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Random Stabbings 11a

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Sparks, "Hello Young Lovers" (In The Red  Records)
Let's face it: if anyone could use a good mocking right now, it's Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  For that matter, so could everyone from the marketers of the Ford Fusion to the good pushers at Budweiser for the high crime of glamorizing, mystifying and mass-marketing college-age love as if it were the apogee of human experience.  Enter the fossilized Sparks guys (yes, the same Sparks that contributed "Armies of the Night" to the scene in Fright Night where Charlie and Amy flee into the disco) reporting for duty as God's seltzer-bottle firing squad.  The Figaro-metal of "Hello Young Lovers" is 3 Stooges satire in Bohemian Rhapsody clothing, endless operatic stanzas sung in a sad-clown deadpan for the dunce-capped romantic in everyone: "The very next fight I have with you will end up the same, some idiot staring at your legs… you tell me to let it go, but how can I let it go?"  Distinct snickering sounds coming from the baby grand can be heard if this is played backwards on a Wednesday.  Order at

Devo 2.0, "Devo 2.0"
(Walt Disney Records)
God help us, even the Mothersbaugh spuds have been assimilated.  In this Disney-concocted black op, original Devo songs have been McDonaldized into nothing more than music to trash Toys R Us to, sung by sugar-bender clean-kiddies chosen for their docility, Wite-Out teeth and ability to withstand the Joan Crawford "encouragement" of their stage mommies.  This was indeed sanctioned by the original Devo in a whirlwind of careless corporate greed that figured future class action suits from parents won't make a dent in a profit margin reaped by sucking all the irony out of the material and turning things like "Freedom of Choice" into nonsense nursery rhymes for responsibly mindless consumerbots yet to be.  Put down that $5 espresso and grok for a second the insidiousness of putting Brahms and Mozart even further out of the reach of a Generation Zzz that's been given nothing more than Playstations to help them kludge their way through a world of nightmare flashbacks wherein Nixon, Roe/Wade and the Scopes trial are covered by Pravda.  Not to wax too hippyish, but fight the power already, somebody.  (Available everywhere)


Backlash, "Heliotrope"
(Wtii Records)
As Depeche Mode archaeologists go, Backlash prove themselves capable of faithfully maintaining the original aesthetic and retrofitting it with sufficient futurepop advancements to front a viable mainstream assault.  A surprising record, this was first made available in 2004 through import scalpers and has just now been forked over to Wtii for wide US release.  Would have been nice had these fellows gone with some vocals that weren't in great need of a 12-step David Gahan program, and their bread and butter song "Lodestar" (on which their last EP fixated, to the tune of four lackluster remixes) takes a few listens to stick, but stick it does, and it turns out the band had even better stuff up their sleeves, such as the album's eponymous track (a droid-love-fest that would make both Steve Winwood and Teardrop Explodes feel no small amount of parental pride) and "Purity For a Sinner" (a kindly electro-bubble number colored in Enya shades at the intro).  Order at

Moonstarr, "Moonstarr Remixes" (Groove Attack Records)
With the relentless advance of Myspace, the whole squeezing-every-ounce-out-of-one’s-laptop thing seems to have a growing appeal to punters with rudimentary grasps of rhythm.  Automatically that means it’s not always advisable.  Here we have a mostly instrumental effort consisting of breakbeats with soul, breakbeats with rasta riddims, breakbeats with chill, and breakbeats with sausage and anchovies.  There’s a chance that if the first song’s breakbeats didn’t sound so unprofessionally mashed (perhaps to proclaim its trendiness, and if so this guy can take a cannonball leap off the Space Needle) it’d be taken more seriously, and “BreathInn” (sic) does feature a sweet Gabrielle-like vocal effort from Ivana Santilli.  Those are highlights, though; the rest is a Frankensteination of vocoder-blipping chick-cheeps (“Recloose”), low-rent Air-inspired subroutines (“Dancetrack”), and things like conga-line tourist-techno that would work as montage furniture for know-nothing ego-fests like Oceans 12 (“Incoming”).  Order at

Indie label releases, spaghetti sauce recipes and silly questions are always welcome.  Email

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