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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)

 

Diastole - 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.

Drag 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.

The 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.

Foma - Phobos

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.

Frontside 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.

The 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…

Emily 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.

Jil 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.

Larkin 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.

Mon 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.

The 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.

The 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…

Retisonic - 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.

Rhythm 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!

Burr 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.

The 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.

The 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 Elvis Costello.

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Mike Doughty



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