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Local bands the Creeps and Blueprint are forces to reckon with

By David Espinoza

AT A GLANCE, local crew the Creeps seems like another goth-punk band modeled after the glory days of the Misfits, but it ain't them--their sound is much bigger in scope. Unlike the trailer-trash 'n' homicide-obsessed Murder City Devils, or transgendered crypto-punkers AFI, the Creeps are a few degrees more peppy. Composed of Mike Creep on vox, Mike Fajen on guitar, Matt Habegger on bass, Devin Landes on drums and Heidi Bodeson on keyboards, the Creeps' self-titled debut frenetically blasts its way through 10 songs like Chewbacca, Han Solo, Luke and Leia exiting the first Death Star. Musically, the tunes range from Husker Du thrash meets Tiger Army greaserness to two-tone-era ska and blistering metal at a Metallica level of proficiency. There's even a moment of Weezer-esque power pop wonder on track 8, "Man of the Year."

Frontman Mike Creep may be the guy to watch onstage, but on recordings, keyboardist Bodeson adds the prettiest flavors with her electronica-punk melodies. Bodeson helps keep the sound focused, from her jazz piano intro to the crazed "Lost Boy" to the moog and organ-laced "Razorblade Pillow." Combined with blitzkrieg-speed drums, bass, guitar and spitfire vocals, the Creeps are an up-and-coming force to be reckoned with. The Creeps hit the Aptos Club with MLX and Dive, Friday (Dec. 28).

Here's a prediction for the new year: MTV, CMJ Magazine and CD 93 are all going to fall head over heels for local foursome Blueprint. The CD release party for their 10-song debut album, Maybe Wednesday, isn't due until Jan. 19 at the Cayuga Vault, but I guarantee you're going to hear a lot more about them between now and then (and not just from me either). Clean cut, confident and full of rock-star panache, singer Darren McClure, guitarist Zach Friend, guitarist Julian White, bassist Ben Edwards and drummer Dave Price have created the perfect alt-rock pop record. The music is so friendly, well produced and, more importantly, commercial-radio accessible, it's a shock that a major record label didn't produce it.

Singer McClure's voice ranks somewhere in between Counting Crows' Adam Duritz and Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins with all the necessary feel-good lyrics and music to back him up. The opening track, "Lush," sums up the romantic humor of the band: "From the moment that we said hello I just knew I wanted you, there's nothing you can do / I never thought when she let go of my hand, I'd be the victim of a one-night stand." The rest of the album follows a similar format: catchy drumbeats, sing-along-choruses and, yes, honest pop-guitar solos. Just wait, Blueprint will be opening up for Smashmouth soon enough. Remember, you heard it here first!

Rest of the Best

To follow up with the month's best-of-the-year theme, local releases of note for the year include: Estradasphere, Buck Fever; Run Return's 4-song EP; Sneaky Creekans, For the Time Being; the Moonies, Dundee Orange Marmalade; Streetlight Records, Support Your Local Musician; Blueprint, Maybe Wednesday; and Jeff Manson, Draw Me a Design.


Hip-hop First Night dance party with DJs Skritz, Reliq and Slicky at the SC Vets Hall, Monday, Dec. 31. Numbskull Productions brings the Nerve Agents back to town, along with Rancid's Lars Frederikson (the one with the bigger Mohawk), the Bastards, F-Minius and Madcap Saturday (Dec. 29).

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From the December 26, 2001-January 2, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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