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Champing the Cause

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The Champs release a driving new album, while Junk Sick Dawn sticks it to the Catalyst

NOT TOO MANY bands have the nerve to put out a double vinyl/CD release. Then again, not too many bands ooze enough talent to pull it off as effortlessly as The Champs do on C4AM95.

The songs "Flawless Victory" and "Some Swords" are just two of the many treasures found on this booty. The stunningly orchestrated intro of "Andres Segovia" and "Sad Segovia" mesmerized me. The Champs' trademark Danelectro guitar attack is delightfully piercing, but now the band has upped the ante with a fortress of Korg samplers and keyboards. The results are, like the games kids in trench coats play on Friday nights, pure "Magic."

Ask out that rad guy/girl you met at Radio Shack, shove Ladyhawke in the VCR and crank up the Champs to maximum volume. It might get you evicted, but this CD will be the only shelter you need. For a copy, write Frenetic Records, P.O. Box 640434, San Francisco, 91464-0434.

Junk Bond

Junk Sick Dawn tickled the musical G-spot last Thursday at the Catalyst. The band confidently pleased the all-ages crowd with an impressive greatest hits catalog, plus it unleashed some groundbreaking newer tunes like "Pizza Boy." Dynamics were the game, and Junk Sick Dawn won every time, and the strong P.A. system really did the guys justice.

Lee and Russ have jelled into an ultra-tight rhythm force. The horns at the beginning added a classy touch. Tait's crunchy guitar death trips will soon earn him new messiah honors at the new punk-rock Waco compound. It's too easy to dismiss a lyricist who tries to pinpoint painful feelings into words as being "pretentious," but Tait rips his heart from his chest and leaves it gushing on his sleeve in every verse. That's punk rock and real to the bone in my book.

After I find a credit card number in the dumpster, I'm going to start my own label and sign these lads up. Look for the Tony Orlando and Junk Sick Dawn split seven-inch on Blood Red vinyl soon.

On another note--the show's openers Hate Fuck Trio. You know how bands like Zeke and the Cows play all those intensely powerful, nonstop rockers? Hate Fuck Trio is a lot like that until they pick up their instruments. That's when they magically transform into a less-garagey Stacy Q.

Herbert Update

Herbert, local gods of thunder, are hitting the road for several dates in Southern California at the end of August. Its last show at the Aptos Club with Queens of the Stone Age (who kicked out the jams Devo-style) proved that practice does make perfect.

Among the more prominent shows on the menu are an all-day rock festival in L.A., one at the Key Club on Sunset Boulevard, and a gig with Lucy's Fur Coat in San Diego. With the well-deserved success of Good Riddance, plus Slow Gherkin and Fury 66 rising above, it's time Santa Cruz gets the respect it deserves--we will no longer be the Susan Lucci of the music world.


Vincent's Ear, Riff Raff and Lost Cause play the Catalyst on Thursday (8:30pm, all ages). Time and Sayonce play the Aptos Club, also on Thursday (21 and up, $1).
Matt Koumaras

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From the August 13-19, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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