"Slavicsky's Smorgasbord"

by Al Slavicsky

Sponsored In Part By

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Moon Ska Records
Hailing from the Lower East Side of Manhattan comes what may be one of a few satanic ska bands in the world today. Burning the deep voodoo of jazz greats such as Coltrane, Rich, or Miles and melting them with sounds of Drummond, Perry, or the Skatalites, Mephiskapheles sold their souls to the ska music devil. On this sophomore effort, Mephiskapheles enchants the listener with danceable numbers such as "Turtle Soup," "Satan On the Beach," and "Plan B." One of the most unique numbers is the grind-ska "Sate," which you might swear Exit 13 may have done. Classify Mephiskapheles in a category all by themselves -- truly passionate.

Man Will Surrender - MAN WILL SURRENDER

Revolution Records
This release from this Pomona, CA based band blows one's mind away, for it has all the power of hardcore similar to D.R.I. and D.I. and all the distorted guitars of Seattle grunge Alice In Chains and Sweaty Nipples. The 11 tunes presented are instant AOR-alternative rock gems ready to ignite the flames of the rocker in us all. Standouts include "Climbing Out" with its melodic tendencies and rare passion, while "Hate In Cold" increases the impact 50 times. Enjoyable release which has one major flaw -- there are only 11 cuts. Worth obtaining a copy for your collection.


Spider Club Music, P.O. Box 11124, Whittier, CA 90603-0124
In the trashcore vein, The Force continues the struggle of the punk traditionalists of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, The Germs, and The Exploited. Musically loud and hard driven violence. The Force force feeds you some of the best new trashcore in years with songs such as "Fight Like a Man," "Expired," "Not This Time," and "Locked In." Turn your house into an instant violent slam pit with The Force, who are a force to be reckoned with.

Filibuster - THE MEANS...

Skunk Records
What a shocking surprise... this totally kicks major booty!! Makes you want to dance and smoke the night away. Using non-typical bleeding of hip-hop, ska, punk, funk, and all the other things and mixing them into a big melting pot actually works. The dub walls of sounds hit your ears and make them bleed for enjoyment. Filibuster brings the music world into the next level on "Eye 2 Eye," "Citywine," and "Showdown Dub." File this under Cypress Hill, D.J. Shadow, Slightly Stoopid, De La Soul, and Sublime. Filibuster will be the next big thing, mark my word -- suckers take heave.

Los Hooligans - TRADITIONS

Moon Ska Records
Upon listening to this release, one must sense that this is your atypical ska release, for Los Hooligans go back to the traditional style of ska, full of hot trumpet playing, tight bass and percussion, trombone mutes, and alto sax making a jazz and Latin hybrid style ska. One might want to see James Bond get down with this release. Enjoyable, and check out the insert of the CD, which is a humorous parody of the band's high school yearbook. Rude boys away.

Ani Difranco - LIVING IN CLIP

Amazing Royal Crowns/Kingdom Records
Capturing the live sound of Ani Difranco, LIVING IN CLIP contains over two hours of live material recorded in various locations across North America between 9/95 and 11/96. This demonstrates the true Difranco anthems done live such as "Joyful Girl," "Whatever," "Whereever," "Shameless," and "In Or Out." Also includes a big 36 page booklet highlighting the tour. This is a great way to experience Difranco, for you have two CDs of material to enjoy.

Stubborn All-Stars - BACK WITH A NEW BATCH

Triple Crown Records Inc., 331 West 57th #472, NY, NY 10019
One must swear that this release was recorded back in the days when The Specials, The English Beat, The Spectors, and Madness were the fuss of the two-tone movement. The Stubborn All-Stars groove ruder than a man working the graveyard shift. They get the message to you on such ska icons as "Crop No Drop," "Lost Out Again," "Thankful," and two versions of "Pick Yourself Up" on being a dublike instrumental. Think of the future of ska; think of the past of ska; think of the Stubborn All-Stars.

Cherry Poppin' Daddies

ZOOT SUIT RIOT Space Age Bachelor Pad/Mojo Records
Swinging, modern-day, ska-influenced big band garage groove blaring out on dancehall, the Cherry Poppin' Daddies create a pleasant barnyard bonfire into the planes of hell. Very similar to the Squirrel Nut Zippers to a lesser degree, but more like The Ziggins in an odd way. Out of the 14 tunes, standouts include "Ding-Dong Daddy of the D-Car Line," "Come Back to Me," and "Dr. Bones." Surfs up, rude boys and riot girls. Swing the night away along the dragline.


Red Ant Entertainment
One must understand the great concept of what music is to understand what Salmon is all about. Heavy like Primus, funky like Korn, and groovy like Suicidal Tendencies, Salmon rocks like there is no tomorrow, especially on the groove influenced "The Knack," and punks out on "Punk Like Me." Salmon cooks up the batter but needs one thing for perfection, like some dubs or DJ scratching, and that would be dope. Hey, Paco, pass me another drumstick or a wing.

Joey Beltram - LIVE MIX

Logic Records
Trance-like electronic beats mixed by Joey Beltram. This is actually almost like a compilation CD, for it contains cuts selected by Joey Beltram flowing into one continuous mega mix. Some of the artists featured include MD Connection, Sharki Maxx, L.A. Williams, DJ Milton, Abacus, Psyche, K. Alexi Shelby, Rotortype, DJ Funk, and Joey Beltram. Highlight tracks include Beltram's "Game Form" and DJ Funk's "Pump It." But use it for a rave party.

Charlie's Pipe Dream - BIKE RIDE AROUND THE LAKE

Fire-Tone Records
Poppy punk yet has a strong psychedelic flair similar to the Spiders. Makes you time warp to an era where revolutionary youth dive into the mainstream and eats away popular culture. C.P.D. is something which you take along with you to the rubber room and turn up to screw with the wardens. Out of all the tunes, "Teenage Daydream" is the most likely to be heard on the radio, but the bonus track #10 is what you must play on repeat and listen to for hours, for it is da pipe dream bomb.

Lick 57's - ...AND THE BAND PLAYED ON!

One Foot Records
This is what punk really is, and that is a bunch of p.o. youths making aggression with their musical instruments. Angst to the tee, Lick 57's goes head forward and delivers pizza made out of pure '90s anti-cheese punk. Slices include such soon-to-be-on-the-menu classics as "Bitch," "Das Loser," "Attack of the Bossman," and "Trailer Trash." Pass me the chili and garlic salt, for this stuff is finger LICKin' 57's good.

The Articles - FLIP F'REAL

Moon Ska Records
To quote Victor Rice off the back of this CD, "To those familiar with the original ska -- namely The Skatalites -- you know ska and jazz have been together from the beginning. This is the ska that inspires The Articles." And this release contains 14 ska-jazz selections, including covers of Charles Parker's "Scrapple From the Apple," Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk" and "Well, You Needn't," and the Skatalites' "Spred Satin." If you want to taste the real deal of ska, check this release out, for it jazzes up the soulful spices of ska music.

Lloyd Brevett and the Skatalites - AFRICAN ROOTS

Moon Ska Records
Finally, the first domestic version of this long-time cult roots ska release. Noah Wildman of Moon Ska outdid himself with this release, for he was able to get a hold of four archival bonus tracks from Treasure Isle, which makes this release of AFRICAN ROOTS essential for any historian of today's ska movement. You can see how Lloyd Brevett develops his classic dub style on the tracks "Candle Light" and "Candle Light Dub," plus "Fugitive" and "Fugitive Dub." Total dub transformation. Crank up the bass and enjoy.

Sublime - WHAT I GOT... THE 7 SONG EP

Gasoline Alley/MCA Records
If you ever need a sampling of the various Sublime releases, 40 OZ. TO FREEDOM, ROBBIN' THE HOOD, and the self-titled release, then this is for you. Contains classic tunes such as "40 Oz. to Freedom," "D.J.'s," "All You Need," "Same in the End," and "Work That We Do," which all were previously released. But it also has two gems or collector's cuts: a dull, censored version of the band's biggest hit "What I Got (Kahne Radio Edit)" and "Doin' Time (Marshall Arts Remix)," which features the Pharcyde and is more rap/hip-hop oriented than the original mix. If you already have the past albums, save your cash, for the two additional tracks are not worth the money.

Wu-Tang Clan - TRIUMPH CD-5

Loud/RCA Records
Radio edits of the Wu-Tang Clan's hit song "Triumph" does not cut it with all kinds of bee swarming sampling over the cursing. The track seems to lose its groove due to these effects. However, the instrumental version of the song is kicking and is destined to be used by freestylers everywhere in the mix. Buy the album for the mo' phat version.

(Hed)PE - (HED)PE

Jive Records
Not since Parliament's "Clone of Dr. Frankenstein" has a band actually put your mind into cloud nine with vicious, delicious funk. However, (Hed)PE delivers us into an interplanetary plane of intergalactic g-punk which a rider of the cosmic boards, whether it be for skating or surfing, will be jamming to, especially "Schpamb," with its wave-like beats. Please do not put this CD on random, for you will miss much of the enjoyment of the intros to most of the 13 tracks. (Hed)PE -- righteous punk-funk gangstas of the universe.

Heavy Water Factory - AUTHOR OF PAIN

Energy Records
Electronic, ambient sounding music in the vein of Faithless mixed with a light industrial beat. Heavy Water Factory produces 18 tracks which you can either dance to or chill out to. The mixture of nature-like sounds fusing with semi-harsh noises attacks each other like a blender melting with a music box. One must like the way that the band flows some of the songs into the next track. Pleasantly remixed for your mind pleasure. Contemporary muzik.

Coolbone - BRASS HOP

Hollywood Records
Jazz influenced hip-hop with phat dope beats sequencing into a hip mix. Similar to Guru and Gang Starr. Coolbone's version of "The Saints" grooves in the traditional New Orleans jazz style. If you ever need a record to transcend the cultural barrier of hip-hop and jazz, Coolbone will fill your need with 18 tracks of intense, cool brass hop.

The Drugs - THE DRUGS

NG Records
Aggressive progressive rock with a modern attack of music onslaught. Reminds one of a more violent Pearl Jam or Soundgarden infested with drug-influenced guitars, drums, and lyrics. The hits off the CD should be either "Heroin Sunday" or "Indecision." Parasites of modern rock will love this release for its good production and recording. Look for this band to be on your local AOR radio station soon -- if the programmer's got the guts.

Lucky Peterson - MOVE

Verve Records
Ever need a soothing record to relax to or to drink a gallon of Thunderbird with? Then Lucky Peterson's MOVE is right up your "Tin Pan Alley." Lucky Peterson, who has done numerous fine recordings for other labels such as the world renowned Alligator Records from Chicago outdid himself this time. Anybody who can transform Prince's "Purple Rain" into a mean mess of blues really cooks. Also doing such classics as Ashford and Simpson's "Let's Go Get Stoned" and the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing," Lucky smokes up a joint in the middle of the day or night. Pass me some ripple and make your MOVE with Lucky Peterson, who the late, great Albert King would be proud of.

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.

Samiam - YOU ARE FREAKING ME OUT sampler

Ignition Records
Contains two new tracks from the legendary pop-punk band Samiam. This is essentially designed to take with you while snowboarding, skiing, or skateboarding. "She Found You" and "Factory" both sound as if they are instant progressive AOR or college radio hits. If the rest of this release is anything like this, world beware, for the mighty Samiam is ready to take over the world and create havoc.


MCA/Gasoline Alley Records
A posthumous collection of outtakes, remixes, and rare tracks from this Long Beach band called Sublime. There are numerous high points to this release, such as "Garbage Grove," a demo of "Garden Grove"; and alternate mix of "April 29th, 1992"; and two remixes of "Doin' Time" from the self-titled release. Also, the tracks "Romeo," "Slow Ride," and "Trenchtown Rock" are worthwhile tracks. The low points include "Badfish" and the duet with Gwen of No Doubt, "Saw Red," which are available elsewhere and are easy to get. The highs are better than the lows, but still, where is the song which appears in part after "What I Got" (Kahne version) on the self-titled. One wonders.


Emperor Norton Records
Pass the tea and crumpets, for the snotty rich Upper Crust have come to rock. Dressed as lords and the elite of the 1790s, the Upper Crust play metal of the 1990s in the vein of AC/DC. Lyrically, they focus on the well off and the upper society, which the peasant may not relate to, such as "Gold-Plated Radio" and "Persona Non Grata." This is an act, or are these guys for real? Let's hope that this is just an act. Revolutionary.

Prince Love - IN MUSIC

Caprice International Records
Funky rap-infested bass and drum sounding music. Sort of a lo-fi Beck molesting with Spoonie Gee. Prince Love tries to make his own statement and sound but creates a style which has been overdone for the past 12 years. He even censors himself so the listener does not get the full effect. Prince Love, wake up and smell the dub. You may have something if you change your approach and be fresh and new. One good point about Prince Love -- he uses samples which are very mainstreamish and radio ready.


Volcano Entertainment
When mere words cannot describe a release, this is a hard release to classify. Ambient flowing, but very spacelike soundscape music, Lusk goes into all different kinds of directions. "Backworlds" sets the release on its journey into space and does not stop until you travel to "Free Mars" and see the "Doctor" and "Kill the King." Totally warp nine into Lusk and blast away into the future.


Spider Club Music
Brewski driven west coast punk with a blend of hardcore. These p.o. punks deliver the good and awaken today's youth through aggression and beer. DYF, or Death Youth Foundation, proves that the bleak world is ready to rumble with intensity such as Black Flag, X, The Minutemen, The Meatmen, and DRI did in the past. Each of the 14 tunes makes you wanna take your skateboard and catch a wave and smoke up a storm. "Worthless," "Break," "The One," and "I Wait" are great slam tunes. Grinding vocals, heavy guitars, and fast drums -- it is all here and more. DYF is the force of punk, and new punks beware of this killer crop of buds.

Reef - GLOW

Epic Records
From the start with the hit "Place You Hands," which is in the vein of vintage Black Crowes, to the mellow sound of "Lullaby," Reef demonstrates a hodge podge of musical vibes. Refreshing and different, especially on the epic "Robot Riff," which sounds almost techno in nature. What would you want from a band which has a CD-ROM track to boot. Reef has come a long way in a short time; could this band be the next big thing? These Brits will be along for some time to come.


Atlantic Records
After many years of being widely bootlegged, Led Zeppelin finally decided to release the entire BBC Sessions from 1969 and 1971 to the world. This is the "live" album which even casual Zeppelin fans can enjoy. Contains three versions of "Communication Breakdown," with the best one being fused with Otis Redding's "It's Your Thing." Plus, a haunting version of "Stairway to Heaven," an extended 18-minute rendition of "Dazed and Confused," high impact sound of "Black Dog," and plus the "Whole Lotta Love" medley with "Boogie All Night," "That's All Right Mama," and "I Gotta Mess of the Blues." Most material appeared on four Led Zeppelin albums in their original studio forms except two previously unreleased tunes -- "Something Else" and "The Girl I Love (She's Got Long Wavy Black Hair)." Essential.

Metallica - RELOAD

Elektra Records
RELOAD is actually a collection of outtakes and alternate takes from the band's last couple of releases, LOAD and the black album METALLICA. Most of the tunes sound like they are rehashed filler material, especially "The Memory Remains" and "The Unforgiven II" (which continues the songs "The Unforgiven" from the black album.) Kind of a 1990s version of GARAGE DAYS REVISITED. This album is recommended only for true fans of Metallica. Others, save your money.


Moon Ska Records
High jumping ska with a violent flare toward it. The 17 tracks move you into a horn infested frantic, making you wanna skank your heart and soul away. The Toasters' cover of the Spencer Davis classic "Gimme Some Lovin'" gives new meaning to the song, but the track which stands out the most is "Jackie Chan" with its ska infested martial arts sound. Life without The Toasters is like a world with no ska, and remember, DON'T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN.

Incubus - S.C.I.E.N.C.E.

Immortal/Epic Records
Combining elements of Faith No More punk-metal, Run-DMC samples, and space out Billy Thorpe guitars, Incubus has created a masterpiece which is unique and enjoyable. Starting out with "Redefine," which uses a sample from Run-DMC's "Peter Piper," Incubus continues to the 12th track, "Calgone," which flows through space. S.C.I.E.N.C.E. is a type of release which is relaxing, danceable, and futuristic. (It even has a bonus CD-ROM program on it, to boot.) Crank this up and become a scientist with a degree in the study of the band Incubus.


Wild Rags Records
Grinding death with aggression overload and trashy guitars impacting your wisdom teeth. Mucus Membrane coughs up a lung and dives into sheer heart attack like power. The four tunes are well composed and tend to move into an evilness which has rarely been heard before. "Aborticide" crushes due to its lyrical content and on-look. Mucus Membrane is one of the new hitters of death to watch out for.


Moon Ska Records
Horn infested ska with a big band beat. Reminds one of the vintage ska from the Caribbean combined with the coast soul of the east coast of the States. Regatta Sixty-Nine makes you wanna skank the night away with tunes like "I Wanna Smack You," "The Fiasco," "Bary Saxy Man," and "Killer Cabbie." However, the best track on the release is the band's cover of the cheesy 1976 Debbie Boone hit "You Light Up My Life," of which Regatta 69's version is more groovelike, danceable, and more relaxing. Two thumbs up.


Mojo Records
Reel Big Fish is finally ready to take the plunge and dive into the mainstream. Yeah, right. Commercial success means nothing to these hard working musicians who even put a big picture of the bar code on the back of the CD and do a song devoted to selling out, "Sell Out." Their sound is skacore, which is a combination of ska, punk, and hardcore. All the tracks are keepers, especially "Snoop Dog, Baby" (guess who they are talking about), "Beer" (enough said), and "Everything Sucks" (but this release does not). Reel in some Reel Big Fish and have a fish fry any day of the week.


Moon Ska/Ska Satellite Records
This Erie, PA based ska band, which in their own words is "too punk for the ska kids... too ska for the punk kids," creates a classic release which ranks right up there with Sublime's 40 OZ. OF FREEDOM, The Special's self titled release, and Madness' unreleased Westwood One live recordings as crossroads of making the American listeners aware of ska music. The Go Go Rays appeal to the early 20-something crowd who can't remember the two-tone movement but were introduced to ska from the punk movement. Cuts worth checking out include the sexually frustrated "Hard On," the Ramones-like "I Wanna Be a Ramone," and the "Wesley Willis Ska" about the Wesley Willis Fiasco. The next era of ska starts now with The Go Go Rays.
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