Chris Strouth, Prospective/UltraModern Records: 1.Mooter Wholesale and Mfg. 2.Chia Vang 3.The Pins 4.Hellbent 5.The Kelley Deal 6000--Mooter Wholesale and Mfg: a brand-new band. They have unique song structures that easily set them apart. Chia Vang is the new group fronted by Amanda Ferguson (ex-Adjustable Boy), a lo-fi new-wave blitzkrieg of pure pop fun. The Pins: Noisy and loud, the vision's a kandy-kolored nightmare. Hellbent is Bryan Barton from Halo Black (the band no one seems to know is from here); a side project featuring guys from Chemlab and Thrill Kill Cult; dark throbby industrial but devoid of the usual cliché and stock horror show effects. The Kelley Deal 6000 is undeniably a great project--I wonder if more people from Seattle will move here now? Also of note: the Sandwiches; the Beatifics; All the Pretty Horses; Cooper.
Kate Sullivan, City Pages: 1.Semisonic 2.National Dynamite 3.Deformo 4.Eller Lynch 5.The Kelley Deal 6000--Semisonic's Great Divide is my favorite CD of late for playing "Spot the Influence." (E.g., check out the guitars on the Beatles' "You Never Give Me Your Money" alongside "If I Run"--am I crazy?) Which is not to say they aren't a potential rock & roll supernova in their own right, with sideburns and trousers poised for success. Such sexy music, it's almost un-Minnesotan. If National Dynamite songs were people, you'd wanna take 'em home and feed 'em ice cream. Benno "his hair's all right" Nelson & Co. make innocent, intelligent pure pop that, like Nelson's satin bell-bottoms, is eager to please. Deformo: I miss Steve's voice, his oh-my-gout grimace when singing lead. Since he joined Kelley Deal, I hear Deformo's been in hiding, doing secret gigs in St. Cloud and Rochester. Come on guys, prove you're not dead. Eller Lynch are a little bit country, a little bit rock & roll--smart, funny, grown-up, kinda like your favorite recovering alcoholic uncle (and that's good). Kelley Deal 6000: I think they need a new member, a corn dogs-backrubs-and-smokes boy to crouch stageside and do Kelley's bidding.