"Demo Reviews"

P.O. Box 6551, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6551

The title track of Jewelweed's BACKHOE opens the tape with what sounds like grunge-influenced, soft touch alternative -- a VERY unique approach. The tape continues strongly, exhibiting many influences but forming a cohesive package that is radio ready and multi-format friendly. The other most notable track, "Can of Worms," is a softer but driving style of alternative with a rather British feel. On the whole, though there are noticeable guitars on BACKHOE, this tape is vocals-driven.

- Geoff Wilbur

P.O. Box 284, Wildwood, PA 15091-0284

With a vintage old school rap/hip hop sound, Grand Buffet delivers a power punch of zaniness, wit, and vim. Vocal characteristics remind one of Rage Against the Machine fusing with the Beastie Boys. "Tiny, Let's Go!", even if it is censored, has an undergroundish street dance feel to it, and they every so often throw in a live acoustic guitar and other deranged instruments in the mix to freshen up their sound.

- Al Slavicsky

All Time Low
P.O. Box 224, Emerson, NJ 07630

Polished "alternative" sounds with strong foundations, crisp axework, and powerful vocals. All Time Low has produced an exceptional demo that should go a long way in garnering them some recognition. "Bottom Doubt" and "Less Than Meets the Eye" are the best of the six tracks featured, but there's not a weak spot in the bunch.

- Shane Copher

The Frontline-WORD PLAY
6242 Woodfield Pl. SE #2, Grand Rapids, MI 49548

This crew brings the drama to the Frontline of hip hop. Fresh, Payne and Fantastic are on the verge of blowing up with a universal production sound and lyrical fury that has been missing in rap. So if you're having "Vizionz" about "Rippin Emcess" let your "Words Play" because we're living in "The Last Dayz!" Guaranteed to please! This single is the bomb!

- Rip

Blackened Earth-CONCEPTION
1613 Elizabeth St., Lansing, MI 48912

I really enjoy this tape. There's a heaving, pounding rhythm throughout, while the powerful, soaring vocals show amazing inflection. And there's blistering axework, too. In addition, the variation between songs extends Blackened Earth's reach to non-fans of this extremely heavy rock genre.

- Geoff Wilbur

P.O. Box 153, Parma, MI 49269

Do you remember back when music was fun? This is a throwback to the good ol' days. Sure, this is far from perfect, and there are a lot of bands with more pure talent, but this has soul. Clever and amusing songwriting, teamed with catchy rhythms and good, clean fun. No wonder I've been hearing about this band at every turn. "Elvis In My Dungaree's" kicks this off and sums it up at the same time.

- Shane Copher

Dave Dale and the Blues Control-NAKED HEARTS
120 S. Magnolia, Lansing, MI 48912

Finally, a disc from Dave Dale! Dave Dale and the Blues Control have earned praise from blues backers while drawing a lot of new Lansing area music fans to the blues with their blending of other styles with blues. There's a hint of alternative in ballad "Hurricane," for example. This CD is more proof that we're lucky to have Dave in Lansing!

- Geoff Wilbur

24 S. Bank St. #C12, Philadelphia, PA 19106

This Philly quartet has a sound that draws from classic rockers like Led Zeppelin and modern influences like Nirvana, yet remains fresh and distinctive. Lead vocalist Brian Mitchell belts out a song with power and authority, yet never forgets the importance of soul and melody. This band is tight, polished, and, overall, ready for major success!

- Eric Harabadian

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