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Notes From the Underground

[whitespace] Yaphat Kotto
© Peter Saporito

Never to Be Scene: Yaphat Kotto proclaims its freedom from genre-crunching in 'We Made This,' just one proud-as-punch cut from the band's new 7-inch.

No Scene Like Home:
Yaphet Kotto transcends the trendy

IF YOU CAN GET YOUR grubby little hands on one, I command you to pick up a copy of Yaphet Kotto's self-titled 7-inch, orchestrated and produced at the 320A house on Analog Kid Records, and possibly available through Ebullition Records. The insert has two very proud statements lingering in the lyrics--one is "We Made This," the other is "Yaphet Kotto is part of no scene. Enjoy music for what it is/Not who it is."

Mag's signature guitar, which manages to be constantly lifting and light, is all over this record. He and Casey, who also plays guitar and sings, definitely have progressed by leaps and bounds since their Staple days. Casey now howls effectively as a backdrop, on some songs, to Mag's high-pitched voice, which intensely mimics the sound of his guitar.

Mag, once a local action-oriented musician, is now shaking things up out of town. He currently plays for Bread and Circuits, who played a stunning show this Sunday night at a get-together in SF, which was complete with food and conversation. The band has a superstar line-up in the genre, which I'm probably not supposed to mention (but everyone will find out anyway), with former members of Torches to Rome and Fuel, just to name a very few.

Casey points out that they sound like Torches to Rome. I agree, and add that they sound amazing. They are venturing down to Santa Cruz (320A) on Wednesday the 20th. Do not miss this show. This is where punk rock gets righteous again, while still stirring your blood with the crazy beats. Full of new ideas, Sunday's young healthy crowd was a convincing brick in the surface of a long, long new road.
Arwen Curry

Dawn of a New Era

Junk Sick Dawn is still going strong after more lineup shuffles than Menudo. After last Wednesday's sterling performance, I highly recommend Junk Sick Dawn pursue a career in excavating because they tore Palookaville down brick by brick.

If lead vocalist and guitar dynamo Tait Reed made an appearance on South Park, the kids would cry out that he is a "kick-ass" entertainer. Overwhelming tension builds throughout each song and miraculously oozes into a sublime catharsis. I'd like to say you can detect subtle traces of the Pixies in its arsenal, with its wicked control of dynamics and phrasing, but that's selling Junk Sick Dawn way too short. It consistently delivers some of the finest metal-pop tunes around, from the quirky "Asshole" to the unquestioningly beautiful "These Days." You can practically touch the gut-wrenching emotions Tait spoons out on the latter: "Your helping hand/Stabbed me right in the back."

"The Pusher" is destined to be another cult classic, while "California" has always been tailor-made for Madison Square Garden rock. Masterful bass from Russ and fantastic drumming from Lee (of Dojo fame) glued the Battleship J.S.D. together nicely. Junk Sick Dawn was tight and loud and refused to give up its top spot as Santa Cruz's finest purveyor of distorted beauty.

Lackadaisy performed competent, alternative Cure-like tunes that made me crave caffeine in a real bad, not friendly, way. Too many of their songs used pointless digital effects that were downright annoying. I kept waiting for some frantic What-Nots-esque tempo change to save the day, but it drowned in monotony.

Then, in the band's third show, The Peggy Hills have all the makings of a indie supergroup (hooks and looks). Not all the songs worked, but when they did, they worked overtime. I especially dug one mysterious, countrified ballad Eden sang. Being jazz phobic, I never realized India's vocals were truly fantastic. Now I realize the Peggy Hills are rock & roll saviors, and I won't forget that too soon.
Matt Koumaras

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From the May 14-20, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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