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John Clark

Dig Me Out
Kill Rock Stars

Sleater-Kinney's new release comes at the perfect time--the band is still fresh in the mind from the spate of year-end wrap-ups and is opening for the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion tour. If Sleater-Kinney was a protest statement and Call the Doctor the senior thesis, then Dig Me Out is the dance album. Dueling guitars and drums are stacked next to a hefty tackle box of tested hooks. The fuse is longer on Dig Me Out than on Sleater-Kinney and Call the Doctor combined. "Dig Me Out" "One More Hour" and "Turn It On" are rife with hand claps and backup vocals pushed along by thick-stringed guitars. "Words and Guitar" is a perfectly structured pop song with an absolutely dreamy break. Sleater-Kinney should also be applauded for shrewd moves: staying independent and putting out an album one year after the last one rather than surfing the waves of Call the Doctor's accolades. If the media want to make stars of Sleater-Kinney, let 'em; a band this talented and street-smart won't get pushed around. (Todd S. Inoue)

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Eclipse 427

Fremont's Eclipse 427 is an up-and-coming force in local hip-hop circles, and Power is his debut. What stands out is Eclipse's consciousness, an element lacking in much of today's rap music. To a time-bomb tick-tock beat, Eclipse trains his radar on studio gangstas and grills them: "What will you do without power?" The question applies equally to the downpressed, and the call-and-response chorus works as a potent elixir. For those who equate consciousness with softness, the flipside, "Next ? Question," is straight-up battle rhyme, proving Eclipse is a student as well as a teacher. Power is an energetic showing from a talented rhymer and performer from Fremont, no less! (TSI)

Aromatic for the People

From the City of Brotherly Love and bombed-out neighborhoods comes Aroma, a trio seemingly afflicted with a perpetually down syndrome--kids with down-turned mouths playing downbeat music. Aromatic for the People is built from the ground up on scratchy-throated vocals, introspective lyrics and an often dolorous rhythm section. From its antediluvian eight-track production to its sly dig at the $80-million men in R.E.M., Aromatic is anti-corporate and anti-establishment. But all things considered, that doesn't necessarily up the ante. Perhaps not surprisingly, much of this music has that hip, ashen limey pallor. Indeed, "Diluted" and "Eternal" ride the Cure's jock so hard it's a mite disconcerting. When, however, Aroma relies on its own devices, as in "Harpoon King and "Bomb Squad," you can almost smell the dying roses seeking the sun. (Nicky Baxter)

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From the April 3-9, 1997 issue of Metro

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