Music News


'Allo, guv'nah! In keeping with a strict spring-cleaning policy enacted a few whippens past, the lads at Bandwidth Central are clearing the decks of detritus -- or at least the latest stack of local discs that we've been fortunate enough to accumulate. I'm pleased to report that some are actually quite lovely. As soon as Nigel brings the lorry 'round, we'll root through the pile and see what we have....

Pank Shovel
#1 Car

Riding into our hearts on a tire-squealing wave of hype, Delray Beach's unisex septet cooks up some righteous riot-grrl rap-'n'-roll on its debut, #1 Car. Bored, disaffected singers Kristen Kelly and Genny Slag use their pleasingly narrow ranges to sling rhymes reminiscent of Kathleen Hanna coupled with the power-chord punch of the Breeders. Eighteen tracks pile on the thrash a bit thick, but "Moose Juice" bubbles with furious summertime fizz, and "Ego" decimates the competition with tongue-lashing fury. Though #1 Car could easily have summed up Pank Shovel more succinctly, it leaves no doubt as to the band's tenacity or energy level. File under Spunky.

The Baboons
Global Gumbo
(Prime Mate Productions)

It's hard to fault the neo-Cubano stylings of the Baboons, as this Miami six-piece is obviously skilled at injecting classic island grooves with explosive, funky goodness. Nobody's going to confuse this Americanized salsa with the real thing, but that doesn't prevent "Things That Go Funk" and "Yemaya" from heating their contents to a roiling boil. Responsibility for much of this success goes to sax-and-flute master Dominick Cama, who infuses tracks such as "Blue Pepper (Far East of the Blues)" and "Bruca Manigua" with hot streams of brass. Occasionally the Baboons make a misstep (for example the No Doubt knockoff "Retrospect"), but Cama's silk-road sax usually gets the band back on track.)

Baby Robots
Lakitu: The Baby Robot
(Ant Lunch Musick/Morning Drinker)

Boca Raton's Baby Robots take some giant steps with Lakitu: The Baby Robot, full of noisy songs with hearts of gold. The delicate "Park Your Car" uses a hiccupping guitar line to softly nudge the song along. "Lessons" might be mistaken for a Yo La Tengo outtake. The pristine "Say What I Say" finds a wiry bass-guitar riff providing melodic underpinning for Bobby Baker's effects-pedal kaleidoscope. Baker's tentative, abstract vocals are mostly tucked beneath the fuzz and feedback, which is probably for the best. Soaring tracks such as "Out Grow Things" use Baker's voice most effectively, but the dubbed-out instrumental closer, "All Good Stories," is mesmerizing. Latiku has a smidgen of filler, but the high points are enough to launch Baby Robots permanently into the firmament of South Florida musical acts past and present. Take a bow, baby Bobby.

Electric Rhino
(Moohmonster Records)

Pinpointing exactly what Jocexoxo is, other than the alter ego of ex-Al's Not Well singer Joce, has proved very difficult. Industrial mayhem and drum machines dominate in spots, but Joce's sugar-wisp voice is never drowned out. Guitars roar and buzz on the jittery "Hear" and the mechanized funk of "Weight of the World," but Electric Rhino has nothing in common with metal posturing or danceable diversion, though "Far Gone" trembles with Trent Reznor synth spasms. With a taut, four-track simplicity, these songs are compressed little nuggets of fun and fully realized songwriting that could probably survive in any format, even one as unclassifiable as this.

(Evol Egg Nart Records)

Wide-eyed optimism and sunlit nostalgia are high on Vito's agenda, if his new three-song EP is any indication. "Light That Shines" reveals a streak of bubbly summertime fun, "Churchills" is a folksy paean to the venerable Little Haiti dive (even giving props to the shepherd's pie and the cockroaches), while "Middle Street" blows gently in the midst of a chiming, Byrdsy, 12-string breeze. Vito (who goes by Mario Colangelo most of the time) adapts a whimsical, pseudocollegiate persona that's easy to like, even over the course of this short but sweet record.

Scrambled Eggs
We Only Talk About the Weather

Wow, we're in a Doobie Brothers video. On a cruise somewhere -- a Pablo Cruise, bay-bee. Then we're stuck in a '74 Camaro with Jimmy Buffett, Bob Seger, and George Thorogood taking turns at the wheel. Sound like fun? Then hop on.

The Noyz Boyz
Three blind Mice

As you well know, anyone who would deign to name his band the Noyz Boyz must be cut from quite a different cloth than the rest of us. And yet the Broward County-based Boyz' self-titled pop-metal debut has an air of familiarity about it. For instance "Wicked People" sounds as if it belongs on a Marilyn Manson tribute album. And really, cribbing riffs from Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" and "When the Saints Go Marching In" is just unforgivable. It must be noted that Bandwidth was unable to finish the entire disc to generate a full report. Alas, when we hear the words, "We did a few shows/Bought some pretty nice clothes/Now the party never ends," our safety switch is tripped, a whistle blows, and our working day is done.

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Jeff Stratton
Contact: Jeff Stratton