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Venus Bleeding
Sweet Revenge Records

When it comes to unsigned female rock bands that kick ass, Venus Bleeding is at the top of my very short list. Led by charismatic, tattooed Angelique X, this East Bay band bears the distinction of having an accomplished violin player (Jen Slatten). Angelique's potent, resonating vocals and Slatten's crisp musicianship give this artistic five-piece (which includes Denise Archibeque on guitar, Sonya Westcott on bass and Corey Moore on drums) an unusual flavor. Venus Bleeding's latest recording successfully captures its striking fusion of New Wave and punk rock, and it's the band's most commercially viable yet. After kicking off with the band's theme song ("Girls rock faster!/You can't tell me, bastard, that you didn't notice the way her fingers flew!"), the disc moves from the sexy rise and surge of "Just Add Water" to the Kim Wilde-ish '80s rock of "Swoon" to the New Wave-meets-the-Old West instrumental of "'77 Matador." The band even dances with industrial rock on the assertive "So You Think." One of the highlights of Fakelore is simply titled "E," and Slatten's eerie electric violin sounds almost Egyptian as vocalist Angelique seductively implores, "Please adore me and please tell me I'm pretty, and please, please don't ignore me," before confessing, "I only want everything, and that's a small price to pay for me." (Sarah Quelland)

Mark Kozelek

Mark Kozelek
What's Next to the Moon
Badman Recording Co.

On this unusual solo project, the frontman for the Red House Painters has created one of the most exquisite albums of cover songs ever released. Kozelek has reimagined Bon Scott-era AC/DC songs into quiet and lovely acoustic numbers enriched by folky darkness and depth. It's almost impossible to reconcile this subdued collection with AC/DC's high-voltage rock & roll anthems. Kozelek has been known to reinterpret songs by rock bands like Kiss and the Cars--along with the more logical forays into material sung by Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Young--but this unified tribute may be his boldest yet. The album includes "Love at First Feel," "Love Hungry Man," "Walk All Over You," "If You Want Blood" and "Rock 'N' Roll Singer." Odds are, even diehard AC/DC fans would have a hard time finding the original song inside Kozelek's unique arrangements. (SQ)

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From the April 19-25, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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