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Notes From the Underground

Review Revue:
Time to clean out the ol' new local releases drawer

Here's a new tape from Herbert, their first with singer Mat Fitzsimmons. Herbert weaves sinuous guitar lines and metal riffs together with dark, twisted lyrics and insane drumming skills by drummer Steve Ilse to create seven songs of heavy, heady rock & roll. Meeting Mat in person, you'd never know he was capable of spewing out such dark poetry. This tape is pretty eclectic, with some quiet moments and even some keyboards and a bit of frazzled trumpet in "Ugly Pretty Little Head." Like Herbert's previous material, it takes several listens to appreciate, but it's worth it. Too many effects on the vocals, though.

All-female local foursome Bread and Thunder recently released their first tape, a five-songer dominated by their signature dirgy, complex guitar and bass work, which creates the same sort of psychedelic circus feeling that is evoked by certain of the Doors songs, and which I really like. The vocals are pretty sparse, which is preferable, because the vocal delivery is definitely the weak point on some of the songs. But it's a pretty cool tape, overall. Definitely unlike any other local band.

Local all-female trio X-Girl 13 recently put out demo tape number two--more of the simple, grungy five-chord rock & roll that would go over just as well in a biker bar as a club filled with 20-year-old hipsters, except maybe "Every 6 Minutes," a song about rape and vengeance (with a fadeout ending, which I haven't heard since like '77). Most of their stuff is mid-tempo and musically upbeat, although singer Cheri Lovedog tends to makes up semi-serious lyrics to go with that scratchy-sweet voice of hers. But she leaves space for flourish, stuff like: "My narcotic buddies are full of shit and honey."

Finally, another tape from Witchhook Sky, who are long overdue for a full-length album. This five-songer doesn't stray far from what we've come to expect from this trio. Heavy rock with punk and metal influences, diverging and converging bass and guitar lines, solid musicianship, self-searching lyrics and strong vocals by guitarist Roland Pacheco. Includes pilfered sound bites from the movie Angel Heart (watch out, I hear Mickey Rourke is pissed!).


On Wednesday (Apr. 24), Max Lange Attack performs with uke king Oliver Brown at Saturn Cafe (all ages, 9:30pm). On Friday, Fury 66, Black Label, and Life join Berkeley's Redemption 87 at the Capitola Community Center (4400 Jade St., off 41st Ave., all ages, $5, 8pm) Also Friday, local bands Nuzzle and .Staple. play the Basement with Torches to Rome and Super Soldier Serum (all ages, 7pm). On Saturday afternoon, White Trash Debutantes and others play the Spam Fest at UCSC (all ages, 2pm). Saturday night, SJ psychobilly band Hayride to Hell rocks the Redroom with Los Infernos and Riff Raff (21 plus, $3, 9pm). On Sunday, Huntington Beach rockers Purple Bosco play with locals Drain and Vessel at Emi's.
Michael Mechanic

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From the April 25-May 1, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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