The Drags "Dragsploitation...Now!" (Estrus)
While a good majority of the Estrus bands sound like they really are from the 50's or 60's The Drags sound more like a 80's SoCal hardcore band that grew up listening to Jan and Dean records. This is punk rock in it's grittiest and rawest form, it might just make you want to slit your speakers so that all your albums sound like The Drags. If you're into the Estrus/gargae thing you'll want to check this out. If you're not quite sure about it there are other bands you might want to check out first.
Jawbreaker "Dear You" (DGC)
Here's what I don't get, Jawbreaker doesn't seem to be receiving any of that "sell-out" backlash that hits other bands and, to me at least, "Dear You" sounds incredibly like the Psychedelic Furs pumped up on steroids. I'm not saying this is bad, because "Dear You" is full of wonderfully written songs that deserve to be ilked. My question is how does Jawbreaker get away with doing this when other bands don't.
Kim Salmon & The Surrealists "Sin Factory" CD (Deep Six)
When I got this in the mail I looked and it and was sure it was something so bad i wouldn't want to listen past the first song so I put it on the pile and it sat there for about a week. Every once and awhile I get some bug up my ass and decide to play all the stuff I've been sent that I thought would suck. Usually what happens is that it's some of the best stuff I get. Who would have thought a band named Kim Salmon & The Surrealists would be such a fuckin groovy band. Take some Blues Explosion, Nick Cave, Big Chief, and Jesus Lizard and you'd maybe get close to this. It's dirty, it's fun, it's fuzzy, it's bassy, and it's loud. It's music that more strippers should play while doing what they do because above all else it has a definate sexy groove going on in every song.
Martian "...my favorite" 7" (Meat)
With less than ten shows under their belt Martian somehow managed to become the second single released on Fargo's own Meat Records. While Martian may not be the most original band in the world they write some fun songs and watching them is pretty enjoyable. They sound like probably a thousand other snotty 3-chord punk bands but their from Fargo, and there just aren't any snotty 3-chord punk bands here.
Number One Cup "Possum Trot Plan" (Flydaddy)
I'd be doing Number One Cup a great disservice by comparing them to Pavement but it's hard not too when they write such gorgeous indie pop gems. A fairer comparison might be to lump them somewhere between Nectarine and Guided By Voices, but for Number One Cup I don't think any comparison would do them justice. They say it themselves on the fourth track of this twenty track masterpiece with the song titled "No Particular Style". Guess what else, they recently played Ralph's backroom to a small but enthustiasitc crowd.
Oasis "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" CD (Epic)
This has been in my CD player almost constantly since I got up the nerve to go out and buy it (see, I rarely buy CD's so it's a big deal when I do). "Morning Glory" got me very interested in Oasis and after seeing and hearing the video for "Wonderwall" I was hooked, fortunately for me the rest of the CD is as good or better than those two songs. I really doubt anybody needs to hear me telling them any of this though, so if you haven't bought this yet go out and do it now.
Pizzicato Five "The Sound of Music By..." CD(Matador)
I'm not sure if I'm as excited about this as the last Pizzicato Five record I listened to (which I liked) but they do make a person feel pretty relaxed and worry free. These songs all belong on soundtracks to movies or as theme songs for television shows, and neither of those things is bad. The packaging of this CD is great, a clear plastic silk-screened slip case not to mention the cool Pizzicato credit card that falls out when you open the case, very cool. If you like disco or techno stuff chances are you already know about this, if not you'd probably like it.
Poe "Hello" CD (Modern Records)
Good golly do I dig this. I can't even begin to describe what is going on here. This Poe girl sings over awesome discoey dancey loungey sounding tracks that hypnotize me into a happy happy happy state of mind. I love this album, it is especially great to listen to while wandering around the web. Once again I've fallen for a female singer/songwriter. One of the best things I've heard in the past three months.
Push On Junior "Want" (Earmark)
Power guitar pop reminiscient of Jawbox, very catchy and melodic vocals that sound like they come from the bottom of the stomache. So catchy that even a person alone in a room would be tempted to do the indie rock head bob that seems to be the popular form of dance for the over 21 crowd, who incidentally I think Push On Junior would appeal to more. If I had to pick between new Jawbox and Push On Junior I'd take the latter.
The Rentals "Return of" (Maverick)
Remember new wave music? You know, punk music played by people that in most cases knew how to play their instruments and could write incredibly catch songs that more often than not were pretty dorky. This might be The Rentals debut but with a title like "Return Of" it could well be that The Rentals did in fact record a record in the early 80's that nobody ever heard of. They might have lived in Seattle at the time as it's a little heavier than the rest, but it's still poppy as all heck. Oh yeah, I almost forgot the Moog synthesizer, it's a gas. Better than Weezer.
Run On "Miscalculation/A to Z" 7" (Matador)
The Unabomber graces the cover of this single. I guess I wasn't too crazy about their cdep I heard a while back but "Miscalculation" is a damn good song and "A to Z" sounds like Joy Division doing the Cure, or maybe the Cure doing Joy Division. I don't know. I like it. Maybe I should give their EP another chance.
Supernova "Ages 3 and Up" (Amphetamine Reptile)
Grade school indie rockers from outer space with a space ship that looks amazingly like a van. The keyword with Supernova is fun, this is the pick you up album of the year, it's guaranteed to make you happy. The lyrics tend to sound like they were stolen out of a little kids notebook while the music just plain old rocks. Part of me doesn't see any redeeming qualities at all in Supernova, the rest of me just loves them for the same reason. One of the better things AmRep has released lately.
Various Artists "Bob: 11 of Fargo's Finest" (Meat Records)
Over a year in the making and the weirdest thing about it is that most of the bands are still together. Most of Fargo's premier cutting edge (in Fargo anyway) bands are represented, of course since at any one time Fargo only has about a dozen bands it doesn't really come as any big surprise that they'd all be here. The purpose of this compilation was to raise the funds to purchase a p.a. for Ralph's to use full time rather than to keep wasting money renting one. Let's hope it works. Quality differs from song to song but that doesn't really matter as this is a true testament to how hard the shakers and movers of the local scene are working together. A good document of the Fargo 1995 scene. Only 200 exist so pick it up.
Various Artists "White Man's Burden soundtrack" (Tag)
By placing three of today's bands (Hootie, Blues Traveler, and Dave Mathews) that are responsible for the utter crap that has come to be known as modern frat boy rock what can you expect out of this soundtrack other than bad songs by equally bad bands. Even with a couple of almost okay songs (probably stuff the bands decided wouldn't even make a decent b-side) by Bush and the Meat Puppets this soundtrack still is a waste, much like the movie I'm sure.
Various Artists "Screwed" (Amphetamine Reptile)
"Screwed" is the new title of the film formerly known as "Porn" that AmRep is doing the soundtrack for. This CD collects the eight songs from the limited edition singles released earlier and adds three more songs by Big Chief, Black Light Rainbow, and Gear Jammer. I love singles but I'd have to say this is a much better package when put all together, not that it would have been hard for me to do that on my own by taping the singles, but hey, i'm lazy. Standout songs belong to Hammerhead(with Kat from Babes in Toyland), Melvins, and Guv'ner who I really dig.
The Volcanos! 2song 7" (Estrus)
An extremely cool sleeve makes this a winner before even plopping the needle down. The Volcanos! are yet another instro surfish band to come to us from Estrus, though their sound seems a bit cleaner and polished from others. Both songs end up sounding exactly like you'd expect them to but they still rock more than the majority of anything else out there.