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  Mean Red Spiders  
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I am on a very cool mailing list that, for some reason, has a slew of people from Toronto on it. All of the Torontoans have raved about this band. Apparently they are the shining stars of the Toronoto "alternative rock" scene. Who knew? Anyway, this is their second release, and after some work at tracking it down i must admit that i am far from disappointed! (HINT: is the only online record store i found that carried it.) This is a pretty solid alt-rock album, and i look forward to catching these people on their impending tour of the East Coast of the US!

The thing that i like about them is that they kind of remind me of Lush. At least in the vocals -- that sort of high-pitched girl singing. The great thing about Mean Red Spiders is that this singing is present, but somewhat slurred. A little buried in the mix, but not so far buried as to become indecipherable. The vocals are there, but they neither dominate the music, nor are they dominated by it.

And the music itself is nice and sparse. Almost minimal at times. There is also a whole lot of instrumental work -- long jam out interludes between vocal bits.

Mean Red Spiders apparently have some range too. They can be loud and rocking, like on Glass, where they put forth a positive wall of guitar sound, and on Azimuth of Panama, which reminds me of A Thousand Leaves-era Sonic Youth (which is a good thing, fellow minion Tracers' commentary aside.) I really am looking forward to seeing these two songs live!

On the other hand, Mean Red Spiders are able to play the other end of the spectrum as well. During their breif stint on the "Main Stage" at Lollapalooza 1994, Mac MacCaughan of Superchunk said something like, "The sign of a great band is being able to slow things down and still keep it interesting" as his band descended into the long slow and beauitiful introduction to Like A Fool. Mean Red Spiders can do that -- they can slow it down, and still keep me interested. In fact, i think the most beautiful song on the disc does this perfectly. It's called Red/Blue and starts off as a positive wall of sound which (after a few minutes) slows down to some light, washed out melody, and eventually (several minutes later) just fades away into Left, the next track, which is a similarly slow song of arpeggiated guitars. This is a really beautiful sweep of guitarwork!

So, if you like guitar rock, i can wholeheartedly recommend this. In fact, go see them on tour if you can (Dottie's in Atlanta on Saturday 18.November.2000). However, if you are not a fan of this style of music, i don't think that they will convince you of anything.

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