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[whitespace] Rock's Bounty

Alien Ant Farm's major-label debut boasts high-yielding song crop

By Sarah Quelland

SIGNED TO Papa Roach's New Noize imprint on DreamWorks Records, Alien Ant Farm follows its Greatest Hits album with its major-label debut, ANThology (produced by Jay Baumgardner). Like Incubus, AAF balances interesting lyrics with palatable music, and like Linkin Park, AAF is safe without being bland. Mainstream radio, which is already spinning ANThology's first single, "Movies," should eat this band up. The Riverside, Calif., group's initial grassroots approach brought it to the South Bay many times, and it earned a reputation for its cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" (included on ANThology). But frontman Dryden Mitchell, guitarist Terry Corso, bassist Tye Zamora and drummer Mike Cosgrove better communicate their slightly off-kilter sense of humor when they're being witty rather than kitschy.

One of the strongest tracks on AAF's album is the autobiographical "Whisper." Many bands will relate to Mitchell's sharp-tongued lyrics as he comments on the struggles he's faced as a performer ("Small rooms with record-exec types whisper away my future lately/I'll introduce you to producers/I'll write your songs and make them way damn shorter"), before standing up with "This is the package I'm sending/These are the clothes that I'm wearing/These are the words that I'm saying/These are the notes that they're playing." The intro to "Flesh and Bone" brings to mind old Police material and the reckless "Sticks and Stones" has a catchy No Doubt vibe. Another standout is "Death Day," a dark song fueled by the fantastical anger that comes from an ugly breakup. Mitchell sings, "I love to tie us into knots, we slipped away/I tried to captivate you on that evening/He was leaving with the girl I'd like to kill" and appropriates words from an old James Brown song, twisting them into "Papa's got a brand-new body bag for you." Interestingly, the band included the first song it ever wrote, "Wish," and the early song, which is heavily influenced by Deftones and Korn, shows just how far the band has come since then. Alien Ant Farm is scheduled to perform at the Warfield on May 8 with Papa Roach and Fear Factory. AAF is also on the Van's Warped Tour this summer and comes to San Francisco on June 30. Local punk band Stunt Monkey will be playing the Warped Tour's San Francisco and Tahoe dates.

Help Eric Fanali of Grand Fanali Presents celebrate his 22nd birthday this Friday (April 13) at the Los Gatos Outhouse behind Los Gatos High School. The Huxtables, Mall Security and Xiu Xiu are scheduled to perform. ... On Saturday (April 14), Fanali presents the Sillycon Valley Brown Out at the Fishbowl in Sunnyvale. Enjoy all-acoustic performances by Xiu Xiu, Stunt Monkey, Left Out Lamont, Enda, Mall Security, Your Precious You, Nuno and the Succubi, Dr. Froid, Friends of the Library, Close to Home, Derek Starr, the Stow-Aways and the Velvet Teen.

Next Friday and Saturday (April 19-20), Vamp Magazine and KMBY-FM (104.3) hold the grand finals of their battle of the bands at Palookaville in Santa Cruz. The battle has been taking place every Saturday night at the Aptos Club and finalists include Robot God, the Fire Sermon, Sneaky Creekans, Deadweight, Vincent's Ear, Sapos Muertos, Ribsy's Nickel, Leveler and Herbert. Both nights will be all ages and feature very special guest performers.

PLAN AHEAD: The Benjamins and Home Grown, April 12 at the Cactus Club; Salmon, with some lineup surprises, April 13 at the Cactus; Ronnie Montrose, April 14 at Palookaville in Santa Cruz; HBA, Leisure Sports and It, April 14 at the Aptos Club in Aptos; Mover, April 13 at Fuel; Oleander, April 16 at the Usual; U2 and PJ Harvey, April 19-20 at the San Jose Arena; Soulfly, Insolence, Ill Niño and Willhaven, April 19 at Maritime Hall in San Francisco; Fear and Agent Orange, April 20 at the Cactus; John Lee Hooker, April 21 at the Catalyst; the Januaries, April 22 at Fuel; Bon Jovi, April 23 at the San Jose Arena; Slow Gherkin and MU330, April 26 at the Cactus; J Mascis + the Fog, April 28 at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz; Sick of It All, April 26 at Palookaville; Iggy Pop, April 29 at the Fillmore in San Francisco; Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, May 1 at the Great American Music Hall; Rocket From the Crypt, May 2 at the Great American Music Hall; Gary Numan, May 4 at the Fillmore; Placebo, May 13 at Slim's in San Francisco; Hank Williams III, May 14 at Slim's; Frank Black and the Catholics, May 18-19 at Slims.

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From the April 12-18, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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