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Picks by Monte Atherton, Brandon Barber and Andrew Shriver

The Evil Powers of Rock 'n' Roll

The Evil Powers of Rock 'n' Roll
Aces & Eights Recordings

After a suspicious romp into alt-country's barnyard with 1997's Must've Been High, the Supersuckers have swapped their twang for bang. Granted, head Sucker Eddie Spaghetti still sports his trademark cowboy headgear, but the power-chord-driven punk that pervades their newest speedball is the kind of stuff that made their grunge-era masterpieces worth listening to. The album rips along at a hot-rod pace and the lyrics are tight, witty and, by and large, vice-based. As if to underscore this fact, the sample that leads into the third track, "I Want the Drugs," goes something like this: Interviewer: "Would you say that your songs are about liquor, women, drugs and killing for the most part? Spaghetti: "Yep." What more could you want? (BB)

Savage Night

Savage Night
The Blue Hawaiians

The Blue Hawaiians create their own style of sexy and seductive tiki-lounge music with their newest album, Savage Night. The record gleans the soul from genres like fandango, surf and old-school lounge, culminating in a sound that guarantees to set a romantic mood for many a candlelit dinner. Soothing vocals accompany classic Hammond organ and brightly peppered horns to build a sultry mood that's nearly irresistible. The Blue Hawaiians put a fresh twist on the clichéd Hawaiian-style song: this is much more than typical slack key guitar. Although much of the album centers on melodic tunes with the mellow pulse of "Lonely Star" and "Trouble Bay," they step up the tempo with an adventurous spy tune called "Savage Night," which hosts a hypnotizing mixture of instrumentals. (MA)

Slap Happy

Slap Happy
Wax Tadpole/Bong Load Records

Chock-full of inane lyrics, thin guitars and plodding drums, L7's Slap Happy is the all-girl band's latest foray into formulaic music that continues to sound better live than on a record. It's true that 1992's Bricks Are Heavy was touted by Rolling Stone as one of the "150 albums essential to understanding the '90s," but seven years later the L7 approach wears a bit thin. "Crackpot Baby" opens the album with a no-frills drum beat and a chug-a-chug-chug guitar fighting for dominance, and the song title/chorus repeats 90 times in a mere two minutes. However, "Mantra Down," with its crushing guitar and screaming demon vocals, serves as a sort of punk-rock call to action. The listener may well be inspired to hold up the corner liquor mart after hearing this anarchic number. (AS)

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From the September 13, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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