"Demo Reviews"

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by Al Slavicsky...


408 Lehman St., Lebanon, PA 17046
In the vein of old Iron Maiden, Queensryche, or Testament, Ballistic have continued that song into the 1990s. On their self released CD, the band gives the world five tracks that all are worth the attention that they deserve. Lyrically, Ballistic is not your average metal band, for they try to have a concept throughout the compact disc. There’s almost a storyline of how a person questions life via praying and making mistakes along the way. Starts out with "Get It Right," in which the person questions his decision-making in voting and praying, then goes into "Hear My Prayer: Part 2 of 4," where the concept of praying is questioned. "Empty Again" is about emptying one's burdens through prayer. "Man of the House" is about a son becoming the man of the house. And the CD closes with the haunting "Right Where You Want Me," about a person going crazy with life's problems. Ballistic may not be a household name yet, but they do have a sound that is refreshingly different, for it is old school metal.

Teenage Girls • Cheerleader Offerings...

c/o Stu, 1152 School St. #2, Indiana, PA 15701
Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Teenage Girls have released their first full length compact disc and, in this writer's opinion, maybe the most underrated CD ever released. The Teenage Girls sound better than some of the material that is being released by major labels, and this was recorded on a limited budget, but the production sound is awesome. There are 15 tunes which combine punk-metal-rap-hardcore-death in a unique fashion. "Kooya Koombaya" reminds one of ICP mixed with riffs on Inner Circle's "Bad Boys" and Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized." The controversial "Jesus Is Gay" is recorded from the demo CD and is brought to new highlights with the additional vocals and raps. A surprise is included here on the metallic influenced "PJ Would Return"... How this unsigned band managed this is still hard to believe, but they did. Also, "Evil B" is one of the best rapcore songs ever recorded. Overall, this young band proves to the world that hard work does pay off, and this CD will be an instant collector's item, for this band will be going places. So, labels and music fans, get ahold of this release now, for it is awesome.

by Pam West...

Johnny Allen • Banana Wig

P.O. Box 20577, Ferndale, MI 48220
An amazing journey into psychedelic punk and Motor City rock.  This Ferndale, Michigan artist and his pals have produced a truly tasteful smorgasbord of in-your-face Ugly Kid Joe meets Alice Cooper, The Sweet, and Hole.  The lyrics are well-crafted, tongue-in-cheek funny, and starkly human. A wormhole ride!  Pick hits the title track "Banana Wig" and "Live for the Moment." 

by Eric Harabadian...

Johnny Hogan • Michigan Snowbanks

Great Lakes Country Music, P.O. Box 756, Indian River, MI 49749
This album is the first of two solo ventures for the veteran steel guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Johnny Hogan. Of the seven songs represented, five were recorded in Michigan during the mid-nineties. However two vintage tracks, "Custody" and "Buckhorn Inn," were cut in Memphis in 1972. This recording offers a nice cross-section of material, from ballads to western swing, that really shows the depth and range of this northern Michigan treasure. If you're looking for the real deal in country music, look no further than Johnny Hogan.

by Mike Farley...

Too Strange for Sisterdale • Out Again

Strange Parts Productions, 604 Uhland Rd, San Marcos, TX 78666
This group combines an array of influences ranging from country, blues, pop, and jazz into an infectious collection of songs on their CD entitled Out Again. A six-piece band of talented musicians and singers, they add guests on fiddle, mandolin, pedal steel guitar, and sax and bring it all together in a way that will have you singing along and shuffling across the room.

by Vic Gemmingen...

Pat Cisarano • ah

happimusic, P.O. Box 310033, Brooklyn, NY  11235
On ah, super-talented Jazz singer Pat Cisarano criss-crosses several musical genres -- blues, soul, torch, reggae, Gospel -- apparently effortlessly and obviously impressively. A highly inspired and inspiring collection of tunes featuring Ms. Cisarano backed by some of the Big A’s finest, including the F Train Horns. Give it a listen, and you’ll be a fan in a New York minute.

Jeniphoria • Jeniphoria EP

33 Whistle Stop Dr., Cartersville, GA 30120
Jeniphoria is currently getting heavy airplay in Romania with their first EP. Fronted by Jen Chapman (who’s vocally similar to Heart’s Ann Wilson) Jeniphoria does some nice Jane’s Addiction-ish rock on "Rape," dynamic climacticisms on "mellowdic," and alt-radio-friendly tunesmith-ery on "$200 Song." In the process of recording a full-length CD and gigging regularly, Jeniphoria also writes for other artists, including Atlanta’s Princess Christi.

Gail Swanson • Sign of the Times EP

Sea Note Music, P.O. Box 613, Puunene, Maui, HI 96784
A sincere multi-talent, Gail Swanson sings well, plays acoustic guitar, writes great songs, and plays flute. Yeah, plays flute. And it sounds wonderful on these five catchy rock tunes in the league of Sheryl Crow ("Good Thing") and Bonnie Raitt ("You’re Making it Rain"). Swanson has played with some heavies, including The Doobie Brothers and Willie Nelson, and it’s easy to hear why; if Shawn Colvin rocked, she would sound like Gail Swanson.

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