Releases: Drown (1996)
P.S. Formerly a one-man studio display of guitar and programming wizardry, Nihil is starting to mount a formidable live assault.
Country & Western/Americana
Note: Down-home folk-rock five piece with acoustic/electric guitars and a female lead vocalist.
Quote: "We're not country enough to play in country bars, and we're not rock enough for most other clubs. We're just stuck in this weird limbo somewhere between, but that's where we like to play."--Brad Cloch, guitarist
BTW: What the hell is a Burnlacker? Not even Cloch knows. "It just sounded tough."
Earl C. Whitehead and the Grevious Angels
Note: The Angels play quasi-country--the sort of slightly twisted two-step sound that results when lifelong rock 'n' rollers fall head over spurs for roots country.
Quote: "Country music today is so far from its roots. Everything now is straightahead rock beats. It's because people line dance to that kind of music. It's what sells. We don't do that."--Russell Sepulveda, lead singer
Releases: Angels and Inbreds (1995)
BTW: Sepulveda's stage persona, Earl C. Whitehead, is a tribute to his late grandfather.
The Ronnie Dye Band
Note: Foot-stompin', cry-in-your-Budweiser country that rides the range from mellow to rowdy and worships the holy trinity of Dwight Yoakam, Keith Whitley and Randy Travis.
Quote: "The main thing people don't know about me is I'm a dedicated family man. I have four kids and they come before anything and anyone."--Ronnie Dye
BTW: Dye is the celebrity spokesmodel for Perryman Western Wear. Check out his fashion layouts in KNIX Country Spirit.
Note: The song titles say it all: "Hard Luck and Heroin," "I've Seen the Light at the End of the Bottle," "Even Hookers Say Goodbye." Hank Williams country for the millennial transition, this band's got a visceral kick.
Quote: "That simple, old music has always hit a stark note with me."--Bruce Cannole, lead singer
BTW: This band's country cover of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" somehow makes perfect sense.
Note: Pack-a-wallop funk/metal laced with thick harmonies and odd-time meters. Alice in Chains meets 311 meets Helmet. This trio's muscular rendition of "Carol of the Bells" is a favorite Yuletime spin on hard-rock station KDKB-FM 93.3.
Quote: "Everyone in the band has a split personality. We're all mellow, laid-back guys in person but when you get us onstage, we lose control."--Christian Henry, lead singer/guitarist
Releases: Involuntary Pelvic Contractions (1997); Freudian Slip (1996)
BTW: Henry is a sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserves, stationed in Phoenix.
Note: Super hard-core with funk and hip-hop in the mix.
Quote: "Everything in Oil is as cool as the other side of the pillow."--Anthony Mclain, lead guitarist
Releases: Lubrication for Your Mind (1996)
BTW: In January, Oil was ranked No. 8 on the Top 10 AZ bands list compiled by Zia records. Last month, it was No. 5.
Note: Agro rock with accessible melodies. Think Deftones, Korn and Tool.
Quote: "Being in this band is kind of like having three girlfriends, but you don't get the sex thing. You eat together and you get the arguments, but that's about it."--David DeVere, lead singer
Releases: One Ounce Short (1996)
BTW: Trudge also has a Web page (www.primenet.com/~trudge). DeVere swears he will answer all e-mail, "especially if it's erotic in nature."
Zig Zag Black
Note: After its original lead guitarist died three years ago, this veteran Valley rock juggernaut took some time off, then came back strong with a second album of more precise, melodic material that trades in the sledgehammer for a scalpel.
Quote: "Our ambition became to quit buying beers and start selling records."--Mark Morrell, guitarist
Releases: Dose (1996) and Zig Zag Black (1993)
BTW: The vixen on the cover of Dose is described in the liner notes as, well, "a sexy love chicken." Larry Flynt would be thrilled.
Note: This three piece does the loud, melodic emo (short for "emotional") punk thing kids seem to dig so much these days, accented by sudden speed shifts.
Quote: "We are not pretentious. We are Bullyrag."--band mantra
P.S. The New Times standards and practices department heaved a sigh of relief when this band recently changed its name to Bullyrag from "Fucking Thunder."
Mad At 'Em
Note: Grrl-dominated (three XX chromosomed members, one XY) p-rock foursome that plays catchy, estrogen-fueled pop-punk tunes.
Quote: "We have a message for Slugger: You guys better be ready to slug it out at the award showcase."--Kim Smith, lead guitarist
Releases: Debut seven-inch due out this summer.
BTW: Mad At 'Em songs concentrate on "important women's issues," like how hard X-Girl clothing sucks.