ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 1992
By Steve Newton
I was really hoping that I’d be able to praise 1992 as the year that rap “music” finally dried up and blew away, but the music industry’s lucrative plot to make recording “artists” out of low-talent bozos grows stronger by the day. Fortunately, there were still some real musicians out there who could be heard above the dehumanizing din of the drum machine.
Dan Baird Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired Gap-toothed former leader of the highly underrated Georgia Satellites goes solo and delivers a knockout batch of southern-fried boogie tunes.
Joe Satriani The Extremist With the rhythm section of brothers Matt and Gregg Bissonette in tow, Satriani once again proves himself a master of heavy and beautiful guitar music, second only to Jeff Beck.
Dave Hole Short Fuse Blues An Australian slide-guitar wizard with a strange, over-the-top-of-the-guitar-neck, slide-on-the-index-finger style, Hole plays wicked barroom blues with serious soul.
War Babies War Babies This Seattle quintet’s debut release just edged out Trouble’s Manic Frustration as my fave hard-rock recording of ’92. Singer Brad Sinsel is a powerhouse, and the band kicks royal butt on straightforward, ’70s-inspired rock tunes.
Fourth Estate Finesse and Fury This instrumental power trio from Colorado was heavily influenced by Canadian rock acts Rush and Max Webster, but the startling music on its independent debut recording is all its own.
Sonny Landreth Outward Bound Former John Hiatt sideman and studio player steps out on his own and proves himself not only a deadly slide-guitar specialist, but a capable singer/songwriter at home in a variety of musical styles, Cajun and Delta blues among them.
D.A.D. Riskin’ It All This Danish quartet comes up with the clever idea of blending trebly Duane Eddy-style guitar with AC/DC’s rhythm attack. The result is one of the freshest sounds in the hard-rock genre.
The Tragically Hip Fully Completely Unstoppable grooves, lit up with Bobby Baker’s tastefully reserved lead guitar and peppered with stream-of-consciousness singer Gordon Downie’s distinctly Canadian themes.
Strange Days Life Ain’t Easy Independent quintet from Kitchener, Ontario, sounds like a rocking cross between Blue Rodeo and the Tragically Hip, and you know that can’t be bad.
Fun for Malakai Reverie This album’s shimmering guitars, catchy rhythms, multi-textured arrangements, and inspired lyrics make this independent disc Canada’s answer to U2’s Achtung Baby.