Head cheese

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Jiva hit all the modern rock hallmarks on its new, self-released EP, Masquerade — rhythms that shift between broody and beefy, capably weedly-weedly-weedly guitar solos and lyrics that read like a diary of mental anguish. But familiarity works when the alt-rock wallop is right, and the Detroit area outfit really nails it on such tracks as "Far Beneath" and especially "Heaven's Too Late." After all, we like sensing when the guitars will kick in, or when Tasha Valdez's Amy Lee-ish vocal will soar to a higher note — such anticipation guarantees the perfectly synchronized headbang. For its monomanias, Jiva decided to honor drummer Griffin Bastian's charming eccentricities.

5. Bastian seeks Discovery Channel HD for the first time: "What's up with Africa having all the cool animals? I mean, a wildebeest? What is that?" Bastian's brain is the real wild kingdom.

4. Bastian is the drum-throne MacGyver: "Guys, I really blew it. I forgot my snare, cymbals and sticks." And he still rocked, despite arriving at our I-Rock gig with only a bass drum and his cymbal stands. Drummers are a different breed.

3. Bastian the epicurean: "What's gumbo? Can I sniff your spoon?"

2. Bastian gift of gab runs in the family: "One of your fans made you a strawberry pie?" Bastian's brother, Spencer, asked the band once. Then, solemnly, "That is the greatest gift."

1. Bastian tries trucker speed: "Dude, I have to be at work by 6 a.m. It's cool; I'll just drive straight home after the festival." It was a 10-hour trip back to Ann Arbor.


Thursday, Oct. 5, at Small's, 10339 Conant, Hamtramck; 313-873-1117.

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