NO BASS FIDELITY - Motorama (Vida Loca)
About 100 miles up I-75 on a recent 10-day trek "Up North" (roughly speaking, that area of Michigan north of Bay City and south of the Canadian border), a sinking feeling crept up on me when I realized that despite packing one wife, three kids, and enough clothes, food, and toys to last until the next millennium (or until The Kinks release a new album - whichever comes first), I'd brainlocked and forgotten to bring along any tuneage. Stopping at a gas station to refuel brought no relief - nothing but bootleg cassettes of Ray Coniff, Johnny Mathis, Sugarloaf, and the Marshall Tucker Band - so I resigned myself to settling in for the long haul and consoled myself with some deer jerky.

Well, after almost two weeks of listening to some of northern Michigan's finest classic rock stations - by the way, at what point did The Clash and Devo attain classic rock status? - and my wife's Norah Jones CD (somebody run me a warm bath and hand me a razor blade), I was hankering for some loud fast music with loud fast words played by some loud fast bands. Then I got back to the salt mine and popped in Motorama's "No Bass Fidelity" and suddenly a constant rotation of "Hotel California" and "Mr. Roboto" didn't seem like such a burden anymore. A cursory glance at "No Bass Fidelity's" (Motorama has no bass player - get it?) liner notes initially led me to believe this steaming cow pie was recorded here in the Great Lake State until my neurons started firing crisply again and I figured out "MI" is actually an abbreviation for Milan, Italy.

Since Milan is internationally known as one of the premier fashion centers on the planet, it's my theory that the three ragazzas in the band (singer Elena, drummer Laura, and guitarist Daniela) are actually supermodels slumming as punk rockers who took a few hours respite from the catwalk, walked into a studio, and picked up instruments in a failed attempt to make some sort of artistic statement, maybe figuring credits in Remedial Rawk 101 would look good on their resumes. Cue laugh track...

"No Bass Fidelity" is little more than a complete racket and annoying as hell to boot. How annoying? Imagine getting a chunk of Popsicle stuck in that upper molar filling while simultaneously hitting your funny bone on the edge of a door frame as you're changing a poopy diaper and this doesn't even begin to approach describing the irritation as prickly little burrs like "Lucienne," "Drive Mary Home, Babe," "Nag," and, especially, "Bow-Shaped Hips" get under your collar. Daniela saws away at her SG, Laura struggles and fails to lock into anything resembling a swing or groove on the traps, and Elena's hormonal scree is enough to make Nina Hagen or Lydia Lunch cringe.

As if all of this isn't enough, these piccolas had the gall to include a hidden bonus track which sounds like Elena riffing unintelligibly through a fast food drive-through speaker over the goose-stepping sound effects from the Sex Pistols' "Holidays In The Sun" and the clanging radiator from David Lynch's "Eraserhead."

Although this frazzled noisefest was apparently recorded live in the studio, it's likely to even offend the dead. My mother, a second-generation Italian who used to champion virtually everything in the land of the boot, has to be spinning in her urn.
- Clark Paull

No beers (not even a warm one)