When Stuff Stops

Jeff Radaich

So we're macking out on chips and salsa at the Blue Cafe one lonely Monday night when this stranger ambles up (without bothering to go through our publicist—the nerve!) and hands us a copy of his CD, telling us he loves us and reads us all the time, blah, blah, blah, making us feel all famous and shit. What fortuitous timing this was—not only were we in dire need of a good ego stroke, but also we needed a sweet slab o' fresh, untenderized meat with which to resurrect our legendary, infamous local CD and tape box. So Long Beach singer/songwriter Radaich—that very stranger—becomes our first hero/victim. We declare that Radaich's eight-song disc, Park Bench Carnival, while quite good for the most part, will likely take a few spins to get used to, mostly on account of the lad's emasculated, girly-girl singing voice that could rightfully be branded helium-filled. Things aren't helped on the first track, "Conversation," which is slow and meandering, though not nearly as much as "You Are a Woman," in which Radaich streeeeetches the lines out so much that you wanna flip the fast-forward switch (the tune, in case you couldn't figure it out, is about a woman—unless it's a disguised sonnet to a she-male or something). On the brighter side, Radaich sounds just like Marianne Faithful on "Indy," only smokier (though the tune itself is great and swampy, a spooky-cool blues-dipped thing with mandolins and dulcimers fucking each other's frets off). Strings pop up on "This Thorn"—not fake strings, either, but an actual string section that oozes mellow amidst a jangly guitar drawl. "My Love," which by the title alone could've easily been the sappiest thing on the disc, actually rocks hard, full of sweet, please-pass-the-bong atmospherics. Radaich may seem quivering and fragile on the surface, but there's some solid, macho stuff beneath. (Rich Kane)

Info: www.jeffradaich.com. Jeff Radaich performs at King Neptune's, 17115 Pacific Coast Hwy., Sunset Beach, (562) 592-4878. Thurs., Sept. 6, 9 p.m. Free. 21+.

BARNACLE

What's the reckoning on the time it now takes for a current trend to become a nostalgic trip? We figure seven years oughta be about enough. So journey with us now, won't you, back to 1994. What are we doing? We're 26 years old, hapless, confused, living in La Habra, leveraging several credit cards (it sure felt like free money for a while), whoring ourselves out to the sickly Orange County Register by scribbling concert reviews in exchange for paltry $50 paychecks ("Thong-kew, suh! May I please have some more? I'd be evah, evah so grateful! Sniff!")and thinking maybe it wasn't such a good idea to leave college early after all. But there's comfort in the then-burgeoning Fullerton music scene, where we hang out many a night in clubs like the Fullerton Hofbrau, Miki's, Tropics Lounge, Electric Circus, the Hub, and a few places that didn't even have names, grooving to bands like Room to Roam, Fat Shadow, Moonwash Symphony, Relish, Moe's Art, Plato's Stepchildren and Trip the Spring, most of which have been consigned to the dustbin of OC rock history. But when stuff stops, new stuff starts. Hence, we have Barnacle, made up of several members of Trip the Spring; they've put out a five-song EP that's as rollicking as their old band was back in the day. There's "Haul It In," a jovial blend of alterna-country stomp and drunken sea chanty. There's "Nun," which has some sweet, piercing, Crazy Horse-style guitar licks (and which, we think, is about a secret Catholic-school crush). There's "Holiday," a mellow cocktail jazz number that's spry and sumptuous. We also like "Of Better Days," which for some reason makes us think of bullfighting. Barnacle is a decent, honest band, then—not the same old thing and certainly not something to be focus-grouped to death. (RK)

Info: (714) 525-8438.

Yep, it's true! Starting with this issue, Locals Only returns to its freshman-year roots, scrawling about the CDs and demo tapes of Orange County and Long Beach bands, musicians, songwriters and the like. Mail your music (and your vital contact info for publication, plus any dates you've got coming up) to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.
 
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