Christians

Brothers Garry and Russell Christian (formerly an a cappella soul trio with Roger, another sibling) and ex-Yachts helmsman Henry Priestman (who left It’s Immaterial to join them) comprise the core of this Liverpool group. (Roger Christian appeared on the group’s earliest singles, but quit prior to the first Christians album and eventually surfaced as a…

Adrian Belew

The guitarist aging art-rockers turn to for a sublime and stirring mixture of solid chops and wild-eyed invention, Adrian Belew (born in Kentucky, raised in Ohio) has played a crucial long-term role in the careers of David Bowie and King Crimson, while also making important contributions to Frank Zappa (who gave him his first break),…

Cindy Lee Berryhill

First emerging as a witty, self-aware West Coast delegate to the mid-’80s fast folk movement, Cindy Lee Berryhill always bore a broader agenda than what could be achieved with a single guitar. Not that she wasn’t perfectly able to put over clever original songs with simple apparatus (as she did on her first two albums),…

House of Freaks

The creative leap that brought House of Freaks to life in Richmond, Virginia as a duo of guitar/vocals (Bryan Harvey) and drums (Johnny Hott) has become an article of faith for the group. Intelligence, urgency and creative use of guest musicians far outweigh any structural doubt about what properly constitutes a rock combo. (So much…

Comateens

This New York trio played a bouncy brand of dance rock rooted in chintzy ’60s Farfisa organ pop and spooky horror- movie soundtrack music. The group first gained recognition in 1979 with a homemade single that featured a stripped- down version of Bowie’s “TVC 15,” which they re-recorded for their first LP. After a number…

Code Blue

Los Angeles’ Code Blue may be best remembered for the fact that its first album was released encased in a blue plastic bag; the group, which actually had talent, fell victim to the post-Knack backlash against Angelino power pop. The brainchild of original Motels guitarist Dean Chamberlain, Code Blue came together after the first version…

Atlantics

The only album by this talented Boston rock band with strong, melodic material and a slightly overdramatic vocalist was unfortunately issued on a label that was breathing its corporate last. Two standout songs — “When You’re Young” and “One Last Night” — suggest abundant power-pop promise, but weak production and a crucial lack of promotion…

Reddy Teddy

One of Boston’s leading local bands of the mid-’70s, Reddy Teddy preceded, by a couple of years, most of the groups that would coalesce into a scene around the Rat, the club that served as Boston’s first indie-rock epicenter. Their sole album, released by a Cambridge indie, is well-produced, aggressive pre-punk rock’n’roll that sounds at…

Martin Stephenson & the Dainties

Those old enough to remember Donovan’s late-’60s albums, on which he combined strains of folk, rock, blues and wispy jazz with sincere, unpretentious singing, have a good reference point for Martin Stephenson and the Daintees. Hailing from a small town outside of Newcastle (which he reputedly never left until he was 27), singer/guitarist Stephenson is…

Alter Boys

The Dictators’ Andy Shernoff may have produced the only LP by New York’s Alter Boys, but the group’s roots seem closer to two other great erstwhile Gotham bands — Television and the Velvet Underground. The two guitarists seem promising enough, but they often seem held back by the relatively stiff rhythm section; the band sounds…

Gear Daddies

Hailing from Spam-town (Austin, Minnesota, home of Hormel), the Gear Daddies serve up slices of Americana Norman Rockwell forgot to paint. The low-budget Let’s Go Scare Al showcases singer-guitarist Martin Zellar’s somber, country-tinged songs. (Although guitarist Randy Broughten often plays pedal steel and a snippet of a Bob Wills tune finds its uncredited way in,…

Godfathers

Remember Dr. Feelgood? How ’bout Eddie and the Hot Rods? Well, if the white-hot pre-punk R&B/rock’n’roll of those two bands means anything to you, chances are you’ll love the early Godfathers — formed by London brothers Peter (vocals) and Chris (bass/vocals) Coyne, initially as the Syd Presley Experience — to death. Not coincidentally, the late…

A’s

One of the first bands on Philadelphia’s new wave club scene to sign with a major label, the A’s made their reputation through an energetic stage show which featured singer Richard Bush’s Jerry Lewis-like antics. On the group’s first album, Bush shows an equal aptitude for playing the comedian (“Teenage Jerk Off,” an affectionately tongue-in-cheek…

E*I*E*I*O

Wisconsin’s E*I*E*I*O is an “American Music” band in the tradition of Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Blasters. Like those two bands, their sound is an amalgam of rock’n’roll, rockabilly, country, blues and folk. They’ve also got a strong singer with an unmistakably individual voice in Steve Summers, two good songwriters (Summers and bassist Richard Szeluga)…

Paul Young

From the ashes of London neo-soulsters the Q-Tips emerged Paul Young, whose smoky voice, singing a mixture of classics and originals, quickly put him in the British, and later, American charts. The choice of songs on No Parlez ranges from the prudent (“Love of the Common People,” “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home),”…

Single Bullet Theory

Early new wave rumblings from below the Mason-Dixon line: Richmond, Virginia’s SBT filled their independent 12-inch with four energetic, two-minute Yardbirds/Kinks-influenced pop songs. Unfortunately, they run between four and six minutes each. The band’s combination of power and finesse is impressive, though, as is their sense of humor on the best track, “Rocker’s Night Out…

Afraid of Mice

This Liverpool quartet’s sole LP is humorless Bowiesque dance-rock, produced by former Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti. Leader Philip Franz Jones, who wrote all but one of the songs, performs on sax, flute and keyboards in addition to providing mannered lead vocals. For all his versatility, Jones’ songs are not particularly memorable; the dour, solipsistic views…

Whirlwind

This London quartet (named after a Charlie Rich Sun recording) was one of the first English rockabilly bands to emerge at a time when the music press was looking for the “next big thing” after punk. On its debut, Blowin’ Up a Storm, Whirlwind — whether by design or simply limited competence — offers up…

Equators

Produced by Rumours keyboardist Bob Andrews, the Equators’ well-integrated (no pun intended) hybrid of ska, reggae and rock (credit the rhythm section all around) is musically, if not lyrically, similar to much of the output of the contemporaneous 2 Tone bands. This all-black sextet leaves out the heavy messages and aims for the feet, making…

Three O’Clock

One of the brightest lights of new American pop psychedelia, LA’s Salvation Army debuted with an album that was liable to inspire young bands all around the world to join in the fun. The trio’s melodies have the ethereal quality of a young Syd Barrett; the music is a blend of all the most colorful…