By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
By Harley Oliver Brown
The Suntanama: idealistic, stubborn, munchkist name for rusticrustacean whiteboys, amidst tall buildings; secret name, chewed and growled over as if by a cub, spit carefully onto the stray leaf, curled and stuck pointing (in) to where another precious moment of seeking, noticing, forgetting lets you know you're still alive. So the Suntanama front you (yet!) Another (CD, that is). Sun through enough such leaves leaves a spotty tan. 101 golden radio-spots of garble spark the lyrics, az written and semi-ticulated (perhaps tighter-jawed descendants of pioneering psychedelibillies Holy Modal Rounders, now rattling infectiously through finally released Live in 1965? Your Momma should know). Twang-twining, tree-bearded arrangements findthemselves, headphonically (calling, "C'mon in, the water's fine"). Another gets better as it goes along, 'til starseed's glorious gathering/farewell, "Late Night At the Fountain." Bound to hitch a ride on yon school bus, westing to . . .
Mars Volta. Whose big bananaspots slip electrically elsewhere: through stabs of light (purple bursts of trans WhoZepYesRush- QueenQueensJaneRageSystemRedHot-
FugaziSantanaAtTheDrive-InEmoScreamo trajectory), which never- theless tend to bounce off crystalline towers of voice, on account of "Joycean wordplay" in the midst of Revelation. It's a challenge, but appropriately so. For inst. (one of their easier pieces), song-title "Cicatriz esp" can refer to headshrink and/or vaccination mark: Either way, you're in goood hands, Mr. De-loused at the Comatarium blackhole-visionary guy. Whose defiantly creative/self-destructive internal cosmography (runs) rings through ricochet-maze/shields of gloved ones Mars Volta's implosively arty art. Once, before artist-junkie-De-Loused dedicatee Julio Venagas woke up and finally succeeded in killing himself, he and ex-Drive-Ins Cedric and Omar were friends, and it shows.
Philadelphia's Dysrhythmia got no weird words (except the name). They're an instrumental-"only" rock trio, which, on Pretest, can mean a theme dreamed like Medusa's hotcombs through another kinda ricochet-maze (incl. not hummable tunes but tunefulness: reassuring/intriguing bait). Sideswiping fusion, prog, punk, and metal, Dys are Deans of Fairplay Rockspoticism. They never push originality or influence too hard (unlike heroes of previous paragraphs). Results speak: "Running Shoe of Justice" was slam-dunk-christened by an audience member, when he first heard the untitled instro. But Dysrhythmia aren't just about smelly ol' shoes, smelly ol' justice; they be mellow. Guitar-bass-drums and back, playin' a little keep-away, like Suntanama, Rounders, and Mars Volta after all. (Smoke signals seem to read: "Soon as listeners think they completely get any music, they basically stop listening." Untrue, guys! [Guys?])