South Florida is clogged with bands trying to pass off anger, volume, and beefy muscles as some kind of artistic statement. This path-of-least-resistance approach works part of the time, covering up weak spots with a sheen of shouts and bar chords. Enter Hashbrown, a Fort Lauderdale group that's not exactly subtle itself, but there's some real innovation in the band's decibel-heavy onslaught. Starting at slab level, drummer Steve Williams and bassist-singer Clarence Spencer form a perfectly symbiotic rhythm section, laying down guillotine-sharp grooves for guitarist Duncan Cameron to stretch his effects across. Adding turntable master Boogie Waters to the mix last year may have been Hashbrown's smartest move, with the smorgasbord of sound effects adding a new dimension to the rock-solid funk. Hashbrown may be grounded in the old-school machinery of Parliament/ Funkadelic and the like, but the group has obviously spent time plotting the future of the genre, too: Modernizing the sound puts Hashbrown in the same league as industrial-funk powerhouses like Tackhead and Little Axe. The band members are serious, too -- silly stage patter and self-congratulatory back-patting are kept to a minimum. Call it thinking man's hard rock.

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