Music Reviews

By Fen Hsiao
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 18, 1996

If you like your rock simple, melodic and with an ample dose of swirling, psychedelic guitar , then you'll want to check out the lates single from Los Angeles based Penny Dreadfuls.

"The A-side Fodder" made me think of Sonic Youth giving the The Velvet Underground a hesitant nod of recognition. The song is really bottom heavy thanks to the employment of an eight-string bass. Normally I would run and hide from such an abomination of taste and decency, sighting the five extra strings as the reason, but the Penny Dreadfuls make it work. The guitar work is tastefully sparse against the low-end backdrop at some points , rising to join it in volume and intensity at others. Vocalist Anna Chaffe's dark melodies are more moody than depressing and her voice is strong enough not to have to rely on whining or screaming to get this across.

Did I mention that these Los Angelistas will be visiting our sunny pueblo? Next Thursday in fact at the oh-so-welcoming Luna Loca Cafe. The promo says , "Cuddlecore, riot grrrl, waif pop, jangly chick rock it ain't." Go find out for yourself.

Although I'm usually all for girls in bands, especially "frontwomen," I do limit myself to only the good ones, which do not include Salt.

A strictly alternative-by-the-numbers act, Salt sounds exactly like all the other female-fronted bands that are spouting up all over the alternative airwaves. You can feel free to lump Salt with other untalented acts like Self (by far the most annoying with their laughably random song, "Cannon") and Ruby, which to add to the confusion, has an album called Salt Peter.

However, I think Salt's use of a pseudo heavy-metal riff throughout their first single, Bluster, does make it especially funny. The other songs on the Bluster EP are only filled with the same mediocre vocals as the first and are equally ridiculous.