Discs offer fresh pop-rock

Apr 032002
Authors: Matt Hamm

Smashmouth is back on tour after the 2001 release of their self-titled album. If you weren’t able to catch them in Denver on March 25 at the Pepsi Center, you can catch up with the band’s new sound.

With success in the past with hits “Walkin’ on the Sun” and “All-Star,” the band comes back with a 13-song disc that has a pop-rock feel. While listening to the CD, I got visions of an Austin Powers movie because many of the songs have a 1960s rock sound.

There are such diverse sounds to this album; from the synthesized drum machine used in “Keep It Down,” to the disco feel of “Holiday In My Head,” to the classic rock sound of “The In Set,” Smashmouth has found a way to keep their signature style fresh.

The album also includes a cover of the old Monkees hit “I’m a Believer,” which appeared in the last summer’s blockbuster “Shrek.”

The band is currently on the 2002 Celebrity Tour, their first tour since the album’s release in 2001, accompanying such well known acts as *NSYNC. The band hopes to expand some of their fan base.

They should have no problem doing just that with their video for the first single off the album, “Pacific Coast Party,” featuring bikini-clad girls, currently playing on MTV. They also plan for more videos to come.

Smashmouth has been able to overcome some recent difficulties with the loss of drummer Kevin Coleman due to severe and persistent back pain. New drummer Michael Urbano had only two days notice before joining the band mid-tour in his hometown of Sacramento, but you can’t tell by the way he has been playing. Urbano has picked up the sticks and kept the band rockin’.

Front man Steve Harwell is really proud of the work put out on the album, saying, “Whether people accept it or not, it’s the best record we’ve made.”


“Beautiful Garbage”

For those looking for a new twist on the pop-rock style music that many bands seem to be putting out lately, they only have to look to a band that has been around more than the average MTV-one-hit-and-gone band.

Garbage returns to the scene with their third album, “Beautiful Garbage,” which was released in October 2001. The band was lucky enough to promote the album while touring with U2, one of the most well-known bands of this generation.

When you listen to this album, you will quickly find this is not the same Garbage that has produced such songs as “I’m Only Happy When It Rains” and “Special.”

A new sound has emerged that blends together studio mixes, not just straight rock riffs and beats. With some studio mixes combined with the rock sound, Garbage is able to blend the pop-rock sound fans are used to, with a club sound that produces a great beat and music.

It’s not just the music that attracts many fans to Garbage. The lyrics of many of these songs are poetic and tell stories; it’s about the messages.

The message the band is trying to convey is sent by front-woman Shirley Manson. Her vocal talents mixed with the hard rock of the guitar bring an odd, but very interesting combination to the music. Her exceptional voice is showcased in such songs as “So Like a Rose” and “Silence is Golden.” Her face can also be found, along with the rest of the band, on the cover of many recent publications.

The re-emergence of Garbage has brought the band great publicity. You can see them in such magazines as Pulse, Cosmo Girl, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, and People and newspapers such as USA Today, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.

Look for Garbage May 20 at the Paramount Theatre in Denver. n

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