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Music Reviews

Randy's Buttons

February 26, 1997
Yet Another Dead Guy on MTV
Sublime Sublime, Sublime (MCA 1996) - Sublime is the swan song from Brad Nowel, the singer/songwriter/guitarist who died last summer of a drug overdose. And that's too bad, because Sublime (which was formed in 1988 in Long Beach) had a unique sound that mixed ska, punk, reggae, rap, and pop. Which is to say, the 17 tracks on Sublime are unique.

Sublime was rounded out by Eric on bass guitar and Bud on drum kit. The band's prior album, 40 Oz. to Freedom, was self-produced for under $1,000, and sold more than 150,000 copies. The anarchy of 40 Oz. to Freedom was toned down for Sublime, which has a rich, perfectly-produced sound.

More Links of interest for Sublime Fans
Def Jam Recordings
Skunk Records

With such solid cuts as "What I Got" and "April 29, 1992 (Miami)", Brad Nowel was solidly rooted in the same 'hood as Run DMC and NWA. But his mix of rap, reggae, and lyrical melodies forged beyond the average angry rap for a more humorous sound, while retaining serious undertones. It's a shame we lost this talent at such a young age. Don't overlook Sublime.

Hot Water Hot Water, Hot Water Music (Elektra/Sire 1996) - The trio that comprises Hot Water claims influences from Buddy Rich to Waylon Jennings to Johnny Winters. In the end, the threesome lays down a unpretentious rock-n-roll sound with southern guitar-rock leanings.

Recorded at Treasure Isle Studios in Nashville, Hot Water Music features James Patrick on guitar and vocals, Lou Roberts on drums and backing vocals, and Harlan Hendrickson on drums and backing vocals. Guest appearances include Benmont Tench on piano and organ, and Sonny Landreth on slide guitar.

With a sound that calls to mind Lynryd Skynrd crossed with Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Doors, the 12 tracks on Hot Water Music steer a steady course. Says drummer Lou Roberts, "We did have a blast making the album. Plus, we got to shoot off a whole mess of fireworks, at least until the cops came."

The songs like "Hard As I Try," the bluesy "December 17th," and the rocking, "Same Day Twice," the youthful members of Hot Water have the chops to go a long way. Try Hot Water Music.
Loud Family Loud Family, Interbabe Concern (Alias Records 1996) - The Loud Family, long-time alternative favorites, have regrouped for Interbabe Concern. The new album features a solid pop/punk sound, with psychedelic overtones.

Loud Family now consists of Kenny Kessel on bass, Don Richardson on drums, Paul Wieneke on keyboards, and singer/songwriter/guitarist Scott Miller.

Loud Family arose from the ashes of Scott's previous group, Game Theory, which attracted attention as the 1984 winner of CMJ's "Best Unsigned Band" poll. Interbabe Concern continues in this alternative vein, while also mixing in more pop-oriented numbers such as "Uncle Lucky." For a diverse 19-track alternative sampler, try Interbabe Concern.

Archers Archers of Loaf, All The Nations Airports (Alias Records 1996) - Continuing in the same alternative/pop vein are the Archers of Loaf. In the four years that the band has been in existence, the group has achieved widespread alternative attention, while also keeping its listeners off guard.

Meaning that the Archers are not stuck in a rut. The band consists of Eric Bachmann on guitars and vocals, Eric Johnson on guitar, Matt Gentling on base, and Mark Price on drums. The group appeared in Fresno a couple of years ago at a disastrous show at the old Bisla's: We left around midnight, when the promoter said that the Archers wouldn't hit the stage for at least an hour. So we missed the live gig.

Now on their fifth album, the Archers took refuge in the studio, rather than recording live as on their last two albums. As a result, the songs have a more textured, hard-edged tone, as well as a more eccentric overall feeling. Instrumentals break up the album, with piano helping to take the edge off the furious moods that occur within All The Nations Airports.

Which is to say, the new album isn't an easy sell. But it has the quirky overtones that helped the Ben Folds Five take off. Look for the Archers at an airport near you.

-- Randy Krbechek
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