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Stikky
Spamthology Vol. 1
Sound Pollution

Composed of local guy Todd Wilder (who went on to form Inka Inka), Chris Wilder and Chris Dodge, the late-'80s band Stikky liked to poke fun at then-timely subjects such as Gary Hart ("Senator Hart Humped a Dumpling") and valley talk ("A Hella-Short Song, and Not a Very Positive One at That"). Stikky's contribution to Bay Area punk can still be heard in Crack (Rusty's corrosive vocal style owes a lot to Wilder), the Mr. T. Experience and anything connected to the Gilman Street scene. Stikky also had the distinction of being the first band with an album released on Lookout! Records. That 1988 LP, Where's My Lunchpail?, is faithfully collected here (plus some bonus cuts). At 48 tracks, which rarely fluctuate from four-on-the-floor thrashing and Wilder's banshee screaming, Spamthology is more than ample proof that Stikky's legacy of politics and fun should not be forgotten. (Todd S. Inoue)


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DJ Shadow
Preemptive Strike
Mo Wax

Last year, DJ Shadow told me that his next album would not sound a thing like Endtroducing....., his 1996 soundtrack to life. He was half right. Preemptive Strike gathers up a gang of import-only rarities and remixes. "In Flux" and "What Does Your Soul Look Like" are like hip-hop Guernicas, showcasing Shadow's trademark fluidity, patient strokes and ability to extract subtle grandeur. "Organ Donor" is blessed with some electro touches. The sole new track, the rock/jazz "High Noon," gives a preview of what's on Shadow's horizon. His transcendental brand of instrumental hip-hop demands patience, which makes his presence on the scene so welcome. Preemptive Strike also contains a bonus disc that features Invizibl Skratch Pikl DJ Q-Bert getting geeked on the beats culled from Endtroducing....., a collaboration that turntable fans will no doubt eat up. (TSI)


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Rhett Akins
What Livin's All About
Decca

After two albums and a string of hits, including "That Ain't My Truck" and "Don't Get Me Started," country singer Rhett Akins' third effort is solid. Akins' songs have a down-home way of taking subjects like love, money, relationships and sex and giving them real character. On "Happy As We Wanna Be," Akins sings, "You can't get rich in Las Vegas / Can't retire on minimum wages / But with a little bit of love and some cable TV / We can be happy, relatively happy / Cool as a glass of iced tea." He may also be the first country singer to incorporate the phrase "Internet email" into a song ("I'll Be Right Here Loving You"). "Better Than It Used to Be" is one of the better country songs about good lovin', and "Not in the Cards" expresses the same clever, if painful, humor found in "That Ain't My Truck." (Sarah Quelland)


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Sugar High Billy
Spark
Scientific

This band's 14-track album is an experiment in punk with hints of ska, folk and rock. The minimally produced garage-band sound works with the simple but well-written songs. Two that stand out are "Whole Lotta Nothing," a Ramones-style number about leaving a dead-end town, and the ska-like "Dawn Is a Ho," about figuring out whether to continue a relationship. Other themes include power struggles ("Grudge"), being stabbed in the back ("Subject to Change") and relationships ("Just Say the Word"). Like sugar, Spark isn't the best musical rush, but it's fun while it lasts. (SQ)

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From the February 5-11, 1998 issue of Metro.

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