CD Reviews

SUBARACHNOID SPACE, ALIEN CRIME SYNDICATE, and VELVET TINMINE

SUBARACHNOID SPACE

Also Rising

(Strange Attractors)

S.F. combo . . . minus the flowers in their hair.

Psychedelia? While the last hippie was killed off ages ago in a hail of Altamont Corp. cue sticks, the genre is still dogged by lingering images of incense, peppermints, flower power, and dippy little twirly dances. You won't get that from San Fran instrumental combo SubArachnoid Space, whose genius resides in being able to channel several decades' worth of psych without ever coming off as tried, fried, or tie-dyed. Ten-minute opening track "The Harsh Facts of Life" alone is sufficiently cortex-shearing to resurrect images of Hawkwind in maximum "Space Ritual" overdrive, Pink Floyd frammin' on the jimjam at Pompeii, Guru Guru at its most kolorful Krautrockin', or Bevis Frond excavating and hot-wiring the rotten corpse of Jimi H. Elsewhere are finely sculpted slabs of tuneage that are alternately orchestral ("Deep End," with luscious peals of organ and e-bow guitar), meditational (the delicately plucked, Ash Ra Tempel-like "Angel Food") or no-nonsense space chooglin' (the brawny biker punk of "Tucson"). S-Space operate within a growing international community that includes Japanese loonies Acid Mothers Temple, Philly hempheads Bardo Pond, Detroit cosmic cowboys Paik, and Seattle's own drone kings, Kinski. So don't dismiss the "psych" tag as something quaintly retrothat's as slippery a slope as the music itself is quicksilvery. On a purely aesthetic level, you might want to leave your love beads and Nehru jackets in the closet, but hey, if the sounds inspire you to do a dippy little twirly dance, nobody's gonna stop ya. FRED MILLS

SubArachnoid Space play Consolidated Works at 9 p.m. Thurs., June 19 with transAtlantic iceFloe and Nervewheel. $7.

ALIEN CRIME SYNDICATE

Break the Record EP

(The Control Group)

Post-invasion nightcap with pop-metal ETs.

I'm sure Duff McKagen has had plenty of downtime lately, considering that his last front-icon (Axl) flew into the cuckoo's nest and his rumored newest front-icon (Weiland) is in rehab v.1,000,000; that said, it's still a coup for locals Alien Crime Syndicate to nab his bass hand for their umpteenth cover of Elton's karaoke staple "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart." The tune's as chunky as it oughta be, liquored up with distortion and sweetened with backups from Visqueen's Kim Warnick, and it's the only new trick on this limited-edition pony. The talk-box-spiked title track is pure syrup, easily the highlight of the Syndicate's last disc, XL From Coast to Coast (V2), and live Troubadour takes of "Do It Again" and breakout radio crossover "Ozzy" fill out the skimpy track list admirably. Enhancing the "Ozzy" experience: a slam-dunk stick-figure video, in which ACS successfully exhort their stoner faithful to "please just lift up your hands if you like Ozzy or the Motley Crüe" . . . then tear them all off with a tractor beam. ANDREW BONAZELLI

Alien Crime Syndicate play the Fremont Fair's Redhook Mainstage at 6:15 p.m. Sun., June 22. Free.

VARIOUS ARTISTS

Velvet Tinmine: 20 Junk Shop Glam Ravers

(RPM)

Digging through the archives for Dad's old knee-highs. . . .

Junk-Shop Glam might be the British equivalent of our Thrift-Store Funk, a crate-digging archaeological movement dedicated to blowing the dust off the last surviving singles of a popularly neglected genre. History is never kind, of course: The snicker factor on Velvet is out of control (bands with names like Iron Virgin! And pics of Iron Virgin's clothes!). But close your eyes (or at least squint a little), and you've got the first best soundtrack to summer. There's no Bowie, T. Rex, or Sweet hereat least, not by name. But there're about three bashfully faithful bites of "Suffragette City," the best with Brett Smiley's cabaret-weary vox, a few Electric Warrior lifts courtesy of Shakane and the Washington Flyers, even the drumbeat to "Ballroom Blitz" transplanted in Tubthumper's inaccurately named "Kick Out the Jams." Nick Lowe's definitive Bay City Rollers worship song ("Bay City Rollers We Love You"a hit in Japan!) is worth the price of admission by itself; never-rans like Bearded Lady's proto-pop-punk "Rock Star" and Stavely Makepeace's slimy instrumental "Slippery Rock '70s" prove the genre had more to it than bad hair and worse boots. The Sex Pistols might have trampled glam in the charts (and in the history books), but the 20 tracks collected here are pop at its most oblivious and innocent, the missing link between the Ronettes and the Ramones. CHRIS ZIEGLER

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