Bonus Tracks


Ritual Killing

This already-popular five-song cassette by local death metalists Death of Millions is as well-produced and as well-executed as anything by Napalm Death, Carcass, and Obituary. And because the genre's ironic trademark of brilliance is its comedy factor, Ritual Killing's one-two punch of "Death Is the Love Drug" and the "Feasting of Flesh" makes this an immediate winner.
-- Andy Langer


Loe-Down Hoe-Down

Tallboy is a group that needs to churn out a tape/album every six months or so. Their two-chord, crash-n-burn eats up songs like a John Deere eats up fields. 'Course that means not every harvest will yield good crops, and certainly this band's last five-songer was much better than this one -- it had songs, production and singing -- but that's not the point. We need more Tallboy. That's the point.
-- Raoul Hernandez


Try Japanese Fast Food (Pope Yes)

This quickie five-song tape comes from one-half of the Gals Panic explosion a few months back. Leaning more toward pop-punk firecrackers and burnt-out romanticism than ska and fart-joke humor, Missile Command is a bit more edgy than its predecessor -- though songs like "Peeping Tom" provide more than enough to goof on. Most significantly, newly designated vocalist Jerm Pollet easily wins the lead role in "Milo Does Manhattan." That oughta keep those cards and letters rolling in. -- Greg Beets


Move Divine (Chocolate)

In this eclectic release, Shane Madden and friends create a somewhat hypnotic landscape utilizing the violin, gamelan samples from Indonesia, synthesizers, guitars and other sundry instruments. Perhaps it's the well-engineered veneer but the album sounds a tad too produced -- there's not enough of the "error" one gets with wood instruments and the human touch. For me, the interesting musical parts are buried under the multilayered synths and drum machine beats.
-- David Lynch


(Pencil thin)

Too often, the Stringbones trio trips itself up with the pretentiousness and overwrought melodic tendencies of Sting, Dave Matthews, or Dog's Eye View. Just as often, however, they fall back into a catchy chorus or another of singer/songwriter Bill Small's smart lyrical narratives, making Stringbones an inconsistent but ambitious enough local effort.
-- Andy Langer


Texas Glitter & Tombstone Tales (Burnside)

Whaddya you do when your singer (Nigel Dixon) dies and your nuclear reactor of a bassist (Paul Simonon) splits? Well, if you're Dallas-born guitarist Gary Myrick, you put your name out front, make a hellacious spaghetti western of a rockabilly surf record and then ruin it with your singing -- sending fans of that first Havana 3am album into a deep depression.
-- Raoul Hernandez


Return of the Funky Worm
(Dallas Blues Society)

Unassuming, sinewy, and vaguely funky, this is classic Ian Moore/Malford Milligan Antone's blues of the Nineties, as dependent on Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield as previous generations were on Albert Collins and the King trio. Not much more goin' on here than some guys playin' the blues, but then again, isn't that enough?
-- Christopher Gray


Everything You Know Is Wrong
(Cellophane Underground)

Although Mudshow mostly demonstrate that everything they know comes from the Guns `n' Roses/Skid Row songbook, this album's slinky riffing, simple narratives, and great packaging puts it just a half-step ahead of their genre's next half-life. -- Andy Langer


Big Amateur Contest

Hailing from San Antonio, this quartet delivers perfectly consummate album-oriented rock without any discernible pedigree. In a live setting, they may pack a soulful enough wallop to satisfy cravings for good ol' rock & roll bombast, but it can't quite reel you in on wax. -- Greg Beets


All of a Sudden

Although it's an undeniably ambitious project, 63 minutes of Flow McCord's semi-metallic ramblings is also undeniable overkill; he manages to overshadow each clever hook and quirky lyrical run with two more of each that are both clumsy and obnoxiously long. And because he runs the good riffs into the floor too, All of a Sudden way too often becomes Wait a Minute. -- Andy Langer


Finally, a local EP that proves early studio exercises can be more than an inexpensive excuse for stage product. And if they actually grew out of their Alice in Chains obsession while recording their derivative "Means To An End" opener, the sharp songwriting of the follow-up, "Who Cares," starts a four-song run that not only gathers momentum but also shows considerable promise.
-- Andy Langer


Sittin' & Waitin' (Black Top)

Don't know what Rusty Zinn is Sittin' & Waitin' for, unless it's to step out of Kim Wilson's formidable shadow. Wilson & the T-Birds' prints are all over this record, but I suspect they would be even if Wilson wasn't executive producer and "very special guest." --Christopher Gray


Cowboy Girl

Raff has a decent enough country voice, but the songwriting is a bit pedestrian. Maybe I'm just the wrong guy to review this; it's definitely aimed more toward middle-class PTA moms than the Chron's hippie cowpunks. Excellent job recruiting a band, though -- Howard Kalish tricked me into thinking he was Johnny Gimble. -- Lee Nichols


Romantics (S.D.F.)

In the hands of a virtuoso such as Uruguayan-born, Austin resident Shirley Dominguez Fox, the 37-stringed Paraguayan harp (different in timbre and number of strings from its cousin, the 47-string concert harp) transports the listener to warm, relaxing, sea-side locales such as Greece, Spain, and Italy. Not everyone enjoys solo harp for extended periods, but if you do, you'll love this well-produced album. -- David Lynch


Classical pianist Obatallah has been playing the Gilligan's circuit too long. He's forgotten how bad synthesizers really sound, and totally lost perspective; see, "The Rose" is just not a good song to go jazz on. Having "Ebony Diva" Emah, sing it isn't helping any, either. In fact, this screeching, scraping, five-song cassette shouldn't come in contact with seafood of any sort; it'd kill ya.
-- Raoul Hernandez

"Bonus Tracks" reviews all local and Texas-related recordings. Send to: "Bonus Tracks," PO Box 49066, Austin, TX 78765.

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