ISSUE 6.3 (Web Only Issue) SUMMER 1996
Cleaver's voice is more pronounced on this one, making the project sound hauntingly like a Pere Ubu project. In fact, it is almost to the point of concern; but in every song it stops just short. There are plenty of ballads on this one with strong vocal harmonies and sing-a-long choruses which allow the listener to paint pictures of what it's like to hang out on the porches in Bethel, Ohio. (I've lived in Cincinnati, I know where Bethel is.)
This project also includes their new guitarist, which actually adds to the completeness of this record. Beautiful songwriting. An excellent project. Buy it. - Tony Painter
Big Round Skinny
I thought I had seen these guys once before, but I guess not. And since I dont like reviewing bands Ive only seen/heard once, Im not sure I should be writing this now...
But, to give you all an idea, their cover of Living Colors Love Rears Its Ugly Head fits right in with most of their other/original material - kinda a heavy, sometimes funky, sometimes soulful, sometimes metal alternative rock band. And considering the audience dwindled down to about 5 regulars (including me), the soundman (ahem, me again), the employees and a band girlfriend or two, they handled the show perty well. I wont be too harsh, critical or judgmental until I get out ta see em again. But, I will say Im not rushing out to do that.
I would like to do a review of my favorite Columbus band, Delicious. They have an independent 4 song EP out called Pass the Butter ; and my band, Weave, has played with them twice.
First the EP: The songs they write are so unique it is hard to descibe their sound. It is funky and poppy. The musicianship is great yet it doesn't take away from the melodies. The lyrics are cynical and inventive; and the choruses will get stuck in your head for days. This tape has been in my tape deck recently and I don't see it coming out anytime soon. For a copy call them at (614) 447-2021.
Now the Show: Well, I didn't get to stay for the whole show either time, so I can't say if they were as good at the end of the night as they were in the begining. However, a lot of our friends (who are a fickle bunch) stayed longer than me, including our drummer Donnie and our guitarist J.C., who promptly bought their EP and totally dig it. Simply put, they just rock live. They are tight, funny and all the harmonies are dead on.
My final thought is this: If you are a little tired of 3 chords, like your music played with learned hands, like to shake your ass, and have a hankerin' to sing along, get this EP and go see them live. - Brian Foltz (vocalist/guitarist for Weave)
Just when ya thought it was safe, Creepy Ted Kane returns. Possibly best known for his band Creepy Pig - and specifically its Bernies Distillery rock opera (The Bastard Son of Satin ) of years ago with a cast of, um, 7 or 8. Yep, the Who is a major influence on most of Teds and Guados music. Throw in a little Kinks, white boy blues and the Allman Bros. and yer getting the picture.
Ted has this knack for writing instrumental reprises that string together hooks, melodies and motifs from previous tunes. The problem is those previous tunes dont seem to actually exist - or at least we dont get to hear em. I mean these instrumentals are structured as if theyre a series different song bits bridged together much like the Who and classical music use in their ending movements. Yet we never hear the songs that go into these recapitulations.
Now before ya start thinking this is a highbrow affair, keep in mind this is a band called Guado - largely led by a man named Creepy Ted, alias Leonard Feelie (his sensitive hippie folk singer counter-ego). Lets not forget hes also in the aptly named band, The Condescendings.
Yep, the band can be a bit too loose, unpracticed and maybe even clueless at times; and yes, Teds vocals can be a bit off, if not simply spoken or mumbled. But the lyrics usually have a bite, a twist or something betwixt (fancy, eh?). Still, no matter how weak the performances may get, Ive always had a bit of a soft spot fer Teds songs. Maybe its cause he looks like some Rabbi I met years ago?
Hootie and the Big Blow Fish Head Monster with an electronic drum kit. Why? I dont know. I would throw in Dave Matthews, but the Sacs aint that good and I have some respect for Mr. Matthews.
Im still kinda bouncing around on these guys in two senses: theyre kinda dancy and groovy, but theyre also a little undecided in their stylistic approaches. Is it ska, funk, disco, art rock or pop? Im betting in a few months this will all come together into quite a consistently fun band ... Either that, or theyll breakup. (Forgive me for having seen several of the Turkeys go through a great, but short lived band or two in the last year or two: a few Turkeys were previously in bands like the Enlargements, Parsnip and Starscream.)
Of those bands, the Enlargements may be the closest stylistic relative. (They used to do a harsh, loud and enjoyable Cross-Eyed Mary by Jethro Tull.) Here it has mellowed into a bit of a slow groove. Im beginning to hear two basic Turkey song types - a dichotomy, if you will. The first type is an amalgam stolen from several fellow listeners and myself: the Stray Cat Strut shuffle with a hip bit of Traffic and earlier King Crimson. The other type is highly melodic in the 1965-66 (mainly Revolver -era) Beatles sense. I mean I wouldnt be completely surprised if they went into a down scaled Got to Get You into My Life. One common thread between these two styles is the Turkeys use of sax and flute, though even without the wind instruments, these two somewhat distinct styles are still present. Then again, and I mean this in a fairly positive and flattering way and I may change my mind tomorrow, it could be ska bands are looking to porn flick soundtracks for income.
Years ago, when I was a bit more into and aware of, yet underexposed to live psychedelic rock bands, I thought Local Color was OK. Part of that thinking was that they had a perty inspired and inspiring guitarist (Andrew, or just Drew to his friends, I believe). Drew left and another really boring, not very Jerry-like guitarist stepped in. Ya see, Drew did the Dead/Jerry thing quite well. The new guy did the Santana/blues thing perty blah. That guitarist is gone and now Eds in. (Uh, there may have been more changes than Im recounting here - these are just ones that were very obvious to me.)
Now Ed may not be as good a guitarist as either of those previous guys, but he has a bit more restraint - and the Dead/blues thing comes through sounding a bit more honest. For me, unfortunately, that Dead/blues jam thing gets boring, monotonous, and even rut ridden after a few tunes, if not after a few minutes.
As far as I can recall, the only guy left from the original Mag Souls is singer/guitarist Mark Spurgeon. It could be the drummer is the same too, but I dont really recall, recognize or know him.
On the the stylistic surface, Mag Souls hasnt really changed much. Its Midwest guitar rock with heavy nods to the 70s and early 80s. Dare I make an REO reference to a Spurgeon brother band (Remember Greenhorn?) again? The vocals can be perty rough and raw; and sometimes I like it that way. However, the bands live presence was a bit awkward to me. Actually, at the beginning of the Souls set, someone said something about the second guitarist dwarfing his guitar. Maybe the big man/little guitar visual is part of the awkwardness. Still, the second guitarists lead noodlings seemed both uninspired and pointless. They led nowhere. Why he and the bassist seemed to shyly or nervously huddle in the stage left shadows, I dont know. Er, maybe I do ...
New Basics Brass Band
Their only drawback, if indeed this can be considered a drawback, is that they cant seem to play anything that doesnt swing, groove, boogie, bop, stomp, romp or shuffle in some way. Not much in the slow/moody vein, but thats not what theyre about.
On the surface NBBB is a Dixieland jazz brass band with big band, New Orleans, funk, swing, and rag ingredients. Hey, I even hear a little Motown and George Clinton in the mix. (I scribbled most of this after set one which included Ellingtons Caravan and Monks Straight, No Tracer. During set two they whipped out the Clinton and Average White Band funk.) Oh, I cant forget the Glenn Miller big band swing vocal catchings (think Pennsylvania 6-5000). As fer the instrumentation, like most jazzy/horny bands, the line-up and configuration may change from show to show, if not set to set and song to song, but they included tuba, trap set, congas, a couple trumpets, trombone, bari sax and tenor sax this time around. No bass! No guitar!
Before ya start thinking this is a cool new band with cool new name, its really just a cool new name. It seems the guys in Rustic Bucket decided the name Supermodel might attract more people to their shows. That may be true, but they also seemed to think it was more indicative of their sound. I aint so sure about that.
I hear mainly the Outlaws (Green Grass and High Tides) with a bit of Eagles. They do some more basic 70s guitar-rock quartet tunes too, but a Southern/country influence tends to find its way into many tunes. For a sec I was toying with the Grungtry genre (Country meets Grunge), which sounds more rustic and buckety than super or model. No matter, heres to Supermodel sharing a bill with Miss May 66 just fer namesake.
Just when ya thought it was safe to assume Oasis and Deep Blue Something werent going to influence anyone here in our good ol cownty, along comes Thistle. Well, actually, I later found that they arent from our cownty, so we may still be safe ... for a while.
Now, dont take those comparisons too seriously or, I guess, lightly. This trio has an edge somewhere close to power punk pop. Its just that one of the two guy vocalists can sound quite feminine. I know at least one other person had to turn around to make a gender check.
All those intelligent, diverse, or introspective geniuses of the genre appear to have an influence here: Janes Addiction, Nirvana or Pavement. I also heard tunes reminiscent of the Connells (Valerie Loves Me??) and locals Earwig. Poppy enough to be alternative (as opposed to punk) and alternative enough to be entertaining (as opposed to boring). Of course, I should see em again to be sure - but I would go see em again.
Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments
I know. I know! Ive already done a TJSA review, but its been awhile and I just saw em do a great, fun and maybe even a little bit embarrassing show at Bernies. It made that run from the Pretty Mighty Mighty/Mag Souls show at Staches well worthwhile.
As I pushed through the crowd, common Cringe contributor Nathan told me they had already played most of their good/popular tunes. Coulda fooled me! They pulled out another 20 minutes of tunes I could hum, if not actually sing - and I dont even own the album yet! (Fer shame - I keep missing my complimentary copy.) As the set ended, I was glad I caught at least a few tunes. But then they came back for not just one encore, but a complete second set. Its not very often you see bands like this do two sets in a night anymore, and we may all be a bit worse off for it. As the second set wound down, Ron House, fat fingers intact, borrowed Bobs Hendrix-tendency guitar and did a little slow Midwest ballad about prostitutes and steel jaw sewer traps ... or something like that. After this show of consciously limited, but appropriately executed dexterity and versatility, Mr. House left the stage. Im guessing he knows when its time to bow. Why? What followed was the repeat performance of High Street with illustrious audience members taking turns at spitting in the mic. Now, I aint sayin that wasnt fun or entertaining, but it probably was a good time to have bowed out.
Hmm, have I described the music at all? Like our other big time hometowners, the New Bomb Turks, TJSA isnt really a punk band. Theyre actually a heavy/hard classic-rock-influenced rant band. Ron Houses whines, be they on or off, monotone or tone deaf are usually just what they should be - or at least the band makes you believe they are... All this and I didnt even receive any sexual favors ... complimentary records ... or a free T-shirt!
By nature, ska music is a very happy, jumpy, high energy music. By nature, I dont really like a lot of ska. And once again, by nature Triggahappy is a ska band.
At one point I was gonna say they dont seem as truly happy and energetic as I expect ska bands to be. The musical and technical tightness has been there perty much every time Ive seen em since they mutated from Triggerfish to Triggahappy. But at times the band just seemed to be going through the motions. To prove Im hard to please, the vocalist was almost too animated - but still seemed to be just going through the motions. I dont know, he just reminded me of some guy that I was really annoyed by in High School. (On the bright side, that annoying H.S. guy and I become perty good friends - ending up in a few dead-end bands and basement/garage practice/recording sessions together.) What was missing was some sort of natural sense of looseness and fun, but that seems to be coming to the surface.
Now, with each show and a number of other local litmus test bands to contend with and bounce off of I suspect, theyre getting much closer to the enjoyment Ive had with the Blue Meanies - the only ska band Ive seen Ive really liked. In actuality, they may be the best ska band in town - and there has been a decent influx of new ska bands in our fair cownty recently.
Several months ago one of my cousins got married (Mary Adam 12 played the reception, so I had two great reasons to skip a trip and go). Another cousin gave me a Waxy Monx tape at that wedding. I was supposed to listen to it and maybe help the Monx out here or there. The problem is the band is just sad. Ok, theyre basically some rock R & B band. Truth is, I actually avoided my cousin so I didnt have to share my critique.
Well, now that Ive seen the Monx live, I feel a bit obligated to say something. Ouch! They do some extended, boring Santana-type jams without a (good) rhythm section - a mediocre jazz, blues, Dead and psychedelic rock band. And to be overly blunt, honest, mean or whatever, some moments with the Monx may very well be some of the worst musical moments Ive ever experienced. Well, at least I had fun at the wedding.