"Compilation Reviews"

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(Yikes! Records)

The latest compilation from Yikes! Records features bands from all over. East Lansing shows off its college rock dominance with "Exit to Stay" from the dt's, Nineteen Wheels' "13 Seconds," and Dorothy's softer touch, emotional "Plastic Tambourine." Additional local act highlights include the heavy rock of Powerface, the distorted rock of The Caustic Pop!, Fat Amy's raucous "Million Days," Story-ville's slick, catchy "Major Bad," and Drew Howard's bluesy rockin' "Uh-Huh." Out-of-area bands contribute: the rough, catchy rocker "Can't Go Back" from Kala-mazoo's Monkey Chuck, the heartfelt mid-tempo rocker "Koo Koo" from Buffalo's The Tails, two very different approaches to popularly accessible industrial-based music from Detroit's Mental Landscape and Cleveland's Queue-Up, scrappy, raw, alternative-tinged rock from two Toronto bands -- Blue Dog Pict and Conscience Pilate, the rockin' party track "Cut Me Down" from Ann Arbor's Grin, and the funky party track "I Think It's Funny" from GR's Domestic Problems.

- Geoff Wilbur


(BJD Wishing Away)

This compilation disc is an interesting blend of sounds from '50s lonely girl laments to line-dance rocking music. Local artist Linda Bennetti makes an appearance with "If I'm Dreaming." This track is real twangy with a strong waltz beat that almost drives the listener to leave the dance. Other local artists include Virgie L. Warren and Jimmie James. Their duet "Till the Breath in My Body is Gone" features a beautiful harmony of voices backed up by solid country sound. Virgie's solo song "Jesus is Your Friend" does a nice job highlighting her great vocals and belongs in every hymn book. Other outstanding cuts include "5 Generations" by artist Vancie Flowers. This cut had a great, solid beat with inspired lyrics. I also enjoyed the Tammy Ryan cut "Why Didn't You Say Goodbye to Me" and "It's My Turn" by artist Dicky Minor. All in all, a solid disc that could use some production polish to truly do the artists justice.

- Rebecca Szilvagyi

NOTE: Due to space constraints, the following reviews were not included in the print edition of the Renegade. They are only available here in the online edition.


(Casual Tonalities)

Eenie Meenie -- "Someday": Haunting Lyrics with a smooth dance beat and synthesizers. Polak -- "Not Listening": Minimalist guitar and drum work help to shut out the world. Mr. Henry -- "Harmony Rocket": Giant curling acid rock riffs and country western square dance together reaching for the stars. Happyface -- "Blame": Alternative rock riding a didgerydoo trying to stand alone. Guadaloop -- "Road Map": Sugar sweet wooing with crashing punctuations of a lost girlfriend. Velvet Dogs -- "If This Is Hate": The harder edge of rock with power chords and a broken cross. Pugs -- "Mari In Love": Cavemen playing the theme to 2001 alongside what might pass for surf music through the apocalypse. Haze -- "Ants": Industrial punk looking for a home. Captain Krunch -- "Roam": Crashing guitars with a disco chorus and synth overtures. Jeff -- "Hope": Airy walls of guitar wash over plains of wispy lyrics. Apologies to Action Plus, Martinis, Waco Brothers, Star City, The Rake's Progress, Fat, and Krackhouse whom I was unable to listen to. My cd player decided that I would only be able to listen to the first ten tracks of this disc.

- Joe Szilvagyi


(Blood Beat)

Francis Dunnery -- "I Believe I Can Change My World": A song of hope and remembrance with the occasional guitar outburst. N.O.W.D.E. -- "Booee Dreams": Tribal rhythms and instruments to help your feet loose their way. Melodramatic Wallflowers -- "Bridges That Cross Over Dry Land": Fat guitars, synthesizers and a longing to be free. Mandala -- "That Was The Day": A funky walk through violent happenings. ONG -- "Hey Hey": This funky groove tells you to get off your ass and shape your future. Iris -- "Try Our Luck Again": Mournful guitars and haunting voices sing dreams of forgiveness. Reverb Bros. -- "Open `Y Eyes": Punk looking for a direction for a better life. Fanny Grace -- "Believe": A folk tune with a pop chorus singing of self belief. The New Tribe -- "Strange Things": A ska show tune tells us we are all one people. Limbo Cafe -- "Wrecking Ball": Slow motion impact looking for compassion from someone else. Alexander Inmate -- "Fade To Blind": A subtle pop tune that hopes to open peoples eyes. Booty Soup -- "Moves a Peaceful": Ya gotta dance to this peaceful tune. Legghead -- "All Wet": This rap tune tells you what it thinks of oppression and indifference. I actually made it through 13 tracks before my cd player locked up on this one. Sorry guys, there are 8 more tracks singing of hope, freedom, and inspiration here.

- Joe Szilvagyi


(Metal Blade Records)

The newest compilation of axe-slingers, featuring a variety of diverse styles, from the progressive psychedelia of Robert Fripp to the ripping metal of "Unheard Of," which includes members of Cannibal Corpse, Cynic, Death, and Obituary. For guitar fans, it's a chance to hear some of your favorite stars display their wares, some in their own genre, and others exploring outside styles. The offerings are excellent, but unless you are a fan of the instrument, you may lose interest. Guitar players everywhere will swear by it; casual listeners will find it excessive.

- Shane Copher


(RCA Records)

A second compilation of tracks lifted from RCA's Essential Series of country music. It's another class offering of artists that made RCA the force to be reckoned with. Porter & Dolly, Waylon, Willie, Chet Atkins, Eddie Arnold, Keith Whitley, Connie Smith, Earl Thomas Conley, Vince Gill, Ronnie Milsap, and others. Excellent tracks, covering a wide range of styles, and literally decades of country music. I recommend the individual releases, but this is an affordable alternative.

- Shane Copher


(Fat Possum/Capricorn Records)

Nitty gritty, down home, deep south blues which profiles the prolific sounds on the Fat Possum label since its conception in 1991. Contains 11 modern day masterpieces by musicians rooted deep within the Mississippi delta such as R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Dave Thompson, Paul "Wine" Jones, CeDell Davis, and The Jelly Roll Kings. Pass me the grits and gravy, for this release really sticks to my ribs. Get a side order of Fat Possum, and the blues melt you away.

- Al Slavicsky

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