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Notes From The Underground

[whitespace] Swingin' Utters
Swingin' High: Swingin' Utters make a stop at the SC Vets Hall on Friday night as part of a Numbskull Productions punk-rock fest.

A Tribe Called Best:
Girl Fest '99 hit the Santa Cruz Vets Hall with pop-rocking power

TRIBE 8's high-powered set at Girl Fest '99 last Saturday was a kick in the gonads, and the resulting squeal was more intense than a swing party with Dick Van Dyke. Buckets of adrenalin, furious guitars and a definite fear factor made for great rock & roll. "Slow Ride" came complete with Lynn's boxer and dildo action and was a disturbing moment of Zen.

Even better were the deadly NYC-punk grenades that Fabulous Disaster threw out that covered such socially relevant topics as "Rich Bitches in Volvos Piss Me Off." I dug the gutsy drumming, the cartoon one-arm salutes and the tough-as-nails guitars that made for a massive sound. Even though Fabulous Disaster committed the cardinal sin of wearing their own T-shirts, the shimmying baby with a spiked coif who appeared onstage made the band's regrettably short set the perfect disaster.

Among other highlights, Santa Cruz's the Preteens cranked out sparse pop tarts along the bratty lines of the Third Sex. Laura's guitar had more twists than a hula hoop soaked in Pennzoil, and Christina's thick backing vocals were magnificent. There was no cover of Doggy Style's "Preteens" because this precocious trio was too busy churning out its own hits.

Though I missed seeing the Violets set, I heard that the band's sultry vocals and precise violin and trippy bass work were enjoyable. Opener Lisa Dewey's Cranberries-like pastels made me sleepy--I think I counted to sheep number 11 before my body was making Nyquil organically.

Snowed In

Cypher in the Snow's So, You Have an STD. You know that obnoxious blare of the Emergency Broadcast System that always seems to interrupt you during the "Screech Gets Pierced" episode of Saved by the Bell? Do you ever secretly hope for some kind of catastrophe, only to find out that it was merely a test? Well, that same bitter feeling hits home on this record, and in some ways the wailing bleeps of the Emergency Broadcast System sound a whole lot better.

Anna Joy of Blatz fame shares the vocal duties on the album's songs, and so I thought I'd be into the record. But the definite devil-may-care charm is missing, and the sort of drunken structure of Cypher's poppy songs of the past was defintely missing. Here, discordant guitars generate some decent riffage, but they are constantly undermined by bizarre trumpet lines and random vocals that literally make the bile tickle the tongue.

I can only imagine the concept behind the hatching of this experiment-gone-astray: "Hey, let's gather all our friends and every single instrument possible and just jam." What they failed to realize is that if you stink as a four-piece, that stink ain't going to go away as a seven-piece--it's just going to get worse.

Admittedly, though, I did find myself liking the second song, "Scabies," in a very disturbed Starship kind of way.

For a copy, write Bad Monkey Records, 473 North St., Oakland, CA 94609.


On Thursday, March 25, Nashville Pussy and Nebula are at the Catalyst; also Thursday, Sean Kennedy and the King Kats celebrate a CD-release party at Moe's Alley. On Friday, the Volunteers, Mad Parade and the Forgotten play Skinny McDoogle's, while the Swingin' Utters take on the SC Vets Hall. On Saturday, Thumbs Down and Half-Life seize the Felton Community Hall (7:30pm, all ages).
Matt Koumaras

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From the March 24-31, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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