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June 4, 2004

Remote Control Me Right.

this week lingered like the haze after a storm. Every time I thought it was Thursday, it was actually just Tuesday morning. How could it not have been that way? with Memorial Day weekend's gills flanging from happily chattering out-of-towners, aw shucks gossamer wedding perfection, and late-night Movement Festival beat-dropping, goddamn if these last four days weren't just a headache removal service.

Still, some work was done. Fear Factory, for example. Remember these guys? No doubt pissed the fuck off at Joe Rogan for hijacking their spooky dollar store name, the band returns in 2004 with a rejiggered lineup and a bunch of songs about how angry they are with Roadrunner Records. "It's a sound that's been done before - some might even call it dated. But those are the same weaklings that will cower before the Factory's "Act of God" and its guillotine verses."

In mi libre, she's no Paulina Rubio. But Jennifer Peña's Seducción is still a pleasant enough Latin pop album. Its grooves are likely to be heard ticking out a tiny radio on one of those bell-clad pushcarts in Logan Square, the ones selling the corn with the mayo on it. As tasty as that might be on a hot summer day in Chicago, The Marked Men riff more satisfying. You heard? They hail from the same Denton, TX house party scene that incubated the absolutley outta control Riverboat Gamblers. "It's not the white lightning body ache of the Gamblers - unlike those crazies, you can actually understand what vocalists/guitarists Jeff Burke and Mark Ryan are saying. But On the Outside is rollickingly revivalist in its own right, pulsing on a tensile crossbreed of the Ramones and the Undertones." Zip!

Speaking of stuff like Spanish and rocking, LA's Go Betty Go got into the act this week with their EP Worst Enemy. "Highlights include "Son Mis Locuras," which begins with a nod to the city's funk metal history before whipping into a muscular punk en español main section." There was also cool stuff from Chicago's Cougars, who issued the EP Manhandler. I didn't say it in the review, but this band of wackos with horns really makes me long for the days of The Blue Meanies and the "Grandma Shampoo/Dickory Dock" 7".

Jucifer, by the way, "is still trying to kill your brain." But while the Atlanta duo is still sticking the ace of spades in the Melvins' grinning death's head skull, Amber Valentine's stark banjo and resigned vocal on War Bird's "My Stars" is as powerful as Bozie Sturdivant's "Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down."

If you've wondered what Depeche Mode would sound like if they loved Jesus, then this guy is your new favorite.

Hard Place uses keyboards, too; apparently they're the rage in Los Angeles. I don't know anything about that, but one of them used to live with my pal Wade, and their debut isn't half bad. Sparks apologists - take note!

Sparks of a different kind flew from the hackles on Matt Schwarz' back. Hair raised and temper a-toot, the Quasar kid decided something must be done about this other Zug Izland, the one populated by headband wearers and Juggalos. For my part, I suggested that "Zug Izland's sonics aren't strong enough to raise 3:33's alert level past blue."

And oh yeah, Robots in Disguise aren't fooling anyone. More than meets the eye? Try not cute enough and tiresome.

In spite of what Katie Couric told you, electroclash in 2004 is sweating like a fat guy in line for the VIP.

JTL

Posted by Johnny Loftus at June 4, 2004 10:18 AM