**** Dale Cooper and Annie Blackburn
*** Audrey Horne and Jack Justice Wheeler
Nadine and 'Big Ed' Hurley
* Donna Hayward and James Hurley

Sex-Caliber Horsepower

(Upper Cut)

A good mod band coming out of Portland? That idea disappeared when The Goddamn Gentlemen decided to sing about sex and alcohol. Sex-Caliber Horsepower has all the musical elements of booty-shaking, boot-stomping, '60s garage rawk, especially Jason Fleming's Farisa organ-work on songs like "Dance, Shout, and Holler" and "Alcotraz." The only thing stopping The Goddamn Gentlemen from becoming a full-fledged mod revival band is the absence of Steve Marriott's or Reg King's soulful R&B vocals. Instead, lead singer Mark Gastar spent his time studying the stylings of the Rev. Spencer Moody, and uses them to his full advantage on songs like "Murder Man" and "Shark Attack." Those of you burning with anticipation for a real mod revival out here are going to have to wait. BRYAN BINGOLD


(File 13)

Minneapolis boy/girl duo, Triangle, are quirky and promising. Simultaneously organic and robotic, Triangle mixes geekish guitar-pop with bouncy synthesized techno swirls and groovy beats. What throws me off is the porno-riffic funk that Triangle manages to fuse surprisingly well against its tag-team vocals and polished laptop pop. At its best, Triangle is rousing and confident ("Political Song"), with bumping bass lines, head-jerking guitar bites, and a slew of textural treats like congo drums and hand claps. At other (less flattering) moments the band sounds like a self-conscious pastiche of Human League, Devo, Rick James, and Land of the Loops. Which could be exciting, but, in the case of Triangle, the effect just comes off sounding sort of... angular. CORIANTON HALE

State of the Union 2.001


Elliott Sharp has compiled a nifty, budget-priced 3-CD set of short snippets by 171 known and unknown sound artists. Designed for shuffle mode, State of the Union 2.001 explores the undertow of today's adventurous music, from lowercase sound and harsh noise, to witty word haiku and plunderphonic collage. Organized alphabetically, cult heroes Merzbow, Z'ev, Fred Frith, and Ikue Mori join lesser-known lights such as Annie Gosfield, Frank Rothkamm, and Vivian Sisters. Regrettably, slivers of rock and pop creep in as well. Just like rock musicians who "go experimental" and end up feebly recreating what John Cage & Co. did 30 years ago, a few of State's musicians have stumbled down the same path. For crackling chicken-scratch guitar and booty-bompin' bass, dig out those Chic records, or exhume Earth Wind & Fire's Gratitude. Despite that piddling reservation, State is a fine introduction to the sonic saboteurs of today, and handy for filling up mix tapes (and CDs) with intriguing, off-kilter moments. CHRISTOPHER DeLAURENTI