by Al Slavicsky
Sponsored In Part By
Mephiskapheles - MAXIMUM PERVERSION
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
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.
The Force - I DON'T LIKE YOU EITHER
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...
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.
Salmon - PACO... DROP THE CHICKEN
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
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
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
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
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'
(Hed)PE - (HED)PE
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
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
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
The Drugs - THE DRUGS
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
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
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.
Sublime - SECOND HAND SMOKE
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.
The Upper Crust - THE DECLINE & FALL OF THE UPPER CRUST
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.
Lusk - FREE MARS
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.
DYF - NATURAL BORN PUNKS
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
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.
Led Zeppelin - LIVE AT THE BBC SESSIONS
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
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.
The Toasters - DON'T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN
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.
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.
Mucus Membrane - SHALLOW EXISTENCE
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.
Regatta 69 - PRIME TIME WITH REGATTA SIXTY-NINE
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.
Reel Big Fish - TURN THE RADIO OFF
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.
The Go Go Rays - FAMILY FUN NIGHT
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.