Rock in a Hard Place 

Deep inside the local scene

a while since Good for You haunted local clubs four or five years ago, so when I saw the name pop up again on various Oakland club calendars recently, I started to wonder if maybe this was an entirely different Good for You. But no. Well, just a little. Bassist Tania Nochisaki (who used to book the Emeryville club Formula in its three months of existence back in '96) has been replaced by Jessica Cowley, but other than that it's the same ol' trio--with singer/guitarist Peter Nochisaki and drummer Jake Hartigan playing noisy, squeaky-buzzy indie rock with hints of the Pixies and other fine bands of yore, some of those X-like yowly guy-gal quasi-harmonies; all manner of clanking and squelching and fits and starts; and some dang clever lyrics, too: "When I first rented from you, I had no idea / That every word that you'd say would be onomatopoeia." And now, after all this time, they're putting out a fine li'l disc called Falling Out with a wingding at the Starry Plough Thursday, May 24. C'mon, it's Good for You.

very well, you may say, but what about that band I saw there on the teevee, those nice Green Day fellas? Well, um, lessee. Reggae Rocks: The Tide Is High, a reggae "tribute to rock 'n' roll" put out by Madacy Entertainment, ends with a hilariously low-key cover of the local lads' hit "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" crooned by Chrisinti with syrupy synthesized string section and smooth backup vocals by his own Christintettes. Despite a couple of contributions by Toots and the Maytals, it's an odorous platter of goopy cheese that makes Shinehead sound like a badass motherfucker in comparison, with lame easy-listening covers of "Johnny B. Goode," "Hotel California," and "Satisfaction" with an island twist--provided a traffic island or something. And Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong cowrote and performs on "Unforgiven," the first single from the Go-Go's' new record God Bless the Go-Go's. So we're told, anyway. Really, it just sounds like the Go-Go's, a little mellower but cotton-candy-anthemic as ever--as does (oh happy day!) the whole blessed album. But Billie Joe popped out to sing "Our Lips Are Sealed" with the leading ladies of '80s rock at their local shows last year, so we'll take their word for it. No Beauty and the Beat but no Talk Show either, the Go-Go's' fourth proper album (retrospectives don't count)--only seventeen years after their third--doesn't break much new ground, but good lord, would you want it to? What if they'd made a techno album or something? No, it's just bouncy punked-up cheerleader rock like mama used to make, back when mama was a Go-Go.


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