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DeeJay Punk-Roc
ChickenEye
Epic

The name DeeJay Punk-Roc isn't the oxymoron it sounds like. Like the Beastie Boys before him (whose music he's remixed), DeeJay Punk-Roc approaches his chunky, deliciously dirty update of early '80s hip-hop and '70s funk with both the reverence of a diehard fan and the irony of a sneering punk. On ChickenEye, layers of big, squishy bass undulate under a melange of rhymes, James Brown grunts, scratching spirals and stuttering New York electro-beats. It's an intoxicating combination. The bass oozes under your skin and nearly forces you to move, especially on the frenzied first single, "Far Out." But DeeJay Punk-Roc is just as skilled at making chill-out music. Though you wouldn't know it from the titles, "The World Is My Ashtray" and "Dead Husband" are ultrasmooth jazz-funk-R&B cocktails. They're groovy seduction music, with the melancholy horns lending gravity while the luscious rhythms charm you right out of your pants. (Michelle Goldberg)


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Various
No Pants!
Let's Go! Records

Santa Clara University's KSCU 103.3FM, known as the Underground Sound, gives spins to many a local band and plays a wide range of noncommercial indie, punk, hip-hop, blues, reggae, house, techno, industrial, jazz and other music avoided by mainstream radio programmers. To show their appreciation, 15 Bay Area punk bands contributed live and unreleased tracks to a benefit CD to help the station fund new equipment and other needed materials. Highlights include Crack's cover of the Cars' "Just What I Needed" and the Donnas' Ramones-influenced "Friday Fun." Check out songs by some of the local favorites like the Mr. T Experience, the Odd Numbers, the New Mosquitos, the Timeouts, Concerning Eye, Soda and many more. It's a great slice of the valley's punk music scene. (Sarah Quelland)


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808 State
Thermo Kings
Hypnotic

Here's a record that's melodious and contemplative but still rhythmically complex, that soothes without boring us with the same old plodding trip-hop beats. Featuring remixes by such disparate stars as Brian Eno and the Propellerheads, Thermo Kings has a woozy, aquatic quality that's complemented by lithe, sparkling percussion (including lots of organic drumming) and playful synthesizers twirling like fireflies. The plaintive singing of Manic Street Preacher's James Dean Bradfield on "Lopez" recalls the yearning sensuousness of Primal Scream. The song appears in two versions--one mixed by Eno and the other by the Propellerheads--and the variations are fascinating. "Lopez" is echoing and serene in Eno's hands, while the Propellerheads make it grandiose and propulsive. The album also includes two versions of the cosmically soulful "Azura," but Dillinja's fairly conventional drum 'n' bass mix is a bit of a disappointment compared to the warm, inventive soundscapes on the rest of the record. (MG)

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From the November 5-11, 1998 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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