The "fall edition" of WHFS-FM's HFStival, set for Saturday at RFK Stadium, will attempt to encompass the modern-rock genre with sets by such bands as industrial rockers Filter and dub-punks the Long Beach Dub Allstars. Just to be safe, though, it will also include performances by musicians who don't play rock at all, including the Brit-hop Wiseguys and drum 'n' bassist Dieselboy.
The Long Beach Dub Allstars Like the surviving members of Nirvana, Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh and bassist Eric Wilson had to decide what to do after the death of their band's front man. Their eventual answer was the Long Beach Dub Allstars, a free-form, reggae-rooted outfit that could incorporate various guest musicians. On its debut, "Right Back" (DreamWorks), the group is joined by five outside vocalists, including reggae singers Barrington Levy and Tippa Irie, rapper Dangr and rasta-punk H.R., who began his career with Washington's Bad Brains. The D.C. influence is apparent in "Fugazi," an anti-commercialism homily named for the band known for its stalwart resistance to the music biz. Despite such revolutionary principles, "Right Back" is laid-back to a fault. "New Sun," the tune sung by H.R., has its metallic moments, but the album's spirit is better expressed by the bouncy, pro-pot "Sensi."
(To hear a free Sound Bite from this album, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8171.)
One of the many bands that learned to thrash and burn from Nine Inch Nails, Filter sounds suitably caustic on much of its latest album, "Title of Record" (Reprise). Like Nine Inch Nails, however, Filter also owes a debt to the more bombastic wing of early '80s British synth-pop, which is clear whenever the disc's most metallic timbres recede. The lush, mid-tempo "Take a Picture," for example, wouldn't have been out of place on an early Modern English album, while "Cancer" places an almost-pretty refrain atop its thudding beat. "I am the scum of the Earth/ I am a cancer/ I am humanity," intones singer-songwriter Richard Patrick ominously, but most of this album is no more threatening than a mild cold.
(To hear a free Sound Bite from this album, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8172.)
Although billed as the Wiseguys, the group that made "The Antidote" (Ideal/Wall of Sound/Mammoth) has but one member, DJ Touche (real name: Theo Keating). He (or they) had a British hit with "Ooh La La," a funky bit of nonsense that bears a certain resemblance to the work of Fatboy Slim. Aside from a droll hip-hop rendering of Depeche Mode's "Everything Counts" (titled "The Grabbing Hands"), the second Wiseguys album is mostly a familiar melange of hip-hop, dance and lounge. "Ooh La La" only began to climb the U.K. charts after it was featured in a Budweiser ad, and such uses seem optimal for Touche's slick, shallow music.
(To hear a free Sound Bite from this album, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8173.)
Philadelphia DJ Dieselboy (real name: Damian Higgins) has been hailed as one of the best American exponents of drum 'n' bass, a British genre, and his DJ-mix disc, "A Soldier's Story" (Moonshine), certainly keeps the beats coming. Played in a club at rib-rattling volume, the set might have its desired effect, but on a home stereo the mix seems rather unambitious. One of the more eventful selections is "Atlantic State," a collaboration with Technical Itch, so perhaps the DJ should concentrate on building his own thump-and-chatter tracks.
(To hear a free Sound Bite from this album, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8174.)
CAPTION: Here he are: Touche, a k a Theo Keating, a k a the Wiseguys.
CAPTION: The latest effort of the Long Beach Dub Allstars, at left, scores a few, but is laid-back to a fault; Filter, below, ponderously ponders the human condition.