"Slavicsky's Smorgasbord"

by Al Slavicsky
Sponsored In Part By
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NOTE: Due to space constraints, the following reviews were not included in the print edition of Geoff Wilbur's Renegade Newsletter.  These reviews are only available here in the online edition.

Insult I Wanna Be a Burn Victim

Know Records
Hailing from the Boston hardcore scene, Insult roars like thunder with violent east coast hardcore. Produced by Seth Putman of Anal Cunt. Sound is similar to a combination of old school Meatmen and new school grind. 24 tracks in 20 minutes, containing the underground classic "The Pope's a Fake" with guest screams from Seth and the punkcore ballad "Every Time I Puke I Think of You." Intense and violent, Insult will burn your speakers.

Mystic Circle Drachenblut

Pavement Music
"Nordic" black metal from Germany, Mystic Circle enlightens the forces of Hades to create a sound which combines black magic bewitching sounds with lethal guitar axework to create something you might hear in The Exorcist. Most people would have a hard time comprehending this band's sound and such, which impressively starts with "Ancient Witch," which is basically the theme of the storyline of the album, which is very similar to a black metal opera through this tale.

Krabathor Orthodox

Pavement Music
Czech Republic imported Krabathor have slowly evolved into one of Europe's premier death metal bands, brutally able to get deep into your soul and darken the bleak world. Attacking racism on "Shit Comes Down," attacking communism on "To Red One," the world being viewed as "Parasites," and facing the hardships of death on "About Death" -- this shows some of the complex topics that Krabathor tackles. Extreme and emotional stuff which true metalheads will enjoy.

Derek Sherinan - Planet X

Magna Carta Records
What my be one of the most underrated musicians in the music world today, Derek Sherinan's first solo album since leaving Dream Theater is a real keeper. The material reminds one of when progressive rock and roll was fresh with the likes of Yes, Rush, and ELP. Derek's band consists of legendary bassist Tony Franklin, who was with Blue Murder, drummer Virgil Donati, who is one of today's best new modern drummers, and guitarist Brett Garsed. Derek's keyboards move the listener into a world of its own by fusing sounds into a mixture of mind-fusing progressive vibes that shine into an emotional bliss. The "Atlantis" suite, which is divided into three sections -- Part 1 "Apocalypse 1470 B.C."; Part 2 "Sea of Antiquity"; and Part 3 "Lost Island" -- is a modern-day musical masterpiece. With ten relaxing, spacelike tunes, Derek Sherinan breaks the Dream Theater image and proves that music is the key of life.

Slab Reflect

Onset Records, P.O. Box 1918, Garden Grove, CA 92842
A collection of songs put out by this Alta Loma, CA-based band. True skateboard punk with pure aggression that makes you want to skank into the fire and mosh your dreams away. Reminds me of Blink 182, Pennywises, or The Vandals, but Slab delivers the goods in a more direct approach due to its rawness. Contains material from their out-of-print 7-inches. Songs that stand out are "Friday," "No Way Out," and the instrumental "Little Ditty." Slab may not be a household name yet, but this band is definitely going places. Grab your board and go sidewalk surfing, and don't hit the concrete Slab.

Walter Trout Livin' Every Day

Ruf/Platinum Entertainment
Blues with a capital B, Walter Trout highlights 14 intense blues rockers that really move into your heart and soul. Delivers strong, soulful numbers such as "Sweet Butterfly (Sophie's Song)," "Through the Eyes of Love," "Fool For Love," "Say What You Mean," and "The Love That We Once Knew." Plus there are some intense uptempo numbers, especially "I Thought I Heard the Devil," that reminds one of the late Stevie Ray Vaughn's guitarwork. Overall, Walter Trout demonstrates that blues is still the backbone of American music and unleashes the hard work which proves Walter Trout is one of the great musicians of today's world.

Citizen King Mobile Estate

Warner Brothers Records
One of Milwaukee's best bands, Citizen King mixes elements of funk, electronic, hip-hop, and high-energy rock to do a high-fidelity release that crosses over many genres. Bizarre sometimes but very funky and groove-oreinted others. "Better Days (and the Bottom Drops Out)" has a War meets Fun Lovin' Criminal style that moves into your soul and makes you want to dance to its mid-tempo groove while "Billhilly" has a country twang guitar-keyboard sound transformed into a hip-hop manner, which is very unique. "Checkout Line" has a jazzy trip-hop feeling which brings the genres closer. Overall, Citizen King will be one of the major forces in music for Y2K and beyond.

The Alternative Praise This Body

Maranatha! Music
Melodic Christian music which tries to combine many elements of modern music, including hip-hop beat, alternative guitars, and harmonies but manages to get lost in the mix. Alternative Praise focuses on lyrics too much, and the music covers the band's vocals at times. "I Belong to Key" is the key here, for it is different than the rest of the tracks. Overall, most people would get lost on this release and be bored after a few plays. The band needs more focus to gain a greater audience.

Late Late Service Dry Bones Dancing

Maranatha! Music
Contemporary Christian music with a rock sound. Late Late Service molds their ideas into a spiritual direction while gratefully delivering an angelic touch. Ten tracks that will move one into God's direction. Highlights include the title track "Dry Bones Dancing," with its uptempo beat, and "Prepare the Way."

Das Klown Holy Crap!

Know Records
The controversial punk band from southern California proves that they really can p.o. people with their Black Flag, Agent Orange, and TSOL blend of punk. Das Klown proves that punk is not dead, and the trendsetting b.s. is a thing of the past. The opening track starts off with a choir doing a religious chant before hearing toilet house sounds and going into a punk gem called "Use Your Head." They also do a unique cover of The Beatles' "Blue Jay Way" that redefines the song. 13 tracks in all. If you must purchase one Das Klown release, make it Holy Crap!, for it is their best. 

Das Klown Antidote

Long Beach Records/Skunk Records
The colwn princes of California punk deliver a brand new release for a brand new album. Angerly, Das Klown makes one realize that the streets are still the backbone of today's violent punk underworld. A.J. rants out political statement that make people want to get off their lazy butts and make a difference, which can be shown on "This Land," projections of gorillas on "Primate," the crappiest of the world on "Bummer," and UFOs on "Close Encounter." The band, consisting of A.J. on vocals, Jimbo T. on guitar, Jayson on guitar, Nate on bass, and Justin on drums, proves that punk is still alive, especially on the clsoing track, a live version of "Punchline" which actually sounds just like a remastered, remixed version from their Live at Zed, which does have Jason on guitars. Das Klown proves that punk is still alive in Long Beach.

The Ernies Meson Rey

Mojo Records
Richmond, VA's The Ernies, who are named after the seldom heard first name of Coach from television's Cheers, combine elements of hip-hop, punk, hardcore, alternative, groove metal, and sampled rock to create a highly unique sound which one would best describe as Ern-rock. Contains eleven tunes that really make you want to move, with highlights being the single "Here and Now," metallic groove rocker "Organism," the humorous "The Hitman Tommy Streans," and the scientific-oriented "Bacteria." Full of double meaning and spiritual Buddhist beliefs. Recommended if you like Zebrahead, Incubus, Kid Rock, Dial-7, and 311. The Ernies will be big, and remember that you heard it here first.

Stonegod Through the Shadows

Caprice International Records
Stonegod delivers a CD that Stonehenge would approve of. Strong roots rock mixed with metallic overtones and grunge-like riffs. Sort of like Soundgarden meeting Saint Virus at a Reverend Horton Heat show. Refreshing -- different from the norm while making a sound that continues to stick in your head. Stonegod's "Rat" has an eerie, psychedelic flair to it, while "Peyote" almost has a rockabilly glare, and on "Sambo Stew," an almost Grateful Dead-type groove. Stonegod will make you rethink what music really is.

Welt Broke Down

Dr. Dream Records
Upon putting this release in the CD player, an impact of intense high-energy punk onslaughts you with catchy hooks and uptempo riffs which bring you on back to the day when you first heard Green Day or Bad Religion. Welt captures the sound of southern California as it is today. With songs such as "Something to Believe In," "Everything's O.K.," and "Wrong," it won't be long before you begin to hear Welt on your local college radio station or even at the Warped Tour. If Welt does not make you get off your lazy butt sod, then nothing would. Definitely a band worth checking out.

Cake Prolonging the Magic

Capricorn Records
Sacramento, CA's Cake continues to combine elements of country twang, uptempo funk, avante garde jazz, natural punk rock, and modern rock 'n roll to create its unique style of music. Cake picks up where their 1996 release Fashion Nugget left off. On Prolonging the Magic, the band does a smiliar sound but does more experimentalism on it, espeically in the mixture of sound-on sound effects during "Never There" and "Hem of Your Garment." Cake is able to flow into a wave of sonic bliss and magic. Prolonging the Magic may not be their best release ever, but it shows that they still have a bright future.

Pearl Jam Live On Two Legs

Epic Records
Live On Two Legs is the first official live release from Pearl Jam. There are a number of inferior bootlegs of the band playing live, but this is the only live full-length which the band endorses. Contains material from various stops on their summer 1998 U.S. tour, even though the tracks are not slated where they are recorded. Included are all their classics -- "Given To Fly," "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town," "Better Man," "Do the Evolution," and "Black" -- but missing are the essential tunes "Alive," "Evenflow," and "Jeremy," which should have been included. But Pearl Jam continues to speak their mind and do the Neil Young classic "F*ckin' Up" as their last song on the CD, which ranks up there with the original. Overall, this is a great documentary of Pearl Jam's live songs.

Pro-Pain Pro-Pain

Nuclear Blast America
Originally issued on Mayhem Records/Raw Head, Inc., Nuclear Blast America has reissued this anthem of hard-driven metal for a second time. Pro-Pain violently dishes the blades of angst-driven metal right in your mofo face with songs such as "Don't Kill Yourself to Live," "Love/H8," "Smokin Gun," and "Blood Red." This is true east coast metal with a major hardcore tendency to it. Pro-Pain continues to increase the pain right in your face and make you violently want to get into the pit and raise hell. This is true metal to raise your fist to.

James Brown Say It Live and Loud -- Live in Dallas 08.26.68

Polydor Records
These tapes were presumed lost, but 30 years after they resurfaced and have been digitally remastered. The godfather of soul never sounded better. In 1968, the nation was in turmoil due to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, the Vietnam War, and the nation as a whole was in a state of widespread panic. On August 8, 1968, James Brown hit the stage and did one of the best shows of his life, including "Say It Loud -- I'm Black and I'm Proud," and almost 13-minute version of "Cold Sweat," plus his standards "Please Please Please," "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," and "Licking Stick -- Licking Stick." 77 minutes of pure funk. Essential for the collector of soul, funk, and roots of hip-hop (due to the fact that James Brown was the most sampled musician ever).

Jim's Big Ego Don't Get Smart

Eastern Front Records
Jim's Big Ego does a folky hybrid of punk, funk, and rock. This release is full of humorous overtones while remaining groovy. Any band that would combine the Paul Simon-written "57" with Dougie Fresh and Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di" and the original tune by Jim Infantino called "I Should Be With You" on "Feelin' Groovy." "Ugly People" is a high impact groove tune like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Vain of 247 Spys via the way of the Sex Pistols shines through on "Punk Junkies From New York." Overall, Jim's Big Ego ranks up there with They Must Be Giants as one of the best New York bands ever.

Stan Mosley "Why Can't You Love Me" CD single

Malaco Records
A soulish, R&B number that reminds one of softer R&B Marvin Gaye while having a true Stan Mosley feeling. The song is not that bad, but you must like authentic old R&B to really like it. Will probably get the most play at a MOR or "quiet storm" radio show. 

Carl Sims "I Never Had It" CD single

Waldoxy Records
Mid-tempo R&B with a drum machine with lyrics in a bluish vein, while Carl Sims has a Gospel sound. "I Never Had It" will make you cry from the soul. Definitely worth giving a listen to if you like contemporary R&B mixed with jazz and blues. 

Zebrahead Waste of Mind sampler

Columbia Records
Previewing the Waste of Mind album by Zebrahead, this sampler contains one complete song, "Get Back," which is an uptempo hip-hop funk-a la punk-a-delic tune which molds into a crossover metallic groove. This song has a feeling that makes you want to dance yet think about the lyrics. The other four tracks here are snippets of tunes from the album -- "The Real Me," "Feel the Way," and "Jay Off" -- which all also groove in different ways. Zebrahead proves that the band will be a strong force in the music world, and the mainstream rockers will support this band. 

The Vices The Vices

Rattlesnake Records
When one puts this CD into the player, one hears some of the best garage rock/surf punk heard in years. It is hard to believe that this band is located in Tempe, Arizona. The ten tracks that the band unleashes make you want to take the next plane to the west coast and go surfing. Combining elements of ska undertones with rockabilly with old-fashioned rock and roll, The Vices prove that they are one of the most unusual bands in the world. It is as if your head is in a vice, which is grinding your head. "Will He Ever" intensely changes directions midway through the tune in a ska-like break only to go back in a punk sound. Meanwhile, the combination of "Frail/So Close" is pur musical genius because "Frail" is full of aggression and "So Close" is devoted to making the tough choices of life. The Vices rule. 

Supernovice Timely

Onset Records. P.O. Box 1918, Garden Grove, CA 92842
Poppy oriented punk which takes a while to move into your soul while making you think. Actually, Supernovice has its high and low points, for the release has some standout tracks -- "Liverwurst," which is basically about the O.C. punk scene; the ska-influenced "Nothing Left," which sounds the sweet vocals of Tubona Corbet and makes you want to skank; and "We Couldn't Dream," with its distorted guitars and message that stands out, that you must follow your dreams. The low points of the release are that the rest of the tracks take a while to get into, for they are so complex for the average listener, especially "Ripe Red Tomatoes" and "Timely." Supernovice has a sound that you either love or hate, but one must admit that the band is striving to be different in today's ever-saturated music world. 

Ani DiFranco/Utah Phillips Fellow Workers

Righteous Babe Records
The second outing by these two musical geniuses combines elements of folk and experimental noise, producing some social anarchy which reminds one of the way the United States was after 1929. This makes you think how the world is changing politically, while socially the changes are seen within this release. History shines through, especially on "The Most Dangerous Woman," which shows the history of Mother Jones. "Stupid's Pledge" shows how corporations have taken control of the business world. "Direct Action" is about the direct action movement of the early 1990s. And "Unless You Are Free" is about the machine revolution. Musically, this brings folk music into the 21st century. A modern-day classic revolutionary anarchist social commentary classic. 

B*witched B*witched

Epic Records
Over the years, Ireland has been a hotbed of musical superstars. Now add B*witched to that elite list. B*witched is the twin sisters Edele and Keavy Lynch (whose brother is Shane of Boyzone), Sinead O'Carroll, and Lindsy Armanu. Musically, the band has that bubblegum pop/rock feeling transfused with some R&B, techno, and hip-hop. "Freak Out" has the Shocking Blue's "Venus" riff in it mixed with some heavy keyboards intertwined with great harmonies to create a party vibe. "Let's Go (The B*witched Jig)" combines fiddles and techno music a la sampling and cutting to flow into a groove that makes you wanna do a jig for the girls. Check out the funky "C'est La Vie," the ballad "To You I Belong," and the uptown anthem "Rollercoaster," and you know they are hot musically and in the looks department, too. Move over Spice Girls, for B*witched is ready to cast a spell on the music world. 

Johnnie Taylor "You Can't Strike Gold in a Silver" CD single

Malaco Records
Uptempo R&B which should be an instant classic for juke joints and bars. Johnnie Taylor is really impressive on this tune. Proves that he is a gifted musician and one of today's legends of blues. 

Bobby "Blue" Bland Memphis Monday Morning

Malaco Records
Legendary blues master Bobby "Blue" Bland does 10 tracks of pure blues. Songs featured include the 9:00 title track, "There's a Rat Loose in My House," "I Don't Want No Kickin' In My Stall," and "I Hate Missin' You." Overall, a release to drink your blues away to. 

The Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies Big Wheel

Capricorn Records
This band continues to bring their unique level of harmony influenced music to the world. The Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies bring a strong release whihc is very groove-oriented and even has a strong southern rock fuse with funk in some spots. Some of the strong tracks include the radio hit "Boogie King," "Groove Me," the ballad "Grace (Write Me)," and the cover of "Right Place Wrong Time." 12 tracks of pure rock and roll. 

Death Penalty Bitter

Wild Rags Records
Six modern day thrash tunes similar to Panera with hoarse vocals and hard speed metal-like guitars. Death Penalty is better than most bands of this genre. Strong songs that would make you want to mosh and wake your sleeping neighbors at 2:00 in the morning. "Confined" has that kind of groove that moves into a direction of psycho terror, which is much like Pantera. The other tracks "Guilty," "Bitter," "Infested," "Punished," and "The Hunt" rule, too. Death Penalty could be one's Pantera away from home. Awesome. 

Tom Scott & the L.A. Express Smokin' Section

Windham Hill Jazz
Contemporary jazz funk mixed with traditional jazz, Tom Scott & the L.A. Express create a soft jazz new standard. This is the type of release that you sit back with a fine bottle of wine and relax to due to its smooth vibe. Even if you are not a contemporary jazz fan, you will enjoy this release, especially "TCS in 'E'," which is an extended jam and highlights the strong musical skills of Tom Scott. Add this to his cover of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe" with guest vocals of pop superstar the legendary Patty Smyth and his cover of Restless Heart's "I'll Still Be Lovin' You" with guest vocals of Phil Perry, and you've got the makings of a popular album. Alos, members of the L.A. Express represent the whole who's who of West Coast session musicians -- guitarists Wah-Wah Watson, Bobbie Nevil, Buzzy Feiten, Dean Parks, and Paul Jackson, Jr., keyboardists Tim Heintz, Mitch Forman, and Alan Pasqua, bassists John Pena and Andre Berry, drummers Harvey Mason and Vinnie Colaiuta, and percussionists Lenny Castro and Luis Conte. If there is one contemporary jazz ablum that you must own, this is it. Enough said. 

The Amazing Crowns Holiday Bootleg

self-released CD
The Amazing Crowns did a do-it-yourself special holiday CD, which they sold at their shows during the final ten weeks of 1998. This CD contains a brand new holiday song, which will be a classic -- "One More Christmas (To Put Up With You)," which is a rockabilly, greasercore tune that even fans of the Johnny Burnette Trio would be proud of. Another holiday-influenced track is the band giving holiday greetings to their fans. But what really makes this release special is four live tracks from their Providence, RI 10/10/98 show at Lupo's, which is basically the band's homecoming show. The songs include tow songs which make their first appearance on any CD here but have been in their set for a while -- "First Late Date" and "Greasy" -- plus their two most notable numbers, "1965 G.T.O" and their very big hit (which even made it on MTV) "Do teh Devil." with only 500 copies made, this is a great investment for any punk, swing, rockabilly, or ska (for they are the adopted rockabilly band of ska) fan. A must. 

The Huntington Cads Introduce the New Sound

Mai Tai Records
These guys do some of the best California surf sounds ever recorded in recent years. The Huntington Cads make you visualize the surf hitting the beach and waves splashing against the rocks, especially on "Theme From the Maneater," "Sweethearts Theme," "Shanghaid," and "Always Anne." If you dig '60s surf with tremelo guitars and uplifting drums and relaxing bass and rhythm guitars, then the Huntington Cads are for you. One of the better instrumental albums recently recorded. 

Master Faith is the Season

Pavement Music
Mesa, AZ's Master delivers one of the sickest, most brutal releases unleashed to mankind. This effort shakes the earth under you and breaks open the crust and unleashes pure absolute evil, which can be seen through the unalterated artwork and photos in the CDs booklet and can be heard in the music, which is a strong, black death metal in the vein of Pungent Stench but more diabolical in nature. Master awakens the dead through such morbid tunes as "Butchered By Numbers," "Addicted to the Pistol," "Previously Committed," and "Return to Vietnam." This reality is released right at you and makes one sick in the stomach. Not for the weak of heart. 

311 Live

Capricorn Records
Finally an official 311 live release. 311 has been around for years and have been the buzz of the modern rock music world for a while. 311 Live documents the live performances of the band and captures the true feeling of the show via some of the great tunes the band performs. Contains "Down," "Beautiful Disaster," "Omaha Style," "Who's Got the Herb?" and "Nix Hex"... 14 tracks in total. This is an excellent place to start if you haven't heard 311 before or attended a live show. 

Garth Brooks Double Live

Capitol Records
Country superstar Garth Brooks' double live CD captures some of the singer's best live tunes, including "Shameless," "Papa Loved Mama," "The Thunder Rolls (The Long Version)," "Rodeo," "American Honky-Tonk Bar Association," "The Dance," and "Friends In Low Places (The Long Version)." Truly captures the feeling of what a powerful performer Garth really is. Garth has come a long way since his days with Santa Fe, and this double CD proves that he is one of the great musicians of our time. 

Ice Cube War & Peace Vol. I (The War Disc)

Priority Records
Since leaving N.W.A. in the 1990s, Ice Cube has become the complete performer -- rapping, acting, and entertaining the world. On this disc, Ice Cube redefines hip-hop with one of the best releases of his career. First off, the release has 16 strong tracks with an old school gangster feeling, yet the material is a crossover of music blends. One must admire any rapper who samples The Police's "Behind The Camel" on "Limbos, Demos, & Bimbos" and uses Korn on "F*** Dying," a rare hip-hop metal duet that cooks and is a single from the album. Ice Cube presents himself in a modern fashion, which appeals to both hip-hop and non-hip-hop listeners. Worth checking out just for the track with Korn, and the rest is just an added bonus. 

Aphosis Hellopolis

Pavement Music
Aphosis will be a band to reckon with, for they recorded this release in only 12 days while most bands take double that to do the pre- and post-production work. Aphosis has some of the best metallic grooves ever recorded, especially on "Dominion," which transforms electronic psycho groove slowly into a hard-driven metal tune with clear, intelligent vocals. If you like Voivod, Crowbar, or Internal Bleeding, you should give this release a listen. A sleeper and a keeper. 

Tadpoles Destroy Terrastock

Bakery Records
Captures the true spirit of the Tadpoles live. Contains seven tunes recorded live April 26, 1997 in Providence, RI. The recording sound is very professional yet has a raw, grungy feeling. All seven songs are worthy, but what tend to be the best tunes on the release are "Firecracker," "At Least I'm Not Like Jonathan Carrier," and "Ride the World Around the Sun." Tadpoles are going to be one of the future bands of rock and roll and will put their home state of New Jersey at the forefront of the music world. 

Tadpoles Smoke Ghost

Bakery Records
The latest studio release from this Hoboken, NJ-based band, The Tadpoles' Smoke Ghost continues to show the progression of this band. The material is very experimental and progressive-oriented and fits into the lo-fi noise pop punk field while maintaining a cross-section alternative vibe. From the first song, noisy "When I Feel," to the closing notes of the final track, the 9:31 experimental space-rocker "Percolate," one can travel through the various hybrid sounds of the band. Highlights on your way down the road include "Firecracker," "Jaded Jeans," and "Know Your Ghost." In retrospect, the album is ten tracks of pure Tadpole fun... let's all drive into it. 

Subsanity Post-Apocalyptic Doom Attack

Wild Rags Records
15 tracks consisting of 18 tunes which the band recorded from 1991 to 1996. Documents the many styles of music which Subsanity did throughout those years. There are hardocre, crust, death, grind, and doom influences throughout the whole release. Most CD5s are short; however, this release is almost 55 minutes long with such classics as "A Series of Dogs," two versions of "Centuries Death" -- the first one is a hardcorish thrashcore version recorded in 1995 and the second is an extreme death version of the song recorded in 1994 and is the better of the two versions -- and "God Is Dead," with its distorted guitars and brutal vocals. This is a great starting place for people who have never heard of Subsanity before. 

Grind Best Of

J-Bird Records
Representing the 1991-1996 years of this Manitowac, WI-based band who plays some alternative pop rock that moves into a psychedelic direction due to the mixing of the vocals and instruments. Reminds one of bands such as The Psychedelic Furs ("The Paine Twins"), The Cure ("A Thrill Story -- Peutietre"), U2 ("Time Goes" and "Diamondhead"), Elvis Costello and The Attractions ("Crazy"), Reverend Horton Heat ("Adrienne's Carcrash," "Seeing Eye God," and "Sinister"), Squeeze ("The Good Life,") Rockpile ("It Only Takes a Little"), and Bob Welch ("Favorite Cigarette"). There is a wide range of sounds from these gifted musicians, and they will be the buzz in the years to come. Something for everyone who likes pop rock, and it's worth adding to your collection and searching for other material from this band. 

Fillibuster Dark Caverns/Me & All My Friends/The Rest...

Skunk Records/Cornerstone R.A.S./Martian Church
This special cassette contains two previously unreleased tunes from the band's next album -- "Dark Caverns," which is a space ska dub and rocks, and "Me & All My Friends," which has a Slick Rick "La Di Da Di" style of rap fused with a dose of ska-dancehall. But what is the real surprise is the stuff called "The Rest...," which is actually a whole live set recorded at Wow Hall in Eugene, Oregon in February 1998 when the band opened for the Cherry Poppin' Daddies there. The sound is awesome and captures the true live feeling of the band. If you never heard Fillibuster before, please check them out, for they are an awesome band. 

Honky Toast Whatcha Gonna Do Honky Toast

550 Music/Epic Records
Hailing from New York, Honky Toast delivers something that has not been heard in a long time, and that is good ol' fashioned rock and roll. Reminds one of bands such as Tesla, Jackyl, Damn Yankees, and Junkyard. Produced by Andy Johns, who produced some of the best albums in music history such as Led Zeppelin IV, Television's Marquee Moon, and The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. You must be dead if you don't get into these guys. Lyrically, Honky Toast have a humorous overtone to it, especially the songs "Love Bites," which deals with how love really is, "Shakin' and a Bakin'," which will be an anthem of the hard working individuals who strive for life, "Listen to the Bass," which has the psychedelic Jimi Hendrix riff that slowly seeps into your mind and just the title repeated over and over, and the sobering "Alcoholic Mama," which is a ballad about alcoholism. Honky Toast will be the next big band, not to mention that they deserve a slot at one of the outdoor festival tours. 

The Nighthawks Still Wild

Ruf/Platinum Entertainment
Ever need a release to party or ride your hog to?  Then The Nighthawks' Still Wild is for you. The Nighthawks deliver a dose of blues combining with roots rock. Their high energy makes you want to drown your sorrows with a big bottle of Southern Comfort and spin your body around. "The Wild One" has an almost Dick Dale-like guitar flair fusing with a blues-based vocal... sort of rockabilly gone blues-a-billy. "Cry Like a Man" has a Soulfish Echoplex style while "Read Way Back" roams a Sonny Boy Williamson sound and "Slow Dance" is a strong harmonica song which melts the roots of your soul due to the strong harp playing. Overall, a great vibe. Still Wild proves that The Nighthawks are still wild.

Maceo Parker Funkoverload

What Are Records
Best known as the saxophone player for James Brown, Maceo Parker's newest release Funkoverload is a strong release which will make you get up and dance. Maceo Parker, when he was with James Brown, influenced tons of today's hip-hop artists -- remember that James Brown is one of the most sampled artists ever. This album shows that he can still swim up the downstroke and turn the mother up. "Maceo's Groove" is a deep dose of urban funk that has great groove with a rap vocal that repeats "Move your body! Everybody move your body!" Plus, he does a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" and "Inner City Blues" and a moving version of Stevie Wonder's "Tell Me Something Good." Power funk for the 1990s by this funk legend.

Ani DiFranco Up Up Up Up Up Up

Righteous Babe Records
Ani DiFranco continues to bridge the gaps of music genres. On Up Up Up Up Up Up, Ani has elements of folk, funk, rock, and jazz fusing into one unique sound on her full-length release. From the first notes to the folky sounds of "'Tis of Thee" to the last notes of the funky "Hat Shaped Hat," which is an almost 12-minute long masterpiece that could easily be mistaken for George Clinton or Sly and the Family Stone, Ani transcends your typical music performer. It should not be long before she is a fixture in the mainstream music world due to her intense albums and appearance on her own MTV influences spots. "Up Up Up Up Up Up" has a Billie Holliday sound. Ani DiFranco is your all-around musician and is the future of folk and rock 'n roll.

The Psycho Realm "Psycho City" CD Single

Ruff House/Columbia Records
Contains 3 versions of the song "Psycho City" -- the unedited version, which represents a strong street lingo song about the hardships of living in the city complete with references about drugs and thugs, plus there is an edited radio version and an instrumental version. "Confession of a Drug Addict" deals with how a junkie finds drugs on the streets. This is dope stuff and reflects how being addicted to drugs is a key of American life. Two versoins of the song -- album version and instrumental version. The Psycho Realm is for real.

At the Drive-In In/Casino/Out

Fearless Records
Power pop punk with tons of experimental overtures, At the Drive-In devliers a strong release of eleven tunes. "for now... we toast" has that kind of radio-friendly vibe similar to Blink 182 crossed with Blur -- this could easily become a radio hit. However, what really makes At th Drive-In special is songs such as "A Devil Among the Tailors," "Shaking Hand Incision," and "Hourglass." Simply put -- At the Drive-In will be the talk of the town, especially if they capture the raw feeling of the release when they play live.

Skarhead Kings At Crime

Victory Records
There is only one Skarhead. If you remember when NYC hardcore was controlled by The Cro-Mags, Murphy's Law, The Young and The Useless, and pre-rap Beastie Boys, then you are going to love Skarhead, for they play some of the best hardcore made in recent years. If you are easily offended, then stay the f**k away from this release, for it will make you mad and p.o.'d. This is true streetwise hardcore made for the streets. Highlights include "Going Back to Cali," which starts out hardcore then goes into a shout-out dub that mentions legendary adult entertainment artists Jasmine Sinclair and Jenna Jamison, "T.C.O.B.," which stands for "taking care of business" in street lingo, and the anthem "Drugs, Money & Sex," which is the American dream. Skarhead will skar your head for life.

Archers of Loaf White Trash Heroes

Alias Records
Archers of Loaf have been a mainstay in the alternative rock world since the late 1980s. On White Trash Heroes, they continue to prove that they still can deliver a strong release of neo-alternative rock which college rockers would really dig. Archers of Loaf shines through some intense intstrumentation work by gearing away from the lo-fi basement recordings which the band is noted for. Production is top notch, which may disappoint some long-time fans of the band, but overall Archers of Loaf created an album which is worth given a listen to. Tracks which are highly recommended include "Smokers In Love," "White Trash Heroes," and "One Slight Wrong Move." If you like new Sonic Youth, this album is a must for your collection.

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