Rhythm & Views
MARCH 23, 1998:
IF STRANGE ATMOSPHERIC conditions caused KFMA and Radio Fiesta to couple on a single radio band, it would sound a lot like this boring sampler from San Francisco-based Aztlan Records. It's almost exactly what you'd expect from a compilation titled Alternativo--workmanlike replicas of typically bland college rock, sung in Spanish by such bands as Pastilla, Maria Fatal, and Superzero. It's all here for the unlaid KAMP deejay to spin--faux Foo Fighters, wannabe Weezers, pseudo Soundgardens, and Offspring offsprings. Since this is my first record review, I dutifully listened to this load at least five times, and not even one song wormed its way into my brain (who says this isn't real work?). Even if this stuff came out 20 years ago, it would still be tired and done. Attention skeet shooters...Pull!
WADE CURTISS & THE RHYTHM ROCKERS
FROM THE CD's artwork alone, Wade Curtiss resembles a psychopathic, rockabilly-loving half-brother of Henry, from David Lynch's immortal weirdo cult flick Eraserhead. Sporting an excessive mass of rat's nest hair, the pile haphazardly teased high on his forehead the same as Henry, Curtiss certainly looks as though he had no more to offer than that terminally lovelorn psycho geek did. Curtiss, who in later years suffered severe physical handicaps and turned his talents to managing pro wrestlers, cranked out markedly obscure, but high-spirited rockabilly masterpieces during the post-Elvis heyday between 1958 and 1960. Henry couldn't play a lick to save his ass. The 37 colossal tracks reissued on this jaw-dropping career retrospective flaunts Curtiss' boundless talents at their wildest and craziest. Highlights include the suave albeit rousing instrumental fervor of "Real Cool," and the re-worked send-up of the timeless Trashmen cornerstone, "Surfin' Bird," here slyly renamed "Puddy Cat (Mama-Meow-Mow)." Forget the Stray Cats, Polecats, and the remainder of those early '80s feline-characterized rockabilly imitators--true original Wade Curtiss swings a dead cat and smacks a sex-starved dance hall kitten every time.
IMAGINE THE HOVEL in which you live is a grand palace, bedecked with palmettos and tiki torches and populated by bejeweled beautiful people; the kind of place over which dark clouds never form and the birds always sing. Now imagine the soundtrack such a place requires, all tinkling keyboards and gossamer glissandos, soothing and unobtrusive, piffly and treacly. Tucson lounge artist Glenn Kramer delivers the appropriate aural cotton candy with this disc, 63 minutes of safe-as-milk tunes from the likes of Peter Tchaikovsky (in his more saccharine moments) and the unspeakably evil Andrew Lloyd Webber, along with a brace of original compositions. Spin it along with Zamfir and Yanni, and your world will be as lovely as Juan Perón's.
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