Welcome to the A&A archives. There are currently 305 reviews in this section. Click on an artist to jump to those reviews, or simply scroll through the list. All reviews written by Jon Worley unless otherwise noted.

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  • Mike G
  • g.o.o.d
  • Gabo
  • Gadget (2)
  • The Gadjits
  • The Gagan Bros. Band (2)
  • Gainer
  • Diamanda Galas
  • Tanya Gallagher
  • Mark Gallo & the Witness
  • Frank Gambale/Stuart Hamm/Steve Smith
  • Gameface (2)
  • Gamma Ray
  • Phil Gammage
  • Gapeseed (2)
  • Garageland
  • Garbo Swag
  • Garden of Dreams
  • Garden Variety
  • Garden Variety/Chune
  • Gardener
  • Gardy Loo Featuring El Duce
  • Greg Garing
  • Terry Garland (4)
  • Garlands (3)
  • Garnet's Maggot
  • Tim Garrigan
  • Garrison (2)
  • Duke Garwood
  • Garzone
  • Gas Huffer (3)
  • Gastr del Sol (3)
  • Gathering
  • Gatlin
  • Gawk
  • The Gay
  • Philip Gayle (2)
  • Gaza Strippers
  • The Gazillions
  • Gazpacho
  • Gazz
  • GBH
  • The GC5 (2)
  • Mark Geary (2)
  • Ron Geesin
  • Geezer Lake (2)
  • Howe Gelb and a Band of Gypsies
  • Gemeinshaft
  • Gene & Mimi
  • General Surgery
  • The Generators
  • Generic Joe
  • Genital A-Tech
  • Genitorturers (2)
  • Gentle Readers
  • Generic Joe
  • Gerling
  • Gary Gerloff Band
  • The German Army
  • Gerty
  • Valerie Ghent
  • Ghost
  • Ghosts of the Open Road
  • Ghoti Hook
  • C. Gibbs (2)
  • Giez
  • Gift Anon
  • Gift Horse
  • Gift to the Greedy
  • Giganto
  • Gigi
  • Bruce Gilbert
  • Ginger Envelope (2)
  • Ginger Moon
  • Greg Ginn (4)
  • M. Gira
  • Girls Against Boys (4)
  • Girls Under Glass
  • Gits
  • Glad Hearts
  • Gladhands
  • The Glass
  • Glassjaw
  • Glasstown
  • Glazed Baby (2)
  • Glazeride
  • Gliss
  • Glitterbox
  • Globes on Remote
  • Gloom Balloon
  • Glorie (2)
  • Gloryholes
  • Glovebox
  • Gnawledge
  • Gnome (2)
  • Gnosis
  • Go! Dog! Go!
  • Go Go Go Airheart
  • The Go Nuts
  • Go Robot, Go!
  • Go Sailor
  • Go Fever
  • The Go-Betweens (3)
  • Go-Rin-No-Sho
  • Goats in Trees
  • Gob
  • Goblin Cock
  • The Goblins
  • God Bullies
  • God Fights Dirty
  • God Forbid
  • God Is LSD
  • God Lives Underwater
  • God Machine
  • Godboxer
  • Godboy
  • Godflesh (4)
  • Godhead
  • Godplow (2)
  • Godplow/Dumpster Juice
  • Godspeaks
  • Ethan Gold
  • Gold Sparkle Band
  • Gold Star
  • Golden Bloom
  • Golden Boots
  • Golden Glow
  • Golden Lemons
  • Golden Shoulders
  • Goldfinger/Reel Big Fish
  • Craig Goldy (2)
  • Golem
  • Golgotha
  • Gomez
  • Alex Gomez
  • Robert Gomez
  • Gomorra
  • Gomorrah
  • Gone (5)
  • Gone Tribe
  • Goober Patrol
  • Good for You
  • Good Friend
  • Good Goodbyes
  • Good Riddance (3)
  • Goodbye Harry
  • Goon
  • The Goons (2)
  • Gabriel Gordon
  • Yoni Gordon and the Goods
  • Gorguts (2)
  • Gorefest (4)
  • Gothica
  • Grabbers
  • Grace Basement
  • Gracious Shades
  • Grade
  • Jean Grae
  • A. Graham and the Moment Band
  • Gran Torino
  • Grand Champeen (2)
  • Grandpa's Ghost
  • Grape Soda
  • Grass Machine
  • Grasshopper
  • Grave (4)
  • The Gravel Pit
  • Nick Gravenites
  • Graveyard Rodeo (2)
  • Gravity Kills
  • Gravity Propulsion System (2)
  • Gravy
  • The Gravy
  • The Gray Field Recordings
  • Gray Young (2)
  • Grayskul
  • The Graze (2)
  • The Great Brain
  • The Great Depression (3)
  • The Great Glass Elevator
  • Great Lakes
  • The Great Unknowns
  • Green
  • Peggy Green
  • Green & Checkers
  • The Green Pajamas
  • Greg Boring
  • Gregori
  • Greyarea
  • Grief
  • Grief Society (3)
  • GriefBirds
  • Tom Griesgraber
  • Grim Skunk
  • Gringo Star
  • Grinspoon
  • Gris-de-Lin
  • Grither
  • GrndNtl Brnds
  • Andy Grooms Living Room
  • Groop Dogdrill (2)
  • Groovezilla
  • Groovie Ghoulies (5)
  • Groovy Love Vibes
  • Grotus (2)
  • Groundswell
  • David Grubbs
  • Grub Dog and the Amazing Sweethearts
  • Gruntruck (3)
  • Grupo Fantasma
  • Gryp
  • Guards of Metropolis
  • Morgan Guberman (2)
  • Guchlrug (2)
  • Tommy Guerrero (2)
  • Guides
  • Guilt (2)
  • Guinea Pig
  • Guitar Gabriel
  • John Guliak and the Lougan Brothers
  • Gumdrops
  • Gun Barrel
  • The Gunga Din
  • Gunslinger
  • Margo Guryan
  • Gus
  • Gutpuppet (2)
  • Gutted
  • Buddy Guy (2)
  • Gwar (2)
  • Gwendolyn

  • Mike G
    Sugar Daddy
    (SeeThru Broadcasting)
    reviewed in issue #203, 8/7/00

    What this is, is nice 'n' twisted pop music. Mike G dresses up his one-man band sound (I'm just guessing on that one-man thing; this has that feel) with some cool orchestration (mostly with keyboard, but the guitar helps out there, too).

    Mike G kinda mops up within that pop sound, however. He'll rip off a raucous and tasty rocker and then kinda space out. Then he'll get a little intimate, only to blow that away with some truly weird stuff.

    All of which makes this disc rather difficult to pull out of the discer. It's not that the stuff is always amazing. But even the occasional clunkers kinda complete the coloring of the disc.

    And it all spins by so quickly. Sixteen songs in 31 minutes. Little nuggets of joy or pain or whatever. An utterly infectious disc.

    Abeya 2000 CD5
    reviewed in issue #190, 11/1/99

    The title track mixes some sort of Asian melody with generic electro beats. The second utilizes more of a classical sound for the melody, once again resorting to techno underpinnings.

    The thing is, it doesn't suck. Actually, it's pretty cool. There is something of a kitchy Yanni feel to part of the second track ("A Night in Hands"), but that's amusing, not disturbing. At least to me.

    I do with the beats and bass were a bit more interesting. But they can't quite bring this down to a generic level. A close call, but this still resides in the quality pile.

    reviewed in issue #132, 4/14/97

    More the talents of Rick Dobbelaer than any group (he wrote all the songs, co-produced the proceedings and he (singing and guitar) and Dave Romie (drums) are the only two people to play on every track), Gabo kicks out mostly non-offensive and affected "alt pop" music.

    Ranging from the acoustic side of Love and Rockets to Toad the Wet Sprocket to some really nasty lounge moments, Gabo pretty much sticks to "mellow" territory. Many of the guitar lines are very pretty, and the lyrics aren't completely insipid (though I'd like a little more bite).

    Dobbelaer obviously knew what he wanted the album to sound like, though, and his biggest accomplishment here is the fine production. This sounds like a major label release, and perhaps that's where my beef lies. I'd like to get a bit more kick.

    Still, this is the sort of stuff many folks I know like immensely. I don't, but I won't let that get completely in the way of my judgment. I'm not in favor of the intentions or musical goal, but Gabo does its shtick well.

    Black Acura 12"
    (Function 8)
    reviewed in issue #170, 10/26/98

    Low key musings in the nexus of electronic and hip hop grooves. Would be right at home on Wordsound, but F8 is on the other coast, and so that's how this goes. Three songs and two remixes. A fair set.

    It would be fair to say that Gadget doesn't particularly go anywhere. These songs are about style, about feel, about a certain groove. Conceptual, sure, but still pretty cool. The sound is exquisite, almost three dimensional, with various tracks moving from back to front almost at will.

    Innovation? Nah. But some smokin' sounds, nonetheless. Just let them settle for a while.

    (& Tommy Guerrero)
    Weed on the Tree, Forty on the Floor 12"
    reviewed in issue #170, 10/26/98

    F8, of course, is a 12"-only enterprise. This slab of vinyl works both at 45 and 33 (man, I know artists hate to hear that). It is 33, but sped up, it makes for some cool, speedy dance stuff. Slowed down to where you're supposed to be, and it morphs into a cool hip-hop groove with odds and ends abounding.

    Gadget, of course, has already proven its worth in this arena with a fine F8 12" of its own. This one is a bit more funky, down with the lo-fi grooves (the Slotek boys would most pleased). Does it go anywhere? I'm not sure. But I like where it is.

    I'm glad this particular audio form is being kept alive, and with such fine tuneage, it should be around for a while longer. Anyone fancying the mellower sides of the electronic revolution would be met well here.

    The Gadjits
    Today Is My Day
    reviewed in issue #226, February 2002

    The Delta 72 finally refined its own soulful rock and roll with its last album. The Gadjits get it right.

    Think late 60s. Complete with Hammond and Rhodes organs and wailing backup vocals. All done with the tempos pushed and the energy pinning the levels. Just enough distortion to get the point across.

    Joy. In a word. Brandon and Zach Philips lead the Gadjits and write all the songs. They have a real feel for this material. There is no wasted motion in any part of these pieces. Rather, the stuff is wound up tighter than the cables supporting the Golden Gate bridge. And it hums.

    You might think that this sound would call for a loosey-goosey feel. I've never heard it done well that way. The Gadjits infuse plenty of emotion into these finely-crafted songs, but the band never drops its eyes from the prize. Good music, after all, is hard work. And here, the work paid off.

    The Gagan Bros. Band
    Happy Time
    reviewed in issue #156, 4/6/98

    Tim Gagan was in Bichos, and now he's got this band with his brother Joe. Plenty of friends (and a couple family members, to boot) help out. The sound is somewhere along the blues, funk, and jam continuums. Sometimes this works, but much of the time the stuff sounds forced.

    The best tracks are the straightforward blues rockers, crafted with soulful lyrics and great musical lines. When the band tries to get a little fancy and whips out a bit too much of that half-assed syncopation groove that's so popular these days, I'm not so nearly impressed. I know, hippie funk is all the rage, but I still think it sounds cheap.

    Obviously, these guys have a lot of fun playing the music, and that carries over into the music. Even when the stuff doesn't work, I can hear the joy emanating from the band. Something that big money music rarely provides.

    Uneven, but always entertaining. I'd suggest the band stick more to the basic sound, but that's mostly a personal bias. This disc has a great earthy feel, and it is a blast to hear. Wish everyone enjoyed themselves this much when they played.

    Live at the Catamount
    reviewed in issue #194, 1/24/00

    Tim Gagan told me I'd like this one a lot. Man, am I that obvious? I guess so, because this live set really does work for me. The Gagan Bros. kick it along a straight and narrow blues line, something they're awfully good at doing.

    Mostly original tunes, with covers of tunes by Willie Dixon, Joe Satriani, John Fogerty and others tossed in to the mix. The Gagans' writing is completmented by such tunes, and all of the songs mesh together quite well.

    Sometimes bands can get a little lost in the studio. When you play live, you've got an instant audience, and that can be a mixed blessing. Some folks will pander for applause, while others are able to get a more nuanced reaction, playing what really works for folks. The Gagans are in that second category.

    One thing I've never questioned with these folks is the playing. That has always been excellent. I've more questioned the material, but on this set, there's no need. Solid from beginning to end, there's no question this is a great live band.

    See also Bichos.

    You Say It Like It's a Bad thing
    (Bent Rail Foundation)
    reviewed in issue #251, March 2004

    Combining the strident, insistent riffage of "old" emo (you know, back before it became pop punk) with the caffeine-inspired manic rhythms of ALL or Descendents (take your pick), Gainer thrashes out 10 altogether lovely songs.

    This stuff is very simple, and these boys play by only one rule: Keep the energy levels pegged to 11. Even when the tempos drop a hair, the intensity remains. Gainer simply refuses to get out of your face.

    Which is one of the nicer things I've every said about a band, I think. The sound of this album is fine--a little ragged on the edges but razor sharp in the rhythm section. I'm sure that's one of the things that keeps this album so focused and bright.

    A fine little adrenaline wire. That Gainer actually knows how to write solid songs with well-considered lyrics is simply another plus. This one's the real deal.

    Diamanda Galas
    Schrel X
    reviewed in issue #122, 11/4/96

    You get a live treatment, and then a made-for-radio version. All of Diamanda Galas generally screaming or making rather amazing guttural noises. There are some lyrics that make some sort of statement, but I've never been a fan of interpreting performance art.

    On the other hand, I love listening to whatever it is she is doing at the time. Even while screeching her head off (perhaps particularly while screeching her head off), Galas is able to convey a range of ideas and emotions that makes most anything else seem transparently fake.

    And like most of her recordings, Schrel X is a testimony to her astonishing vocal chords. I try to imitate the sounds, and my throat goes dry and constricts after about 10 seconds. And I didn't come anywhere close.

    The usual, which with Galas is anything but. Stunning as always, as uncompromising as any of her most strident works. Wonderful in a really sick way.

    Tanya Gallagher
    reviewed 10/27/16

    The "official" parts of this release are the songs "Virginia" and "Southern Soul." The other five songs were recorded live in one take and are relatively unadorned. According to Gallagher's Bandcamp site, they are available with the first two songs for a limited time. And while the two "studio" songs are great, I hope the "bonus" tracks remain available. They're great, too.

    Gallagher writes songs in the classic Mary Chapin-Carpenter style, stories and confessionals that have enough wry perspective to steer well clear of mawkishness. Her voice is strong, supple and assured. She sounds like she knows herself and her music quite well.

    This isn't exactly her main gig; she relocated to British Columbia a while back to get a PhD in forestry. That's not a bad "side" job for a folk singer. And while her professional interest may be trees, she sings about the beauty in people.

    Rather than delve into the darker parts of the human psyche, Gallagher is in more of a contemplatively celebratory mood here. I have no doubt that she can sling doom with the best of them, but this set is one of hope and joy. We could use a whole lot of that right now.

    Mark Gallo & the Witness
    Mark Gallo & the Witness EP
    reviewed in issue #230, June 2002

    I was listening to the Chills the other day. I don't do that a lot, but every time I do I kinda think to myself, "Why don't you do this more often?" Mark Gallo & the Witness does the same thing to me.

    Anthemic pop driven by acoustic guitar (more like the Church than Robyn Hitchcock, if you're following my references). The choruses soar, the melodies flow and the mood is never broken.

    Only three songs here, but man are they good. Gallo and company sure know how to write this kind of song. There's not a lot of variation, but boy, this sure hits the spot. Scratched my itch, to be sure.

    Frank Gambale
    Stuart Hamm
    Steve Smith

    Show Me What You Can Do
    (Tone Center-Shrapnel)
    reviewed in issue #165, 8/17/98

    The interplay between Stuart Hamm (bass) and Steve Smith (drums) is impressive. Frank Gambale has an adventurous sense to his guitar playing, but there are times when he doesn't quite compliment his rhythm section properly.

    And that's really the story here. Hamm and Smith have an uncanny knack for creating some wild rhythm combinations, and Gambale often tries to counter that with unusual sounds. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. What Gambale doesn't have is the soulful connection to the beat work, and his playing often sounds like it was just laid on top.

    There are times, though, when it all comes together. Usually a small snippet of a whole song, a point where the playing is fast and detailed. Gambale is able to infuse his speed runs with some feeling, and that's just enough to tie it all together. For a few seconds.

    A good prog-fusion trio set, but one that really didn't quite come together all the way. A lot of nice playing, but I wanted more.

    What's Up Bro? split EP with Errortype:11
    reviewed in issue #197, 3/27/00

    A very appropriate pairing. Both bands are on the melodic side of emo (or what used to be known as the raucous side of power pop). Both bands can find a tasty hook and make it stick. And each takes three shots at that ideal here.

    Boy, and do they. Gameface leads off, and its relatively understated style sets up the disc well. The songs are thoughtful and tuneful, in that nicely raggedy sorta way. Cool stuff.

    Then Errortype:11 takes over, shifting the music into overdrive. It's the same, really, just more. More speed, more distortion, more oomph! All in the best ways, of course.

    Six really great songs. These bands have never been in better form, and that says something right there. Most worthy of mass perusal.

    Always On
    reviewed in issue #206, 10/9/00

    Finally, more stuff from these boys. I really dug the split they did with Errortype:11 earlier this year, and now there's more goodies. Power pop punk with muscular hooks and nicely marbled riffs.

    Reminds me more than a bit of Judge Nothing, a great band from a few years back. Gameface is heavier. In fact, I'm amazed that these boys can create such catchy songs with this sound. So thick and yet so addictive.

    When I get into a disc like this, I tend to bliss out rather than pay attention for the review. Sometimes (okay, most of the time), I love this job. And it's stuff like this that keeps me going. Heavy-duty pop, written with just enough wiggle room to lend a loose feel to the tightly-turned tuneage.

    Um, sometimes people do just about everything right. Take Gameface. I haven't heard a bad song from these boys yet. This is like shooting crack straight into your heart. Trust me. Uncontrollable joy is unavoidable.

    Gamma Ray
    Insanity and Genius
    reviewed in issue #45, 11/30/93

    Okay, this is what you might call my guilty pleasure. I loved the first Gamma Ray album, as I had been a fairly serious Helloween fan (at least in the early days). The second was merely mediocre, and I despaired.

    A lot of what that second album missed was the combination of speed and melody. It was slower and a little cheesy. Well, this may be a little on the Velveeta side, but the speed is back and I'm climbing on for the ride.

    Judging by the state of the liners (horrible layout, you can't even read them) and the general timing of this release, it seems this disc is being dumped out with no hope of success.

    It doesn't have to be that way. I know a lot of you have a penchant for mid-eighties euro-metal (i.e. Maiden, Judas Priest, etc.) when it was good. This keeps that tradition alive and smoking. I would love to see a tour with these guys and Iced Earth. Wouldn't that be great?

    Phil Gammage
    Used Man for Sale
    reviewed 11/7/16

    A long-time rock and roll survivor, Phil Gammage has dropped a new set of noir americana. Gammage found minor fame with Certain General, an NYC proto-punk outfit that never quite broke through. His solo works have received plenty of critical acclaim, though commercial success has been elusive.

    Gammage (and Certain Damage) have never played music straight. This set is a gothic take on 50s country and rock-tinged americana. Got that? Imagine Flat Duo Jets played without irony, but with an underhanded arty menace. Damn, I think my descriptions are headed straight down the rabbit hole.

    Gammage's throaty vocals and adventurous take on roots music have brought plenty of references to Nick Cave, but Gammage plays this stuff far more straight. The unease in these songs is an undercurrent, not laid on top (like Cave prefers). Keep listening and the shivers will arrive.

    There are so many layers and ideas burning through these songs, but they sound so simple. While enjoyable on its own surface merits, Used Man for Sale really takes off with repeat visits. There's something going on, for sure.

    Project 64
    (Silver Girl)
    reviewed in issue #131, 3/31/97

    Fine noise pop, and unlike the Baboon reviewed earlier, this stuff was given the proper lo-fi treatment. Gapeseed likes to crank up the speed wagons as much as the next band, and the results are some giddily crashing tunes.

    And sometimes just crashes. This is high-risk music making territory, and Gapeseed does better than many. But on songs like the lead track "His Is the Acetate Scepter" (an inexplicable intro to the band, in my book), the proceedings often simply halt, leaving me to survey the damage.

    Much nicer is stuff like "Distance", which has just enough inertia to keep the ball of confusion rolling. Gapeseed refuses to play in the same sandbox, and the small breaks in the pandemonium are nice.

    Meticulous chaos. I can hear the work and pain, and the final results are often very good. Skip the first track, and you'll be that much more impressed. There's some serious talent rolling around here.


    Transmission Report split 7"
    (Stillwater Trading)
    reviewed in issue #131, 3/31/97

    The Gapeseed track is titled "Raise the Calculus Lude". It's much less produced than the album I just reviewed, though the basic elements of the band are still evident. This puppy is quite messy, but a lot of fun within the chaos. A worthy song, by all accounts

    Gerling is Australian, and the note with this says that Stillwater is trying to release a bunch of split 7"s with U.S. and Aussie bands combining. And interesting idea, indeed.

    The Gerling track, "Mother Mary", is much more mainstream-sounding. Still in the same basic area, but with more of an emphasis on structure. The noise comes more from the way the instruments are (or aren't) played). A real wall-of-sound here; the song starts off with a bass riff, and the attack doesn't cease until the end.

    A cool, adventurous 7". This is exactly what small vinyl was invented to propagate.

    Do What You Want
    reviewed in issue #210, 1/8/01

    Contemplative mid-tempo pop music that still manages to pack a few punches. Garageland has that "serious band" sound (like these guys know they're making a point here and there), but there's nothing dreadfully overbearing going on.

    And then, once in a while, the songs burst into joyful noise. The sound is still rather controlled (there isn't a whole lot of spontaneous playing going on), but that attention to detail provides pleasures other than the visceral.

    Of course, I'm talking about a more intellectual appreciation. Garageland's arrangements give its songs a deep focus, with plenty of small points to latch on to at any give moment.

    And, of course, the more calculated approach can also bring some real polished gems. Garageland knows its craft. These songs are well-written and tightly produced. But the result doesn't sound artificial. Just planned. And that's not a bad thing here. One final note: Foodchain is selling this disc at a highly discounted price (until January 30) on its web site (http://www.foodchainrecords.com), so if you're intrigued, take a chance.

    Garbo Swag
    Garbo Swag EP
    reviewed in issue #160, 6/1/98

    A lot a lot a pop culture references tossed into a fuzz-guitar rock act. Well, the fuzz is a sometimes thing. Wouldn't you know.

    Actually, Garbo Swag has recorded five songs which have very little in common musically. If you don't like one song, try another. "Aurora" has a slight funk feel, Bottle Blonde is, oddly, a dirge-like piece. "Love?" is an uptempo acoustic guitar bit, "Nacho Girl" has some faux-south of the border references (with some light ska) and "Rising Sun" sounds like a shortened version of "Children of the Sun" as played by Hootie and the Blowfish (Yow!).

    Completely incoherent, when taken as a group. The songs themselves hold together well enough, though, and they lyrics are uniformly strong, if a bit smarmy in spots. I really have no idea what Garbo Swag is all about, though obviously the guys can craft a number of different sounds pretty well.

    Still, there's no soul. This is ace craftsmanship without anything below decks. I want to know what makes Garbo Swag groove. And that can't be heard here.

    Garden of Dreams
    Sleeping Stars CD3
    reviewed in issue #226, February 2002

    Three pieces of grandiose goth rock candy. Painted up very prettily, of course. These songs shimmer and throb. Takes me back to the late 80s. Which, I figure, is somewhat the intent.

    There's nothing particularly original about these songs, but Garden of Dreams has arranged and played them so well that they impress me nonetheless. Few bands are able to play this kinda stuff without sounding overly morose or chipper. These songs ride the line very well.

    Knocked me out, I must say. Three songs aren't enough to fully judge the band, but based on what I hear here, Garden of Dreams is more than worth hearing quite a bit more of, as soon as possible.

    Garden Variety
    Knocking the Skill Level
    reviewed in issue #90, 10/23/95

    Well, this is the typical Headhunter album: wall-of-noise punk-styled rock, with cool riffs, insightful lyrics and an overall exciting feel.

    And, of course, Garden Variety has managed to carve itself a niche in this rather tight field. More distorted and less accessible than many Headhunter bands, Garden Variety really piles on the noise at times, even while sticking to basic pop conventions. A nice trick, that.

    And the head keeps bobbing along. Yeah, it may be cliche by now, but Headhunter keeps finding some of the coolest rock bands out there. Garden Variety may not yet be one of the best bands around, but you never know. An album like this shows definite potential.

    Garden Variety
    split 7"
    reviewed in issue #77, 5/31/95

    This 7" features two pop bands. Pop in the barest sense, of course.

    Chune drops "Duel Rectums" into the party, and it's a pretty noisy tuns about the nastiness of teenage pregnancy. Or something like that. By the end of the song everything is nicely incoherent.

    "Stickler" comes from Garden Variety, and while it does follow some sort of regular song construction, it's still nicely vicious. Compare to Rocket FTC, Gnome or many other great, noisy, pop acts.

    New Dawning Time
    (Sub Pop)
    reviewed in issue #177, 2/22/99

    Aaron Stauffer of Seaweed and Van Conner of Screaming Trees (yes, it's another incestuous side project). With lots of friends (including most of the rest of Seaweed) at one point or another. Very Stonsey, a la Their Satanic Majesty's Request. Heavy in the reverb, loosely-held hooks, sloppily-jangled riffs.

    And thus, the heavy enjoyment factor. These songs sound like they were tossed off in rapid-fire fashion. But on repeat listens, it's obvious a lot work went into making this "casual" album. Not surprising, given the folks involved.

    Perhaps the best part is the messy studio sound, a melange of lo-fi effects and inartfully recorded instruments. Perhaps I should correct that. Intentionally inartfully-recorded instruments. Thus, by definition, artful.

    Sounds like a throwaway, but this one's a keeper. Gotta love those contradictions. Keeps the whole fresh. Just what a side project is supposed to be.

    Gardy-Loo featuring El Duce
    Perverts on Parade
    (Off the Records)
    reviewed in issue #153, 2/23/98

    Perhaps the final musical legacy of El Duce (Eldon Hoke), who is best known as the lead singer for the Mentors. He died about a year ago, most likely from overconsumption of alcohol and drugs. A misogynistic misanthrope, El Duce's recorded record is full of patently offensive songs. The only reason he did not quite achieve the fame, as it were, of G.G. Allin is because he didn't eat his shit on stage every night. On occasion, perhaps, but not every night.

    Gardy-Loo is a Tampa metal band, in the sorta Euro-glam style. The band acquired a bit of a hardcore bent to more properly back up El Duce, but you can still hear some Crimson Glory back there.

    These songs are not the most extreme I've heard out of El Duce, but they are among the best in terms of the production. This album sounds good. Top-notch sound, whether I really wanted it or not.

    Take offense if you like. I happen to think songs like "Senior Citizen Sodomizer" and "Citoctomy" are so beyond the pale, they're hilarious. You make your own call. Not for the weak of heart, or anyone who professes to be a "normal" member of society. Luckily, there are plenty of us perverts out there. A worthy tribute, which should really frighten all those soccer moms out there.

    See also El Duce.

    Greg Garing
    reviewed in issue #140, 8/4/97

    The press notes bandy about some pretty serious comparisons, with one caveat: Greg Garing sounds like nothing else on earth.

    Alright, I must admit I've never heard something like this from a major label. And it is kinda cool to hear a nice standard-style country ballad like "Safe Within Your Arms" meshed with a cool, trip-hop beat style.

    That's the main appeal here, pop-country music merged with one edge of the electronica style. It is pretty cool. There are Beck-like moments, though Garing seems to like his country leanings and doesn't rip on the music in a self-referencing style. And it is nice to hear a little bluegrass and honky-tonk stuff mixed in with the new.

    Only one bummer: this puppy cost a nice bit to make, and the slick sound is just a bit much. I would have preferred a bit more of a mess, leaving the old-style sounds sounding that way to create a better contrast with the modern rhythm tracks. Still, for a first effort, this one's pretty strong.

    Terry Garland
    Trouble in My Mind
    reviewed in issue #210, 1/8/01

    Terry Garland plays the blues the way it started: With a guitar on his knee. When needed, Mark Wenner (of the Nighthawks) throws in his glorious harp blowing. But even such a wondrous sound as that is window dressing next to Garland's playing and wailing.

    Garland sticks mostly to the classics. Indeed, many of these songs will be recognizable to even the most passing of blues fans. But instead of trying to outdo the originals with bombast, Garland instead offers stark, spartan arrangements.

    And this simple approach helps to show why these songs are, indeed, classics. They don't need bombastic arrangements or shiny production jobs. They speak for themselves. as do the two Garland originals, which fit right in with the rest.

    One of the best expressions of the blues I've heard in a long time. Garland has a terrific feel for the songs, and he puts everything he's got into his playing. This is a most impressive disc.

    The One to Blame
    reviewed in issue #211, 1/29/01

    Terry Garland's latest album. He's still playing the blues the way they were invented, on an acoustic guitar. Mark Wenner (of the Nighthawks) is also back blowing his harp, and Garland has a few other friends stop by from time to time.

    The quality remains top-notch. Garland mixes in a few of his own compositions with classics (including "Stagger Lee," "Rollin' and Tumblin'" and "Nasty Boogie Woogie"), and once again his own songs measure up nicely.

    Still and all, the star here is Garland's singing and guitar playing. He knows how to perform these songs, putting his own stamp on the standards. This isn't just a rehash; Garland gives the pieces a fresh breath or two.

    Like the last album I heard, this one impresses greatly. If you think that the acoustic, rural blues just don't have the power of their city cousin, well, let Garland show you otherwise. He's got more than enough ammo to make his case.

    Out Where the Blue Begins
    reviewed in issue #224, 11/5/01

    Terry Garland's vision of the blues is demanding. He's partial to the rural Delta blues, and on this album he sticks pretty much to himself and his guitar, using his foot to pound out the beats. He gets help from his usual set of friends, including the incomparable Mark Wenner on harp and a host of horn players.

    As usual, the results are impressive. Whether he's howling or moaning, Garland achieves exactly the feel he desires. He's completely plugged into the spirit of the blues.

    There are fewer originals on this set (merely half) than on previous albums of his I've heard, but as before, Garland's own compositions fit right in with the Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter and other classic tracks he's chosen to revive. It's impossible to tell them apart--except that you probably know the old songs.

    Ah, but that's the job of an artist: To reinterpret the classics and make them relevant for today. Garland does so with reverence and skill. He knows exactly where to find the blues.

    Whistling in the Dark
    reviewed in issue #285, May 2007

    Terry Garland is a fine blues guitarist. He's equally comfortable with acoustic and electric, and most of his songs feature both. This is his first "all-original" album, and he plays it cool. There's a fair amount of piano and the odd special guest (among them harp virtuoso Mark Wenner), but this album, like all his others, rises on the strength of Garland's playing. And, like all the others, this one rises real high.

    Just the Verses 7"
    reviewed in issue #136, 6/9/97

    Dreamy pop, tres Smiths and Echo and the Bunnymen. I haven't heard anything like this in quite a while. That is always a good thing.

    The liners list out a catalog for the band, referring to this single as "nice". While that isn't the most descriptive bit possible, it fits. The Garlands aren't out to rock the masses, but the songs have something to say and the music complements the lyric ideas well.

    The guitars are perhaps the most impressive feature, moving endlessly and yet not overpowering the proceedings. Garlands knows exactly what it wants to sound like, and the band members have obviously toiled long and hard to get here. Quite impressive.

    Garlands EP
    reviewed in issue #178, 3/15/99

    Intense, mellow (in terms of decibel level; perhaps that isn't the right term) pop stuff. As with the seven-inch, I can detect a huge Smiths influence. Without the whining. Just the cool, shimmery guitar work and elliptic lyric ethic.

    Six songs are better than two, and Garlands are easily able to maintain over the distance. Obviously, there is something of a retro feel to the stuff, but without being overly derivative. Kinda like the Potatomen, Garlands twist that early-80s Britpop sound (the stuff that wasn't particularly new wave) into something familiar yet different.

    Even more so than the seven-inch, the sound on this puppy is great. The languid pacing of the songs is sharpened by the production, which keeps all of the instruments placed in the proper place. Everyone gets to say their piece without getting in the way of the others. It is actually harder to do that with this sort of music, and I'm impressed.

    Well done, again. I simply get more impressed the more I hear from Garlands. Someone had better start paying attention, and soon.

    Bedroom Music
    reviewed in issue #241, May 2003

    Garlands prefer to consider their music to be a direct descendent of the Velvet Underground. There's certainly a wee bit of VU in here, but I've always heard a more direct connection to the dreamy side of the Smiths. There's something about the guitar work that just screams Johnny Marr to me. And that's not bad at all.

    However you slice it, I'm guessing you've got a good handle on the sound. The next question is quality, and Garlands have never disappointed in the writing department. These songs are gorgeous, shimmering works that trip along the edges of the brain. It's pretty difficult to make such soft rock insistently appealing, but Garlands manage nonetheless.

    Maybe it's in the rich texture of the sound. The production is quite good, lending a plush depth to the music that reverberates over and over until it becomes hypnotic. Easy to fall into and very difficult to leave.

    As the disc rolls on, I'm hearing more and more Lou Reed in the lead work. Maybe the folks know more about their music than I do. That's cool. The simple truth of the matter is that Garlands is a 21st century band, no matter its influences. This is music that speaks to today.

    Garnet's Maggot
    Garnet's Maggot
    reviewed in issue #55, 5/31/94

    Four good songs, kinda muddy production. Wallowing ever so slightly in the grunge universe, GM manages to convey its own identity through the gauzy sound.

    A direct contrast to Charlotte's Webb; these folks aren't the greatest technicians, but they do know how to write good songs in their own voice. Very nice.

    Tim Garrigan
    To Be & Not to Be
    reviewed in issue #184, 7/5/99

    The note from the kind folks at Nihilist read "Tim Garrigan was in You Fantastic and Dazzling Killmen, so, you know..." And I thought I did. I expected something powerful, astonishing and ultimately haunting. That this is. But on an entirely different side of the sanity fence.

    Kinda like if Roky Erickson knew how to play with the toys in a studio. Garrigan and pals rip off huge chunks of music, sometimes coherently and sometimes not. Garrigan messes with just about every piece of the recording though, twisting vocals or guitars or drums or samples or whathaveyou into a form which he, apparently, likes.

    There is something pure about a recording like this. It's like the artist has utterly bared his soul. The pieces are so raw, so streamofconsciousness that nothing stands between them and the ears of the listener. While I'm sure many of these sounds required some serious effort, the music sounds almost untouched. Pristine. Bizarre, certainly, but still clear.

    Alright, here goes. Garrigan was in You Fantastic and Dazzling Killmen, so, you know. That works about as well as all my drivel. Because even after hearing this, I can hardly say "I know." Words fail at times like this.

    A Mile in Cold Water
    reviewed in issue #199, 5/8/00

    Taking its guitar cues from emo, Garrison strikes out on a unique path. The songs are intricately-constructed anthems, almost like slo-mo power pop. Like I said, I haven't heard any band with a sound quite like this.

    This is driving me nuts. I'm having a horrible time finding things to say about an album that I'm liking more with each song. It's strange, though. I'm finding it easier to say what Garrison isn't than what it is. Let's try again, okay?

    The guitars are emo, both in the way they're played and the lines they follow. The bass and drums sound like they're playing pop songs, though definitely at a mid tempo. Each song tends to rise to an anthemic climax before receding.

    But that doesn't quite explain how unusual Garrison sounds. I'm just not getting what I want to say across. Somehow the band manages to take some standard pieces and fashion them into something altogether different and surprising. Not quite emo, not quite pop and yet still strange. I dunno. I dug it. That'll have to suffice.

    Be a Criminal
    reviewed in issue #224, 11/5/01

    I wasn't quite sure what to make of Garrison's first album. I mean, is this stuff hardcore? Emo? Pop? Well, after listening to the new disc, I can tell you that the answer is yes.

    Much like the Shades Apart's recent album (and to a lesser extent, Jimmyeatworld's as well), Garrison uses all of the skills and sounds at its disposal to create crunchy, tuneful anthems. The kinda stuff that's hard to dislike.

    And I'm not just saying that. There are plenty of reasons why those who are a bit more doctrinaire than me would find reasons to pick this disc apart. Chief among the complaints would be some sort of "sell out" claim. Hey, just because I band records a sharp album and decides that it likes melody doesn't mean it's giving in to the man. Freedom of choice, man.

    Sorry. Had to get that out. Garrison doesn't need a hack like me to apologize for its music. The stuff stands just fine on its own.

    Duke Garwood
    reviewed in issue #325, March 2011

    Guitars like Neil Young, voice like Nick Drake and production like that of Daniel Lanois. Clunky, noisy and somewhat otherworldly. I'm not sure if this is folk, blues or something entirely new.

    I am leaning a bit toward the latter. Few folks are as willing to deal volume in such intimate settings as Garwood is here. These introspective songs are pretty damned heavy, even when they have room to breathe.

    Maybe I am simply blown away by the production, but this is awesome. Garwood has an extraordinarily off-kilter take on these sounds--maybe it's the Brit in him. I dunno. But I can guarantee that you haven't heard anything quite like this.

    A full-blown stunner. I'm not familiar with Garwood's previous efforts, but this album has me scrambling for the credit card. Wow. And wow again.

    Billy Garzone
    Billy Garzone
    reviewed in issue #175, 1/25/99

    Bright, acoustic guitar-flavored pop. Basic constructions, though admirably played. Garzone, a teacher at the American School of Music, has all the playing skills necessary. His somewhat thin voice isn't the best for this sound, but what he really needs is a dose of inspiration.

    Or something. The songwriting is technically acceptable, but not particularly interesting. All the proper chords fall where you might expect, and even dissonant moments follow accepted theory. Rocking by numbers is great if you're in a cover band (which Garzone is), but it doesn't lend itself nearly as well to rock songwriting, which requires something unexpected, something spontaneous to really grab attention.

    And I'll once again note that playing in a cover band is a great way to improve your chops (almost every decent musician has done an apprenticeship in at least once such outfit), but songs need to be played live a number of times to figure out what works. There are bits and pieces in each song which are good, but they are simply thrown together with a number of technically correct, but emotionally unsatisfying sequences.

    Like I said, Garzone can play guitar. He's got a nice, easy feel, which is something those with technical prowess cannot always achieve. If he could only translate that achievement to his writing, he'd have something great.

    Gas Huffer
    One-Inch Masters
    reviewed in issue #68, 1/15/95

    Pacific Northwest boys who have obviously grown up on Nomeansno and D.O.A. Gas Huffer takes those influences and cranks a pop sensibility into them (the bass is still overbearing, but the guitars make for a nice lead break now and again).

    And unlike most punk bands, politics take a back seat with Gas Huffer. Most of these tunes seems to be commenting on the absurdity of life's realities. Hell, you have to laugh at things, or you'll go insane. Of course, these boys may have dropped over the edge a little while back.

    The real surprise is the diversity of sound. Some songs are straightforward punk blasters, while others take on a loopy linear sound (somewhere between Nomeansno and Treepeople). Outstanding musicianship carries these efforts, because you have to make the lines make sense.

    I'm left a little empty at the end. I guess I need more tunes. That's what the repeat button is for.

    The Inhuman Ordeal of Special Agent Gas Huffer
    reviewed in issue #99, 2/19/96

    Even the crack Canadian mounties couldn't keep that fat Vancouver bass from migrating south, and Seattle boys Gas Huffer keep that sound alive and rolling.

    Yeah, something like D.O.A. meets the Ramones (wait, isn't that the Hanson Brothers?), with odd twists and turns that only Gas Huffer could provide. Crude punkish music can only take you so far, and Gas Huffer shows what it takes to go forward.

    Dashes of sixties surf 'n' turf and a truly wacky sense of reality, for starters. You see, the main point here is fun. None of that silly "I'll kick your ass" shit. Gas Huffer wants to leave you with a smile on your face. And unless you have Alan Keyes's sense of humor, your grim will be coast-to-coast.

    Simple, to the point, silly as hell. Any complaints? Don't tell me.

    Just Beautiful Music
    reviewed in issue #155, 3/23/98

    The same elements as the Doormats album reviewed in this issue, but more. A heavier reliance on the pop structure of the Ramones and even more emphasis on the throbbing bass and breakneck drumming. More, more, more.

    Plus, Gas Huffer is much more about humor (someone out funny-ing a McRackin? Geez). A ton of songs (16 in all), a bramble of wacky amusement. And while the basics remain the same, the songs cycle through a surprisingly wide variety of sounds. Creativity, damnit!

    A punk cavalcade that simply keeps on rolling. Gas Huffer has a modest aim, merely to entertain. As always, success. And even more.

    Whenever I start to get down about the future of punk music after listening to too many listless pangs of angst, something like this comes along to reaffirm my faith. Gas Huffer doesn't take anyone terribly seriously, and that's why this stuff is so good. A refreshing taste.

    See also Pulley.

    Gastr del Soul
    Crookt, Crackt, or Fly
    (Drag City-Touch and Go)
    reviewed in issue #51, 3/31/94

    The name is a tip-off: weird shit ahead. And so it is.

    Pleasantly self-absorbed guitar licks (reminding me a bit of Marc Ribot) along with some odd snippets of lyrics. This is not the sort of think you'll be hearing Casey count down next week.

    But does it work? Most people won't get it. I sure don't. But I have this nasty problem of liking very strange music people doing things that no one else will (or wants to). And this does qualify there.

    What can I say? I love it.

    Upgrade & Afterlife
    (Drag City)
    reviewed in issue #109, 5/20/96

    Jim O'Rourke and David Grubbs back at the ready, with plenty of weird friends on hand to help out. Maybe that's causing this persistent erection.

    Well, it can't be that silly trailer for the latest Alec Baldwin flop that's all over the Stanley Cup playoffs. Anyway, if you don't know what Gastr Del Sol is, then just get out of the way. This is completely inexplicable, and tends to frighten away all but small children and insane adults.

    Being the journalist sorts, my wife and I had a party election night 1994. A bad night. But I had Gastr Del Sol's Crookt, Crackt, or Fly in the discer, and it pushed a couple people over the edge. That and my taunting folks about liking Texas (but that's a whole different issue).

    The first track is a strangely orchestral piece (which would be why it's titled "Our Exquisite Replica of 'Eternity' "). The rest are more representative piano and guitar noodlings (with the requisite guest appearances and strange production effects).

    This music scares people. It makes their skin crawl and their minds itch. We're thinking of using it on a local member of the God Squad. But not before full enjoyment is achieved by ourselves. If you have any interest in the experimental side of music, then this is the place to be. Perfectly astounding.

    (Drag City)
    reviewed in issue #153, 2/23/98

    David Grubb and Jim O'Rourke return, with Markus Popp contributing vocals on a few songs. Not singing, really, but some spoken word stuff over the usual Gastr del Sol fare.

    Unusual is one way to look at it. No Gastr del Sol album sounds much like any other, and so on this one Grubb and O'Rourke add not only vocals, but horns, strings and a clarinet where they feel necessary. The result is as disconcerting and wonderful as ever.

    Probably more disturbing than usual, because the horns generally play normal lines, while the rest of the music is just that much off-kilter. The sort of music my grandma might like, except that it's just a little bit weird. Not a lot, and that's the key. The slight deviation from what's expected produces a chill that's hard to shake. It becomes all too clear that this music was not produced by regular human beings. Makes you believe in aliens.

    Well, maybe that's overstating the case. It is true, though, that this is another fine Gastr del Sol outing, and while it shares the spirit of its predecessors, it doesn't worry too much about following in the earlier discs's musical footsteps. Hey, I'll always be here to listen.

    See also Brise-Glace, Dazzling Killmen, Jim O'Rourke, The Red Krayola and Yona-Kit.

    The Gathering
    (Century Media)
    reviewed in issue #85, 9/11/95

    Lush, almost romantic metal. And it's refreshing to hear a female vocalist who is not trying to sing like a man or like someone else.

    Anneke van Giersbergen has just the right touch for this sweeping, melodic attack. The rest of the musicians know just how to keep the songs flowing in all the right ways. A real nice job of song crafting.
    I've been hearing snippets of things about the Gathering for some time now, and it is good to know that all those folks who were raving were not mad. Indeed, this is a fine band and a fine album. Listen and be completely enchanted.

    Forget Forever
    reviewed in issue #208, 11/20/00

    Maybe you remember 1991. Anthrax released Persistence of Time and Queensryche released Empire within a couple weeks of each other. While those two albums appealed to wildly different fan bases, those of us programming college metal radio (all 100 of us or so) couldn't really decide which was better. They were both great.

    I started off in the Queensryche camp, but soon I switched to Persistence. Gatlin sounds like it made the same decision. It plays a fairly technical form of metal, but with more of an Anthrax crunchiness. The songs are melodic, but powerful as well. Indeed, perhaps the best reference is Armored Saint (which is kinda where Anthrax has ended up, though in a lesser form).

    And, honestly, it's pretty easy to hear plenty of references from a number of late 80s metal bands (mostly American bands who fell under the influence of Eurometal, if that makes sense). The production is sharp, befitting the high precision of the playing. The songs ring out nicely.

    The commercial potential of this sound is negligible. Gatlin seems to recognize this and tries to tap into the rap/metal fusion on "Never Mind" with less than impressive results. But when the boys stick to their guns, the songs really click. No one may buy this, but Gatlin's got some great guns.

    Iron Mushroom
    (Wagon Train-Ment Media Group)
    reviewed in issue #129, 3/3/97

    The title says it all. Gawk takes a sludgy approach to a trippy industrial sound. This is certainly some sort of alternate-reality world.

    A real mess, and not always in a good way. There's too much sloppiness, even for what I think the band is trying to do. The songs are not well-organized, which isn't a crime in and of itself, but in general there isn't much to keep the wildly disparate musical idea from simply flying apart.

    The hardcore approach to free jazz, I suppose. And hell, there are some truly inspired moments (the middle portion of "AADG", for example), but not enough to counterbalance the overall poor execution. This is on the high side of good, mostly for the attempts at the unusual.

    All cred for that. But for all it's trying, Gawk doesn't quite manage to pull off the big score.

    The Gay
    You Know the Rules
    reviewed in issue #247, November 2003

    Much like Young and Sexy (reviewed later in this issue), I've never quite gotten into the Gay. Which is odd, because I've often felt this sort of psychic connection to the folks at Mint. They seem to like the same sorta off-kilter pop that I do. I just found the earlier Gay stuff to be a bit too mannered for my taste. Good, mind you, but just off my radar.

    Not so here. Maybe I've matured; maybe the band has subtly altered its attention to craft. You've got me. But I like this album. There's enough sweetness in the hooks to offset some of the excess structure.

    What mean by that is that the Gay pays very close attention to what it is playing. These aren't simple three-chord songs. There's a definite Bacharachian affectation to the melodies. Sometimes notes are added for very little discernible reason. When that works, it's kitschy. It's cool. On this album, it's cool most of the time.

    The Gay is the sort of band that college music geeks love. I always sneered at this stuff back when I was in school some (gasp) 15 years ago, but it's grown on me since. Whatever the reason, and for whatever it's worth, I like this album. These folks sure have studied their music theory, and they make it sound quite fun.

    Philip Gayle
    Solo Live '98
    (Yabyum Productions)
    reviewed in issue #229, May 2002

    Philip Gayle plays mandolin, guitar and "modified 3-string toy guitar" on this set, which was recorded in various locations in the second half of 1998. That, I'm afraid, is the best overall description of the music I can give.

    On the other hand, I can describe a few more specific pieces. Gayle tends to shift from one instrument to another, leaving the first to continue vibrating while he picks at the second (or third) implement. The songs aren't particularly coherent, but they do make sense on the whole.

    I liked to dive into the sounds, to hear exactly what was lying beneath the grate of the picking. Even the vinyl strings of the toy guitar would continue vibrating for a second or two after being plucked, and that aftermath is just so cool.

    Yeah, on one level this is the sound of a guy making noise. But the noise has a purpose, or at least, my ears invented a purpose for the noise. Gayle has a real knack for making the utterly experimental and "out there" sound just a wee bit inviting. Take a chance, if you dare.

    Hud Pes 2xCD with Richard Cholakian
    (Yabyum Productions)
    reviewed in issue #230, June 2002

    Another set of intriguing improvisations from Gayle, this time with pal Cholakian along to wander through a pile of percussion. Out there, but replete with great moments of inspired sonic mayhem.

    Gaza Strippers
    1000 Watt Confessions
    reviewed in issue #207, 10/30/00

    Punkers posing as a bar band. Following in the fine tradition of the New Bomb Turks and others who went before, Gaza Strippers bash about giddily, not bothering to do something silly like "get serious."

    Nope. Just a full-throttle, full-throated attack. Guitars on top, tuneful hollers in the middle and a churning rhythm section. The sorta sound that translates best live. These songs are made for the stage.

    And when the volume is just right (somewhere between "pain" and "deafness"), that live feel can be appreciated in the comfort of your own home. I've gotta admit, the louder I cranked the stereo, the better this stuff got. Subtlety isn't on the menu.

    But a crash course in fun sure is. Gaza Strippers knows how to deal the volume. The riffage is in full bloom, and the bees are buzzing all over the place. My blood is on fire.

    The Gazillions
    Have Landed
    reviewed in issue #200, 6/5/00

    Some real nice rawkin' riffage, at least until the vocals show up and start singing about things like "cruel, damn hobbit love". The guys have a pretty good handle on a number of sounds, from rockabilly to white-boy funk (you know, NRBQ), but most of that is tasted in the intros. Once the songs truly begin, they simply degenerate into jokey vocals that are sung most earnestly.

    So does that make this stuff a joke, or what? I honestly can't tell. The music is solid enough, and the vocals are definitely delivered earnestly. It's just so durned kooky.

    My main beef is that the band seems to be able to find a nice groove, and then the singing changes all of that. Grinding the gears or something. The songwriting could use a bit more craft.

    That probably would easy my discomfort with the lyrics. I mean, if the vocals fit with the music, then they can be singing just about anything. Even if it is hobbit love or Scrabble or whatever.

    Missa Atropos
    reviewed in issue #326, April 2011

    Prog pop rock that illuminates some seriously grand themes. The sweep is impressive, but what I like best is the way that Gazpacho manages to keep these epochal tunes largely intimate.

    Unlike, say, post-Dark Side Pink Floyd, which simply took off for the rings of Uranus and never looked back. Gazpacho brings in many influences from around the world, but everything serves the whole of the album. If it didn't fit, it got thrown out.

    Which is to say that this album just doesn't get wiggy. It gets slightly weird from time to time, but such is the nature of this sound. To further my point, I like the way even the tangents relate back to the whole.

    Exceptionally crafted and emotionally whole. Quite a complete package. A fine album for an evening's pondering.

    (Razzberry Records)
    reviewed in issue #219, 7/16/01

    Loud, thick chords and sloughed off vocals. A lot of power, and not quite enough honey. If that's what Gazz is going after, anyway.

    I'm not so sure this trio is trying to play power pop. Every once in a while I get convinced, and then the stuff wanders into heavier, more atonal territory. That's what I get for trying to pigeonhole a band.

    I do get a bit of T.Rex and Stooges every once in a while, too. When all of these not-incompatible ideas spin together (such as on "Sex G"), the result is damned near bliss. Much of the time, though, the music is more muddled than magnificent.

    A lot of potential. I do think Gazz needs to define its sound a little better, not so much to help idiots like me as to simply connect with an audience. Connect a few more dots in the songwriting, make it easy on the folks. I like a lot of the instincts I hear here. Just needs a little follow through.

    Celebrity Live Style
    reviewed in issue #110, 5/27/96

    A reasonably good live representation of Grievous Bodily Harm. The production is a bit treble heavy (kinda odd for a punk band, really), but good enough. The band trips through most of the memorable tunes that it had written by 1988, when this was recorded at the Celebrity Theatre.

    Energy and style were never lacking with this band. Sloppy writing and playing were more of a problem, though the breakneck pace of this show pretty much eliminates such problems.

    The main problem is that GBH, while a good punk band, never really broke out of the whole British scene, and its sound never really evolved past that. Fans might dig this, but on the whole it is an unimpressive addition to the rolls.

    The GC5
    Kisses from Hanoi
    reviewed in issue #202, 7/17/00

    A ton of ragged anthems, and pretty good ones at that. The GC5 doesn't really excel at much more than crafting hazy choruses, but that's a pretty good trick right there.

    The verses are often rushed, the riffage rarely more than bare bones, and yet when the songs get to that key moment, they shine. And, y'know, if the chorus works, a lot of problems can be forgiven.

    And that's easily the case here. The GC5 is mostly faceless, except when the catchy bits kick in. Somewhere between oi and Clash-style ravers, I guess, though the band draws from a number of stock influences.

    I wouldn't have given this a second thought, but the hooks keep ringing in my heads. Tuneful? Only in the vaguest terms. Irresistible? Precisely.

    Never Bet the Devil Your Head
    reviewed in issue #231, July 2002

    Much better than the disc I heard a couple years ago. The hooks, well, they're just as caustic and raggedly beautiful as ever. But the rest of the sound has really kicked in. Nowadays, the GC5 sounds like a real goddamn band.

    The songwriting is sharper, too. The lyrics are clever, and they add a wee bit of bite to the surroundings. Of course, once the chorus kicks in it's all over. The GC5 sure knows how to crank a song into pop overdrive.

    Without being poppy, of course. The guitars have enough rough edges to dispel any notions of slickness, and the vocals (both Pete Kyrou's lead and the backing howls) have just the right level of rasp. If you were trying to craft the perfect summer punk album, well, this just might be it.

    And while a boatload of craft went into this album, all of it is well-hidden. What comes through is the band's energy and spirit. All the hard work has been converted into adrenaline. Just like it should be, doncha know.

    Mark Geary
    Mark Geary
    reviewed in issue #177, 2/22/99

    Geary may be Irish, but he's been living in New York long enough to appropriate a number of American pop influences. But he still manages to write songs from somewhere far inside, and that make all the difference.

    The lyrics and vocals are outstanding, introspective trips through Geary's mind. The music, as written, is pretty good. Basic sound, when the production doesn't get in the way. It does, of course, and all those little studio tricks (some of the American pop things I was talking about earlier) can be annoying.

    But not enough to turn me away from Geary's songs. Yeah, I wish the sound was a bit more a sparse and raw (at least without so much ornamentation), but I'll take this as it is.

    Hey, for a first album, this is impressive far. Geary does know how to put songs together in such a way as to affect a listener's psyche. That can't be taught. It's a condition of the soul.

    reviewed in issue #301, October 2008

    The latest from this Irish ex-pat. He's still got the lilt, but his songs keep trending a bit more American. That is, the beats are a wee bit straighter and the guitars just a bit louder. He hasn't lost his ear for fine melodies and intriguing subjects. As singer-songwriters go, he's still one of the best. Solid stuff.

    Ron Geesin
    Land of Mist
    reviewed in issue #78, 6/15/95

    A collection of works from this sometimes-collaborator of Pink Floyd (and ex-Floydsters) spanning the years 1970-1988.

    Not for the feint of heart. This is experimental electronic music that would be in the tradition of such contemporary acts as Dead Voices on Air and Lab Report, except that Geesin obviously predates these. His only real peer age-wise is Brian Eno, but Eno has always been more listener-friendly than this stuff.

    In short, these pieces are not songs, but very much sonic constructions which more often than not assault the mind of the listener. Geesin obviously doesn't believe in the song form, and his work reflects that appreciation of chaos.

    Wither a linear reality? Nowhere near here.

    Geezer Lake
    James Dean 7"
    reviewed in issue #98, 2/5/96

    Perfectly indescribable.

    Like the succinct press notice says, Geezer Lake combines punk, pop, noise, jazz and a whole lot of other stuff to create a big messy bowl of bitchen music.

    The a-side is off the new full length. It's a glorious jambalaya of blurting horns, caterwauling guitars and wildly distorted vocals. Remember that note about Chicago pop acts with the Cheer-Accident review? Well, these guys fit that scene pretty well, except that they're from Greensboro, NC.

    They can still walk the walk, though. The flip is a stunning bit of work called "Sages". The folks at Thick think it may be the best song on the whole picture disc series, and while there have been some good ones, they may be right. If the excellent "James Dean" had been as good, this would have been my first "Five A" review. But Geezer Lake comes close enough. If you see this anywhere, don't leave the store without it.

    King Frost Parade
    reviewed in issue #126, 1/13/97

    When this puppy arrived, I just about soiled my drawers. I mean, that "Sages" 7" was completely awe-inspiring. I was prepared to follow Geezer Lake off a cliff if they told me a pile of Foamy was sitting at the bottom of the fall.

    The sound? Just the usual wacko Chapel Hill pop sound. Geezer Lake likes to use a bit more distortion and stuff than folks like Polvo, but the odd song construction persists. No complaints from my department.

    Pretty tasty, with all the range and expanse you need in a great pop album. Geezer Lake isn't content to sit in a puddle of generic chords; hell, the guys rarely play a full chord. Ah, yes. Musical creativity.

    Cacophony made beautiful; chaos distilled into life's pure essence. Stuff like that. Just remember one thing: Geezer Lake is fucking awesome.

    I think that spells it out nicely enough.

    Howe Gelb and a Band of Gypsies
    (Fire Records)
    reviewed in issue #327, May 2011

    Striking out again into slightly new territory, Howe Gelb slips his Giant Sand persona and whips out a few songs with a band of flamenco-playing gypsies.

    That band includes Raimundo Amador, flamenco guitarist extraordinaire. Indeed, Amador's playing overshadows Gelb's somewhat understated songs. But I think that's the point.

    Gelb isn't afraid to let someone steal a fair chunk of his thunder, and that generous spirit makes these songs that much more engaging. There is a bit of a disconnect between the music and Gelb's lyrics (and vocals). But the conversation between those two poles is most intriguing.

    A fine side road. Gelb has been around long enough to let some other folks star in his show. Let's hope he keeps wandering for some time.

    reviewed in issue #130, 3/17/97

    Two songs, both astonishingly painful in conception and execution. The production is very treble-heavy, while the bulk of the music is bass-dominated. Yeah, a hack job, but it still works. I can't say why, exactly.

    The Boston-area trio follows in the footsteps of fellow New England bashers Glazed Baby. Anguish and throbbing agony for their own sakes. Hey, don't ask me to explain this trend. I'll simply appreciate it, okay?

    Now, these are songs in name only. Mostly random collections of crashing riffs and somewhat corollated hollers. There is no construction as such. Oh, "Omnibus" fakes some structure, but that is quickly exposed as a red herring. To move much past the garage noise phase, Gemeinshaft is going to have to actually plot out its musical moves in advance. I'm not saying this is improvised, exactly, but I bet it never sounds quite the same twice.

    Which isn't so bad, either. The one thing I don't want to do is advise the guys to straitjacket their sound and feeling. Just a spot of crafting, here and there. That's all.

    Gene & Mimi
    This Is Gene & Mimi
    reviewed in issue #78, 6/15/95

    Gene has a penchant for convoluted pop tunes, and the band backing this duo is solid as hell. If only Mimi didn't insist on trying to sing like Sandra Bernhard (particularly on "Something Important", a great song that is torched by her digressions).

    Mimi is a better singer than Sandra, but she sometimes can't decide whether to sing or belt out the tunes, and the result in an occasionally maddening whine.

    When she does come to a decision (like on the terrific raver "This Is Me"), everything is clicking wonderfully. Gene has a nice earnest voice, which compliments his songwriting perfectly.

    Gene really does have a knack for writing cool pop in that distinctive New York style. A little more work on arrangements and such could really get this pair somewhere.

    General Surgery
    reviewed in issue #37, 7/31/93

    More medical death metal. But while Carcass started from the grind side, this is more of a doom-influenced disc.

    Back to the old school-no enunciation attempted here. Sounds like a lot of belches, really. A pretty neat effect.

    There is more than a hint of grindcore, but General Surgery obviously have no need for restricting labels. They play what they like, and do it well.

    The Generators
    reviewed in issue #217, 6/4/01

    If there's such a thing as post-post-Clash (or, perhaps more correctly, post-Rancid), the Generators fit right in. These boys discard a lot of the extras (the ska, the slower numbers, the pop pop) and just pound out uptempo anthems.

    When I say pop pop, I'm talking about stuff like "Train in Vain." Nothing like that here. This is all fiendishly fast and almost criminally hooky--in a loud and haggard sorta way.

    Just the way I like it. There was a point where I thought it might be nice for a change of pace. That didn't happen. But then, I didn't really worry about it after that. A diet of rock candy isn't particularly healthy, but it's okay to snack on every once in a while.

    And an album of speedy, guitar-driven punk anthems isn't a bad thing. Particularly when they're done this well. The Generators aren't the most versatile bands around, but they sure know how to do what they do.

    Generic Joe
    Generic Joe
    (SRC Music)
    reviewed in issue #124, 12/2/96

    Perhaps two years ago. But the second Collective Soul album bombed (rightfully so), and yet, Generic Joe thinks it can score with pretty much the same formula.

    Any band that sounds like this is out to make cash. I hate to be rude or mean, but there isn't much in the way of original musical thought going on. Now, I said the same thing about Better than Ezra, and look what those bastards did with one MTV hit. Of course, their sophomore disc disappeared so quickly you thought the name "Vanilla Ice" had been spoken aloud.

    Wanky "college rock" that is really neither. When the thought is to straighten out that R.E.M. thing, cheese it up a bit and flare the guitars a bit more, well, you've got a recipe for disaster. As always, it must be half-baked.

    These guys get points for a well-produced album, one that any major label would be proud to release. If they thought anyone afflicted with musical taste might buy it.

    Genital A-Tech
    Subsonic Hysteria EP
    (21st Circuitry)
    reviewed in issue #161, 6/15/98

    Leave it to the Germans to throttle that wimpy electronica sound and come up with something meatier. Engineered for greatness, this heavily distorted fare chews up all sorts of recent electronic trends and spits out some thick and sticky grooves.

    Long songs, but definitely not boring. Sure, this stuff should raise the roof at a club (a place where dancing is encouraged, that is), but it's just as impressive when contemplated from a distance.

    Too much going on, and the folks still manage to funnel all those ideas into a mildly coherent sound. From the edgily-distorted hip-hop of Tricky to the sample orchestrations of the Chemical Brothers, Genital A-Tech takes everything in and answers all the questions. Okay, so the music is loud and aggressive, bordering on mean. Dancing is a contact sport.

    One of the best mutations of the Off Beat sound (such as it is). Genital A-Tech slaps down the grooves and dares anyone to beat them back. Not me, anyway.

    120 Days of Genitorture
    (Shock Therapy-I.R.S.)
    reviewed in issue #36, 6/30/93

    Nice nipple clamps!

    Just had to say that. But the music ain't too bad either, especially for a band that professes to be mostly a visual force. I mean, can you folks still stand that Green Jello (um, I guess that's Green Jelly, now) album? I thought not.

    It's also really nice to hear a female voice get that raspy. From what I understand, she sings like that with full regalia onstage. Most men would find their voices rising in such cases.

    No, it's nothing revolutionary or anything like that. But it sure is fun.

    Sin City
    reviewed in issue #155, 3/23/98

    Talk about an act that would be lost without the stage show. Whenever things get kinda dull, Gen calls out for members of the audience to come forward and get pierced. Wherever they like.

    The music itself has undergone a significant change during the long history of the group. What started out as shlock rock has evolved into a more techno-gothic-industrial experience. This disc sounds an awful lot like latter-day Thrill Kill Kult. With obvious cribbing from Ministry and more.

    The best music I've heard from the band, which is not a compliment in and of itself. This is at least listenable, if highly derivative. Lots of posturing in the lyrics, which can get old very fast.

    The show is still the thing. Lots of leather and skin, with audience participation. I'd advise you put your money down for that instead of any particular disc.

    Gentle Readers
    You in Black & White
    (Flat Earth)
    reviewed in issue #160, 6/1/98

    Two women from Georgia. Boy, wonder what they sound like, hunh?

    See, that's where silly stereotypes come from. Yeah, the roots are in folk rock, but this album is a lot more rock than folk. Easygoing guitar licks and angst-ridden lyrics. Gentle Readers are not afraid to get dirtied up a bit before escaping into the clear.

    In fact, other than Susan Fitzsimmons's husky voice, there's very little here that is reminiscent of the Indigo Girls. The music is basic and generally upbeat, and the lyrics concern more overt issues. Not preachy, but not obtuse, either.

    Yeah, this more powerful approach might give the impression that Gentle Readers aren't the deepest group around. Probably true. But the songs kick out some nice grooves, and the lyrics still have plenty to say. Alright, so sometimes musical cliches creep in. Still an appealing album.

    released 2/16/17

    Damon Kelly is the man behind the sound here, and he uses many instruments to create an electronic world. While I'm sure it's a lot harder to actually process guitar, bass, etc., into this ambient swirl, I think Kelly may be on to something. This album has a real organic feel to it.

    Kelly takes his time. These songs aren't particularly long, but Kelly waits a while to reveal the final form of a particular piece. This lends a pleasing jolt of anticipation, and it also allows for the full formation of ideas. After all, this kind of music is all about mental exploration.

    I don't know Gentoo's previous work, so I can't judge this against anything that came before. But this level of skill and mastery over a form doesn't happen overnight. Even more impressive is how Kelly manages to make all of these songs sound effortless and inevitable.

    You can bob along in the flow, or you can dig deeper. You know my choice. There's plenty below the surface here, and that level of craft and commitment is impressive. Let this one percolate in your cerebral cortex a while and see what pops up.


    Transmission Report split 7"
    (Stillwater Trading)
    reviewed in issue #131, 3/31/97

    The Gapeseed track is titled "Raise the Calculus Lude". It's much less produced than the album I just reviewed, though the basic elements of the band are still evident. This puppy is quite messy, but a lot of fun within the chaos. A worthy song, by all accounts

    Gerling is Australian, and the note with this says that Stillwater is trying to release a bunch of split 7"s with U.S. and Aussie bands combining. And interesting idea, indeed.

    The Gerling track, "Mother Mary", is much more mainstream-sounding. Still in the same basic area, but with more of an emphasis on structure. The noise comes more from the way the instruments are (or aren't) played). A real wall-of-sound here; the song starts off with a bass riff, and the attack doesn't cease until the end.

    A cool, adventurous 7". This is exactly what small vinyl was invented to propagate.

    Gary Gerloff Band
    Ancestor Worship
    reviewed in issue #212, 2/19/01

    There aren't many who would attempt a country blues record. Not necessarily torch spin on the jump blues, mind you (though there is some of that), but more of a western swing meets the rural blues. The way Gary Gerloff does it, you'd think this was a perfectly natural idea.

    And, really, we are talking about two of the pure folk music forms of the 20th century, often played by groups of people who did live near each other. The thing is, for the most part these are Gerloff's songs. His reinventions of standards are the weakest link here, and they often sound like the Band trying to play the blues. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but his own pieces sound so much better.

    Now that I think of it, of course, Dixieland (hardly a rural sound, but bear with me) provides a perfect bass line for two-step swing rhythms. And bluesy acoustic guitar shuffling fits right in with piano, organ or steel guitar. Gerloff achievement is in the way he weaves all of these "ancestral" sounds into something new and modern.

    One of those albums that simply sounds timeless. It is, of course, and not just because of the breadth of music experience exhibited. Gerloff and friends breathe a colorful life into these songs. The full effect can't be fully described in a review. It must be heard.

    The German Army
    In Transit
    (Dub Ditch Picnic)
    (Weird Ear)
    reviewed 7/6/15

    These two releases showed up at about the same time recently. In Transit was a straight download, while Taushiro came via snail mail (just so I could see the glorious double flexi-disc presentation for myself, I suppose).

    You read that right. Taushiro's physical release is on two pieces of lo-fi, square-shaped, ultra-thin plastic. There's also a download link. I used that to actually get the music, as I was afraid my ancient (and cheap) turntable would tear a hole in the beautiful acetate.

    As for the music, German Army is one of the most creative electronic outfits I've heard in ages. No sound escapes untouched, as everything is bent and twisted to the will of the collective. In Transit trends toward the dub, but that's just the starting point. The depth of sound is simply astonishing. For those keeping track, this CD release collects a number of songs released on various tapes over the last few years.

    Taushiro is much peppier but just as warped. Taushiro is an indigenous language from a region in Peru, and perhaps German Army is attempting to channel that in some way. I say perhaps, because I would hate to have to ascertain any intent from anything these folks do.

    What's most arresting about each of these releases is how different they are. The only real connection is the amount of meddling that has been done to the"original" sounds. A couple of reviews I've seen compare this to Cabaret Voltaire, and I can certainly hear that. But thirty years ago there weren't the tools to make such subtle sonic adjustments. This stuff makes the trippy industrial (a terrible description, I know) of yesteryear sound like something being punished by a caveman's club.

    I don't know exactly where or what German Army is, and based on these two releases I can't really guess where it might be going. But if you're looking for music that pushes against every boundary in sight, this is a good place to start. My brain is alive.

    Carload of Scenic Effects
    reviewed in issue #143, 9/15/97

    A cool power pop threesome. All three members write songs, and all three sing their own songs. The songwriting styles are fairly distinctive, and each member sings rather differently. Kinda like listening to three different bands.

    I like that, really. All three are fairly good song writers, and the way the band as a whole manages to meld itself to each members singing style is pretty impressive.

    A good number of the songs get lost at one point another or simply find themselves in inextricable positions. Usually playing live can work out those kinks, and I'd say Gerty should have tried this stuff out a bit more before committing it to tape. Probably would have removed the odd clunky factor.

    Still, a fairly good album. There's a lot here to like, and plenty of room for future growth.

    Valerie Ghent
    (West Street Records)
    reviewed in issue #125, 12/23/96

    A background singer and keyboardist for such folks as Debbie Harry and Ashford and Simpson, Valerie Ghent shows she knows how to write, record and perform good music. The synclavier-based songs have that mid-eighties pop sound (think "Lucky Star" or Maniac") that sounds kinda artificial, but is still burned into your memory.

    Ghent is no great shakes as a songwriter (much of this album fits into that pop pabulum area), but she pulls off this limited material well. Her voice and production talents are the stars of this disc.

    This is the stuff I heard on the radio when I was going to high school in New Mexico. All we had was country or top 40, and so I can quite identify with the lush yet brittle sound Ghent has formed. It's not where I'm at now, but her ability as a singer is unquestionable.

    Songwriting is another matter, though there's a pretty big market out there for stuff that plays it fairly safe. Not my cup of tea, but still obviously rather good.

    Ghoti Hook
    Banana Man
    (Tooth & Nail)
    reviewed in issue #150, 12/29/97

    Tight pop-punk that finds its roots in the DC suburbs. Yeah, ALL and NOFX are obvious influences (that's fairly common), though Ghoti Hook prefers to keep the sound a bit more stripped-down. The songs are uniformly upbeat, and differentiation can be sorta difficult.

    But the tunes are quite catchy and even occasionally poignant. For the most part, though, these are the thoughts of suburban kids who kinda like subdivisions.

    The music is rote, though performed with admirable energy. Similar to Millencolin in lots of ways, though not nearly as witty. Ghoti Hook is workmanlike punk.

    I don't hear much to distinguish the band from a multitude of others. The stuff is good, but not terribly noteworthy.

    Hypnotic Underworld
    (Drag City)
    reviewed in issue #250, February 2004

    The members of Ghost are more artists than musicians. Yes, they play music (most of the time, anyway), but that music is being played to elicit a certain effect. I happen to find this approach cool and interesting, but I'm saying this right up front so as to make sure everyone knows what the hell I'm talking about.

    Which would make one of us, because Ghost doesn't exactly travel in a the real world. There are ethereal moments that are right out of Dead Can Dance, and there are shocking incidents of sonic violence. Then things get weird.

    Want to know how odd this gets? Ghost recasts Syd Barrett's lyrics to "Dominoes" with new music. And this new setting is even more disconcerting, even though it has many echoes of the original.

    In all, a typical Drag City release. Adventurous music for those who are willing to hike the back trails. The journey is most worthwhile; Ghost holds many jewels within its cape. Just don't give up before the end.

    Ghosts of the Open Road
    (Wedge Records)
    reviewed in issue #78, 6/15/95

    Two guys trying to replicate the Whitesnake sound (with less bass) and replacing the sex rhymes with western movie themes.

    In other words, highly anthemic glam with artistic pretensions. And it even works sometimes. Sure, in the end this stuff comes off as pretty silly, but when the guitar work is kept simple and the drums stick to a nice "boom-chicka-boom" beat this really clicks.

    All in all, very weird for obviously commercial fare. It just doesn't add up. And you simply must hear it to believe it. Sorry I can't help you more than that.

    C. Gibbs
    as The C.Gibbs Review
    Sincerity's Ground
    (Earth Music-Cargo)
    reviewed in issue #128, 2/17/97

    Christian Gibbs of Morning Glories, of course. Easy-flowing rootsy stuff, with a simple production job that leaves the songs to speak for themselves. And with songs like these...

    Lets just say Gibbs doesn't play things straight up. The songs are fairly dreary stories, an interesting counterpoint to the pleasant musical accompaniment. Not nearly as noisy as Morning Glories, which works pretty well with the material.

    Alright, so he cribs all over the place. The most obvious is on "Animals Criminals", where he steals not only Mick Jagger's falsetto, but Keith Richards' country plucking style. I guess if you're going to take a little, you might as well appropriate the whole store.

    But even with such drawbacks, Gibbs shows a nice touch with more delicate material. A pleasant afternoon's diversion.

    Parade of Small Horses
    reviewed in issue #264, May 2005

    He's not ancient, but Christian Gibbs has already lived a long life in music. He's been a hired hand, frontman for the Morning Glories, major label solo artist and now indie hero. After all that, he's either burnt out or he has plenty of stories to last the rest of his life.

    Judging by the wide scope of this, his fourth solo outing, Gibbs will be telling stories long after he's put into the ground. And he'll be telling them in style. Much like Neil Young--an obvious influence--Gibbs changes his voice and music to fit the song. Yes, all of this fits loosely into that whole alt. country/Americana sound, but there's a lot more in there as well.

    Each song tells a story. A hint: If you ever want to know if a songwriter will have legs, listen for character definition within his or her lyrics. If the point of view remains static, so will the songs. Gibbs not only inhabits his lyrics with real characters and ideas, he also make sure that the music fits the subject as well.

    Stylish and supremely assured, Gibbs has made one of those albums that threatens to echo well into the future. There's not a clunker in the set, and most of the songs sparkle with an energy can is rarely found. Few do it better.

    The Ambient Room
    reviewed in issue #83, 8/21/95

    Of course, this has one of those cool varied-image covers (the doors open and close). And the title pretty much describes the contents.

    Bounding around from space to ambient, Giez does a nice job of varying the sound (which is kinda tough in this musical realm). Each ambient piece is set off by a more experimental electronic or space piece, perhaps intended as some sort of introduction.

    But even in the purely ambient pieces many different sounds and ideas come into play, with things even bordering trance sounds at times. Giez may not have put out the best (and most diverse) ambient album I've heard this year (I'm sticking with Synesthesia for now), but The Ambient Room is pretty close (even if the title sucks).

    Gift Anon
    The Sweetness and the Sarcasm EP
    reviewed in issue #215, 4/23/01

    Musings from the Mineral side of emo. Gift Anon has not one, but two lead guitars meandering about trying to establish some sort of pattern. Alright, sometimes there's a traditional lead/rhythm arrangement. But I kinda prefer the dual leads.

    Mostly because songs like these are all about the lines. The paths taken by the guitars, other instruments and vocals. That's what's matters here. And Gift Anon doesn't skimp. There's a pleasing, complex meshwork in these tunes, with some unexpected points of intersection cropping up here and there.

    I'm all in favor of stuff like this. Gift Anon doesn't really do anything unusual with the sound, but it sure knows what it's doing, period. Simple elements combining into complicated mixtures. That's why this kinda sound will always fall pleasantly on my ears.

    Gift Horse
    Gift Horse
    (Pinch Hit)
    reviewed in issue #174, 12/28/98

    Heavy in the bass, with some jangly hooks. You know, a kind of grunge pop. I guess. Hey, I don't care. The stuff moves and it sounds good. Need anything else?

    That's really the trick to playing heavily distorted instruments. Keep them moving. Oh, sure, it doesn't hurt to write tight songs that tell cool little stories. That never hurts. But never, never let the song degenerate into a dirge. Gift Horse knows this well.

    There's also the nicely inventive guitar lines. And I really can't get over the fine songwriting. These guys know how to crank out songs. Real well. I'm simply knocked out.

    Wow. Supreme quality. A nice little three piece which knows how to craft fine tunes. Why ask why, indeed?

    Gift to the Greedy
    Flying Exorcist
    reviewed in issue #165, 8/17/98

    A lot of bloody racket, this is. The songs often start out nice and sweet, but fuck that, man, they degenerate into a pit of swirling guitars and rude hollering. Unless, of course, they don't. Fascinatingly, Gift to the Greedy has a number of things in common with Archers of Loaf. Both bands try real hard to warp the whole pop genre. Both succeed, though Archers of Loaf succeeds a lot better.

    An unfair comparison to be sure. But Gift to the Greedy is an ambitious band. The songs are complicated morasses where riffage and sanity simply cease to be for moments at a time. Oh, sure, that's exactly the sort of thing I dig.

    And I do like what I hear. The band needs to work its songs a bit more. Find a proper groove without losing that trailblazer spirit. Less of the jumping around and a spot more cohesiveness would work wonders. This isn't selling out, it's simply taking credit for your own personal thought. Right now, these songs often sound like random assortments of chord sets.

    I know, I'm always telling young bands to work. As a young writer, I hear that advice myself. I believe it, too. Gift to the Greedy has the ability of the second sight. It just needs to harness that prescience into a more reasonable sound.

    Latigo Canta
    reviewed 4/4/17

    Exceptional instrumental stuff from Spain. BCore is centered in Barcelona, but if I'm reading the band's page correctly, at least one member is from Madrid. It doesn't matter. All the lyrics are in Spanish.

    That's a joke. There are no lyrics. The album title translates loosely as "Whip Song" or "Horsewhip Song" or"He Sings of Horsewhips" or something. My boys were unfamiliar with "latigo" (accent on the a), and they didn't get the syntax, either. I guess there's only so much six years of Spanish will do you.

    But the horsewhip part is instructive. Imagine Dirty Three's Horse Stories reimagined by Trans Am and then turned up to 11. No fiddle, either. Just pile-driving riffage, (very) heavy surf-punk that still manages to evoke the wide-open plains. These songs blister by in a flash (they are short and fast), and their breathless character is one of the most thrilling parts of the experience.

    There are lots of ways to tell a story. Music is one of the best, of course, and words are secondary. Giganto grabs the listener by the throat and then keeps tightening the vise. Some albums are made for listening. Latigo Canta is one you might hope to survive. But when you do, it's time for the ride to start up again immediately. Highly addictive.

    reviewed in issue #314, February 2010

    Colin Stewart and Nick Krgovich decided that what the world needs now is an expansive set of Spectoresque pop. I hadn't been aware of such a deficiency, but after listening to Maintenant, I'm willing to reassess my previous position.

    At the very least, the world needs this particular expansive set of Spectoresque pop. The boys recruit a number "guest" vocalists (though when you don't have a regular singer, it seems wrong to call anyone a "guest") to decorate their compositions, and then they throw in just enough of the wall of sound to induce a slight twinge when thinking about the passing of mono.

    Of course, this is a stereo recording. I wonder if Stewart and Krgovich even considered going whole hog and heading back to mono. I doubt it. Why ruin something good with an abstract artistic conceit?

    Yeah, it's much better to actually make good music that sounds good, too. And if you haven't spent years mixing into mono, you will screw it up. Gigi makes nary a misstep here, but rather dances nimbly over the non-British pop sounds of the 60s. Delish.

    Bruce Gilbert
    In Esse
    reviewed in issue #150, 12/29/97

    Explorations of modulated sound. Whatever created the base track (a guitar for much of it, I think), Gilbert has taken that sound and created something completely new. This is the pure electronic noise music. As Gilbert was present at the creation of Wire, well, this sort of mordant creativity should be expected.

    Much like Namanax, really, though Gilbert keeps his sound very clean. The first track, "Soli" is a bit longer than 45 minutes, and if you're expecting something coherent, well, go buy a Hanson album or something. The noises Gilbert finds generally fit into the "otherworldly" category, but since his hand is so technical, there's an almost mathematical feel to the squeals and yelps.

    Perfect for meditating on the madness of modern life, or simply for clearing your mind of extraneous data. This music requires your full attention, and then some. Yes, you have to think. My guess is that you're out of shape in that area, anyway.

    A truly amazing journey through the world of electronic disturbance. Sure, it scares the kids. That's just one of its selling points.

    The Ginger Envelope
    Edible Orchids
    (One Percent Press)
    reviewed in issue #291, November 2007

    One of those "hey, we should be in a band together" sort of things (there are members of Dark Meat, Venice Is Sinking and South San Gabriel within), the Ginger Envelope roams around the subdued rock universe with laconic grace.

    I kept waiting to get bored. This sort of midtempo-at-best feel is not my sort of thing. I usually tune out after a minute or so. My theory is that anything you can say quietly sounds a lot more convincing when you scream it at the top of your lungs. The Ginger Envelope begs to differ, and I think I can hear the point.

    Those who do like getting mellow more than me might be surprised at the amount of texture within these songs. There's a lot going on, especially when the band seems to be standing still. And I'm not talking about background stuff. The Ginger Envelope is so hypnotic that it's possible to miss sounds that are right on top.

    Something of a sonic sucker punch, I suppose, though these folks seem far too mild-mannered for that sort of thing. Or maybe not. There's more here than meets the ears--at first listen, anyway. Well done.

    Invitation Air
    (One Percent Press)
    reviewed in issue #309, August 2009

    Songs for a slightly breezy summer afternoon. The Ginger Envelope wafts its tunes over a bit of pedal steel and acoustic guitar. There's no rush at all.

    I imagine the live shows might be a bit tedious. These aren't dirges (like, say, the Cowboy Junkies), but the songs never break out of middle tempo and there's very little dynamic range. Steady-state americana, if you will.

    What saves it for me is the melodic work. These are incredibly pretty songs, and despite the band's mellow tendencies, the folks never lose focus. Oh, and there's a fair amount of cussing. I like that sort of incongruity.

    The Ginger Envelope won't take you anywhere, but it will put you in a good place. And that's just fine with me.

    Ginger Moon
    Celebrity Volunteers
    (South Tenth Street)
    reviewed in issue #217, 6/4/01

    There's a bit in the liners that says "There's one tune in here for everyone's tastes--radio and A&R people ... take note!" That sorta thing scares me. Sounds like the guys might be trying to make "hit" music.

    But no. Ginger Moon plays a heavy version of jangle rock, occasionally venturing into straight-ahead rock and roll. The stuff's not bad when the guys just play. It's where they force things that the going gets dicey.

    John Sullivan isn't a great singer. When his voice has to carry a song (say, on a slower piece like "New York Day"), it can't. But he sound good on the ravers. His gravelly voice is perfect for that kinda thing. In general, Ginger Moon seems to be happier (and certainly sounds better) with the faster and heavier material.

    Even on the better songs, though, Ginger Moon doesn't particularly distinguish itself. There's a lot of bands playing stuff like this, and these guys are right in the middle of the pack. They need to figure out a way to bolt to the head of the line. Something distinctive. Then maybe those A&R guys might come calling.

    Greg Ginn
    Getting Even
    reviewed in issue #36, 6/30/93

    As often happens, the disc sounds a ton better than the advance tape. Musically, this is an amazing sonic assault. I just wish I could make out the vocals a little more often.

    Thing sound the best when they're chaotic, as on "Kill Burn Fluff." At other times, when Ginn tries to merge blues or other genres into his flat-out sprinting style, the effects are not quite as good.

    Go for the shorter songs; they really stomp. All the spirit of a Black Flag album without the vocals.

    reviewed in issue #41, 10/15/93

    While Getting Even (released not four months ago) was a sloppy return to his hard core roots, this album thrusts itself right into today's industrial melee.

    This is about as self-indulgent as the last one, but the incessant beats are a much better backdrop for Ginn's meandering and feedback-laden guitar work. In other words, I think he's found his genre.

    There seems to be no production, really, as the levels kinda flake on occasion, but that makes sense. This is a nice extract of vitriol, and unlike Getting Even, I think this Greg Ginn release is masturbatory and excellent. Check it out.

    Don't Tell Me CD5
    reviewed in issue #50, 3/15/94

    So you release two solo albums in a year, not to mention a group effort, and then what? Well, after taking a little time to make sure the record labels are running smoothly, you remix a few tracks from your solo albums.

    The results are mixed; nice beats and reasonably good reproduction, but it does seem like the life of the songs has been sucked out. There was soul, and now this is soul-less. If that's the idea, alright. But I prefer a little feeling.

    Let It Burn (Because I Don't Live There Anymore)
    reviewed in issue #58, 7/15/94

    Yes, his third album release in a year. This one is more in the industrial vein of Dick, but does retain some of the hard core feel of Getting Even. In other words, more of the same.

    That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it does start to wear on you after a while. This is quality stuff, as Ginn sure knows how to translate pure-bred rancor into sonic fury. But after some time, my reaction becomes: anything else?

    One album of ill will is one thing. But three in a year definitely pushes the edge of my tolerance. Maybe Ginn will get a drug habit, or break up with his girlfriend or find something else to write about than oppression and hatred.

    The gig is beginning to wear thin, though Let It Burn is a fine recording. Time to move on.

    See also Gone, Hor and Screw Radio.

    M. Gira
    (Young God-Alternative Tentacles)
    reviewed in issue #78, 6/15/95

    A "Swans related project", as if we didn't know that already.

    These two solo works by Jarboe and Gira have really delineated the distinct songwriting styles of the two artists. Jarboe is highly conceptual with her lyrics, but her music is stridently derivative, as if she couldn't (or didn't want to) really create a new sound.

    Gira is much more interesting musically, jumping all over in terms of styles and sounds. But at times I wish Jarboe's more esoteric lyrics would lift Gira from some of his mundane topics.

    Each of the solo works is interesting on its own, but the more important examination is of the two together. And I have come to a greater appreciation of the collaboration that is Swans.

    See also Jarboe and Swans.

    Girls Against Boys
    Bulletproof Cupid 7"
    (Touch and Go)
    reviewed in issue #35, 5/31/93

    Not two years ago a person stood up in a KCOU general meeting and said that punk (hard core, I can't remember exactly what the terminology was, but you get the drift) was a dead genre. At the time Fugazi was a real good band, I recall this person being forced to withstand a pretty stiff cookie pelting as a result of his remark.

    The reason I say this is that I have heard more great punk music the past year than, well, ever. And this is D.C. stuff at its best. Side one is a blazing, intense piece of riffola. The flip turns all that on its ear, experimentation that works.

    You know, they once said disco was dead. I can endure a little thumpa-thumpa-thumpa if I get to hear bands like this once or twice a day.

    Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby
    (Touch and Go)
    reviewed in issue #38, 8/31/93

    I laid out the August issue of The Note, a regional music mag with distribution of 40,000. After digging through the various bins of CDs and tapes, I found the advance for this album. I played it back and forth about five times, really annoying a couple of people.

    So I had an inkling that this kicked ass. When the vinyl showed up in my mail, I was pretty happy. One of the things I'm a sucker for is D.C. post-punk. So they're not based in our nation's capital any more. Does that change the sound? No.

    I know a lot of you don't play anything that doesn't have overharmonized guitars and incoherent vocals. So be it. But these vocals do have a nice rasp, and there is fine music going on.

    You folk should pay attention to more T&G bands than the Jesus Lizard. Just so you know.

    Cruise Yourself
    (Touch and Go)
    reviewed in issue #63, 9/30/94

    Yes, there's more than Fugazi and Jawbox wearing a sash declaring themselves cool D.C. post-punk survivors. And in my book, G vs B is putting the better goods on the table these days.

    Still a lot of distortion and madness swirling around in the vortex, but a tight rhythm section keeps things mostly in line. Where the last album had quite a few moments of mellow indecision, the intensity is kept cranked here. Just when you think things have built as high as possible-boom!

    As before, melody is not only ignored but absolutely scorned. The emphasis here is on strident guitar licks and exacting rhythms. And yes, I do truly dig it.

    A step ahead of Venus Luxure, the new G vs B has a simply wonderful racket.

    **House of GVSB**
    (Touch and Go)
    reviewed in issue #100, 2/26/96

    The GVSB swan song for Touch and Go. These hyper-cool indie rocks stars are prepped and ready to hit mega-stardom with that maker of teen idols, DGC. But that¹s next time around.

    Honestly, you would figure that after three albums (two on Touch and Go), the guys would have played out the idea of two-note riffs and post-punk hipster dronings. But no, this third Touch and Go outing is as fresh as any. And thanks to Ted Nicely's punchy production, the sound positively booms out.

    A point? Jesus, you folks have been on the ride this long and you want all this to mean something? Come on. Girls Against Boys is merely a conduit to that place in your brain called the pleasure center. Cranking this disc releases all those hormones and enzymes that instigate giddiness and laughter.

    And, not to miss the obvious, GVSB propagate a wondrous sexual vibe. The current is strong, and I suggest you swim with it. One thing everyone should know is that getting in the way of this band only gets you killed. So you might as well hang on for the ride of your life.

    Girls Under Glass
    (Deathwish Office-Nuclear Blast America)
    reviewed in issue #140, 8/4/97

    German engineered, with a guitar sound I haven't heard since Bloodstar. Nice to hear it resurrected, and these folks do the whole KMFDM hardcore dance attack rather well.

    Now, it isn't any more than that, and there's no way Girls Under Glass could be called trendsetting or groundbreaking. Still, the stuff is put together for maximum effect, and the results are nothing less than stunning.

    Lovingly crafted, each song bears the stamp of hard work. The rhythms and melodies are simple, but the instrumentation is nicely complex, shifting sounds around from song to song. This stuff could have gotten dull quite quickly. That it didn't is a testament to the band.

    Tasty, if not ultimately filling. Of course, that's the perfect recipe for some. As long as you're asking for more, Girls Under Glass should be enough.

    The Gits
    Frenching the Bully
    reviewed in issue #25, 11/30/92

    Just as the folks at SubPop are trying to milk the "Seattle sound" for all it's worth (a lucrative prospect for another year, at least), C/Z seems intent upon breaking the myth that all Northwest bands are on some sort of Seconal/PCP cocktail.

    The Gits are a great punk outfit that would seem to be a lot more home in San Francisco (judging by the liners they have spent some time there). But happily for us they live in Seattle and recorded for C/Z.

    Raw energy. The kind I like to feed off of in times of need. Mia Zapata's vocals kinda remind me of Alice Donut's Sissy Haynes, but the music is much more straightforward.

    The production keeps things tight and fast, leaving no time for distraction. Nothing short of amazing.

    Glad Hearts
    The Oak and the Acorn
    reviewed in issue #310, September 2009

    A much more traditional jangle/americana outfit. Glad Hearts is pleasantly raucous, with the requisite tremulous vocals. I think I've heard this sort of thing a thousand times. It's just that these guys do it better than just about anyone.

    These are simple songs of joy, sadness and, well, life. There is some interesting instrumentation (organ, synthesizer, harmonica, accordion...wait a minute. Synthesizer?) and arrangements that sometimes trend more poppy than rootsy. I can dig it.

    Indeed, Glad Hearts does two things very well. It plays simple songs, and it messes around with expectations. That's a fine formula for any band playing any sound, but it's almost priceless here.

    As the disc spins on, the talent and grace of this band becomes more and more evident. An exceptionally stylish album.

    La Di Da
    (Big Deal)
    reviewed in issue #131, 3/31/97

    The name is appropriate. The Gladhands play happy-sounding pop music with some amusing lyrics ("Gore Girls (Gimme More)" is but one example). Simply way too punched up, though.

    The sound is full enough to impress George Martin, and the little bits and pieces are very nice. But the whole feel is just a bit sickly-sweet. Too much candy.

    And that's the only way they play. Even on slower, more contemplative songs, the Gladhands are still way too up. I just want to slap the guys upside the head and say "Some days suck. Write just one song about that, okay?"

    Awful calculated, though fairly well-executed. The Gladhands need to find another note.

    The Glass
    (Makeshift Music)
    reviewed in issue #250, February 2004

    So if the post-rock revolution went and invaded the prog-folk scene, well, the Glass would probably rise up from the ashes of the battlefield. These guys remind me of nothing less than the bastard child of 16 Horsepower and June of 44. And that ain't bad at all.

    There are plenty of references to "old school" alt. country, especially Brad Bailey's vocals, which sounds a bit like a mixture of Gary Louris and Jay Farrar. There's a tender fragility to his singing that is immediately arresting.

    But the music is the star. This stuff is well-conceived and highly crafted. The Glass didn't just waltz into some studio and thrash out an album. This puppy was baked with care. But it's not overdone. There are enough raw notes to convey plenty of emotion. A tough balance, but one that the Glass succeeds in creating.

    For such a tight album, this puppy sure does swing. The Glass contains both accomplished songwriters and players, and the result here is a transcendent album. Most impressive.

    Worship and Tribute
    (Warner Brothers)
    reviewed in issue #235, November 2002

    I never dug Rage Against the Machine. One of the people I trust most when it comes to music turned me on even before the band hit it big. Nothing clicked. I liked the political edge, but the music bored me. Thing is, Rage has influenced a lot of bands I really like. Take Glassjaw.

    Not unlike Boysetsfire, these guys ride the extreme hardcore train, dressing it up with an expensive production job and a decidedly processed sound. What I dig is the band's ability to step away from the sonic apocalypse and pull in some melody from time to time.

    Indeed, I think Glassjaw's greatest skill is dirtying up some truly pretty songs. This stuff may be loud, but it's got a really beautiful core. Hard to hear most of the time, but if you're patient all will be revealed.

    What Soundgarden might have become if Seattle wasn't a pop city at heart, methinks. Glassjaw just might have its finger on the AOR sound of the new millennium. That can be a good thing, you know.

    Your Trendy Dump
    (Bitter Stag)
    reviewed in issue #238, February 2003

    Strangely crafty pop stylings. Glasstown plays astonishingly crafted stuff, but it comes across as fresh and exciting rather than dull and stilted. And a damned good thing that is, too.

    The writing is what's crafted. Which is not to say that the playing sucks, but it's looser than the songs themselves. And that serves to make everything sound much more energetic and lively. The lyrics are occasionally long-winded, but they're always pleasantly sly, which is good enough for me

    I have the feeling that I'm making no sense whatsoever. Let's see if I can rectify that. Glasstown worked its ass off in the studio to come up with this disc (there are plenty of little touches here and there), but I'd say these songs would work just as well live and somewhat less prettified. Though they're dreadfully wonderful as they are here.

    That didn't work at all. Maybe I'm simply overcome. Anything's possible. Whatever the case, I'm really knocked out by what Glasstown does. This is some really fine work. And if I don't get anything else across, perhaps that message with suffice.

    Glazed Baby
    Karmic Debt
    (Red Decibel)
    reviewed in issue #56, 6/15/94

    So you listened to the House of Large Sizes and Fat Tuesday and wondered when those boys at RdB were going to get back to releasing kick-ass headbanging wall-of-noise stuff like the classic Coup de Grace album?

    This is one of the heaviest albums released in the entire history of the world. Yes, heavier than early Melvins and Skin Yard (though owing them a small debt). Yes, heavier than Jesus Lizard (though, again, owing them a little as well). Heavier even than Streetcleaner. Really. And these (three!) guys are using real instruments.

    Glazed Baby wears you down until there is no resistance. Then you are violated and left for dead. After the disc is finished and you recover in the silence, a sort of craving begins. You need more. You crawl on your hands and knees to stereo and punch up the disc again. And hit repeat. And pray to whatever you think will hear you that you might survive this wave.

    No words can describe the pain. Or the ecstasy. Absolutely the best album I've heard in years. A cornucopia of visceral stimulation. What else is there to say?

    Atomic Communists
    (Red Decibel)
    reviewed in issue #102, 3/11/96

    If you are unaware, Glazed Baby's Karmic Debt is about as vicious album as I've heard. A big slab of pounding rhythms and pure pain. So, of course, I've been looking forward to this disc for a hell of a long time.

    And not unlike Kepone, who plays games with a lighter version of this stuff, the sophomore disc takes the edge off the sound, which can only mean we should now be focusing on what cool songs the guys can write.

    And for some unknown reason, Glazed Baby has decided to slow things up at times. WHY?!? This stuff works only when it moves, and luckily for the album (and me), the dirge-like tempo of "Lucky 7" is not the most prevalent idea on the album. But it's still there too much for my taste.

    Yeah, the guitar work is still pretty impressive, and at times the boys can create a really great sound. Even on one of the slow pieces like "St. Valentine's Day Massacre Blues". But often enough all that meticulous crafting gets lost in the generic sludginess of the sound.

    A big disappoinment, for me. I didn't necessarily want , but I wanted more songs like "(Let Me Take You to) Chinatown", and less of the slow stuff. Glazed Baby had found a wonderful sound in the studio last time out, and for the most part that has been lost here. And the songs are just not up to the old standard.

    For most bands, this would be an acceptable (if not really good) album, hence my rating. But it just doesn't show off Glazed Baby nearly as well as the debut.

    Truly Unruly 7"
    reviewed in issue #83, 8/21/95

    Unruly indeed. Truly garish cludge-core that manages to rip off big chunks of sweet rhythm and disgorge them at the appropriate hour.

    Each of the three tracks starts off coherently enough before degenerating into a real mess that probably includes assorted body parts in the mix.

    An interesting idea, and one I wholeheartedly endorse. Can the band keep it up for a full-length of this material? I can only hope.

    Love the Virgins
    (Mountain Lo-Fi Recordings)
    reviewed in issue #278, September 2006

    You know, that whole uber-hip slickster rock trio thing. Lots of moany vocals and slinky riffage. Been done to death the last few years.

    But rarely has it been done this well. Kinda like if Girls Against Boys had gotten the whole major-label sound thing right. Or something like that. These folks devolve into some of the most sensual sounds I've heard. At times the guitar and drums simply exude hot, sticky sex.

    And, you know, that's what rock and roll is all about, right? I must admit I didn't listen to the lyrics a whit. Though with titles like "Off to Bed," "I Want You" and, of course, the title track, I guess I don't need to. The music makes the point perfectly clear before the first word is sung.

    I haven't heard a fuck album this good in years. Pop this one in your iPod, split out the sound and I guarantee you the best headphone sex you've had in many a year. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you just aren't trying hard enough. Because Gliss is trying harder than the two (or more) of you combined.

    Jesus Song 7"
    reviewed in issue #145, 10/13/97

    Britpop anthems. A weird, very poppy take on emo (lots of production extras like strings and such). I guess the distance across the ocean explains a little.

    For a form that seems to thrive on minimalism, Glitterbox's slendor of excess is certainly arresting. I'm not sure I like it, but it's one hell of an idea. This is definitely not going to get all the kiddies over here going (too many Britishisms, for starters), but it's worth listen.

    Potential, though these songs aren't the greatest. Still, something to watch.

    Globes on Remote
    The Woo-Hoo-Hoo
    reviewed in issue #312, November 2009

    Laptop meets indie meets cheese pop. With more than a bit of German engineering lying in wait. Globes on Remote aren't shy about spinning eclectic sounds. Even better, the songs come together most of the time.

    Sometimes they don't, though I think that might well be intentional. After all, many of these pieces sound like some sort of inside joke that I (for one) don't get.

    I'm not going to worry about it too much, though. The gentle throb and whimsical bleeps are more than enough to keep my head bobbing. I suppose Globes on Remote might be annoying if its songs were more insistent, but these gentle-hearted ramblers are utterly charming.

    Something of a mess, but a pleasant mess. I'm not sure more coherence would help, as much of the whimsy comes from the random thoughts tossed around. Settle in and see how the water suits you.

    The Gloria Record
    Drove Home to that Achingly Long Song... 7"
    reviewed in issue #169, 10/12/98

    A relatively new band made up of a couple ex-members of Mineral and two other similarly credentialed emo veterans. I'm guessing that the name of the band comes from an early Mineral seven-inch. Sounds a lot like Mineral (never a bad thing), though the Gloria Record focuses a bit more on the melody potential of the stuff.

    The a side is from the band's self-titled EP on Crank. The flip is a demo-quality recording, but arresting nonetheless. All early reports of greatness from the Gloria Record are hereby confirmed. Music of astonishing power.

    Really, the Mineral connection should wake people up. But even if that doesn't these two songs are more than enough to make the case for the band. That doesn't happen often, but then, bands like this don't come along every day, either.

    The Gloria Record
    reviewed in issue #173, 12/14/98

    Right on the heels of the 7" which knocked me out so. More achingly long songs. More elliptic genius.

    Like Mineral, this band's genesis, the Gloria Record travels along the more ethereal side of emo. In fact, this disc never really crunches out. Melody plays a key role, something not usually heard in this sound.

    But the evolution is welcome to my ears. Honestly, this is just an extension of the Mineral sound, and a great one at that. The songwriting is even more introspective and textured, the music that much more, well, emotive.

    Sometimes an album comes along and grabs you by the balls. The music may not be hyper aggressive, but the result is the same. The Gloria Record takes hold and doesn't let go. An album of extraordinary power and grace.

    See also Mineral.

    Gloom Balloon
    Drying the Eyes of the Goddess of Gloom, Underneath the Stars and the Moon
    (Maximum Ames)
    reviewed 9/25/17

    Gloom Balloon is Patrick Tape Fleming and Christopher Ford. They're from Iowa. Fleming has a two-year-old son and has said that this is pretty much the summation of his creative output. That's a seriously condensed explanation of this album, but it does cover most of the bases.

    As you might expect from the band name and album title, this is art pop that has a lot to say. Fleming envisioned these songs as a long note to his son, to be played whenever his son asks him, "Dad, why are you such an asshole?" I can get behind that, as I hear that question most days (my two oldest are fifteen and twelve). The songs are packed with idea both musical and lyrical, and they often come off a bit collage-y. Kinda like Lambchop meets the Flaming Lips.

    And if you're gonna get stuck between two bands, that's a nice, weird place to be. Gloom Balloon has an elegiac feel to its songs (a bit like late Beatles or any number of not-quite louche 70s bands). Each song is a journey, and the album is a greater manifestation of that ideal.

    Does it all make sense? No. This is the unspooling of a mind. It is cluttered, messy and sometimes random. There is a majestic beauty to the chaos, though, as Fleming and Ford do have a real knack for pretty sounds. The structure is solid, even if the ingredients are unconventional.

    If Fleming never makes another album, I'd say he can be happy. This final Gloom Balloon effort is a worthy statement. My guess is, though, he'll realize he has more to say after living a bit longer. That's the nature of the artist. And the world is a better place because of that.

    reviewed in issue #326, April 2011

    The best instrumental music makes the listener forget that most songs have vocals. Glorie makes the listener forget the point of vocals.

    Some of these songs do have traditional melodies laid over rhythm sections, but most are organic collections of sounds and ideas. The pieces are well-crafted, but they have constructions all their own.

    This may not make sense in a review, but think about some of the symphonies of the 20th century. There's lots of dissonance and rhythm, and eventually an idea is formed. Sometimes the idea is implied (and that can be especially tough to handle), but usually it is stated. Eventually, as I said.

    Glorie states its ideas clearly, but the context can be complicated. These pieces are melodic, even if they don't all have unifying melodies. The pieces surge and wane and until some sort of stasis is reached. And then the idea is left written in the sand. Hypnotic.

    Falling EP
    reviewed in issue #345, 2/24/13

    Post-rock is a useless designation, but it suits Glorie. Except that the boys take their string-dominated arrangements and turn them into striding anthems. How every not post-rock. Whatever. There isn't a bad track on this EP (I imagine all of them will wander through format on the radio station soon enough), and it ends all too soon.

    The Gloryholes
    Want a Divorce!
    reviewed in issue #238, February 2003

    Straight-ahead two-minute pop-punk with a side order of goofiness. Perhaps the band name tipped you off there.

    The jokes are simplistic and, more often than not, juvenile as well. The music is basic, but nonetheless executed with energetic style. There's a point where the vocal whine kinda gets to me, but I never stopped listening.

    Hey, it's produced by Jack Endino (yes, you idiots, he's still alive). And any band that names its publishing company FuckLars Music (think about it for a minute) can't be all bad. Even if the jokes are, you know, a wee bit puerile from time to time.

    Of course, the Gloryholes are the sort of band to take a critic who uses the word "puerile" in a review and strings him up by the balls. Which is pretty much all that needs to be said.

    reviewed in issue #272, March 2006

    Deee-Lite meets Madchester meets Macy Gray meets...maybe you get the idea. Just some Aussies trying to find a little American soul and dance while they're at it. Disco rock, in other words.

    That's it. Nothing complicated. Snappy guitars, solid beats and sassy vocals. Catchy as hell. And so stripped down as to eliminate any chance of pretension.

    Keeping things this simple is the key to the entire enterprise. Glovebox never oversteps the groove. Each song stays tied to that which is most addictive. And that keeps things more than solid.

    Fun is not a bad word. And Glovebox provides much more fun than should be allowed by law. Awfully fine.

    Granada Doaba
    reviewed in issue #310, September 2009

    The motto printed on the back of the digipak is "immigrant hiphop flamenco arabe since 1954." Yes. The "since 1954" is cute, but the description of the music is dead on. Flamenco guitar interlaced with hip-hop beats or northern African rhythms and melodies--and often enough both at once.

    The term "world music" was dated even before it came into vogue, and albums like this are the perfect arguments for retiring the term. These days, just about anyone can access music from anywhere and then make their own. Canyon Cody (the man behind Gnawledge) was a Fulbright scholar in Granada last year. He recorded a number of local artists and then recruited Gnotes (Sean Dwyer) to throw down some beats.

    I'm not entirely sure about that chronology (or, for that matter, the exact distribution of duties), but the bouillabaisse of sound on this album is impressive. There are all sorts of familiar sounds, but something new within each as well.

    This is what music is supposed to be, a joyful voyage of discovery. Often enough, this sort of collage can sound disjointed or perhaps a bit over scholarly. Not so with Gnawledge. These songs will burn the eyebrows off just about anyone who hears them.

    Six-Hi Surprise Tower
    reviewed in issue #13, 5/15/92

    Like many of the other artists on C/Z, Gnome has a great sense of how to use a guitar. But this is more than just grunge rehash. In fact, it's not that at all. More cool pop music, a la Treepeople or earlier Young Fresh Fellows. This is definitely cool. And catch the C/Z show at NMS: Hammerbox, Treepeople, Porn Orchard, these guys and more!

    You folks should be getting this sometime next week. If you don't, call those nice folks at C/Z and ask why.

    reviewed in issue #41, 10/15/93

    Produced by Jon Auer of the Posies, Gnome really kick out all the jams on their sophomore disc.

    Despite this odd affliction the nation seems to have with pop-grunge music, Seattle, as we all know, is really the world's capital of pop music. And Gnome are pretty close to the top of that heap.

    I'm not going to name names, because that would take too long, but C/Z has been a great showcase for many of those folk. On to the real review, then.

    Heavy pop, a little less melodic than Six-Hi Surprise Tower. The songs seem a little more thought out, but not contrived in the slightest. Where as My Name has fallen under the expert tutelage of ALL, Auer seems to have honed Gnome into a tight, fighting pop machine. I would not be surprised if this is the finest pop album of the fall (yes, better than Nirvana or Pearl Jam). Really.

    Tribal Metal EP
    reviewed in issue #163, 7/20/98

    I've been a fan of various sorts of metal for about 15 years, and I know a little bit about the subject. I've never heard of tribal metal. But hell, I'll take a gander anyway.

    This disc doesn't help me out. Gnosis plays a kinda of European-influenced hardcore. Like if Black Flag was an Iron Maiden cover band (with someone whipping out the occasional Jethro Tull-style flute--or other wind instrument--solo). That's actually not too bad, when you think about it.

    Unique, certainly. The songs themselves are generally a bit unfocused and need some tightening up (stray chords kinda crash into each other from time to time), but I like the idea. There is some work to do, definitely some gigging to as to understand how these songs work out live. But potential is high.

    I'm still not entirely sure what tribal metal is, but Gnosis plays some intriguing music. It's not quite there, if you know what I mean, but I like the direction.

    Go! Dog! Go!
    Glad to Be Unhappy
    reviewed in issue #129, 3/3/97

    The title to the first book I ever read. Well, Go Dog Go! anyway. Who cares about punctuation.

    Dreadfully sloppy alterna-pop, with the occasional soprano sax squeak. These boys pull out all the stops (and cranked the master volume to 11, to boot), and I must admit that the adrenaline rush is inspiring.

    The music, on the other hand, loses its novelty appeal after a few songs. A real bash and pop experience, the players seem to be playing with sledgehammers. Nothing is precise or ever reasonably accurate. I like riff slinging as much as the next person, but it would help if the guys would hit the same one twice in a row.

    And I wouldn't bitch so much, except that the band is obviously playing pop songs. This stuff is more structured than a Noel Coward piece, fer Chrissakes. It's not terribly good, but there's a road map a mile thick for the music. And that's why I wonder why it's played so poorly.

    Sounds like people who want to be "alternative" to me. I can't imagine why people would work so hard to sound like shit.

    Go Go Go Airheart
    split CD
    with 90 Day Men
    (Box Factory)
    reviewed in issue #199, 5/8/00

    Some wonderfully noisy mayhem. 90 Day Men lead off (I'm just listing this in alphabetical order, because I'm a dork), sounding an awful lot like a somewhat more coherent and subdued U.S. Maple. The three songs aren't always in motion, but they're always going somewhere.

    The guys sound like they're trying to explore the grimy underground. And as far as I can tell, they're succeeding. Whether lumbering or skipping along at a nice clip, these songs chip away at the footholds of conventional thinking.

    Go Go Go Airheart gets six songs and just a bit more time. Its sound fits in well with 90 Day Men, though the songs have a somewhat lighter touch. Almost effervescent, really, in comparison.

    But the depth is still there. While 90 Day Men come at music from underneath, Go Go Go Airheart swoops down from above. The intent and the mayhem produced is one and the same. Those who have a noise pop jones simply must prepare this solution immediately.

    The Go Nuts
    Go Nuts 7"
    reviewed in issue #134, 5/12/97

    Four utterly silly songs, played in an equally jokey pop-punk style. The band is devoted to its "Snack Contract with America", which basically involves advancing the creed of eating all the junk food you can. There's even an ode to Robert Earl Hughes, who still holds the Guinness record as the world's heaviest man, topping out at 1,069 lbs.

    to keep the joke going, the band members have names like Korn Dog and Kap'n Korn Nut. And even if the songs don't get any more inspired than "Snik Snak Skaduliak", there's still enough amusement factor to keep me smilin' through the seven-inch.

    A full-length might be stretching things a bit, but as snak rock heroes, I can't think of anyone to top the Go Nuts.

    Go Robot, Go!
    Wait 3 Days... Then Attack!
    reviewed in issue #213, 3/12/01

    Slipping a slightly spacey sheen over honey-drenched power pop, Go Robot, Go! pulls something of a Man or Astro-Man?. The songs are thick and gorgeous, complimented by some fine organ and keyboard work. The band members themselves are basically anonymous, and there is an almost single-minded focus on a theme (song titles like "At the Arcade," "We Have the Technology" and "[Insert Token]" certainly give a hint).

    All the while, the music kinda spins in its own axis. There are plenty of ways to get some distance from the pack, and these guys have done an exemplary job. No rip-off jobs here, though I will say this does sound just a bit like the old Vancouver band Pluto. I liked them a lot, too.

    And it sounds sooooooo good. There's a hint of the glam mixed in with the spacey accouterments. The generally mid-tempo songs are goofy and powerful enough to keep the album in motion. No slow downs or abrupt stops. Just a soft, cushy ride.

    Don't wait three days. Go for this now. Sugary pop this good doesn't come around very often. I'm utterly smitten.

    Go Sailor
    Go Sailor
    reviewed in issue #118, 9/9/96

    A compilation of various singles, EPs and other tracks. Go Sailor is not impressive on one listen (I barely even noticed the band's song on the A Slice of Lemon set), but when a few tunes get put together, the results are more impressive.

    This band is completely unpretentious. The simple pop songs just keep rolling out, with slice of life song subjects and barely competent harmonies. Sounds like a recipe for generic music, but Go Sailor's work really has an amazing cumulative charm.

    I would guess that many folks won't get far enough into this set (or heard one of the earlier releases, which barely had enough stuff to get a taste), but those that do will be rewarded. Simple pop has its charms, and perhaps the best way to create it is to strip away all the unnecessary parts and stick to the essentials. Despite a limited musical range and below-average vocals (from both singers), Go Sailor knows precisely how to create cool pop tunes.

    Go Fever
    Go Fever
    (self-released) reviewed 3/20/17

    Acey Monaro hails from Australia, but she's lived in Austin since meeting her now-husband. He's in the band, as are a couple other Austin musical stalwarts. And while Go Fever is something of an Acey Monaro joint, it is a band that stands on its own.

    The band's website refers to this as surf pop, but perhaps that's in an Aussie sense. Us 'mericans tend to think of layered harmonies when it comes to surfing, while I think the idea here is the heavy use of bent guitar notes within a pop context. Y'know, like Midnight Oil or something. Maybe that's a bit too far into the weeds with the unnecessary musical theory.

    Whatever the sound, Go Fever plays tight pop songs that simply explode with joy. Monaro is a somewhat understated singer, but her slightly underhanded delivery is a fine counterpoint to the relentlessly bounding music. She lends some heft and color to the solid musical base. The combination is often intoxicating.

    And so, what we have here is something like an Austin version of a British Columbian pop band. Led by an Australian. Does that make sense? I have a feeling I'm making this far too complicated, which is a mistake that Go Fever never makes. Steady on, with feeling.

    The Go-Betweens
    78 'til 79--The Lost Album
    (Jetset) reviewed in issue #178, 3/15/99

    Fans of the Go-Betweens (and the later works of the bands members) will find this a bit light. This disc is full of poppy pop. Not quite bubble gum, but not far away.

    But it's an interesting historical document that way. This disc is the first in a series in which it's pretty easy to hear how the passage of time can mute enthusiasm and breed disenchantment. I know, the later stuff wasn't all gloom and doom, but it wasn't this puffy, either.

    Recorded live to two track, which just emphasizes the peppy nature of the songs. The sound is very flat, that "old-timey" rock feel. And it does indeed work.

    On its own, well, this disc isn't particularly impressive. But when taken in context of the career of the Go-Betweens (etc.), it does have its place. An interesting trip into the past.

    The Friends of Rachel Worth
    reviewed in issue #204, 8/28/00

    The first new songs from Robert Forster and Grant McLennan in more than 10 years. But it's more than just the songwriting. Hearing those two voices together again initiates such memories that it's hard to be objective about this disc.

    Not unlike the Peter Holsapple/Chris Stamey reunion album of almost 10 years back, this set finds the old partners mowing old fields with a new machine. It sounds familiar, but with a twist or two.

    These guys are older. They're wiser. They still write songs about the inner life. The songs are still amazing. Rather than go for an overly grand sound, McLennan and Forster instead keep an intimate feel, inviting us back into their world.

    Like I said, I really can't be terribly objective about this one. I was immediately entranced and the spell has yet to break. Maybe in a month or two I'll find some big flaw. It's not apparent to me now. This sure seems like one of those reunions that might be even bigger than the sum of its parts.

    Bright Yellow Bright Orange
    reviewed in issue #239, March 2003

    The record stores are littered with new albums from great old bands. Most of them don't completely suck, but they also don't have the spark of the "original" sound. Often this is because bands are as much a product of the times as they are creators of music, and when removed from that time the music often is revealed to be surprisingly ordinary.

    But the Go-Betweens make timeless pop music. And often that kind of songwriter doesn't hit full stride until much later. There's no denying the greatness of "old" Go-Betweens songs, but Robert Forster and G.W. McClennan's later solo work was generally at least as good, and now this second "comeback" album proves that, indeed, these guys have gotten better with age.

    These songs are so beautiful they make my mouth water. No one else has the phrasing that McClennan uses into his songs, and Forster's balance of grace and exuberance is breathtaking. Their writing styles are different but eminently compatible.

    I loved The Friends of Rachel Worth, but this album beats that in a heartbeat. I doubt anyone will craft a better pop album this year. I wonder if anyone will best it in the next decade.

    Inner Light
    reviewed in issue #196, 3/6/00

    It's a shame that when an act like TLC actually puts out a song with some social comment, people react with surprise. From the time of Marvin Gaye through acts like Public Enemy , there have been urban artists with a conscience. Where have they gone?

    Go-Rin-No-Sho would like to change that. His musical chops do not really measure up (the synthesized soul sound rings a bit hollow), but he's got a smooth delivery and his raps go to the heart of the problems of the city. He doesn't shy away from what he thinks needs to be done.

    This sort of lyrical content shouldn't be refreshing. There should be legions of R&B and rap artists deliberating the problems of society. But there aren't, and so Go-Rin-No-Sho is there to fill the gap.

    Like I said, the music is not inspiring. It's passable, I guess, but that's about it. On the other hand, the ideas in the rhymes are cogent and powerful. There's definitely a need for that these days.

    Goats in Trees
    Smoke and Mirrors
    reviewed in issue #227, March 2002

    There's a trick to writing gentle pop songs. The key is to stay in a mellow mood without getting maudlin or syrupy. Monica Ann Crigler has the perfect voice for this sort of tune, just a wee bit fragile and quavering. Not an affected warble, but just an honest uncertainty.

    Playing brightly, yet softly, is also a challenge. But the members of Goats in Trees are up to the task, turning out top-notch tunes one after the next. The band sets the mood perfectly, allowing Crigler's voice to spread the icing.

    These songs were recorded in a large number of studios and settings, and yet the project still retains a singular sound. Just one more professional touch that proves how hard Goats in Trees has worked to refine its vision and music.

    An enticing, enchanted album. Even those who generally turn up their noses at pretty, soft pop could very well find themselves taking a second listen. From the first note, it's obvious these folks have that almost undefinable "something" that draws in an audience.

    Too Late... No Friends
    reviewed in issue #91, 11/6/95

    Since I got the Cub album last February, Mint has kept the pipeline open, shlepping me the best in Canadian punk music every month or two. Haven't got anything to complain about. Yet.

    And that stays the same. Gob are a little heavier and sloppier than the usual Mint act, but they appropriate some oozin aahs and end up with a sound somewhere near NOFX. Which is a good place to be, if you ask me.

    The lyrics are mostly loopy, the choruses catchy and the fret-slinging fast and furious. If Gob resided in L.A. instead of Canada, the boys would probably have signed a contract on the famous hood of Mr. Brett's Volvo by now. Oh well, have to let Mint get the credit for discovering some real talent.

    A very strong and fun disc. If Gob can move up from here, it will be a serious force for the future. Another fine bit from the Mint.

    Goblin Cock
    (Joyful Noise)
    reviewed 10/3/16

    Somewhat succinctly described as "Rob Crow's metal band" (a description at least as apt as calling Moistboyz "Dean Ween's metal band"), this is the latest release for Crow (billed here as "Lord Phallus") and friends. It sounds like. . .Rob Crow's metal band. Which is to say, it sounds awesome.

    Each song kicks off with a doomy/old school death metal riff, and then the usual Crowian nerd prog takes over. Sometimes the metal riffage makes its way back to the fore, and sometimes it doesn't. At times, this sounds a lot like what I might have imagined a Heavy Vegetable/Edge of Sanity mashup might have been. Again, awesomeness personified.

    I've been a fan of Crow pretty much since I started A&A 25 years ago. I like the way he noodles away just about every coherent thought before scrambling to tie everything up by the end of the song. This is certainly louder and more metallic than Pinback, but it's also inimitably Crow.

    Which is to say, um, awesome. Listen, either you get Rob Crow or you don't. He's been burbling around the indie scene since forever, and chances are you've heard something he's done. For me, it was love at first listen. I can distinguish the ups and downs--and this is certainly one of his sillier projects--but I love hearing the open path to his id.

    Goblin Cock isn't serious about anything except the music. The music slays. The lyrics are generally absurd. The title of this album is brilliant. And while perhaps this isn't white-hot Crow, it certainly has him blasting away in fine form. Grow out what hair you have left and start thrashing!

    The Goblins
    Missing Fits EP
    (My Pal God)
    reviewed in issue #223, 10/15/01

    There's a decidedly dubious story behind this album. One day, the members of the Goblins were wandering around the Touch and Go headquarters, where they came upon one of T&G honcho Corey Rusk's prized possessions, the Misfits coffin (an old stage prop). Supposedly the guys found a passel of unknown songs (complete with chords and tablatures!) in a hidden panel. And so now they've recorded them.

    For the record, I think the whole story is bunk. There may be a glimmer of truth somewhere in it, but the idea that someone in the Misfits would take the time to write out tablatures (or even know how, for that matter) is ludicrous. Nevertheless, what I hear on this disc is a bunch of songs that certainly sound like old Misfits (down to the shlocky production values).

    And as tributes go, this is one of the more original I've ever heard. It sure works. Eleven songs in thirteen minutes (the disc actually clocks in at 13:13, which is most likely no coincidence), all raw attitude and horror show imagery.

    A lot of fun, even if the frame tale is kinda hokey. A nice way to get back into the spirit of the old Misfits (and not the decidedly lame version that still rises from the dead every once in a while for touring purposes). Play it loud, suckas.

    God Bullies
    Kill the King
    (Alternative Tentacles)
    reviewed in issue #65, 10/31/94

    Moving over to AT from AmRep, God Bullies are now no longer an anomaly with their label. While many AmRep bands are great, you can still pigeonhole 99% of such stuff pretty easily. God Bullies have always slipped through the crack.

    And the production here does cut the sludge down, if only subtly. The entire album is a vicious attack on society (not necessarily unusual). But God Bullies use musical skill and precision lyrics to really get to the bottom of reality. "Pretty on the Inside" may be the most twisted and dead-on piece of social criticism I've heard in years.

    Oh, and you thought you were just getting a decent sludgy post-punk disc? Come on. The only thing I really miss about Michigan is the chance to check out bands like God Bullies, Thought Industry and Twitch live. If these folk are anywhere near you, break whatever law is necessary to catch the show. They're even better live.

    God Fights Dirty
    reviewed in issue #248, December 2003

    Unrepentantly unrefined, God Fights Dirty churns through a steady diet of strangely normal grunge songs.

    What I mean is that there's no bombast in the production. The songs avail themselves of grunge-style riffage, but the guitar and bass don't use a lot of distortion and there aren't many effects, either. The anthemic roll of the songs sounds familiar, but rather unusual in this indie rock guise.

    I can't imagine these guys going anywhere. The songs are cool, and I really like the way the bombastic riffs are undercut by the lean sound. It's just that the kids tend to like to have stuff handed to them on a platter, and God Fights Dirty is always a few degrees off-kilter.

    Which is probably why I like it. My digging a band is usually the kiss of death. So pucker up, boys. Here comes...

    God Is LSD
    Spirit of Suicide
    (Century Media)
    reviewed in issue #32, 4/15/93

    These guys rely on a guitar sound more than any other industrial band I've heard. This lends to the KMFDM semblance (not a bad influence, in my book), but I can't think of another similar-style band who ignores the beat and bass more. And if the guitar is just some keen MIDI work, who gives a shit? This sounds great.

    The guitar sound here is just amazing. Oh sure, the other industrial trappings are here, but there is more going on. I just hope this doesn't fall between the alternative and metal cracks. Both sides should spread wide and accept this love offering.

    God Lives Underwater
    (American Recordings)
    reviewed in Money Whore issue #1, 2/19/96

    I really liked last year's Pusher album, which featured ex-GLU member Tommy Joy. And both projects share a lot of the same musical ideas.
    For starters, an astonishing reliance on electronic equipment for folks trying to replicate 60's rock 'n' soul. All involved should be paying huge royalties to Sly Stone and crew.

    Not for directly ripping anything off. Just the feel (and anyway, Sly needs the cash). GLU is more conceptual, meandering into realms of psychedelia and industrial madness that even Sly didn't foresee. Which makes marketing this sort of album a real bitch.

    Enjoying the thing is a breeze, though. While the catchy grooves are often hidden beneath layers of riffola and electronic disturbances, they're there. Open your mind and allow the hidden core enter your soul. And indeed, this album has that soul-touching potential. You just have to let it.

    I have no idea how to convince commercial radio or MTV to accept GLU (which is kinda necessary if the folks want to sell enough albums to satisfy American), but fuckit. Enjoy the cool tunes while they last.

    God Machine
    Scenes from the Second Storey
    reviewed in issue #35, 5/31/95

    While on the brim of indie label-dom, Fiction squeaks in. And so I review this band, which sounds like an unfortunate Warrior Soul wanna-be.

    Competent musicians and all, this is just rather unremarkable. It's alright to listen to, but like a snickers, I don't notice the meal.

    And, of course, it is REAL commercial, but still heavy and all. Adequate if there was nothing else to play. But look on page two and find something else. Let KNAC and Z-Rock do this one.

    reviewed in issue #239, March 2003

    Short album or long EP, I can't say. Godboxer blasts its way through seven pop gems and doesn't look back. And that's all I need to know.

    Clever? Yeah, both musically and lyrically. Godboxer whips some serious shine onto these songs, and then it dirties things up. A guitar effect here, some distortion there, a little tweaking on the harmonies on down the line.

    Immaculately crafted and yet still blisteringly infectious. These songs sound fresh, not canned. That's a tribute to both the band and a certain Ducky Carlisle who did the knob work.

    Three chords and a dream rarely sounds so good. Singer Aaron Lippert has a good handle on songwriting, and the band has more than enough energy and attitude to carry off the sound. Better than well-done; this disc is loads of fun.

    Mellow Noma
    (Orange Entropy)
    reviewed in issue #222, 9/24/01

    It's always amazed me how many folks seem to love Half Japanese. Godboy plays the same sorta sloppy, minimalist pop. Not quite as raucous, though certainly just as technically inept.

    Which is not to say these guys can't play. They can. Generally. But there's a lot of sloppiness in both the writing and the playing (and the production, for that matter). It is endearing. To a point.

    Yeah, I guess I would like to hear the guys clean things up a little bit. Sometimes, there is such a thing as too much distortion. Especially when there's no good reason for it. And some of these hooks really could sparkle with a little work.

    There are a lot of good ideas wandering around this disc. Sometimes, they come off. Often, though, they're lost in the haze. I can hear what the guys meant, but I'd rather they just did it. Know what I mean?

    reviewed in issue #58, 7/15/94

    I can't think of a person who doesn't consider Streetcleaner one of the greatest albums of all time. Not just metal or industrial or whatever. One of the greatest albums, period.

    Which leaves the past few years as disappointing, of course. Godflesh has gone a little more on the industrial dance side, perhaps trying to be more accessible but ending up just weaker. Here, however, I think the chips are starting to fall correctly.

    No, nothing will ever match Streetcleaner. And even if it did, who would say so? But with the heavy-yet-groovy beats underscoring a real assault of distortion and despair, Merciless has Godflesh on the right track. This sounds like a compilation of some of the boys fine side projects. I wouldn't have believed it, but it seems Godflesh may be making an artistic comeback. I sure hope so.

    Crush My Soul CD5
    reviewed in issue #64, 10/15/94

    Sounding a lot more like Fudge Tunnel than their own recent outings, Justin and G. Christian plow their way through an upbeat (for Godflesh) tune. Even the lyrics aren't terminally depressing. The thing is, it even sounds good, unlike the plain blandness of Pure. The trademark screaming guitars make a passing appearance, but Godflesh seems to have updated, remaining musically relevant.

    The 15-plus minute remix is a bit much, but still interesting. I'm not sure if I could sit through the whole thing if I were listening to the radio, though. Try 8- or 10-minute snippets.

    reviewed in issue #65, 10/31/94

    After a trip through this disc, I had to ask myself what it was that made me think Godflesh was spent. Selfless is stunning, and I wanted to know where I got that idea.

    So I listened to Pure again, and it all came back. I mean, Pure just had no power. It was another heavy industrial album. Despite some great side outings, I admit that I wrote the main act off, consigning Godflesh to my "once cool, now mundane" file.

    In a word, WRONG! Selfless is a return to the powerful days of old. The production is much cleaner than Streetcleaner, but the same attitude and sheer force remain. The recent EP tipped me off, but these are the goods.

    Back with a vengeance, Godflesh seems intent on destroying all potential usurpers to the throne. The King was dead. Long live the King!

    Godflesh EP
    reviewed in issue #82, 8/14/95

    I generally don't review re-issues, but since this one hasn't been available in the U.S. for a long time, I decided to say my peace.

    Lighter than Streetcleaner, obviously, but you can hear the elements coming together. With "Wound", one of the bonus tracks, you can hear the beginnings of the ideas that became Slavestate.

    Sure, this is probably worth more as a historical document, particularly considering the album that followed. But remember: back in 1990 no one had any idea how to react to this stuff. And most today are still dumbfounded.

    See also Napalm Death, Scorn and Techno Animal.

    (Sol 3)
    reviewed in issue #150, 12/29/97

    Electronic stuff with a serious goth jones. A sterile surface has been prepared for the slaughter.

    The style is the most impressive aspect of Godhead's sound. Great care has been taken to craft this artificial world, where all emotions are controlled and any extraneous threads have been cut off.

    Perhaps the easiest point of entry is a cover of "Eleanor Rigby", which replaces the strings with a softly throbbing drum machine and then bleeds in enough keyboards to get the point across. Exquisitely produced, restrained and yet still vital.

    It's as if the muzzling has forced a greater amount of creativity within the bounds of the sonic construct. It took me a moment to really appreciate Godhead, but once I forced my way through the door, my frustration turned to admiration. Goth music in a cool mode. Who'da thunk it?

    Dirt Sermons
    reviewed in issue #45, 11/30/93

    Recorded at AmRep studios, and you can tell why: this is heavier than, well, I promised no more scatological references this year, so I'll refrain. It's just real heavy.

    Actually, I have to give the name some credit. If you can imagine God getting Babe the Blue Ox out of the stable and plowing the Missouri and the Mississippi and the Grand Canyon, then you get the idea.

    Nothing subtle or refined. Just bass and guitar crashing on your head from all directions. The production is a little fuzzy, but it fits the music perfectly. Play until your synapses snap and your sinuses bleed.

    Soft Formal Static
    reviewed in issue #121, 10/21/96

    Heavy, fuzzy pop tunes. A little more restrained than the Godplow I remember from a couple years ago, but still compelling. At times, actually, this reminds me of the long-defunct band Clockhammer, but with a bit more guitar.

    The songs flow along following the same pattern, with nice indivisual flourishes on each. Godplow knows how to make attractive pop, and the band's heavier tendencies serve it well, creating a unique sound.

    Well, at least one I haven't heard in a while. I can also hear elements of Die Kruezen (one of my favorite bands) trolling along underneath. Keeping a pop sense moving even while cranking up the effects is a spectacular trick.

    I wasn't expecting this, but I'm more than happy to sign for it. Better than I could have imagined. An album of the first order.

    Dumpster Juice
    Fry 7"
    (227 Records)
    reviewed in issue #49, 2/28/94

    The guys wandered all the way from North Carolina up to AmRep studios in Minneapolis. They got what they deserved: thick sludgy production that would make Lubricated Goat proud.

    Actually, it does sound a little better than the demo I reviewed a couple of months ago, and the songs are nicely aggressive, not merely wall-o-noise. Personally, I prefer movement to musical constipation, which a lot of AmRep bands favor.

    But, of course, this is an N.C. band on a similar label, and they manage to kick my ass a good distance. Dare I ask for more?

    Scapegoated & Demonized 7"
    (Limited Potential)
    reviewed in issue #23, 10/31/92

    I liked this a lot better when I had it going at 33. At 45 it bears a little too close a resemblance to Soundgarden for my taste. Try it slow, it's really cool. Your sense of reality will be turned inside out.

    Ethan Gold
    Songs from a Toxic Apartment
    reviewed in issue #324, February 2011

    You know those songs that start small and slow, building into something astounding? Ethan Gold does, and he plays the game exceedingly well. The title of the album comes from where the songs were recorded--asbestos, mold and the like surrounded him as he put this together. I don't know if that atmosphere flavored the songs here, but it certainly made for a colorful title.

    And the title does describe the mood of these songs, something of a "waiting for the next personal apocalypse" feeling. Not so much downbeat as defiant in the face of imminent failure, a sort of pop-inflected blues.

    Gold uses all of the current laptop tools to create the music, but with the exception of the beats he has created an organic feel for his sound. Piano (or keyboard, or whatever) is the driving force, but the punchy electronic beats keep these pieces from getting depressing.

    Rather, the overall effect is cathartic. Life is bad, and sometimes you can't avoid the shit that seems to be eternally falling from the sky. But if you can survive the worst, then maybe you can start building again. And somewhere in there is the kernel of an idea as to why we persevere.

    Gold Sparkle Band
    Nu Soul Zodiac
    reviewed in issue #195, 2/14/00

    The press states that this is the album that will put Gold Sparkle Band on the map. Well, yeah, it's that good. But what I really want to know is where were these guys in the first place?

    Should I mention that this falls into the jazz category. Probably. Charles Waters on reeds (saxophones, etc.) and Roger Ruzow on trumpet set the melodic table, but the soul of the band is cranked out by the criminally mobile rhythm section. Andrew Barker has an expressive (but not overbearing) hand on the drums, and Adam Roberts' bass relentlessly churns the band into action.

    Adherents of John Coltrane and Miles Davis, certainly, the Gold Sparkle Band pretty much sticks to that cool/post-bop sound. Of course, those fields are so fertile that they've got plenty of loam left. The guys take chances left and right (the pieces are vaguely composed, it sounds like, with many solos coming as improvisations to tape), and mostly they hit the mark.

    In fact, just about everything works out well. These aren't merely talented musicians playing wonderful music. They're also inspired artists making a real statement. I listen in awe.

    Gold Star
    Gold Star EP
    reviewed in issue #346, 3/3/13

    Well-worn pieces that sound forty-to-fifty years old. Gold Star doesn't emulate the late 60s and early 70s folk-rock sound, but these songs have an old soul feel nonetheless. Modestly dramatic and beautifully arranged, these songs simply sing out the ages.

    Golden Bloom
    Fan the Flames
    (The Sleepy West)
    reviewed in issue #309, August 2009

    Golden Bloom (the project of one Shawn Fogel) has that classic indie pop feel. And then every once in a while these 70s guitar riffs blow by. Now, that's something I can get behind!

    Oh, the hooks are fantabulous. Blood-pumping little anthems that tumble one after another. There's not a lot of surprise in the song construction, but the execution is so good that I didn't worry too much about that.

    The sound is a bit more full and lush than the recent trends in indie power pop. More of a Dear 23 Posies feel, to be specific. It certainly suits these songs quite well.

    One of those albums that sounds great the first time through and then gets better with successive listens. Golden Bloom (er, Fogel) sure knows how to impress. Turn it up and bliss out.

    Golden Boots
    DBX 'N' SPF
    reviewed in issue #345, 2/10/13

    The latest from this Tucson outfit. The album has a pleasantly deranged feel to it, and whether the band meanders into indie rock, country, jazz or other territories, there's something of a wild-eyed manic feel to the proceedings. Not at all cohesive, but surprisingly effective nonetheless. Just a bit more focus might turn this looniness into something brilliant, but it might also kill the patient. Perhaps things are good just as they are.

    Golden Glow
    Tender Is the Night
    reviewed in issue #326, April 2011

    A few folks from Manchester who decided to reprise just about everything good that the north of England had produced over the last 35 years or so. Plenty of nods to Joy Division and New Order and the Smiths and Pulp and more.

    On the whole, this trends toward kicky beats and ultra laid-back vocals. Kinda like the whole New Order ideal taken to an extreme. Oh, and there's some fine guitar work on the margins.

    The songs sound like they were recorded in a bathtub or something; the reverb is something fierce. That lo-fi touch gives these songs their own feel. Golden Glow borrow plenty, but it pays back its influences in full.

    A fine set. I'd like to hear where these ideas go next. That will help determine how long this Glow will last.

    The Golden Lemons
    Punk Rock
    (Jetset-Big Cat)
    reviewed in issue #104, 3/25/96

    Um, well, if you want to call it punk. Whatever.

    More of a classic rock and roll feel, like how the Beatles updated the US sound back in 1963. The production values are similar, and the songs are mostly sung in German, just for the hell of it (mostly because this is a German band, I think).

    Well, now that I think about it, this is about as punk as the Blue Hearts ('member them?), who were more pop than anything but managed to develop quite the punk following.

    Absolutely nothing to this. Complete fluff. But still pretty fun, even if I have no idea what the folks are saying. Points deducted for the absolute theft of George Martin's production style, but still a winner over all. Fans of real rock and roll will be amused.

    Golden Shoulders
    Friendship Is Deep re-issue
    (Welcome Home)
    reviewed in issue #294, March 2008

    Golden Shoulders is, at its core, Adam Kline. He writes the songs and recruits a somewhat astonishing array of folks to play with him. This album (the band's second) was first released back in 2004. Lots of folks liked it, but I gather it didn't sell well. Sometimes those things are related.

    The sound is something of a slightly-distorted indie pop recycling of 60s garage pop. That description would fit lots of bands, starting with Guided by Voices, but Golden Shoulders sounds a bit more 60s (and early 70s, with a nod to Gram Parsons now and again) to me.

    The production does leave that edge of distortion that tends to drive me nuts. I suppose that its intentional, but I still think it's a bit excessive. It doesn't help the songs, but it does sound kinda cool. If it doesn't wear on you the way it wears on me.

    Ah, but who am I fooling? I like this set. It includes the original album and two tracks recorded in 2005. And if it helps to jump-start the Adam Kline cult, well, that's alright by me. I'm always in favor of more people listening to more good music.

    Reel Big Fish

    split 7"
    (Mojo Records)
    reviewed in issue #125, 12/23/96

    An original and a cover each from a couple of new wave ska bands.

    Goldfinger's tune, "Superman" is passable ska. Nothing spectacular. And the cover of Squeeze's "Up the Junction" sounds just like the original, with very little ska additions.

    Reel Big Fish covers "Take on Me" with some aplomb. Fairly fun, if predictable. "In the Pit" is at least somewhat amusing, if nothing more. At least the horns have some oomph.

    Neither band impressed me much, though Reel Big Fish definitely has the edge. Nothing Goldfinger did moved me at all. There's better ska to be had elsewhere.

    Craig Goldy
    Insufficient Therapy
    reviewed in issue #45, 11/30/93

    A solo guitar artist who seems more intent on the artist part than the guitar part. Pretty cool idea.

    Goldie doesn't mind getting heavy, even if it involves simple lines. Sure, he flashes his talent here and there, but such beasts are best left tied up to be used only when the heavy artillery is called for.

    Former Dokken-ite Jeff Pilson lends his voice to a few tracks, and as the music doesn't require a Pavarotti, he is capable. The lyrics are pretty cheesy, though, and the effect is that of a heavier Yngwie.

    When it's just Goldie by himself, the music is pretty decent and Goldie has a knack of cranking out just the emotion necessary.

    Better Late than Never
    reviewed in issue #92, 11/20/95

    Sounding like Dokken with more keyboards and a duller guitar sound, Goldy stakes his claim to... well, I'm sure it's something.

    But I have no idea what. The cover and photos are pretentious as hell, and so is the music. Unfortunately, Goldy didn't even mix his guitars above the keyboards much, so whatever decent playing exists lies somewhere under a cloud of cheese.

    I'm not sure if it's Goldy or co-producer Matt Bradley who does the singing on a few tracks (the liners don't mention anything about vocals), but perhaps that's for the best. They aren't good; they sound like a straining Don Dokken (yikes!).

    I'm just lost with this disc. I have no idea what the point is. I apologize for being so obtuse, but that's how it goes. Whatever.

    Love Hurts
    reviewed in issue #234, October 2002

    Traditional klezmer songs sung in the original languages (including Yiddish, Russian and more). That is pretty much the story here. Except that Golem really knows how to make these songs shine.

    The band does mess around a bit with the forms. My guess is that the originals didn't contain all of the dissonant asides and sly modern references that Golem drops in as a matter of course. Precisely the sort of thing creative people do when working with traditional material.

    Boy, does this stuff sound great. The band has a glowing energy, and the many players interact with each other most admirably. There's plenty of playful interplay, even between singers and the band. These folks are having a blast with this stuff.

    Which is what sells Golem to me. Anyone can dig up old songs and play them. It takes a special group of people to breathe life into old works. This album sparkles with a fresh flavor. Absolutely invigorating.

    reviewed in issue #60, 8/15/94

    Great heavy industrial output. Golgotha plows through most of the heaviest metal genres, with pounding beats as the guide. The production is a little muddy, but that also seems to be somewhat the sound the band is going for.

    If Golgotha can recreate this sound live, there is no reason the band isn't signed.

    Bring It On
    reviewed in issue #167, 9/14/98

    I'm beginning to get the idea that the shiny happy pop days in the U.K. are beginning to wind down. Gomez has written songs which could easily have been interpreted in a power pop format. Instead, the members decided to got he other way, drawing on lots of folk and country roots, with more than a little dip in the psychedelic tank.

    A low key (and often acoustic) My Bloody Valentine, perhaps. With as much reverence for Jefferson Airplane, the Dead and Exile on Main Street as anyone should have. Indeed, my only real complaint is that the band wallows a bit too much in the moment and doesn't move on at appropriate times.

    But it's hard to complain a lot about such an effective album. Gomez has taken the last 30 years of rock and spun it down into this sound. That there are so many points of reference so deftly presented is a credit to the band. And that the band doesn't resort to cheap hooks to make its point is refreshing, considering what's going around these days.

    And while Gomez never really gets the bash machine moving, the points are accepted nonetheless. Most definitely worth many listens.

    Alex Gomez
    Metallic Blue Electric
    reviewed in issue #269, October 2005

    I've been listening to Gomez for a while now, and I've always kinda liked his stuff. His guitar playing relied a bit too much on rock and roll licks for my taste--though I've always thought his playing was first rate--but his voice is one wonderful blues instrument.

    Turns out it wasn't his guitar that was too rock and roll. It was the band. So here Gomez sits down with his electric guitar and wails the blues. There may be some bass drum work in here, but that also might be the sound of his feet pounding the floor (amplified, of course). Otherwise, we're talking about electric guitar and voice and nothing else. And damned if it isn't the most arresting, invigorating blues album I've heard in ages.

    There's no reason why more people don't play this way, but in the last decade or so I've only heard a couple of folks attempt it--and that was live. Jon Spencer came close often enough, and that's not a bad reference point at all. Gomez shreds the blues here, and it's about time.

    Sometimes less is more, especially when you're talking about the blues. Gomez strips down without letting up on the throttle one inch, and the result is one of the best white-knuckle blues albums around.

    Robert Gomez
    Pine Sticks and Phosphorous
    (Nova Posta)
    reviewed in issue #306, April 2009

    Robert Gomez got Matt Pence (Centro-Matic) to help produce and plenty of friends to come along for the ride. This heavily-orchestrated album (modern rock orchestra, anyway) lays out some of the prettiest songs I've heard in quite some time.

    Oh, and it's fabulously ambitious and decidedly pretentious. Gomez had no intention of making a nice album, and thank goodness he didn't. These songs sound unthreatening at first, but the slightest bit of actual listening will end that notion immediately.

    There's real teethies hanging out just below the gossamer surface of these songs. You could call it an undertow, I suppose, but only if your idea of an undertow is a tiger shark. Gomez doesn't let up once he's started the attack.

    Indeed, the best advice is to simply survive. The overall effect of the album is most disconcerting, and that's the thing I like best about it. Gomez and Pence have crafted something subconsciously dangerous. Most excellent in most ways.

    Return into the Neverwhere
    reviewed in issue #137, 6/23/97

    "Just call it 'surrealist death-rock'." So sez the attached note. Indeed, Gomorra plays something akin to death metal, though with a stripped-down gothic feel. It kinda sounds like My Dying Bride playing Sisters of Mercy.

    Which is pretty cool, really. The production left a lot of space, and that emphasizes the strikingly different playing styles Gomorra cycles through. Indeed, one certainly with this disc is that each new song surprised me. The sequencing flow isn't very good, obviously, but the songwriting breadth is impressive.

    I don't know if Gomorra knows what sort of band it wants to be, but at least this disc shows its range. As with any band that is struggling to expand its sound, there are a few missed shots. But in general, this stuff connects.

    A solid disc from a band that certainly has talent and potential. A fun ride.

    Caress the Grotesque
    (Black Mark Production)
    reviewed in issue #121, 10/21/96

    Classic death metal, along the lines of Benediction. You get some Euro-metal lead guitar and tunes that more nicely along. Pretty damned cool.

    And despite temptation, Gomorrah keeps the tempo at just the right spot. Fast enough to keep moving, but not so fast as to become silly. The guys hit every possible problem head on, and pull through with aplomb.

    The production is sharp enough to emphasize the obvious musicianship, but leaves just a bit of dirt. Exactly right again.

    It's been a while since I've heard such a complete death metal album. This isn't moving the genre anywhere, but it does the job. Gomorrah has ripped itself a big one.

    The Criminal Mind
    reviewed in issue #47, 1/31/94

    Back in the mid-eighties, Gone was something of a real band, and an experimental one at that.

    Welcome to the new Gone. Welcome to a new era in music, generally. The original Ginn sidekicks are absent, and I think the new rhythm section is a little more interested in getting an industrial sound.

    Sure, there's Ginn's self-consciously sloppy playing (it sounds great as usual), but instead of wallowing in and improving on the past, this Gone tries to create a future sound.

    All instrumentals, so you can play every song here, and they all sound pretty good. New Gone. Good Gone. I'm gone.

    Smoking Gun CD5
    reviewed in issue #54, 5/15/94

    Long-ass dance remixes of Gone material that was, while much shorter, already fairly well-suited for the clubs.

    Actually, instead of adding dance beats, there is more of a hip-hop feel added to the industrial instrumentals. The originals sounded great, and the remixes keep faithful and yet also expand the musical theories involved.

    Nice to see Senor Ginn on such a recording kick. Even if only half his stuff is this good, it makes for plenty worthy of play.

    All the Dirt that's Fit to Print
    reviewed in issue #60, 8/15/94

    Yes, another Ginn and friends album. The industrial-influenced instrumentals here sound a lot like the ones on last year's The Criminal Mind, but there are fewer songs on the disc.

    Does that mean the Ginn-man is slowing down? A million albums a year gets a little tiring? Well, the thing is, he and his bands have yet to put out a real piece of shit. I like this record. It makes cool noise and keeps things flowing along at a nice pace. And while the solo stuff and the Gone stuff do keep their own identities easily straight, sometimes it get difficult for me to find real differences between songs on the same album.

    Not as much a problem here, though. This one seems a little better thought out than the last Gone disc, and like I said, you just want it to keep on playing. That's always a good sign.

    Left Unsaid
    reviewed in issue #107, 4/22/96

    Another album featuring the guitar work of Greg Ginn. And I already thought he was overextended.

    I still do, but this is a much stronger album than the Mojack and Confront James. Ginn allows the percussion (and drum machines) to control the tempo and mood, and he simply fills in with (for him) a quite expansive guitar sound.

    Somewhat industrial, I suppose, with various rhythms programmed into the machine. The interplay between drums, drum machines and guitars is very nice. I don't know if that was improvisational or what, but it works very well. Makes the album, really.

    A bit repetitious by the end, but not nearly so much as other recent Ginn projects. This album shows he still has what it takes to create awesome music. I just wish he'd pace himself.

    Country Dumb
    reviewed in issue #187, 8/30/99

    Greg Ginn's been increasingly interested in technology (witness the advent of the Screw Radio internet show, etc.), and Gone has evolved that way as well.

    The amusing titles are still a feature, of course. "Cut Your Hair, Drink Coors," "Rage Against Intelligence" and "Hip Castro Conservative" are but three of the choices. The sound is a sample-laden industrial backdrop, fronted by Ginn's still potent axework.

    Indeed, if it weren't for the solos, some of these songs would be interchangeable. The factory-like background tuneage just doesn't really go anywhere. It kinda grinds in place. Yes, this highlights the guitar work, but it doesn't make for much of a meal in and of itself.

    But many of the songs are better than faceless. No, they don't seem to have much to do with their amusing titles, but no one is making instrumentals like this these days, and that's worth something all by itself. Considering the talent, I think Gone could have done better. This does, however earn a passing grade.

    See also Greg Ginn, Hor and Screw Radio.

    Gone Tribe
    The Hobo Project
    reviewed in issue #77, 5/31/95

    Short spoken word pieces on hobo life broken up by folky, funky, bluesy pop tunes (sounding more than a little like Timbuk 3 at times). The spoken pieces are a little overbearing and silly at moments (I'm all for hobo worship, but some of it goes a bit far).

    The songs are nice traveling music, but this is also a drawback. They follow the lines of the spoken pieces and really don't advance any new ideas. They sound nice, but I can't really say any of them are anything special.

    This project is rather interesting, and taken as a whole it is a nice diversion. But when compared to a similarly-themed album like the Magnetic Fields' Charm of the Highway Strip, it falls short. The train moves fine, but in the end I'm where I started, with little new insight on the life of the itinerant traveler.

    Goober Patrol
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being Drunk
    (Fat Wreck) reviewed in issue #178, 3/15/99

    "Goober Patrol are four drunks from Britain." I like short, succinct press like that. That and the label name mean punk music, done in a pleasantly sloppy format.

    Lying somewhere between the anthemic pop of Lawnmower Deth and some sharper oi stuff. Goober Patrol likes to meander, an unusual pursuit in the punk realms, and thus the music is a bit more complex than you might expect. Kinda jokey, but serious often enough not to generalize.

    Really, really sloppy in the playing. Or perhaps that's just the way it was recorded (hard to tell sometimes). In any case, a nice, loose feel to the tunes. More than makes me smile.

    An interesting illustration of the complications involved in Goober Patrol. The band plays "Don't You Let Nobody Turn You Around" (the title is shortened on the disc), the old civil rights/protest song. They use the Steve Miller Band arrangement (which is pretty good). An English band playing an American protest song. A punk band essentially covering the Steve Miller Band. Well, okay then.

    Good for You
    Falling Out
    (Good Forks)
    reviewed in issue #234, October 2002

    Reminds me all at once of Treepeople and Nineteen Forty-Five. Basic indie rock, with lots of side trips available at no extra cost. The hooks are stellar, even if they hang ever-so-loosely.

    Not unlike Nineteen Forty-Five, Good For You features a couple trying to make both a group and a relationship work. This album was five years in coming, and the relationship may not have survived. At least, that's what the press says.

    Enough gossip. What counts is the music, and what I hear are lean lines, simple construction and plenty of extra treats. This puppy was cut and pasted together, but it sounds raucously stark. There's an undeniable power in these songs.

    The musical origins of Good for You are quite pedestrian. But the writing and execution are stellar, leaving me searching for more compliments. Sometimes less is more, I guess.

    Good Friend
    Best Friend
    (Hi Test)
    reviewed in issue #174, 12/28/98

    Another one of them anthemic rootsters. The band describes itself as CCR meets Dave Matthews on ginseng tea. Have I mentioned that I really don't like the Dave Matthews band?

    Or Blues Traveler or any of the other fellow Dead again fellow travelers. Good Friend has one advantage: the sound is much more raw and unrefined than I think the band would like. But it's that very lack of sophistication which saves the sound.

    Yeah, yeah, there's still plenty of that annoying backbeat and wanky guitar, but the singing is earnest and the playing is solid. The band slides through a number of different moods, never quite mastering any but doing a decent fake job nonetheless.

    Competent and, more importantly, unpretentious. Good Friend could turn into some arrogant outfit pretty easily. I hope it doesn't.

    Good Goodbyes
    Good Goodbyes EP
    reviewed in issue #263, April 2005

    A pleasant little side project that features members of the Shins and Busy Signals. Four wonky, quirky pop songs that don't necessarily go anywhere--not like you'd notice, anyway.

    The scenery is so goddamned gorgeous, it doesn't matter if this is the road to Timbuktu. Though, for the most part, the boys do pull things together by the end of each song.

    The pedigree of this band is certainly enough to catch the eye of most anyone. The results are predictable--predictably good. Probably won't set the universe on fire, but it ought to make a bowl or two just that much more fulfilling.

    Good Riddance
    The Phenomenon of Craving EP
    (Fat Wreck Chords)
    reviewed in issue #200, 6/5/00

    Ultra-tight melodic hardcore, a bit heavier than yer average Fat band. Still in the same school, of course.

    Six songs that clock in at less than 15 minutes total. The buzzsaw attack doesn't let up, not too surprising as it was recorded at ALL's Blasting Room Studios in Ft. Collins. Those boys know how to key up a sound better than just about anyone.

    Distinctive? Not really. But Good Riddance knows how to deliver the adrenaline straight to the main line. Tap right in and let it flow. And there's always more to use. A fine thing.

    Symptoms of a Leveling Spirit
    (Fat Wreck Chords)
    reviewed in issue #218, 6/25/01

    So one of the better pop hardcore bands headed out to Colorado to get ALL-ized by the boys at the Blasting Room.. Not a bad idea at all. Bill Stevenson, Stephen Edgerton and Jason Livermore know how to streamline a sound into pure rock candy.

    Good Riddance has enough experience in the studio to make sure that its own particular characteristics aren't overshadowed by the distinct tendencies of the production crew. The result is an album of unbelievably tight and loud songs. Hooky? Oh yeah, and then some. With lots of pep in the punch.

    One of those albums that just might turn a few heads. Good Riddance has been making good music for quite a while, but the narrowing of focus here (just a bit) seems to have funneled the band's ample energy into some really fine creative spaces.

    If there's one thing the boys at the Blasting Room do better than anyone it's edit. Take out the extraneous nonsense. Leave the pura vida, if you know what I mean. Good Riddance took advantage, and this album glows as a result. Radioactive, friends.

    Bound by Ties of Blood and Affection
    (Fat Wreck Chords)
    reviewed in issue #243, July 2003

    Straightforward hard, fast, loud and tuneful punk. Is it hardcore? Is it merely melodic punk? I don't know. Shit, I don't care. It's good. Got any other questions?

    Sorry, but the attitude of this disc rubbed off on me, I guess. These boys keep coming with full fury, leavening the mix with some ace guitar licks and raggedly sweet hooks.

    The sound utilizes a wee bit of distortion in the guitars and otherwise keeps stuff pretty clean. The playing is solid, but just messy enough to add a bit of charm. Oh, and did I mention the speed? It just keeps coming, which makes the sweet spots that much most satisfying.

    Um, I know, Good Riddance isn't exactly an unknown property. This disc stands up quite well to me expectations. A first-rate effort.

    Goodbye Harry
    Food Stamp BBQ
    reviewed in issue #70, 2/14/95

    About three years ago my radio station was putting on this festival. We had a few regional acts, and then ALL and Flaming Lips to headline. The Lips got lost, and we didn't know if they'd show. If they didn't, the guys in ALL assured us their roadie band was one of the best in the world.

    Well, now Scott Reynolds is singing for a version of that roadie band, and the results aren't too surprising. This sounds like a rougher ALL. The production leaves a little to be desired, but then not everyone can be Bill Stephenson and Steven Edgerton behind the knobs.

    Much like ALL albums since Reynolds' departure, Goodbye Harry is closer to the Descendents at many times than the ALL discs of the late 80s. There is a more hardcore feel to much of the record, and the production I referred to earlier helps in that aspect.

    But at the end, what you have is a wonderful heavy pop disc. Reynolds' voice is one of the most distinctive (and recently missing) voices around, and it sure is nice to hear that chirpy wail again. And it's nice to see his daughter growing up on the cover (she was at the show we did in Columbia, too).

    See also ALL and Treepeople.

    Happy Omen EP
    reviewed 12/7/17

    The second short release from this outfit, Happy Omen finds Goon winding its collective brain around leaner and darker ideas. I wouldn't go so far as to call these boys "experimental fringe" (a phrase that appears enough to make me think it was in a press release or something), but the intricate lines and tight connections are certainly more challenging than one usually finds in a mainstream act.

    Think Shins without the twee. This is basic 90s indie pop with math bones and electronic robes. Maybe this is the modern direction of prog. Except that these ideas have been around for a couple of decades, and there are still plenty of proggy types out there.

    Goon utilizes plenty of found sound along with its elliptical musical approach to create a sound that is decidedly its own. I hear plenty of influences burbling about, but the real treat here is how Goon has incorporated its disparate impulses in such an appealing way.

    Which leads to the obvious question: How about a full-length? I know, that's an almost archaic notion, but sometimes geezers like me prefer to hear more than six songs at a time.

    The Goons
    The Boils

    split 7"
    reviewed in issue #136, 6/9/97

    Each band rips through three songs apiece, with the usual punk abandon. Lots of fun doctrinaire politics, which always keeps things interesting.

    The Boils are from the Philly area, and here they espouse a stripped-down approach that can only be called old school. Peppy tunes with just a hint of melody. Adrenaline without the guilt.

    The Goons sound like Jello fronting Bad Religion. The vocabulary may not quite live up to those standards, but the songs are generally scathing critiques of why we should all give up and kill ourselves now. Pretty cool.

    Punks bands that are light-years away from selling out. If you need a dose of what made punk great, check this slab out.

    Living in America
    reviewed in issue #163, 7/20/98

    A DC-area punk band that seems to go through members pretty damned fast. The liners note two lineups, and the band picture features a guys who isn't on either list. Geez.

    As for the music, it's perfectly well-mannered hack-and-slash motormouth punk. There are a few Californian references (bass lines which echo Pennywise, in particular), but most of the is right along the DC continuum. Pretty good, nothing terribly surprising.

    No cheesy James Brown covers (reference to the title, folks), and for that we should probably be thankful. The Goons have a nice handle on slightly sloppy buzzsaw punk, and it would be a shame to get all messed up.

    Enjoyable. Not particularly memorable, really, but a fun listen. Gets the blood flowing and the brain moving. And I'll not complain about that.

    Gabriel Gordon
    (Surprise Truck)
    reviewed in issue #198, 4/17/00

    Gabriel Gordon does most of the playing and singing on this disc. And unlike most people who like to do the one-man band thing, Gordon isn't a techie or into a sound that lends itself to that method of recording. Gordon runs with the roots crowd, kicking out some sly takes on the sound.

    So there is a little funk, a little groove and a little soul. Still mostly built around Gordon's guitar (acoustic and electric), and still with an intimate sound. It's that sound that really draws me in.

    Plenty of overdubs and splicing of tape, to be sure. But it sounds real. There are a couple of threadbare moments, and when Gordon gets soulful, he does tend to sound like Prince did on his first couple of albums (in a rootsy way), but hey, that doesn't suck.

    The kinda album that straddles a number of sounds, threatening to offend fans of each before they warm up to the vision. Not a criticism (I like the sort of blending that Gordon does), but just an observation. This might be a tough sell, but it sure works in my house.

    Yoni Gordon and the Goods
    Buried in the Basement
    reviewed in issue #293, February 2008

    The second song on this disc is "I Dreamed I Saw Billy Bragg Last Night." That's utterly perfect, given Gordon's affection for strident punk rhythms and proto-americana bass lines. Kinda like if Bragg fronted early Uncle Tupelo (much heavier than Bragg's actual collaboration with Wilco).

    Only kinda, though, as Gordon barely dabbles in politics or any strident subject. He's more of a wry commentator on the peculiarities of life--there's an off-kilter sensibility that reminds me of Welcome to Asbury Park. You know, Springsteen's first album with the original version of "Blinded by the Light." Asbury is a highly flawed album, but it does have a singular feel that makes it a classic.

    And Gordon is the same way. He's got his own writing and signing styles, and his mates bash out these songs with sinewy punch. Aggression tempered with perspective.

    I like that. These songs aren't the second coming of anything, just Gordon's glances askew. He's got the chops to make that more than worthwhile. Solid.

    Considered Dead
    reviewed in issue #3, 11/30/91

    You folk love these guys. Not to be rude or strange, but I really don't get it. They are about as generic a death metal band as you can find. To be fair, they do have rather nice vocals, with just a hint of enunciation. But the music is really not terribly innovative or interesting.

    Having sed all that, I must acknowledge the support many of you have for these guys. So I could very well be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time. And I didn't say these guys were awful. So don't crucify me, okay?

    The Erosion of Sanity
    reviewed in issue #28, 2/14/93

    When I spoke of French death metal a couple of issues ago (in the Afflicted review), I almost forgot about Gorguts' origins.

    And what a difference from last time. From the piano on "Condemned to Obscurity" to the fairly insightful lyrics (translated or not?), this is pretty good stuff. Miles ahead of Considered Dead, Gorguts catch up to some of the latest European trends without sacrificing the runaway train over a cliff effect they are famous for.

    While, to be honest, I prefer a little more refinement or something in my death metal, These guys have picked up one hell of a rep, and this album can only improve it.

    (Nuclear Blast)
    reviewed in issue #27, 1/31/93

    This is a bit premature, but since Matt sent me this fine German pressing promo-CD, I figure I'll whet your appetites.

    The album opens with a sample also found (in longer form) on the Pitch Shifter album reviewed in this issue (and I reviewed them back to back, so it got a little spooky), but this is no run of the mill death album.

    Gorefest take the vicious, mean side of death metal and distill it into a purer form of hatred and musical force.

    This almost seems scored, not written or anything as mundane as that. At one time I attributed the improvement I perceived in death metal acts as my getting more interested in the genre (like about two years ago). But now I just have to say: it's a tough world out there, and you'd better be good.

    The complete mastery of the music is breathtaking. I am left but to gasp.

    The Eindhoven Insanity
    (Nuclear Blast)
    reviewed in issue #46, 1/15/94

    Well, there are a few current Gorefest albums out there right now. False was released about a year ago, and Pavement issued their first album Mindloss a couple of months ago. Now we get the "greatest hits" from those two (though mostly from False) on a live set recorded at the Dynamo festival in Eindhoven, Holland.

    The sound is impeccable, the songs are, of course, first rate. Now we just have to wait for their new studio album.

    (Nuclear Blast)
    reviewed in issue #70, 2/14/95

    Nicely engineered to an exacting lo-fi standard, Gorefest rips through 10 smashing pieces of death metal.

    The usual fine songwriting is back, and the boys have all the tools to make those jewels shine. Simply put, no one can pump vitality into old school death metal like Gorefest (sorry, Bolt Thrower... these guys are better).

    A real test of death mettle is whether or not you can listen to the disc all the way through. Some refer to this as the "it all sounds alike" test. Whatever. Gorefest beats that to a pulp. I went through the disc once, and then again just to make sure I liked it as much as I thought.

    Well, I did. And I wanted a third shot (but I had a few other things to listen to). No, this isn't bombastic or oppressive. Just lean and mean songs, recorded almost in a hardcore style (the sound, I mean). Gorefest doesn't beat you over the head. It comes right up to you and rips out your heart. Yikes.

    Soul Survivor
    (Nuclear Blast)
    reviewed in issue #113, 7/1/96

    The first time I have been disappointed by Gorefest. Soul Survivor is poor by the high standards the band has set in the past, although by any rational reckoning it merely comes out in the "middling" pile.

    The sharp instinct for the finely crafted death metal song seems to have deserted the guys this time out. The songs are turgid anthems that steal far too much from Uriah Heep and Mountain than is really necessary. Yeah, I like the occasional heavy keys coming out of the woodwork, but the music is completely mundane. No creative spark whatsoever.

    Yeah, bands like Sentenced and even Grave have gone to a more "classic rock" feel, but Gorefest was always around to crank out real death metal that also happened to be truly catchy. The closest the band comes to that here is "Dogday", and that song would seem far too commercial on any other album. Here it sounds almost balls out. And once the tres-Judas Priest guitar solo kicks in, well, you know something's up.

    I can't believe how disappointing this album is. Gorefest does not know how to cheese out properly (like, say, Sentenced), and this attempt is just plain pathetic. Way too bummed to say anything else.

    Night Thoughts
    (Cruel Moon-Cold Meat Industry)
    reviewed in issue #207, 10/30/00

    I'll say it: Gothica is a stupid name. The folks really do need to come up with something better than that. It is generally descriptive, as the faux-baroque musical settings and ethereal vocals do sound awfully goth. But still.

    And after a while, the stock arrangements and ideas do get old. Gothica may be trying to be the ultimate goth band, but it mostly succeeds in presenting a rehash of old ideas. There's just not much "here" here.

    The sound is acceptable, lodged firmly in between the lush and the stark. About right for the music, really, without adding anything. And something definitely needed to be added to these ideas. They're just not original enough.

    Or, to put it mildly, Gothica isn't the Metallica of goth. I know, who wants to be? Well, it would be better than this middling set. Just nothing here that excites.

    (Doctor Dream)
    reviewed in issue #69, 1/31/95

    Nice 'n' sloppy pop-punk from Huntington Beach. And that is pretty much the whole story.

    The Grabbers are catchy enough, but there isn't much here to distinguish them from a huge list of bands, from Rancid to Supersuckers to…it goes on forever.

    This album is fun, the songs are nice, and I had a good time listening to it. But to be honest, I can't find a single reason to recommend this album any more than the thousands of other punk discs out there. Maybe it's just some kinda burnout on the trend.

    Grace Basement
    New Sense
    reviewed in issue #287, July 2007

    Kevin Buckley (with a few strategically-placed friends) is Grace Basement. He does a more-than-passable version of the pop one-man band.

    Not one of those emo things, either. I've got nothing against that sort of thing, really, but this is really straight pop, with just a hint of roots. Pretty hooks, jaunty verses, slightly-raggedy vocals. All that good stuff.

    This album begins nicely, but it really takes off after a couple songs. Kinda like Buckley wanted to warm up the room first, so that his manic energy wouldn't scare folks off. The whole frogs-in-boiling-water thing--even if that's a myth.

    Buckley, however, is anything but a myth. He's got real skill as a writer, and he imbues his songs with just enough of an off-kilter perspective to shear off the sharp edges of craft. Ease in and let Buckley take the reins. He'll steer you right.

    Gracious Shades
    (21st Circuitry)
    reviewed in issue #80, 7/15/95

    A malicious trip through insanity that might be more harrowing if not for the absolutely gorgeous music that accompanies the samples and scratched vocals.

    Gracious Shades operates in the electric industrial universe. I'd guess that every sound on this disc is sampled or generated by a synthesizer (except for the vocal track). But instead of leaving this universe sterile, Gracious Shades presents a picture of institutional life that while frightening, is still very much alive.

    Quite an achievement. Aberkash crosses all musical boundaries, making this visceral statement accessible to the underground and the masses. This is right up there with the best albums I've heard this year.

    Headfirst Straight to Hell
    reviewed in issue #220, 8/13/01

    Very much an emo take on hardcore. I hear it mostly in the guitars, which turn atonal and strident at somewhat surprising times. Also, the overall sound is thin; the mix is sparsely populated. It's an effective use of power.

    The songs themselves are constructed on both basic emo and hardcore lines, depending on the individual piece. I think the ones that rely on a hardcore base are a little better, just because introducing emo elements into a simple construct is easier than infusing a lot of intense aggression into a more complicated form.

    Like I noted earlier, the sound is great. These guys are trying all sorts of things (witness the Iron Maiden guitar line reference in "In the Wake of Poseidon"), and a wider canvas--in this case, a more spread out mix--helps to give each element room to breathe. It also, to be sure, makes my job a whole lot easier. I can hear everything.

    Grade doesn't succeed on every song, but the effort is laudable. And anyway, all of these songs are at the very least interesting. Most of them are awe-inspiring. This is the kinda stuff that takes you by the throat and mind and doesn't let go until it is finished. Gotta love that attitude.

    Jean Grae
    This Week
    reviewed in issue #259, November 2004

    I've spent quite a while trying to get into Jean Grae. I know why other folks dig her so much: She's witty, literate and exudes cred. I'm just not exactly thrilled by the way she presents her rhymes.

    The music, I mean. On most of her earlier work, the stuff has sounded just a bit too sloppy for my tastes. Maybe that was intentional; maybe I'm just too stuck in my ways. But I didn't really like her stuff.

    This album sounds a lot more "commercial," though I think she's as much playing with popular sounds as she is endorsing them. Nonetheless, I like it better. The album as a whole holds together musically--something that really couldn't be said about her earlier work.

    But hey, she's already tres popular. This album isn't that much of a departure. The differences are subtle--just subtle enough to interest me. The legend grows. The rampage continues.

    A. Graham and the Moment Band
    This Tyrant Is Free
    (Sonic Unyon)
    reviewed in issue #259, November 2004

    There's something kinda wonderful about hearing a loopy, staggering alt country rendition of something that sounds like a hymn and is even sung by a choir. I'm sure I've heard "Glorious, triumphant, optimistic, transcendent" somewhere in my churchgoing youth, but I can't place it. And maybe it's just that Andy Graham has a perfect ear for making songs that sound almost like something or other.

    Take the second song, "Not the One," which has a ton of 1968 Bob Dylan echoes but still is its own song. Or take any of the other pieces on this album, all of which are deeply rooted in one canon or another but still manage to charm on their own merits.

    Many of the songs are fragments, barely a minute long (if that). And that's fine. If all you have if 45 seconds of brilliance, then play those 45 seconds and be done with it (I'd call this the Rob Crow rule, but I'd be showing my gray hair once again). Most interesting to me, these folks hail from Kansas City (the mailing address, in Kansas, is but a hop, skip and a jump from my old stomping grounds in KCMO). That doesn't make this album any better than it is (I'm not sure much could), but let's just say this has a definite Chicago (the city) feel about it.

    The music is wide-ranging, though mostly adhering to at least the fringe of alt. country. It's loud, twangy, contemplative or raucous by turn, and sometimes all that at once. This is one of those albums that could be become legendary. The first song (the aforementioned "Glorious") sets the tone, and the brilliance that follows seals the deal. This one won't sneak up on you. Greatness is apparent from the very start.

    Gran Torino
    reviewed in issue #194, 1/24/00

    This is one of those bands I've heard a lot about but haven't heard. Sorts of a prog-soul-roots thing, with plenty of horns and grooves. This is extremely slick, but with solid depth as well. These folks are not skirting emotions; they're giving feelings full play.

    The natural comparison would be to a band like Lambchop, a band that's a bit more raw and contemplative. Gran Torino is a full-out party band, almost always uptempo and in yer face.

    There is a definite 70s feel to this sound, but with a decidedly modern edge. Samples, scratches and such give evidence to an nice evolution of soul, at least as practiced here. The sound is fleshed out to the max.

    Stuff like this can often degenerate into frat rock or simpering dreck. Gran Torino keeps to the honest high road, always adding as much as possible to the sound. The depth here is what ultimately sells the band. Some really fine stuff.

    Grand Champeen
    Battle Cry for Help
    reviewed in issue #227, March 2002

    One of the things I've always loved about Uncle Tupelo's No Depression is the great fuzzy, ragged live sound of the album. I'm sure there's a way to achieve it by design, but most often it seems to arrive as a fortuitous accident.

    No matter how it came, Grand Champeen has it here. Doesn't hurt that the boys play a raucous form of rock with just a hint of roots sensibility. Or that lead singer Channing Lewis could be Jay Farrar's kid brother. This stuff is a lot more straight ahead than UT, and that's more than okay with me. I just love to hear this sound.

    Each instrument is distinct, and yet the pieces all fit together into a blistering storm, complete with thunderclaps and flashes of lightning. Grand Champeen refuses to introduce complications into its songs, and so the results are simple and, um, pure.

    The more the disc rolls on, the more I realize these guys have really taken the "Hank Williams meets the Replacements" formula and played right up against both extremes. Daring? I dunno. It has been done before, but not with this much abandon. Big things just might be on the horizon.

    Dial T for This
    (In Music We Trust)
    reviewed in issue #283, March 2007

    I've been listening to a lot of Big Star lately. And so this kind of crafted, almost-British Invasion stuff hit the spot. Grand Champeen does add a bit of the modern style, but mostly this album takes me back.

    It was a good time for music, though. Sometimes nostalgia is a perfectly good thing. Grand Champeen plays rock and roll like it oughta be, whether it's channeling Alex Chilton or Rick Nielsen.

    Oh yeah, there's a big chunk of the Trick in here ("Wounded Eye" sounds like a hit the boys from Rockville would die to play these days). A nod and a wink and big ol' hook. With plenty of guitars. Indeed, nostalgia can be a wonderful thing.

    I was too busy having a good time to figure out if Grand Champeen was much more than a time machine from the early-to-mid 70s. In the end, it doesn't much matter to me. Summer is coming soon, and this puppy will be doing heavy rotation. Monster smiles.

    Grandpa's Ghost
    Stardust & Smog
    Early Autumn Waltz at the Two/Fourteen
    reviewed in issue #222, 9/24/01

    Subtitled "Parts II & III of 'The Kiss'," these two albums follow up Il Bacio. The Chicago Reader refers to this sound as "psychedelic roots-rock," which isn't a bad description. I think I'd simply lean more toward "heartland ferment," though I think that's more confusing than enlightening.

    Basically, take a big handful of Neil Young and throw in a few pinches of the Flaming Lips. Piano-driven or acoustic Neil, mostly, on the first disc. And a good representation, too. Grandpa's Ghost gets right to the heart of the song and wallows around for a bit. Making sure that knife hits home, you see.

    The second disc (Early Autumn Waltz...) is generally electric Neil. Gone to seed. All sorts of excess just about everywhere. Satisfying on a completely different level. Not better or worse, just decidedly different. And yet, it's not too hard to find a few points in common.

    An utterly sprawling and ambitious project. Grandpa's Ghost goes way out on a limb, and the effort pretty much pays off. There's a lot of great stuff on these two discs, and when you put all the parts together, the whole is rather impressive as well.

    Grape Soda
    Form a Sign
    reviewed in issue #341, October 2012

    I went 'round and 'round with this one. Grape Soda is definitely pushing the edges of something. I just never could figure out what. After a while, I realized that didn't matter at all.

    The loopy, elliptical pop songs crash and burn well before they soar. Deconstruction is the name of the game here. Sure, there are some hooks, but they tend to get buried or stripped before they set.

    Why would a band sabotage its own music? Maybe that's not what is happening here. Maybe Grape Soda just needs to hit "blend" a bit longer. Or just maybe that would totally wreck things.

    You can see why I couldn't figure out exactly what I felt about this album. I do know that it's weird and compelling and often thrilling. And I'll take that every time.

    Grass Machine
    Grass Machine
    reviewed in issue #42, 10/31/93

    What? A band from the northland that sounds like a German band, circa 1985? Well, kinda, though this funk stuff also works its way in and really starts confusing everything.

    This is a pretty muffled tape, too, so I can't really quite hear everything that's going on. Somehow I think I've heard it all before, although not all together like this.

    Glasseater 7"
    (Happy Kid)
    reviewed in issue #44, 11/15/93

    While I don't usually pay much attention to the press, these guys have some of the most creative reviews I've ever seen. So they must be doing something right to inspire such praise.

    They're loud. Fairly untalented as musicians go, they can emote with the best, and their music fries my brain better than any of their beloved herb could.

    You could think of Killdozer at 45, (early) Helmet at 16 (these are speeds, folks) or just give a listen to this thing. It should throw your mind into fits.

    Into the Grave
    (Century Media)
    reviewed in issue #1, 10/31/91

    No Swedish meatballs here. Just rough, rough music with truly gruesome (non-processed, I believe) vocals. The album starts off fast and doesn't let up. If you are after a pure adrenaline rush, Grave will give it to you.

    I must admit, all of the songs have the same speed and intensity for the most part, which hinders identification of individual songs. But occasionally a surprise perks up, and I must also say I have no problem with every song speeding along into oblivion. Great album to write a term paper to (gets the blood going).

    You'll Never See...
    (Century Media)
    reviewed in issue #21, 9/30/92

    Grave's last album stuck on my charts for over half a year, and it wasn't even new when I started. So I know you like these Swedes.

    And let's face it: they're not bad at what they do. This album goes through a lot more tempo changes and mood shifts than Into the Grave. I really dig the percussion work done here. It is not in the normal grindcore vein, but more in reaction to the guitar work. More ride than crash cymbal, more clean drum breaks. I like.

    And they have taken a clue from their labelmates Tiamat and used more keyboards, though not intrusively. This is the future of death metal, so you might as well pay attention. And grind your head into the Grave.

    ...And Here I Lie ...Satisfied EP
    (Century Media)
    reviewed in issue #49, 2/28/94

    A little slower and more melodramatic, Grave's EP is not really bad, but it failed to keep my interest.

    I really liked their last album, and this isn't that much of a departure. I guess I've just moved on and expect bands to evolve along with my musical taste.

    To be fair, this is a damned solid disc that should bowl a lot of you over. I wish I could say the same, but I just got done listening to the new My Dying Bride. Yeah, it's not fair, but them's the facts.

    (Century Media)
    reviewed in issue #57, 6/30/94

    Simply smashing (too many World Cup matches, I guess). Grave has come through with certainly its best album and one of the best discs so far this year.

    I thought I heard improvement on the recent EP, but nothing would have prepared me for this. Grave updates their sound with smatterings of Fear Factory, Morgoth and Pungent Stench, managing to merge those competing interests into one single sonic vision.

    I have never been a real Grave fan at all. In fact, I really detested their early stuff. But in a time when it's evolve or die in the death metal world, Grave has come through with a masterpiece. Nothing more can be said.

    The Gravel Pit
    Silver Gorilla
    (Q Division)
    reviewed in issue #177, 2/22/99

    Imagine if Squeeze tried to play Archers of Loaf, with organ replacing some of the guitar lines. No, really. And imagine that it sounds really, really cool. Truly.

    Hard to think of any way to criticize this disc. Simpy power pop perfection, with pure hooks, thick chords and that organ which trips in and out. Not to mention the muscular yet melodic vocals of Jed Parrish.

    Four guys who found a unique sound and figured out a way to foist that on an unsuspecting public. Pop music can be creative, and here's exhibit A. Sure, a lot of it is simply turning rock conventions on their head, but the trick is in making sure the reference is still picked up. The difference between obscure subtlety and whacking folks over the head.

    The Gravel Pit has found the perfect balance in so many ways. Like the Wrens (perhaps the finest pop band of the decade), the Gravel Pit reinvents pop without getting lost in wierdness. Do not skip this album. Period.

    Nick Gravenites and Animal Mind
    Kill My Brain
    reviewed in issue #184, 7/5/99

    Brightly produced Bay-area blues. Now, if you don't recognize the name, that's because you're my age or younger. Gravenites wrote "One Toke Over the Line" and songs for a few other folks who had some hits back in the 60s and 70s. Famous folks. Huey Lewis drops some harp on a song here, and Sammy Hagar does some backing vocal and guitar work on a track.

    So the guy's got some famous friends. Can he play? Are his songs any good? Fair questions, and right from the start Gravenites proves his mettle. The sharp horn backing adds a Stax feel to the rockin' blooze tunes, and Gravenites has the sort of raspy growl that blues singers would die to have.

    Often humorous, without descending into parody or novelty status, the songs just roll through the night. This isn't hard core blues, of course, but nice fare for a warm evening. Gravenites has quite the feel for this sound.

    Wonderfully written, well-performed and a load of fun to hear. No, Gravenites isn't the next anything. He doesn't seem to want to be. He'll just do some cool tunes, if that's alright with you.

    Graveyard Rodeo
    Sowing Discord in the Haunts of Man
    (Century Media)
    reviewed in issue #38, 8/31/93

    Oooh, dogie! (archaic western term; indulge me) Incorporating samples into great traditional death metal that is infectious enough to make me attempt to headbutt my monitor (but I missed and hit the kekjhgs instead).

    This is a real find. While I have to give the top prize to Morgoth (they arrived in the same package, of course), this gets rookie of the year honors in my book. Some great sounds here.

    Creativity has always spun me the right way, and Graveyard Rodeo may have what it takes to turn around reactionary death metal bands and get things evolving again. More power to them!

    On the Verge
    (Century Media)
    reviewed in issue #65, 10/31/94

    Their scintillating debut garnered almost as much attention as Morgoth's Odium. Now Graveyard Rodeo comes back for more.

    Instead of the industrial overtones of Sowing Discord, GR packs On the Verge with deathly slabs of hard core and grunge. Now, you must understand I usually hate that sort of thing. So, even as my rational mind was recognizing these parts for what they are, my emotional response is to scream, "Fuckin' A!"

    The danger in labeling music is that some bands can overcome any label, performing stunning music in most any style. Once again, GR rides a trend, and once again the boys redefine that trend. You can call it metal core, you can call it grunge (though it is still death metal; come on), but you can't call it shit. Too much talent in Graveyard Rodeo to succumb to mere posing. An album of the highest order.

    Gravity Kills
    reviewed in issue #162, 6/29/98

    Gravity Kills always reminded me of Nine Inch Nails Lite. They have their electronic industrial grinding melodies and frustratingly angry calm versus which climax into belting choruses, but it all seems to be coming out too controlled. I want it all to go about three notches farther than it's flying, but I've known to advice people off the ledge every now and then.

    Overall, Perversion has a lot to offer in its own way. The music never gets boring or redundant, and the industrial crowd should latch on to this one with rambunctious nihilistic fervency. Wow, those are three words I never thought I'd put together.

    --Aaron Worley

    Gravity Propulsion System
    Get Destroy
    reviewed in issue #270, November 2005

    Surprisingly tuneful, even sprightly noise in the finest no wave tradition. Imagine U.S. Maple as a dance band and you might begin to get the idea.

    Or maybe not. There's such an offhanded, loose-limbed feel to these bouncy songs that it is hard to believe they are as scraggly as they are. There aren't that many melodies, but the rhythm section throbs like mad.

    An exceptional sort of racket. The production is surprisingly complex and subtle, weaving all sorts of noisy threads together into the songs here. At times, it is tempting to think what you hear is what you get, but often enough something else comes burrowing in behind. I like that.

    Smashing. Simply smashing. I'll admit to being a big fan of noise with hooks--but hey, isn't everyone? Well, maybe not, but those of us crazy enough to enjoy this sound know that GPS has shot the bullseye this time.

    Days Like Razors
    reviewed in issue #299, August 2008

    No problems with cutting loose here. GPS shoves a lifetime of ideas into its songs and then chops them up into noisy, distorted bits. Loud as hell, unrepentantly obtuse and absolutely grating. My friends, this is what rock and roll is all about. I've loved these guys for ages, and this album made me cream my shorts. Play it loud and wait for your brain to explode.

    After That, It's All Gravy
    (Fused Coil-Fifth Colvmn)
    reviewed in issue #120, 10/7/96

    Some semi-famous NYC arty types totally deconstruct a few famous tunes. Lots of tape loops and echo effects, which gives the whole thing a strange 70s feel.

    Compelling, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Yeah, there's the train crash appeal, but after that I'm not sure what I'm listening to or why I'm doing it. There's probably some great statement going on around me, but I just can't tell.

    And it's not that this is that off the wall or anything. I simply cannot figure out what the fuck Gravy is trying to say with this melange. Amusing as far as it goes, but I want more.

    The Gravy
    Hangman's Pop
    (Q Division)
    reviewed in issue #146, 10/27/97

    Not the noise band Gravy, but THE Gravy, a cool fuzz-pop band. The generic alt-pop formula, with Led Zeppelin-esque guitar distortion abounding. Not as weird as you might think.

    It sure helps that the Gravy writes songs that work with their playing style. And there are some nice editing bits that undercut the bombastic throbbing, proving that these guys have a fine sense of humor as well.

    The songs' construction is very basic, usually centered around a single riff or melodic idea. Once that's established, the songs moves on from there, generally coming back to the starting point. Nicely elliptical, with enough experimentation and little bits to keep the music moving along.

    An awesome production job as well, providing plenty of echo, reverb and distortion on the guitars and balancing that with the rest of the band. This puppy comes together very well.

    The Gray Field Recordings
    Sing 99 and 90
    reviewed in issue #247, November 2003

    The description of Gray Field Recordings on the Ethedrone web site is simply "experimental music." Yep. Hard to argue with that.

    What we're dealing with here is a fine series of electronic noise, vocal samples and the odd wind and string instruments. Assembled in ways that sound, shall we say, decidedly unhuman.

    I've always felt that the purpose of music like this is to challenge a listener to rethink his or her concept of reality, to facilitate a serious introspective jag and to aid in the creation of new and innovative thought. This album succeeds on all three fronts.

    The key isn't in making as strange a sound as possible. Rather, it's in putting those sounds together in such a way as to spark intrigue. Even at its harshest and most shrill, the Gray Field Recordings make sure to keep the listener in the loop. Good preparation for the more coherent, contemplative moments which follow. Hey, I know most folks can't stand this sort of thing. That's their loss. I'll buy a ticket every time.

    Gray Young
    reviewed in issue #310, September 2009

    A trio that plays mostly instrumental stuff. Strident, mathy rhythms within songs that are largely devoid of overt melody. Whaddya know, they're from my old stomping grounds in the Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh area, to boot. What're the odds?

    Well, the odds are pretty good I'd like the stuff. Reminds me a lot of latter-day Don Caballero, what with all the exceptional craftsmanship and adherence to a rhythmic ideal. And hey, this stuff is hardly atonal. It just doesn't delve into melody all that much.

    The sound is bright, with a little reverb and almost no feedback. This clean approach to such potentially noisy fare is refreshing. The different lines (which often include piano) are always easy to pick out.

    Takes me back about fifteen years, when Touch and Go was putting out some of the best music on the planet. Those days (and T&G, by and large) are gone. But good music always seems to find a way to worm its way back into the human consciousness.

    reviewed in issue #345, 2/17/13

    These boys kick some old school modern rock, with hints of math and other introspective pursuits. The songs generally rise until a well-timed collapse. That sort of construction could get repetitive, but Gray Young puts its songs together in a variety of disparate ways. So, yes, everything's an anthem, but no two songs sounds alike.

    reviewed in issue #263, April 2005

    Onry Ozzborn and JFK of Oldominion and Rob Castro put together the sounds, and a plethora of pals (Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, Canibus and many more) help lay down the tracks.

    The beats and bass are almost criminally good, and the rhymes are better than average. The guests are sometimes more distracting than anything else--I'd say let Grayskul be Grayskul, you know?--but the songs are tied together quite well.

    There are two basic schools in hip-hop today. Either you kick out ideas or you don't. It was great to see Kanye West score big last year with an occasionally introspective work, but these folks have been dropping some serious science (does that date me, or what?) for much longer. This album is just the latest installment.

    Yeah, the progressive side of hip-hop is still something of an underground phenomenon. But hell, that means I get to hear it, so I'm not complaining too loudly. Grayskul never lets off the throttle, spinning ideas both musical and lyrical until the final beat of the album. Breathtaking.

    The Graze
    Iowa Anvil
    reviewed in issue #256, August 2004

    The first track, "Devices," is a study in how any song can be translated into just about any genre. Despite its presentation here as something of an alt. country wallow, the riffage and vocal melodies are straight out of grunge anthems. And many of the other songs here seem to have fallen through the cracks into this rootsy sound.

    And that's cool. The songs rarely move at faster than a mid-tempo pace, and often they drag markedly. Not exactly the sort of stuff that generally rips apart my ears. But then when something like "I Am the Little Girl" (where the Graze just says "fuckit" and launches into something akin to laptop grunge) comes along, well, I'm suddenly locked in.

    These songs go every which way, as does the sound of the album. Some songs are small, intimate affairs, and others fill the walls with sound. Some pieces even manage to go both ways without tearing themselves apart. That's an accomplishment in and of itself.

    Yeah, the Graze (which is, in fact, one guy named Louis O'Callaghan) probably ought to settle down and focus just a bit. But a one-man-band isn't going to do that. And O'Callaghan shouldn't. Ride the waves of idiosyncrasy until they break into something truly astonishing.

    reviewed in issue #316, April 2010

    The second solo record from Louis O'Callaghan, who prefers to be known as the Graze when doing his own thing. He's wandered through such Seattle acts as Rosyvelt, An Invitation to Love and Brent Amaker and the Rodeo during the six years he spent assembling this album.

    Assembling is the right word. O'Callaghan has a stellar grasp of the (moderately) lo-fi pop sound, but his arrangements are starkly ambitious. The sound might be rounded, but he throws all sorts of ideas into his songs.

    To the point that some listeners might get exhausted. The sparse sound means that almost all of the elements are easy to hear, and the mix is almost two-dimensional, which leads to a fair amount of cacophony.

    I'm a big fan of such an approach, especially when the songs are as thoughtful and intriguing as these. Often enough, these pieces are much more beautiful than it seems they deserve to be. The production may have used a sledgehammer on the sound, but O'Callaghan has an almost delicate songwriting touch. Unworldly.

    The Great Brain
    reviewed in issue #133, 4/28/97

    The sound that slimed Chicago, a couple generations removed.

    A few years back, my wife and I were enjoying dinner in Kalamazoo with another couple (who had just moved in from Chicago). Talk came to my work, and then the sort of music I covered. Then the obvious question: What's big now?

    The Chicago sound, I said. The guy came back by saying the only Chicago sound he knew was that Jesus Lizard crap. Exactly what I was talking about, I said. We didn't discuss music much more that evening. Good thing. He was a monster U2 fan.

    That tangent aside, The Great Brain takes "that Jesus Lizard crap", strips down some of the excess and returns with a vicious rhythm extravaganza. Like the first Kepone album, only not so intense.

    It took me a while to really find the band's groove, but once my mind was in that spot, nothing could dislodge me. Kinda like returning to an old, familiar place and finding the pillows all rearranged. Oh, you can still cuddle up with your beer, but there's also something exciting and new (come aboard?). And for a second there I thought I was actually making sense.

    Never mind. The Great Brain has a fine technical approach that never gets sterile. And a pleasantly mid-range production sound that leaves everything just slightly warm and fuzzy. This album gets better the longer you listen to it.

    The Great Depression
    Unconscious Pilot
    reviewed in issue #257, September 2004

    So if Bauhaus were to meet up with U2 and get busy...Jesus, that's just fucked up. But it's also the Great Depression, a band that seems to thrive on droning vocals laid over almost hyperactive drums.

    Yes, there are plenty of purely introspective moments, but most of the songs here are played at significantly faster tempos than they seem. It's almost like some of the more interesting ambient acts, the folks who play with beats incessantly but relegate those experiments to a spot just behind the curtain. I love that sort of contrived tension.

    And, apparently, so does the Great Depression. These songs may be moody, but they're hardly downers. They do bring their more contemplative side to the fore, but way back there somewhere those drums keep churning away. Down a hole, behind the iron mask, whatever. They're there, and they make their presence known.

    Very cool. It takes supreme confidence and true vision to put together songs like this, much less mix them in this way. I'm impressed.

    Preaching to the Fire
    reviewed in issue #286, June 2007

    Lush. Almost subversively apocalyptic. Each song here sounds like it ought to be the last one sung before the Earth is consumed by a nova or Vogons or whatever. You kinda wish they were around a hundred years ago so these songs could have been sung on the Titanic.

    Which puts these folks in the fine company of other Brit bands like Black Box Recorder. Though I'd say the Great Depression has taken quite a bit of instruction at the feet of such post-rock masters as Tortoise and Calexico. The cool grooves are jazzy more than funky, though not in any sort of cloying way.

    Indeed, this entire album could have been an exercise in drivel. I've heard countless folks ply this vein and end up sounding merely bored. These folks keep up the intensity even as they spin their gauzy lines.

    Mood music, but not for relaxing. Rather, these songs should almost immediately put your brain into an attentive alpha state. From there you can solve all the problems of the world...or simply get lost. You make the call.

    Forever Altered
    reviewed in issue #302, November 2008

    Another set of ringing, rootsy, ethereal anthems from these folks. The disparate influences can be unsettling, but that's the point. You don't name your band the Great Depression if you want something simple and easy. I remain a big fan.

    The Great Glass Elevator
    The Great Glass Elevator
    (Orange Entropy)
    reviewed in issue #194, 1/24/00

    The Great Glass Elevator is mostly Stephen Zimmerman. It is all atmospheric pop. There is something of a demo quality to the sound, but that adds to the otherworldly feeling the music evokes.

    As for the songs themselves, they do wallow in excess. No doubt about it. Think of a lo-fi Plush or something like that. But the construction is basically straightforward, so you can't lose your way too quickly.

    Even when the songs kick up a storm, there's a heavy echo effect on things. Part of that is the recording, no doubt, but even if Zimmerman were to get, say, a studio budget, I'd suggest that he find a way to keep that thick quality to his sound. It complements his writing rather well.

    Zimmerman is not the most obsessive of one-man bands, so there are numerous playing and editing mistakes throughout. Those tend to lend a charming feel to the songs, though. After a while, the vague clunkiness becomes an attribute. Perfection can be overrated.

    Great Lakes
    Diamond Times
    reviewed in issue #277, August 2006

    Two songwriters and a cast of twenty in the studio. The sound is americana meets...everything else. Lots of rock, a bit of soul and, don't you know, I could be describing Lambchop. Well, I could, except that Great Lakes doesn't sound like them.

    No, these folks (Dan Donahue and Ben Crum seem to be the ones in charge, with help from producer Jason Nesmith) aren't particularly idiosyncratic in their writing style. A bit all over the place, but familiar territory at all times. And that's cool. A nice album to roll with on a sunny day.

    Indeed, this is one hell of a summer album. The sound is warm and inviting, and the songs pop out in just the right ways. Not by numbers, but rather cool and proficient. Cool as in "don't that sound cool?"

    Yeah, it does. A fine trip through many of the sounds we call American music. Not saccharine or cynical, but simply real. Like having a conversation with an old friend. It's easy. And fulfilling. Like waking up in the middle of the night while having sex. And we all know that doesn't suck.

    The Great Unknowns
    Presenting the Great Unknowns
    reviewed in issue #259, November 2004

    Southern rock and blues from, y'know, the outskirts of Boston. Of course.

    Becky Warren has one of those great alto voices that has both character and range. The lyrics are simple, and sometimes the melodies can be similarly unadorned, but Warren is able to convey so much with just her delivery. These songs would pretty good with any hack singing, but Warren raises them up considerably.

    The band doesn't really try to advance the formula. Drop in a blues riff, rock it out and keep the tempo moderate. The fact is that these folks don't need to reinvent the wheel. They just need to make sure that they're in sync with Warren. They do.

    All that isn't to say that the band is secondary. But in this style, unless there's some sort of incendiary guitar player (Michael Palmer is quite good, but he's not showy), the singer is the deal. And this deal means that the Great Unknowns may be able to lose the second half of their name soon enough.

    The Pop Tarts
    reviewed in issue #28, 2/14/93

    Meandering between punky rave-ups and beautiful pop tunes, Green return with a pretty fine bit of recording.

    You can't help but think you've stumbled into some kind of wild early seventies flashback when hearing this, but in a good way. All of the sentiments of the era are represented, but not in a normal way. Kinda a psycho-pop thing. Like if David Bowie were fronting Led Zeppelin (whose members happened to be the Stones). Or something like that.

    I loved their last effort, which was a little more conventional. This is awful out there, and perhaps even more fun to listen to. Strangeness pays, especially when it sounds this appealing.

    Peggy Green
    Songs of Naka Peida
    reviewed in issue #203, 8/7/00

    A woman and her guitar. Pedal dobro guitars, to be more accurate. Peggy Green's style is contemplative, which fits the ringing tone of her instruments. Picking is all well and good, but when you can get a sound like she gets, well, let it sing.

    Just because her fingers aren't flying doesn't mean that these compositions lack complexity or creative fire. Just the opposite. Green takes pieces of jazz, western steel guitar and snippets of Japanese theory and mixes them into her sound.

    The Japanese influence Green took as inspiration time she spent in Naka Peida, Japan. There is an elegiac quality to many of the songs, a wistful elegance that isn't quite sadness. A sound that makes me want. What? I don't know.

    Truly beautiful. The songs are spun from steel threads and then kicked out into the world by Green's fingertips. This album casts a spell that is hard to shake. Not that I really want to get away any time soon.

    Green & Checkers
    Green & Checkers
    (Trip Records)
    reviewed in issue #155, 3/23/98

    A big bag of different music styles that all fall nicely into that vagueness known as "rock". The lyrics are most often spoken, or loosely rapped even, and the lyrical content is generally in the form of prose poetry. Sometimes there's a chorus, sometimes not.

    The adventurous nature of the music helps to provide adequate background for the vivid pictures brought forth in the songs themselves. The feel is an unusual one; I often got the idea I wasn't quite understanding what I was hearing. Thought-provoking is always good.

    Now, while the music wanders about quite a bit, it isn't particularly inventive, just diverse in its inspiration. Still, the lyrics pick up the slack. This is a verbally-driven album.

    Strange, and that's good. Great? Probably not, but certainly intriguing.

    The Green Pajamas
    If She Only Knew EP
    (Recordhead/Mr. Whiggs-Luna Music)
    reviewed in issue #232, August 2002

    Slowly churning pop songs that spin and whorl almost effortlessly. There's a lilt to this introspective fare that keeps it from becoming mordantly oppressive. Almost like the depressing lyrics are some sort of inside joke. Or something.

    Man, I love stuff that's this intense. The lyrics have layers. That's how cool the writing is. The music is pretty, but in a late autumnal way. Sure, it's nice now, but wait a month or so.

    I've been noticing a resurgence in this sort of pop music of late. A trend I like, most definitely. The Green Pajamas are fine practitioners of the sound. An EP like this only makes me want to hear more.

    Greg Boring
    Heavy Syrup
    (Critical Heights)
    reviewed in issue #346, 3/3/13

    A real fuzzy mess. These (this?) Australian(s?) make(s?) music that is unsettlingly unsettling. I like the distorted riffs on laptop pop, but I also must admit I dig the more coherent bits within this album. There's a lot going on, and it's gonna take a few more listens for me to pick it all out. That's cool with me.

    Easy ... As ABC EP
    reviewed in issue #224, 11/5/01

    I get lots of e-mails from folks who want me to review their stuff. I've always told them to send it in. I don't review stuff off the web because my computer speakers suck. I always assume they have checked out A&A before they holler at me.

    I don't think that happened here. Gregori is aiming straight at the 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys crowd. To my ears, these songs sound a lot like that stuff. Almost too much like it, although I think that may be the point. Because I've never been able to distinguish between any of the boy bands. I'm sure it's possible, mind you. I've just never taken the time.

    The production here is a bit more primitive, but Gregori's voice sounds fine. The overdubs make him sound just like every other boy band out there. Is that good? Is that bad? I'm not the person to make that call.

    Fanbelt Algebra
    reviewed in issue #197, 3/27/00

    Plenty of speed, plenty of attitude. Greyarea isn't yet typical Victory band. The guys care about hooks (even though they're awful rushed) and the sound is extremely sparse. Sounds more like an Epitaph band to me.

    Though there's no reason why Greyarea can't do well with Victory. In fact, with more albums like this, well... Greyarea should do great. The tight, linear riffage never lets up, and the tempos just don't lag.

    There's also the plus that you can sing along if you like. This isn't pain-inflicting music. It's more thought-inducing. If, of course, you actually can slow down while this music is racing.

    The sorta disc that leaves me breathless. I know I'm a sucker for this kinda thing, but hell, the execution is dead on. Greyarea does melodic hardcore as well as anyone I've heard in ages. I'm enlisting for another tour.

    Come to Grief
    (Century Media)
    reviewed in issue #68, 1/15/95

    Former members of Disrupt hang with a couple pals and crank out a disc that's chock full-o-sludge. Oh my.

    There's a part of me that really digs this sound. With the proper production (which is here), this stuff can really mellow a guy out after a couple hours at high volume. Something about slow chords plowing their way into your nervous system, I think.

    Then my cerebral side takes over, and calls this stuff patently stupid. Well, that's correct. There isn't a lot of creativity going on, and most of the lyrics are about pain and suffering.

    Which makes this stuff perhaps the modern version of white-boy blues. It is slow and depressing, and somewhat cathartic. I feel better after a shot of Grief. Hell, it moves my bowels for me.

    Grief Society
    How We Used to Live
    reviewed in issue #176, 2/8/99

    These guys are in England? That must be what the little something I can't identify might be. See, this is basic American roots rock, with that, um, piece extra. Soul? Yeah, but even more than that. A little bit different sensibility. The odd heavy guitar? Strange rhythms in the vocals? All that.

    And it works, too. The slightly different pop music tradition across the way has left a vaguely off inflection upon these tunes. Something new in a form I've been hearing a bit too much of lately.

    Definitely cool songs. Easygoing, but with enough of an occasional bite to keep you on your toes. Some fine guitar work in there, stuff which works equally well in the slower and more uptempo pieces.

    A fine bit of work. I'm not entirely sure what sound Grief Society is aiming for (I still feel a bit knocked off), but I like what I hear here. Good stuff.

    Waterfall EP
    reviewed in issue #211, 1/29/01

    Grief Society has a new album coming out soon. But first, the guys wanted to re-issue this EP from 1997. At this stage, the band was a bit more of a Britpop band than their last album showed.

    Particularly in the choice of Manchester-style rhythms and the like. Plus that cool organ sound that never did quite make it over here. Still and all, these guys have a Love jones, and that American hard rock 'n' soul influence can be heard on this disc, if just a bit less than the last album I heard.

    The standout here is "Small Town," the one song where all of the band's influences are cranked up tight and loud. The song explodes in a fury of sound and emotion. The rest of this disc is good, but there's a reason bands get better when they've been around for a bit. The guys figure out what works.

    Universal Misunderstanding
    reviewed in issue #213, 3/12/01

    The problem most American bands have when playing funk-rock is that they think that syncopation is all there is to funk. That and they tend to over-emphasize the back-beat instead of simply letting it speak for itself.

    I know, I'm making a generalization, and silly technical one at that. My point is that Grief Society doesn't make those mistakes. Funk can be found in many places, and each song calls for a different application. These boys focus on the hook. That's why these songs work so well.

    This album contains a new version of "Small Town," a bit more beefy than the earlier one. It's still one of the best songs I've ever heard. This rendition is a bit more funky, but not in a self-conscious way. The grooves just flow naturally.

    Which is where Grief Society gets it right. Hey, songwriting is a bitch. It's really hard. It can take months for that "natural" flow to be puzzled out. But everyone knows what it sounds like. And these boys, they know how find it.

    Paper Radio
    reviewed in issue #222, 9/24/01

    Coby Batty and Paul Watson, with many friends. Finely tuneful roots rock and pop. From time to time the guys drift near James Taylor territory, but just as I begin to get concerned, they pull back into more tasteful realms once more.

    Most often, though, the songs move toward the blues. Or a shuffle. Or some other non-rock sound. I like the way the duo incorporates all sorts of ideas into its relatively simple sound. Kinda how it's supposed to be done.

    Many of these songs would qualify as "downers," I suppose, but the production keeps the sound light and airy. This doesn't undercut the material; it simply ensures that the stuff doesn't get dirgelike. In fact, the dichotomy actually reinforces the themes of the songs quite well.

    In fact, most everything here focuses attention on the sharp and clever songwriting of Batty and Watson (who generally pen their songs separately). And when the stuff is this good, who am I to argue?

    Tom Griesgraber and Bert Lams
    Unnamed Lands
    Daniel Bachman
    Jesus, I'm a Sinner
    (Tomkins Square)
    reviewed 3/16/14

    Modern music would not exist without the guitar. And while the guitar seems to be the perfect amalgam of violin and piano (capable of playing melodies like the similarly-shaped violin, but also very useful for its ability to play more than one note at once, like a piano), the history of the guitar likely predates both of those other instruments.

    Any fool can play a guitar. And that's a good thing. The relative ease with which a novice can produce pleasing sounds is why the guitar is central to today's highly democratized modern music scene. But there are a few folks who are radically understating the facts when they say, "I play a little."

    I've been following Daniel Bachman for a couple of years. Seven Pines, released in 2012, was a revelation filled with stunning guitar fugues. He created great walls of sound just by playing an acoustic guitar. It was a singular effort. The one drawback is that the songs pretty much stuck to that fugual state. After a while, the listener either had to surrender or run away. And while I'm at my happiest when I give up and melt into the music, I can understand those who might resist.

    Jesus, I'm a Sinner is a more accessible effort. For starters, Bachman brings in Sally Anne Morgan on fiddle for a couple songs. Morgan and Charlie Devine (banjo) sit in on "Chattanooga." Bachman even switches to banjo on "Goose Chase." While still an exquisitely structured and mannered album, this set flows more freely than Pines.

    While his style is very much in the mid-Atlantic folk guitar tradition of John Fahey, Bachman is able to do things on a guitar that pretty much no one else can. And he's still quite young. He's proven he's an adept. What next? Prove that he's an artist. That's always the trickiest step for young geniuses.

    Sinner does just that. Bachman still works his way in and out of the fugue, but this album is much more emotionally varied and open than Pines. The ebb and flow makes this set flash by almost instantly. It's wonderful to hear a young player mature into a true artist. Bachman has recorded four albums, but he's just beginning.

    Bert Lams and Tom Griesgraber have been around for almost forever, it seems. Lams trained in his native Belgium, and Griesgraber snatched a degree from Berklee. Lams is best known for his work with the California Guitar Trio, but he's worked and performed with a long list classical, jazz and rock artists and ensembles. Griesgraber was originally a guitarist as well, but he started working with the Chapman stick (which has both bass and guitar strings) in 1997. Like Lams, Griesgraber tends to make music across all genres.

    This latest Griesgraber/Lams effort, Unnamed Lands, tells the story of one person on a wagon train headed west. The particulars aren't important; it's the journey that matters.

    There are times when this sounds like Pat Metheny playing the songs of Dirty Three. Most often, however, it's even better. The songs tend to be conversational, as if the fictional traveler is relating his story to the listener. The sound is open, which certainly suggests the wide spaces of the American prairie and how amazing those vistas must have seemed to someone more familiar with urban America in 1840.

    Griesgraber and Lams are classically-trained, and they have technical chops to burn. But instead of turning this into some sort of mellow shredfest, they use their skills to create a world out of sound. I've long appreciated Lams ability to create a wide variety of emotions within his precise playing style. He has his own language, and he uses it exceptionally well. Griesgraber uses the stick for both atmospherics and exposition. I can't even begin to comprehend the difficulty of making that thing work, but Griesgraber seems to do so effortlessly. The range of the instrument in his hands is amazing.

    The story itself isn't revelatory in terms of plot. But the idea of focusing on the inner thoughts of someone making a journey of outward exploration is wonderful. The execution here is simply stunning. The sound is inviting from the start, and once a listener has hitched on there's no looking back. Like the pioneers, there is only one way to move: Forward.

    Bachmann, Lamm and Griesgraber aren't the future of guitar. They are examples of some of the finest playing done on the instrument (or one of its variants) today. Sometimes the best players don't know how to translate their technical prowess into ideas that mortals can comprehend. These guys have done that and more, creating albums that amaze and, more importantly, inspire. Wonder knows no bounds.

    Grim Skunk
    Grim Skunk
    reviewed in issue #73, 3/31/95

    If Black Flag met Uriah Heep...

    No, really! Lots of hardcore bombast combined with this Hammond organ dropped in on top. Wow, how weird can you get?

    I'm not sure why no one thought of this before, but I haven't heard it if it has been done. Musically, Grim Skunk isn't terribly innovative or interesting, but the organ adds this cool texture to pretty mundane anthemic hardcore songs.

    Guaranteed to astonish your friends. I don't know how much of a future this band has, but what a sound.

    Gringo Star
    Gringo Star EP
    reviewed in issue #288, August 2007

    The boys may hail from the Atlanta area, but this music is much more western in origin. The country and blues references have more of a California than red dirt feel, and the piano pop constructions (even if the songs themselves are driven by guitars) are tres-L.A.

    Every once in while, though, there's a bit of ragged harmony (or somesuch) that just screams Athens. The full production sound boosts these songs out of the speakers with strength and purpose. In other words, this stuff sounds great.

    Good songs, good playing, good production. Six songs are nice, a full-length would be nicer. Gringo Star bears watching.

    Licker Bottle Cozy EP
    reviewed in #164, 8/3/98

    Goddamnit, I could sworn grunge was dead. No more of that dreadfully lazy guitar style or turgid bass flogging. No more over-pretentious, whiny songs which really don't say anything anyway.

    Um, I was wrong.

    Which isn't to say that Grinspoon plays basic grunge. After a dreadfully ordinary first track, the band breaks into more of a metalcore sound, somewhat uptempo and with some of that faux funk wank. Like if Rage Against the Machine, Biohazard and Candlebox were edited into a single story and then photocopied a few thousand times. Grinspoon would be the 100th generation copy. You don't quite recognize the original, but you know it's there somewhere.

    Naw, I didn't really dig this. You guessed, right?

    The Kick EP
    (Noisy Little Birds/BB*Island)
    reviewed 5/26/16

    Gris-de-Lin has connections (she works with many top-notch producers on these four tracks), but her talent far surpasses any insider knowledge. There may be only four tracks here, but their breadth is almost overwhelming.

    Plying the same eclectic/anthemic territory as PJ Harvey, Kate Bush or Tori Amos, Gris-de-Lin creates her sound with samples and real instruments. She layers her vocals, but that's just another part of the arranging process. And while I did make reference to other artists at the top of the paragraph, Gris-de-Lin doesn't sound like anyone else. These pieces are unique.

    They're also accessible as hell. Catchy? Not so much, although "Your Ghost" won't be leaving my head for a while. These songs are immediately arresting, but their power comes through in repeat listens. Very few artists have the power to capture both those into immediate gratification and those who are more patient. This EP does so in seemingly effortless fashion.

    Another hurrah for the EP movement. This set is damned near perfect. I'm salivating for more, but I'll be feasting on these treats for some time to come.

    The First Man on the Sun
    (Cherry Disc)
    reviewed in issue #124, 12/2/96

    Nicely hooky distortion-drenched pop music. Grither knows when to kick in that catchy chorus, and when to lay back in wait. The guys work their way through a good set of tunes with aplomb.

    Well, perhaps it's all the crap I've heard this week, but this Grither really catches my ear. The band isn't afraid to try different musical ideas within the general pre-defined sound. Yeah, we're not talking about the next Mozart or anything, but the tunes are fun.

    And as most late November-early December releases a meant to be buried, this is one that deserves some attention. Nothing terribly brilliant, but a solid effort that pleases at every level.

    All this should be expected. Mike Allmayer sang and played with the Pedaljets, and bassist Mark Reynolds was also a Pedaljet and most recently played with Cher U.K. Yeah, this is one of them Lawrence/K.C. bands that I like so much. Get off my ass. Buy this album. Thank you.

    GrndNtl Brnds
    Communicating for Influence
    reviewed in issue #204, 8/28/00

    One thing I like about getting a package from Vaccination is that I never know what will be inside. Well, I know it will be pretty well great with some of the coolest packaging around, but musically, I never know what's coming.

    GrndNtl Brnds takes this thought much further. Halfway through the album I had no idea what was coming next. Except, of course, that it would most likely blow my mind.

    There's the manic pop phase (a la Thingy), the strangely intricate folk phase, the avant-garde noise phase, etc. And the band does equally well with each sound. In general, the pieces come off as fairly disconnected. But in truth, I think there's a fairly well thought out core to each piece.

    I'm doing a horrible job of describing this. Except to say that the disorder is only skin deep. Great fun, with plenty of complexity underneath to satisfy the demanding listener. Not exactly anything. Well, except good. GrndNtl Brnds is much better than good.

    Andy Grooms Living Room
    Grateful to Burn
    reviewed in issue #258, October 2004

    Andy Grooms plays the piano. But unlike most of the "piano rock" I've heard of late, Grooms prefers to take a slightly jazzy, off-center approach to his songwriting. The pieces are elliptical, often containing many lines which might coalesce only at the climax.

    Post-post-rock, if you will. Because Grooms takes the whole idea of conceptual, deliberate rock music to a new level. And even as he keeps thinking, he also manages to keep the songs moving (in their own odd orbits) toward the grand alignment.

    But even with all that wonky stuff going on, these songs retain a moderate level of accessibility. Any fan is going to have to have at least a passing appreciation of jazz. If you can't handle multiple themes operating at the same time, well, go back to your Avril Lavigne or whatever.

    Those of us who don't mind kicking back with an album, a book and a barleywine, well, we'll take this in a second. Grooms has near immaculate taste, and he and his cohorts have created a work that stirs many senses at once.

    Groop Dogdrill
    Lovely Skin EP
    (Beggars Banquet)
    reviewed in issue #186, 9/28/98

    Cheap sex references and even cheaper glam industrial riffage. Goodness, might this be a Thrill Kill Kult side project?

    Actually, no, but the question looms. To be fair, Groop Dogdrill is a bit more clever with its musical references than with its lyric ones, but come on. That's all this is. One big come on.

    Which is fine and fun and dandy, but in the end it's pretty empty. Oh, sure, I enjoyed the ride, short as it was. But there is no meat here. Nothing to encourage further excursions.

    Yeah, it's three Brits trying very hard to sound like sex-starved Americans. But hell, it's about time the most sanctimonious nation on earth (the U.S., of course) exported something of value.

    Half Nelson
    (Beggars Banquet)
    reviewed in issue #173, 12/14/98

    Well, the Brits love Groop Dogdrill, and it's pretty easy to hear why. Lots of heavy-duty phraseology and crashing guitar riffs laid over a basic noise punk base. A pretty package on the surface. But there's just nothing underneath.

    It's about time some Brits acknowledged the debt current "alternative" music owes Jesus Lizard. But see, us ugly 'mericans have heard this sort of thing, and better, too. Try 6L6 or Kepone and then listen to this. No fucking comparison. The production values here are somewhat better (more cash always helps), but I'll take a rawer, more intense sound any day.

    I have to say I do like this better than the EP I heard. I couldn't quite make out where the band was going. This album makes it completely clear. Just like when KMFDM took Einsturzende Neubauten theory and made it sell, Groop Dogdrill takes that Chicago hardcore sound and add a brand-new commercial shine.

    This doesn't suck. But, geez, let's not start dripping spoo, either. Us yanks still know how to do this better than anyone.

    reviewed in issue #66, 11/15/94

    Yes, another load of rap-metal-hardcore. Like most other bands who tread these perilous-yet-trendy waters, Groovezilla's music is over-produced and quickly forgettable.

    But the lyrical delivery is much closer to a rap style than other bands in this area. In fact, the only place where the vocals run into trouble is where the songs are constructed with hardcore conventions, not the more free-flowing styles.

    Still, Groovezilla has put together a fun disc. Nothing too extreme or aggressive, but punchy enough to pick up a party. With a little more attention paid to the backing grooves, the next album could really be something.

    Groovie Ghoulies
    Appetite for Adrenachrome
    reviewed in issue #119, 9/23/96

    Originally released in 1989, the Ghoulies (for those who missed the album earlier this year) play something that certain people refer to as "horror-core". Pop-punk with slasher movie lyrics. More like Evil Dead lyrics.

    And the results are, ahem, a scream. The Ghoulies are masters at finding a crunchy groove and sticking with it. And the lyrics simply add to the enjoyment. Not high art, mind you. Just near-mindless craziness.

    While I'm sure commercial concerns had something to do with this week's Ghoulie reissues, the music is more than worth the effort. The sound is amazingly good and fresh-sounding (this album seems almost prescient), and the cool songs (with some very strange covers) keep rolling out.

    A worthy addition to any collection.

    Born in the Basement
    reviewed in issue #119, 9/23/96

    This one's from 1994, with a mostly new line-up (only Kepi remains from Appetite) and a more polished sound. And I don't like it quite so much.

    Just a bit too calculated, which could be as much a problem with the production as with the songs themselves. But the Ghoulies sound just a bit tight most of the time here. I wish they would loosen up.

    Still, the same goofiness reigns, and you gotta like that. More than enough to keep old (and new) fans happy. A special note: if you get these two albums on vinyl, Appetite is in pink, and sports neon green. Of course, I got the CDs. Why waste cool collector stuff on a hack writer?

    No one has called the Lookout folks stupid. And these re-issues are a very good idea, indeed.

    Graveyard Girlfriend 7"
    reviewed in issue #144 (9/29/97)

    The a-side is a rather Buzzcocks-y track from the new album (reviewed below). The b-sides are covers of Chuck Berry ("Trick or Treat") and Daniel Johnston ("Deviltown") songs.

    The Groovie Ghoulies have never really claimed to be much more than a straight ahead punk pop band, and that's what you get here. Just the basics.

    The cover of "Deviltown" is rather cool, though, and the whole set is charming, if nothing else. It's exactly what I expected.

    Re-Animation Festival
    reviewed in issue #144 (9/29/97)

    Goofy horror love songs that recycle just about every punk pop cliche in the book. Yes, another opus from the Groovie Ghoulies.

    And yet, like the Ramones, it's hard to get too hacked when a familiar chord change comes along for the umpteenth time. The songs are pretty amusing, and occasionally the music is rather inspired (the first track, "Tunnel of Love" is absolutely sparkling).

    Lightweight, but lovably so. There's plenty of amusement to go around. Kinda like candy corn, if you like that sorta thing. Once you start scarfing, it's hard to stop.

    Fun in the Dark
    (Lookout) reviewed in issue #178, 3/15/99

    Giving up on the mock-horror shtick (for the most part), the Ghoulies concentrate here on kicking out power pop punk tunes. Okay, they may be based in Sacramento, but they have that East Bay feel down. Way down.

    Easily the strongest album I've heard from these folks. The jokes are still there ("She Gets All the Girls", "Don't Make Me Kill You Again"), but the music is more polished. And in this case, that's a good thing.

    Better production, more attention to the hooks, just more solid all the way around. This is one of those pop albums which takes hold and never lets up. Alright, alright, the Ramones did it first, but the Ghoulies take the sound for a nice spin.

    I'm surprised. I figured this would be good. Not so. This is great. Tight from beginning to end, with a nice wit to boot. More than worth the kitsch.

    Groovy Love Vibes
    reviewed in issue #60, 8/15/94

    Nothing terribly groovy or loving about these vibes; this stuff is heavy, sometimes bombastic, sometimes hardcore, sometimes almost industrial. The production is somewhat substandard and muffled, but honestly that doesn't seem to hurt things. This is fuzzy cranking music. The notes say the band is looking for a saxophone player. That would make things real interesting.

    Slow Motion Apocalypse
    (Alternative Tentacles)
    reviewed in issue #33, 4/30/93

    A fine compendium of noise, with a great beat to fuck to. West coast folk have had a much easier time picking up their earlier works, or at least they were the only ones reporting them.

    Now that AT has picked them up, there is no excuse for backsliding. Of course this isn't metal. It isn't anything in particular, except great.

    Now, I know a lot of you don't like to play stuff that fits into the category of "really weird shit." But you play stuff that has gratuitous mentions of things like periods and bras, and there's plenty of that here.

    So be an American. A real American. Burn your flags and play Grotus. That's all.

    The Opiate of the Masses
    (Alternative Tentacles UK)
    reviewed in issue #65, 10/31/94

    Some fairly ambient takes off the Slow Motion Apocalypse album. If you're expecting heavy, down and dirty stuff, well, it's not here.

    Trans-Global Underground has pumped some interesting things into the basic Grotus tracks, leading to a couple of re-mixes that are even more dance floor-ready. And the rest is sort of speedy mind-candy music. When you want quality and aggression, but aren't really in the mood to have to fight the tunes.

    Twenty-eight minutes of solid addiction. Too bad Grotus has, after this release, left the ranks of the independent. That's how it goes, sometimes.

    Corrode EP
    (Gig Records) reviewed in issue #192, 12/6/99

    If the Wedding Present ever were to trend emo... At least, singer Jonn Penny reminds me of David Gedge loads. That's not a bad thing, mind you. These shimmering anthems simply glisten with understated beauty.

    And as I drive through the all-too-short disc, I begin to realize that this is an interesting cross between the more eclectic side of Brit pop and the Jawbox-Treepeople-Mineral American pop axis (um, I hope that makes sense).

    The deal here is that Groundswell roughly crafts some gorgeous tunes. Each song tilts along a slightly different axis, allowing for a fully-rounded listening experience in just five songs. Not that I don't want to hear more, of course. Another cup, please.

    Grub Dog and the Amazing Sweethearts
    Grub Dog and the Amazing Sweethearts
    reviewed in issue #186, 8/16/99

    A disc just loaded with great rock and roll. You know, some blooze 'n' boogie, some down-home rollers and plenty more. Grub Dog is equally adept at slow, intricate pieces and balls-out rockers. And it all sounds so sincere, too.

    Hey, I wasn't being sarcastic there. These are great songs delivered just they way they should be, with all due earnestness. There's joy and pain, but no cynicism here. Just some generally good-time music.

    Grub Dog sounds a bit like Chris Cacavas (and thus, more vaguely like Chris Stamey), and he and the band play in much the same stripped-down basic style. The songs are written for ease of delivery. It sounds like they're just tripping off one by one.

    A true revelation. I can't find anything wrong here. This is a band all ready. And the guys might as well get going. Songs like these don't wait forever. Grub Dog easily has one of the top self-released discs this year.

    David Grubbs
    The Thicket
    (Drag City)
    reviewed in issue #166, 8/31/98

    One of the founders of Gastr del Sol (along with Jim O'Rourke) and a regular contributor to plenty of other acts, David Grubbs is rightly hailed as a musical innovator.

    He's got a distinctive ear and an unusual musical mind, one which hears the connections between sounds which have seconds or even minutes separating them. Kind of like the way a chess master approaches that game. Grubbs lays out a set of sounds and musical themes, and then references either the sound or the melodic riff later on, sometimes in the same song and sometimes many songs later.

    This sort of delicate craftsmanship sounds out of place when placed in the context of "regular" pop and rock music. But then, Grubbs isn't a regular guy. And this album is anything but ordinary.

    One of the few albums I've heard recently that makes its greatest impact only when heard all the way through, sequentially intact. This is not an disc for the musical dilettante. It requires attention, thought and consideration. This is music for the complete person. It is music of the soul.

    See also Gastr del Sol .

    Inside Yours
    reviewed in issue #5, 1/15/92

    What, another incestual Seattle thing? Yeah, and the press with this says Skin Yard is no more. Now, I realize I live in the sticks and perhaps I didn't pay as close attention to news reports as I should have, but Skin Yard was here at the end of September. Oh well.

    Why mention Skin Yard? Well, Gruntruck's vocalist is Ben McMillan, former (?!?) Skin Yard vocalist. And guitars are provided by none other than Tom (Accused) Niemeyer.

    The press says this is a departure from the Skin Yard way of life. REALLY???? I don't think so. Now, as I like Skin Yard a lot, this is just fine. But Gruntruck is rather 1000 Smiling Knuckles-ish.

    I should mention this was originally released on eMpTy records, before Skin Yard's last album came out. True, 1000 was a step forward for Skin Yard, but I think the step may have actually come here first.

    If you don't play reissues that have been through your format already, fine, but do check out the two new songs "Crucifunkin'" and "Flesh Fever," as well as the remix of "Paint." Very nice, indeed.

    Above Me 7"
    reviewed in issue #20, 9/15/92

    I hope this was released on 7" vinyl to make a statement about how such things should not be lost to us. If it had anything to do with things such as the Sub Pop singles club or some general hipness tie-in to the whole Seattle thing, then a pox on all houses involved.

    "Above Me" finds Gruntruck sounding a lot like Ben (the singer) McMillan's old band, Skin Yard. Not to accuse anyone of theft or anything, because it is cool sounding and no riffs are stolen. But I liked Skin Yard a lot, and this is almost there.

    As for the B-side, well, after all, Gruntruck is a Seattle band and lots of people are doing it anyway.

    reviewed in issue #21, 9/30/92

    My fears of this being more Seattle retread were erased with the opening riff of the first song. Yeah, it does remind one of Soundgarden a little, but there is something else. And, well, Ben McMillan's vocals are an important part of the Seattle legacy, so Gruntruck could never escape all that anyway.

    Once again in this issue, I am forced to say this is nothing new or original, but it's good. And much better than Inside Yours, which was, after all, two years old when Roadracer re-released it this year.
    I don't think I can do a damn thing about the vibe surrounding this album, so I'll stop now.

    See also Accused and Skin Yard.

    Grupo Fantasma
    (Blue Corn)
    reviewed 12/14/15

    Grupo Fantasma's Wikipedia page describes this nine-piece outfit as a "Latin funk orchestra." Well, sure, but there's so much more.

    And this time they recruited Steve Berlin (longtime Los Lobos/Los Super Seven/etc. producer) to twist the knobs. Because, well, of course.

    If somehow you have missed out on the Grupo Fantasma experience, get yourself a listen to "Porque," a stunning cover of the Beatles "Because." The tight harmonies are highly evocative of the original, but the band takes the song into thrilling new territory. Which is pretty much the story with every song (most of which are written by the band) here.

    Want some Tito Puente-style horns? A little merengue rhythm? Blistering lead guitar? Stellar vocal work? Sure. How about we throw all that into one song? Grupo Fantasma channels Carlos Santana at his peak, throws in a generous helping of Latin folk and jazz influences, turns up the volume and tightens the screws. There isn't one second of wasted motion on this album. It smokes.

    When a band has been tearing things up for as long as these folks, it's hard to make a statement like "this is their best album ever." It might be. Berlin's deft hand certainly makes the sound pop like never before. But the real truth is that Grupo Fantasma has been stellar for ages, and this is just the latest testament. Put this on, and you have an instant party.

    Left Behind EP
    (W Recordings)
    reviewed in issue #224, 11/5/01

    Bounding (and pounding) metal. Gryp favors a lot of the Fear Factory institutions, including a truly rumbling bass line and the occasional falsetto vocal line. To that the guys add more melody and somewhat more traditional screechy guitars. Just enough to put a vaguely commercial sheen on the sound.

    But not too much. The songs are tightly written and the intensity level never drops. The guitar sound is very sharp, almost cutting. That reduces the raw power but, again, is a little closer to a mainstream sound.

    Gryp manages to balance things well. There's plenty of power, but it's thoughtfully applied. These four songs (plus a radio edit of "Left Behind") are dead solid. That's all I can ask for, anyway.

    Guards of Metropolis
    reviewed in issue #292, December 2007

    Flashy, crunchy music and trashy female vocals. Tight playing and even tighter hooks. Commercial as hell, but not exactly by today's standards.

    Lawdy, lawdy, but this is a blast. I don't think there's a shred of subtlety anywhere on this album, but it doesn't require any. The thrills are cheap, but they hit almost impossibly hard.

    A guilty pleasure, I suppose, except that I don't feel guilty. Highly-charged pop-rock has always been a staple of my diet, and I don't intend for that to change. I'll just add Guards of Metropolis to the rotation. I'm not sure how well this will stand the test of time. It does have a "burn-out" date stamped right on the cover.

    Okay, that last bit was a joke, though it is true that I'm not sure how many spins it will take for this album to wear out its welcome. No matter. Right now it is a welcome guest for my ears, and that's all that matters.

    Morgan Guberman
    Hamadryas Baboon
    (Pax Recordings)
    reviewed in #164, 8/3/98

    The subtitle is "solo contrabass", and so this is. Guberman produces a rich set of tones, deep and sometimes scratchy, and he assembles these sounds in a set of eight compositions.

    Which is to say there are eight pieces here, and they all feature some very unusual string music. Guberman prefers strange music to beautiful music, and his compositions are frenetically spooky, filled with lots of odd noises. These aren't songs so much as collections of ideas presented by one person on one instrument.

    I'm not sure where they boy's head is at (actually, I'm a bit concerned on that score), but I like the adventurous spirit on display here. Guberman is exploring the far reaches of the contrabass, delving into areas many teachers might find distressing.

    In total, an album that cannot be dismissed as a random assortment of cool noises. Guberman does a good job of linking his wide variety of ideas together, and while not conventional, he makes good music.

    reviewed in issue #180, 4/12/99

    Solo contrabass, and since I'm reviewing it, it's definitely on the avant garde side of classical music. Guberman likes to use every single sound his massive instrument can make in order to fully illustrate his musical ideas. and when I say every sound, well, I mean just that.

    Guberman draws from a variety of jazz and classical schools of thought, and then throws in some stuff I really don't recognize (these areas aren't exactly points of strength in my musical knowledge bank). This is highly theatrical fare, though, full of drama and tension. Guberman is definitely trying to make a few points here.

    And he does. It is easy to float within or be assaulted by the music as it escapes the stereo, and I couldn't help but react in a variety of ways to what I heard. In that way, Guberman really does a good job. There is no way to escape the music.

    And, I suppose, that might make it somehow oppressive, though the disc contains only contrabass and the occasional musical vocalization (no words, just sounds). I dunno. I like music that demands attention, myself.

    Legend of the Black Squirrel
    reviewed in issue #128, 2/17/97

    Not for the faint of heart. Well, the first two songs are coherent and accessible enough, but the last three are quite nutty and delicious.

    The folks let me know that the first two tracks are the ones that have actually been seriously recorded, so that distinction makes sense. Now, to try and describe the sound. A melange of sounds and ideas, all kinda working themselves out at their own pace.

    Highly adventurous fare, in any case. As Guchlrug is a trio, I imagine the live shows trend more toward the second half of the tape. Different, but not less impressive.

    The musical creativity shown here is almost frightening. Reality is not a terribly important concept here, and that's the strength of the band. The answer to any musical conundrum seems to be: Why not?


    New Age Rib Cage
    reviewed in issue #152, 2/9/98

    Easily one of the most inventive bands I've ever heard. That's definitely saying something. And I don't think any of the members have left their teens. I loved the demo tape I heard about a year ago, and this disc simply reinforces my belief that there's some serious talent stewing here.

    The recording is primitive, with lots of tape hiss. I'm pretty sure this was recorded in-house. Or more likely, in-living room. But that only adds to the charm. Guchlrug doesn't conform to any single musical concept, and very few songs follow anything that might be called traditional construction. And yet, the stuff is inordinately appealing.

    Now, one unifying theme is humor. It's a fairly sophisticated sort of humor, generally deadpan and definitely not pretty. Well, not off-color, but just plain weird. Precisely the way I like my jokes. If you can imagine three kids assaulting society with a Mothers of Invention-style attack, well, you might begin to understand.

    But probably not. There are very few people who can create music of such sophistication and innovation. Guchlrug sounds like nothing else on the planet. And for that reason and that reason solely, I love this band to death. Now, if I could only explain what I'm hearing. Well, you're just gonna have to trust me.

    Tommy Guerrero
    (and Gadget)
    Weed on the Tree, Forty on the Floor 12"
    reviewed in issue #170, 10/26/98

    F8, of course, is a 12"-only enterprise. This slab of vinyl works both at 45 and 33 (man, I know artists hate to hear that). It is 33, but sped up, it makes for some cool, speedy dance stuff. Slowed down to where you're supposed to be, and it morphs into a cool hip-hop groove with odds and ends abounding.

    Gadget, of course, has already proven its worth in this arena with a fine F8 12" of its own. This one is a bit more funky, down with the lo-fi grooves (the Slotek boys would most pleased). Does it go anywhere? I'm not sure. But I like where it is.

    I'm glad this particular audio form is being kept alive, and with such fine tuneage, it should be around for a while longer. Anyone fancying the mellower sides of the electronic revolution would be met well here.

    A Little Bit of Somethin'
    (Mo' Wax-Beggars Banquet)
    reviewed in issue #200, 6/5/00

    Tommy Guerrero takes pedestrian beats, adds perky bass lines and then some utterly transcendent guitar bits. Samples are scattered throughout like confetti, and then the entire melange is tossed up in the air. What comes down is this disc.

    The beats are manufactured, but most of the rest of the sounds here are made on "real" instruments. Guerrero always infuses his songs with a warm feeling of belonging, a sense of place that most writers of any sort just can't attain.

    And so, on a great laid back trip like "Pescadito" or a sultry little bossanova (I think that's right) bit like "Azucar," Guerrero makes sure that the listener can see what it is that he himself is seeing as he wrote the songs. These pieces paint pictures of a life, short sketches on an eclectic existence.

    A lot of somethin', if you ask me. Guerrero's writing is impeccable, and he's recorded one of the most inviting albums I've heard in quite some time. Come in and sit a spell. Get comfy. You'll be here for a while.

    Abstract Mind EP
    reviewed 10/26/15

    Fans of late 80s and early 90s indie fare will find plenty here to make them happy. But what's striking about Guides is how modern it makes these sounds.

    That is, there's plenty of MBV and JAMC feedback and vague lo-fi feel. And Guides also incorporate the strident guitars and uptempo insistence of the GVSB's better days. All that is wrapped into the greater whole, which sounds as interested in the sonic effect it produces as anything else. So, yeah, there's some classic Sonic Youth to this as well.

    And yet. I hear plenty from more modern indie rockers as well. The general ruminative nature of the songs is definitely a more recent phenomenon--"Midas Eye" could be a Pinback (or Clockhammer, if you want to get really old school) song from another universe. Throw in the almost-criminal hooks (raggedy as they are at times), and you've almost got an object lesson in how to create addictive rock and roll.

    The most important thing, though, is that these songs work. All the moving parts are subsumed into the whole of the band's performance, which can only be described as spectacular. Guides can take these ideas just about anywhere, which is what is so exciting about this brief set. The only thing that makes my mind tingle more is the prospect of a full length as some point in the future.

    Watch these boys. They know what they're doing, and before we know it they might rule the world.

    Bardstown Ugly Box
    reviewed in issue #92, 11/20/95

    Guilt runs the risk of being lumped with all the other heavy anthemic hardcore bands out there. But in the long haul, it's the band's attention to detail and musical creativity that wins out. Just a glance at the meticulously crafted liner notes (they're really something) would tell you that.

    Think of this as Rollins-style stuff with an extended dynamic and emotional range. Better playing. Much more interesting song-writing. Guilt has the whole package (including the packaging, as I noted earlier).

    Often enough, albums of this genre are very difficult to get through, as the songs tend to run together. But Guilt keeps up the diversity and the interest level. Sure, the band doesn't quite transcend the genre (that's nearly impossible), but along with Victory compadres Earth Crisis and Snapcase, Guilt rules.

    Further EP
    reviewed in issue #147, 11/10/97

    Taking the whole minimalist hardcore approach one step beyond, Guilt didn't even bother to name the six tracks on this EP. Much on like the Bardstown Ugly Box album, Guilt takes the basics of hardcore (strident riffage, a somewhat anthemic style of song construction and rather pretentious lyric themes) and transmogrifies the whole mess into something almost new.

    Actually, this EP is a bit more accessible, with a somewhat more melodic approach. Just a hair in that direction, though. The stuff is still definitely on the heavy edge.

    I still hear a few too many musical cliches for my taste, but Guilt has the right idea: use the good stuff and try to build something new. The process hasn't been perfected yet here, but I can hear definite progress.

    And, hell, once you get past the silly conceptual stuff I'm pushing here, the easiest reaction is to merely turn up the volume and fully participate. Not a bad idea at all.

    Guinea Pig
    Out of Town
    reviewed in issue #221, 9/3/01

    Guinea Pig consists of Doug Carroll on electric cello, Drew Gardner on drums, Tony Passarell on various saxophones and pocket trumpet and Rent Romus on various saxophones and flute. The music is improvised (around various themes) and the flow is free.

    The results are somewhere between Coltrane's Village Vanguard live recordings (I get a real strong vibe that way) and, um, freaky deaky free jazz. What's kinda interesting is that this stuff also reminds me a bit of old Iceburn, if that makes sense to anyone.

    In any case, this quartet understood the rules laid down and responded accordingly. The players are always in touch with each other, even when the sounds seem to by flying in from outer space. There is always something at the center.

    I guess that's the ultimate test of improvised fare. Does it work? Does it affect the listener? Guinea Pig succeeds on all counts. This stuff blazes a hot trail in the night.

    Guitar Gabriel & the Brothers in the Kitchen
    Toot Blues
    (Music Maker)
    reviewed in issue #279, October 2006

    The Music Maker Relief Foundation is one of the more impressive blues preservation groups around. This re-issue of a 1991 cassette is Music Maker's first "official" release--though it has been selling CDs and tapes for years.

    Gabriel's sound is steeped in the finger-picking Piedmont style--that would be North Carolina Piedmont, if you didn't know--but he had been around long enough to pick up a few things from elsewhere. What didn't change was the acoustic setting and the meticulous fingerwork.

    I'm impressed by the sound. I have no idea what the source tapes were like, but this sounds real. Acoustic guitars can sound awful when miked up, but on this disc they sound like Gabriel is playing in my kitchen.

    I spent too long in Durham not to be a sucker for this kind of down-home blues. Those who like to hear a real rural sound done right will do no better than to pick up this disc. And check out the Music Maker web sit while yer at it. There's a lot more where this came from.

    John Guliak and the Lougan Brothers
    The Black Monk
    reviewed in issue #233, September 2002

    There's been a resurgence of interest in Gram Parsons lately, what with a new biography on the shelves and the ever-increasing popularity of what some call alt. country. John Guliak kicks off this album with "Streets of Baltimore," a track Parsons also covered. And in general, he travels much the same country-rock road.

    The songs are almost self-consciously old fashioned, and Guliak's rugged voice brings to mind Merle Haggard. In other words, these songs sound authentic.

    Whether he's singing his own songs or a classic, Guliak hits each piece dead center. His band, which is not made up of brothers named Lougan but rather something of a western Canadian all-star team, is similarly focused.

    There's nothing better than finding a new classic. This album sounds like it has been rolling around for thirty years, picking up dust in some forgotten shop. I can't think of a higher compliment.

    High Speed... Okay?
    reviewed in issue #109, 5/20/96

    A Japanese pop trio, doing it's damnedest to sound like a mellow version of Sonic Youth.

    And do we need this? I don't think so. Alright, if you get stoned a lot and like atonal wanderings without much in the way of interesting feedback (and almost no real playing), then this might be for you. Oh, and Pavement freaks will probably like much of this.

    All that leaves me out of the equation. There's simply nothing here that I can get into in the slightest. No real songwriting, silly lyrics and the absence of discernible creative thought. Sometimes if it sounds like shit, it really is.

    Gun Barrel
    reviewed in issue #218, 6/25/01

    Kinda like if AC/DC picked up a speedy Eurometal fetish. Gun Barrel sticks to a basic metal blues base, but picks up the tempo and adds a nice touch of melody. Loud, fast, at times pile-driving. Pretty damned solid fare.

    A little too solid sometimes. I mean, the production is so slick and polished that very few rough edges can be found. I think the boys would be better suited to a more rough-and-tumble sound. That's the way songs were written.

    Plus, you know, when then Maiden influence hurls itself at me, I want to grasp those steaming guitars, not let them slip through my hands like quicksilver. Still, I have to admit that at times this full, overpowering sound really kicks my ass. The more I listen, the more I'm torn on this issue.

    A cool blending of metal styles that I haven't quite heard before. Gun Barrel's mixer churns out some great classic-sounding rock tunes without utterly ripping anyone off. It's a difficult trick. I'm impressed.

    The Gunga Din
    Your Glitter Never Dulls
    reviewed in issue #193, 12/20/99

    Workmanlike lounge pop that never seems to want to jump out of the smoke. But then, all of a sudden, it does, glowing with a transcendent zeal.

    Those moments of revelation really spice up the disc, giving it a great flavor. There's this whole chanteuse thing going on (and I'm pretty sure the Blondie references are intentional), but just when I think a rut is forming, the band finds a whole new gear.

    Imagine if Debbie Harry fronted the Doors and still played Blondie music. With a decidedly modern bent to the bridges. Well, the Gunga Din is a bit more straightforward than all that, but the sound still evokes some of those sonic memories.

    I think it was CMJ that commented on how Jetset bands seem to be exactly what college radio wants to hear. In any case, the Gunga Din is right there as well. None of the label's bands sound anything like the others, but they've all got some little sliver of that which is desirable. This puppy certainly satisfies.

    Breaking Through
    reviewed in issue #346, 3/3/13

    This album starts with a bang and quickly diminishes into a whimper. The title track is a lovely disco-rock effort, and the second track adds acoustic guitar and some pretty wild instrumentation. From there, things get more and more generic. If this duo could keep up the energy and inspiration that drove the first two tracks, it would be most impressive.

    Margo Guryan
    16 Words CD5
    (Pure Mint)
    reviewed in issue #288, August 2007

    The "16 Words" are: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Those are the lyrics of the song. There are also samples from the Prez himself, all thrown together into a vaguely martial existential pop song. As anti-war songs go, this is one of the most brutal in its power.

    Lying liars and all that, but Guryan doesn't really dwell on that aspect. She simply puts the song out and lets the listener figure out what's going on. It's not subtle, but neither is it obvious. Quite a fine tune.

    The other song is "Yes I Am," a 2001 song from a previous album. It's more of a Dusty Springfield-style chick rocker, dolled up very nicely. These two songs make me most interested in hearing what else Guryan is up to these days.

    The Progressive Science of Breeding Idiots for a Dumber Society
    (Wrong Records)
    reviewed in issue #76, 5/15/95

    A sublime mix of distortion, wailing guitars and vocals and bouncy bass, Gus pretty much embodies everything that is right (and wrong) with western Canadian hardcore bands.

    The right: refusing to stay in a "safe" shell, the aforementioned bass sound, really funny songs and pure attitude.

    The wrong: um, all of that is mixed on purée and presented to the listener as pate. Of course, you might think of this as a good thing, too.

    FYI: Included on the disc is a set of seven 1985 Red Tide tracks. This is mostly presented as a memorial to the late Ken Jensen, who in addition to his duties with D.O.A. and the Hansons also played in Red Tide (an mention co-producing the Gus and producing the included Red Tide tracks).

    In other words, this disc is chock full of sloppy, haranguing, bestial hardcore. It eats like a meal, so save your appetite.

    Oh, and the title explains why there have been so many shootings of abortion doctors in Pensacola, Florida.

    reviewed in issue #254, June 2004

    Scot Ray on dobro, slide guitar and banjo and Bill Barrett on chromatic harmonica. And in a few stomps and shouts and that's all there is. Period.

    These songs aren't improvisations, but they do have the same electric thrill of discovery about them. Ray and Barrett know how to work with each other within the confines of a song, and they both play off and with (in a nice way, of course) each other to fine effect.

    The sound is stark, with just a bit of echo behind Ray's picking. Like you were there at the coffee shop watching these boys work. I say coffee shop, but these bluesy pieces would do just as well in a downtrodden gin joint.

    Or an Appalachian church--one that allows music, anyway. There's a bit of the city and a bit of the mountain in these songs, and maybe it's that unspoken tension that attracts my ear. Barrett and Ray weave an intricate spell, one that is curiously strong.

    Gutpuppet II
    reviewed in issue #268, September 2005

    Another one best described by the cover: Dobro slide guitar and chromatic harmonica. That says it all, and yet it barely hints at the possibilities. Many of these pieces have a high lonesome feel, but my guess is we're talking the Himalayas and not the Sierra.

    Bleed for Us to Live
    (Red Light)
    reviewed in issue #51, 3/31/94

    More of a natural live sound than most death metal bands go for, particularly on a fist album. This has the sound of a Pungent Stench disc.

    Perhaps the music doesn't quite match up, but it is actually pretty close. Gutted mixes tempos well and does an overall good job of finding a groove and keeping it.

    Chock full of goodies, this one is. Sure, you start to get that head bobbing action going, and fairly quickly your hand goes to that familiar Spider-Man symbol, thrusting forward. It's kinda involuntary at this point, especially when the music is this persuasive. Killer jams.

    Buddy Guy

    Buddy Guy and Junior Wells
    Last Time Around--Live at Legends
    reviewed in issue #172, 11/23/98

    Legends is Buddy Guy's club, situated a few blocks south of the Loop in Chicago. This set was recorded back in 1993, not long before Junior Wells passed away. The setting is simple: Guy on acoustic guitar, Wells on harp, both singing.

    The two swing through a basic blues set, playing Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed, Big Bill Broonzy and more. The songs are well-known; even a novice blues fan will recognize most of them. That's not the attraction. What has always characterized blues greats is their ability to find something new in the oldest and most oft-repeated songs.

    And the sparse, acoustic sound only lends more power to the men performing. The sound of souls laid bare, with little electronic interference. While I'm thinking of it, I would like to commend whoever it was that set up the recording of Guy's guitar. Recently, a number of live acoustic guitar recordings have had a tinny sound. Guy's has a full, rich, enveloping feel. Simply outstanding.

    Oh, their skills might have seen better days. But their souls were finally fully developed. The Guy and Wells tour through of the blues is a jaunt I'll take any day.

    Born to Play Guitar
    reviewed 9/7/15

    Funny thing about getting older: You get a few curves in the road. Like getting a Buddy Guy album to review. And major label or not, this sucker deserves a review.

    The album title is right. Guy has a fine blues voice, but he sings with his guitar. Which is why bringing on guest vocalists like Joss Stone, Van Morrison (!), Kim Wilson and Billy Gibbons makes sense. Letting Gibbons throw in some fine Topsian guitar work is nice, too.

    The "solo" songs are more along the line of the electrified rural blues that Guy has been slinging for the past couple of decades. I heard an interview with him ages ago where he lamented that Hendrix stole his thunder in the way back. Listening to his 60s output, that makes some sense. But these days Guy is content to blister his way through more conventional arrangements--conventional, but very satisfying.

    He's earned the right to play just about whatever he wants. And when he heats up, he's still one of the most formidable axemen around. Guy has always been one of the most expressive players, and Tom Hambridge's sonic settings give him all the room he needs.

    I don't know how long Guy will last, but with albums like this and 2013's Rhythm and Blues, I can't think of a reason why he would quit. If he's slowing down, the results aren't showing up on the albums. I haven't seen him live in a few years, but the experience has always been thrilling. I imagine that is still the case.

    One last note: If you think this album starts a little rote, give it a few tracks. The accumulated effect becomes overwhelming, and about midway the album really takes off. This one may be by the book, but Guy writes some seriously thrilling prose.

    This Toilet Earth
    (Metal Blade)
    reviewed in issue #51, 3/31/94

    The usual rule is scan the lyric sheet for good jokes, hope the music is passable and head out to the next Gwar show in a raincoat.

    The music has been getting better over the years (sometimes it even deviates from the formulaic). This album seems a little more punk oriented than previous efforts, and the emphasis on tighter riffs sounds a lot better and less moronic.

    Well, then the vocals kick in and you end up laughing in spite of yourself. Most of this stuff is F.C.C.-flammable, but fuck anyone if they can't take a joke.

    The show is still the thing, but there are good tunes here. Wade in until hip-deep, and then dive straight to the bottom.

    (Metal Blade)
    reviewed in issue #91, 11/6/95

    As usual, the production is cleaner than ever, and once again musical talent was considered in the hiring of crack studio personnel. And while really silly, this disc does have musical merit.

    Compared to that first Metal Blade disc, Scumdogs of the Universe, this honestly doesn't sound like the same band. But even with the astonishing competency revealed on this album, the real reason for Gwar's existence is still the show.

    And I feel a little silly reviewing something that most obviously used solely for the purpose of scamming cash. Pay whatever you need to see the show. Gwar albums are still a secondary concern.

    The Brain Parade EP
    reviewed in issue #186, 8/16/99

    A band from just outside of Orlando; an intricately-folded package with a nice gift inside. The boys play something a bit more complicated than yer average pop (say, somewhere between Jawbox and basic emo). Guitar lines which are as likely to wander off for a while as wind around the hooks.

    The hooks aren't really hooks, anyway. The songs make their marks in totality, not sing-along bit. There's a lot going on, and Gwendolyn doesn't shy away from taking on tough assignments.

    Good stuff, but it's missing that something that will kick it over the edge. Everything is solid and better, but not quite inspired. The band plays exceptionally well and its sense of experimentation is quite good..

    Just that little something. Keep looking, guys. I have a feeling you're gonna find it one of these days.

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