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Notes From The Underground

[whitespace] Lost Cause
Cause for Celebration: Lost Cause adds over-the-top antics to the local music scene; it's evident on the band's new album.

The Lost Boys:
Lost Cause's brash rock explodes on its brand-new CD

I LOST MY MOM's Los Lobos CD, but with a little simple cut-and-paste work, I was able to disguise it with Lost Cause's new self-titled CD. Now my mom has started to inscribe anarchy signs on her avocado mud masks and doesn't give a damn if her family of wolves survives. Lost Cause makes brash, over-the-top punk rock in the kid-tested, mother-approved Black Flag vein.

Shane's damaged vocals are working overtime on a holiday--I had to put on a helmet to feel safe. The explosive opener, "Gangs," has Bloods and Crips shaking hands in agreement over a tough-as-nails chorus. "Times" blows up like a bad case of mutant hemorrhoids and is fine, throaty hardcore. Calu and Kevin's bookend guitars crank out loads of Grand Canyon-like audio blasts on every song.

I love the crunchy, muted chords that are matched with the rattlesnake harmonic leads (see the intro to "Overpopulated")--they give each tune a defiant grace. "Sucked In" takes an Angry Samoans-like progression and grinds it through the anger blender. The dark quasi-ballad "Empty Bottle" had me reaching for my lighter.

I've come to despise the token extra bonus track at the end of every punk-rock CD, but the surfy instrumental on Lost Cause's album has me thinking otherwise. All the cream obviously wasn't drained from Lost Cause's crop after the two stellar cuts it recorded for the Monkey Magnet comps. Santa Cruz is famous for being the site of The Lost Boys, but it soon will be notorious for the primal rock treatments of Lost Cause.

Punk for the People

Three Left Standing continued to separate itself from the Santa Cruz hardcore pack at the Catalyst last Thursday. Victorious guitars combined with shredding vocals jackknifed positive tales of self-reliance toward pay dirt. A punk-rock assassin team tried to gun down the new competition, but luckily most of the band was wearing body armor and three were left standing.

Jet Lag seduced its monstrous fan club with effective pop tunes that had more backing vocals than the "We Are the World" recording session. The lead guitarist's saucy metal leads worked me over like the principal at De Sade Junior High. This five-piece played pop punk but also adventured into new territory with a few gutsy breakdowns. The soaring vocals on "Nothing" hit the mile-high club. Extra credit is awarded for Jet Lag's psychobilly attempt. And when the jet departed and things started to seriously lag at the terminal, the band concluded with a funny New Kids-like barbershop quartet routine that had all the right stuff.

Dojo is sick. I could see the audience's puzzled, poppy minds unwillingly becoming corrupted by each regressive, funky stick of dojomite. Dojo's apocalyptic music (think Mr. Bungle fondling Slayer) spoke in crass, sampled tongues and the resulting cacophony proved more devastating than Marlon Brando in a G-string diaper. The fortress of ungodly frets and the omnipotent drums were dead set on annihilation. Plus any vocalist who wears kneepads and a wig invariably belts out loco vocals that scar like a goose to Fabio.

Upcoming

On Thursday, April 15, Time, Seance and Woodchipper play the Aptos Club, while the Huxtables, I.B.O.P.A. and Sneeky Creakans play the Catalyst. On Friday, April 16, Robot God, Woodpecker, Ominum and Decent Replica will be at the Pizza Junxion (7pm), and the Forgotten, Reducers and Fifth of Piss rock Skinny McDoogle's. On Monday, Olympia's Old Time Religion, the Lowdown and Mihrah play the Pizza Junxion (7:30pm).
Matt Koumaras

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From the April 14-21, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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