NOVEMBER 10, 1997:
This local trio's debut has bits that are reminiscent of those truly transcendental
moments on Smashing Pumpkins' Gish. Vocals need some polishing, but here's
to hoping Flesh's next album isn't bloated and banal like Siamese Dream.
From the same scene that brought us the Suspects, Houston's Los Skarnales lurch drunkenly through their Spanish-language ska with all the abandon of a street carnival. If the Waco Brothers are the country version of the Clash, then Los Skarnales are the ska version of the Waco Brothers -- or have Los Fabulosos Cadillacs already claimed that distinction? -- Raoul Hernandez
John Zorn meets Tom Waits. Unfortunately, the whole is much smaller than the sum of its parts. The upside is that with two albums on one disc, you get double the amount of music; the downside is that increased quantity doesn't compensate for average quality. -- Michael Bertin
Stricklan's ninth full-length is a collection of upbeat and maddeningly light-hearted
songs that sing the praises of Django Reinhardt, Chinese food, and Jesus Christ.
Maryann Price contributes some nice backup vocals (though not quite enough to justify
her picture splayed all over the jacket), and the felicitous folk and sanitized swing
will definitely make you heave... a sigh, that is.
Reviewing New Age albums is a real bear, and you just know that the artist
hates being called "New Age." But what else are you gonna call extended
instrumental pieces dominated by keyboards? Cracked Earth, though, rates high
among the sea of ambience that's being peddled these days, and includes tunes with
actual melodies! And when you realize that Travis Hartnett (who "is" Tiktok)
recorded the whole shmeer off the cuff with no overdubs, you really have to be impressed.
-- Ken Lieck
Gingerlady, the debut CD from Austin's Ginger Leigh, is a compelling listen for the focus it maintains on strings alone (multiple guitars, cello, violin, "ebo"). Add the layering of Leigh's mature and sultry voice and a few good turns of phrase, and you have a solid first effort. -- Christopher Hess
Delz, who has been a Don Walser and Gary P. Nunn regular, crosses the tracks over to blues on Unknown Territory, and while this territory is pretty well mapped-out -- from the West Texas roadhouse grit of Nunn's "The Nights Never Get Lonely" to the psychedelic flamenco haze of "Flight of the Colorado," plus Johnny Winter and Guitar Slim covers -- Delz is quite the cartographer. -- Christopher Gray
Ex-Buick MacKaner known to many as Austin's equivalent to Keith Richards, Le Coz serves up four originals and four covers on this 28-minute CD. "Still on My Mind" won't wake Gram Parsons from his dirt nap, nor will "Cadillac" do the same for Marc Bolan, but Le Coz's earnest delivery and Home's crisp interplay between acoustic and electric guitars make the ex-Parisian's EP as palatable as the Make Believers. -- Raoul Hernandez
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