by Helena Cohen

Atlantic City, NJ- Honestly, I don't know why I get my hopes up. Worthwhile bands from the Atlantic City area are just too few and far between. I guess the sheer excitement in anticipation of a "Battle Of The Bands" went to my head. In the end, about 2 of the bands that preformed at the House of Blues that evening were worth the price admission. But, since this column is titled HIT & MISS, I'm just here to discuss the highest and lowest points of this so-called "battle".

Let's talk "hit", shall we?

SOMERDALE: Reminiscent of mid-70's garage rock (those years lingering between The Beatles and The Ramones), this power trio has an uncanny ability to channel equal parts Rubinoos (or any Berserkley band of your choosing) and power-pop prototypes Big Star. The former example shines through in spades with Somerdale's ruckus guitar riffs. The latter influence, however, is evident on their latest CD, in a more stripped-down number titled "Sweet Days"-- a short and somber song, but let's face it; if you're going to take your melancholy cues from anyone, it should be Big Star. --With that said, Somerdale were obviously the only band to perform with any genuine chemistry. It's easy to see that this band plays rock n' roll purely for the sake of playing rock n' roll.

FOR FANS OF: mid-70's AMERICAN garage rock.

Swing, and a "miss"!

LINUS LOWERY: Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a place in my heart for unique vocal stylings-- Bob Dylan, Robert Smith, Tricky, TV's Dustin Diamond --but unfortunately not Linus Lowery. It should be noted that transparently plaintive vocals only make the grade when balanced out with plenty of attitude. LL, on the other hand, can only be summed up as a poor man's Franz Ferdinand, after suffering a head-on collision with DeGrassi's very own Zit Remedy. Their set supports my theory that faux-Manchester, art-rock grooves are best left to U.K. bands (and Hot Hot Heat). As much as I'm a sucker for post-show merchandise, I bought a CD from every band but this one. Better luck next year, boys.

FOR FANS OF: an honest effort.

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