The continuing saga of a wholly irreverent new way of reviewing
albums! It's like sitting in a room with a bunch of jaded music
critics and getting a snapshot of how they feel about an album.
Honesty and first impressions are the key to the Bargain Basement. (opinions expressed may not hold true
after repeated listenings to albums)
- Escalade E.P.
Gram: Great rock from the U.K. - brilliant guitars, throbbing
drums & bass, inventive vocal melodies, excellent songs. Chris: Systolic: 90. Diastolic: several thousand, my
rock-deprived friend. Fresh, thrilling and cool. Bernie: Creative rock like Big Wreck, but with a crazy
girl singing. Fire your PR guy. Pete: Listen for this band. "Small Matters"
is one of the best songs of the decade.
The River - It's Crazy
Gram: Flying Burrito's style country, only darker and rougher
around the edges. Great songs, awesome steel. Chris: The whiskey bottle is half full. Duscky country
headed t'wards darkness, but slightly hopeful. Bernie: Very Son Volt. I could listen to this CD all
day. Pete: 16 Horsepower in Springsteen's Nebraska. It liberates
40 year old women from their tight jeans.
Flaming Sideburns - Back To The Grave
Gram: The Danes rock! Like Jack White wishes he could
70's style crunch & groove. So Awesome. Chris: More kick-ass Danish garage. Dark & psychedelic
like Hamlet with a Vox. Bernie: I don't know what they are saying, but I know
it rocks! Pete: Shouldn't it be Flemish sideburns? They even sing
in some Norse tongue! Drock & Droll.
Gram: Sleeper art rock, slow emo. I know there's a story.
I can't follow it, though. Chris: Robopera? Emopera? A fascinating world they've
compiled, but mustn't cut into my Everquest time. Bernie: Curious and intriguing sci-fi songs with worthy
warnings like "don't burn babies". Killer. Pete: This happens when you listen to too much new Flaming
Lips & not enough old Flaming Lips.
Five - Fall Out Of Line
Gram: Denver's west coast skate punk band extraordinaire.
Old school fast drumming & powerful guitars & a message.
Rock! Chris: Brutal bass-heavy skaters that give 2 fucks what
I think. Skatenigs spitting ball bearings. Bernie: Classic hardcore skater punk. Skate!!! Fight!!!
Rock!!! Pete: Well-produced skate punk? What have we come to?
Lipslide to frontside grinder.
Gemz - Blue Is For Girls
Gram: You're kidding, right? Wasn't this on TV in the 80's? Chris: I'm notifying child protective services. Their
parents need to be put away. Bernie: Made all the more twisted because "Young
Boys" is a fucking Midge Ure song! Pete: I don't care what you say that one girl
is stacked! The other one is cute
Herring - My Tears Will Be Relieved
Gram: Gritty blues with a very classical flavor. Unfortunately,
her voice slides more than her guitar. Chris: Maria Muldaur singing delta blues & country.
Dirty and gritty, damned if she don't get it done. Bernie: Great blues guitar, but the vocals are a little
too earthy for me. Pete: Is why you may discard your Ani DiFranco. Hell,
she does John Hurt. No pretense.
Station - Still Love
Gram: Very solid anthemic rock spanning genres - well produced
& highly melodic. Addictive like caffeine yummy. Chris: The bunnies are getting echoey again. Dark, but
energetic 80's Magazine stuff. Bernie: David from Depeche Mode's vocals over solid rock
and roll. Pete: The inspiration for a whole new generation of John
Hughes movies. Bring it.
McLean - X-Rated Musical
Gram: Cool jazz-heavy album that ably creates the feel of
a Los Angeles summertime affair. Chris: A Crayon-rubbing of good lounge jazz. Cartoon
torch songs describing its own self. Bernie: A 1960's James Bond jazzy stroll. Pete: Not much I like better than sexy, half-naked, smoky-voiced
beauties - even with the jazz.
Frere - Blood Sweat & Swords
Gram: Carnival metal with a powerful girl singer. Thick
synthesizers perfectly accent the modern rock goodness. Chris: Manufactured Teen angst a'la Killing Heidi. Are
these kids Aussies? They sound like Aussies. Bernie: Cool cover art, music ain't so bad either. Pete: Avril Lavigne, I want to kick you in the nuts.
Plus, also, Emo E.L.O. Fischerspooner.
Payola Reserve - One Long Apology
Gram: Umbrella rock. So much great stuff happening, it's
hard to single anything out it's cool. Chris: As steeped in Americana as pecan divinity from
Stuckey's. Bernie: When did the Austin kids all move to Baltimore? Pete: Like Zykos covering Dylan or Josh Ritter. Indie,
but not indie.
Pickadillos - We're Only In It For The Dobro
Gram: Clever bluegrass pick-downs of some great songs
wish sound quality were better. Cool, nonetheless. Chris: Not since Hayseed Dixie has bluegrass rocked thus
hard. Clever and yet, not stupid. Bernie: Don't usually like live records, but I couldn't
imagine it any better. Pete: Adequate bluegrass players turn loose on traditional
& non-traditional tunes. Probably great live
- Levittown E.P.
Gram: Hollow post-modern rock - The Fall - heavy on rhythm
and disarmingly cool melodies. New favorite band. Chris: Adam Ant-ium Brit-snot but more annoying. Better
Than Ezra, but only slightly. Bernie: Stuffy, smart kid rock. I wish I was clever. Pete: Hey buddy, your band's way ahead of you. Try to
keep up. Off-key, when he bothers to sing.
Vision - The Future Of Things Silent
Gram: Very melodic world-beat-hip-hop with a few things
to say. Some smooth rapping & great production. Chris: Decent Beatles-based hip-hop with 70's R'N'B tones.
The name sure sticks out though, huh? Bernie: The style is about 5 years behind the curve,
lyrics are kinda uninspired, too. Pete: Dude They're all white!
Settles - Sketches
Gram: Elliott Smith-style down-tempo popster who writes
highly personal; songs and plays guitar real good. Chris: Sims songs appearing to be about real things,
but actually once removed from reality. Bernie: Mellow post-punk grunge inspired singer songwriter
excellence. Pete: Cool songs wandering all over the map. Happy guitar
player who can actually write, too.
Studiofix - Will Change Your Life
Gram: Energetic girl punk rock, light ondistortion, heavy
on groove. Great musicians, gruff singing. Awesome! Chris: Watered down Detroit rock, like the Bellrays fronted
by Pink. Nothing pretending to be something. Bernie: Vocals rubbed me wrong at first, but then like
magic it started to rock. Pete: Three girls who rock so much harder than the Gemz.
Sexy kitten scratch fever.
World/Inferno Friendship Society - Red-Eyed Soul
Gram: The modernized big band - nine dudes, great songs,
talented arranging & playing, jumping rock'n'soul. Chris: Too much Style Council, not enough Jam. Swarthy
singer is unintelligible and self-important. Bernie: Seems like too much 80's bullshit to me, but
if you're into that Pete: Like Elvis Costello playing showtunes penned by