THE CHEESE 4/19, JACKHAMMER’S This New Jersey quartet began as a cover band called the No Future Club. The originals on its debut, Flip Your Lid (Curb), hit so close to the melodic 70s radio rock of Aerosmith, Blue Oyster Cult, and Peter Frampton as to make you wonder why the group even bothered changing names.
BOZ SCAGGS 4/20, HOUSE OF BLUES Best known for the urbane funk ‘n’ balladry of his 1976 album Silk Degrees, this veteran crooner launched his solo career at the end of the 60s doing the same kind of southern soul blues he returns to on the fine new Come On Home (Virgin), which includes “Picture of a Broken Heart,” a Scaggs original first recorded by Robert Cray.
TROLLEY 4/21, BEAT KITCHEN On the back cover of its EP Love’s a Twister (Easter), in the great tradition of Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home, this Beatle-haired Milwaukee quartet poses with albums by, among others, the Mekons, the Jam, the Dictators, Marshall Crenshaw, and X. With such a gaggle of influences (and a set list that also packs some straightforward surf instrumentals), it’s amazing that a band like this can find space in the garage for working out any of its own ideas. r40K 4/23, Thurston’s; 4/24, BIG HORSE This local folk-rock outfit offsets mellifluous vocals with frayed guitar leads over a buoyant, easygoing rhythm section in the manner of early Neil Young and Crazy Horse.
KOMEDA 4/24, METRO Like the Cardigans, new Minty Fresh signees Komeda hail from Sweden and dispense sweet, heady pop. But unlike their countrymen they do it with deadpan vocals, stiff, near mechanical rhythms, and restrained tempos, all so impishly exaggerated and deftly executed that the mood barely sags. Ben Folds Five (see Critic’s Choice) headlines.
ZEN GUERRILLA 4/24, EMPTY BOTTLE Formed in Delaware and based now in San Francisco, this raucous quartet grounds itself in the straitlaced blues sensibility of a 60s British Invasion group like the Pretty Things, only to wriggle free and lunge in pursuit of post-Buttholes punk-metal extremes. –Frank Youngwerth
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Uncredited photo of Komeda.