"Album Reviews"

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Smartbomb - Smartbomb

Creativeman Disc
They may be just another power pop band from Southern California but these guys possess strong melodies and hooks to back up their hyperkinetic grooves. With their precise raucous guitars and catchy beats Smartbomb would fit in well with the Warped Tour crowd.
- Eric Harabadian

Universal Stomp - 2296

Overcore Records
Detroit is a hardcore town, no bones about it. Many a life has met its end in Motown, but it also has been a hotbed for great music of all kinds. >From Barry Gordy's Motown sound to Ted Nugent's bad-ass boogie, D-town has had it all. But where is the real hardcore? It's right here in Universal Stomp's new release 2296. Hard as nails riffs and powerful vocals bring to mind a modern metal version of Agnostic Front, with angry energy flowing though songs like "No More" and "Find A Reason." Poly-rhythms and some nice percussion highlight "Self Made," while "Me And My Own" has an intro that would be right at home on Metallica's And Justice For All..., only to genre-bust with some cool hip hop vocal stylings. Mosh it up!
- Brendan Hagin

Paul Schutze - Green Evil

Tone Casualties
In the liner notes to this ambient collection of musical pieces, spanning a fourteen year period, Paul Schutze says: "In arranging these pieces together I found myself thinking about the ways in which languages of sound develop and evolve about the function and value of memory and about the persistence of idea." For me, though, it just makes me think about those tinkling wind chimes outside my front door. But I guess everybodyís different.
- Dan MacIntosh

Monty Holmes - All I Ever Wanted

Bang II Records
Monty, where are you, man? This album is super. Nashville must be hidiní ya out Ďcause I sure would like to see ya live or maybe even hear ya gettiní some radio play! Monty Holmes, a wonderful songwriter and singer, has written hit songs for George Strait, John Michael Montgomery, Leann Womack and others. Monty is from Lubbock, Texas. This album is fabulous -- great musicians, great recording. I think this album has several hit tracks on it. Way cool country rockabilly, Western swing style.
- Michael Hoadley

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Live From Steel Town

CMC International Records
Recorded live at Star Lake Amphitheater in Burgettstown, PA. Recorded on site July 1997. Guys, I couldnít make it, but my heart was there. Skynyrd fansí dream come true; these guys are the best rock and roll band in the industry! Real rock and roll, Southern style.
- Michael Hoadley

Ruth Ruth - Are You My Friend?

RCA Records
Ruth Ruthís writer and singer Chris Kennedy canít seem to decide if he wants to be a smart ass or just pout and wear his broken heart on his sleeve. A song like "Think! Anatomic" simply drains all the beauty and poetry out of intimate contact with its blunt description of a sexual encounter. Elsewhere, though, as with "If I Canít Have You," he comes off like an unrepentant romantic. Maybe Kennedy is just too smart for his own good. Nevertheless, thereís never a dull moment with a schizophrenic.
- Dan MacIntosh

Absinthe - A Good Day To Die

Llanas Records
Absinthe is a side project from Bodeans singer Sammy Llanas. But unlike the Bodeans, which has the reputation of being a good time party band, this very personal album speaks bluntly and autobiographically about Llanasí childhood. Over subdued musical backing, Llanas tells his story with sincere conviction. Beginning with a tale about the "Bully On The Corner," Llanas unflinchingly recreates his earliest memories for the listener. It may not be the right CD to enliven the party, but every word of it rings true.
- Dan MacIntosh

Kent - Isola

RCA Records
If Kentís album tells us anything, itís that Radioheadís blockbuster album, OK Computer, must have also sold a lot of units in this 5-pieceís home country of Sweden. Singer Joakim Berg sings every line like itís his last. "Are you happy now?/Is there still time before it all ends" he sings on "Before It All Ends." To its credit, though, Kent makes its sadness sound eloquently beautiful. There is a warmth and sincerity that keeps this from sounding too much like a rip-off of you-know-who.
- Dan MacIntosh

The Hunger - Cinematic Superthug

Universal Recordings
The heavy guitar drive of The Hungerís sophomore effort sets this band further apart from the throngs of industrial rock. This band is just a damn good rock band; the techno stuff is just the icing on the cake! Vocal harmonies and hooks that sit with you long after you heard them. Donít worry, theyíre still slamming! And Iíll lay money that theyíre still kickass live!!
- Patrick Ondrus

Allen and Allen - A New Beginning

CGI Records
Allen and Allen are keyboardist Bruce Allen and saxophonist Allen Wiggins. They call their music "inspirational jazz," and the duo has a nice way of taking secular material like Earth, Wind and Fire's "Devotion," for example, and blending it with their own take on the Lord's Prayer called "Poetic Shepherd." Wiggins soars on the soprano sax throughout, a la Grover Washington, Jr., as Bruce layers it all on a bed of smooth chords and complimentary textures.
- Eric Harabadian

Godsmack - Not Final Mixes

Universal Recordings
This group is right on the fringes of the hard/alternative rock scene with this batch of tunes. Definitely aggressive in taste and attitude, songs like "Whatever" (the first single), "Time Bomb," and the opening track "Moon Baby" exhibit a sense of frustration on the verge of freaking right out. I bet these guys would be a real trip to see in a live atmosphere!
- The Wild Card

Jack Off Jill - Covetous Creature

Risk Records
Originality finally bares its lovely head; Covetous Creature is a follow-up CD to the already unparalleled 1997 release Sexless Demons and Scars. This concoction of mixes just brings the already enigmatic songs to full industrial strength. Jessickaís evil, mischievous vocals bring the impish, exciting lyrics the vigor they need to put them in full effect. The amazing mixes give each song a different and unusual personality from its original version. The contributing mixers (to name a couple) were Chris Vrenna (some of his works include NIN and Smashing Pumpkins), and Synical, who has worked with L7 and Rob Halfordís new band Two, proving this album has some amazing efforts and backup to empower its individuality, controversy and lunacy! I highly recommend trying to get your hands on this delightful CD. It puts the E back in EVIL!
- Lauren Faccidomo

Twist of Fate - New Skies

Cellar Records
This Detroit area band has been around since the early nineties and has gone through many musical transformations. The result is a satisfying, sophisticated, and well-crafted sound that evokes the spirit of progressive and classic rock acts such as Styx, Journey, and Kansas. Painting their aural canvas with splashes of color, variety and a unique perspective, this band has a promising future ahead of it. With any luck, New Skies should take these guys to new heights.
- Eric Harabadian

Soak - Flywatt

Rain Maker/Sire Records
Soak takes you far beyond the pabulum of the current alternative music scene with their new album Flywatt. Hard-driving, mind-blowing, and overpowering, Flywatt will MAKE you listen! You will have to turn it up, LOUD! Resistance is futile. You will love this album whether you like it or not. Just try to resist these pile-driving beats. This is not an album for the weak, meek, or closed-minded. This is the REAL DEAL!
- Victoria Peterson

The Mysteries of Life - Come Clean

RCA Records
The Mysteries of Life deserve to be mentioned in the same breath with the current crop of Alterna-country darlings such as Wilco, Son Volt, and Whiskeytown... while their music doesnít fit neatly into the box with the overdriven, tremolo-laden strains of these bands (you wonít hear a ton of steel guitar or fiddle on this record), the honesty of the delivery of these fourteen tunes canít be denied.

The Mysteries are the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Jake Smith and wife Freda Love (former Blake Babies drummer), who have seen the band through from its beginnings in the Bloomington/Indianapolis scene through to this, the bandsí third release. Bloomington-area native and Mellencamp alumnus Lisa Germano cameos on the record, contributing vocals to "Southdowns" (she had also appeared on their previous EP release, Anonymous Tip.)

This record finds them in good form, in both instrumental and songwriting ability -- songs like "Downhill," "A Year Ago Today," and "Thatís How Strong My Love Is" take up quick residence in the area of your brain that governs the "I canít get that song out of my head" responses. The guitar-driven music shimmers and undulates under songs that sound remarkably new at first blush, and yet not unfamiliar as well.

The Mysteries of Life have managed to build on the foundations of pop music -- an inspired moment, an emotional truth, a cleverly turned phrase... and Come Clean is certain not to disappoint.

- Ron Jacobs

J Mundok - Artichoke

Jack Kettle Records
Much like the vegetable this album is named after, very little here is edible for the listener. Mundok packs his CD with monotonous keyboard and percussion programming, and then sails his whiny and nasal vocals over this unappetizing musical salad. The songs have all the manic depression of Gothic rock without any of the drama or musicality associated with that bygone genre.
- Dan MacIntosh

Fiendz - Cole

Black Bumpkin Records
While the other fantasy rockers on his block were trying to get Eddie Van Halenís guitar hero pose down pat, Fiendz singer Jerry Jones must have been standing in front of a mirror, holding his nose, and trying his utmost to get that Elvis Costello sinus whine just perfect. Sounding like Costello fronting Squeeze back in the "Get Happy" two-minute song era, Jones runs this band through 15 short and sweet pop tunes. Now, if only Jones could write like Elvis...
- Dan MacIntosh

The Mayfield Four - Fallout

Epic Records
Fallout is an apt name for The Mayfield Four, as it stands in the ashes of the burned-out grunge era. Without a Nirvana or Soundgarden to sustain it, grunge is simply no more. Nevertheless, this album is produced surprisingly well by Jerry Harrison (known best for the funky music he made as a member of Talking Heads). The Mayfield Four work up a pretty good head of steam for band out of time.
- Dan MacIntosh

Social Scare - Social Scare

Radical Records
Guitarist Shawn (no last names, thank you very much) of Social Scare is pictured in the CD booklet wearing a Clash T-shirt, and like that pioneering punk outfit, this young hardcore trio plays with passion and vitriol. "Kids Today" says of todayís youth: "They group us together with just one name/Weíll be old enough someday/then theyíll listen to what we say" You can wait until theyíre older -- with beer guts and thinning hair -- or you can listen now. The choice is yours.
- Dan MacIntosh

Corey Glover - Hymns

LaFace Records
Corey Glover is the former lead singer for the all-black rock band, Living Color. Hymns is not, as the title may suggest, Gloverís entry into the world of inspirational music but is, instead, a strongly spiritual searching for lasting meaning in this oftentimes temporal world. This solo effort allows Glover to step away from the restricting metal expectations of his former band and bask in the joy of singing like Al Green one moment, and then like his favorite Stax soul shouter the next. Living Color may have appealed to the metal-heads of the late eighties/early nineties, but I just knew there was a soul singer in there somewhere.
- Dan MacIntosh

Junior Brown - Long Walk Home

Curb Records
Junior Brown is a lot of things -- a superb guitarist, a witty songwriter, and an adventurous artist who also respects country musicís traditions. Long Walk Home may get some extra added attention from rock music fans, as Jimi Hendrix Experience is featured on drums, but Brown certainly doesnít need any all-star help to gain an audience; his talent alone accomplishes that. Brown fills this new release with mucho variety -- from the soft ballad "Read ĎEm And Weep," to the silly "Rock-A-Hula Baby," to the retro "(Iím Just) Looking For Love." With Long Walk Home, Junior Brown continues his role as the most entertaining guy in country music, and stepping over to the record store for a new Junior Brown is always worth the walk.
- Dan MacIntosh

Bruce Dickinson - The Chemical Wedding

CMC International
When Bruce Dickinson left Iron Maiden, he seemed to wallow in the mire of metal ballads. Gone was the pure Metal of Maiden, replaced by glossy, over-produced pap. Enter former Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith and new blood Roy Z. (guitar), Eddie Casillas (bass), and Davis Ingraham (drums). With this lethal line-up, Bruce is back with the heaviest record of his career, echoing his Maiden days, yet expanding to feature the down-tuned crunch of today's metal. "King In Crimson" kicks off the LP, chugging along in true metal fashion, with a semi-Sabbath progression. So far, so good. Next up, the title track, which has some cool hippie-vibro guitar work, and a catchy chorus, but almost falls back to ballad crud. The classical style lead saves the song though, showing some great chops and nice harmony interplay. "The Tower" sounds like a missing track from Maiden's Piece Of Mind but has a modern sound that gets your blood pumping.

Track number four, "Killing Floor," takes a stab at Helmet/Tool stop-start riffs and odd timings, and the results are kickin'! Another classical breakdown mid-song adds some flavor, showing the range of his players. "Trumpets Of Jericho" breaks in with some Korn riffs, and tears its way along, injecting some of Bruce's patented Sword And Dragon vocals. Roy Z. produced and wrote a lot of the record, and with his influence and Bruce's still valid voice, the future looks bright. Their live shows should be a blast, just be sure to shave your mustache and leave the Camaro at home.

- Brendan Hagin

Pitbull Daycare - Six Six Six

MIA Records, Inc.
The back cover of this CD shows a picture of Pitbull Daycareís shirtless lead singer, Stephen Bishop, holding a beer in one hand and a flipping the bird while holding a microphone in the other. His facial expression makes him look just like a younger version of Ozzy Osbourne. Musically, though, this group mixes techno, buzz saw guitars, and spoken samples to create a scary, end-times, mark-of-the-beast scenario. Come to think of it, thatís probably what old Oz would sound like, if he were young again.
- Dan MacIntosh

Sonia Tetlow - Reclaiming Beauty

Elbo Records
According to press from Tetlowís native Atlanta, she often draws comparisons to artists such as Ani DiFranco and Patti Smith... which must be drawn from her live show, as that energy fails to materialize consistently on this record. The uptempo songs like "The Song" and "Face of a Nation" (which begins with possibly the most cliched lyric in history -- "Dear Mr. President") come off as not much more than manic strumming. A notable exception would be the song "Absence" which falls nicely over a tight groove and sports some excellent violin work from Sheila Doyle of Big Fish Ensemble. The irony of the lyric "...there is too much screaming" is not to be lost on anyone, though.

The high point of the record comes in the back-to-back punch of the songs "Steel and Stone" and "Six Years." The songs deal with rape from a victimsí stance... the latter song carries a strong, positive, healing message that should be heard by anyone who has been a victim of violent crime. These gems, however, have an insurmountable task ahead in trying to carry a record that contains songs about armpit hair and her cat Sasha.

Fans of Colvinesque vocal gymnastics and stellar instrumental work wonít find much to appreciate here in Soniaís world, but fans of the confessional, Post-Indigo, Angry-Young-Woman camp will most certainly find something to like about Sonia Tetlow.

- Ron Jacobs

Dr. Ring-Ding & The Senior Allstars - Ram Di Dance

Moon Ska Records
Dr. Ring-Ding may be on a label with Ska in its name, but from the opening song ("My Sound") this outfit makes it clear that itís a group that has its feet planted firmly in reggaeís roots. Unlike many of the so-called Third Wave ska bands these days, Dr. Ring-Ding is not interested in spicing its sound up with punk guitars and hardcore tempos. Instead, itís a band that has most certainly listened to its share of Skatalites recordings, and has learned well from these listening experiences.
- Dan MacIntosh

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.

Indigo Swing - Indigo Swing

Welt & Placket Recordings 2130 Leavenworth #5, SF, CA 94133
The late 1990s have become the late 1940s with this excellent sendup of swing by San Francisco quintet Indigo Swing. You'll feel the urge to get up and dance the jitterbug with the LP's opening track "Pink Cadillac." Things slow down to a smoky crawl with "Please Tell 'Em," then crank back up during "I Can't Stop It." With the sudden influx of swing bands peppering the nation, it's hard to set groups apart unless they deliver the goods in a live setting. Catching their act a few times myself, I can say that these "cats" kick it live. Check it out, daddy-o!
- Brendan Hagin

Mensclub - Comin' To Take You Away

Bar None Records
Think back (if your old enough!) to the early 1970s, when "Dude-Rock" was in full swing. Grand Funk Railroad, MC5, and Iggy Pop were crankin' it out, bare-chested and in your face. Well, Mensclub rekindles that spirit with this fine debut that makes the chicks swoon and the guys j. The 12 tunes on this CD rock with reckless abandon, hitting full stride with "Ass Grass or Grass," bringing to mind that bumper sticker that was on all the tricked-out Kozy Kar vans. Check out the killer opening track "Comin," complete with drum solo, for pure '70s satisfaction! Live, Mensclub tears it up with endless jams and tons o' energy, playing anywhere that will have them. NEWS FLASH!: Recently, this San Francisco trio called it quits, but you never know when they may resurface, because the worlds need more bands that flat out ROCK!
- Brendan Hagin

Idiot Flesh - The Nothing Show

Rock Against Rock Records
Turn on The Muppet Show and listen to Frank Zappa backwards while on LSD, and you may get close to what Idiot Flesh sounds like. Famous locally for their outrageous stage shows and costumes (a puppet show is the norm), these guys are also excellent musicians and display their chops well on this CD. The Nothing Show is a theatre performance put down to disc, complete with an "Intermission before Act II." "Puppet Theater" sounds like a cartoon theme song from Hell, while "Black Sand" features some nice acoustic guitar melodies before ripping apart in freak-out mayhem! Idiot Flesh hails from the Bay Area, where things get a little weird and wild, but that's how we like it! Recommended for listeners with an open mind and acid flashbacks.
- Brendan Hagin

Lorrie Morgan - Shakiní Things Up

RCA Records
Well, I got this album before it hit a lot of radio play. I knew there would be one or two hit tracks after the first time I listened to it, but if it was up to me, theyíd all be hits. Lorrie, you rock, girl. Great melodies. Very tasty musicianship. Way cool recording.
- Michael Hoadley

Drain S.T.H. - Horror Wrestling

The Enclave/Mercury Records
Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, the all-female (sorry, had to mention it) Drain S.T.H. slows the pace down to a heavy crawl while showcasing fine chops. "I Don't Mind" kicks off the LP with some serious power and cool as hell harmony vox, leading into the wah-wah laced "Smile." Their slow-core cover of Motorhead's "Ace Of Spades" is a refreshing break from by-the-numbers homages. Concert dates with Megadeth and Monster Magnet should help spread the word nationally. A little Seattle-ish throughout, Horror Wrestling is a well produced platter that sounds great cranked up to 11. Don't let anyone tell you girls can't kick ass, because this is proof in da puddin'!
- Brendan Hagin

Monster Voodoo Machine - Direct Reaction Now!

Dr. Dream Records
A few years ago, this band seemed poised to make it big as a techno-metal band, along the lines of, say, Fear Factory or a heavier Nine Inch Nails. After leaving their major label home of RCA, the band has dropped most of the techno and stripped down to reveal some slammin' metal jams! Sounding a little like recent Corrosion Of Conformity, MVM has those chunky chords that pump up ones energy and forces a pit. "Stealth M.F." kicks off the LP with a serious groove, shifting back and forth to mid-tempo beats. Track 3 "Every Filthy Angel" has a heavy Sabbath progression and some cool guitar effects, while the record picks up speed with the manic "Thorn", featuring some killer basic riffs right out of Metal 101. These guys should make a mark with this release, and with dates on the 1998 Ozzfest, they should add fans as well as sell a few units. Voodoo baby!
- Brendan Hagin

Korn - Follow The Leader

Immortal/Epic Records
Korn has returned with a new platter to serve up but fails to satisfy my hunger for heavy music. I loved their first record, featuring some innovative guitar stylings, Scottish bagpipes, and angry yet passionate vocals, all layered over hip hop beats. Their second release, Life Is Peachy, seemed tame in comparison, and with Follow The Leader, they continue to go downhill, although ever so slowly. The LP begins with 12 tracks of silence, cleverly bringing the noise with track number 13 (a reference to the 13th letter of the alphabet, M, for marijuana perhaps?) "It's On!" "Got The Life" is already being tagged as their breakthrough radio hit, but with its disco beat and pointless bass popping, I can't see it a being another "Smells Like Teen Spirit." I was excited to hear they were including a hidden cover version of the classic Cheech & Chong track "Earache My Eye," but the result, even with Cheech Marin himself contributing vocals, comes out average. Guest star Ice Cube saves the trippy "Children Of The Korn," while the bagpipes return in the 15 plus minute "My Gift To You," but the whole record sounds like one long song -- not a bad idea if you're ELP or King Crimson, but boring in the metal ranks. It's hard for me to trash Korn because I liked their style and concept when they first arrived, but they need to branch out a little and try something different.
- Brendan Hagin

Monster Magnet - Powertrip

A&M Records
This LP funkin' rocks! Monster Magnet get better with each release, producing some of the coolest retro-hard rock sounds this side of MC5. Album opener "Crop Circle" sounds like Iggy Pop circa The Stooges 1970, while the title track starts with a little Bo Diddley beat guitar and drums, then kicks up some dust with a catchy chorus and spacey lead work. Main man Dave Wyndorf has really matured in his songwriting, blessing us with tunes like the heavy-acoustic flavored "Space Lord", which has become a minor hit on mainstream rock radio. Track 10 "Tractor" rocks with reckless abandon, all the while proving less is more with its repetitive guitar progression. Put on some headphones and crank up "Goliath And The Vampires," then look up at your blacklight posters and your catapulted back to California Jam '74. As always, stripped down guitars and basic riffs rule this MM record, making it easy to get down and keep on truckin'!
- Brendan Hagin

Institutional Radio Mass Choir - After The Rapture

CGI Records
I'm not religious in any way, but there something cool about gospel music, regardless of what faith you may follow. Gospel is well represented here with this well produced release. You feel like gettin' up and dancing as the LP kicks off with the title track, and it doesn't let up with "Go With It," featuring the excellent vocal stylings of Marie Bohanon. I swear the backing band sounds like Fishbone, with a monster drummer and some tight bass work. Bringing to mind the James Brown church scene in my favorite movie The Blues Brothers, "He Did It For Me" tears it up with some super fast beats and unbeatable energy. Slower pieces like "Look Into Jesus" are a little too urban contemporary for me, but the song does feature some funky jams. The narration pieces are uplifting, telling us folks things do get better, all you need is faith. I'm not about to become a born again Christian or anything, but this CD really gets my spirits up and makes me feel like cuttin' a rug! Marilyn Manson would love it!
- Brendan Hagin

(hed) - Serpent Boy EP

Jive Records
By sampling "I Canít Live Without My Radio" by L.L Cool J, and applying it to the Rock Da Beat Mix on this EP, Hed opens itself for comparisons to another rock & rap alchemist group, the Beastie Boys. Serpent Boy may sound like a refugee from a traveling circus, but Hed is not at all that strange and unusual. Perhaps one day, nobody will even remember the days when the worlds of rock and hip hop were separated.
- Dan MacIntosh

The Sammy Bones Conspiracy - The Sammy Bones Conspiracy

Forget About Records
The Sammy Bones Conspiracy may not be Oliver Stoneís latest movie about the Kennedy assassination, but it is an enjoyable listen, nevertheless. Itís an easygoing blues-rock exercise that features the lovelorn songs and raspy vocals of Tom Ciotti. His approach to matters of the heart sounds not unlike a less hyper version of pub rocker Graham Parker. This music may not catch the attention of conspiracy theorists worldwide, but itís guaranteed to bring down anybody who might be suffering from a speed metal migraine high.
- Dan MacIntosh

Tyrese - Tyrese

RCA/BMG Records
Tyrese is an actor, model, songwriter and musician who also has a need to be a love song balladeer. But much like the world of modeling, Tyrese comes off as one to be looked at and admired, but not listened to, necessarily. These songs of undying affection and love twinkle twinkle, like little stars, without remaining long in the memory, just as shooting stars dash out of sight and are soon forgotten.
- Dan MacIntosh

Voivod - Phobos

Slipdisc/Mercury Records
With songs titles like "Bacteria," "Catalepsy," and "Neutrino," Voivodís music implies that either these boys spend a little too much of their free time reading the bottle labels at their pharmacist, or they have something much deeper than boy-meets-girl stuff going on in their minds. To paraphrase Johnny Lyndon of PIL, this is not an album of love songs. Angry vocals, mixed with even angrier guitars, are surrounded by spooky effects to welcome you into the web of Voivodís nightmare.
- Dan MacIntosh

Grinspoon - Licker Bottle Cozy

Universal Records
Highlighted by tightly articulated guitar riffs and easily understood vocals, this Australian group mixes the moodiness of a band like Faith No More with a solid chunky sound. And with songs like "Champion," they even critique the modern worldís broken ladders of success in the same manner FNM once did. Grinspoon has the advantage over many other champions-in-waiting, in that they can combine their accurate rock instincts with a keen intelligence.
- Dan MacIntosh

Doctor Hadley - Pro-CD 5+

Buzzchunk Records
Doctor Hadley attacks rock & roll with both the delicate hands of a surgeon, and the reckless abandon of a mad scientist. This small medicinal dosage packs the strong side affect of ringing ears and a nervous twitch. Doctor Hadley will appeal to anybody who likes their hard rock with a Gothic feel, or at least anybody who remembers bands like The Cult fondly.
- Dan MacIntosh

Little Feat - Under the Radar

CMC International Records
I thought this band was lost at sea, I hadnít heard from them in so long! Cool album, "people of the Little Feet tribe." My hat is off to you folks for making American rock and roll at its finest! Nice album. This band has always been one of my favorites.
- Michael Hoadley

Molly Hatchet - Silent Reign of Heroes

CMC International Records
Molly Hatchet fans, this band is back and soundiní better than ever! These guys donít f*** around; this is one of the best Molly Hatchet albums. Way cool guitar work. This album will definitely have at least one or two number one tracks on it. Way cool Molly Hatchet album cover, too.
- Michael Hoadley

The Jive All Stars - No Stoppiní (single)

Jive Records
#1 can do without the "n" word. For the most part, musically very funky, lyrically somewhat confused (themselves), but basically a positive message. Slow down, guys.
- Susan Hirt

Cheap Trick - Live at Budokan, The Complete Concert

Epic Records
This is the 20th anniversary of the original release of this things, so the band decided to add the other nine songs that were recorded at the same show to the previously released stuff, and, man oh man, now we have the complete concert!

"High Roller," "California Man," and "Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace" definitely add to the overall excitement. Listening to all of this makes me wanna go see Cheap Trick again. This stuff really kicks some very serious donkey.

- The Wild Card

Gloritine - Cup Runneth Over

RCA Records
Itís not surprising that Gloritine thanks John Fogerty on the liner notes here, because this Tempe, AZ band builds its chunky rock riffs around solid songwriting, in much same way Fogerty does. Sonically, though, its modern sound is more akin to a less feedback drenched Husker Du than it is to Fogertyís roots rock leanings. And like Bob Mould (of Husker), singer Tim Anthonise obsessively airs his book of romantic regrets, in a most delightful musical way.
- Dan MacIntosh

The Clay People - The Clay People

Slipdisc Records/Mercury Records
The Clay People is a band of Metallica-obsessed hard-rockers who specialize in songs about the fear of technology ("Mechanized Mind"), the dark underworld ("Damien Grief"), and the dangers of the modern world ("Car Bomb"). Fat guitar riffs and growled vocals are spiced up by tweaked keyboard effects to give this release an eerie sound. Much of the time, though, this band sounds like a clay idol imitation of its heroes, instead of the real thing.
- Dan MacIntosh

Elusion - Think About It

RCA Records
Elusion is a quartet consisting of two sets of twins who create a hybrid of soft funk and hip hop, yet they canít seem decide which of these styles they want to be. The result is an uneven eleven song disc of repetitive slow groves, saturated with a rapperís attitude. Thereís not enough singing to show off the girlís vocal skills and not enough rap to please any self-respecting rapper. Whatís left is a lot of questions about what this album could have been, had Elusion only made up its mind.
- Dan MacIntosh

Babe the Blue Ox - The Way We Were

RCA Records
Charming is a word that often comes to mind when listening to Babe the Blue Ox. Charming, but with a bite. Singer Tim Thomas writes with the clarity of a poet and the sarcasm of a wry New Yorker. Whether heís singing the praises of playground basketball ("Basketball") or bemoaning the effect lotteries have on the poor ("Lotto Train"), this smart ass Babe never fails to charm the listener.
- Dan MacIntosh

9 Volt - 9 Volt

Crash Records, 102 S. River Drive, Suite 102, Tempe, AZ 85281
What a pleasant surprise for a debut CD. This three piece band has meshed like many bands canít after many years. The sound is a mix of todayís lighter rock with a taste of a harder edge subtly sneaking in most of the songs. All twelve songs are very excellent cuts. Lead singer and guitarist Andy Mitchell has a very distinctive voice which makes you feel like you are listening to him live at a concert.
- Tom DeMann

Green Devil Industry - Green Devil Industry

Firebowl Records/Caprice International Records
Ben Haynes, who wrote and produced this live recording of anger-filled songs, doesnít sound to be all that happy here. This eight song collection (characterized by songs like "Speed of Stupid") is all guitar, bass, drums, muddled vocals, and vitriol. Itís sometimes hard to figure out just what Haynes is going on about, but he seems to be sincere in his rants. One is hesitant, though, to ask this scary guy to explain what his songs are all about -- or to babysit the kids, for that matter.
- Dan MacIntosh

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