Few things could seem as nave today as someone putting out a collection of alt-rock/pop songs played on guitars, bass and drums, with likable lyrics and hummable melodies, and expecting it to sell. After all, what chance does a band from, say, Knoxville, Tenn., have against the likes of Eminem, 'N Sync and Limp Bizkit? Color the members of Superdrag eternal optimists, then, because they've seldom wavered from their belief that their kind of music will win out in the end. Record companies, unfortunately, are not so sure, and despite a pair of fine records -- 1995's Regretfully Yours and 1998's Head Trip in Every Key -- Superdrag was dropped from its major-label deal. True, the band didn't do themselves any favors with a couple of songs on Head Trip -- "Do the Vampire" and "Bankrupt Vibration" -- blasting fickle fans and radio stations that championed them and then turned their backs, but you can't blame them for telling it like it is. Now Superdrag has returned with a slightly reconfigured lineup and a new album In the Valley of Dying Stars (on indie label Arena Rock), the opening lines of which are priceless: "I want rock & roll, but I don't want to deal with the hassle/I know what I know, but I don't want to feel like an asshole." Their songs have some lyrical bite but musically are as sweet as (non-boy-band) popular music gets these days.
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