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If It's Too Loud,
You Can Still Hear

 ISSUE  6.4 FALL 1996 

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Music Reviews

Beware blatant self promotion follows!

We are:

Yes, the Bellas brothers are together again. This is a straight to the point rocksoulcorepunk keeping the wanking to a minimum type project. The almighty groove we shall worship never to blaspheme in it's grooviness. All will shake thy butts in our name. Amen!

Those interested in joining the Bliss Army dye your pubic hairs green, pierce every part of your body or just email me at [email protected]. My number for booking shows is 614-274-8735.
Joel Treadway for President! Be Bliss full. - Bob B.

Cheater Slicks 7 Cheater Slicks
"Walk Up the Street" b/w "Wedding Song"
7" single (In The Red Records)

Now that the Cheater Slicks have relocated from Boston to our little town, Columbus may well be on its way to becoming the trash rock capital of the country. For all the attention our punkier bands (New Bomb Turks, Gaunt, etc.) get, we have been quietly developing a rather formidable collection of bands that play dirty, deconstructed forms of roots-based rock. Think Action Family, the Bassholes, Hairy Patt, and Monster Truck Five.

For those of you who remain oblivious to the hype that surrounds Cheater Slicks, it is a three piece band consisting of two guitar players and a drummer. Yes, they are something of a scum rock band, and this single is the most fiery music I've heard from them so far, making for a superior introduction to the band than their more subdued Whiskey album. Don't get the wrong idea though. By no means at all do I mean to suggest that the Cheaters are merely a surlier version of the Stray Cats. Instead of basing their music on rockabilly, they're rooted in mid 60's garage rock. Imagine the furious stomp of the Stone's "Paint it Black" filtered through the over-driven guitar sound on the Velvet's "Sister Ray" and you'll have an excellent notion of what they sound like. There is enough fuzzy, hazy noise here to please fans of either Neil Young and Crazy Horse or early Dinosaur Jr, and like those bands, Cheater Slicks are surprisingly capable of singing about earnest human feeling. So where most bands in the greaser rock contingent are only able to cover Stooges songs about fucking and getting fucked up, the Cheater Slicks actually do the Modern Lovers song "Walk Up the Street." If you like this, their most recent album Don't Like You may be worth checking out. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe

Cookie Meister
With songs about the delights of eating “Dirt” and lyrics like “You’re my best friend ... I can’t stand you ...”, these guys ain’t exactly too serious or Queen. However, I predict they’ll be playing with Dogrocket, Pop Rock! and/or Pat Dull sometime soon. Say, by January 1997.

Yep, it’s pop punk or pop alt with a bit of muddy distortion. Most of the tunes/lyrics are not just poppy, but humorous, silly, funny or sarcastic. With a bit more practice/playing time and stage confidence, they’ll be a perty good live band.

Oh, the Meister is a drums, guitar/vocal, bass/vocal trio. The guitarist’s vocals are more melodic, emotive and smooth where the bassist’s vocals are fragmented and spoken. A good number of the tunes are in ballad-like tempos � but that’s not to say they’re ballads.

Did I mention they covered the Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun?” - Joel

Counting Casualties
We've been together since February of 92 and used to play on campus and Short North a lot. Freak’n' Pizza was our home for a while. We are a really diverse band with a unique sound. We are 95% original. Some of our influences are: Tool, Helmet, Cranberries, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Rush, Peter Murphy/Bauhaus and Sonic Youth. - Mike

Creeper OH 7 Creeper, Ohio
"New Hit Single" b/w "Think For yourself"
7" single (Seldom Scene Records)

This is the second or third release from Seldom Scene, the most recent record label (well, if you don't include the even more recent appearance of Break Up Records) to more or less emerge out of the Used Kids Records community. With this release Seldom Scene makes a rather convincing argument that there is still interesting music not being tapped into by the other record labels in town.

When I first saw Creeper it was as a one man band, and I think the "Ohio" was added to the moniker to acknowledge the presence of Mike Rep and Tommy Jay on this recording that distinguishes it a bit from the nutty one-man-band concept (imagine one guy playing guitar, harmonica, and kick drum all at the same time.) Actually the sound here is, if anything, even more wonderfully oddball with kazoo and scrappy percussion creating a beautifully chaotic din one imagines a Sun Ra fan might enjoy. But Creeper is a folky at heart, and the song writing sensibility underneath the clatter owes a little something to the three B's: the Byrds, the Beatles, and Bob (as in Dylan). Regardless, this is a truly strange, and highly individual aesthetic. Nobody else that I know of (save maybe sometime accomplice Mike Rep) sounds quite like this. The music on this record is proof positive that Creeper practices what he preaches on the song "Think For Yourself." And how you resist funny, clever lyrics like the one on "New Improved Hit Single"?: "It's the coolest commercial on my album." Indeed, this single would make a pretty damned cool commercial for somebody's album. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe

Mary Daniels (Moxie Trio)
Live at Bernie’s on August 30, 1996

“Killing me softly ...” Maybe the current remake/mix is partially to blame here, but the thin audience heartily approved. Most of the other tunes were keyboard-oriented Jazz/blues classics:
a little Horace Silver. “God Bless the Child as a Billy Holiday request filler. When she did “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” as a Birthday request, I thought I heard a bit of “Raindrops are Falling on My Head.” Maybe she heard it too, because the second set, the poetry reading set, did include a few “Raindrops ...” Out of the several jazz-impromtu poetry groupings I’ve seen, this band seemed to adjust to and work with the readers best. - Joel

CD Dogrocket
The More You Get, The More You Want
CD (Fudgemitten 004)

Sex? Drugs? Rock 'n' Roll? Who cares what the title of this violently melodic disc refers to, 'cause at the end of the day you'll need to undergo some sorta hypno-therapy to have these hyper-catchy tunes removed from your memory banks. One of Columbus' finest outfits has finally seen fit to release a CD which comprises some of their best efforts, some of which can be found in previous hard-to-find, easy-to-malfunction cassette releases. At last, digital immortality! Tighter than a duck's butt (uhhh, that's waterproof, folks), this CD blows most other local releases out of the pond. Today my fave song is "Next Big Thing," with its thundering riff-mongering, great backing vocals, and cool breakdown middle part, but tomorrow it just as easily could be "When You Were Me," "Ribworker," or any of the other 9 sonic blasts contained herein. Scoop this up before "The Man" starts requiring a prescription for stuff this good. - Pat Dull

Thug CS Econothugs
No Good No Bueno
CS (Self-Released)
In listening to this tape I only have a few things to say: If you’re expecting something new - don’t. If you’re hoping for a new direction for them to go - don’t.

This tape holds nothing new. It’s just the same old in your face, take no prisoners, get out of my face, and drink more beer! This tape is pure Thug!

It has a very homemade feel to it, which fits them perfectly. It even has guest performances from Richard Petty, Speed Racer, and the God loving Ned Flanders. So all I can say is God bless you boys. - L. via Cringe

(The above review was handed to me on a cocktail napkin. And ya thought this was high tech! - Ed.)

Demo tape

A little demo tape was sent to me by Gasohol several months ago. My tape deck was on its last leg. I did one last repair on it. It worked for about 6 hours then sped up to something like twice its normal speed. Well, I have a nifty new tape deck (and receiver) now, so on with the review. (But, if I make Dolly Parton comparisons, you’ll under stand.)

Well, they still have that heavy sludgecore type thing going on. The vocalist has a more hoarse, demonic, low pitched, deathmetal/industrial chant going on through all the tunes. The lead guitar in the first tune hints at an acid rock/Middle East style. Musically, the second tune is a bit more standard with some almost poppy vocal and guitar hooks in the chorus. There’s even a short bass solo. The third song makes that Black Sabbath influence fairly evident. “Warpigs” or something else from Paranoid. - Joel

Gingley JoH
The sound is rock and then some. Expect ambidextrous guitarists, upright and electric basses, and some truly decent vocal range. - Tom

Hairy Patt 7 The Hairy Patt Band
"Marc the Narc" b/w "Bull Headed Clap Stomp"
7" (In The Red Records)

One thing that will be apparent to those of you who have followed Hairy Patt's recordings is that this band seems to be engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the actual process of recording. While most bands seem to be content to create a facsimile of their live sound, Hairy Patt appears to be using the recording process as a compositional tool, often reworking its songs into something rather distinct from the their live performances. Nowhere perhaps was this more apparent than their album Buford's Last Pusser where the studio experiments--especially with vocals--were nearly ruined by Kramer's inappropriately clean production.

Though the quality of the songs bore a hole through the album's poorly conceived production, Hairy Patt evidently learned the right lesson from the experience because the subsequent "Brown" single sported a grittier, distorted, more "live" sound. Now with this release, the process seems to have come full circle, because the dirty production has been combined with a more adventurous, experimental approach to the recording process itself. The stripped-down blues of the B-side is my favorite, with it sped-up, almost Captain Beefheart vocals, and what I swear must be a flute accompaniment lurking beneath the noise. The more aggressive A-side, is notable for drumming so unbelievably kinetic you might think Joe Patt has been cloned. Someone suggested listening to this record at 33 RPM, and strangely enough it works as noisy, dirgey, trash rock a la early Monster Truck Five. This may be Hairy Patt's best recording to date. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe

Ron House Ron House
Blind Boy in the Back Seat
(Old Age/No Age) Cassette

Along with the Wilfoster+Q Spaceborn cassette I received a couple of years ago, this may be the finest document Columbus has ever produced to testify to the virtues of the DIY/home recording movement. Essentially a collection of recordings by two early Ron House bands--The Twisted Shouts (1978-80) and Moses Carryout (1980-81)--Blind Boy makes a stronger case for House's musical ascendancy in the Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments than their own Bait and Switch album. Not that the Slave Apartments aren't highly deserving of your time and money, but in comparison to the music on Blind Boy they're just another rock n' roll band--not that the world couldn't use a few more of those in these sometimes painfully post-everything times.

Indeed there is just enough art damage on this recording to make you wonder how Ron House got to become such a punk rock icon in the first place. Especially noticeable are the traces of Cleveland/Akron mid seventies avant-garage scene. Ron's whiny vocal tantrums and Sylvester the Cat like slurping are total Electric Eels. An awareness of Pere Ubu, Devo, and perhaps the Styrenes is also apparent in the wonderful noises created by Twisted Shout Chuck Kubat's performances on a curious service known as an "Audio Servo Generator." Actually, the influences run beyond Ohio to encompass the gamut of late 70's post punk. The Moses Carryout rhythm section of Kim Workman and Greg Six perform cool sounding dirges that could have been lifted from Joy Division or the Fall. And the clatter of the Twisted Shouts's "Love yourself/Loose Yourself" sounds like a lost Swell Maps outtake.

Producer/Twisted Shout guitarist Mike "Rep" Hummel, in his liner notes declares that the Twisted Shouts remain "the most Avant Garde group" to have ever been created in Columbus. I wouldn't know about that one way or the other, but whatever the case this music does not sound the least bit dated. In part this can be attributed to the fact the influences that shaped these songs remain so highly regarded; however, I think the timelessness of this music has more to do with the fact that underneath the noise are actual rock songs that belie any "avant garde" pretensions. The Twisted Shout's "Chuck Berry's Orphan" has a powerful enough rhythmic base to sound good next to Slave Apartment's rockers like "Down To High Street" and "My Mysterious Death (Turn it Up)"; and a song like Moses Carryout's "Cause Without the Rebel" is lyrical enough to make you wonder when Bob Dylan's going to cover it. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe

In Moebius CS In Moebius
A Ham, Ma. Ha!
4-song Cassette (Moebius Palindrome)

Since the press release that came with this cassette seemed to wish to portray In Moebius as a group of musical terrorists, I was under the impression that these guys would either turn out to be a noise band (of the sort that ruled1980’s Downtown and Lower East Side New York City) or an art school-spawned industrial band (excuse me while I get ill). While I wouldn’t say I was exactly disappointed, I also wouldn’t say I was pleasantly surprised to discover these guys play fairly standard issue (albeit unusually groove-heavy) thrash-core (would someone please explain to me the differences between speed-metal, death-metal, thrash-metal, thrash-core, skater-core and so on?)

Okay, you’ve guessed that I’m not much of a “fan” of the genre(s) in question (but you’re biased about everything too, so please don’t bother writing me a letter about it). However, I think In Moebius fails to compel me mostly for their lack in personal or aesthetic vision. Their lyrics and music are all familiar, generic anger; nothing here even comes close to the deeply personal anger of something like Lou Reed’s Berlin album. I mean these guys sound constipated, like they’re following the Thrasher Magazine Book of Musical Etiquette. Anger-by-numbers. In Moebius’s idea of adding variety to their music is throwing in a “lounge” number at the end of the cassette (as a joke, of course; God forbid anybody think they actually liked Frank Sinatra). They probably think that any music that even hints at more complicated feeling or tender emotion is for “wusses.” Too bad, because they could learn from the example of something like Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground if they want to discover how to write incredibly tough albums and yet speak of an amazingly wide range of human emotion. Listening to In Moebius is like listening to people who complain about their problems, but never do anything about them. You just want to say, why don’t you figure out why you’re so angry, and how to make yourself happy, and stop blaming everybody else? But just as those sort of people fail to ever look inside themselves, In Moebius chooses to look outside, indiscriminately ranting about taxes or thoughtlessly dropping political buzz-words as if it were somehow deeply insightful to tell us that we live in a messed-up world. If these guys want to be deep, they should try their hand at writing sociopolitical analysis; this is just sub-pathological bitching. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe

Knum CS Knumskull
I Smoke (Marijuana)!?
CS (Self-Released)

Kumskull comes out of the same school of beercore as the Econothugs. Heck, the two share a drummer and guitars/backing vocalist, and probably practice and recording space. Imagine a sometimes sloppy, noisy, largely feedback driven thugs with, say, a baritone Don B. on vocals. Yes, Skully’s voice can be very full, low and hard to comprehend - in conversation or on stage.

The recording quality is at least as good as the times I’ve done sound for them (pretty much every time they play Bernie’s). Like I said, it tends to be noise and feedback driven. Lyrically, their songs fall more into the “Beer Run” category: just a few repeated words about the bar, band and beer drinking lifestyle.

Gee, and I was just gonna take the easy way out by simply regurgitating the song titles as a review. Aw, what the heck: Incident, Loose Control, Monster, I Smoke Shit, Shut Up, Asshole, Little Girl, I Wanna Die, Burn in Hell, and Can’t Find My Mind. - Joel

Live at Bernie’s on July 10, 1996

Metallic guitar string washes. Classical voicings and overtones. I don’t think Lenola sounds like My Bloody Valentine; I think they have a member or two of MBV in the band ... or at least someone from the Swirlies. There’s a bit of Pavement and the structural sensibility of, say, Tom Petty. After hearing this, I can see why people question my Pretty Mighty Mighty - MBV comparisons. I mean it’s there, but not so strong and evident as in Lenola. We need more of this in our Cownty. - Joel

Log Evil Friend Log
“My Evil Friend”
7” 4-song e.p. (Anyway)

Log leader, Paul Nini, likes to boast that his band often gets compared to the Velvet Underground, the Dream Syndicate, the Feelies, and the Bats. I wish he’d stop, before he starts throwing in the obligatory Yo La Tengo and Galaxy 500 references. His band would be a lot better off if they just admitted they’re just a rock band that listens to a lot of Bluegrass and pre-pop Country; not only is that a more accurate description, but its also a less portentous one. That said, this four-song e.p. impresses me more than the two or three times I’ve seen them live.

My favorite track is their cover of an early Ron House song: “Cause Without the Rebel.” It’s a classic song--especially the lyrics--and I think it was insightful of Log to recognize that the song is equally convincing sung in a woman’s voice (bass player, Shirley Tobias sings). Though Mr. House has cultivated a reputation of indulging in writing boys-will-be-boys anthems like “Cheater’s Heaven” it is clear here, he is capable of expressing complex emotions that know no gender boundaries.

My other favorite track is the title song, because it reminds me of the country inflected, organ-drenched, white-gospel my parents got me into when I was a little kid (No kidding). As a lyricist Mr. Nini engages in too many generalities/homilies (“I’ve been searching for the longest time/to reclaim what I thought was mine”) to be any match for the wonderfully specific words of the House song (“I used to dream/that we would meet/in the middle of a riot/and kiss in the street,/but ten years have passed/and we’re still apart/no one knows what to do with their heart”), but at least he writes about more uniquely human feelings than the visceral urges that most punk rockers prefer to sing about.

“Nothing I Can Use,” another good song, is a jangley, peppy, mid-tempo rocker that suggests that the Feelies comparisons are not completely unjustified, though the vocals remind me more of the dueling male/female vocals of Antietam (Note to Mr. Nini: this does not mean you should start including Antietam comparisons in your press kit). The final song “Just because You Can” has a folky, homespun character that was charming to me the first couple of times I heard it. Now it gets on my nerves. The chorus is too repetitious, and I think they go into overkill on the vocal harmonies (their harmonies just aren’t that appealing to me, because they aren’t technically good singers and shouldn’t pretend to be.) If you’re less “rockist” than me, you might enjoy this song too, and, frankly, people who only want to rock should avoid this recording altogether. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe

Mudflap 7 Mudflap Girls from Venus
“Fuckerhead”, “Behave” / “Lilac Butterfly”, “Talkline”
7” EP (Burnt Sienna Records)

It came from ... outer space. Venus they say. Didn’t your Venusian Rock’n’Roll High School teacher, Mr. Ramone, tell you to watch your French? What’s a “Fuckerhead”, anyway? Is that Joan Jett’s double shying away from the jet black and going for the space age silver jump suit? “Behave” already! Stand up for the anthem.

I’d probably scream my lungs off too if someone spun me around, flipped me over and spun me around again. I’d at least get dizzy enough to see butterflies. �Look, a “Lilac Butterfly”.’ I’d probably demand a little more respect and attention,too... Just a second Girly , I got to get the Machine. There’s a guy gabbing on the horn, on the “Talkline.” Kind of interesting. Better in person. May be it’ll go somewhere on Earth? - Ann Earthling via Cringe

CD (Deep Music)

Please bare with me. It, may take awhile to get to the CD review...

Let me state this up front. For a short period NUdE guitarist Brian Lucey and I played in a “band” together. His earlier bands, Wishyfish and Plectorhythm, were two of my favorites. (OK, I never warmed up to the plecto name thing.) Wishyfish is still one of my favorite, but deceased locals; and Brian is still one of my favorite guitarists.

Now on to NUdE... Two guitarists (Brian Lucey and Matt Michalski) with a bit of that Fripp Crafty Guitar technique/training. Bill of Plastic Factory/Medicine Wheel and Stunt Baby on bass and two drummers: Jim Castoe of Men of Leisure and Ned Wreckman fame and Doug Carraway (of Throat?).

Bob Petric (Girly Machine, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments guitarist) once asked me why NUdE had two drummers. My response: “Jimmy’s not good enough.” Don’t ya love sarcasm. Jimmy is one of the strongest drummers in town. It’s nice to see him have a chance to fiddle around with more sparse or intricate percussion.

The music is very atmospheric with lots of neat guitar sounds, effects, chords and patterns - almost Security-era Peter Gabriel/Eno type organic sound/ambience/vocals. They also have some heavier, blusier moments. Of course there are generous drum incidentals, polyrhythms and atmospherics.

The problem is they never seem to go all out or far from a common medium. The tribal aspects are OK, but the overall big organic sound ends up becoming rather lackluster for me. I don’t know, maybe some more up tempo time changes would help. Maybe a little more dissonance; more clashing in the sonority, style and register of the guitars would make me happy. Maybe it has something to do with their Seattle-based New Age-oriented label, Deep Music. Maybe I just really miss Wishyfish. - Joel

(The day after completing this review I got word that there may be a reunion of sorts in the works with Brian and at least a couple members of Wishyfish. Hmm, “Just sayin’ it can make it happen.” - Kate Bush. - Ed.)

Lovesick EP Paranoid Lovesick
CD EP (?)

There is something decidedly British feeling about these guys, a la Ride's Smile album. You may hear a little of one of my favorite bands, Straightjacket Fits, in them as well. Three things are prevalent: vocal harmonies, descending lines and that Manchester beat. "Big Star" and "Universe Boat" stand out to me as excellent alternative pop tunes. The latter even explores a theme that SF has exploited repeatedly--metaphorical drowning. Columbus could use a dose of these guys on occasion to break up the monotony of tepid Midwestern punk angst. - DeLynne via Cringe

Pop Rocks & Jerry Pop Rocks / Jerry DeCicca
"After You" / "Choir of Boys."
Split 7" single (Break Up Records
366 E 15TH AVE/ Columbus, OH 43201)

This just came out on the eve of the Cringe deadline, so I haven't listened to it much, but I want to mention it now because it seems to be the kind of recording that could easily get unjustly lost in the local music shuffle. For all of you bored by the thought of just another punk single, or another compilation of virtually identical songs this is something entirely else. The Pop Rocks side--worth the price of the single by itself--gives us two leaner, meaner Cheap Trick like power-pop songs recorded with enough precision that even the fuzzier guitar edges sound impossibly clean. (I give these guys a lot of credit for packaging this record in Fifties imagery, since anybody with a smidgen of brain power knows that much of this music's appeal is in its innocence and nostalgia for simpler times.) The credits are entirely comprised of pseudonyms, so I don't know whether recently departed bass player Brett (of Gaunt fame) plays on this, but regardless Pop Rocks seems to make explicit an affection for the kind of Elvis Costello derived power pop Gaunt's music has been merely hinting at for quite a while now. You are either a sucker for this kind of ear candy or not at all.

On the Jerry DeCicca side, we get--of all things--a traditional folk song called "Choir of Boys." Since my own knowledge of the genre is probably only a little better than the average Stache's regular, I think we'll all be better off if I talk about this in the context the rock n' roll most of know more about. Like any good Lou Reed song it tells a story; here, we have a narrator whose girl has skipped town, leaving him stuck with contemplating the emotional danger of becoming just another member of his girl's "choir of boys." Jerry's singing voice, really a slow, bucolic warble, is as eccentric as the vocal contortions by such post-moderns as Yoko Ono, Dave Thomas, or, uh, our own Ron House. It may take getting used to. There seems to be a conscious use of negative space--silent pauses in the music--that even indie rockers into the Pixies or Slint might be able to appreciate. Despite the slow, almost radically slow pace (a la "On the Beach" period Neil Young), there is enough quiet, introspective melody to be found to please fans of American Music Club. Of all the "solo-acoustic" musicians that have sprung up on the campus music scene of late, Jerry sounds to my ears to be the most deeply aware of traditional folk music which means he's either the most old-fashioned, or the most radical. In either case, if you consider yourself adventurous for checking into Will Oldham's Palace (Brothers, Songs, etc.), you ought to start investigating more traditional music whether you buy this or not. - Nathan Weaver via Cringe

Pork City
split Pork City U.S.A.
(4-song 7" compilation) Blank Generation Records

I don't know much about the record label except that it is based in town called Williamsburg, Ohio and the label has the good taste to name itself after Richard Hell's song rather than the better known Stray Cats's ripoff of it (can you say "Stray Cat Strut"?) I believe "Pork City" is Blank Generation's inaugural release. This decent, musically varied, modestly packaged compilation features one song each by The Hairy Patt Band, The Beel Jak, The Lee Harvey Keitel Band, and Slur.

The Hairy Patt Band's song "New, New Shiteater (sic) Blues" is as the title says, a "new" version of the song that appears on the Buford's Last Pusser album. This is a faster, more furious take, closer to their live shows, and in my mind superior to the cleaner sounding album version. It's a good listen, especially if you have yet to become familiar with their Pussy Galoreish take on folk and blues, but I must confess I simply don't understand why the band didn't go ahead and put out a song they've never before released.

I don't know much about The Beel Jak, but I believe they are named after a brand of frozen (?!) dog food, and were once tagged by Moo magazine as a metal band. Interestingly their song is called "What is this, Metal?" Hard to tell these days with all the "alternative"/metal cross over stuff now on the radio, but this song is sludgy and slow enough to be more Sabbath than Megadeath, but too dissonant to be, uh, "grunge." I wouldn't mind hearing more from these guys, but I probably wouldn't run out to see them play Bernie's on a Sunday night just to do so.

The Lee Harvey Keitel Band sport the funniest name on the compilation (despite being free of dog food references) and sound--on this song, anyway--like they could have a successful jam session with the guys in Hairy Patt. In other words they take folk music, amp it up, and mix it with a sick Zappa/Fugs like sense of humor. Though not as distorted or as ferocious as Hairy Patt, I still can't help but wonder if they are Hairy. Maybe they should do a show together just so I can stop wondering.

Slur, in contrast, is total ear candy complete with mash-note lyrics that Cheap Trick fans will appreciate. They play Descendants-style rock that some of you would probably want to call punk, but I would rather call "power pop" since I question the priorities of anyone who'd want to be a self-identified punk in 1996 and isn't old enough to be Dee Dee Ramone (or Jerry Garcia for that matter). If you're a sucker for this kind of sound, you'll probably like this, but don't you already have enough Buzzcocks et. al in your collection? - Nathan Weaver via Cringe

Preston Furman, Boy Wonder and Heifer
September 26, 1996 at Estrada's

This is a really nice place for a show. It has sort of that old Freak'n' Pizza feel to it , if you know what I mean (and you probably don't).They play down in the basement which can hold about 50-70 people so the performances stay pretty intimate, which is nice. It's also home to some furious Mexican food to round out your evening.

For tonight's show, Heifer opened up. The sound system was hardly able to contain their mass/mess of country funk destruction.With a prime horn section, wacky songs and tons going on at the same time, Heifer never ceases to confuse and amaze me. They have a very kinetic live show and although tonight's performance was not as crazy as I have seen them do, they were still very good.

Next up, Boy Wonder, is still one of my favorite bands. Tonight they kidnap a Bigfoot song and give us their version of "Come On". It sounds different, given the instrumentation, but they lay into it anyway. In case you don't know Boy Wonder is a quartet with a drummer, keyboardist, bass player that plays like a guitarist and a vocalist reminiscent of an Irish Michael Stipe. They get compared to REM a lot; and from where I stand that is a good thing. They have a lot of melody and emotion (two of my favorite things) going on, both of which are exhibited well on their two independently released 7"s. They actually rock pretty hard for not taking advantage of distortion pedals or a guitar.

But nothing could prepare for the vicious onslaught of SCRAP ROCK!!!; that is Preston Furman. This band is in top form when they actually fall apart mid-song, sometimes never recovering. But it doesn't matter. Three singers and multiple song writers means they never lock down into one style, instead taking them all and violently melting them down into one pure form. The drummer, Jason, is especially fun to watch as he crashes around his drum kit Animal style. Tonight he manages to sever two digits and pierce an eyeball (luckily not his own). As always, no matter how serious or life threatening the injury, the show does continue. Great songs, super, no bullshit guitar heroism and charisma to burn ... I take these guys over any band , anywhere, ever. PRESTON FURMAN is THE GREATEST BAND ON EARTH!!!!!

Anyway, they were good tonight. But, as usual, no one came. Good food, good friends, tonight was kinda special. Being from Raleigh, NC and the only out of town band, Boy Wonder was given all of the door money. They made $8.00. - Lizard

Season’s End
I thought I was gonna see a Marillion cover band ... or at least a kinda arty/classic rock band. In some ways, that’s what they were.

The vocalist, the one with the long hair that led a friend to expect, even hope, for a metal band, did the lower, somewhat pleading male vocal croon thing. Yeah, kinda an American Bono or Blood Sweat and Tears’ David Clayton Thomas ... or that guy from “Jesus Christ Superstar.” (They covered U2’s “In God’s Country.”) Not too much Vedder, though. I take that back. Later in the set I did start to hear a bit of that Seattle influence. But, hey, I heard a bit of Rush too � without the pompous musical artistry.

As far as the instrumentalists go, the drummer seemed perty bored most of the time. Maybe that’s his schtick? The guitarist stuck to prettier arpeggiated chords with a chorus/slight echo effect and just a bit of distortion. His leads didn’t seem too heartfelt, but they were minimal. The bassist was perty smooth and appeared to be the “trained” musician of the bunch. His Cure t-shirt wasn’t completely out of place, either.

In short, Season’s End is a pretty alternative pop band with a harmless edge and lower male vocals. 5-10 years ago I think I played the same kinda stuff. - Joel

Second Theory
We are a Hard Rock/Blues/Funk instrumental power trio based in Columbus. - Trevor Connor (Guitarist for Second Theory)