Randy Krbechek's Metronews |
April 16, 1997
Play It Loud
Croaker, Ditch Croaker (Warner
Bros. 1996) - Think heavily-amplified southern boogie. Think 34 minutes
of proto-grunge. Or just think power rock trio. In any event, Ditch
Croaker delivers the goods. Previous Article
Ditch Croaker consists of Tim Newman on guitar and lead
vocals, Floyd on bass and backing vocals, and Tim Barnes on drums
and backing vocals. This intrepid trio came together in Hoboken,
New Jersey, and eventually formed their own label,
The group's flair for self-promotion has created
many fans along the way.
Says lead singer Tim Newman, "We feed off each other really
well. You could say we're three vectors pushing toward our final
goal -- to have the opportunity to reach more people with our
music, to convey quality and care...to make enough of a
difference...to one day find ourselves on the oldies stations."
From the U2-influence "The Pimp" to the feedback-filled
"Hebba Ho," Ditch Croaker has real talent. Rock and grunge fans
will enjoy this understated jam.
Egg, Albumen (Discovery
1997) - Meet The Egg, Britain's newest foray into electronic/dance music.
With an intoxicating mix of live instruments, samples, and good song writing,
Albumen is a heady mix.
Formed in Oxford in 1994, The Egg consists of Dave Gaydon on
bass, Mark Revell on guitar, and twin brothers Maff (drums) and
Ned Scott (keyboards). Says Mark, "It started out as long jam
sessions, really. It was kind of like a story where you watch
the films and listen to the music and it takes you somewhere.
We want the music to take you on a journey." In live
performances, that journey is a three-dimensional interactive
feast, as The Egg incorporates fluid trance grooves, heavy beats,
hip-hop psychodelia and ambient house flavors with the added
bonus of Super 8 and Super 16 film footage.
In response to comparisons between The Egg and Pink Floyd,
Mark Revell says that, "We have all been into Floyd for a long
time, you might actually call us Floyd-philes. In early Pink
Floyd music, you were taken on a trip. We want to do the same."
Some music pundits think electronic/dance music is the wave
of the future. Albumen's extended jams on such songs as "The Fat
Boy Goes to the Cinema," "Jam Tomorrow," and "Shopping" mark The
Egg as emergent hatchlings. For a walk across the road with
instrumental/trance, try Albumen.
Cuts 1996) - Fans of 80's pop will remember Greg Kihn, who scored chart
hits with such songs as "Jeopardy" and "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write
Like That)" on such pun-titled albums as Kihntinued and
Citizen Kihn (a fine release from 1985 that is not available
In recent years, Kihn appears to have drunk from the same
well as Dave Alvin, another rocker-turned-traditionalist who also
lives in the Bay Area. Alvin rocked out with the Blasters for
many years; now he makes great solo and acoustic albums.
Likewise, Kihn churned out great pop material during the early
years of MTV; now, his albums feature his well-honed voice.
Kihn's last album, Mutiny (1994), received wide-spread
acclaim, as it blended traditional and pop elements to reveal a
talented and even-tempered artist. Horror Show (his 19th album)
doesn't have the same breadth as the prior release; instead, the
songs are more stripped-down and spare.
Which means that the first half of the album is a somber
listen, including such cuts as "JFK" and "Waterloo Sunset." On
"Trials, Troubles, Tribulations," Kihn delivers a religious
traditional in a style reminiscent of Johnny Cash's recent
recordings. Fortunately, the tempo picks up on the second half
of Horror Show, with songs like "Alligator Man" and "Where
Kihn also published a novel entitled "Horror Show" to
coincide with the release of the new album. A consummate artist,
and a Bay Area stalwart, Greg Kihn deserves to be rediscovered.
Though some fans may find Horror Story a bit austere.
(Elektra 1997) - Now
on their fourth album, Vancouver-based The Odds are hoping to build on
their success in the Great White North. With the diversity and skills
reflected on Nest, The Odds may achieve their breakthrough.
The quartet features Craig Northey on vocals, guitars, and
keyboards, Doug Elliott on bass and vocals, Pat Steward on drums
and percussion, and Steven Drake on vocals, guitars and other
The band boasts multiple pop influences. Thus, songs like
"Nothing Beautiful" are reminiscent of George Harrison and his
work with the Traveling Wilberies. Continuing in the mellow
vein, songs like "Heard You Wrong" draw comparisons to the
BoDeans and Crowded House. On the other hand, cuts like "Tears
& Laughter" and "At Your Word" are uptempo pop rockers.
Skilled musicians all, The Odds know how to get a jam
started. Try Nest.
-- Randy Krbechek
Copyright (c) Randy
David Anand Prasad with Idea Co.