Kick Bright Zine
Kick Bright Zine Record Review 1998.
These are record reviews by a music-loving fan. These aren't intended to be serious, critical reviews. These are for light and fun reading. I hope to turn you onto something new. All reviews by Jeffrey Howard. More reviews can be found here.

addAdd N To X
On the Wires of Our Nerves CD

I recommend this next band called Add N To X. I am quite impressed with the sound they have created using only synthesizers and moogs and an occasional drum set. At times they remind me of a combination between Stereolab, Trans Am, Fuxa and Silver Apples.... more on the Trans Am side minus the rock. There are no vocals other than cyclon voices (Battlestar Galactica reference!). Two guys and one girl. I am quite enamored with the album art. It can't be just any band that disembowels one of their members with a Rogue Moog through the intestines on their cover. Satellite Records. 12 Ingestre Place Soho, London WIR 3LP.

adAdventures In Stereo
Alternative Stereo Sounds CD

I adore this album. I picked this up as an import (I won't even tell you how much this cost me... not to mention it was just made available domestically! my wallet slaps me.) and I was expecting, from what I read about them, something Stereolabish. Or at least something synthesizer based. To my surprise UKs Adventures In Stereo was neither of my assumptions. Out came eighteen simple, sweet and *short* Beach Boys inspired pop tunes. Clean, *minimal* guitar backed with light bass plucking and an subtle drumming - sometimes no drums at all. Judith, sings a high alto and does all her harmonizing too. All but two or three songs goes over one minute and thirty seconds in time. You'll find plenty of super short gems here. Marina Records. Kassel/Lahnemann GbR. Lindenallee 21. 20259. Hamburg, Germany.

aThe Ailers Set
Terrible Things Happen LP

The Ailers Set is led by Amy Linton formerly of Henry's Dress. Most of the album she plays all the instruments but for some of the album she enlists several other San Fransico indie-popstars including Alicia Vanden Hevvel from #Poundsign#, Wyatt Cusick from Track Star and Yoshi Nakamoto. The lineup seems impressive and the end result is not too bad. It does have what I would call a "Californian" sound. The reverb is heavy on everything all around - the chugging guitars, drums; and heaviest on Amys vocals. The music on 'Terrible Things Happen' is like beach music at a slower pace as if you are going to the beach to lazily drift along the shore rather than party. There are a couple of rockers but for the most part the songs move along slowly like "Army Street" and "Cocksure Whistler," the two songs that jump out at me. Slumberland Records. PO Box 57. Berkely, CA 94712.

All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors
Turning Into Small CD

I picked this up just because I heard about them. They are a light shoegaze-type band a bit high on the treble. Overall I didn't think it was all that special. I'd rather listen to My Bloody Valentine if you know what I mean. I loved the second song "Your Imagination." It's a slow grooving and totally dreamy. It goes on for almost eight minutes. The other song I liked was the offbeat "Emergency Turn Off." It didn't fit in with the rest of the album.... it sounded like something Stereolab would do. Gern Blandsten. PO Box 356. River Edge, NJ 07661.

A.M.P. Studio
Syzygy (Music For Misfits and Malcontents) CD
MissType Dolittle 7"

Richard of AMP is at the forefront of creating ominous, downright frightening textures and layers of sound. The Studio project is just Richard - not the whole band so the overall sound is not as intense or loud as Amp. Whenever I feel like blissing out, any of the Amp projects are my first choice. I like how the art (design and fonts) of the CD looks like "rave" art. AAR. PO Box 17253. London SE19 1WX. UK (CD). Earworm. 8a Penwith Rd. Southfields, London. SW 18 4QF. (7")

April Crash
Let Me Down 7"

I didn't like this too much. The band sounds nice and poppy ala Milo or something pop-punk band like that but the girl singer is not to pleasant on the ears.
Mud Records. 905 S. Lynn Street. Urbana, IL 61801.

Ashland
Laconica Cassette

Ashland would be my friend Mike Baehr from Boston. He was also in Tipili, another Boston band I was a fan of. Last time I was in Boston he handed me this tape he said he made. This cassette he plays all the instruments and recorded at home on his 4 track. Yes, it's lo-fi but do not expect sloppy playing or silly lyrics. All eleven songs are somberly yet skillfully played and the vocals are delivered like they were recorded on the coldest night of winter. I was reminded a bit of The Secret Stars with the way there were 'normal' songs mixed with experimental soundscapes with a venture or two into shoegazing pop. Ersatz Recordings. PO Box 27586. Austin TX 78755-2586.

Bella Vista
4 song 7"

There may not be a cuter sounding band on the planet other than Bella Vista. The songs are sweet, short and simple. Matinee Recordings. PO Box 76302. Washington D.C. 20013.

Bella Vista/The Best Wishes
split 7"

I think maybe this is single of the year. I'm just a sucker for cute Sarah-esque indiepop that sounds like Heavenly. Both bands have a simliar lo-fi sound to them. The Best Wishes are similar to The Softies but with drums, the singer is sweet and sad. One of their songs is a Snowbirds cover! Bella Vista are swoonful. A wonderful record! Turn Up The Treble Records. 29 Concolor Ave. Newton, MA 02158.

Bella Vista
4 song 7"

I know I reviewed this last month but I reread what I said about it and it really lacked the enthusiasm and excitement I have about this super fabulous EP and I just had to write more than two sentences about it. If you like your pop really really cute, not a cheesy cute - but a real undeniable cuteness you'll love Bella Vista to death. When you look up "cute" in the dictionary there should be a picture of the two guys and gal that make up Bella Vista. They're poster kids! They must listen to a lot of Tallulah Gosh and Heavenly. It shows! Sorry if I sound like a total fanboy. I can't be helped. Matinee Recordings. PO Box 76302. Washington D.C. 20013.

Bethany Curve
Gold CD

Ahhhhh shoegaze.... when it's good it's good. When it's not it's really unlistenable. I don't mean to say I think this CD was bad.... I just can't listen to it. I liked two of the soundscapes. The thing is they only take up about eight minutes of a sixty-seven disc. They sound like what The Cure would have sounded like if they went shoegaze immediately after Disentigration. The result is not very pretty. I've yet to make it to the end without skipping songs. The Unit Circle. PO Box 20352. Seattle, WA 98102.

bThe Blacktop Cadence
Chemistry For Changing Times CD

I am really impressed with this album. I'm afraid if I start saying The Blacktop Cadence is a band made up of bassist Heather, guitarist Jack and, uh, two members (drummer George and Chris, the vocalist and guitar) of heavy emocore band Hot Water Music you may think they are another loud rock band. Not the case with this. It's "sonic" in parts like HWM but mostly it's quiet, slow tempo-ed and the lyrics more personal than HWM. And there is some gorgeous cello thrown in for good measure. It was a good idea to include the lyrics because I couldn't understand *anything* he was singing. It works, though. I like it. Keystone-Ember Records PO Box 1798. Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703

Braid
Frame and Canvas CD

Braid has got some of the best lyrics in rock music today..... You have to listen closely (or, like me, follow along with the linear notes) or you'll miss what they are saying. They hide them behind loud, ever shifting cascades of guitars. At times they are really harsh sounding. I The song I like best I thought the opening words went "Guns N' Roses in the car... don't know where you are..." In reality is was "A Dozen Roses!" Silly me! I was hoping Braid was showing their heavy metal roots. I liked other pop songs (only two on this one) "I Keep A Diary." Both of those songs are worth your attention. Braid Live Review. Polyvinyl Records. PO Box 1885. Danville, IL. 61834-1885.

bBright
Blue Christian/Bliss Out Vol. 12 CD

Space-pop band Bright really hasn't released any new material since the beginning of 1996 with their self-titled CD on BaDaBing Records. It was a beautiful record taking space rock, pop, drone and a gazillion delay pedals and making something new, at least to me. In 1997 Bright released a CD of early home recordings (when they were a duo of Mark Dwindell and Joe LaBrecque) which was all right but nowhere near to the material on the first CD, mostly due to production. It was recorded on a four track and had more instrumentals.

They seemed to have taken this approach to recording this 'Blue Christian' album, doubling as part of the Darla Bliss Out Series. They also went back to playing as a duo. The disc starts out as an instrumental drone, guitars delaying and cascading forwards and backwards and free style drumming going into an Oval sounding composition. The rest of the cd follows follows the same mold, like it was a big improv jam in their living room. It doesn't kick in until "Grand Mal" steps up towards the end of the disc. "Grand Mal" was the big payoff for me, the swirling guitars grab hold of a heavy pounding drum line and they take off to the end of the galaxy, blissing all the way. The only song with a vocal comes at the last song, "Not This Not That," a song recorded in 1996.

'Blue Christian' comes recommended but I'd have to say if you don't have any Bright in your music collection, you are better off starting with their debut CD. It's the one with rainbow colors on the cover. That one is a masterpiece. Darla Records. 625 Scott Street #301. San Francisco, CA 94117.

Busy Toby
Me, My Drums and You 7" EP

You don't need to look any further for your energetic, hyper, casio driven popcore. Here is Busy Toby! Don't be surprised if I tell you Busy Toby is made up of Amanda and Joe from Wolfie and Rachel from Sarge. The first song "Me, My Drums and You" is total casiocore.... just keyboard, drums and a healthy dose of tambourine shaking. "Put in the Reel" is more like a Wolfie song. It's the only song they use guitar on. The flipside song is a little slower, less energetic but somehow they still make it fun. Even their slower tunes are peppy. How do they do it? Parasol Records. 905 S. Lynn Street. Urbana, IL 61801.

bBunnygrunt
Jen-Fi CD

" AM Is For Talkin', FM Is For Rockin' "
This is thee record all the cuddlecore kids have been impatiently waiting for. Missouris' Bunnygrunt had the funnest EP that came out in 1994 and made only occasional compilation appearances. It wasn't the same. We wanted Bunnygrunt now, songs all in a row! And now the new record is out, thanque God! Jen Wolfe, from Septophilia fame (heck - they named the record after her!), joined Karen and Matt along the way as the bass player.
Cuddlecore rules! Quote me, please.

Bunnygrunt went over the top with cuteness this album. The song titles are all too fun: "We Suspect He Was Tring To Spell Monkey", "Jenny Not Any Dots" and "Wild Summer, WOW!" Lots of songs about boys and girls, wishes and kisses and summertime. My favorite song is the last one "Just Had Broken-Heart Surgery, Love Won't Bypass Me Again"

Oh, and those who heard the first CD Action Pants! will appreciate the closong punchline. Heh. It got me! Heehee those Bunnygrunt kids.... always fooling around. No Life Records. PO Box 461778. Los Angeles, CA 90046

C-Clamp
Saving Daylight/Shorty 12"

Dreamcore at it's finest. C-Clamps 2 songs on this one sided 12" (an etching is on the flip side) take their time evolving musically slowly into a dreamcore state of wandering slow grooves. Ohiogold Records. PO Box 25441. Chicago, IL 60625-9998

Cadallaca
Introducing Cadallaca CD

This record is really cool! I love their instrument lineup. Cadallaca sports guitar, drums and a farfisa organ and make the most of that set-up with a minimal 60'sesque rock and roll. Kissy (Corin Tucker from Sleater-Kinney) on electric guitar, Junior (sts from the Lookers) and Dusty (Sarah Dougher from The Lookers/The Crabs) are in it. It's really mature as compared to their collective riot grrl days. Riot Grrls do grow up after all.... a little bit. Call it growth. The lyrics are more tender but still have a heart-broken anger. You may glisten over them on a surface listen because most of the songs are groovy and may send you skipping and shaking your hips. K Records. PO Box 7154. Olympia, WA 98507.

Call It In The Air
Just A Morning Thought CD

Nice melodic rock album that wanders the emo/indie rock border line. All the songs flow along, mostly using clean, non-distorted guitars (ala Very Secretary) with a full delivered vocal style I'd compare with Compound Red or Hum. At times he breaks into a SDRE vocal scream, not as often as I would have liked to hear on this record. This is their first full length recording. I'd like to hear the next one already. Outback Entertainment Group. PO Box 780132. Orlando, FL 32878.

The Capital Suite
(Bekampa Tramset) CD

What an assault to the ears! This Boston bands CD is full of loud emo rock that immediately called to mind the band stylings of Braid, Adventures In Immortality and Sonic Youth. Nine songs full of sudden tempo changes, shouting vocals and intertwining guitar lines. Every rock-show kid should be blasting this kind of stuff driving home after shows. It'll keep the energy flowing. If you are into the aforementioned bands you'll dig this CD. Old Colony Records. PO Box 1424. Duxbury, MA 02331.

Congratulations
How We Didn't Get There LP

Jeffrey: "i can't think of anything to say about the congratulations LP!"
Amanda: "well, yr in luck. I just wrote a review. here, use it: This album is cooler than Jesus." -review by Amanda Douberly

Who am I to disagree? This is the first record by these Gainesville, FL moogpopstars. This record is amazing and everyone should get this LP. Think of them on a 60's style pop kinda like the Lily's. It's fun. It'll make you smile. I apologize for the bad review of a good record. Black Bean and Placenta Tape Club. 124 Ventura Avenue. Oxnard, CA 93035.

crCrush 22
s/t cassette

Anything I write won't do any justice to the adorableness of this cassette. Casio driven pop Gainesville band Crush 22 gave this tape away after their performance the Florida Popfest. I think it was a crime to just take one it's soooo good. Everything is just pleasant.... the groovealong drumming, the quiet whisperings of estelle, the delayed guitars, and we can't forget the memorable melodic keyboard lines! Simply awesome! This five song tape was recorded by Michael Pecchio (Fourhead) on a 4-track last January. I highly recommend this. Send a dollars (yes that's $1.00 ppd) to get this right now! Crush 22. 602 NW 13th Terrace. Gainseville, FL 32603. http://www.myspace.com/crush22theband

Discount/Shotwell Coho
Figuritas 45 singles series split 7"

Another good record from pop punk Florida band Discount. It comes out after their latest full length but the song is a little old (May 1996) but packs that Discount punch! Shotwell Coho are almost similar but are more hardcore/noisy. This is a limited edition 7" with the intention to put this 7" records series onto a CD. What Else? Records. PO Box 3411
Dayton, OH 45401

Discount/Crettins Puddle
Digital Biscuit split CDEP

Crettins Puddle are from Australia. I'm not sure what to say about them since I am really unschooled about their genre of punk. I heard a Queers song on the radio tonight and then I listened to this. They had that kind of sound, ultra fast drums, tight bass lines and metal-treble sounding guitars. They remind me of California punk bands. The band you most likely are coming for is the Discount portion. Discount is thee best pop punk band around today. Not just my opinion. Nonstop touring has just increased their following and they are starting to gather a larger attention and recognition. About the CD: two of their songs were written and recorded on the road and are exclusive to this release. One is a rocker and the other is just Alison singing and Ryan on guitar. The other two songs come off their 1997 album 'Half Fiction.' Shock Records at: 24 High St. Northcote 3070 Australia.

dThe Doleful Lions
Motel Swim CD

The place card on this in the record store said something like "cute adolescent boy in love indiepop." I purchased it on that description alone. I had a little hesitation because I wasn't a big fan of anything on their label (Mud Records not included!). I got home put it in. I never made it to the end of the third song. I took it out shelved in in my "D" section and thought I'd never listen to it again because I didn't like it. About a month later I played it again and this time something just clicked. I think this album is brilliant. The once annoying nasal wavery thin vocals grew a charm. But it was the words to "Motel Swim" and "Hang Around In Your Head" and "All Winter Long" that got me in the end! They were supersweet dreamy boy loves girl. They were perfect behind the fun charismatic up tempo North Carolina rock the band was playing. "Hang Around In Your Head" is one of the best songs in 1998. I *love* this. I do.......... Parasol Records. 905 S. Lynn Street. Urbana, IL 61801.

dThe Donnas
American Teenage Rock 'N' Roll Machine LP

Have you ever sat down and listened to a record by a band you never heard and as listening to it you were so amazed by it you were speechless and wandered the streets cursing out loud saying "goddamn! I can't believe this?"
This is that record.

I saw this record in the store during Popfest. I was instantly obsessed, the cover was so sleazy yet cute. I did end up picking this album up after seeing them on tour, a week after seeing the album in the store. And ohmigod this is CLASSIC!!!! It rocks! It's cute AND sleazy! C'mon all the girls named Donna in a band? They all wear shirts that say their names with a initial for the last name to distinguish them. And -get this- it sounds exactly like the very first Motley Crue record!!!

The lyrics were all about partying, getting some action, coming home late and smoking Cheeba cigarettes. I was jawdopped even when Donna R threw in a Mick Mars guitar lick in "You Make Me Hot." That was it! This is greatness! Lookout Records. PO Box 11374. Berkley, CA 94712-2374

Empress
Seven Song 7"

Seven dead quiet tunes grace this EP from a newish Leeds, UK band with a former Boyracer member in it. I think they are a duo. A guy and a girl. It reminds me a bit like mixture of Nord Express, Movietone and Low. The girl sings pretty and the songs ultra slow, leaving you with a fragile feeling. 555 Recordings. PO Box HP41. Leeds LS6 4XN.

emEmpress
s/t LP

Let's talk about being becoming fragile, when hearing music can leave your body shaking and fingers twitching across goose pimpled skin. Or when the sound and tones don't leave your head. Beautiful, yes, but not in the right direction of healing. Empty, damaging, yet it's still beautiful. Even the cover comes with a warning not to get it wet or it'll ruin. This Empress LP may as well be my favorite record of the year. It calls to mind the sparseness of Low and mysteriousness of Movietone, a little more lo-fi with the absolutely breathtaking and heartachingly fragile voice of Nicola (formerly of Boyracer and Hem). It seems to be pretty much her project with help from two other Boyracer friends Matty (guitar) and Steward (drums). Sixteen songs to be moody too..... no melody, just simple guitar strumming, leering organ and piano lines and the occasional brush drum backdrop.... and that voice. If you aren't shivering by the time Nicola sings "don't give up on me..." well, then the world is a perfect place and there is no unhappiness. 555 Recordings. PO Box HP41. Leeds LS6 4XN. Domestic release on the Pehr Label.
 

etEthel Meserve
The Milton Abandonment CD

This album is a ride! Ethel Meserve broke up before this album came out. It seemed they were already "legendary" with only one 7" and a amazing split 7" on Tree Records as part as that labels Post Marked series. The music is a disonant, complex yet akward song arrangements that tend to go into long (6-7 minutes) emo barrages. I wouldn't go so far as to call them "emo." When I listen to this I think more along the lines of Sonora Pine if they were made a little more loud. Ethel Meserve even has strings introing and bring the songs to a close in a gorgeous way. The production puts the vocals so far back into the sound they are barely audible. This is a completely original sound.
Tree Records. PO Box 578582 Chicago, IL 60657.

etyEthel Meserve
Tamsen/Onward Foster 7"

The new single from the recently reformed Ethel Meserve rocks out. The two songs are a lot like the one on the Tree Records split 7" they had. The songs flow a lot better, not as disjointed as the songs on their CD The Milton Abandonment. Caulfield Records. PO Box 84323. Lincoln, NE 658501.

Flowchart
Flutter By Butterfly 7"

Go out immediately to seek this record! I'm serious! I don't even know what/how to decribe these two latest songs by Flowchart. I was sitting on the floor spacing out to these gorgeous collages of sounds: wavery guitar sounds, multiple vocal loops (speaking and singing), happy apple (remember those?) sounds, chimes, groovy bass lines. Wurlitzer Jukebox. 50 Queensway, Hurley. Atherstone Warks CV9 2ND

Fonda
Music For Beginners EP

I remember Elastica. I remember Heavenly. So does Fonda apparantly. Don't think Fonda are a style ripoff band. I found this to be a pleasant EP filled with girl/boy harmonies, buzzing guitars and organ blips and beeps. I was wondering if Fonda was indeed a UK band and learned they were from California! Wow. They have a lovely UK pop sound going on here. Fonda Website. Top Quality Records. PO Box 461429. Los Angeles, CA 90046.

The Freshmakers
Like Hell Cassette

File this in the Archers of Loaf/Naiomi's Hair type aggressive indie rawk. Houstons The Freshmakers don't sing- they yell (does this make them emo?). The faster songs are rocking and dare I say it: fun. But yikes the slower, more "sensitive" songs are quite unsightly (or whatever the hearing word would be). Stupid Gaijin Records. 2303 Albans Street.. Houston, TX 77005.

fuxFuxa
Accretion CD

I like Fuxa a lot. In fact, a heckava lot. They take instrumental Pink Floyd influenced themes and sounds and add pop elements to make the most enjoyable space-out compositions. This Accretion CD is a collection of brand new songs and several previously releases singles and compilation tracks. Included is "City" and "Metro" from a split 7" with Bright that came out on Darla Records in 1997. It was that 7" that got me into Fuxa in the first place. All the songs differ from one another. They've got lounge style numbers, blips and beeps songs and percussion heavy "rockers." Fuxa has several full length albums out and this is the one I would recommend first - other than the 'Venoy' EP, one of my favorite CDs - ever. Mind Expansion. PO Box 725161. Berkeley MI 48072.

Fuxa/Superfalling Star
split 7"

I can't believe my ears! The Fuxa song is awesome. The first part sounds like a summertime The Sea and Cake song then turns into a drum machine and elevator beeping sounds. I keep expecting a voice to call out "Floor Four." Superfalling Star are an Australian band that I'd say is a mixture of Fuxa and Windy and Carl with a heavenly singer strikingly similar to Mazzy Star. This 7" is limited to 1000. Drive-In Records. PO Box 888211. Grand Rapids, MI 49588

gaGaze
So Sad (To See Good Love Go Bad) 7"

I would really like to hear more "old school K Records" style indiepop. I don't seem to find as much anymore which is why I get excited over hearing Gaze. The three songs on this EP are all stylistically different. The first song is in a Tallulah Gosh/Tiger Trap vein. The second (a Crayon cover) is total pop punk in approach. It's like they listened to modern 50s rockanddrone masters Upside Down Room and made it girl style. My favorite song is last. It's a sad song (Everly Brothers cover) and Rose Melbergs (see review) backing vocals are the acheyist. I also love how this record is on pink colored vinyl. Septophilia Records. PO Box 63058. St. Louis, MO 63163.

Geoff Farina
Usonian Dream Sequence CD

Now I know where all those songs I saw Geoff Farina (Karate/Secret Stars) perform on the So Low tour with Jenny Toomey in summer 1996 have ended up. Usonian Dream Sequence is just Geoff playing quiet, introspective tunes on acoustic guitar with backing electric guitar solos. It's not loud like Karate or experimental like Secret Stars. Recommended if you like the 'Geoff only' Secret Stars songs.
Geoff Farina's So-Low Tour (1996) Southern Records. PO Box 577375. Chicago, IL 60657.

The Gloria Record
Grace, the Snow Is Here/(And Is It Ever?) 7"

This band has pretty big shoes to get out of. One half of The Gloria Record was one half of Mineral. Guess which parts? The singer/songwriter/guitarist Christopher Simpson and the bass player Jeremy. It's pretty hard to start a new band with that combination and come up with something different. One of the things Mineral had going for them was style, you could tell by just the bass or guitars it was Mineral even before the vocals came in. The vocals were always a dead giveaway. Chris has a distinct strain to his singing. On this 7" from the first post-Mineral project, I'd have to say they still sound like Mineral. I'm positive as they grow as a new band the departure will become more recognizable. But for now, it's seems to be more of the same sound. If you liked that sound then you'll love these two songs. Crank! Records. 1223 Wilshire Blvd #823. Santa Monica, CA 90403.

Godzuki
Your Future/Our Bears Electric? 7"

It's time for a little space rock boogie from Michigans finest space popstars. "Your Future" speeds along with electronica goodness and "Our Bears Electric" is such an awesome song. It sounds like reggae from the end of the galaxy. You must hear that song. It's great.
Motorway Records. 3-2-18-2C Shioyaki Ichkawa. Chiba 27201 JAPAN.

Hankshaw
Everyday I Wish You Harm EP
Nothing Personal CD [reissue]

There's something about Hankshaw...... on one hand there's the music, a guitar driven melodic-poprock (ala Velocity Girl, Pohgoh, Discount) of nonstop energy with an distinct "pretty" vocal delivery. Behind the music, however, lies something a little eerie. The lyrics reflect a strong bitterness and an all-around jadedness that you can't tell if it's rooted in sadness or anger. Over the powerpop music you hear lyrics like "oh, how I despise the things you do and say/the way you opened me up wide/girl, I'm gonna make you pay" or "he deprived the only way that he'll feel better/he relieves his pain with razors/hoping to join her in the sky." Thing is, they are almost disguised by the sweet voice. Yikes. All the words are this way. It's a scary look at self-analyzing because they seem so personal, not like words or stories for their own sake. There's a cohesiveness to them (on the Nothing Personal CD) where you can make out what has happened in this persons life and just how he feels and thinks about all that happened. The EP on Doghouse Records just came out. It has four songs, including an awesome cover of Pat Benetars "Hit Me With Your Best Shot." The camp at No Idea had enough sense to rerelease their 1996 full length 'Nothing Personal.' Both are great and recommended highly. Hankshaw Webpage. Doghouse Records. PO Box 8946. Toledo, OH 43623. No Idea Records. PO Box 14636. Gainesville, FL 32604.

Hum
Downward Is Heavenward CD

This is a good record. I've been a long time Hum fan and I never thought they would make a better record than Electra 2000 but hearing this.... I now think otherwise. This one is my favorie. The sonic noise is more blazing and the lyrics more sweet. Love songs from the depths of the universe should sound exactly like this. "Apollo" is a heart wrenching gorgeous song. RCA Records.

Ida
Losing True EP

Another superb effort from Americas candidate for emotional heavyweight champions of the world. Or call them the Fleetwood Mac for the 90's (think about it!). I'll just settle calling them one of my all-time favorites. Of the five songs on 'Losing True', you're getting the "compilation" stylings like they've done over the past year like with the 'Ten Small Paces' and 'Ida Retsin Family' albums... all the songs stylistically different from one another. I love the two songs ("Best of the Belated" and "Turn Me On") from the New Jersey sessions. They are "rockers".... "Turn Me On" being a *sexy* rocker. Oh, yeah....... mmmmmmm..... Make it so good. My Life Is An Ida Song Fanpage. Bingo Records. 611 Broadway Suite 541. New York, NY 10012.

The Ida Retsin Family
Volume 1 CD

The Ida Retsin Family is all the members of Ida, Retsin and Beekeeper and violinist Ida Pearle in various states of musical incest. I admit, it took some time to warm up to it. I was expecting more of a collaboration effort between the bands. Out of 10 songs, only 3 are what I know to be Ida songs. I like first Ida song "Tales of Brave Ida." The cover tune of Lindsay Buckinghams "Save Me A Place" is really really really good. There are a lot of 'just Retsin' songs. I'd rather not have to wade through them as I wait for the next Ida song. I'd rather listen to any of their other Ida CDs. Don't get me wrong - I like Retsin and I like this album, but I wonder if it could have been better if there had been more of a collaboration. It wouldn't be a starting point for getting into Ida. Oh yes, the BeeGees cover is fabulous. Muss My Hair Records. PO Box 1266. NY, NY 10013.

The Jazz June
They Love Those Who Make the Music CD

I can already tell you this will be one of my all time favorite road trip albums of choice. A mixture of emo and sonic rock and roll. They assault with an arsenal of three guitarists and lyrics you can sing along with (in some cases yell a little :)) The drumming on this is AWESOME!!! This is one of the best albums to come out this year hands down. Workshop Records. 5233 Guelph Line, RR#2 Milton, ON. Canada. L9T2X6.

The Jazz June
The Boom, The Motion and the Music CD

I had just discovered their fantastic first album (They Love Those Who Love The Music) a couple of months ago and I learned they put out another one. It was one of those immediate "I must go out right NOW and get it." I did just that and lucky for me the record store had it. It's pretty much takes off where the first one off, loud melodic rock and roll, passioned vocals. My only real complaint that is only six songs short. The Jazz June leave my ears ringing. I play their music way too loud. Workshop Records. 5132 Cedar Spring CT RR#3. Cambellville, ON. Canada.

Jejune
This Afternoons Malady CD

"i'll hold your hand because you rock"
If anyone has heard any of Jejunes other material (like 1997s 'Junk' CD) the new CD will shock you. The sound is such a departure it's hard to recognize that this is, in fact, Jejune. The "emo" rock aspect of 'Junk' abandoned for a wall of sound, blasting and glittery guitar cascading in swirling dynamics. A friend of mine, unfamiliar to them likened them to Versus. I thought about that and I agreed. They use girl/boy vocals, manic dynamic and a pop sensibility with the ability to know when to turn the "rock" on and have an unapologetic use of over-the-top guitar solos, an art form long considered silly. Joseph Guevara pulls them off without being goofy. A bunch of the songs reminded me of the newest Spinanes album.

I love 'This Afternoons Malady' but none of the songs impacted me as strongly as the songs off their first CD. How can anyone top "Grayscale?" They didn't have this one song they do live that gave me goose bumps last time I saw them. I was waiting impatiently for months to hear it on record but it wasn't on this album.... I'm afraid I'll have to catch them on tour to hear it. I won't complain about that at all because they are one awesome live band. Jejune live review (Nov 1998). Big Wheel Recreation. 325 Huntington Ave. #24. Boston, MA 02115.

Jen Wood
No More Wading CD [reissue]

This isn't exactly new. 'No More Wading' is a reissue of a cassette release from Radar Light Records late 1996 but the goof folks at Tree Records had enough sense to get this more available. Jen Woods songs are breathtaking and heartbreaking. I can't remember listening to an album and have words reach in and grab my insides, twisting them. Something like what happens when you listen to Ida's music. The two aren't really that dissimilar (especially when compared to 'Tales of Brave Ida'). Just Jen Woods bittersweet voice and acoustic guitar. If you like music that gives out "chills" then you don't need to look further. This is it. When you hear songs like "Bronze Wand" and "Imperfect" then you'll know. Tree Records. PO Box 578582. Chicago, IL 60657.

Jen Wood/Tim Kinsella
split 7"

I've done double and triple takes on this Jen Wood song. Who is Jen Wood???? She's fabulous. I'll say that. Her singing at times forceful yet other phrases he's heartbreaking fragile. If you like Ida you'll really get into Jen Wood. Tim Kinsella (Joan of Arc singer) does a cover of The Promise Rings "A Picture Postcard" which Tim says if he had wrote it he'd call it "Forget the Fuck Away From Me." It's performed on acoustic guitar with Tim 'interpreting' the guitar lines. I'm afraid I don't get what he is doing. If anyone can point to to an interview with him explaining his art let me know. Joan of Arc Live Review. Tree Records. PO Box 578582. Chicago, IL 60657.

Karate
Operation: Sand/Empty There 7"

Karate is back to being a trio. This teaser single to the upcoming full length strongly shows the change. No studio overdubs - just what you would get if you saw Karate live, slow, heavy with imaginary pauses. The two soungs even have the feel of the early 7"s as on the Self Starter Foundation record, the drums are slow and pounding, the bass fierce and upfront and Geoff Farinas guitar sounds both sweet and hard. If the full length is anything like these two songs...... wow... slowness never packed such a punch. Southern Records.
PO Box 577375. Chicago, IL 60657.

The Laces
Thank You and Goodbye CD

I never really got into the whole solo indierock boy lo-fi 4-track whatevers and musings. Most of what I heard was horrid and unlistenable. Is a cassette full of thirty-five songs with different versions of the same song (and they were dragged out to the point of annoyance, too) really necessary? Does anyone need eighty songs all about the same girl who broke their heart? I don't think so. When The Laces showed up at my doorstep my first thought was "Oh, I'm not going to like this." I was wrong. From the opening acoustic guitar strums and a delightful piano line I began to think "Hey, this isn't too bad." The rest of the CD comes across as a mix of Built To Spill (esp in the vocals) and the sweetness of Grit. Although the disc drags a little in parts, there's a few moments to make this a worthwhile listen. Cool homemade artwork. The Laces Webpage. Land Phil/Mighty Feeble Records. PO Box 603. Iowa City, IA 52244.

The Ladybug Transistor
Today Knows/Massachuttes 7"

"Massachuttes" is my favorite Ladybug Transistor song. The thing is, it's a BeeGees cover tune. They played it on tour and I fell in love with their version. I had to find this song on record (it's wasn't on any of their previous records) and it is now available.... thank goodness. I love how they use strings, saxophones, trumpets farisas in their songs. Did I mention all the guys and gals in Ladybug Transistor are adorable? Merge Records. PO Box 1235. Chapel Hill, NC. 27514

Make*Up/Lung Leg
split 7"

Hmmmm. I don't remember if the all girl group (from Scotland) Lung Leg sounding like this live. I only remember their "gimmick." Their song on this split 7" sounds like UK progressive rock circa 1988. The Make Up, from Washington DC does a screeching rock gospel bit that screams "Pow to the people!" Get up and dance! Make*Up/Lung Leg Live Review. Vesuvius. PO Box Glasgow G4 9YZ. Scotland UK.

Mathlete
Teleport Cassette

That Wolfie side project MATHLETE is too awesome! It's a duo: Mike, the guitarist for Wolfie and his friend Dan. Together they make an 100% fun 80's pop style, taking no prisoners and no apologies with their buzzing and wandering casios, funky fresh keyboard beats, and distorted vocals. Oh yeah, tambourines! Of all the new releases I've heard lately, this has been in constant rotation and probably will be for a long time. In fact, it's the only thing I listen to in the car these days. Mike even curses on a song! I couldn't believe it! I suggest you order this soon because the label only made 200 of them. In A Lighthouse Cassettes c/o Carelton Peck. 13587 Osprey Pt. Dr. Jacksonville, FL 32224.

The Mercury Program
Small Projects/Lights Out In Georgia 7"

Attention indie rockers. May I have your attention please? Are you into bands like Shellac or June of '44? Do you like the worship the quiet/loud songwriting of Slint? If you answer yes to any of the previous questions you will be interested in The Mercury Program. They are here to amaze you, and you alone. You'll want to hide them away hoping you can keep them "yours." In the end you'll have to share this band with friends because they are too amazing to be kept quiet. The two songs on this 7" single are full of restraint, uncontained energy and outburst. It's math rock that burns like imploding stars. This is a darn good record. The Mercury Program Live Review. Boxcar Records. PO Box 1141. Melbourne, FL 32902-1141.

Mineral
End Serenading CD

Mineral broke up, oh, about eleven months ago. They recorded a second album before their breakup tour last fall. It took over a year for this document to reach fans. The production is amazing and when I listen to it I wonder how *great* their first album could have been if it had the same production as End Serenading. We'll never know. No lyric sheet was included, another shame because the singer isn't the most intelligible singer. This is excused because he has written some pretty emotional gems on the first album, of friends, growing up and love. I would really like to know what he is saying here.
I don't want to slag the music but the Sunny Day Real Estate influence is too intense. I like all the songs, they are pretty much slow tempo, clean sounding guitars, chugga chugga bass ala The Wedding Present. Even when they're loud it's still pretty quiet.
What I would really like is a little more time to take End Serenading in. I'm sure given time Mineral will take on their own identity. Texas Is The Reason did. Why not Mineral? It was evident on 1995s Power of Failing they had something "more." I just need more time to find it in this one last document. Mineral Live Review. Crank! Records. 1223 Wilshire Blvd #823. Santa Monica, CA 90403.

moMoped
The Horrible Truth About Moped CD

In 1996 I came across a gem of an album called "Tommorrow Will Be Better." It was described as being a mix of The Blake Babies and Superchunk so I thought it would be good to check out. It turned out to be one of my favorite albums.... never have I made a roadtrip without that CD blaring in my car. Over time I snatched up their 7"s. I thought Moped was just great. But like most bands they break up before their time. Moped was one of these. Vital Cog Records convinced the band to compile an album together of unreleased material. This is what this CD is. In addition to the early unreleased recordings they included the b-sides from their 7"s and the entire "Naked, Sharp and Plastic" recording session, their last recording, which alone should be essential listening if you love boy/girl pop. Vital Cog Records. PO Box 270. Kendall Park, NJ 08824.

The Pastry Heros
Horn Rim Fury EP

I wouldn't look to Arizona for shimmering pop bands but here are The Pastry Heros, shining more than a mirage in a desert. This is a little something real than a mirage. All five songs on the EP are simply adorable in a Cardigans/Velocity Girl way. There's not a mediocre song in the bunch and believe me, you will have to listen to this at full volume. Submersible Recordings. PO Box 616. Tempe, AZ. 85280

peeP.E.E.
The Roaring Mechanism CD
Honey Bear Records 7"

Don't expect to hear the same record as 1996s 'Now, More Charm and Tender' on March Records. Between now and then San Franciscos Pee changed their name (slightly) to P.E.E. and changed the overall sound a bit..... not forgetting to make silly song titles titles like "I Can't Wait 'Til I Get Rickets" and "The Rewards of Gourmet Dining." Maybe they are a little more mature sounding both musically and lyrically. They aren't as frantic or jumparoundable but dang (!) they are still fun!

I really can't explain how P.E.E. sounds. I've tried before and failed. Their sound is too unique. The dual guitar stylings of Jim Stanley and Kelly Green are contrasting and disjointed like Ethel Meserve and their vocals are like an aggresive Versus interplay.
They redid (properly) one of the bonus tracks from the first CD ..... they aptly called it "Track Sixty-Six", where it did fall on the tracklisting. Of all the songs, I love best "Yell If I Miss Mortiis." It is gorgeously sung by Kelly Green. Absolutely Kosher Records (CD) 417 Frederick St. San Francisco, CA 94117. Honey Bear Records (7") PO Box 460346. San Francisco, CA 94146.

Pohgoh
In Memory of Bab CD

I think I'm ready to declare this as my favorite record of the year. I really don't want to end up saying something like "this is sooooo awesome" but I think I will: this is sooooo awesome. Okay, I said it. It must be true. Seriously, this is one emotional and fun album from Tampa Bay's (FL) pop band Pohgoh who take a lesson or two from Velocity Girl and Mineral but I would choose Pohgoh over both those bands - no contest. Singer Susie Richardsons (ex-Stitch) voice climbs into the stratosphere like angels. Her lyrics are personal and introspective and are high on the chill factor (aka goosebump-giving scale).
Outback Entertainment Group. PO Box 780132. Orlando, FL. 32828

#Poundsign#
Wavelength CD

I figured I have listened to the new (and first) full length from San Francisco pop trio Poundsign about ten to fifteen times. I can't get into it. They went a little away from being guitar dependent to more keyboard based. I saw them on their tour of the east coast a few months back and thought they were really good. I just can't listen to the songs Stephen sings. Sorry. His voice cracks and sounds awkwardly out of tune.... constantly. Alicia, on the other hand, sings beautifully. It's not a bad record.... I remember liking their previous singles and compilation tracks. This is for fans of bands like Holiday Flyer and Shoestrings. They fit in well with them. Fantastic. PO Box 4492. Ann Arbor, MI 48106.

Proudentall/The Anniversary
split 7"

Both Proudental and The Anniversary (both from Kansas) seem to rock out on this single. The Anniversary are a little more poppyrock, similar Silver Scooter, using boy/girl vocals. Proudental rock out. Period. Paper Brigade Records. PO Box 27053. Shawnee Mission, KS 66225

The Puddle Jumpers, LTD.
Beating of a Man on Fire + 1 7"

Delightful sunshiney poprock from Boston. Front man/guitarist Jay Cox borrows friends from a couple of other Boston bands (including the two guitarists from The Shyness Clinic to be the rhythm section and the singer/guitar from Sidereal is the second guitarist) to make up The Puddle Jumpers LTD. The vocal styling reminds me of Alex from Small Factory and they have the sonic sounding guitar playing and dynamics of Versus. This single did not leave my record player for a week. It's that good. Reverse Curve Records PO Box 2224. Woburn, MA 01888-0324.

Red Monkey
Kill Rock Stars Mail order Freak Series.

Wow. This rocks! It's really freakin' loud! My ears hurt! Red Monkey are total rockfest 1998 like The Talking Heads were 1979. I'm not sure what that means but the bass player is rocking-out Unwound style. You'll find definite Kill Rocks Stars material here. Kill Rock Stars. 120 NE State #418. Olympia, WA. 98501.

Rex
3 CD

This is an absolutely gorgeous indierock album brought to you by Curtis Harvey, Doug Scharin and Phil Spirito who are the band Rex. I find it works well with early mornings. Think slow rock ala Coedine, or a more rocking Low (you can only be....) with laid back lazy vocals with harmonizing. The band is the basic guitar-bass-drums outfit but they use guest musicians playing cello, viola, violin and bazouki. Violinist Julie Liu lays down some dreamy string sections, fitting perfectly into the music. Bundy K. Brown (Tortoise, Directions) plays guitar and samples as well as engineer/produce this album. Southern Records. PO Box 25529. Chicago, IL 60625

roRocketship/Capsule Giants
Split 7"

New Rocketship? Oh mi! It's not the same sounding Rocketship from 1995 but it's definitely got the same sad-mood bliss going on. I love it. Nice production.
Cardinal Records. 1-32-10 Daizawa
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. 155-0032. Japan

Rose Melberg
Portola CD

If there was one singular person I would single out as being the princess of the pop world I would pick Rose Melberg. From Tiger Trap, Go Sailor, Gaze to The Softies her voice and style is one of the most recognizable. Her bittersweet words unforgettable. Double Agent Records has compiled a collection of Roses rarities recorded from 1994 through 1997. Including a song played with her parents (her mom also has a lovely voice), two Tiger Trap songs that the band never recorded together. She covers The Every Brothers "Devoted To You", which is the dreamiest song on this CD. The Beatles, Byrds, and Buck Owens/Rose Maddox are covered. Also included are songs previously released on previous Double Agent singles (The Three Peeps 7" and the duet with Dustin Reske from Rocketship). Even dad approves. My dad listened to it and commented "Who is this? She's got a pretty voice." Double Agent Records. PO Box 82. Cambridge, MA. 02140.

Saturnine
Mid The Green Fields CD

I like all these slowcorepop bands. They're so pretty, you know? Bands like Aden, Kincaid or Low. NYCs Saturnine fits right in there. 'Mid The Green Fields' is slow and reflective, a bit somber. Perfectly capturing what oncoming winter would sound like. Jen Baron, who doubles with The Ladybug Transistor, plays guitar. Also a couple of other Ladybugs had a hand in the production of this album: Gary Olson recorded it and played a little trumpet and Sasha Bell plays flute on one song. Victoria Land Records. 336 Sixth Avenue. Brooklyn, NY 11215.

The Secret Stars
Genealogies CD

The Secret Stars will amaze people all over again. The "experimental pop" duo of Geoff Farina and Jodi Buonanno have woven together a mismatched collection of sounds and emotions by remaking "older" songs and using outside help from other "secret stars" to create new compositions.

The album starts out two and a half minutes of noise through blown out speakers and delay then goes right into a sweet remake of "Shoe In," a song that originally appeared on a self released cassette in 1994. Ida got a hold of that song and added it to their live show. TSS also rerecorded versions of "Melt" and "Some Sinatra."

Jodi and Geoff enlisted outside help from Gavin McCarthy (Karate drummer), Ted Leo (Chisel) and Buick Prentice to make an Al Green inspired boogie jam called "Sister, Brother."

Admist the experimental excursions a few emotional, touching pop tunes TSS are know for shine through and grab for your heart. Like "The Vitamin-V" and "Back in the Car." Shrimper. PO Box 1837. Upland, CA 91785.

The Silly Pillows
New Affections CD

I first heard the Silly Pillow a couple of years ago when a friend gave me a bedroom-recorded 7" called 'When She Gets Home' that was kinda kooky with keyboard pianos and guitars and cute, yet mature, lyrics. They were like All About Chad without the blatant self-parody. They were creating something I thought was sincere and real.
I haven't heard any of their other CDs or singles released after that first 7"until I got this new full length called New Affections. Their sound was the same 60's inspired pop but had no trace of the bedroom recording.
But do you know what? They translate even more beautiful in the studio. They added more members and became a full out project. The tunes are still have charm and are complete with tremoled-out guitars and pianos and triangles(!) and the boy/girl sung lyrics so so so so adorable. Can you resist a song called "I Met Her At the Popfest?" Did I mention the Silly Pillows are from Friendsville, PA? Punchline! Little Teddy Recordings. Mullerstrabe 11. 80469 Munchen, Germany.

Sonny Sixkiller
I'm In The Band CD

I think I found a new record to accompany me on all my driving trips. Kara from Moped formed a new band after Moped broke up called Sonny Sixkiller. Good news is: it sounds exactly like Moped! So, it's fun multiplied by one hundred. They seem to work like Moped too. Kara and Matt share singing duties. Matt's songs and voice tend to go off in an Evan Dando mode. The overall feel of this album reminds me of the Blake Babies (circa Sunburn). This has cute artwork by Greg Fiering (Migraine Boy). Vital Cog Records. PO Box 270. Kendall Park, NJ 08824.

The Spinanes
Arches and Aisles CD

Rebecca Gates = sexy music. She almost ranks up there with Sade. Is that tacky to say? Anyway, no one has a clue how much I was anticipating this CD. I never thought The Spinanes would ever record again since Scott Plouf (the drummer) left the band. He was half the band but not half the songwriting - that was Rebecca.

Well, she got up and left Portand and moved to Chicago. Although Rebecca plays most of the instruments herself, she does call on friends and other Chicago notables to help out on drums, bass, vocals and organ. Right off the bat you hear the 'Chicago sound' influences. The first song "Kid In Candy" begins with a John McEntire percussion sounds then busts into classic Spinanes sound. You won't find another 'Manos.' It's more like 'Strand.' Overall pretty quiet and subdued. I wasn't disappointed at all. This one's a winner. Sub Pop Records. PO Box 20645. Seattle, WA. 98102.

Starflyer 59
The Fashion Focus CD

I stopped getting excited over new music from Starflyer 59 for a couple of years because every album, to me at least, were just like the one before. Jason Martin is good at what he does but there didn't seem to be much diversity or progress in his body of work. That's why 'The Fashion Focus' surprised me. It was noticably different. I can't quite pigeonhole just what it is quite yet. Maybe it's more "light" and more "easy listening" overall. Not too dark. Not too sad. Not too distorted. In fact, almost all the guitars are non-fuzzed. Maybe it's the pop playing organ and keyboards. Whatever it is, the new movement is a welcome change. Starflyer 59 Live Review. Tooth and Nail. PO Box 12698. Seattle, WA. 98111.

Swoon 23
The Legendary Ether Pony CD

Need something to space out to? Swoon 23 have the dreamy space rock thing down pat. It makes sense though, the band has Megan Pickerel on vocals and guitar/keyboards. She has some kind of Jessammine connection. This doesn't sound too similar to Jessamine, they even cover a Jessamine song "Cellophane", more like Velvet Underground or a noisy Mazzy Star. Beautiful. Tim/Kerr Records. PO Box 42423. Portland, OR 97214

The Teacups
This Will Come Back To Haunt You CD

Here's a group of kids who put together a very cool sound. You can tell right off they got it bad for Beat Happening. One of the singers is a dead ringer for Calvin Johnson. Stephen, Melissa and Aaron all share singing duties. They sing about crushes, tieing shoelaces, fragile hearts and smiling. The Teacups are young. The Teacups are fun. Leave it to the Kindercore Camp to release this gem. Kindercore Records. PO Box 461. Athens, GA 30603.

Tortoise
TNT CD

The new full length by Tortoise pretty much blows away the "boring" 'Millions Now Living Will Never Die.' The album has a nice flow to it, ranging from soft elevator rock music to electronic beats to xylophone excursions. Thrill Jockey Records. PO Box 476794. Chicago, IL 60647.

Tortoise
Madison Avenue/Madison Area 7"

Tortoise was on tour and were selling a "special tour only" single. But I have seen multiple copies in every record store from Florida to Boston. Was this single really so limited? Well, the music on the record is all keyboards, except for a distant guitar. It's the same song on both sides, just different versions.

Tortoise
Derrick Carter 12"

If I hear another Tortoise remix record I might explode. This, contrary to popular opinion, is not a good thing. I was wondering where Tortoise humor has gone? It's what gave them charm. Somewhere it was stripped away leaving dance/techno beats over a single Tortoise guitar riff.... same song both sides. Don't ask me what they are doing. They may have to seem to have forgotten as well. City Slang/Thrill Jockey Records.

Transonic/Swim
split 7"

Transonic immediately reminds me of Pee Shy with more of a moog effect keyboards. The bass lines has a pop punk feel to them but the vocals are all "bop bop bop baahhhp" pop to them. Swim sounds like a lo-fi version of the Cure (circa Head on the Door) with girl vocals and tons of chorused guitar. Permafrost Records. 341 Parkmanor Blvd. Winnipeg, Manitoba R2V 4H5. Canada.

The Usuals
Cupid/Hey Boy 7"

Ahhhhh a Valentines records from one of the best modern-traditional style ska outfit The Usuals. Call me crazy but I think this is the finest release by them. I love it as much as the Yours Truly 7". And i'm not just saying that because the vinyl is heart shaped. It worth getting just for that. No Idea Records. PO Box 14636. Gainesville, FL 32604-4636

Versus
Two Cents Plus Tax CD

I think the new Versus rocks like nothing they've done previously. It's not such a departure for them as I immediately thought upon the first few listens. I like the last half (from "Radar Follows You" to the end) than all of 'Secret Swingers.' I even liked the nod to Saturnine (Richard and Fontaines band before Versus) in "Mouth of Heaven." I'd take this album over 'Secret Swingers' but not 'The Stars Are Insane.' Caroline Records.104. West 29th Street. New York, NY 10001.

Very Secretary
Best Possible Souvenir CD

"Distraction leads you to pass up a lonely state"
Imagine Ida covering Mineral songs. Very Secretary has the intricaticy of the former and the intensity of the latter on this lovely CD, their first release. VS has former members of Days In December and Braid! At times the vocals are overly strainy and don't really match up with what is going on in the music. I like their use of piano. Mud Records. 905 S. Lynn Street. Urbana, IL 61801.

Windy and Carl/AMP
split CD

I was up late one night, on the edge of sleep to insomnia and I put this split CD on the stereo. Windy and Carl were the first song. Nine minutes. I can't think of another "space rock" band that comes closer to musical bliss. Their music just floats out there..... it comes so easy to the ears tingling like candy you can't immediately hear the complexities or depth of the compositions. Windy and Carl faded out and the first Amp song ever so slowly gave birth. The far away sounding guitars made entrance. An escaping unintelligible female voice was added. Then an unidentifiable beat sounding like a train tracks was just beneath it all. The elements were were taken away, in the order which they came.... faded out to the next song and faded back in and out again. I was entranced. Blue Flea. 25439 Stanford. Dearborn Hts. 48125.

Wolfie
Mockhouse/It's Tough/Multimatic Months 7"

I can't help, no matter how hard I try not to, but to jump around gleefully to the three incredibly infectious and catchy tunes on this single. It's hyper. It's the funnest record I've heard in the longest time. There three guys and one gal make delightful pop and have enough "la-las" and "oh oh" and the right amount of quirky keyboard lines to last you until you drop of exhaustion. Mud Records 905. S. Lynn Street. Urbana, IL 61801

V/A - Suspension Set Cassette
Low Voltage

Here's an excellent cassette only compilation called 'Suspension Set' on Low Voltage Records. It has a lot of international bands on it from France, Australia, United Kingdom, and yeah, three American bands. Masters of the Hemisphere on it. The *darling* Bella Vista have a *darling* song. I love Bella Vista! My favorite song on this is a band called Timonuim. I had not heard them before and they may be my new favorite band. They sound a bit like a combination of Low and Nord Express. The other bands that fill out the comp are Stewart, Empress (very Movietone-ish), Tank, Mumbly, Barny, Upstairs, Dimanche Deseut and a collaborative effort between memebers of the Cat's Miaow and the Cannanes. Recommended.The tape is $2. Low Voltage. PO Box 521. Bloomington, IN 47402. 

V/A - 1998 Teenbeat Sampler
For three years now Teenbeat has offered sample CD consiting of their labels artists, using new, rarities, or previously released songs from them for the low cost of five dollars. The new 1998 features Mark Robinsons new band Flin Flon, which also has a member of True Love Always. True Love Always takes the prize for the best song. It is total swoon. Versus contributes one of their first songs, never released before. I was quite enamoured with the Rondelles song. Other bands appearing: Tuscadero, Evelyn (from Blast Off Country Style), Johnny Cohen, The Ropers, Andrew Beaujon, Tel Aviv. 16 bands in all.
Teen Beat. PO Box 3265. Arlington, VA 22203.

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