Sound Impressions

New rule: nobody gets a greatest hits compilation unless a) most of the band's releases are out of print, or b) the band has at least 10 albums.

Bad Religion doesn't meet either category, and it's hard to understand why someone decided that All Ages was really needed. All the material here is still in print, except for the live tracks, which add exactly what live tracks always add (hint: nothing at all).

To be fair, this does represent Bad Religion's best work. The unfortunate direction they've traveled on their last few albums is only hinted at, on the tracks from Generator, most of it is really good listening.

Whoever selected the tracks chose well the vast majority of the songs come from Suffer, No Control and Against the Grain, the best era in Bad Religion's discography (and actually one of the best three-album runs in punk history).

For the people who have managed to get this far without hearing Bad Religion, they pretty much perfected the Southern California speedy, tight, catchy hard-core sound which has been imitated several million times in the past year. Basically, if you like Pennywise, Face To Face, NOFX, No Use For A Name, Ten Foot Pole, etc., etc., etc., you ought to be listening to the guys who started it all.

But don't listen to All Ages to find out what the fuss is about. Go buy Suffer instead. G.D.

I've never liked Sonic Youth, and Blonde Redhead seems like just another Sonic Youth rip-off band.

After listening to their new album, La Mia Vita Violenta, I was extremely disappointed after looking for months for anything by them. I had gotten their "Vague/Jet Set" single a couple of years ago, and had totally loved it, but this full length album is boring, draining, and not worth the time I spent trying to find it.

Receiving a small amount of fame from playing second stage at Lollapalooza, with the help of friends and obvious mentors, Sonic Youth, it seems as though Blonde Redhead are on the verge of indie rock stardom. And it wouldn't be the first time a band made it because they borrowed from someone else and had the fortune of having a cute girl lead singer.

Consisting of two cute Japanese girls and a pair of male twins, I wasn't surprised they made it into Sassy's Cute Band Alert. But their music just doesn't support all the good press they've been receiving.

I put this album on five times before I could force myself to get through the first song, which left me exhausted and tired, as did the rest of this noisy album. Kazu Makino, the cute singer I mentioned before, sounds like a mix between Bjork and Juliana Hatfield, and that isn't good. Pace, one of the twins, annoyingly whines his arty vocals. And I just couldn't tell any of the songs apart.

I don't know, I guess if you're a big fan of Sonic Youth and you're looking for other bands that sound exactly like them, it wouldn't hurt to check this album out, you could possibly find it enjoyable. Buy why spend money on something you already have? F.H.

88 Fingers who? That's probably what most of you people are thinking out there. Who is 88 Fingers Louie? Well, 88 Fingers Louie happen to be Chicago's finest punk band at the moment, and have begun to move up the punk ladder, and have started to create havoc across the great old U.S.A. After releasing a 10" and three 7"s (two of which are on Fat Wreck Chords) 88 Fingers have put out a long overdue CD of gangsta punk madness on California's Hopeless Records.

After one listen of this album, I came to a couple of conclusions. 88 Fingers are intense, relentless, and solid. What I mean is that a from the first song "Pent Up" to the last song "I Hate Myself" (which appears on their first 7 inch) there is no let up, and every song is great. A couple songs that stand above the rest are "Holding Back," "Blink" (both of which appear on their "Wanted" 7 inch) and the ever relevant "My Little World" in which Denis (the vocalist) says "I'm in my little world, no one can shut me out, don't try to talk to me, I'm high and there's no doubt." This is relevant because I hear this all the time from my parents who say I should snap out of it if I want to make something of my life. Obviously, it's not true.

Besides this, all throughout the CD it's really hard to dislike Denis' voice for it is so distinct. Unlike many bands whose vocalist tries to sound like the flavor of the month, Denis sings with true soul, passion and honesty, which is hard to find today when everyone wants to sing with a British accent and act like a slacker.

Besides singing with heart, Denis never travels out of his vocal range, and that is something that carries over to the rest of the band. The guitarist adds little guitar bits here and there and there for a change of pace, but he knows he is not Eddie Van Halen and doesn't go off into five minute solos which is definitely a plus.

88 Fingers is a band who stay true to themselves and make melodic and aggressive punk songs for everyone to dance to. The one thing that still puzzles my mind is why Fat Mike didn't jump at the chance to put out their disc on Fat Wreck Chords. I heard he wanted to hear 12 good songs from them, well listen to their 10 inch and all three 7 inches, and you have 20 great songs. I'm sorry to say this, but 88 Fingers is twice as good as many of the Fat Wreck Chords bands, and 88 Fingers are original, something many of those bands aren't. Not that these bands are terrible, it's just 88 Fingers are much more talented and sound better period.

So to sum up this masterpiece (yeah, right) buy all 88 Fingers Louie's stuff, play it loud, and make sure to tell me (The Beren) when they are coming to town. I wouldn't miss it for anything, unless it was a frat party (yeah right, hell no!) for 88 Fingers Louie is a high and a buzz of it's own. A.B.

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