A trip hop nightmare. Despite the fluorescent pink case, there’s something dark, sinister, and even disturbing amidst the seven danceable tracks of WRAP. With heartbeat bass, the infectious rat-a-tat-tats of snares, high-end sounds, and strategic samples. WRAP is the Twilight Zone of the dancefloor, and Bagman your Rod Serling. Invisible Records, P.O. Box 16008, Chicago, IL 60616; http://www.invisiblerecords.com
I don’t understand what this band is about. I expected more power, I guess. Instead, only half the songs have the punk energy I crave. I could handle “The Ballad of Bo & Luke” and “Herve Villechaize” for their novelty quality, but other than that “Sound of Thunder” and “Everybody Loves a Parade” gave me what I needed. The rest of the record, even though Betty Goo have a sharp wit, is too ballady, too limp-wristed, and just too 1990 “college” or “alternative” for me. www.shore.net/~bettygoo
It’s fast, catchy, melodic punk rock that leans quite a ways towards the Fat Wreck/Epitaph side of things. Not really the type of stuff I’m into, but I can see how if you liked that style you might dig these guys. The music’s fast, poppy, and sing-alongable. The recording and vocals could use some work. Nothing at all about this excites me. G.F.Y. Records, P.O. Box 598, Clifton, NJ 07012
Diva Ex Machina
A collection of female-fronted or prominent gothic and cyberpunk featuring bands like 162, Magenta, Battery, Sabotage, Luxt and “Lucid Dementia. According to the liner notes, this is the second volume of “post-industrial Goth,” highlighting the female and female-oriented bands of note. There’s also appearances from Clan of Xymox (they’re still around? far out), Hanzel & Gretyl, Tapping the Vein and Kirlian Camera. If you just can’t get enough cyberGoth, this is a good collection. Interface, www.interfacemagazine.com.
Breed the Killers
Militant extreme metal. That’s about it. Every song on this brutal, aggressive album is ready-made for anyone in need of marching music. Anyone for “anthemic extreme metal”? You’ve got it on “End Begins,” “Filthy Hands to Famished Mouths,” and “One Against All.” “Death Rate Solution” and “Ecocide” will provide hours of excitement for hardcore and extreme music soldiers while they’re planning their next assault on your local venue. That is, if your local venues can handle this kind of music and their message.
Full On the Mouth
Full On The Mouth
A good mix of metal guitars and biting, melodic vocals with dancey, funky, upbeat industrial electronics. Their theme centers on life’s frustrations, relationships and occasional forays into the future. “Future 1970” sticks out as it’s a look back to 1970 when the future we’re now living in was supposed to be full of robots and flying cars. “Rainbow” and “Another” are pretty hard-driving songs, too. “My Infection” is just plain weird. Pioneer Music, P.O. Box 682163, Franklin, TN.
Astroplaning beyond the Hamburg techno stables, Boris Blenn forms a touch-n-go relationship between the martyrdom of the flesh and the quest towards saintliness. Angel bestows infinite satisfaction and joy, a pleasure denied its more virtuous peers. Track by track, groove by groove, sample by sample, a celestial residue will fill your senses, which raises the possibility of favorable conditions for sporting a pair of wings or a gleaming hard on! Blue Room Americas, 1072 Folsom St., Box 469, San Francisco, CA 94103
Hank El Diablo
Bands influenced by Nick Cave’s work are getting harder and harder to find these days. Jacksonville’s Hank El Diablo does a good job of adopting a dark carnival sound, low vocal delivery, and “mad poet in the midst of a lucid moment” lyrical content. Quite different. Hank El Diablo, P.O. Box 51606, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32240-1606; http://www.hankeldiablo.com
Chunky, driving punk stuff from this Lakeland trio. The guitar breaks are nice, but if you’re looking for some chugging, non-stop action, this is the place to be. Too bad it’s less than fifteen minutes. Lameland Records: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rat Ass Pie
I was really disappointed. I thought the Parasites played Misfits’ style punk rock, you know with lots of tight, aggressive punk power chords and an attitude, like what I heard from a band called the Parasites on a punk radio show a couple of months ago. This sounds like a Queers cover band trying to out-wimp the Queers.
White Chocolate Space Egg
Listening to her new record, I thought, “Liz Phair just doesn’t sound as unique anymore.” It’s true, her style has been ripped off and emulated by countless female musicians. But you know, the original is always better than the knock-offs. This new record probably won’t win over her detractors but it certainly should please her fans as she continues an assault on listeners’ expectations with great lyrics, in-your-face attitude, and an amazing guitar hand. Matador Records, 625 Broadway, Twelfth Floor, New York, NY 10012-2319
North Pole Radio Station
Fans of Stereolab will probably be enchanted by the first few tracks’ treatment of blippy analog cabaret. However, Pram is a bit weirder than that, and their nature slowly emerges as the disc plays on. North Pole Radio Station is consistent with previous Pram efforts in that each track seems to build from scratch. Wobbly noise, lush sine waves, musique concrete and smoldering embers among the ashes of the nightclub. Unlike anything else you might hear. Merge Records, Box 1235, Chapel Hill, NC 27514; http://www.mrg2000.com
An evil blend of metal, long hair hardcore and the occasional electronic device. Good song titles like “Hippy Fascist” and “Close to the Enemy,” but I kept hearing a Rage Against the Machine cover band. Some may like that, but it just isn’t my cup of tea.
Four extremely angry, abusive, high-tech death-techno hybrid songs. Man, these dudes are angry. “Do you know what you did to me?!” screams the singer on “Self Loss” or was it “Innocent Whore”? Not that it matters, both are blisteringly brutal. Come to think of it, this entire EP is brutality to the fullest. An excellent glimpse at extremely, extreme metal. 1813 Reatta Lane, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.
With a name that sounds like a Tank Girl character, Bic Runga is my favorite New Zealand singer. Of course I can’t think of another singer from New Zealand, but that doesn’t diminish what I think of Bic Runga. Drive is simply a beautiful album. With lush, simple arrangements and delicate yet powerful songs, this is one terrific record.
Ungodly Amounts of Meat
This is the musical equivalent of living industrial waste. A veritable aural ocean of pig excrement. If you can stand sludgecore noise at it’s ugliest, it’s yours. Songs that said the most to me: “A Man Called Ass,” “Mars, the Angry Red Planet,” “Devil’s Advocate Rebuttal,” and “Lake.” But really, it was too ugly even for my stereo. Wonderdrug Records, P.O. Box 995, Boston, MA 02123
Started off, first couple of songs, with some serious power, real energy and aggressive, melodic guitars. Then, wham! Ugly, slower… Got me in a bad mood. A mood, so sorry, that had me not interested any more. Some good grooves at times, but too much pearl in the jam. Allied Recordings, P.O. Box 460683, San Francisco, CA 94146-0683.
Crossroads & Illusions
Fat Wreck Chords
Dude, I just could not get into this. They sound like a wealthy suburban Bad Religion cover band. The only thing I liked was the last song, “Open Mic,” an instrumental.
Up the Dosage!
A fine compilation of hardcore sludge rock featuring bands like Anal Cunt (“I Sold Your Dog to a Chinese Restaurant”), OHM (“Lick (1000 Viking Swords” wow!), Claymore (“If It Hurts, Repeat It”), Feces Pieces (“Last Rites”), Scissorfight (“Mud and Guts”), and Staind (“Spleen”). If you don’t know what you’re in for, consider that Sam Black Church, Slughog, and Humans Being also show up on this album. Not for mom. Wonderdrug Records, P.O. Box 995, Boston, MA 02123