ROCK 'N' ROLL : A Cut Above : Slash Records' reputation for great albums remains intact with the latest from Field Trip.

X. The Blasters. The Violent Femmes. The Gun Club. Los Lobos. Fear. The Zulus. Bonnie Hayes & The Wild Combo. The Bodeans. The Del Fuegos. The Chills. The Wild Flowers.

Slash Records, a small label in L.A., sure can pick 'em. Pound for pound, Slash is the best label around. You'd be hard pressed to find a crummy Slash album.

Field Trip, a Bay Area quartet, is yet another worthy Slash discovery. The band is currently on tour in support of their second album, "Headgear."

Providing an antidote for "Roseanne," the band will be at The Carnaval Club in Santa Barbara along with The Gunbunnies on Tuesday night. The band plays sort of countrified folk rock that just keeps getting better every time you listen. You'd never guess they would sound the way they do from their musical influences.

"I was heavy into Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper," drummer Tom Galbraith said in a recent phone interview. "My brother Jim likes the same stuff, too, and also some country stuff like George Jones. Greg Kinkle, the bass player is a hard-core KISS-head, and Anthony Quezada, the guitar player likes pop rock--The Beatles, The Who and Nick Lowe. Yeah, Nick Lowe's great--we've got his new tape in our van."

The current tour across America's Heartland is the band's second.

"We're in Texas today," Galbraith said. "The asphalt is bubbling and the trees are dying. We've been in Chicago, Kansas, St. Louis, Minneapolis and everywhere in between. People who saw us last tour came back and this time, brought their friends. The biggest crowd was in Minneapolis, and we played terrible--we must've broken 10 strings that night. Oh well, it happens."

Field Trip is big on the college radio circuit. In other words, they're not getting played on the Top 40 stations.

Field Trip reminds me of The Meat Puppets in a mellow mood. It may be worth the drive just to hear the song that is the answer every girl longs to hear, "All My Fault." The best Field Trip song is a pop rock gem that Nick Lowe himself would be proud of--"Blue Blanket"--which features some killer steel guitar work by Joel Goldmark, a pizza store owner in the Bay Area.

He didn't make the trip. He probably wouldn't fit in the van, anyway.

* THE DETAILS: Field Trip performs with the Gunbunnies at the Carnaval Club, 634 State St., Santa Barbara on Tuesday at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12. For more information call 962-9991.

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