Featured Music: Wednesday, February 6, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Killer or Filler?

A look-see at what’s cooking — c.d.-wise — on the local scene.

By ANTHONY MARIANI

Henceforth, I will report to you, dear reader, in a monthly fashion on the quality of underground c.d.’s coming out of the Metroplex, with a particular interest in c.d.’s being created, produced, and/or manufactured here in Tarrant County. It is my hope that, by processing the hundreds of undie c.d.’s — underground indies — being created, produced, and/or manufactured in the Fort, I will be able to help you navigate the hilly, bumpy terrain of this local scene, telling you who to snuggle up next to and who to avoid like an ex-racquetball partner who went on to have a sex-change operation merely to avoid paying a hefty Aardvark tab. What you can count on every month (or so) is honest opinion-mongering in the name of promoting interest in The Scene. All aboard!

This first batch of c.d.’s has for months been part of the foundation of a lean and lofty tower of fax transmittals, subpoenas, old report cards, and grit looming over my desk. These c.d.’s never appeared in formal reviews or “Listen Up”’s chiefly because these c.d.’s were a) e.p.’s b) demos c) singles, or d) jaw-droppingly awful pieces of crap. We here at the Weekly tend to view local-music criticism primarily as a service to readers who, like readers everywhere, need help finding good ways to spend weekends and hard-earned cash. And every good critic knows that any moron with a loud enough voice and facile enough understanding of the English language can slam any artist or piece of art, especially if the art or artist is “local” and consequently without access to Springsteenian checkbooks. In short: The real writerly talent is in being able to talk positively about artists who need the attention, without sounding like a cheerleader.

Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t give a shit. Let’s begin, shall we?

Cosine of the Beast

Not many people know that math was created in the depths of hell by Satan. This explains trigonometry and the overwhelming power that “credit” holds over “debit” in our ledgers. Musicians who use protractors and calculators to chart the tension and release of enormous guitar notes and bombastic drumbeats are evil, naturally. It may be impossible for mortal ears to discern the content of Garuda’s growled lyrics, but you can be sure that Garuda ain’t no U2 — their math metal perfectly channels the meaty volubility of what is surely Beelzebub’s foul disposition. Listening to their six-song e.p., Cold Wired Sentiment, is like eating a nine-volt battery and then thrusting your head through a pane of glass. In brief: Cool. And memorable. And impossible to tap your toes along to (unless, of course, you have hooves — but that’s a different story). Grade: B-

Scott Mann Receives Eucharist More Times Than You Check Your E-mail

My pet rock’s name is Tito. He lives in a shoebox beneath my bed. When he’s bad, I take him out and bounce him off various dense surfaces while making him listen to this fucking c.d.

So who’s Scott Mann? Well, he seems like a nice guy, but ... I’ll just let him tell you. Here’s what Scott had to say about his Scottastic self in a letter he wrote us a couple of weeks ago: “My music has been compared to a modern version of James Taylor and/or Chris Isaak, but with more spiritual overtones. ... I have been writing and performing deep and meaningful love songs and spiritual tunes for the last three years professionally ... and have never been mentioned in any Fort Worth Weekly music column.”

Ahem. When Mann’s not pestering us for column inches or fighting to stop the sale of unleavened bread to gentiles, this singer-songwriter busies himself by churning out banal “inspirational” coffee-house folk music that’s about as “edgy” as jalapeños on pizza. The Road As I Know It, Mann’s current c.d., is a collection of 14 songs you’ve probably heard at 7 a.m. mass, probably played much better on a funky organ as accompaniment to 29 drowsy senior citizens singing in unison in keys of their own making. In the bizarro universe, Mann is a foul-mouthed, steroid-poppin’, SoCo-swillin’ devil worshipper with the access code to the Playboy mansion. In this world, he’s a less hirsute, less myopic Ned Flanders. (Say your prayers, yes indeedy.) Grade: D

Physical Therapy

I would not want to fight Daniel Katsuk. His arms are long, and his beard is prickly. I once saw him uproot a lamppost by merely looking at it. Do not contemplate deep-sea exploration, stare too pensively into your beer, or mope loudly in his presence. Just FYI.

That said, Katsuk is a talented musician who, when not holding it down full-time with Spoonfed Tribe, performs solo on acoustic under the moniker A-hummin’ Acoustical Acupuncture. Don’t worry: His music is not really as gay as A-hummin’ Acoustical Acupuncture sounds (and I mean “gay” not in the homosexual or happy way, but in the bachelor-party-without-booze kinda way) — Katsuk’s music can be dark and contemplative, even cosmic, transcendental, as often as it can be uplifting and truly “inspirational” (not in the WWJD way). Katsuk, under his Triple-A name, gigs around town often enough for you to check him out and buy his current c.d., Remembrance: thirteen wonderful songs built around organic instrumentation and primitive percussion; sometimes a little too trippy-hippie, but mostly musically courageous. Grade: B


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