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THE BROBECKS Understanding the Brobecks

Fearlessly precious, furiously tuneful and not a single player actually named “Brobeck.” The Brobecks’ brand of alt-rock, meticulously orchestrated to sound like they had no idea it would work and don’t really care that it did, stands apart thanks to keen comprehension of classic-pop hooks and sly humor. Look no further than the sock-hop epic “I’d Be a Punk” (“If my mom would let me”) or the plastic-fantastic glue-huffing lilt of “Creep You Out” for innocent, boneheaded genius. Anyone who’s ever fallen asleep to the hopeful indie-flicker of Subterranean should try some Understanding. (


Imagine being crushed under a truckload of Acme anvils, only to wake up in a makeshift coffin to the sound of your parole officer peeing on your premature grave—that’s just the first song on Pushing Up Daisies’ debut CD, “Bus Ride.” It gets more intense from there, but not without deceptive lulls of soupy calm before another wave of abrasion hits. As hardcore/screamo/whatever metal goes, this is smartly crafted angst that holds up even under severe track lengths and larynx abuse. (

THE WOLFS I Want More/Whatever I Am

Sheer volume (in quantity, not just sonics) keeps The Wolfs a constant in the ol’ Revue, and their latest stays the leave-’em-wanting-more course: Two songs on “virginal” white vinyl—no CD, sorry. The glam-sleaze swagger becomes more sophisticated with each outing, “I Want More” wallowing in hedonistic two-chord simplicity while “Whatever I Am” milks a Gary Glitter snare-snap and strangled-fuzz guitar for unadulterated rock & roll pleasure. In other words, another gotta-have Wolfs release. (

BROTHERS OF FUNK 12 Step Program

They do have the funk—maybe not quite enough to justify incorporating it into the band name, but it’s there. The Brothers of Funk are old-school Red Hot Chili Peppers in training socks, minus the gonzo edge but with a jazz-pop buzz fueled by Phish Food. Singer-guitarist Danny Heslop has Anthony Kiedis’ sideways rap down, Alex Rowe’s bass is fat and slinky, drummer Bob James is dead-solid in the pocket; for guys who look about 12 (OK, maybe 13), this is a healthy slab of booty-beef. (

TIPPING THE VELCRO Tipping the Velcro

A post-grunge meld of Peter Murphy and Winger ain’t as bad as it sounds on paper, and Tipping the Velcro actually pull off some of the better elements of both (yes, Winger, better elements). Singer-guitarist-songwriter Dave Phillips’ over-the-top six-string heroics and alt-rock baritone coexist well enough, overcoming bombastic arrangements and “huh?” cover choices: Lucinda Williams’ “Essence” (fairly faithful), Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” (recast as bar-boogie) and Jimi’s “Purple Haze” (just like Winger did it in ’88!). (

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