Reviews-February 2001
Note: Reviews are in no particular order

The Masticators "Masticate!"-Pig 5 Records -

Grunge/alternative music is official DEAD…if you need any proof, just listen to the bland, vanilla, assembly line radio! But, turn off that dial because, once again, power-pop reigns supreme! Join the "Radio Police"…

Rock & pop made history, forget the record companies,
We are in this scene together, we are gonna rock forever!
From - "Radio Police"

"Masticate!", by New Jersey's the Masticators is everything a power pop record should be: a perfect, textbook study in the art of power-pop, following the traditions of the Bangles (before that Egyptian crap) and the Muffs (now in semi-retirement). It's your one stop, power-pop cornucopia - it excites, invigorates and inspires. Inspires you to see them live to capture the energy that's on this record. Sad songs, happy songs, slow songs, snappy songs. Of course, what is rock and roll without relationship songs? Rock & roll was a metaphor for sex anyway. The Masticators give you both barrels, from the "screw you" to the "I wanna do you" songs. And if that aint enough, there is a strange song about "Kidnappers" and a Devo cover, "Uncontrollable Urge". Three songs alone on this album make it a classic - "Radio Police", "He's the One" and "Here's a Boy". So pawn those boring "alternative" CD's and get hip to the Masticators!!!

Review by GPR

Coldfire "Coldfire"-Indie Release -

In a genre that's hard to deviate from, Coldfire has taken on 'hard rock' head on in two ways and succeeded in both areas. First, these young rockers hold their own agains't groups 10-15 years older! Secondly, they've challenged the hard rock 'rule' of, "there should be one ballad and all the rest headbanging songs per album". Sure, you've got your rockers and your Randy Rhoads type acoustic ballad.

This is the second release from Atlanta's youngest hard rock band, Coldfire. And yes, this CD contains all 6 tracks from their debut demo, also entitled Coldfire (that's why this release only got 3 stars-the new material is definetely 4-star material, but I hate when groups re-release songs that were on a previous album). But, a plus is that all 6 of the old tunes have been re-mixed, correcting all of the problems that plagued the first demo, most notably the vocal mix.

But, I want to concentrate on the 4 new songs, because these show the remarkable growth and potential of Coldfire. "Castles in the Sky" is Iron Maiden meets Styx's "Blue Collar Man", with impressive double guitar leads. One of Coldfire's strengths is that they are a tight band instrumentally. And, even more importantly, Derek's vocals are more powerful and self assured. Of the 4 new tunes, "South 42" is the real gem. Reminescent of the Boomtown Rats with its piano work, this song is not your typical Coldfire song. "Crystal Black Sea" alternates acoustic guitar with guitar "crunch" to a great effect. And the final song, "Nightmares" gives Iron Maiden a run for their money - it rocks!

Coldfire has managed to mix experimentation with your standard hard rock album to achieve an interesting album of pleasant twists & turns that succeed on all

Review by GPR

Stretford "Short Circuit"-Plan B Records -

"If I leave - I will miss it,
But if I stay - I'll regret it…"
-"Swan Song" by Stretford
Ah, those vocals, harmonies, horns and breakneck tempo changes that can only be Stretford! Loaded with the signature Stretford 'make you wanna pogo' songs. Short Circuit is the swan song of the Austin based, power-pop band Stretford. This collection represents a major closet cleaning of the band's unreleased library. But, even using leftovers, Stretford has managed to surpass what most bands strive for - a solid album. You've got old songs, new songs, live songs and covers. The CD is divided between 5 originals and 6 covers (Devo, Monkees, Hollies, Costello, etc). Although the covers are competent and even humorous, I prefer the originals because that's where the band truly shines. The originals range from the early days to the last song the band wrote and the growth of songwriting over the years is very apparent. My 'lyrics of the year' award goes to "New Clothes". The song is classic Stretford: fast, catchy, power pop with sublime lyrics, which just knock me out! They've even included a song called "Swan Song" about the break up of the band - I challenge any band to have the balls to do that on their final release. It's sad; cause Austin won't be the same without these guys.

Review by GPR

airport noises "Last Flight In"-Dog Day Records -

Review of Last Flight In is located in this month's airport noises interview page.
Click here to read review.

Peter Frampton "Frampton Comes Alive-Deluxe Edition!"-A&M Records -

Sure, I was a child of the '70s. I had missed all that cool music of the '60s, so my generation had to search for new heroes in the musical void of the mid-'70s. And I admit without guilt that I was a Frampton fan. Frampton Comes Alive was THE live album in the decade where everybody did a live album. Anybody with a pulse back then knew about this album. Frampton Comes Alive was also the first album I bought with my own money, and I listened to my first vinyl copy 'till I wore out the grooves and had to buy another copy. Its also one of the few live albums from that decade that I will continually pull out and play again. I mean, I can't remember the last time I listened to any of my live albums by Rush, the Eagles, Led Leppelin, or even the Rolling Stones! It's probably been more than a decade. But, Frampton Comes Alive and Cheap Trick Live at Budokan still both retain their impact twenty-plus years after their release. I had always avoided the early CD version of Comes Alive. The original album could have easily fit on one CD, but it was released on two, to the cries of "more money for the record companies". Also, that first wave of CD releases of vinyl classic albums suffered in sound quality.

Now, THE primo live rock album, Frampton Comes Alive has been released as a remastered and remixed double CD. What can be said about those tracks "Show Me the Way", "Do You Feel Like We Do?" and "Baby, I Love Your Way" that haven't already been said? But, now you can enjoy them in all their sonic brilliance! And, as a special treat, there are four additional tracks included form the 1975 U.S. tour that were not on the original vinyl album. The new tracks aren't simply 'filler' as most bonus tracks on CD's - they are fully integrated as if they belonged on the original album all along. Of these new tracks, the rocking "Nowhere's Too Far For My Baby" and "White Sugar" are especially welcome additions. It took twenty-five years to get the proper release on CD, but it was well worth the wait. Some rock is timeless.

Review by GPR

34 Satellite "Radar"-Hideaway Records -

34 Satellite rocks in the fine tradition of the Replacements, Wilco, Son Volt and Bufallo Tom. But, don't get me wrong - this is no mere sound-alike band. This album gets under your skin; the type that will dominate both your home & car stereo for months. Presented are straight-ahead rockers like "Vertigo" & "Remember", country rock like "Wishing Well" and "California". The standout track is "Fly Now", which, to use a Replacements lyric is "sadly beautiful", evoking an almost dreamlike state. And "Riverside" is a hoot - from its Kiss-like guitar/cowbell intro into a pure power-pop song. What makes this album so superb is how 34 Satellite seems to journey from one sub-genre of rock to the next, without SOUNDING like a different group!

Review by GPR

Our rating system:

Almost perfect...
Moments of brilliance...
Slightly redeamiing...
Worthless piece of $#%@...