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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Todaze Yesterday
Memory Lane: Some of San Jose's pioneer rockers come together again for "Todaze Yesterday."

Local Spinners:
A new crop of home-grown releases

MY GOODNESS, so many bands have pooled their Christmas money and are sending tapes and CDs this way. Other groups are gearing up for theirs to come out soon (Odd Numbers, Korea Girl). Send your tape in, but remember that you run the risk of getting dissed: Metro, 550 S. First St., San Jose 95113.

Various Artists/Todaze Yesterday/South Bay: You can take the San Jose out of the band, but you can take band out of San Jose. That is the lesson of this disc reuniting some of San Jose's old-school garage rockers--Chocolate Watchband, Syndicate of Sound, the Count Five and a host of luminaries--under the rubric of the South Bay All-Stars. Much of the disc is dedicated to standards like Robert Johnson's "Crossroads," Jagger/Richards' "Off the Hook" and "Tell Me," and the Kinks' "All Day and All of the Night." The chops are rusty, and the vocals are botched with a discernible grin. It would have been nice to educate the masses to Syndicate of Sound and Count Five's big hits like "Little Girl" and "Psychotic Reaction," neither of which appears.

The Retardos/Don't Want the Retardos/Super Teem: This three-track EP smokes with propeller-beanie-twirling intensity. Team Retardo doesn't let up through its two-minute blasts of garage rock. The fun chords and cheesy keyboards are sweet icing for this lop-sided pop tart. Infectious and heartfelt, it took so long to bake it folks, but the Retardos cook. Single of the week.

Dave Ellis/Raven/Monarch: Stepping out of the shadow of Charlie Hunter, tenor saxophonist Dave Ellis delivers a solo debut with a strident mix of history and new-jazz science. Neophytes who want to take in post-acid-jazz permutations should take Ellis out for a midnight spin. The configurations are tasty--horn-heavy vamps ("Hi Lo"), charged dance numbers ("Dave's Samba"), soothing Wayne Shorter songs ("Toy Tune") and even a tricked-out Lennon/McCartney joint ("Tomorrow Never Knows"). Ellis and his who's who of Bay Area players (Josh Jones, Jay Lane, Charlie Hunter, et al.) pull all loose ends together in a seamless mix.

IBOPA/Squids: Obsession & Devotion/Will it Burn?: More of the nutty, paranormal rantings of IBOPA, a.k.a. the Indestructible Beat of Palo Alto. I can't think of enough adjectives to describe the contents: romantic, spastic, disco, polka, lounge, surf. All of it is definitely entertaining. Tracks like "Leopard Coat" and "Holy Dance" should get Oingo Boingo and Cake fans salivating.

Ghostlike Sun/Loud as Light/Pastel Euphoric: Does 4AD know about Ghostlike Sun? The label should. Loud as Light is fit for the goth in your life. The split guy-girl melodies, the slight angular jangle, the low-key spirit of David J. on acoustic. The packaging is amazing. Flipping through the custom-printed, five-page CD jacket, I thought I was invited to a fancy dinner. Well done.

Can't Stop Rapping

I really wanted my opinion of Jalopy Taco Stand to change last Thursday when they opened for the Odd Numbers at the Usual in San Jose. Dave Ray adds a lot to the percussion aspect, and the Stand wasn't as Phunk Junkeez as I once remember. I'd be totally convinced if the vocalist kept singing and stopped rapping. ... Team Dresch performs twice in the Bay Area: Gilman Street on Sunday (Jan. 26) and Bottom of the Hill on Tuesday (Jan. 28). ... San Jose's Agenda has opened up a private parking lot across the street next to the Cactus. Diners can get parking for two hours after 10pm; Agenda regulars can park there for cheaper than the public lots.

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From the January 23-29, 1997 issue of Metro

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