With the holidays rapidly approaching, Metro Pulse officials have asked staffers to clean out their skanky cubicles—what cleanliness has to do with the landing of the pilgrims or baby Jesus' birthday, we're not sure. Nonetheless, it seemed like a good time to sift through the pile of local demos on Zippy's desk and find out what floats (or what sinks). Here goes...


My Side of the Road

As most of the lyrics on My Side of the Road will attest, Blue Mother Tupelo is a working man's band. They play blue-collar blues rock, just like the first couple of Allman Brothers albums. The songs have little flash, but rely on the successful sting of Ricky Bryson Davis's electric slide guitar. Unlike the endless free-form jamming of the college hippie circuit, Blue Mother Tupelo jams only within the context of the songs. The songs in this instance are, well, typical blues rock fare, but the solid foundation laid by bassist Jim Ladd and drummer Ed Corts provides a framework for the interplay between Davis and his wife, the band's vocalist Micol Davis; and the sparkling production values of Seva add a luster that should appeal to the band's fans.


Gravity's My Favorite Drug

The music on Seva's Gravity is My Favorite Drug is trippy enough, but the fact that all those keyboard pyrotechnics are exploding from the same fingertips that have spun countless double shots of Bad Company is more than any one disc's fair share of weirdness. Seva is none other than the artist once known as Commander Dave, longtime DJ at WIMZ-FM, and he has secretly been producing these tracks—which range from lush Tangerine Dream-ish ambient synth pop to pulsating dance tracks—for nearly twenty years. (He also has decades' worth of completed punk, industrial, and who-knows-what-other-kinds-of albums in his closet. And he's been threatening to release long-lost tracks by the likes of Rus Harper (Evil Twin, Teenage Love, et al) and Jon Wallace (Whitey, Stinkfoot U.S.A., et al). Stay tuned.) The standout track is the disc's closer, "Don't Let the Gravity Get You Down," a propulsive proto-industrial cover that most fully realizes the potential of electronic music.The technology is strictly hands-on— no sequencing, no sampling. All of the keyboards (a Hammond b3 and various Moogs) were performed by Seva, who also produced the disc, with Mark Ball on bass and Anders Otterland on guitar.


Our First "Sucky" Demo

It's somehow impossible to dislike Leech's new six-song cassette—even though there's plenty to dislike about it: broom closet production values, indecipherable lyrics, and a vocal delivery that falls on the sonic continuum somewhere between an asthmatic Les Claypool and a chicken with a power tool stuck in its throat.

What Leech has going for it is a flair for big-bottomed metal riffs and a subversive (albeit sometimes juvenile) sense of humor that somehow emerges despite the atrocious vox and sludgy production. Consider Leech a poor-man's Primus. With a little effort, their next demo promises to suck a whole lot less.


Demo '97

In releasing its latest demo, Big Idea (formerly known as Flood) commits the cardinal sin of record-making; it put its weakest material first on the cassette. "See God" and "The Day I Met Me" are both tuneful and modern-rock sleek, but lack the driving edginess that usually kept Flood's accessible brand of alt.pop-rock from sounding too calculated or slick. The remainder of the demo however, rates the price of admission all by itself. "Skyway" and "Scary Little Something" are tough, trippy, and hard-edged, at times reminiscent of Flood's precursor, the late, lamented Sandbox. And that live (from a rehearsal) cover of Petty's "Refugee" must have dripped distortion and bad attitude all over the band's practice room floor.



Call me cynical; after all, everyone else does. But I couldn't help but be skeptical of the Audio Poolside CD when it crossed my desk. The name of the CD? Dangerous, a title shared with a Michael Jackson album. Strike one. A quick scan of the song titles revealed the name "Ganja Shack." Whoa boy. And then there was the cringe-inducing, mis-spelled message "Visit our websight." Sheesh. But enough with judging a CD by its cover; on to the contents. Plainly put, players Richard Heinsohn (guitars, vocals), Joann Palana (drums, percussion), and Jonathan Marron (bass) are pretty damn good at what they do. That said, it should be pointed out that what they do isn't necessarily the most original or exciting thing in the world. "Far Away Lady" and "Outstanding" both sound a whole lot like Lindsey Buckingham collaborating with Dire Straits; "Crazy Girl" sounds a whole lot like Tom Petty collaborating with, um, Dire Straits. Mind you, these aren't bad influences, just awfully familiar. If everything else was as intriguing as the white-hot guitar licks on "Dangerous" and "Metropolis," Audio Poolside would be headed in the right direction. Quick aside: I was pretty excited about the clever little chorus to "Ganja Shack"—"I shot the wee Stevie Wonder"!—until I realized it was, actually, "I shot the weed-stealin' wonder." Oh well.


A list of stuff, in no particular order, that got us through the week...

  • Blow-out show (Rude Street Peters, Chunkity, the Plastics, Evil Twin, et al—plus a band we'd like to see more of, Blue Movies) at the Longbranch (!), Sat., Nov. 15—yee haw!
  • first—and, we might add, quite successful—show, featuring Duralux, No Love Lost, and Dent, at 619 Broadway, Thurs., Nov. 13
  • Elton John performing "Benny and the Jets"—worth the price of admission—Sat., Nov. 15, at Thompson-Boling Arena
  • news that Jonathan Fire*eater is coming back to Mercury Theatre, Fri., Dec. 19
  • the fact that we've already got enough local CDs/tapes/records for a whole column next month, too...

—Zippy "And Friends" McDuff