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FILTER, DIE CHEERLEADER 7/7, METRO Following in the dubious footsteps of the laughably stupid Dink, who hail from Kent, Ohio, Cleveland's Filter have found surprising success with a debut album of post-Nine Inch Nails industrial-flavored rock. That record, Short Bus (Reprise), sets the band's technological blitzkrieg in a quasi-metal landscape, feeding angst-hungry kids the bubblegum dissatisfaction for which they starve. Without so much as mentioning the word tolerance, "Dose" attacks religious proselytizing with beanbrained lines like "I hate it when you preach your case / It makes me want to stick my dick in your face." (To foil any PMRC cops who might be reading, the CD's child-friendly lyric sheet chooses a more traditional expression of rage: "stick my fist through your face.") Filter irresponsibly hawk pseudorebellion to impressionable Q101 youth. Talk about hate rock--well, I hate Filter. Henry Rollins's role as executive producer of Die Cheerleader's new Son of Filth (Human Pitbull/London) helps to further establish his encroaching senility. If Die Cheerleader's attempt at making Pat Benatar palatable to alternative-rock audiences results in fame, Hank--who's written of the band "I hope they remember me when I'm mowing their lawns"--deserves to get stuck shoveling manure full-time. TRIPPING DAISY, HAGFISH 7/7, METRO The late show at Metro continues to be an exahusting evening of meaningless alt rock for confused "now" types, and Tripping Daisy, a tediously horrible alternative-on-a-stick Dallas combo, are perfectly suited to that slot. Their new album I Am an Elastic Firecracker (Island)--some nonsense about how humans are emotional firecrackers that explode and then shrink back to their normal state--frames the whiny vocals of Tim DeLaughter, which suggest Perry Farrell on whippets, with highly processed guitar grunge lite. To get to Tripping Daisy from Supertramp, just add some brightly colored coifs and dopey misplaced nostalgia like "Lying here with you / Is like pleasure in the sun / In the 70s"--as if sitting in the sun were somehow different a few decades ago. Tripping Daisy have mastered the art of selling safe danger, i.e., weirdness for its own sake that bolsters the fragile ids of their sheeplike fans. The new Hagfish album ...Rocks Your Lame Ass (London), produced by All's Bill Stevenson and Stephen Egerton, purveys that peppy, poppy, post-Ramones punk rock so hep with the kids. The Dallas foursome gives the formula a minor twist by acting stupid. Neat! SIXTY SIX 7/7, BEAT KITCHEN On their eponymous debut these revved-up Dallas roots rockers churn out plenty of energy and ignore suffocating genre lines, but there ain't much that stands out about them. While the country trappings of bands like the Jayhawks and the Bottle Rockets are secondary to terrific songwriting, with Sixty Six the inverse is unfortunately true. I'm sure they kick up lots of dust live, but I wouldn't expect much more. BLACK SABBATH 7/7, NEW WORLD MUSIC THEATRE, 7/8, ALPINE VALLEY Forbidden (I.R.S.), Black Sabbath's 25th album, reconfirms that guitarist Tony Iommi hasn't grown tired of the creeping proto-grunge he pioneered with Ozzy Osbourne nearly 30 years ago. Have you? DOLLY VARDEN 7/7, SCHUBAS As Dolly Varden, the husband-and-wife songwriting team of Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen, which had its genesis in the country-rock-leaning Stump the Host, continues to pen catchy, lyrically mature tunes like those of Richard and Linda Thompson, particularly in regard to the vibrant joint vocals. On their debut album, Mouthful of Lies (Mid-Fi), the release of which this gig celebrates, parental bliss has removed some of their edge, although nothing about them is as simple as it may seem; darkness still lurks beneath their sun. Arrangements on the CD tend to be a bit flat (a possible side effect of home recording), favoring restraint where they should kick it out, but it's a convincing testament to the duo's strong writing that the album works anyway. ED HALL 7/8, LOUNGE AX On La La Land (Trance Syndicate), the fifth album by Austin's Ed Hall, the power trio proves that dredging up post-Butthole Surfers sludge grows rather tedious after eight years. The band's early albums delivered abundant promise, braiding the blammo guitar tricks of Gary Chester with twisted chunks of melody and sounding like a delightfully bloated Minutemen, but their last few offerings have been increasingly stagnant. Flirting with goofy prog-rock tactics has pushed their over-the-top strangeness into the realm of emptiness. They often cover themselves in body paint and use all kinds of crazy lighting effects--gimmicks deployed long ago by the Buttholes. Diehards claim it's good fun. Sixteen Deluxe, whose virtues are extolled elsewhere in a Critic's Choice, open. INBREDS 7/8, DOUBLE DOOR On its forthcoming American debut, Kombinator (TAG/Atlantic), this energetic Toronto duo delivers surprisingly sophisticated and breezy stripped-down pop. Spare instrumentation--mostly guitar and drums--places considerable attention on their vocals, which deserve it, particularly the graceful harmonies. While they certainly come out of indie rock, their overarching pop smarts quickly transcend that scene's self-inflicted limitations. JOE CARR & ALAN MUNDE 7/12, FITZGERALD'S This Texas duo plays meticulously executed if a bit antiseptic bluegrass, perpetuating the state's rich musical tradition by mixing polished-up obscurities with originals. Their latest demonstration of their MO--Windy Days and Dusty Skies (Flying Fish)--is a varied collection of astonishingly fluid barn burners, a bit of western swing, and mod-tinged originals.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Marina Chavez.

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