Reverb

The Psychonauts, The Psychonauts (no label). This Miami Beach via Northeast Ohio group specializes in what they call "industrial-strength trashabilly," which their press material defines as a "mutant crossbreeding of '50s-era rockabilly with today's industrial technology." Although the definition suggests some kind of horrid variation on nine inch nails, the Psychonauts are actually much better. Judging by the three songs on this demo tape, the band sounds more like a fusion of vintage Cramps (especially the reverb-doused walkie-talkie vocals) and Alan Vega's Jukebox Babe, a long-neglected, recently reissued classic from 1980 that first paired icy-synth cool with rockabilly swagger. Regardless of its antecedents, the Psychonauts lay down a greasy brand of bopcat slop that is mostly foreign around these parts, with suitably crappy production, twangy chunks of Link Wray guitar, and a quote from the Stooges' "Raw Power" used to good effect. It is, to borrow once again from the band's own hyperbole, "one hell of a noise" -- a noise I'd like to hear live someday. (The Psychonauts, P.O. Box 415915, Miami Beach, FL 33141-7915. E-mail: psychonaut@aol.com)

Mindflower, Mindflower (no label). The singer reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne (not always a bad thing), but he does this little octave-stretching falsetto-ish thing with his voice that also reminds me of Tiny Tim (always a bad thing). Despite the strain of poppy hard rock that runs through this four-song EP, and despite the Tiny Tim-isms, the guys in Mindflower are serious -- walking through sacred gardens, looking for peace of mind, praying for lost souls, wondering why those amber waves sometimes fade. Really, the drama is just too much. I think I need a beer. (Mindflower, P.O. Box 1421, Hallandale, FL 33008. E-mail: mindflow7@aol.com)

-- By John Floyd

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