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Notes From The Underground

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A Star Is Born: Loadstar's new self-titled CD
features snappy pop-punk.

Record Lode:
Loadstar's new CD strikes a balance, and Friday night at Skinny's proved stellar

ALL OF THE SONGS on Loadstar's new self-titled CD are crisply recorded and exude above-average musicianship, but like Elvis hanging out at a Vegas buffet, a few just don't know when to stop. "Too Far" is two minutes too long and reminded me of being sentenced to watch a snowboarding video for life. "Burning Bridges" is laced with high energy but sounds too much like a Good Riddance B-side. "Carpe Diem" shows why Latin deserves to be a dead language.

But there are a few rays of light among these darkest mornings. The ultra-snappy guitars and manic drums on "Disengage" send off more fireworks than the Deathstar on Lord Vader's B-day. "Husty" is a clever pop-punk tune sung with full-throttle NOFX sinusitis. Nice, splashy leads from Donovan.

"Wasted Daze" and "Downward Progress" get a nice slow burn going. I dug the thick muted guitar bites and demonstrative vocals. "Innergy" packs quite the wallop and kibbled my bits. I have to admit I really liked the stripped-down bonus tracks at the end, too. For info, write to Loadstar, P.O. Box 330, Santa Cruz, 95061 or email, loadstar@cats.ucsc.edu.

Friday Night Live

Vincent's Ear has been one of Santa Cruz's most stellar bands for eons, and last Friday at Skinny's it proved that not a single thing has changed. When the Ear lets loose and does its meat-and-potatoes, straight-ahead rock bit, few bands come close. Mr. T, the drummer, made me pity the fools who think other drummers can pull off such insane drum voodoo. Plus it's easier escaping the talons of the Girl Scouts' top sales whiz, "the Punisher," than it is to get away from the lush layers of glory that Bruce paints with his six-string.

Michael exuded his usual charms with vocals drenched in gusto--his percussion/sax work alone could easily spin circles around the Star Search circuit. The show's highlight was when he posed as a cop and forced everyone to leave after three smoldering songs. Punk rock.

Dilligaf had the middle slot and cranked out riffs soldiered in originality with "Stacking Ninjas" leading the onslaught. Pinpoint-precise songs with wicked hooks. The rhythm truly got me--and there were outstanding guitar escapades from both Arch and Eric.

Also, while picking up litter as part of my work-release program near the Grapevine, I heard that Dilligaf is looking for a new vocalist to take them even higher.

Finally, somewhere in between the metal infidel of Guns & Roses and the sugar walls that Mary's Danish used to hide in lurks the Chaos Lounge, who collectively kick ass on both sides. This band knows how to create moody atmospheres in its songs, and then just lets Anji and Krissy's vocals rip their way to a cathartic ending. The crafty bass and sharp guitar complemented each other well. They melodically fit together like Charlie Sheen and the seedy underbelly of town. Crank 'em a wee bit louder next time, because we like what we're hearing.

Upcoming

On Thursday, March 19, at the Edge in Palo Alto, Good Riddance plays with All and Less Than Jake (6:30pm). On Saturday, March 20, Tribe 8, Fabulous Disaster and the Preteens, among others, headline Girl Fest 1999 at the SC Vets Hall (all ages, 8:30pm).
Matt Koumaras

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From the March 17-24, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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