"Slavicsky's Smorgasbord"

by Al Slavicsky
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Dynamite Boy Finders Keepers

Fearless Records, 13772 Goldenwest St. #545, Westminster, CA 92683
Poppy punk in the vein of old vintage Green Day or Blink-182, Dynamite Boys is the next chapter of poppy punk. On the 12 tunes, Dynamite Boy's harmonies add to the melodies present. One's spirits can actually be lifted via the release, for every tune has some sort of happiness to it; in effect, some of the tunes have a sort of MxPx feeling, especially "Hard Times" and "Happy." Most people may think that this sound is becoming too boring, for a number of bands are doing it; however, Dynamite Boy is bringing poppy punk back to today's youth who need something to make them feel better, and Finders Keepers is what the doctor ordered. So if you think at all this dismal violent music is the only thing happening in the punk world... you are wrong, and Dynamite Boy will show you that. Highly recommend for punk purists in today's world. Great production, sound, and understandable lyrics... in other words... the big bomb of punk without the f.u. meaning.

The Aquabats The Aquabats vs. The Floating Eye of Death!

Goldenvoice Recording Company/Time Bomb Recordings
The masters of humorous rock are back in full strength. The Aquabats do more surf punk and fun rock than a barrel of monkeys shaking all around. >From the first notes of "Sequence Erase" to the final beats of "Hello Good Night," The Aquabats make you want to surf even if you are land locked in the middle of the United States. Some of the zany songs included here are "Chemical Bomb," which is a sort of love song yet it's very bleak due to all the death talk on it, "Lotto Fever" is about spending all your money on the lotto and losing, "The Man With Glooey Hands" starts off with a western Indian attack but deals with the way which Native Americans have been treated by our government which is sad yet The Aquabats ask Ronald Reagan for help, and the song "Monsters Wedding" is sort of a monster mash of the 2000s, for it is about a man who is forced to get married yet it is told via a monster's viewpoints. If you never heard of The Aquabats... this is a band who will become a household name if they are ever given a cartoon show. Fly and swim with the Aquabats, for this rocks.

Tim Finn Say It Is So

Sonny's Pop Records/What Are Records?
New Zealand born Tim Finn (who is best know for his stints in Crowded House and Split Enz) is back with his first solo album in seven years, a release that is a masterwork. Say It Is So is probably the best kept secret in the music world today, for its psychedelic tones and layered signals enhance Tim Finn's vocals. Also, one must admire Tim going to Nashville which is best know for its country music to record the release. But no country music is heard here. But one must be impressed with the electronic flair of the songs, especially on "Big Wave Rider," "Roadtrip," and "Death of a Popular Song." Say It Is So is a must to listen to on a headset, for you get an added space-like feeling towards it. If you need to experience one of the best albums ever recorded that mixes acoustic, electronic, pop, and rock in a big hodge podge, then this is the release. Five of five star rating.

Fury of Fire This Time It's Personal

Victory Records, 346 North Justine, Suite 504, Chicago, IL 60607
If you like your metalcore fast, hard, and angry, you would love this release, for it is a violent act of aggression that deals with how street life is hard. Fury of Fire demonstrates how the aggression can really make a killer record. Sounds like something which you may hear from a mixture of Cause For Alarm , Painter, or Crowbar, yet Fury of Fire demonstrates that their sound is very original, for they have great harmonies mixed with high impact vocals. Of the 12 tracks, standout tunes include "It's Over," "Never," and "Hold My Own." In fact, one can listen to this CD over and over and not get bored. This is one of the bands which will make an impact on the music world.

Latimore "Take Me (Just As I Am)" cassette single

Malaco Records
Deep blues with R&B which is devoted to love of a women for whom she is. Latimore gets down on this number even though some people may find it vulgar due to the way which he describes a woman's body. This song is a great tearjerker yet tells how beautiful love is. So get next to your woman and hug each other, for Latimore is pure soul music.

Mosley and Johnson Juke Joint

Malaco Records
Mosley and Johnson's Juke Joint is a release that really grooves from start to finish. 11 tunes that would get you juke joint rolling. This is contemporary blues with a strong horn section. Impressive tracks include "Call Me," which is a good song about loving a woman in which she would call you if she needs love, "Hurts So Bad," which happens to be the release's strongest track, for it is a tearjerking blue number that really makes you sad, and "Love Me or Leave Me," which is about losing the one that you love. Mosley and Johnson outdid themselves with this release, which deserves to be heard by the entire world.

Half Pint Recollection

Cornerstone R.A.S., 16572 Burke Lane, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Half Pint has been around for many years bringing reggae to a new audience every year. This new release is actually a recollection of some of the best music the master of reggae has put out, which is being released on a label best known for its punk and punk/ska bands and once was called Skunk Records which was the label that was started by Sublime. How does Half Pint and this band have a relationship? Well, just listen to track seven, which is Half Pint's "Loving," which inspired the hit song "What I Got." Also included on this recollection are such classic reggae tunes as "Have A Little Faith," which the Long Beach Dub All Stars have redone, the great dub classic "Hold On Dub," which shows how the authentic dub sound is, and more reggae than the average reggae fan can handle. If you have never heard this great performer before, buy this release and open your mind. If you have heard him before, then add this collection to your collection, for it is worth just hearing these remastered recordings.

Bargain Music Bargain Music

Beatville Records, P.O. Box 42462, Washington, DC 20015
The punk-reggae influenced Bargain Music's self-titled debut release is a blessing for dubaholics everywhere. 14 tunes that Marley, Tosh, and Nowell would be proud of. Bargain Music brings in some special guests including H.R. of the Bad Brains on "Black Eye" and Brad Ziggens on the Brad Nowell song which was never recorded by Sublime, "Lipliner," which has the old Sublime "Pool Shark" or "KRS-One" vibe. From what Bargain Music demonstrates on this disc, they will be a cult favorite for years to come. This disc is a bargain for anyone who wants to see the new style of dub-a-reggae-punk.

Matchless You Shaped Curve

1122 E. Pike St., P.M.B. 685, Seattle, WA 98122-3934
Rarely does an indie band make a release that is true to the indie rock roots. Matchless has made a record that Sonic Youth and Guided By Voices and The Posies would have loved to have made. There are 12 gems on this first full length from this Seattle-based band, and don't think you will be hearing Alice In Chains or Nirvana here; Matchless is on the side of the scene there which is not noticed too much due its less harsh music. If you like mellow music with a sort of experimental vibe to it like Sonic Youth, then this CD is for you. The major standout tracks include "Stellar" and "Fire Drill," yet the whole CD is great. If you are a big indie rock fan, I suggest you pick up this release as soon as possible, for this band is ready to take over the world with a big bang.

MP3.com's Worldwide Music PC-CD-ROM

MP3.com
This is an enchanced CD which MP3.com issued to the world. A sampler with 100 MP3 files to listen to featuring artists such as baBe k., -HALO-, Electric Frankenstein, Moonbabies, Micheal Pledger, THE WITCHITAS,  Things in Herds, Tumbleweed Trails, Beston,  The Hekklers,  7.1, basement 6, Icarus, Coph, BURN THE PREIST,  Cisco, and more. So many tunes are packed on this disc... it would take days to sample all the fine artists on this disc. Also included is free computer software and a movie trailer for the MGM movie Autumn in New York. In other words... an intense sampling of music sounds from all over the world and must for any collection.


NOTE: Due to space constraints, the following reviews were not included in the print editions of Geoff Wilbur's Renegade Newsletter.  These reviews are only available here in the online edition.

Snapcase Designs For Automotion

Victory Records
It is the year 2000, and Snapcase unleashes what may be one of the best hardcore releases of the next century. Sort of sounding like old Rage Against the Machine fusing with a major dose of Cause For Alarm with Slayer driving guitars, Snapcase has created a release that will make a major impact on what direction hardcore and metal would go in the future. 11 rocking, power-driven tunes, with the major tunes with titles such as "box seat," "20th nervous breakdown," and "are you tuned in," make this release a must for your collection. 

Mel Waiters "Swing Out Song" CD-5

Waldoxy Records, 3023 W. Northside Drive, Jackson, MS 39213
An uptempo R&B artist in the vein of Otis Redding or Curtis Mayfield, Mel Waiters has presented a tune where you talk your hun and want to take her bump-and-grinding on the dance floor. Mel Waiters demonstrates that music can still be good, and he is one heck of an R&B performer... a great song which would probably get lost in the shuffle, so don't miss out on this release.

Mel Waiters "Hole In The Wall" Remix CD-5

Waldoxy Records, c/o The Malaco Music Group, 3023 W. Northside Drive, Jackson , MS 39213
This special six track CD contains 5 different remixes of Mel Waiters' "Hole In The Wall" plus the original gem "Running Stop Light." The remixes are what make this CD -- the Bigg Robb Radio, Big Robb Club Mix, and Big Robb Radio (No Rap) -- all have a classic Zapp like feeling. The Tee-Lee Rap mix also has the adult contemporary style similar to a TLC mellow R&B/rap song. The original version is of the classic R&B style. The final track on the CD "Running Stop Light" has a vintage Percy Sledge vibe to it. The remixes alone make this a must for any party.

The Graduates Up in Downtown

Beatville Records, Inc., P.O. Box 42462, Washington, DC 20015
Upon listening to this compact disc, one senses that this band is different than most ska-oriented bands, for they have elements of punk, two tone, and rockabilly in the mix. The Graduates really impressed the listener by making a sound which is old fashioned yet modern. Any band that can mold Benny Goodman into a ska tune is hard to believe, and The Graduates do that on "Cosmonaut." Also, "$100 Bills" rocks in the vein of the Brian Setzer Orchestra. All the 12 tunes here prove that The Graduates are one of the best hidden bands on the circuit of today's rock and roll. If you want to place your money on one new band, then The Graduates are that band. 

Kelloggs' Classic Rock: The Police - "Message In The Bottle"/Bryan Adams - "Summer of '69" CD Single

Polymedia
Highlighting two vintage classic rock tunes of the 1980s, this CD single is worth searching for. The version of The Police's "Message In The Bottle" is slightly different than the version which appeared on Regatta de Blanc, for it has been remastered and remixed for today's technology, so the listen loses some of the raw sound which was presented in the original vinyl release. Also missing is the classic drum stick intro. Same goes for Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69," where the voice sounds too electric, plus the song sounds too polished. Overall, this release my be worth searching for it you are a collector but if you are a listener of these two songs... go find the original vinyl unremastered versions and see what these tunes really were about.

Monti Amundson I See Trouble

Beatville Records,. P.O. Box 42462, Washington, DC 20015
In you like your blues served on a traditional platter combined with a big helping of new blues in the vein of SRV, then Monti Amundson appeals to you. On the 13 cuts which he includes on this disc, the music listener is treated to a release which reminds of an era when Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker ruled the blues. Monti Amundson is one of the best new breed of musicians whom really knows what the blues are. Suggested tracks which deserve attention are the cover of the J. Moore classic "King Bee" which fans of the Rolling Stones would know from their cover on their debut album, the original "Broke Down Car" which any owner of a car can relate to, and the title tune "I See Trouble" which starts out this release. Monti Amundson proves that the blues are still alive.

Calvin Jackson & Mississippi Bound Goin' Down South

Beatville Blues, P.O. Box 42462, Washington, DC 20015
Calvin Jackson started out drumming in R. L. Burnside's Soundmachine at the age of 16. On this release, you can see how he is one of the best Northern Mississippi blues drummers. The material has a sort of juke joint blues flair to it, for the sound is mostly uptempo numbers that make you want to dance and party. 12 tracks of great juke joint blues with the numbers "It's Gonna Rain," "All Nite Boogie," and the Fred McDowell cover "Kokomo." Pass me a big helping of the blues a la Calvin Jackson & Mississippi Bound with plenty of good time music.

The Dermot Bryne Blues Combo Raw Whiskey Blues

Beatville Blues, P.O. Box 42462, Washington, DC 20015
Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Dermot Bryne has created a following doing authentic Delta blues while being in Europe. One must understand that this guy is the real thing, for he knows what the blues are and performs it like a legendary artist. His original gems "Slow Train," "Raw Whiskey Blues," "Going Down To Clarksdale," and "John Henry" prove that his musicianship is awesome and his lyrical style is deep. Also, his covers of Son House's "Preachin' Blues" and "Death Letter Blues" plus Willie Brown's "M&O Blues" are true to the originals. Overall, a great debut disc.

The Coldspot 8 It's The Feelgood

Beatville Records, P.O. Box 42462, Washington, DC 20015
Great first wave style ska, Florida's The Coldspot 8 done a release that Byron Lee would be proud of. This is the type of release which you play at a party to skank to. 15 horn-infested tracks that make you love the strong playing of these gifted musicians. A lot of today's youth would not get into the sound unless they realize the history of ska. The sound is very much like the 1960s ska which the mods listen to, too. Must-listen tracks include "What's Coming To You," "Stand Off," "You Gotta Work," and "Explanation Dub." So if you want to hear something to hit that coldspot in your heart... give The Coldspot 8 an earful. 

Shutdown Something To Prove CD-EP

Victory Records
Hardcore... hardcore... hardcore!!!!!! Shutdown delivers us into a mudslide of terror with this mini-CD of four tunes which should hold fans over until the band's next full-length. Actually, there are only 3 tunes -- "The Judged," "Don't Look Back," and "No Compromise" -- plus an intro to the CD. Shutdown has been around five years, and this CD demonstrates why they are still a major force in the hardcore metal world. So crank it up and blast out your neighbors with some the best hardcore ever performed. Also, since it is a CD-EP, you can afford to dish out some cash and make this part of your collection.

Daycare Swindlers New & Tasty

Vile Beat, P.O. Box 42462, Washington, DC 20015
Virginia's Daycare Swindlers have delivered a great punk release which reminds one of the golden age of punk back in the late '70s. If you like bands such as The Clash, The Undertones, and Television from that era, you would be pleased with these new punk rebels, but if you like Operation Ivy, Rancid, or Dread Zeppelin... Lyrically, Daycare Swindlers have really outdone themselves with this release, especially on "Whiskey Dick," which most guys can relate to sometime in their lives, the surf-like, drug-influenced "Heroin Beach," and the acoustic intro of "Rambo Cop" that flows into a rocker tune/anti-cop anthem. 14 tunes that make you want to sing along and party. Watch out for this band.

Melissa Ferrick Freedom

What Are Records?, 2401 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304
Melissa Ferrick has been compared to Melissa Etheridge in the past, but now her fourth CD stands out as a release which brings Ferrick to a new level. Some of the tunes are very experimental in nature, including "Hold On" and "Drive" which sort of sound like Beck's folk material. Well, also we hear a major dose of folk on the title track "Freedom" -- the credited acoustic version -- and "Little Love," which proves why Melissa has obtained many folk artist awards. Also please let your CD play to the unlisted 12 track, which is an electric version of "Freedom" which brings new meaning to the song. Simply put, Freedom transfers folk-rock into the 21th century.

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