Woolly Mammoth--Scrimshaw Records (PO Box 17022, Chapel Hill NC 27516)
The press release accompanying Fabric's new CD Woolly Mammoth is a bit condescending to us Bloomingtonians, claiming "Until recently there were only a few people in Fabric's hometown of Bloomington, IN that would admit you could 'plug in a piano'. When that technology finally found its way to Bloomington, people were left wondering if this was the end of a long-standing tradition of standard songwriting or the coming of the Apocalypse." The combination of electronic keyboards and acoustic instruments isn't quite so revolutionary as they'd like to have us think (ever heard of Beck? I hear he's quite popular with the youngsters), but perhaps Chapel Hill, NC-based Scrimshaw Records' p.r. writer is a bit defensive about the waxing strength of the Bloomington music scene and the relatively 'old-hat, been-there-done-that' nature of the Chapel Hill scene. Not that I'd want to suggest a rivalry of any sort--dear me no, that's certainly the last thing any of us need--I just calls 'em as I sees 'em while I sit out here and wait for the Apocalypse.
In any case, Woolly Mammoth presents eleven tracks of Fabric's fractured folkie songwriting centered around Chris Kupersmith's (sporadically tuneless) vocals and guitar, with Tina Barbeiri's (more melodic) vocals and bass and Scott Ewing's keyboards whirling around, weaving in and out of sync. The album-opener "Deaf Baby" is the prerequisite paean to the B-town scene: "Everything extinct roams here/there's a rare Eloid/try not to stare" clearly describes the rarity of sighting the former Second Story MC around Bloomington these days, but the interpretation of lines like "Eyes in the back/Splittin' a pack/chopped up 1982 style/and a funny kind of smile" is probably best left to the individual listener. The programmed keyboard rhythms do tend to get a bit tedious at times; a breathing drummer might add a lot of fluidity to Fabric's spontaneous process and remove some of the residual stiffness that is occasionally evident on Woolly Mammoth despite the obviously casual circumstances of the recording (recorded "out in the sticks at a log cabin south of Louisville", then tarted up a bit and mixed at Bloomington's Echo Park). It all combines for an overall effect somewhat akin to early Pavement (circa the tracks collected on Westing By Musket And Sextant), substituting acoustic guitar, bass and keyboards for Pavement's tangle of electric guitar, although a more appropriate (though more obscure) comparison would be with Portland, Oregon duo Quasi, whose 1997 Up Records album R&B Transmogrification combines keyboard and stringed instruments with a similar casual, lo-fi feel. An inessential but interestingly experimental first effort.
A Picture of End--Tone Casualties (1258 North Highland Ave., Hollywood, CA 90038)
Face is a electronic duo featuring silicon chip keyboard wizards Justin Benett and Paris; Paris is best known as the keyboardist in Christian Death founder Rozz Williams' band Shadow Project, which released two albums and recorded a live one between 1991 and 1993, and which was chiefly noted for sounding almost exactly the same as Christian Death. So it's no surprise to find that the contents of A Picture of End can be best and most succinctly described as "gothic electronica": eerie, vaguely edgy instrumentals that serve their purpose of setting that apocalyptic mood implied by the title fairly well but get pretty boring pretty fast. Nothing against goth or gothketeers in general, but I just have this feeling that the entire style/subculture is going to vanish or disappear far underground with the passage of the millennium, and since goth fans tend to prize posturing and woozy emoting above striking music I have to wonder how many of them are even in the market for instrumental electronic music. Face is fine for what it is, but it's essentially a footnote to the sprawling morass of Christian Death-related releases. A Picture of End is adequate but not very eventful or remarkable in any way; it's hardly compelling listening, so don't waste your pennies unless you're already part of the black-hair-dye-clothes-and-lipstick set and you don't intend to listen very hard--I'm sure the purpose is served just as well by leaving the disc lying around so people know you're into goth if they should happen to care.
Face To Face
Live--Vagrant/Lady Luck Records (2118 Wilshire Blvd. #361, Santa Monica, CA 90403)
Unless I've got my facts screwed up, this album was originally planned (and advertised) under the title Sold Out, but perhaps that struck a little close to home; maybe the band's a little sensitive about their status as a major-label punk rock band. The much less interesting title Face To Face Live accurately describes the contents of the album, anyway: 18 songs from a single show on September 6, 1997 in Los Angeles (surely the pop-punk capitol of the USA), no frills, doesn't sound like any overdubs or other funny business, a Social Distortion cover to show their roots, and excerpts from interviews with the band and flyer reproductions in the booklet. There's certainly nothing new here, but the band is tight, powerful, and motivated, resulting in a clear documentation of their live set and a CD that anyone in the market for major-label punk rock ought to enjoy. Trouble is, if you're not in the market for a decent live major-label punk rock record it's hard to figure why you'd ever even know the record exists; Face To Face is lacking in any really exemplary or unique qualities. They're really quite good at what they do, it's just that what they do is so narrowly and easily defined that it's bound to interest only the already interested--just like no one ever bought a Connells record that hadn't already heard REM, this record is best recommended for those with a couple of melodic punk albums already in their collection and a thirst for more of the same.
FANTASY FOUR, THE/JULIA SETS: The Bert Dax Cavalcade of Stars Travelling Road Show: Split CDEP
Each band gets three tracks to show their stuff: Maplewood, Missouri’s Fantasy Four is a dual-female vocal tuneful indie-pop guitar band whose “Hometown Rockstar” is the clear standout of their three raw tracks. Not too far off from a nascent Chubbies, or maybe Scrawl twenty years ago. A good start. St. Louis band Julia Sets’ cuts are more polished, smoother and prettier despite having male vocals—a bit more “mature”, I suppose, but less attractive in their drama and measured choices than Fantasy Four, who sound freer and definitely less pretentious. Kind of along the lines of Pinetop Seven, and I definitely get the feeling someone in this band has math-rock discs in their collection. I think Julia Sets kind of misses the spirit of the split release by having one of their three tracks last for over nine minutes—nearly as long as the other five songs put together! Between the two bands, I have to say I’d much rather see Fantasy Four, but neither band has anything to be ashamed of here. -Aaron J. Poehler (The Bert Dax Cavalcade of Stars)
Fatso Jetson - Toasted (Bong Load, PO Box 39557, LA, CA 90039)
Huge, thick slabs of Sabbath/Melvins-inspired basement stoner jams, occasionally embellished with the prerequisite shouted, angry vocals, but the jams are what really drive Toasted. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure these guys get angry and/or frustrated plenty, but the record provides a pretty clear view into the day-to-day existence of Fatso Jetson, and trust me on this one--dudes like this get more worked up about the latest way they've fucked up Star Trek than anything the government ever does. They have tracks with names like "She's So Borg" and "New Age Android", for Christ's sake--their world is their parents' converted basement. Granted, the first time through it all sounds like a bunch of vaguely low-end metallic mush, but after a couple of listens the inventiveness and care in their playing starts to make itself clear--these are intricate, multi-faceted jams that manage not to come off like neo-Grateful Dead, classical pretenders or retro jazzbos, and they rock without necessarily making you think they're trying to be all "Oh, listen to how well I can play this riff". Where they're lacking is in a clear vocal personality and direction in the parts with lyrics--it's most enjoyable when they just shut up and play--but Fatso Jetson should still be appreciated for what they are. Live, at a basement party where the PA barely works, with a couple of beers and joints in you would probably be the ideal environment for your listening pleasure enjoyment. Alternately, maybe Castle Donnington in a huge swarm of Euro-headbangers. –Aaron J. Poehler
64 Hours CD
This is the guy who drummed for Smoking Popes & Alkaline Trio, trying his hand at doing the one-man-band thing playing all the instruments, with helping hands from former bandmates. Ever heard the joke about the last thing the drummer said before he was kicked out of the band? “Hey guys, I’ve written some songs I want to play!” This isn’t that bad, but no one who’s not a huge fan of the above two bands needs to bother with it; is there anyone who loves Ringo’s albums or the Foo Fighters that doesn’t like the Beatles or Nirvana? Point taken. (Double Zero Records, www.doublezerorecords.com) – Aaron J. Poehler
Fiji Mariners Featuring Col. Bruce Hampton
Live CD (Capricorn Records LLC)
This one's a no-brainer: if you have ever paid actual cash to see Phish live and wish the Dead were still around--not so much for the chance of new good music but for the missing sense of community--the Fiji Mariners are for you. The center of the group is Col. Bruce Hampton, who has been making hippie music under various monikers (Aquarium Rescue Unit, Late Bronze Age, Hampton Grease Band) for over thirty years, and it shows: his fluid, trippy guitar playing is easily the best thing here. His partner-in-crime here is Dr. Dan Matrazzo on keyboards (who does a decent job despite sounding a lot like the keyboardist in Phish); the main duo is backed up by a rhythm section which makes everything sound like they could be playing behind any given band on any given HORDE tour--the determinedly unrhythmic drummer disturbs the grooves more than once. Hampton's playing is pretty cool at times, squealing along in a heavily effected Hendrix/Clapton mode, but the rest of the CD all fits too neatly into the neo-hippie slot to be particularly interesting to me. Hell, they even do covers of "Turn On Your Lovelight" and "Spoonful", both standards done by the departed Dead--how obvious can you be? I guess you could do "Truckin'". It's hard to conceive of a more blatant blend of Phish and the Dead than this album, so basically it comes down to how much you like those bands and how much you want more of that type of thing. –Aaron J. Poehler
Five By Nine
Five By Nine 7" (Soda Jerk Records)
UK-influenced melodic hardcore punk rock from Atlanta that's just short of a fake British accent. It's lacking in driving rock energy, probably because they were concentrating on trying to get all the notes and tempo changes right, but that'll happen when you only have one day to get your recording done. The tunes are pretty straightforward, cobbled together with parts and riffs you'll recognize from other punk rock records, but duded up with the aforementioned tempo changes to sound more difficult than they are--in fact, overall the music here sounds like its creators are under the impression that it's harder and heavier than it is. My favorite was "Fat Carla" (re-used here from the One Foot CD Recognize), partially because my wife's name is Carla (though she's not fat) but also because I liked the lyrics better and the playing is a notch more rockin'. Oddly enough they printed the lyrics to all the other songs except "Fat Carla", saying "Who cares the lyrics suck", but the other three tunes' lyrics struck me as more pretentious & self-righteous: "Occupies the space inside the sand/Falling through placing life imprinted in the land" is one example, from "Voyagers". Obviously we have a difference of opinion. –Aaron J. Poehler
The Flaming Lips
Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Warner Bros.)
It’s hard to believe, but Oklahoma City’s Flaming Lips have been churning out their unique brand of psychedelia for nearly twenty years now; seemingly unencumbered by the limits of financial success, they’ve only managed one minor hit during all that time (“She Don’t Use Jelly”, from 1993’s Transmissions From The Satellite Heart). However, against all odds they’ve managed to maintain a major-label presence for the past several years, and they’ve continually evolved along their singular path over time—so much so, that if you played their new album Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots for a fan of their early efforts, it’s entirely likely that fan might not even recognize both as being products of the same band.
In fact it’s arguable their relative absence from the public eye has even aided the band’s development: while a string of top 40 hits can certainly do wonders for a band’s bankbook, it can also have the effect of locking them into a certain vein they perceive as more lucrative. The Flaming Lips didn’t fall into the trap of thinking ‘Well, since that’s the hit, I suppose we should make an album with twelve songs that sound like “She Don’t Use Jelly”’, and consequently the element of surprise is still present in full effect on each release. While mid-80’s albums like Oh My Gawd!!!! and Hear It Is largely centered around a raw, guitar-driven basement-rock sound, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots is a multi-layered production, setting the guitar further back in the mix than most of their records in favor of a constantly-shifting blend of synthesized sounds. The clearly mechanical percussion is occasionally a bit tinny-sounding, making no attempt to mimic a live sound, but given the album’s repeated themes of humanity versus machinery it’s easy to ascribe this to design, rather than accident.
However, despite these persistent themes, the presence of what seem like clearly narrative song lyrics, Lips frontman Wayne Coyne insists Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots isn’t intended as a “concept album”; while this may be true, it doesn’t come off as merely a collection of eleven songs that happened to be stuck on the same CD, either. Similarly, while Boredoms member Yoshimi P-we appears on the CD, most notably screeching at the top of her lungs during “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 2”, Coyne insists that the “Yoshimi” of the songs is a fictional character. Even with the aid of the liner notes and track comments posted at www.flaminglips.com by Coyne, the casual listener may have a difficult time trying to make sense of this CD.
My advice: don’t worry too much about it. Trying to make coherent, linear sense of songs with titles like “Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell” and “It’s Summertime (Throbbing Orange Pallbearers)” may in fact be an impossibility—certainly it’s not going to make for a fun date. Regardless of the conceptual framework, there’s some lovely music here, most notably “Do You Realize??” and one has to admire the Flaming Lips for going out on a limb this way: inevitably, a disc like this isn’t going to be for everybody, but those who enjoy it may find it among their favorites. And if you aren’t sure which category you fit into, the Lips have thoughtfully provided an ‘album audio player’ on their abovementioned website, through which one can access streamed versions of all the tracks on Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (though it functions a bit haltingly if one is stuck with dialup access like yours truly, presumably those with broadband wouldn’t have such problems).
In the Foul Key of V--The Medicine Label (137 W. 14th St., Suite 202, NY, NY 10011)
Since In the Foul Key of V was produced by Jawbox singer/guitarist/songwriter Jay Robbins you'd likely assume some similarity between that band's music and the sound of Flu Thirteen--and in this case you'd be right, especially in the tension between the band's melodic and dissonant sides and the churning, droning guitars. Flu Thirteen's music is obviously somewhat inspired by the 'parent' band but their record leans a little towards the rinky-dink indie-Pavement sound and a little more towards the Chapel Hill Superchunk-Archers of Loaf axis, at least partially due to the fact that they're not yet nearly as experienced as a Jawbox and lacking a clear idea of anything that might set Flu Thirteen apart. Confidence may be part of the problem, but the nonsensical lyrics that pretend towards significance don't help: I mean, if you're gonna write songs with titles like "Graffiti On A Ceramic Iceberg", (which begins "The porcupine has shed her skin for liquorice") it may be more revealing than intended when the song concludes, "pretentious confessions amplify every lie...A waste of rhymes". So call In the Foul Key of V yet another step in the inexorable evolution of college indie-rock with professionalist hopes, and toss it on the ever-growing pile of stuff that's fine for what it is but far too familiar-sounding to stand out.
Forest For The Trees
self-titled--DreamWorks Records (100 Universal Plaza, Bungalow 477, Universal City, CA 91608)
Forest For The Trees is Carl Stephenson's one-man home-studio auteur vehicle, but he gets help on these tracks from a variety of friends, including Beck on one harmonica track and one background vocal. The new-agey name Forest For The Trees made me envision the 'soothing soundscapes' type of audio fluff synth-fodder, but instead what we have is a beat-conscious pop music constructed with interweaving samples and instrumental bass and guitar lines, combined with often-chanted lyrics that strike me as vaguely spiritual in a Hindi way (Carl does thank "the universe for existence, the birds, the bees, dirt and clouds" in the liner notes, if that gives you any idea of what I'm getting at). I'm reminded of Ultra Vivid Scene, Kurt Ralske's not-dissimilar sounding New York-based one-man studio auteur project which released a pair of quite good albums (better than Forest For The Trees) on 4AD in 1988 and 1990, and another one called Rev on Sony in the early part of this decade. The Beck comparison is as appropriate a touchstone as any since Stephenson's work largely comes off as a kind of Beck-lite, not as uniquely twisted, memorable, or funky, though certainly not unaccomplished in its own way. It's not bad and in places it's certainly pleasant-sounding but not really striking enough to hold my attention for more than a couple listens.
Four/The 8 Bucks Experiment
Blood, Sweat & Beers 7" (Blue Moon Records)
Four and The 8 Bucks Experiment each cram three songs onto a side of this split 7-inch, which doesn't get any points for the Blood, Sweat & Beers title--hasn't that been used a few too many times already? When did the group Blood, Sweat and Tears last release a record--1973? Four's best tune here is "La-Mar", a rant about some hippie they have a problem with, which features part of Minor Threat's "Deadhead" dis injected into the middle. The relevance would seem to be a lot lower to the present day since there is no Grateful Dead anymore--maybe they should have come up with an original Phish insult or something. Either way it's old hat; punks dis hippies, hippies dis punks, yawn yawn yawn. That particular feud is about as meaningful as the Republicans vs. the Democrats: both sides have more in common than they would like to admit, and either side's adherents are just looking for a surrogate parent in their subculture anyway. Of the other two Four tunes, one has the singer admitting he's a coward and the other is an anti-redneck number (there's a new idea). Any aesthetic failings aside, though, the Four side is still the better of the two here by a long shot, mainly because the 8 Bucks Experiment side sounds like complete shit. I mean, lord knows I don't expect much sound-quality wise from DIY/indie 7-inches, but this is totally beyond the pale. I don't know how you'd get sound this bad if you were trying. No exaggeration at all: if they just put a cassette boombox in the room while they were practicing it would sound a million times better than this, and the 8 Bucks Experiment purportedly recorded this stuff in a studio. It sounds like someone turned the treble knob all the way down, and the mastering is at the lowest level I've ever heard. Some records have the vocals buried, other the guitars, still others the bass--this side has everything buried except the snare and the midrange bass notes. I might be willing to listen through it if the band was doing anything interesting, but it just sounds like murk. This record was definitely the worst of the batch this time around. –Aaron J. Poehler
Four Letter Word
A Nasty Piece of Work--BYO Records (PO Box 67A64, Los Angeles, CA 90067)
Four Letter Word are one of the bands helping to keep the flame of English punk alive in the face of the flood of California-based punk rock bands (although ironically their record company is based in So. Cal punk hotbed Los Angeles), playing a style of music with a lineage that can be traced back to the Sex Pistols, combining a creatively, conceptually powerful frontman (singer/lyricist Welly, who also designed the extremely striking packaging, drew the art for the front cover, took the picture for the back, and wrote an essay for the liner notes that ties the whole package together) and a razor-sharp guitar player. A Nasty Piece of Work shows up 95% of existing bands calling themselves 'punk rock', delivering 13 tracks (plus unlisted bonus cover version of Black Flag's "Six Pack" and what sounds like a Pavement slam) of powerful guitar rock music with outspoken lyrics, combining political dynamics with personal politics; tight, rocking performances with melodic songwriting. The sound emphasizes the band's roaring live sound, but "Can You Hear the Words?" offers a reminder to pay attention to what the band is saying above the trappings, calling its punk-rock comrades on the carpet for dropping the ball: "I know all this may sound absurd/But of all the songs you ever heard/Did you only ever learn the swear words?" And as I always say, you can tell a real punk band because they always have songs bitching about the punk-rock scene. I'm pretty burned out all around on punk rock these days, bored by the flood of mediocre records, out-of-fashion bandwagon jumpers, poseurs, unnecessary reunions, profiteers, half-assed losers, incompetents and shmucks calling themselves 'punk'. A band like Four Letter Word and an album like A Nasty Piece of Work makes me remember what interested me in punk rock from the beginning: the energy, the vitality, the confidence, the sense of purpose and direction to the music. Fuck your lame-ass weak, whiny punk pop. This is punk rock.
Josh Freese -- The Notorious One Man Orgy (Kung Fu Records, POB 3061, Seal Beach, CA 90740, www.kungfurecords.com)
You know Josh Freese best as our generation’s Jim Keltner or Kenny Aronoff: he’s played behind, well, everybody it seems, but off the top of my head Guns ‘N Roses, Paul Westerberg, Devo, F.Y.P and he’s a full-time member of both the Vandals and A Perfect Circle. Here he takes a solo tack that’s mostly a Vandalsesque side project with Josh playing all the instruments and writing all the material but sports some heavy-hitter guests like Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam to throw in a curve ball; the result is pretty damn enjoyable. May not rise to the top of your ‘favorites’ pile but you won’t regret putting it on—it’s a tremendously witty record, from the dollar-signs in his name on the cover (i.e. Jo$h Free$e) to the album’s title to the cut-up and looped answering-machine messages that are interspersed throughout. And hey, if any of Josh’s bands are so kind as to allow him to do a song from this record live, make it “Playboy Mansion”, eh? --Aaron J. Poehler
The Penetrating Sounds Of…Frigg A-Go-Go (CD)/Frigg-A-Licious!!! (7")--360 Twist! Records (PO Box 9367, Denver, CO 80209)
Frigg-A-Go-Go is an authentically vintage sounding garage rock band, right down to the yawping singing of Ronnie Ramada and the cheesy-sounding organ that weaves in and out of the three-chord guitars. Do I even need to mention that this is the kind of band that wears matching suits? I didn't think so. Five 90's guys in Lafayette, Louisiana obsessed with that 50's and 60's garage rock sound exhumed on compilations like Back From The Grave and Pebbles decide, "Hey! Let's form a band to play that kind of music, today!" and hijinks ensue, documented on the full-length (half-hour) album The Penetrating Sounds Of…Frigg A-Go-Go . Good dumb fun, and if they happened to show up in a club nearby I'd want to be there with a beer in hand. The 3-song 7" Frigg-A-Licious!!! is the latest dispatch from the Frigg camp, and shows the band pared down to a four-piece with the absence of guitarist Del Shaz. The result is an even simpler, more straightforward style and a move in the right direction (if you ask me) best exemplified by the A-side "Jenny Walker".
F.T. - Here's Ten Reasons Why CD (Crack Records)
The name of the band actually seems to be 'fucthat', but it's only listed that way once on the front cover superimposed over the big F.T. initials. On the spine, inside the booklet, and in the press release it's all just "F.T." Kind of a pussy move, if you ask me: I mean, if you're gonna have a borderline obscene name you'd better stick by it or you just look like a stupid poser. It's not exactly like when the Butthole Surfers signed to Capitol, either; they at least got national chain-store distribution for their albums once they agreed to let Capitol issue them as the "B.H. Surfers". What does "F.T." get in exchange for caving in?
Well, in fairness, they do live in Winnipeg, and our neighbors up North are notoriously intolerant of anything that even remotely smacks of obscenity, antisocial tendencies, or humor. They might have gotten strung up from one of those maple-leaf flying flagpoles going by "Fucthat"--they've banned Howard Stern's show, Roberta Gregory's Naughty Bits comic...maybe they were afraid Here's Ten Reasons Why might be next on the list, and they couldn't even cop out by simply being Americans--we're allowed to be crass. It's expected. It's American.
What? Music? Yeah, there's music on this album. Feel-good punk-pop, the same four-chord song structures you've heard a millions times before, mostly set to that 'hardcore' polka beat. I wanna go back to bitching about the name thing. Oh, all right: the opening track, "Split The Scene", opens "Woke up in the early morning/I saw that U were gone/I read the note beside my bed/It said that I was wrong". Hey, never heard that one before. Other songs are about "Friends" (I've seen that show, too, how about that), being "Trashed" (that's a new one), wanting to get out of your shitty town. I might not be so blithe about being such a smart-ass if every single thing on this disc didn't sound so familiar. It's paint by numbers and make your own punk-pop band. A little Descendents, a dab of Replacements, a batch of harmonies, a few chunky guitar licks, and voila! Hell, adding anything different to spice up the formula would be a good idea, because I couldn't pick this band out of any average punk-pop compilation. P.S. 'Ska beats' don't qualify as different. Neither do syrupy ballads. -Aaron J. Poehler
The Bobby Fuller Four
Never To Be Forgotten--Mustang/Del-Fi Records, Inc. (PO Box 69188, Los Angeles, CA 90069)
I've yet to hear any release this year more vital than the new Bobby Fuller Four 3-disc collection Never To Be Forgotten. I was turned on by the raw garage-rock home recordings on Del-Fi's previous 2-disc collection Shakedown! The Texas Tapes Revisited, but this complete collection of Fuller's 'proper' studio recordings (plus a complete live album documenting an entire Fuller live club set) is simply staggering in its depth and scope. The classic single "I Fought The Law" (the one Fuller track everybody knows) is included in both mono single and stereo album versions, but some of Fuller's own songs surpass even that track, including the massive "Never To Be Forgotten", "New Shade Of Blue", and several others. The packaging is just as striking, wrapped in gleaming silver foil and including a thick 64-page booklet documenting all aspects of Fuller's career, not the least of which was his mysterious death: found dead July 18, 1966 at the age of 23, the ever-corruption-free (cough) LAPD ruled Fuller's death a suicide despite the fact that Fuller would have had to beat himself up, breaking one of his own bones, and doused himself in gasoline, not to mention the fact that he'd made plans to buy a car and meet with three potential new bandmates the day of his "suicide". All in all, it's a fascinating array of elements that should keep even the most obsessive record collector happily wrapped up in its spell for quite some time--I played the whole thing at least once through on a daily basis for over a week after cracking it open, and probably at least twice a week since then. This is music that stands up to serious listening and scrutiny while never losing its natural, down-to-earth feel, easily on a par with such rock & roll recidivists as Creedence Clearwater Revival and miles ahead of grave robbers such as the Stray Cats. Recommended to anyone who has ever complained that you can never find enough good rock & roll music or that they don't make it like they used to.