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MUSIC: Ventura County | LOCAL ANGLE

New Releases : Dishwalla's followup album rates A-, offering songs that get lots of airplay

July 30, 1998|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Here are capsule reviews of the latest CD releases of local groups that play the area with some frequency:

Dishwalla, "And You Think You Know What Life's About" (A&M)

Formerly Life Talking, then dish, then dish walla and now Dishwalla, this Santa Barbara band hit it big with its debut album "Pet Your Friends," which included the smash hit "Counting Blue Cars." This follow-up is even better. There are plenty of good ones getting airplay locally, such as "Once in a While," "Bottom of the Floor" and "Truth Serum." J.R. Richard is an accomplished front man. That, accompanied by lush production values and hook-filled songs, makes for appealing '90s pop that should work for those who bought albums by Oasis, U2, Verve and Smashing Pumpkins. Dishwalla has the musical genes if not the bank accounts of those bands.

GRADE: A-

*

Kid Power, "We're Joking . . . Seriously" (I Am Sauce Records)

Brash, in-your-face hard rock by a tight quartet. Fully as subtle as rat brownies, Kid Power may not incite widespread dancing, but they have power to spare and should please the pogo-in-place, caps-on-backward set. Kid Power could well be the next Santa Barbara band to get signed and hit the big time.

GRADE: B+

*

Brand New Unit, "Diddley Squat" (Creative Man)

Brand New Unit plays old-style punk with guitars in overdrive and vocals screamed at maximum headache mode. The lyrics are about lightening up but are sung in a cattle-prod, hurry-up style that is weird and delivers a mixed message. Remember how happy-sounding "Bad Moon Rising" was for Creedence?

GRADE: C

Next gig: Thursday at Sniffy's in Goleta.

*

Cory Sipper, "Orbiter" (Drumdrum Records)

Sipper is a Santa Barbara-based singer with a lot on her mind. Formerly the voice behind the four-piece band Ladybug Garden, Sipper is back doing the solo thing and this is her fourth album. Sipper's serious relationship songs are not likely to cause an outbreak of spontaneous laughter. But she has a voice as big as all outdoors, which should endear her to some when she goes on tour with the Samples in a few weeks.

GRADE: B

Next gig: Sunday at SOhO in Santa Barbara.

*

Brian Setzer, "The Dirty Boogie" (Interscope)

This is unconvincing swing music by one-third of the Stray Cats, guitar player Brian Setzer. Even though this is his third album with the big band, somehow it seems he's merely trying to cash in on that swing thing. "Rock This Town" returns with a big band treatment, but that song wasn't that hot when it was new.

GRADE: C

Next gig: Aug. 8 at Santa Barbara County Bowl.

*

The Don Haney Band, "Won't Take Me Long . . . Again"

All the way from Deadwood, S.D., these days Haney is a Long Beach-based blues man with a life, a day job and all that stuff. His night job is a meat and potatoes blues man with lots of sturdy originals. He's not going to set the joint on fire, but he's not going to incite a mass exodus, either. The funked-up version of "It's All Over Now" doesn't work for me. I always thought that when you're rid of her, that was supposed to be a moment of exuberance.

GRADE: B

Next gig: Aug. 8 at Season Ticket in Simi Valley.

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