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Notes From The Underground

[whitespace] Subtle Oak Complexity
Bio Genetics: Subtle Oak Complexity's new album, 'Biograph Girl,' satisfies a craving like a fine wine.

Punk Rock Girl:
Subtle Oak Complexity's 'Biograph Girl' even pleases Mikey

THERE'S THIS YOUNG BOY, Mikey, who keeps showing up at my breakfast table each morning. I keep telling him to leave me alone and to take his fingers off my Life cereal, but he just won't listen. So I hauled the record player up on the breakfast table, put Subtle Oak Complexity's Biograph Girl on, and what do you know? Mikey likes it. Justin and Tony's sweet vocals ring loud and true like an emo liberty bell.

The first track, "Look Around," is a nice pop song in the Velvets tradition, but the second and third tracks impressed me the most. The ominous "We're going to heaven" chorus from "America on Odessa's Steps" strangely reminds me of Bauhaus except it's good. The band's dynamic prowess should compel everybody to embroider a scarlet A to put on this trio's shirts. "Charmed Innosense," with Justin's luscious guitar leads, shows the grace and maturity of a band that's perfected its craft ahead of schedule. Tons of melodic twists that surprise.

Once I finish making my indie Charlie's Angels movie (with Parker Posey starring in every role--yes, even Bosley), I've found the perfect band for the soundtrack. Oh yeah--Mikey wanted me to tell you that this record makes Sonic Youth sound more like Debbie Gibson on Electric Youth. Available on Fiver Records. Write to the band at 506 Laurel St., SC 95060.

Show Tunes

I almost missed Gamera at the Aptos Club on Thursday due to a delay at the door (I forgot my ID, and that Oil of Olay I've been using plus my clean-shaven torso gives me quite the youthful hue). This Marin County trio played decent grooving metal, despite the fact that the drummer and the guitarist sometimes forgot to carpool with each other along the way.

Herbert, back from its PrettyUglyLittle tour, saluted its minions with rock that shot out touches of evil divinity. Mike's light-speed fret work proved metal doesn't always equate wanky four-minute guitar solos between verse and chorus. If bands were vacuum cleaners, Herbert would be the Hoover '98 Ultra Deluxe 1000--a one-of-a-kind model that sucks all the incredible riffs out of the metal terrain.

Headliner Nebula boasts Fu Manchu vets Mark Abshire, Eddie Glass and Ruben Romano, and the band kicked out the jams in a nasty and deliberate manner, incorporating sludgy riffs that went together like Connie Chung and Maury Povich on Valentine's Day. When two of the bands on the bill have names that sound like monsters that could whoop ass on Godzilla, you can't lose.

Last Call

One of the most original bands to emerge from Santa Cruz, the Champs, played its last live show at Spaceboy's CD-release party last month in San Francisco. The Champs still plan to hook up in the recording studio, but the engaging live shows are sadly no more.

Upcoming

Exploding Crustaceans, Insolence and Subtle Oak Complexity play the Aptos Club on Thursday (9pm, $1). Apeface and the Unit Breed are at Radio Free Records in San Jose on Friday (2626 Union St., free). Pending some final negotiations, Alanis Morissette will drop in on the Catalyst for shows on Oct. 10 and 11; call the club (and be prepared for a busy signal) for ticket details. Over the hill, Beck and Devo are the big names at the Silicon Planet AIDS-benefit concert on Oct. 10. To get ticket information, call 408/297-9755 and say you got an invitation. When prompted for a password, enter "Mutations."
By Matt Koumaras

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From the September 24-30, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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