Adjective City

Beyond Salvation

Fields of Shame

Nicely done guitar-positive power pop with echoes of the Beatles, Yes, and Traffic. There’s some very interesting keyboard-guitar duets that I found enjoyable, particularly on “Mockingbirds Bleed.” They’ve also an good sense of musical humor with their interpretation of a merry-go-round toilet called simply “Kookie.” Check ‘em out if you’re into jangly pop with a twist. Beyond Salvation, P.O. Box 2234, Miami, FL 33265-2234;

Bio Ritmo

Rumba Baby Rumba!

Triloka/Mercury Records

Hot Latin and swing sounds with a tremendous horn section. Bio Ritmo are equally at home with high-energy traditional Latin numbers like “Yo Soy La Rumba” and “Un Carnaval En La Habana” as they are with the uptempo swing that’s ever so trendy these days, on tracks like “Call Me Up (644-7215).” Standouts include the loungey “You Killed My Love,” the comical “Ugly,” and an interesting reworking of the Champs’ classic “Tequila.” Good stuff. Mercury Records, 825 Eighth Avenue, Eigth Floor, New York, NY 10019

Birchville Cat Motel

Birchville Cat Motel

Drunken Fish

A life inside a hornet’s nest. Someone left the guitar on and the amp on 10. All the car alarms in the world going off simultaneously. Your roommate tells you to turn down the music, it’s giving her a headache. You reply, “What music?” Drunken Fish Records, P.O. Box 460640, San Francisco, CA 94146

The Blaggers

On Yer Toez

Mad Butcher Classics

Re-issue of great early 1990s UK skater punk rock similar to old UK Subs, Sham 69, the Exploited and even the Undertones at times. Amazin’ stuff: “House of the Fascist Scum,” “Skateboard Bob,” “Nee Naples and Die,” and a lot more; twenty-four songs in all, covering two albums. Mad Butcher, Pater-Klepping-Str. 18, 33154 Salzkotten, Germany ;

Core 22

Not Your Size


Pop French import that’s a cross between Altered Images, Serge Gainsbourg, Glen Campbell, Alanis Morisette, and the second Smashing Pumpkins album. “Crocodile” and “Stupid” were the most tolerable songs for me, although their formula is pure success, provided the right people hear this enough times. Mutiny Records, P.O. Box B, New York, NY 10159-000B;



Black Pumpkin

I don’t know what these guys’ problems are, but this is caa-caa. Slow, sappy “pop” with a couple of interesting songs. Interesting because they’re slightly upbeat and one’s a take-off on doo-wop. Not my cup of tea. Black Pumpkin Records, P.O. Box 4377, River Edge, NJ 07661-4377


Left End Girlfriend

Fuzzy, feel-good pop that showcases Fizzbin’s great talents at making the most of being a power trio. Solid songs, honeyed harmonies and more drive than a transcontinental roadtrip make Left End Girlfriend a treat for those that enjoy the likes of Cheap Trick and Material Issue. Fizzbin, P.O. Box 618024, Orlando, FL 32861;

Girl Crazy

Various Artists


Oh yeah! I think I’m in love! What’s not to love about a seventeen-track compilation of girl bands, especially when the bands include the likes of the Eyeliners, the Neptunas (the greatest All-Girl Surf Band on Earth!), the Chubbies, and East Coast Panic? The album has really nice sound quality and even nicer songs. One note: the vinyl version comes with a really nifty photo pull-out, if you’re into that sort of thing. Remedial Records, P.O. Box 684811, Austin, TX 78768

Lost Souls


Nuclear Blast

Very heavy, scary, slow Swedish death metal. What intrigued me about this album was the strange photography inside the jacket. See, there’s an eye at the end of this tentacle and… Dude, it looks like it was taken from life! All the songs are terrifyingly violent (especially “Demonride,” “I’m In League With… “ and “Dead You Will Remain”) and I believe “Skinstripped” starts off with a sample from John Carpenter’s The Thing. Nuclear Blast America, P.O. Box 43618, Philadelphia, PA 19106;


Punk Rock Superheroes

Triple Crown

They aren’t. This is the wimpiest “punk” album I’ve heard. What’s up with the “superhero” crap? Whine, whine, whine is all they do on this album. I don’t care how fast they can play their guitars. Triple Crown Records, 331 West 57th #472, New York, NY 10019

Lux Aeterna

Humming Out Spools of Thread

Magic Eye/Cargo

This sounds like what happens when you live in a house with a studio in the spare bedroom, in the middle of a thriving apartment building scene. Disavowing allegiance to any genre, Lux Aeterna uses bits and pieces of just about everything – arena rock, sub-harmonic Moog riffing, acid folk, Casiotones, freezy jazz, backwards tracking and so on. Like the Beastie Boys and Beck, Lux Aeterna seem to like being independent of any pigeonhole, freeing themselves to experiment with whatever sounds course through their skulls. Cargo Records, 4901-906 Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA 92117-3432




Merzbow often sounds like you slipped in a CD-ROM into your stereo by accident, or like somebody gouged a big scratch on your favorite disc. Not necessarily the most approachable (or hummable) music, but dedicated listening reveals the intricate nature of this noise collage. Unfortunately, there’s little I can say to distinguish this release from previous ones – so to summarize, “New Merzbow!” Relapse, P.O. Box 251, Millersville, PA 17751;

Proud to be Blonde

A Tribute to Blondie

V & V

This appears to be an import, so I don’t know how easily you’ll find it. Nonetheless, if you’re a Blondie fan, this is worth seeking out, since these bands better represent the spirit of the influential “new wave” band than faded disco memories could. Most of these bands actually have a female singer in front of a hard-edged guitar band – I haven’t heard of any of them, but they all do a fantastic job. A rarity worth seeking. V & V; KB<a href=””></a>

Sacrifice Isaac



Way heavy and kind of dull “hard rock.” Sort of Rage Against the Machine with more snotty lyrics. Gave me a headache, to tell you the truth. Mercury Records, 825 Eighth Avenue, Eigth Floor, New York, NY 10019

The Spirit of Cape Verde

Various Artists


Tinder seems to have struck a rich vein of Cape Verdean music, and this anthology summarizes what makes the music from the area unique. Blending several traditions, both European and African, this music ranges between fiery Iberian guitar, laid-back Brazilian chording and elements of African music that alternate between languid and exciting. This is a great collection of music, displaying an array of artists with diverse talents and approaches. Tinder Records, 619 Martin Ave., Unit 1, Rohnert Park, CA 94928;

St. Etienne

Good Humor

Sub Pop

Slick girl Euro-pop, back from its trip hop sabbatical, takes a nose-dive into the Mod Squad era with only the occasional flashback. Sarah Cracknell sounds like peach nectar. Eat your heart out SoBe. Sub Pop Records, 1932 First Ave., Suite 1103, Seattle, WA 98101;

Static 13

Fear Is Your Friend

Self-produced album number two from NYC locals Static 13. Well, some of it rocks (“Scream” – two versions, “Still Born Sunrise,” and their cover of “Magic Carpet Ride”). The rest of it is kind of depressing slower rock with the occasional hook. Most of the songs, especially “Silverachin’,” seem to be about unrequited love, a sad topic. Static 13, P.O. Box 20195 Greeley Square Station, New York City, NY 10001

The Ton Ups

Tune Down

Man’s Ruin

A fun album of jangly trash-rock pop. Good power pop guitars that’s pretty addicting. Top songs for me are “Country Girl” and “Tune Down.” Man’s Ruin Records, 610 22nd Street #302, San Francisco, CA 94107

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