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coverpic flag US - New Jersey - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 22 - 08.08.98

Various Artists
Stop and Smell the Locals
Stop & Smell the Locals (SASTL)

Hoboken, New Jersey - the Mile Square City. Known for being the cradle of baseball, the birth place of that Jack Daniels-addicted maffia crooner who died earlier this year, and the legendary rock club Maxwells, where excellent bands such as the Feelies and the Bongos performed during the late 70's/early 80's. Here's a compilation presenting 18 of the local (from the Hudson county) bands of today. PLAY, and smell the locals!

Chander opens the ball, with a song called Fracture. Likeable. It's catchy and can maybe be compared to the Chapel Hill-scene around Superchunk and the Merge label (Archers of Loaf, anyone?). Next band up is bob fields, who's got at least one 7" out. Big Red Bicycle is bouncy indie-rock, like, say, a mix of Pavement and Spent. maximumjack! plays power-pop, related to Lemonheads, or Posies. Or both.

Most of the bands presented on Stop and Smell the Locals play up-tempo, rough and punchy, melodic hard rock, post-grunge, f.i. Liquid Spider Station (Rumor), Footstone (their Ivana is quite early-days-Nirvana-riff-like), Friends, Romans, Countrymen (Marry me, fly free - some bandname!), threadline (Rut), Big Wow (Nothin' to say - another "Nirvana-band", especially the vox), High Speed Chase (Do U Dare?), Staygold (Three Wishes), and Fear of Falling (King of America - recorded live, no over-dubs.). Space-rockers Tadpoles (Race you to the Mustard Patch) seems to be the "veterans" of this compilation, with 3 albums on their neck (on their own Bakery Records label). the therefores (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) plays melodic guitar-rock, while Easter Parade (Carnival) are quicker in their power-pop-rush. Urban Woods are calmer with their regular melodic rock, and finally there's Scott E. Moore (Oh, Nicole), who's acoustic and...passionate. The only bands that sound a bit different on S.A.S.T.L. are The Erics (Gold Dress is, well, Throwing Muses-like), starring Eric and Erika, plus a bass-player called Jeremy (yes, there's been talk of changing his name), and Sinde Kise (Blue Streak), a quartet sounding like...Magnapop(?). They once played in Brooklyn, and haven't been back to Brooklyn since. Hey, at least you came back alive!

It seems like plain, straight rock is the thing to do in Hoboken these days. There aren't much innovative music or experimental rock on this disc. But it's a honest record, presenting a lot of wannabe-rock-stars who can play, and surely enjoys exactly that. Still there are drums along the Hudson. And Maxwells has re-opened. Maybe the Feelies will reunite again as well!?

Copyright © 1998 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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