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We got a stack of local CD's in the mail over the last couple of weeks. We gave 'em a listen then set them aside and finally got around to giving them a second listen. Merely the fact that we didn't immediately put them on the keeper shelf should tell you something, but here's the gory details.
Bugs Meenie's CD "Inverse" is archetypal metal. It's a well-produced, clean sound but I don't mind some rough edges with my metal. In fact, I prefer the danger of tetanus vs. the surgical cleanliness of stainless steel. The vocals are clear, something almost unique in a metal CD, but what they say doesn't hold my attention. The song "Windows" uses online jargon in an almost novelty song fashion, but comes off as dead serious, leaving me a bit embarrassed for them more than impressed with the way they worked in all the phrasing. Aside from that I hardly noticed when the songs changed from one to the next - at least until the final tune, Rage (In the night), a power ballad straight out of hair metal 1991. The guitar work is decent and there's clearly some musical talent here, but they need some creative inspiration.
Next in the stack is Gerard McHugh's "Tales of Madness and Horror", a Daemon Records artist. The disc starts off with a somewhat goofy tune "American Dinner Party" with They Might Be Giants flavored lyrics and singing, something approaching geek rock but with a quiet pop sound. Track 2, "Canopy Man", even reminded me of "Particle Man." But things get a bit more eclectic from there, with tunes sounding a bit like X and The Cramps, then breaking down into almost folky stuff a la John Denver. I was reminded of Amy Ray's debut solo on her Daemon label of a few months back. It, too, had an odd, eclectic mix of tunes ranging from the expected folk influence to straight up rock. But Gerard McHugh's collection is a bit more odd. Worth a listen if you don't mind the slow, sleepy stuff from time to time.
Last on the stack is an EP by Alastor, "Hail and Farewell." Energetic chick rock with the clean production value - clear vocals, if not clean lyrics, and nice guitar work but it has the edge and emotion the Bugs Meenie CD lacks. The only thing really lacking on the Alastor disc is more tunes. It's only three songs and not something you'll find in a store, I'd guess, but part of a press kit trying to get slackers like myself off our asses and to a show. Speaking of, they're playing on Nov. 29 at the Star Bar. It's been too long since I saw the act to guarantee it, but from the various recordings I've got they're probably worth seeing live.

It's that time of year when the Degenerate Press staff usually starts planning for the holidays. No, not turkey day or Consumass, but New Year's Eve. For something like 15 years we traditionally organized one hell of a raucous party - more fireworks than should be handled by amateurs, more alcohol than should be consumed internally, surreal soundtracks and video presentations, and the most eclectic mix of people to be found anywhere - a freaky mix of rednecks and urbanites, chronically unemployed mixing with motivated professionals, and for one night and one night only you couldn't tell the difference as they all ended up sloppy drunk rolling around on the floor with ear to ear smiles. For many of us it was a reason to live through Consumass in the first place.
Eventually we were ousted from our traditional playhouse and had to change locations. With traditional annual events, change is not necessarily good and attendance suffered, though frankly it has been getting tougher every year to get our scattered and aging tribe together, but it was always worth the effort.
I'm sad to report that this year there is no official Degenerate Press playhouse, and therefore no official Degenerate Press New Year's Eve Festival!
However, when the going gets tough, the degenerate get going! We're searching for some event/location/happening/party/place to be for what has been our favorite party night of the year. If you know us, then you know what we're in search of. We're open to just about any suggestion at this point and hopefully when we come to a consensus we'll have a barbarian horde interested in banding together for old times' sakes, or just in the interest of raising some hell. So send in your vote!

We finally sold the Imperial this week. Now that our yard is 100% Mopar-free we might be able to get the Thunderbird running! Stay tuned.

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