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Get Your Fuzz Buzz Blues Needs Filled

*** BUSSTOP HURRICANES "The Satellite Room" Bitemark

October 02, 1998|MIKE BOEHM

Enough with the suits, suspenders and Al Capone hats; bring on a rerun of the paisley revolution.

Though it's always fun to slag the musically bankrupt retro-swing scene, where '90s guys who can't play try to mimic '40s guys who could, it's more fun to forget those copycats and listen to these copycats.

The right attitude and a few musical rudiments aren't nearly enough to pull off vibrant '40s jump music, but they're exactly what's needed to pull off vibrant garage-psychedelic rock.

That delicious '60s form, chronicled by Rhino Records on the recently released "Nuggets" box set, married blues sensibility and tasty pop-throwaway songwriting methods with buzzing fuzz-tone guitars and conceived a hallucinatory aura ideally suited to darkling, sparkling probes of inner space.

That's where Busstop Hurricanes live, gettin' down with the fuzz buzz and the blues hoodoos and not forgetting to chuckle while they tune in to Channel Noir.

The Fullerton band with the raw, juicy sound consists of five players sporting silly pseudonyms (Sammy Tonic sings; Twisty Lemons and Hector Jesus Joaquim D'Lamour de Dios make the guitars wail and bite).

Most of Busstop Hurricanes' debut six-song EP sounds like a seance in which Jim Morrison's dark spirit has invited itself to nestle within Phil Alvin's blues-screaming skull. When not forcing contact between the Doors and the Blasters, Busstop Hurricanes take over Chris Isaak's sultry, Mexican bungalow for the CD's big romantic moment, "Burn."

They also blithely nick the Yardbirds' most famous chords on "Blue Eyed Devil," which starts with the "For Your Love" riff and goes on to sound like the Cult with all the arena-rock pretentious sucked out and replaced with a relish for gritty basement surroundings.

Not only is the musical construct inherently fun, but Mr. Tonic puts a humorous spin on the songs by enjoying his boastful, blues-drawling love-god role while not taking it altogether seriously.

In a spoken-word number, "Lab Rat," he gives voice to that lowliest of creatures, a caged rodent, who jive-talks to keep his dignity while begging his keeper for a taste of cheese in place of his usual laboratory gruel. "I could get it on with Parmesan. . . . A little Gouda would put me in the mood-a," he implores.

If Busstop Hurricanes doesn't put you in the mood-a, here's your fedora, and there's the door-a. Don't let it snag your zoot suit on the way out.

Available from Bitemark Records, 2470-A N. Glassell St., Orange, CA 92865. (714) 282-6958. Web site: E-mail:

* Busstop Hurricanes and All the Madmen play Saturday at Linda's Doll Hut, 107 S. Adams St., Anaheim. 9 p.m. $6. (714) 533-1286.

Albums are rated on a scale of * (poor) to **** (excellent), with *** denoting a solid recommendation.

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