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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Local Motion:
From junk to junket--a local music roundup

AH, THE PLETHORA of local music releases. Some of them sound like victory, and some of them make me wish for the return of the Diesel Queens. (Not a bad idea: Kiss is touring, and David Lee Roth and Van Halen have made nice-nice. Come on, fellas, it's an election year.)

Junk/Kiss My Acid Jazz/Faffco: In the last two years acid jazz/jacid ass, whatever you want to call it, completely fell out of my favor. I stopped going to shows, quit following the scene and grooved old James Brown whenever I felt the need for funk. In comes Junk, a group that just may recharge my interest in the genre. A drummer, Philip Stier, co-produced and co-mixed Kiss My Acid Jazz, so Diego Voglino's beats are on point; no need for vocalism here. The upbeat tracks--"The Faff," "Cheese Patrol," "I Got 8"--make this CD move without distracting "yes, yes, y'alls." As the title suggests, don't get hung up on labels; push "play" and enjoy.

Treble Hum/Treble Hum/Ionic: I remember watching Treble Hum back when it epitomized the grunge sound coming out of this area during the early 1990s: very heavy, lots of hair, angst. Now that the g-word rarely gets respectable play anymore, Treble Hum hasn't broken out of the mold. "Ordinary Girl" liberally cops Pearl Jam's "Not for You" structure. Aquatic metaphors, a Pearl Jam trait, pour out of "Like Water," especially during the break. But I got to hand it to Treble Hum: the members work hard at their craft. The solid, hard-rock songs are more than slightly derivative, but hey, so are everyone else's.

Nexus Junket/Hear/Open Eye: Hear opens with a promising swirl of confident guitar and rumbling beats; the sound is somewhere between Live and Gary Richrath­era REO Speedwagon. The sweetness builds up, then voices like Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson invade the airspace, antiquing the entire landscape like a cheap dye job. The vocals on Hear are so sincere, yet so plain, like bad Christian rock. Wait a minute. What's the chorus in song number four? "I've gooootttt a friend in Jesus." Argh! It is bad Christian rock!

Do the Alcohol

Saw a little of Palopalooza last Friday at Cubberley Auditorium in Palo Alto. The lineup flip-flopped more times than Bill Clinton, finalizing in Cain, Marginal Prophets, the Aquamen, the Odd Numbers and surprise headliners Skankin' Pickle. I swear, I must be a jinx to the Marginal Prophets, because every time I see them, their PA goes out or they get booed off stage; the former happened Friday. The Aquamen surprised and delighted all. Made up of spare parts of American Sensei and Cain, the Aquamen shudder and shimmy with surfy Shadowy Men/Man or Astroman zaniness about intoxicants. Song titles included "Do the Alcohol," "Wild Turkey," "Jose Cuervo" and, well, you get the idea. Ran into Skankin' Pickle's newest sax man, and former Janitor Against Apartheid, Mike Liu. I asked if he's been getting vibed for taking Mike Park's place on brass. Liu answered affirmative, adding that someone was mad because Pickle replaced the "good Asian with a mediocre Asian." I was flabbergasted.

After the Show

As a special enticement for post­Music in the Park fun every Thursday, head over to the Camera Cafe for some coffee and local acoustic songstress Lisa Dewey. ... The Usual is home of a fresh new dance night, Sugah. It debuts next Thursday. Kwai, Julius Papp, Grey-V and Jay-J promise sweet sounds on the trip-hop tip.

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From the July 11-17, 1996 issue of Metro

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