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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)

This month's installment: "Why Does The First Track Suck?"

David Aaron - From Brooklyn

: Nine Inch Nails meets Jane's Addiction. Very 90's.
Grimace: Picking up where Broken left off. All the goodness minus the anger and ridiculous pretentiousness.
Mayor McCheese: Nine inch what now?
Hamburglar: I'd give it six inch nails. Music is interesting, and he's got writing talent. But get angry!

Alkalined - Empty Spaces

: Refreshing, toe-tapping Kings Of Leon less the boogie. Meatloaf minus the Broadway.
Grimace: The punk rock Neil Diamond.
Mayor McCheese: Adequate emo-pop, cool guitars and lyrics, but singing's a little weird, piano is redundant.
Hamburglar: What happens when punk rockers get old.

Steven Alvarado - The Howl Sessions

: Artful indie-country-rock that almost leaves you wanting more.
Grimace: Brilliant acoustic music from a great songwriter. Earthy, beautiful and soulful. Gruff American Music Club.
Mayor Mcheese: Modern folk-roots-rock. Part Jerry Jeff Walker, part Neil Young. All good.
Hamburglar: His name rhymes with Colorado, does that mean he's related to John Denver?

Armored Frog - Weasel On A Weathervane

: Experimental but tuneful mood-enhancing music. Makes you anxious if you're edgy, relaxed if you're down.
Grimace: One of thos albums that critics love, and takes several listens to like.
Mayor McCheese: Ultra slo-mo lo-fi downbeat moody atmospheric indie rock. Like Midlake without a drummer.
Hamburglar: Beck took barbituates and found a dark corner to shake the DT's.

Aster - Suitcase Sessions

: Sugary, Flowery, melodic pop. Can't remember who it reminds me of.
Grimace: Lofi extemporaneous music that's all over the map.
Mayor McCheese: Indie-licious keyboard licks and poppy melodies over excellent drumming. Bright, super-good lo-fi.
Hamburglar: Carnaby street brit-pop, syncopated piano and depressing lyrics that belie the light tunes.

Captain Bringdown & The Buzzkillers - Feel Good Tunes

: Play it again! Funniest ska-punk since Kid Chaos. Sloppy and carefree, thanks Cap'n.
Grimace: Nice ska-pop-punk (skonk) - No new ground broken, but very fun, upbeat and good to listen to.
Mayor McCheese: Fun with ska-punk. Look hard enough and find anybody.
Hamburglar:Silly ska-punk yaaaaaaa! Let's skank.

Dave Dill - See You In The Sunshine

: Jules Shear, but more Elton John and less great songwriting. Great production, boring songs.
Grimace: 70's sitcom-inspired crap-rock that makes the world a much more boring place for existing.
Mayor McCheese: Go, they saved The Bay City Roller's brain. Partridge Family AM Gold.
Hamburglar: The original Dill-hole. Red-headed bastard son of 70's pop. Why????

Dope Smoothie - Go Strike

: Off-key heartfelt vocals over guitar racket- or a gasoline fuelled Nirvana.
Grimace: Once the Swedes hear this, they are going to flip. How to do it better…
Mayor McCheese: Solid mid-tempo down-home rock'n'roll with semi-punk aesthetic. Kooky songs and great guitars.
Hamburglar: Jagger & Bowie hiding in the closet listening to Grand Funk. Then surprise surf punk.

Esthero - Wikked Lil' Grrls

: Soulful modern girl pop. Brilliant production, amazing vocal depth.
Grimace: Melodic, jazzy pop like martini lounge music. Very nice voice.
Mayor McCheese: Truly spiffy voice: imagine a Spanish Bjork growing up in New York. Nice music too.
Hamburglar: Fantastic sexy R&B with no vocal acrobatics. Gorgeous. Slightly jazzy. Great for dancing or snogging.
Fry Guy: Does spelling girls like grrls make you a lesbian?

Fremont John - Timeline

: I like it loads. Bar blues & folk with a dark Chris Rea feel.
Grimace: There's a difference between "whiskey rough" and gargling glass. It helps to change notes occasionally.
Mayor McCheese: Watered-down jazz-blues. Very raspy vocals.
Hamburglar: Somewhat bluesy roots-rock- kind of Jim Croce for the 21st century. Gruff voiced dynamo.

Golden Chariots Of Mars - Golden Chariots Of Mars

: Hauntin, crunchy, girly grunge. Lead singer has a nice voice.
Grimace: If you've got a chariot, go somewhere, dammit! I am Spartacus.
Mayor McCheese: I like her voice when it's lower, and the band slower. 10,000 Cranberry Junkies.
Hamburglar: Eerily atmospheric & dense indie rock. Very moody & lo-fi. Moon Seven Times. Very coolguitar tones.

Kate Hathaway - Sprout Don't Pout

: That kinda nice bluesy, throaty, sexy girl vocals and guitar sound.
Grimace: Very nice package, she excels when she sings quietly. Writes her own music even.
Mayor McCheese: Sheryl Crow-infused girl rock. Some great drum sounds, but otherwise average. Kind of cute, though.
Hamburglar: Sexy voice, but needs to mix it up. Less cutesy and more of the rich, sultry blues.

Hong Kong Six - Hong Kong Six

: Talking Severed Heads. Ignore the first track and enjoy.
Grimace: Cool, inventive, artsy pop-rock. Very nice.
Mayor McCheese: One insipid song followed by post-punk brilliance. Television meets Buzzcocks and The New Radicals.
Hamburglar: Thick indie rock, Jerry Harrison inspired. Cool songs incorporating a range of styles and interesting themes.

Jakarta Skyscraper - Jakarta Skyscraper

: It's hard to build on a soft, lazy base.
Grimace: Trying real hard to be the non-satanic swans. Slow songs building to slow songs.
Mayor McCheese: Thanks to John Cale for teaching me how to play violin.
Hamburglar: It sounds like Denise Bonis. Hey, it is Denise Bonis! I love you, Denise Bonis!

David Levin- Stepping On My Hat

: Brilliant supersonic pop-music, built on excellent lyrics. Awesome guitars! The Edin Adahl revival begins!
Grimace: Straight-ahead rock with Floydian slips. A second Genesis. Well-played and produced.
Mayor Mcheese: Clear tones, good rhythm & lyrics. This resurrects the 80's Police out of Matthew Sweet.
Hamburglar: Sounds a lot like Matthew Sweet.

Maneja Beto - Para Que Las Paredes No Se Aburran

: Fucking brilliant alt-Norteno border jazz rock. Tons of heart & musical ability. Amazing depth, great songs.
Grimace: Spanish language bongo jazz lounge from Texas.
Mayor McCheese: Remember your first salsa with fruit in it? Fresh, sweet, spicy and surprising.
Hamburglar: Como es "atonal emo" En Espanol? The more traditional stuff is real nice.

Michael Mangia - The Invisible Wall

: Mundane Randy Newman stories. He has a decent voice, but it's all droll.
Grimace: Downbeat piano playing from storytelling master. Quirky and fascinating lyrics, lush musical accompaniment.
Mayor McCheese: Indie-contemporary rock, does that exist? It does now.
Hamburglar: "Now he's taking a smoke break. He decides not to participate. Oh yeah!"

Ray Mason - Old School

: Damn, I already used Randy Newman. Funny Bob Dorough Schoolhouse Rock Stuff.
Grimace: Sounds like he's trying not to offend anyone. Apologetic and patronizing kids music.
Mayor McCheese: Former blues frontman turns into John Hiatt. Clever lyrics, varied instrumentation, a bit of schizophrenia.
Hamburglar: There is obviously talent here, it just never really shows itself.

Menthol Hill - Disfigured Live

: Mildly psychedelic alt-country pop music. Excellent guitar riffs, almost garagey brilliance. Like early Dandy Warhols.
Grimace: Very diverse. Western picnic music. Mazzy Star sleepiness & garage soul. Jethro Tull meets Swervedriver.
Mayor McCheese: Inconsistency in song style with unintelligible lyrics make for a surprisingly decent album for sure.
Hamburglar: So round, so firm, so fully packed.

Mutant Radio - Cash 'N' Burn

: Rap rock that actually rocks! Inventive rhythms. More skill than production.
Grimace: Too much 311. And dude is way off key.
Mayor McCheese: Fun fusion of Faith No More and Eminem. Cool scratching, nice rhythmic rapping, cool guitars.
Hamburglar: Just when you thought rap-rock had died, it rears its ugly head.

Orange Park - Songs From The Unknown

: 80'smetal balladry for the new millennium. Some good songs, but the sound is flat.
Grimace: Bland, uninspired teen rock that belongs on MTV as fodder.
Mayor McCheese: Urge Overkill stunted by retardo lyrics and Loverboy vocals. Lamer rock.
Hamburglar: Weak 70's pop makes the baby Jesus weep.

The Rhythm Coffin - Sixpack Of Skulls

: Dr. Frankenstein created a Rammstein, Rob Zombie, Cramps monster with a purple beard.
Grimace: Just too cute to be scary. Slo-mo Lo-fi White Zombie deathabilly. Danzig's basement tape.
Mayor McCheese: Dark, sludgy metal mixed with surf, slowcore, rockabilly. All sung by a sultry Cookie Monster.
Hamburglar: If you choose not to make a statement, you still have made a statement.

Stephen Sebastian - Play

: Solid pop music from Joe Jackson-inspired indie kid. Solid riffs, some clever lyrics.
Grimace: Music from the guy on Sesame Street who paints numbers on the street.
Mayor McCheese: Another re-visit of the 60's. Can we move on yet?
Hamburglar: What Jellyfish was to the Beatles, this guy is to The Dave Clark Five.

Small Space - No Matter

: Sonic Indie rock, ranging from loud mush to soft electronica. Very cool songs, awesome musicianship.
Grimace: Heavily distorted alt-pop. Lots of synths. Mellow understated vocals.
Mayor McCheese: Experimental mess of hippie brit-pop. "Neil, turn off that Hawkwind!"
Hamburglar: Noisy, loud indierock goodness.

Michael Starks - Shadowcasting

: Clever lyrics, smart songwriting. A bit whiney, but intriguing. Beatles meets T-Rex.
Grimace: Best guitar tones and arrangements I've heard in a long time. Really nice.
Mayor McCheese: Brilliant pop music. Tremendous production, excellent musicianship, clever and literate lyrics.
Hamburglar: Decent rock, but vocals aren't on par with the band - too bad.

Taught Me - Ready To Go Under

: Beautiful, atmospheric indie rock- downbeat and gentle with occasional cacophony. Troubling, sensual, nice.
Grimace: Pretty, whispered synth noodling- when it's not annoying as hell. Nice gentle guitars.
Mayor McCheese: Very artful indie rock style. Not bad, and may be worth a second listen.
Hamburglar: Almost too indie for indie rock. Beautiful noises and textures, but a little disturbing.

Wes Tucker - Tradition

: Grape nuts for the ears. ( and just as tasty.)
Grimace: He's the white Ben Harper. Oh wait, Ben Harper is white.
Mayor McCheese: Between Jackopierce and Jack Johnson. Nice harmonies, smooth guitar, excellent songs. Just plain smooth.
Hamburglar:Just more low-key melodic granola rock.

Gene Watson - Then & Now

: Beautiful traditional 60's style country with tons of soul and smooth heartbroke style. Great steel player!
Grimace: He's trying for an old-timey country and he's close, but not quite there.
Mayor McCheese: Decent 60's style country, if you like that sort of thing.
Hamburglar: Vintage country Opry-style. Made by guys named "Pig" and "Hoot." Makes me thirsty.

X Is X - Concrete Reality

: Thickly orchestrated operatic rock. Not like Wagner, but like Queen on Broadway…only darker.
Grimace: Dreamy, syrupy blues-inspired rock duo with beautifully strong female vocals.
Mayor McCheese: Lush aria with great R&B harmonies. A grand scale drama. Incredible voice.
Hamburglar: Elton John and Tim Rice should be so proud of their influence.

Yovee - Too Far Gone

: Nice acoustic/electric pop rock. Kind if indie, bad singers, great songs. Nice piano and drums.
Grimace: Billy Corgan fronting The Cure. It's pretty.
Mayor McCheese: You should have to go through puberty before they let you put out an album.
Hamburglar: We think they might be Australian.

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