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BLUE MEANIES 6/27, METRO Every once in a while a record comes along that blasts a tired genre wide open, and the Blue Meanies' new Full Throttle (Thick) might just be one of those. Oh, it's relentless ska-core all right, but the Meanies feel free to break into swingy jazz or waltz-time sweeps or chipper surf-guitar drippings at will, and they do it all fluently and with insane speed--blink and you miss half the nuances that make it a lasting delight. They can even write intelligent songs about relationships.

IMPOTENT SEA SNAKES 6/27, VIC Musically the Impotent Sea Snakes' God Save the Queens is standard-issue glam 'n' slam, but hey, songs with titles like "Fist-Fucking My Mother" and "Felching"--makin' the Frogs look subtle--don't have to do much else to get my attention. Performance is obviously these Atlanta freaks' real reason for getting out of bed in the evening--their act incorporates animals, latex, pyrotechnics, and Wayne County-style dildo-juggling antics on a Wagnerian scale. I have to respect a band whose artistic limitations are defined not by the market but by the vice squad. They open for W.A.S.P. and Motorhead.

MOJO NIXON 6/27, HOUSE OF BLUES Not too long ago Mojo Nixon seemed poised to become, if not the Lenny Bruce of underground rock, then at least the Denis Leary. And his inspired collaboration with Jello Biafra a few years ago revealed that there was still some life--and a great deal of genuine conviction--left in both those old cranks. But in the context of the House of Blues (Mojo's a house favorite at the far more intimate and rowdy Lounge Ax--what gives?), with one-joke wonders Dread Zeppelin headlining, I fear we may be in for a depressing evening of canned irreverence.

PHONO-COMB 6/27, LOUNGE AX On its recent debut, Fresh Gasoline (Quarterstick), this Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet spin-off with former Jad Fair collaborators faithfully re-creates just about every guitar tone that ever sounded good on a long road trip--surf, acid pop, neopsych, spaghetti western--and then delightfully warps Eno's "Here Come the Warm Jets" to boot. And since almost all the tunes are instrumentals, you can add your own lyrics about anal sex with kangaroos, or whatever.

JEFFREY ALTERGOTT 6/28, UNCOMMON GROUND I received five review copies of Altergott's new Little Blue Record Player (Immortal Bear), all wrapped up in a beautiful paper package designed to look like a tiny toy phonograph, with a little paper handle and miniature brass hinges--and I remember thinking, "This better be good or it's gonna be a real shame to open it." Fortunately, the loving attention to detail extends to the music. It's hard to broadly recommend a singer-songwriter, since so much depends on the chemistry that develops--or doesn't--between you and the guy on the record, but Altergott's bite and funk and sense of wonder make the prospect of sharing a few cups of joe with him seem pretty appealing to me. But I still think he shouldn't give so many of these damn things away--people are gonna think he's easy, especially when the show is free, too.

SUB ROSA 6/28, BIG HORSE Though the cute cover cartoon on these four boys' second self-released tape hints at pure pop, what you get instead is brittle and blustery alt-rock that never quite sustains all the forced emoting. When the guys do attempt sweetness, it turns out they can't put their melodies where their doo-de-doos are. "Kerosene" (most definitely not the Big Black tune) seems aimed straight at Q101.

BUCKY DENT 7/1, LOUNGE AX The four songs on Bucky Dent's demo betray an obsession with cars that caused me to stifle a yawn, but there's a playful sense of drive at work that redeems the done-to-death sound-effects play. It won't change lives, but it should lift spirits.

--Monica Kendrick

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Blue meanies photo by Erich Wilhelm Zander.

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