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Notes From The Underground

[whitespace] Oliver Brown Oliver's Twist: Oliver Brown's humorous take on local life.

Brown Time:
Oliver Brown and his ukulele friends project irreverence and humor onto their new hot-dogging CD

WHAT BATISH is to a sitar, what John Tesh the rocker is to a 5 o'clock shadow, Oliver Brown is to a ukulele. On the Oliver Brown Trio's new CD, Oliver Brown Eats Five Hot Dogs, Brown's silly love songs tear me up. If that makes me a quiche eater, then here's my plate--gimme seconds! Add a smidgen of Daniel Johnston's sad love potion number nine and a dose of Jonathan Richman's humor accompanied by a legion of dedicated ukuleles, and you've got something like this CD: a simple masterpiece.

Brown's Shakespearean tales about milk runs, girls with cotton-candy hair and master-and-servant deli situations are pure genius. "Milk Boy," with the hilarious "I don't want any of that soy crap, I'm not Soy Boy" megaphone bit, is undeniably fun. "There's a Girl in the Deli" is neurotic pop shock that should make uptight Velvet fans laugh and apathetic Dead Milkmen fans cry. Air Supply is still questioning itself for not having the guts to generate a pop tune like "Oxygen." Brown particularly gets bonus points for his vocals, especially for the hammy rolled r's on "rrrrrrrivers."

"Geography" has a big ukulele sound that can be heard from Soquel to SoCal. The beautiful harmonies on "Telephoto Lens" made my guitar and I weep our way back into our cases. One problem, though: SPCA, come quick, I think I'm really going to attack that annoying bird in "Birdy, Big Changes Ahead" song. Nevertheless, this CD is very worthwhile and the only thing finer would be Oliver eating six hot dogs at the 7-Eleven nearest you.

'Beauty' in Words

William Taylor Jr.'s The Sad Dumb Beauty of Everything is a nice collection of poems from a writer who's contributed to Satanica's twisted Play Time With Daddy zine, among other things. Taylor wields a whip-smart pen. It's like having an all-star catcher, pitcher and utility infielder stuck in the rye. "Red Mohawk" made my aorta's liberty spikes melt inside. He writes lines neck-deep in affection like "Some spend entire lives trying to create some tiny semblance of beauty/ While others do it without knowing, without trying ..." that showcase Taylor's X-ray insights.

"On Walking to the Store for a Beer on a Monday Night" (William, you'd better copyright that one before Morrissey gets his busy clippers on it!) scratches the seedy underbelly of night life in anytown U.S.A. "Bus Ride," an exuberant, live-for-today epiphany for all its passengers, is a solid change of pace. Mr. Taylor, take a bow.

For info, write: Big Star Press, 1770 48th Ave #2, Capitola, CA 95010.

Return to Paradise

Fugazi returns to the Watsonville Vets Memorial Hall on Saturday, Feb. 20, after six years. The Gods Hate Kansas (featuring former Metro Santa Cruz news editor Michael Mechanic) and the Muggs will open. Tickets can only be purchased locally at Rain or Shine in Capitola Village.


On Thursday, Dilligaf, Wyrm and Loadstar play the Aptos Club; Subtle Oak Complexity, Sweet Nothing and Signs & Symbols play the Catalyst. On Friday, a KZSC benefit hosts Groovie Ghoulies, the Muggs, Wonder Years and Static Halo at the Pizza Junxion (7pm). On Saturday, Spaceboy, Riff Raff and Nothing Substantial invade Radio Free Records in SJ. On Monday, Exploding Castrations and the Noise Clinic play the Pizza Junxion/KZSC.
Matt Koumaras

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From the February 10-17, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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