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Austin Chronicle Bonus Tracks

NOVEMBER 10, 1997: 

Melt (Relish)

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.
-- Michael Bertin


Seen Boogie Nights yet? Get a hold of this tape and you won't have to. These guys got the funk. Mixing honey-smooth Montell Jordan vocals, starry-eyed Prince instrumental work, and bouncin' P-Funk bottom, this four-song tape makes Jamiroquai look like Snow fronting NKOTB. They can slow jam, too, so get'cha freak on or go stand in the corner. -- Christopher Gray

Vatos Rudos (Pinche Flojo)

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

Western Electric/Billy Racer

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

Universal Sigh (Skinny Man)

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.
-- Christopher Hess

Cracked Earth (Base)

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

Unknown Territory (Midwest)

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

"Bonus Tracks" reviews all Texas-related releases. Send to: "Bonus Tracks," Austin Chronicle, P.O. Box 49066, Austin TX 78765

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