THE ALL NEW ALBUM REVIEW PAGE: Why! Cuz we ran out of space on this one. Click here for the latest reviews from Highwire Daze!

UPDATED 11/13/00

New Reviews on this page: Alphaville, As Divine Grace, Natacha Atlas, Canned Heat, Cheva, Collapsis, Diabolique, Drowningman, Elliott, Matt Ender, The Explosion, Fan Mail, Ghoti Hook, Hangnail, House Of Wires, LN, Love Like Blood, Map, Mind Driver, The Movie Life, The Nerve Agents, Norway, Off The Record, The Outside, Pony Express, Right Direction, Jean-Pierre Saccomani, Selfmindead, Starflyer 59, Supremium, Tales, and 3 Doors Down!!!


Although many in the States remember Alphaville for one or both of the songs they played on the radio in the early 80’s, the band managed to record a rather prolific catalog of material over the years. 12 of their best are featured on Stark Naked, a live compilation of various Alphaville concerts. While the music of Alphaville was always dark with a techno-pop underscore, many of the songs were international dance floor anthems. Alphaville has lost none of their edginess throughout the years, as one can clearly see when listening to their Stark Naked release. "Big In Japan" has been a staple on KROQ for years and "Forever Young" was a worldwide hit. Both these tracks are featured live along with ten other obscure, yet highly effective tunes. Vocalist Marian Gold and company really deliver in front of a live audience. In addition to Stark Naked, there is a new studio album due out from the guys later on this year. Fans of Alphaville and dark techno pop are sure to find Stark Naked an absolute delight.


As Divine Grace is a band from Finland who have been around in one form or another since 1993. Their unique sound is a mixture of Slowdive meets Stereolab -- electric, rocking, at times ethereal and quite often impressive. Part is this is due to the mesmerizing vocal work of Ms. Hannah Kalske. Her performance is sweet, familiar and intense, sometimes a teasing whisper to the ear and other times a full on assault. At times it sounds like Ms. Kalske is singing just to you, and what a beautiful experience that can be -- just don't expect her to warble in angelic tones for she's way too sultry for that nonesense! As Divine Grace also has fuzzy guitars, cool synth noise plus an indie pop feel which enhances their truly vibrant sound. Sure, this band appears influenced by The Gathering at times, but the imtimate moments prevail, taking As Divine Grace into a whole different musical universe. SUPREMATURE is a record that moves the soul and touches the mind. Another fine release from the Avant Garde record label of Italy. Check out the AS DIVINE GRACE HOME PAGE for more info.

AS DIVINE GRACE: Click here to read our interview with this band!!!

GEDIDA by NATACHA ATLAS (Beggars Banquet Recordings)

GEDIDA is Natacha Atlas' third solo recording and is, once again, a collection of her stunning vocal deliveries and the exotic instrumental meanderings of Transglobal Underground. With most of GEDIDA recorded in Egypt, Atlas incorporates the technical refinements of North African Arabic music with Western Dance rhythms -- and the results are outstanding. The most satisfying of her three recordings, GEDIDA (which simply means "new" in Arabic) presents eleven tracks that will take you on a wonderful journey through exotic cultures with it's highly pulsating beats and hypnotic chants. Whether singing about the mysteries of love on "Kifaya," rapping about political unrest on "Bastet," or singing of spiritual enlightenment on "The Righteous Path," Atlas is a true marvel to behold. The most bewitching moments on the CD may be found on the final track "One Brief Moment," recorded in collaberation with noted soundtrack composer David Arnold. Sounding like a cinematic adventure, "One Brief Moment" marks the first time Atlas has sung in English. "Mon Amie La Rose" is another highlight, a remake of a song made famous by lengendary French vocalist Francoise Hardy. GEDIDA is a multi-lingual, musical delight that should thrill all those bored with the same old thing being tossed at them by major labels and commercial radio. Highly recommended.


Best known as the vocalist for Transglobal Underground, Natacha Atlas has gained many fans with her exotic Arabic singing and belly dancing techniques. After a trio of critically acclaimed solo albums with TU has her back-up band, The Remix Collection surfaces – featuring various deejays lending a hand in remixing the various Natacha Atlas songs. The participants include Banco De Gaia, Youth, Talvin Singh, DJ Spooky and even the TU guys. The fantastic "Yalla Chant" is given three different interpretations, and all are unique and impressive. Other restructured tracks include "Duden," "Amulet," and her only English language vocal to date, "One Brief Moment." Many of these songs would be great to dance to in the clubs. One could also trip out to the eclectic sounds of The Remix Collection on headphones within the privacy of your own space and mind. Ms. Atlas proves once again that she remains one of the most compelling female vocalists in music today. With the various remixes included, those familiar with her work will thrill to the newer renditions while new fans are sure to find plenty to enjoy and be challenged by. Be sure to check out this, and the other three releases by Ms. Natacha Atlas. Her vocals may also be found on various Transglobal Underground releases.

MODERN by BATTERED FISH (Velvet Blue Music)

The music of Battered Fish is pure pop perfection, yet on the much darker side of things. The melodies are sweet and jangly while the vocals remind one of Morrissey in his prime. Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, Battered Fish are introspective and angst-ridden – without being overly pretentious. Several of their songs could be played on the radio including “Set Up,” “New Tragedy” and “Sometimes.” Guitarist/vocalist Caleb James has an expressive voice, driving home the depressive lyrics but always showing glimmers of hope throughout the bleakness. Just check out the spiritual awakenings expressed during “Knees” for an example of good feelings winning out over all. James’ infectious guitar work and smooth vocals are joined by a terrific rhythm section consisting of Jeremy Bennett on bass and Matt Gray on drums. Released here in the States by Velvet Blue Music, MODERN by Battered Fish is user-friendly indie pop and should win over all who venture out to listen.

I BIFICUS by BIF NAKED (Lava/Atlantic Records)

A few years ago, Bif Naked recorded an amazing album of rock and roll tunes that was put out on Fierce/Mayhem. Overlooked at the time of release, Ms. Naked now finds herself on a major label this time around. The charasmatic singer/songwriter should reach the masses at last! Performing tunes about love, loss and abusive behavior, Ms. Naked takes you on a trip through her world -- one that many will be able to recognize and relate with. Lovers and friends of both genders have their stories told within the confines of her deeply personal songs.

I BIFICUS opens with "I Died," an angry tune of frustration where Ms. Naked sings, "I died, eating french fries, in the restaurant on the corner, where you broke my heart." "Any Day Now" is a hopeful ballad, questioning the quality and success of our heroine's turbulent existence. "Spaceman" is an upbeat bit of perfection, a radio ready track that will win over fans every time it's played. "Moment Of Weakness" is another highlight, a burst of punkish energy that is a slammin' delight! Other promising tracks include "Sophia" (about having the great Ms. Loren as a travelling companion), and the completely heartsick inflections of "Only The Girl."

Bif Naked could be compared favorably to great female vocalists such as Chrissy Hynde, Debbie Harry, and even Pat Benetar. All these great tunes, and then there's notes throughout the album penned by Biffy in her stylish writing. By the end of I BIFICUS, one feels they have a new, imtimate friend on their hands. A cool major label debut for a songwriter that deserves to be heard!


LIBIDO is the fourth album from San Diego's Buck-O-Nine and it is filled with extremely likable punk and ska tunes guaranteed to make a lasting impression. After making a splash in 1997 with the radio hit "My Town," Buck-O-Nine have 13 more tracks that could easily infect the local airwaves. Actually, LIBIDO is much more than just the typical ska record, with the band reaching out towards other musical styles. For example, "Swimming In The Sand" and "Headlines" are bittersweet ballads that show quite a different direction for Buck-O-Nine. "Sunlight" and "A Lot In My Head" are attitude rockers that a band like The Rolling Stones would feel right at home with. And of course, tracks like "Who Are They?" and "Tell It Like It Is" are destined to be classics in the ever popular ska/punk movement. Produced by the likes of Stiff Johnson (G. Love) and Howard Bensen (Less Than Jake, Sepultura), the band succeeds with this eclectic, yet fun-filled effort. LIBIDO looks like another big winner for Buck-O-Nine.


Consisting of live and unreleased studio recordings circa 1967-1976, The Boogie House Tapes is quite a collectors item for any Canned Heat fan. Best known for their performance at the original Woodstock and the various tragedies that befell them in later years, Canned Heat played boogie and blues with passion and conviction (and continue to do so today). Taken from the personal archives of drummer Fito De La Parra and the "Boogie House" of radio personality Walter De Paduwa, these recordings are the last known performances of Canned Heat during their infamous early years of existence. There’s a whopping 29 tracks on two CD’s! Canned Heat classics "Going Up The Country" and "Let’s Work Together" are performed live at Campus Berkeley in 1971. There are some extra long jams such as "I Love My Baby," "Sore Back Blues," and "Bring It On Home," showing just how in tune the band was with each other and their love of boogie and blues music. This is an outstanding collection of tunes that will live on forever thanks to Dr. Boogie, Mr. De La Parra and the folks at Ruf Records!

BOOGIE 2000 by CANNED HEAT (Ruf Records)

Founded in 1967, Canned Heat played at the legendary Woodstock festival (the original one, not the current fiasco of a fest), and is best known for their hit songs "On The Road Again" and "Goin' Up The Country." Through tragedy and many line-up changes, the band has returned! Their latest is BOOGIE 2000, a 12 song CD featuring brand new material! Combining blues, boogie and a bit of country-rock, Canned Heat can still make a lasting impression with their fine tunes and the professional musicianship they maintain. Featured are original members Adolfo "Fito" De La Parra on drums and percussion and Larry "The Mole" Taylor on rhythm and lead guitar. The others are fairly new recruits, but they all add a ton of conviction and new ideas into the mix. This includes blues singer Robert Lucas and vocals, harmonica and slide guitar and Greg Kage on bass and vocals.

Among all the tracks featured on BOOGIE 2000, "Wait And See" and "Last Man" are destined to be the newest staples in the live Canned Heat set. "I'm So Tired" is hardcore blues done up to perfection while "I Got Loaded" is a groovy country-tinged ditty. Also contained on BOOGIE 2000 is a cover of the classic oldie "Searchin' For My Baby," featuring backing vocals by the original members of Cannibal and The Headhunters. Along with their previous BLUES BAND effort, Canned Heat can show the youngins a thing or two about making fully loaded boogie-n-blues anthems!

CANNED HEAT: Click here to read our interview with this band!!!

MISUNDERSTOOD by CHEVA (Wabrock Records)

Cheva plays modern rock and roll influenced by the likes of Korn, The Deftones, and Limp Biscuit. Based out of Orange County, their new six song EP is bound to garner them a good deal of attention. Misunderstood has a full sound, one of dynamic intensity that spills out through the speakers and into the dark regions of your mind. The production values on the disc are excellent and really presents the band in a good light. Vocalist Santos is a dynamic front man, delivering the well thought out lyrics with passion. Guitarist Dylan fills the air with a wild guitar noise. The pulsating rhythm section consists of Hector on bass and Andy on drums. Cheva's metallic compositions are just what the industry is looking for -- don't be surprised to find these guys signed to a major label by the time 2001 rolls around. Highlight tracks include "Brown World," "Get Up," and "Juice."

A BOX OF BIRDS by THE CHURCH (Thirsty Ear Records)

For better or worse, The Church have been releasing a steady stream of albums since their humble beginnings in the year 1980. Now verging on 20 years in existence, the band still tours, playing turbulant shows impressing fans with their newer, more obscure material. And their latest, A BOX OF BIRDS, is a disc filled with covers, much in the same tradition as David Bowie's classis PINS-UPS. It's an interesting idea and it works out very well! Whether it's their stunning rendition of Neil Young's "Cortez The Killer" or their haunting interpretation of Iggy Pop's "The Endless Sea," The Church take on their influences and add their trademark blend of exquisite melancholy and mystical turmoil. Other tracks covered include "Friction" by Television, "All The Young Dudes" by David Bowie, and little known tune from The Monkees called "The Porpoise Song." The Church ran a contest on their homepage, asking several amateur artists from all over the world to submit visual ideas for cover art. There are many samples displayed throughout the CD booklet all stunning and varied in scope -- just like the music of The Church itself!

DIRTY WAKE by COLLAPSIS (Cherry/Universal Records)

Collapsis take over where REM and Toad The Wet Sprocket have left off. Based out of North Carolina, the band made such an impression that they were signed just six weeks after their initial formation. Lead singer and guitarist Mike Garrigan is quite a talent, delivering the passionate lyrics with a firm sense of conviction. A former law student, a dean at the University of North Carolina heard his music and encouraged him to pursue a recording contract instead of law. So Garrigan started a band and the results are Collapsis. Also featured in the band is Scott Carle, who use to be in Dillon Fence -- plus guitarist Ryan Pickett and bass player Chris Holloway, both refugees from the Queen Sarah Saturday camp. DIRTY WAKE contains twelve impressive tunes, starting off with the instantly memorable sounds of the first single "Automatic." "Tell Me Everything" is another winner, the lyrics focusing on the importance of communication in a friendship. "October" is a thrilling tune with an explosive musical climax. "Superhero" is another up-tempo rocker that would be a fine choice for a second single. "I.O.L." (aka I'm On-Line) is about a relationship that has been clearly ruined by one party's obsession with the Internet. "Wonderland" is a sweet effective ballad that should become a real crowd pleaser. Emotional yet uplifting, the music by Collapsis is inspirational and should win them a big following all over the country. This is rock to dream and contemplate life too -- filled with a depth rarely found in today's alternative music.

SONIC WAVE LOVE by CUTTERS (CMC International Records)

Cutters is a fantastic new band from Bloomington, Indiana who have just released their debut CD on CMC International Records. Playing rock and roll in a spirited fashion, the members of Cutters possess a good deal of talent and passion which shines through on every track. SONIC WAVE LOVE opens with the rockin' "Satisfied," and then proceeds on with the moody "Plot Line." "Freedom Runs" is a beautiful track about relestness and it's uneasy consequences. "Genie" is a trippy little number, hypnotic and sonic, with soothing parts intertwined for maximum impact. Other songs on the CD that shine include "Watching," "Hero," and "26 Days." This is mainstream rock with thoughtful lyrics and tunes that you'll be humming for quite some time. A bit like Creed and Hootie Blowfish, Cutters stand out above the commercialism and deliver some raw emotions that many will relate to. This is one band I would never get tired of hearing on the radio. A very exciting debut!

BUTTERFLIES by DIABOLIQUE (Necropolis Records)

Although Diabolique is on indie label Necropolis Records, the band's hypnotic sounds have very little to do with the heavy metal genre. Those into The Church, The Cocteau Twins and Modern English will be thoroughly swept away by what this mystical Swedish band has to offer. BUTTERFLIES is a six song EP filled with swirling, distorted guitars and meloncholic vocalizations. With their sound once rooted in the doom/death metal genre, Diabolique are, dare I say, alternative and very radio friendly! Frontman Kristian Wahlan is a true talent, presenting outstanding vocals and guitar work -- plus supplying the haunting artwork for the cover as well. Johan Osterbeg also contributes shimmering guitar noise while Bino Carlsson on bass and Hans Nilsson on drums make up the awesome rhythm section. Cuts like the dreamy title track, the somber "Rain," and the sonic "Beneath The Shade" are definite highlights that could become alternative anthems. Serving as a prelude to their forthcoming release entitled THE LAST SONG, Diabolique prove that there is still a lot of life left in the gothic rock movement -- plus room for creativity and new ideas as well. It will be very exciting to see what challenging music these guys come up with next!

DIABOLIQUE: Click here to read our interview with this band!!!


One of the strongest (yet somewhat unknown) ska/punk bands from Orange County, The Dingees possess a knack for super-memorable tunes that stay embedded in your head for days! SUNDOWN TO MIDNIGHT is The Dingees' second effort and this one is sure to get them the attention they deserve. The first track, "Rally-O," is a punk anthem that recalls Green Day in their prime, and should really hook the listener in for all the cool things that follow. Highlights include the power-pop infectiousness of "Chevy Malibu," the crucial ska-tones of "Leave The Kids Alone" and the all-out hardcore punkishness exuded within "Staff Sgt. Skreba." Along with LIBIDO by Buck-O-Nine, SUNDOWN TO MIDNIGHT by The Dingees contain some of the best songs you'll hear by a ska/punk outfit this year! The Dingees aspire to go well beyond what many proclaim to be a dead genre, and they wildly succeed. I've been playing this disc over and over again -- it's political, it's thoughtful -- and a whole lotta fun as well.

THE DINGEES: Click here to read our interview with this band!!!


Welcome to the crazy ass world of Drowningman, where musical insanity and emotional instability reign supreme! The lyrics are bizarre filled with verbal bile and supercool violence. Not the cartoon Cannibal Corpse style words, but the kind of poetry you would find scrawled on the cell walls of some deranged individual. The one responsible is Simon Brody, whose moody vocals are demented and brilliant. The music spewed forth by the Drowningman clan is chaotic and extreme. Songs like "My First Restraining Order" and "If God Likes A Winner He’s Gonna F*ck Me In A Minute" exist on this album, as well as other poisonous, truly schizophrenic efforts. Drowningman are truly a Rock And Roll Killing Machine, coming at you like a violent encounter that you’ll never forget. Play this one loud for maximum impact. (Please note: Highwire Daze is not responsible for the anti-social behavioral patterns that will follow after listening to this disc.)

FALSE CATHEDRALS by ELLIOTT (Revelation Records)

Even if you don’t like emo-style music, Elliott’s staggering tunes will sweep you away. The melodies found on False Cathedrals are downright stunning, laced with power and anguish. And then there are those lyrics, pensive and melancholy, featuring sentiments that anyone caught in a fiery storm of deep thought could easily relate to. The strength found within the songs is powerful and almost anthem-like. Vocalist Chris Higdon has one of the most expressive voices in the emo scene today, delivering the lyrics with a quiet intensity. Tracks that really claim the listener’s attention include "Calm Americans," "Blessed By Your Own Ghost," "Dying Midwestern," and "Speed Of Film." The Elliott guys are from Louisville, Kentucky and they plan on doing a lot of touring. If their live shows are anything like the feelings expressed on False Cathedrals, get ready for a wild, emotional release!

ANCIENT ISLE by MATT ENDER (Etherean Records)

ANCIENT ISLE is a celebration of Celtic music, and Matt Ender is just the musician to take us on this fascinating journey through the olden times of Scotland and Ireland. The genres all blend beautifully on ANCIENT ISLE, where World Beat and New Age mix in with the traditional Celtic rhythms, creating a highly contemporary sound. Matt Ender plays acoustic piano as well as programmed all the electronic interludes. Other instruments contained on this recording include penny whistles, cello, banjo, harps, violins and a vast array of percussive equipment. Ender is no stranger to the music biz, having been nominated once for an Emmy when he scored an entire season of the soap opera ALL MY CHILDREN in 1988. He also wrote the infamous song "Do The Carmine" for the popular LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY sitcom. But Celtic music appears to be what Ender enjoys, and ANCIENT ISLE is an obvious labour of love. Sweet, hypnotic and joyous, those adventurous enough to check out different musical styles will be in for a heartfelt surprise. Featuring a wondrous take on the classic traditional "Danny Boy" and original compositions too!

STEAL THIS by THE EXPLOSION (Revelation Records)

There may be only five songs contained on the disc, but The Explosion certainly manage to impress both new and old fans alike with their new EP Steal This. Featuring Daniel Genuardi who use to be a member of In My Eyes, The Explosion play a super aggressive brand of old school punk rock reminiscent of The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, and Generation X. While all the songs burst upon you like a full-on assault, the highlights on Steal This are the pulse racing Dotted Lines, the anthem-like "E.X.P.L.O.S.I.O.N.," and the tripped-out strains of "Turnaround." These D.C. guys can really get your blood pumping with their powerful, slamworthy music. So until The Explosion can get around to recording another full length effort, be sure to check out Steal This – and if the record store charges you too damn much for this EP, be sure to do what the title of the album suggests…


Here is a CD that will probably wind up in my Top Ten this time next year. Jason Falkner (Jellyfish, The Grays) has released his second solo album, and it's like taking a wondrous journey. The songs are full and dynamic, narrated by Falkner's soothing vocal delivery. Possessing a knack for writing truly great pop tunes, Falkner does not dissapoint with tracks like "My Lucky Day," "Holiday," and "Author Unknown" demanding radio air play. My personal favorite is the neurotic "I Already Know," a wildly unpredictable ditty where our sweet charming Jason turns into a monstrous musical beast! Falker co-produced CAN YOU STILL FEEL? with Nigel Godrich, who helmed Radiohead's O.K. COMPUTER. It would be nice to see this album break out, as Falkner is truly one of L.A.'s most imaginative musical storytellers.

JASON FALKNER: Click here to read our interview with this band!!!

FANMAIL 2000 by FANMAIL (Tooth & Nail Records)

With such a fantastic first album, it should come as no surprise that Fanmail have come up with such a tremendous follow-up. Entitled FANMAIL 2000, Scott Silleta and the boys can really rock you with their powerful pop and punk sounds. Decidedly heavier than THE LATEST CRAZE, the tunes are filled with distorted guitars, infectious melodies, and thoughtful lyrics. The disc kicks off with "Time Will Only Tell,"a short but sweet tune that will instantly win over fans and skeptics alike. "Break Down," "Run Around My Head," and "Good Old Times" are highlights, showing that Silleta and company are a band that can write more than one potential hit single. A hysterical point on the album is Fanmail’s manic cover of The Backstreet Boys’ tune "I Want It That Way," which must be heard to be believed! FANMAIL 2000 closes on a moving, spiritual note with The Other Side, a track performed with just an electric guitar, tambourine and lone vocal, dedicated to the memory of respected producer/engineer Gene Eugene. A true adventure into the dynamics of rockin’ power pop, FANMAIL 2000 is one of the best alternative albums of the year! Cool cover artwork too!

THE LATEST CRAZE by FANMAIL (Tooth & Nail Records)

Exuding tons of star quality and several potential hits, it's very likely that Fanmail could become THE LATEST CRAZE. Dynamic and chalk-fileld with driving hooks, these are tunes that should find their way onto many an alternative station playlist. Stand out tracks include the high flying optimism of "True Brand New," the over-the-top "Rock And Roll Star," the punk-pop anthem "Superfan," and the wonderfully bizarre tribute to the equally strange "Shirley Maclaine." Fanmail possesses a great sense of humor and perform like Elvis Costello and Green Day in their prime. The CD cover is also hysterical, featuring cartoon groupies chasing our befuddled heroes all over creation. With all this depressive music being churned out these days, it's cool to have the fun back again with bands like Fanmail leading the party. Another groovy album brought to you by the folks at Tooth & Nail!

OPEN WIDE by FOURTH IN LINE (Independent Release)

Based out of La Habra, Fourth In Line combine punk rock and hardcore influences. Their new self-produced CD is called OPEN WIDE, and it’s filled with tunes that make you want to find the nearest pit and act like a total maniac! These are a talented bunch of guys, and they have a lot to contribute to the local music scene. Containing 10 tracks of intense sound and fury, Fourth In Line are not afraid to make you think as the songs slam around in your head. “Live Your Own Life” is a highly effective track, kicking off the disc on a glorious, uplifting note. “I Am Something” demonstrates the passion and energy of Fourth In Line’s music, while “Lies” examines the myth of equality among the people of this world. “My Thoughts” is another stand-out track, sounding like a total hardcore anthem. Call their hotline at (800) 338-6829 ext. 246, get a copy of this CD and always support what’s cool on the local music scene.

TWO YEARS TO NEVER by GHOTI HOOK (Tooth & Nail Records)

The first time I heard Ghoti Hook was on an album of cover tunes they recorded which was appropriately titled Songs We Didn’t Write. Their latest is called Two Years To Never, consisting of a dozen songs they DID write. Needless to say, their brand of power pop/rock stands out on it’s own terms, whether it’s the dynamic vocals of Joel Bell, the dueling guitars or the extremely tight rhythm section. Hailing from the Washington D.C. scene, Ghoti Hook has been together since 1991, and their professionalism clearly shows. These guys rock hard and their lyrics are about subjects that truly matter. The album kicks off with "One Step Away," a moving song dealing with a son and his father. "Next To Me" is a power ballad that really shines while "Lullaby" is a compelling rocker about finding ones place in the world. "All That I Am" is a big anthem-like rock song that is inspirational to hear. And fully expect "Chevy Nova" to ignite slam pits the world over! There are many great songs contained on Two Years To Never – and it all just leaves this reviewer with one great question: Why is Ghoti Hook still not getting any radio play? With their latest being produced by Blink 182 and Green Day engineer Sean O’Dwyer plus the incessant touring, Ghoti Hook are well on their way to expanding both their audiences and their horizons. It couldn’t happen to a more talented bunch of guys.


Hangnail is like Blink 182 with a tremendous set of Christian values. While this is a simplistic way of describing their music, fans of Blink and Pennywise will be thrilled to discover Hangnail. Possessing a knack for hyper-infectious tunes, these Wisconsin guys plays songs that will jangle on in your brain for ages. "Making History" is an autobiographical tunes recalling the days Hangnail played in front of just ten people. "I'm Only Human" and "An Apology" are stand-out songs that could be (over)played on stations like KROQ if given half the chance. And "No Name Yet" has got to be the first anti-abortion anthem that you can slam dance to. Hangnail's beliefs and ideals are displayed throughout the lively music and convincing vocal deliveries. When all is said and done -- and despite what you believe -- the fact is that Hangnail is one of the most exciting punk/pop debuts you're likely to hear this year.

HANGNAIL: Click here to read our interview with this band!!!

MONOGAMY by HOUSE OF WIRES (Plastiqmusiq/Tooth & Nail Records)

Like the great electronic bands of the 80's, House Of Wires possess a knack for playing dark, infectious pop that is extremely catchy. Before you can say Depeche Mode, House Of Wires have won you over with their fantastic opening track entitled "Away." Next up is "World Of The Future," a highly original tune featuring a playful horn accompianment and humorous deadpan vocals. The title cut has an Underworld style with thoughtful lyrics on the subject of MONOGAMY. "The Door With 5000 Locks" is soothing yet mysterious while "Luxury" has jarring, tribal techno beats and lyrics like "Living is a luxury but nothing beats eternity." Although they have lots in common with Depeche Mode, you'll never hear House Of Wires covering "Blasphemous Rumour." The press notes state they are a Christian band, and will be as big as Sixpence None The Richer. Who know? What I do know is fans of electronic pop will thrill to what House Of Wires has to offer -- a very talented vocalist and a resoureful keyboardist. Their names are Jon Sonnenberg and Robert Guschow and together as House Of Wires, they takes elements of the old style pop and mix in an ultra modern flair. Be sure to check out the last bit entitled "Teaching Your Machine To Sing" to fully appreciate the band's strange sense of humor and total willingness to experiment with the genre. They are from Orange County, so make sure to support House Of Wires and buy their CD!!!

HOUSE OF WIRES: Click here to read our interview with this band!!!

PLUM BROOK EP by LN (Velvet Blue Music)

Dreamy and hypnotic, the music of LN is a soothing exercise in pop music in the tradition of Slowdive and the Red House Painters. The creation of one Gary Murray, Plum Brook is a five song EP that stuns the listener with it’s wistful lyrics and spellbinding melodies. "Le Sabre," "L’Aavenir," and "Goodbye Rain Song" are highlights that will enchant your mind with their unthreatening brilliance. This Ohio based project leaves you in a blissful daze, wanting to hear so much more as your exploration of Plum Brook spins to an end. It will be interesting to see what LN does next. Stayed tuned…


Love Like Blood is back, with their strongest album to date. Now consisting just of the brothers Gunnar and Yorck, the latest album was co-produced by Simon Efemy and consists of catchy, yet depressive gothic songs. Especially memorable is the first track "Love Kills," a lengthy tune that may well be the best single to come out of any genre this year. Another highlight is "The River," a haunting ballad that will grab you by the throat. "Dying Nation" is another winner, destined to become a favorite amongst Love Like Blood fans everywhere.

It’s very apparent that Love Like Blood are at the height of their creative powers -- still a viable force in the gothic scene after all these years. Enslaved + Condemned is an exciting work from a band who play their music with passion and conviction. This is required listening for all fans of the gothic rock scene. Others into groups such as Bauhaus and Depeche Mode are sure to enjoy this as well. An interesting sidenote: Enslaved + Codemned was recorded during a partial eclipse of the sun.


You don’t hear songs like this on the radio anymore! Sweet and pensive, Map play beautiful tunes that you can easily lose yourself within. The vocals are almost whispered and the music has the feel of a warm blanket enveloping you. Map is the brainchild of Josh Dooley (Starflyer 59), who has proven to be quite a songwriter! Joining Dooley in Map are Angelo Equibel on bass and Joey Esquibel on drums. There are only five tracks contained on this EP, leaving the listener off in a dreamlike state way too soon – so my advice is to just set your player on "program repeat" and enjoy Teaching Turtles To Fly over and over again. Tracks include The Smile Summer Forgot, You’re Not The Girl, and the curiously titled The World Wants To See You Nude. Beautiful sounds brought to you from the remote confines of Riverside, California.


Mind Driver play super-infectious punk rock with an endearing pop groove thrown in for good measure. And now, courtesy of Tru Records and Wendy-O Records, everyone can enjoy the cool tunes that Mind Driver has to offer the world. A lucky 13 tracks are contained on Ten Percent Of Nothing and many of them show a good deal of potential. For the most part, the songs are fast, short, and highly memorable. Vocalist Heath Coffran exudes a good deal of presence, his quirky personality oozes out all over the disc. Karl Izumi supplies the clean guitar riffs while Mikey Burton on drums and Carlos Ortega on bass kick some rhythm section ass!!! An impressive debut from yet another too cool Orange County band. Top tracks include "Incomplete," "Open Hands," and "Lights Out."

THE AIRPORT by MONOSTAR (The Music Cartel)

Monostar is a Swedish pop band who deliver distorted, yet highly cathcy tunes, performing them with much tripped out bravado. THE AIRPORT starts off with two could-be pop anthems -- "Bahamas Heavy!" and "Under Disco Lights." Next up is the mighty "Jee Is A Loser," an odd choice for a single, but what a gem this track would be on the radio! Another highlight is the blasting "A Place In Space," a confection of a tune that manages to be both wistful and very, very loud! "Speed Your Love" is a playful ditty while "Send Me Someone To Love" is a stripped-down, dreamy delight. With influences like The Velvet Underground and Television, Monostar is a young band that is every bit as inventive as the groups they admire. The slide guitar work and Neil Young/Tom Verlaine-type vocals are what truly stand out with Monostar. A real find for the adventurous pop fanatic.


There is a certain star quality that exudes throughout the music of The Movie Life – and as one listens, there is an idea that this band could become very famous indeed by This Time Next Year. The Movie Life play punk rock mixed with an infectious power pop/emo-core groove, coming up with an album filled with anthems that you couldn’t get out of your head – even if you wanted them to. This Time Next Year kicks off into supersonic gear with the hysterically bitter "I Hope You Die Soon" and slashes through 11 more tracks of attitude driven songs. One can only hope that tunes this dynamic would find their way onto the airwaves (can we ever be this lucky?). Stand-out cuts include "10 Seconds Too Late," "Single White Female," and "It’s Monday And Raining." An impressive effort from a band destined for fame and fortune – or at least hoping to be your next underground sensation.


After a promising self-titled EP, there was a lot of anticipation as to what The Nerve Agents from San Francisco would do next. A lively, unpredictable band, their first full length release Days Of The White Owl exceeds all expectations. Combining a hardcore punk sound with a strange sense of horror melodramatics, the noise these Agents spew forth is a refreshing change from the business-as-usual cookie cutter hardcore bands. The Nerve Agents have conquered California and could take over the world with their thoughtful lyrics and ghoulish musical ejaculations. The 16 tunes blasted out by The Nerve Agents in just 29 minutes will kick yer ass, and you’ll luv every minute of it! Vocalist Sheric D. (aka Eric Ozenne) is a dynamic front man, his quirky personality oozing out all over your speakers with fiendish glee. Timmy Stardust and Zac Hunter supply a full, shredding guitar sound. Bassist Dante and drummer Andy Outbreak are the most fun loving, wildly driven rhythm section you’ll find in hardcore today. In addition to their excellent original tunes, The Nerve Agents perform a groovy cover of "Evil," the classic 45 Grave song. Days Of The White Owl is a superior effort from a band sure to take over as the true terror kings of the hardcore scene!


No Motiv are an emo-core band from Oxnard who perform heart wrenching music about bad relationships and self doubt. And the lyrics are belted out with utter sincerity, while wild music spews forth in a hard, blistering fashion. It's interesting how these fragile, vulnerable feelings are placed with such a mighty, breakneck wall of sound -- but it's all so painfully honest and it WILL kick you in the head like no other! The stand-out tracks include "Empty," "Solemn," "Mid-Season Change," and "Shells." All the songs on AND THE SADNESS PREVAILS... are bound to hit a knowing emotional chord with the listener. Those who dig having your gentle heart ripped out and exposing it's pieces for all the cruel world to see should shell out a few bucks and pick this indie gem up. It's a true sonic assault on the senses, and when they come to town, I'll be the first one in the pit slamming away, celebrating what little pieces of human wreckage we all really are!!!

THE ESSENCE OF NORWAY by NORWAY (Plastiqmusiq/Tooth & Nail Records)

We get tons of CD’s of Black Metal bands based out of Norway – so sooner or later we just had to receive a disc from a band who actually call themselves Norway. But guess what? These guys are from Redlands, California! And they play electronic pop! This is double-time dance music, infectious to it’s very core. There is no reason why KROQ shouldn’t add their first track "So You Say" to their play list – this one is an anthem that recalls Depeche Mode in their glorious Speak And Spell days. The driving, playful beats don’t let up and continue, at odds with the highly introspective lyrics. Other cool songs include "Norway Girl," "There’s Something More To Life," and "Jesus Girl." The members of Norway are Eric Melzer and Doug Huibregtse, a talented duo who deliver a shimmering wall of sound with the assistance of their producer Ronnie Martin (of Joy Electric). So while their moniker makes little sense, the brilliance of Norway’s musical essence is all too real – expect to hear a lot about these guys within the fledging SoCal electronic dance scene.

NORWAY: Click here to read our interview with this band!!!

REMEMBER WHEN... by OFF THE RECORD (Tooth & Nail Records)

Off The Record is a promising band from Orange County who mixes punk and hardcore sensibilities into their powerfully infectious tunes. These guys are brimming over with talent and charisma, and could be the next KROQ favorite with ease. Off The Record is just raw enough to quiet those who hate commercialism in their music, yet accessible enough to win over those not easily impressed with unknown indie bands. Songs that really stand out include "Good Times," "Fabricated Lies," "Another One," and the slamming title cut. While there is an underlying message of spirituality on many of the tracks, REMEMBER WHEN... is nevertheless a rebellious, exciting effort by a cool band destined for fame. Keith Allen is a powerful front man, delivering the vocals with a biting sense of passion and conviction. Ryan Schueller and Dan Atkinson are both on guitars, giving Off The Record a full, hard-edged sound. Chris Ozorio on bass and Danny Hidalgo on drums make up the energetic rhythm section. If this sounds good to you at all, then you should probably buy a copy of REMEMBER WHEN... for yourself and prepare to make room for a brand new punk rock favorite!


OMD is no more, but they leave behind several ground breaking albums and their just released singles package. It all started for the band back in 1978, and 21 years later their music is just as vital and cited as influental by many a musician. THE OMD SINGLES spotlights 18 songs, many of them well known such as "Enola Gay," "Dreaming," and "If You Leave" from the PRETTY IN PINK soundtrack. Also featured is lesser known material such as "Pandora's Box," "Sailing On The Seven Seas," and "Walking On The Milky Way." Guaranteed to bring back a lot of memories, OMD guys Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys (who left the band back in '89) leave us with a vast library of memorable tunes and a whopping ten albums! Their songs were always as infectious as hell and they made a lasting impression on all who heard them. Here's wishing them all the best in their future manoeuvres.


After several promising demos, The Outside have finally gotten around to releasing their first CD — and it was well worth the wait. This punk band from Santa Clarita bring back the genre's glory days with a vengeance, and make it all sound so fresh, exciting and new. Got No License is filled with punk rock anthems that could get a slam pit going at even the most respectable nightclub. The Outside's authentic music is definitely superior to what is passing as "punk" by the major labels these days. There is a raw honesty in the lyrics and the band drive it all home with a ferocious intensity. Stand-out cuts include the frantic "Cut & Paste," the slamworthy "So Silly," plus their inspired cover of "American Girl" which was originally recorded by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. All fans of punk and hardcore must check out the thrilling music The Outside has to offer — bands like this keep the scene alive and thriving!

YREKA BAKERY by PEP SQUAD (Tooth & Nail Records)

Pep Squad is a band from Portland, Oregon who play fun pop rock with lots of attitude! Their tunes are as catchy as hell, and will be bouncing along in the listener's head for days on end. Whether it's the punkish "Freak Show," the secular "On That Day," or the extremely infectious "Erik's (Got A) Girlfriend," Pep Squad possess a fine knack for song writing that is inspiring. Featuring Bryan Everett (ex-Evil Twin Brother) on driving vocals, this is one album that all fans of cool pop won't want to miss. And trust me, you haven't lived unless you've heard their hysterically sublime rendition of the Adam Ant song "Friend Or Foe." By the way, just what is YREKA BAKERY spelled backwards?


Although Pezz are from Memphis, don't expect any sh*t kickin' music from these good old boys. Pezz play emo-core with loud guitars and exceptional, highly thoughtful lyrics sung in a buzzing, chainsaw fashion. The songs are infectious as hell, filled with tons of emotions and energy. Recorded by Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies), WARMTH AND SINCERITY is a tour-de-force through the many life experiences that we all can certainly relate to. Don't even think for a minute this is a wimp rock extravaganza, for Pezz put it all to music that will kick your butt and send you reeling straight into the slam pit! "I'm not your babysitter, I'm not your camp counselor, after all, this is life why don't you live it with me?" -- these words are from Pezz's stand-out anthem "Slippery Rock" and they speak volumes! "February 1996" is about taking that big step into sobriety and AA meetings that is another highlight. "New Math" is another rocker, clevering equating independent thinking with complicated arthimetic, pleading the listener to not be counted out in this society. There are many brilliant sentiments here and they pass quickly, so follow the lyric sheet for maximum impact!

RELOCATION by PLANKEYE (Tooth & Nail Records)

Years ago, when one heard the term Christian rock, the music would always be lame and the message overtly unsubtle. These days, you'll find even Christian Black Metal on the market. Plankeye is an alternative outfit, specializing in catchy pop songs that would be at home on any modern rock radio station. The nucleus of the group consists of Eric Balmer (vocals and guitar) and Luis Garcia (vocals and bass), two talented musicians who really know how to deliver an infectious tune. Featuring upbeat, inspiring tracks like the obvious single "Say Now That You're Sorry" and moving ballads such as "Goodbye," Plankeye aspire to win over more than just the secular converts. Much of the music on RELOCATION is the equivelant of a warm blanket, familiar and comfortable, sending the listener off on a reverie of thought and contemplation. But don't worry, these guys can really rock out if they want to -- and they do plenty of times! Potential hits abound and hopefully commercial radio will give these guys the break they deserve. Other tracks of note are "Break My Fall," "I Can't Complain" and "You Are For Me."

THE WARRIORS E.P. by P.O.D. (Tooth & Nail Records)

With their moniker being short for Payable On Death, P.O.D. combine hip hop with metal-core and they play with a fierce intensity. Just signed to Atlantic Records, Tooth & Nail liscensed an EP, and the music contained is an extraordinary sample of great things to come. And did I mention that P.O.D. is a Christian band? Referring to themselves as a ministry, P.O.D. is every bit as intense as Limp Biscuit or Korn, and they present fairly intellegent arguements in favor of Jesus Christ and his teachings. This is no wimp rock as P.O.D.'s mighty sound can kick ass with the best of them. Yes, they are preaching like crazy, but the songs are catchier than hell and will induce fevered mosh pits wherever they play. There is little doubt that P.O.D. will win over even non-believers with their persuasive, pulsating music. Expect to hear P.O.D. all over the radio airwaves and soon! You will not find a song more compelling this year than their "Full Color" composition. All interested parties should check out THE WARRIORS E.P. and be prepared for a full-on sonic assault!


Pony Express is a too cool alternative project featuring members of Starflyer 59, Upside Down Room, and Joy Electric. Starting off with the Ultra Vivid Scene influenced "Before You Were Everyone," it’s clear that the listener is in for a short, but entertaining ride on this Pony Express. "Pocket Of Pearls" is a dreamy, melancholy track that is instantly memorable. "All The Headaches That Asprins Couldn’t Cure" is gentle pop number that is hypnotic and inspired. And then there’s the brilliant title cut, an exercise in noise that is featured twice on the disc – a regular version and then a very strange mix by The Doc himself! Monkey Hearts is the fourth release Pony Express has sent out through Velvet Blue – a diverse collection of tunes by the best local talent Southern California has to offer. Produced by Jason Martin of Starflyer 59.

AVENUE B by IGGY POP (Virgin Records)

Looking suspiciously like Droopy Dog on the CD cover, AVENUE B finds Iggy Pop in a low-key introspective mood. Starting off with a bit of spoken word entitled "No Sh*t," the album proceeds on with it's melanchloy trek. The lyrics are still provocative and over-the-top, yet there is a world-weary feeling that permeates thoughout the entire project. "Nazi Girfriend" and "Miss Argentina" are two acoustic ballads, telling the stories of girls Iggy has known, while the title cut takes us on a tour through the streets of the rocker's turbulent life. There are some upbeat tracks too, such as the oldie "Shakin' All Over" and the funkadelic "Corruption." "Facade" is a highlight,closing out the disc on a cautiously uplifting note. Throughout the recording, Iggy reminds us that he's 50 years old. Whatever his age, the great Mr. Osterberg still writes and records awesome material! AVENUE B may be an odd chapter in Iggy's musical saga, but it is required listening for all fans of this former Stooge-guy. He may be feeling old and a bit arty these days, but AVENUE B, even within it's quietest moments, still reeks of danger and intrigue. Produced by Don Was.


Protein's first album was an outstanding, yet basically ignored effort that deserved a lot more in terms of attention. Hopefully with their new effort, they'll finally achieve the recognition. One of the hardest working bands around, Protein have opened for the likes of Cheap Trick and Kings X, nearly stealing the show wherever they play. SONGS ABOUT COWGIRLS is an impressive album, featuring tracks that must be heard on the radio. "Over My Dead Body" and "Lemonade" exude hit single potential with wildly catchy choruses and melodies that will jangle on in your mind for a long time. "Sitting On The Roof Of A Mexican Restaurant" is a quirky, humorous track about being down on your luck. "From Mercury To Texas" is also a stand-out -- while the lyrics may be a bit salty for commercial radio, it's sure to be a favorite with many. "Drinking Song" has really odd lyrics about girls that "dress like boys and like to drink" -- "You can wear my clothes and I'll wear your dress, we'll go in style, let's go drinking baby." "Going To L.A." talks about the band's journeys to the City of Angels from the Bay Area to play shows for their friends. "Transition" closes the CD out on a rockin' note, with all the desperation one expects from a wild night on the town coming to an end.

Vocalist and guitarist Josh Zee has a good time presence that is felt throughout the disc. Zee can really deliver the words and plays a mean gee-tar! Russ Violet on bass and Dan Thompson on drums make up the powerhouse rhythm section. It is a second big chance for Protein, and with an album as good as SONGS ABOUT COWGIRLS, expect very big things from this up and coming band!


Having been around since 1989, Right Direction play hardcore punk with thoughtful lyrics and slamming grooves guarenteed to get those mosh pits moving. BURY THE HATCHET is a real treat for fans of the hardcore movement, and tunes like "Out In The Field," "He's My Friend," "Step Back," and "Song Of Frustration" are sure to become genre favorites. Hailing from Germany, Right Direction may have a lot in common with Suicidal Tendencies and The Rollins Band, but they have enough diversity and imagination to hold your attention. The tight guitar solos, heavy metal influences and various vocal approaches make them stand apart from the crowd. This is a fine effort from a band that should catch on here in the States with ease. Congrats to Victory Records for discovering Right Direction and introducing them to hardcore fans here in the States.

MY DEAR by ROYAL (Tooth & Nail Records)

Royal is a band from Sweden who play likable pop with a jolting edge. With influences such as Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine, Royal possess a knack for writing intellegent tunes that thrill the ear with their sheer infectiousness. Capable of being sweet and hypnotic one minute and then jarring and unnerving the next, Royal challenge the boundaries of traditional power pop. Stand-out tracks on MY DEAR include "Haze," "Lazy/Tired," and M Rke Natt." Featuring a former member of Christian Black Metal band Extol, Royal is a refreshing musical experience that many are sure to enjoy. Arty, stimulating, yet totally unpretentious, Royal should win fans of alternative music witht their brilliant compositions.


Jean-Pierre Saccomani is a composer from France specializing in hypnotic ambient music that one can easily get lost within. THE FOUR SEASONS is his latest, showcasing Saccomani's haunting interpretations of the various times of year. Those into the musical adventures of Eno and Roedelius are sure to enjoy the arrangements put forth by Saccomani. Each piece is at least 15 minutes long, a suite of brilliant sounds that envelope the mind and soul. THE FOUR SEASONS is the type of recording meant to be enjoyed with an open mind and (as preferred by the composer) a beer! Saccomani personally recommends Sixtus, Douglas, Rochefort, and Delirium Tremens! I personally recommend THE FOUR SEASONS to all into beautiful head-trippin' music. Cool artwork too!


What starts off as a melodic guitar interlude winds up being some of the most intense noise you'll ever hear. Pure Scandinavian Hardcore is the perfect way to describe Selfmindead. The songs are dark yet possess a positive interpretation on life and the ways of the world. "Agree To Disagree" is particularly effective, featuring vocalist Illka Viitasalo screaming his head off about all of us accepting the diferences in others. "Burn Down The Old And Bring Up The New" and "One Step Forward" are more exciting examples of the positive hardcore that Selfmindead spew forth onto an unsuspecting world. And there's no denying that all who hear "The Motivation Song" will accept it as a true hardcore anthem! Playing music to start a revolution too, Selfmindead is here to inspire and provoke listeners with challenging food for thought. Having toured all over Europe, let's hope that Selfmindead arrive in the States to show us all the true essense of powerful hardcore music! Play this loud and prepare for a sonic blast!

JUMP START by SIMON SAYS (Hollywood Records)

Simon Says may be a game for kiddies, but it's also the moniker of a super-cool alternative band from Sacramento. And can these guys write the tunes -- catchy and at times very, very heavy. The guitars may be blarring (which is not really a bad thing at all), but the melodies shine through. Produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day) and Mark Needham (Cake), JUMP START bangs you in the head right away with the dynamic opening track "Sever." Other tracks that show a good deal of potential include "Nucleus," "Perfect Example," and the single "Slider." The sonic guitar work is supplied by Zac Diebels, played in a furious yet entertaining fashion. Michael Arrieta on bass and Mike Johnston on drums drive the beats home like there's no tomorrow, punching up the rhythm section to the extreme. And vocalist Matt Franks delivers the introspective lyrics with a good deal of passion and conviction. Simon Says is young, full of promise, and are destined to win over many with their brand new CD. A must for all fans of hard driving, power pop music!


With a band as prolific as Starflyer 59, you would expect a clunker to show up sooner or later – a mistake if you will. We’re still waiting though, as EVERYBODY MAKES MISTAKES presents 9 brand new tracks that shimmer with pure musical brilliance. "Play The C Chord" opens the disc on a mysterious note, featuring mood-setting slide guitar work. "No More Shows" has that quirky, Smiths-like appeal that is infectious to it’s very core. "My Name" is another highlight, dreamy and hypnotic with his sweet John Lennon-like feel. Gone are most of the noisy Ride influences as EVERYBODY MAKES MISTAKES is a much quieter, more cerebral effort. Only the penetrating "A Dethroned King" gives way to the sonic overdrive of previous albums and it’s still an effective track. Jason Martin on vocals and guitars is an inspiring, resourceful songwriter joined by bandmates Jeff Cloud on bass and Wayne Everett on drums. Anything but a mistake, the new Starflyer 59 release is a sparkling gem of perfection that will continue to win over fans. Very thoughtful, highly listenable sounds abound…

THE FASHION FOCUS by STARFLYER 59 (Tooth & Nail Records)

An album filled with longing and thoughtfulness, Starflyer 59 present the listener a fine, fully realized effort with their sixth album, THE FASHION FOCUS. The music is filled with hypnotic guitars and pop grooves in the grand tradition of Ride and My Bloody Valentine. In the age of heavy and depressive music, it’s refreshing to hear something as instant likeable and intelligent as the 12 tracks included on THE FASHION FOCUS. The album does not possess one clunker, and could be enjoyed all the way through. With songs like the melodious "I Drive A Lot," the cooly distorted "Too Much Fun," or the whimsical "All The Time," Starflyer 59 possess a knack for writing the tunes you’ll want to hear many times over. They may not bash your brains out with noise-laden anthems (well, not all the time anyway), but Starflyer 59 can be intensive and effective even with their sweet ballads. As performed by Jason Martin on vocals and guitar, Jeff Cloud on bass, and Wayne Everett on drums, THE FASHION FOCUS by Starflyer 59 prove that there will always be a place for well crafted alternative music.

LUCKY by SUPREMIUM (Pop Squad Records)

Supremium is a local power pop group who has just released a highly infectious album of tunes entitled Lucky. Those who bitch that L.A. is filled with nothing but crap bands should really seek this recording out. In the grand tradition of The Plimsouls, The Beat and 20/20, the Supremium sound takes the classic power pop feel and adds a modern twist to it. Many of the songs are extremely radio friendly and the lyrics are well thought out. Highlights include the cautiously upbeat "This Time," potential single "What She Needs," the sweet sentiments of "Fall Out," and the bitterly funny song "The Girl I Want."

Supremium leader Bruce Witkin (lead vocals, bass) is a resourceful songwriter and performer who is finally receiving the attention his impressive talents warrant. Joining Witkin in Supremium are Rob Klonel on drums and percussion, Doug Nahory on organ and piano, and Coz Canler on electric and acoustic guitars. And if you think Coz's name is familiar, you may recognize him for his work in The Romantics, who had a massive hit with "What I Like About You" several years ago. Lucky by Supremium is one of the best independent debuts to come out of L.A. in quite a while -- expect big things from these guys!


The prolific ambient composer Jean-Luc Herve’ Berthelot is the sole creative force behind Tales. All of Berthelot’s releases are masterpieces of visionary enchantment, and Echoes From The Last Fairyland (aka ELF) is no exception. The hypnotic music takes you into the fairyland, a magical yet sometimes dangerous place. The sweeping musical pieces provide a soundtrack where the listener may fill in their own visuals, using the beautiful illustrations contained on the cover if they so desire. Just beginning to find his audience here in the States, those into the sounds of musicians such as Vangelis and Cluster are sure to be taken in by the wondrous journeys contained within the fairyland. All music is entirely performed by Mr. Berthelot, including loops recorded in real time with a digital delay, subtle percussive instrumentations, and the vocal sounds of various fairyland inhabitants. Just don’t drift off too far, as the little voices contained on "The Wizard Of All Times" can be downright scary if listened to in the middle of the night.

Part Two of The Merlin Trilogy, Echoes From The Last Fairyland is a fine introduction to one of the most inventive (and underrated) composers of our time. Another adventure in keyboard artistry from France! For more info, e-mail and acquire a copy of this, and other magical recordings from the Tales library of synthesized dreams.


The man behind the ambient space music of Tales is Jean-Luc Berthelot. Based out of France, Berthelot is best known for his concept albums and has taken the listener to Asia and through eternity itself on previous efforts. Now focusing on the dark mysteries of space, INTERSTELLAR MEMORIES is the story of a traveller reliving his greatest moments in space, attempting to convey the wonderous sights he's seen through a hypnotic canvas of sound. There can be no mere words to describe such a journey. This is music to dream to, inspired by such noted musicians as Brian Eno, Vangelis, and Tangerine Dream. The atmospheric passages could be a soundtrack to any cerebral science fiction flick. Sweeping yet intimate, INTERSTELLAR MEMORIES by Tales will set your imagination in flight through the unexplored regions of the galaxy. Open you mind, if you dare...

TALES: Click here to read our interview with this band!!!

THE BETTER LIFE by 3 DOORS DOWN (Republic/Universal Records)

There's quite an industry buzz going on about 3 Doors Down, and after one listening of their major label debut THE BETTER LIFE, it's easy to see why. These guys are gonna be huge! Think of Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers having a meeting of the minds with Bush and you've got the cool ultra modern sounds of 3 Doors Down. The first track is "Kryptonite," a catchy tune that is beginning to get airplay all over the country. Second song "Loser" is even better -- a tension-filled number that sends the listener well over the edge. "Be Like That" is another highlight, about unfilled hopes and dreams that is nevertheless inspiring material. The entire album is filled with lyrical stories that are a slice of American life that many will be able to relate to. And while 3 Doors Down has a definite populistic message, the whole enterprise comes off as intelligent and highly moving. The awesome vocals are performed by Brad Arnold, who also happens to be their drummer! Matt Roberts and Chris Henderson contribute some fine, textured guitar work while bassist Todd Harrell handles the low end admirably. If there is any justice at all, 3 Doors Down will hit their target audience in a big and glorious way! Expect to hear a lot more about these guys in the future.

3 DOORS DOWN: Click here to read our interview with this band!!!



Although not too many people ventured out to see the film IDLE HANDS, this horror-comedy featured some cool music within it's soundtrack. Released by Time Bomb Recordings, the best tracks on the disc include the metallic hip-hop of "Mindtrip (Idle Hands Mix)" by Zebrahead, the sonic techno-noise of "Push It" by X-Static, the sweet poppiness of "Cailin" by Unwritten Law, and the infectious instrumental piece "Rude Boy Rock" by Lion Rock. Other contributions include tunes by The Living End, Rob Zombie, and Motley Crue. Closing out the CD is composer Graeme Revell's "Idle Hands Theme." Revell's campy horror music is a true delight -- there should have been more of his fine work contained on the soundtrack. All in all, an exciting sample of today's music in a movie you'll probably be able to rent on video by the time you read this review.


1978 was certainly a bizarre year for music -- you could hear bands as diverse as The Bee Gees and KISS being played on the same radio stations. Pop Squad Records is saluting 1978 with a brilliant album of songs covered by some of the best local Los Angeles bands. You know you're in for a real treat with opening track "I Wanna Be Sedated" -- The Ramones slammer played by Rydell High in a sweet, hypnotic (and dare I say a sedate?!?) fashion. Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You" is given a clever electronic make-over by Pint Size. Linus of Hollywood (and formerly of Size 14) contributes an imaginative version of Nick Gilder's "Hot Child In The City" and also serves as one of the CD's executive producers. Local songwriter James Intveld contributes a moving, acoustic rendition of The Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love." Belle Academie really rock out with their female fronted version of "Surrender" by Cheap Trick. "Roxanne" by The Police is slowed down -- as performed by Supremium (featured Bruce Witkin, the other executive producer of the CD), the song becomes a sad cautionary fable instead of the overly familiar radio staple. Random breathe new life into Queen's "We Will Rock You," while Terrell's cover of "Some Girls" by The Rolling Stones is just plain strange!!! Instead of playing the songs off as camp, the musicians go for unique, creative arrangements -- even the very familiar material has a freshness added to it. A quirky, well thought out tribute to a musical year that will live in in infamy!!!


Every once in a while, a new band turns up in the local Rock In Spanish arena that gives one great hope for an otherwise stagnant music scene. ¡Viva Malpache! is one band to get very excited about. Naming themselves after a villian in the classic film "The Wild Bunch," ¡Viva Malpache! present the listener with a wildly diverse collection of tunes. This local Los Angeles outfit mixes their genres alright, combining elements of ska, rock, punk, and traditional Latin music. Like the great Maldita Vecindad, ¡Viva Malpache! are not afraid to take risks, the results being challenging, yet highly listenable material. Most of all, a good deal of fun and enjoyment may be had by all, even if you can't quite understand what the Spanish lyrics are all about. Highlights include the playful ska tones of "Let's Go," the blasting rock beats of "Pan con Mayonesa," the haunting acoustics of "Sin Amanecer," and the over-the-top punk theatrics of "El Mandamas." LOS GREATEST HITS DE ¡VIVA MALPACHE! is a fine debut for a band destined to be noticed by fans of the Rock In Spanish movement.


THE OFFICIAL GARY NUMAN WEB PAGE: Mastered by the great Mr. Webb himself!
MACHINE + SOUL: A Gary Numan web page from Germany.
ARE FRIENDS ELECTRIC?: An Unofficial Gary Numan Web Page
THE JOY CIRCUIT: Another Unofficial Gary Numan Web Page
THE OFFICIAL EMBRACE WEB PAGE: All You Good Good People Should Check This Band Out!
THE EMBRACE PAGE FROM GEFFEN RECORDS: A Page presented by their U.S. Label.
THE ZEBRAHEAD WEB PAGE: The Official Web Site!
THE CRUMB HOME PAGE: An alternative emo-pop band from San Francisco!
THE OFFICIAL RADISH HOME PAGE: Ben Kweller and his band on Mercury Records.
PHANTOM PLANET'S WEB PAGE: Los Angeles Pop on Geffen Records.
DEEP INTO THE OCEAN BLUE: A Great Web Page for The Ocean Blue!
SEE BENEATH THE OCEAN BLUE: Another cool Web Page for The Ocean Blue!
THE OFFICIAL CATCH HOME PAGE ON C3: Cool Power Pop Band from the UK.
THE OFFICIAL KAVANA HOME PAGE ON C3: Young Pop Soul Singer from the UK.
KAVANA'S WORLD: An Unofficial Kavana Web Page.
THE OFFICIAL CUTTERS HOME PAGE: Great alternative band from Bloomington, Indiana.
JASON FALKNER'S HOME PAGE: The Page from Elektra Records.
JASON FALKNER LIVES!: A cool Jason Falkner Fan Page.
THE MUSIC CARTEL: Home Page for Tripped Out Stoner Rock.
THE MONOSTAR HOME PAGE: An exceptional pop band from Sweden!
THE SIMON SAYS HOME PAGE: Driving power pop from Sacramento!!
THE PEP SQUAD HOME PAGE: Super-cool Oregon power-pop!!!
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN: Hardcore Music from The East Coast on Relapse Records.
LIGHTER FLUID: Cool local rock band from Los Angeles!
LIBIDO DEATH CULT: If you like Tool and Failure, check this unsigned band out!
THE DINGEES: The best O.C. ska-punk band I've heard in quite some time!
AS DIVINE GRACE: Cool band from Finland in the tradition of Slowdive, Stereolab and The Gathering!
THE NERVE AGENTS: Awesome hardcore punk band from the Bay Area!
ANNIE ON MY MIND: Cool pop/punk band from Kearney, MO!

THE HIGHWIRE DAZE HOME PAGE: Return to the Main Page and Don't forget to Sign The Guest Book!

The Offical Dingees Website!

Visit The First Unofficial Highwire Daze Home Page!!!

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Hollywood, California

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