitar, bass and drums as well as plenty of soulful organ. But like those extinct records they’re named after, one wonders if there’s a market these days for their retro sound. Still, it sure beats all that rap-core crap out there now.

Aaron Carter sampler

Jive Records
This sampler comes from Carter’s self-titled debut album and features snippets from his upcoming album. He’s only 12 years old, but having a brother in the Backstreet Boys sure can’t hurt this kid’s future career plans. On "I Want Candy" he even sounds like the second coming of Donny Osmond, for better or worse.

Daycare Swindlers • Testosterosa

Vile Beat Records
The Daycare Swindlers thank various porn stars and supermodels in this CD’s credits, and if they’re not being sarcastic, it appears like they also want the same kind of fame afforded their beautiful heroes. "No one will miss me/Unless I make history" they sing in the Warhol-inspired "15 Minutes." The sound they make is punky pop rock, with but a touch of ska; they’re probably not worth more than a 15 minute listen, though.

The Agents • <401>

Radical Records
I suspect the ska genre is a lot more durable than the future most imagined for it. When bands like The Specials, Madness, and English Beat were making noise in the '80s, I thought for sure this would be the music’s last gasp. But here it is, the year 2000, and groups like The Agents are getting happy feet still, with chugging guitars and honking horns. The rumors of ska’s death are (and were) greatly exaggerated. Oh, and The Agents are good.

Joe • My Name Is Joe

Jive Records
Joe is pictured menacingly on the cover on this CD. He’s got a tough look in his eyes, and his head is shaved clean, just like a Shaft-era Isaac Hayes. But the music he makes sweet and sexy. Song titles should tell you where this single-named and smooth-headed one’s thoughts are at. Nevertheless, he’s also joined by the innocent boy band NSync on the inspirational "I Believe In You," proving he’s not completely just a bedroom-centered Philistine.

Rockbitch • Motor Driven Bimbo

Rockbitch is a scary bunch of bad metal girls. If the photos in this CD booklet are truly accurate, they even perform live in the nude, one-upping Blink 182 or the Chilli Peppers with their strategically placed socks. This album is the perfect music for hormonally driven teenaged males, since it gives them naked chicks to fantasize about, while it rocks hard at the same time. Other than that, this is nothing more than a gimmick. Or PMS, with guitars.

Britney Spears • "Oops!...I Did It Again" (single)

Jive Records
One ought not miss the irony in the title of this Britney Spears single. When her Swedish production team went into the studio to follow up on her ...Baby One More Time album, rest assured nothing at all was left to chance. Nevertheless, this is yet one more colorfully wrapped piece of ear candy from today’s reigning teen queen.
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