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TRIPL3FASTACTION (Buy CDs by this artist)
Broadcaster (Capitol) 1996
Cattlemen Don't (Deep Elm) 1997

Tripl3fastaction formed from the remains of the late-'80s Chicago punk foursome Rights of the Accused. Matured a bit from ROTA's indelicate assault and solidly grounded in good old midwestern power pop, singer/guitarist/songwriter Wes Kidd and drummer Brian St. Clair fashioned the aptly named Tripl3fastaction and — along with pals Loud Lucy and Veruca Salt — became a respected band-around-town after Smashing Pumpkins and Liz Phair put Chicago back on the rock'n'roll map in 1993.

The band's two early singles are quite good. "Aerosmith," in particular, is arresting: over a barely strummed guitar and some feedbacky guitar noise, Kidd plays the part of a canny but unsatisfied '90s Everykid baying at the moon ("I got my MTV/My Q101/I got some DGC that I don't need"). The other single, "Revved Up," is just that. Although the band was snapped up in the great Chicago signing spree of 1994, Broadcaster didn't appear until the spring of 1996. TFA's sound is less unapologetically pop than Veruca's, and Kidd's musical vision is considerably less baroque than Billy Corgan's, but his punk beginnings emerge in the ferocity of the band's attack. New versions of "Aerosmith" and "Revved Up" hit harder than the originals; "Bird Again" is a fun slice of edgy, modernized Cheap Trick. On the dreamy "Don't Tell," the concussive "American City World" and the closing ten-minute "Superstar" (by turns wan and wild), Kidd shows that he can do propulsive, smartened-up modern rock as well as anyone else these days.

[Bill Wyman]