The Sheila Divine New Parade (Roadrunner)
No. It’s not a woman named Sheila, but probably some Yankee’s version of “attractive girl.” The three Bostonians that make up the band are dark, heavy… pop. Okay, with sometimes sustained vocals that remind you of hair bands of yore, but you can almost see the video now: the band playing on a hillside with a helicopter circling around them, and some of us wondering how in hell they can play with no electricity in the middle of nowhere with that damned chopper hovering. It’ll be interesting to see if this comes over in a live situation. — L. Green
Machine Head The Burning Red (Roadrunner)
I’ve had a tough time getting into this band’s previous material, but this release (their third) has the band hitting full stride. The Machine Head sound has evolved and dares you to stand still. The band builds on experience and adds a healthy dose of pit-churning rage to create the musical equivalent of Niagra Falls, both amazing and powerful. Add an incredible interpretation of the Police’s Every Breath You Take and you have a sweet piece for your collection. — J. Jobes
Captain Audi My Ears are Ringing, but my Heart’s OK (Last Beat)
Hurtling through the city on a subway, the person plugged into the cd sees passengers enter and exit in time to the melodic pulse with which we all throb. Opener “Put That Sweater On” is the aural equivalent of “Koyaanisqatsi”. The other five songs leave the train and get you into the club for a stripped-down cross between an Elephant 6 and Placebo. By the close “Know It All” the chill-out kicks in for the way home. A night out … in. — L. Green
Marc Almond Open All Night (Instinct)
Smoke for the bedsitter, tortured soul or just broken-hearted from the voice of the famous version of “Tainted Love”. Past his Jacques Brel homage, the former Soft Cell singer strips down his formerly orchestral tales to make them more suitable for cruising the streets at 4 a.m., stalking the one you saw across the room – 12 times. Seeming more content with the seedy side of love and life, Almond has always reveled in the smudges and here he’s joined on the curb by Kelli Ali of the Sneaker Pimps, Siouxie and Budgie of the Creatures and smeared tears, blood and dirt. One-man cabaret. — L. Green
Reach The Sky, So far from home (Victory Records)
Last summer my friend Jaybil told me to buy one of this bands seven inches. He told me that I would love it because all they sang about was about girls and being heartbroken, confused and all wonderful stuff we all go through. But they best thing about them he said was that they were hard. So basically this band plays emotional music that you can run into people to (mosh). Well this is their second album and it is nothing less than amazing. Seriously I got this a week ago and that is all I have listened to since then. One of the few bands out today that have great lyrics, great music, and dare I say this ìyou can actually wear your moshing shoes at their showî. And to leave all you with a weird impression of this band the last time I saw them was in NJ and they all thought they were cowboys, what a bunch of weirdos donít they now that cowboys are so 1986, its all about Indians now. — Brian Fucking Lentini
Dance Hall Crashers, Purr (Pink and Black)
Isn’t it ironic? First song on Dance Hall Crashers’ latest is “Beverly Kills”, an “urban anthem about the leeching, life-sucking power of LA” and we’re the only ones left in the New York office to debate why DHC was ever called ska. Catchy hooks and an attitude that belies the sweet harmonies two females can create make for an album that proves that girls don’t need to play loud to beat boys at their own game. Which goes for us, too.
Tilt, Viewers Like You (Fat Wreck Chords)
Ether, laudanum, bromide and Queen Victoria. Not initially the sort of thing you’d expect from the strong-voiced Cinder Block and associates. Underage abortion, World War 1, possible necrophilia, teenage pharmaceutical experimentation and Edgar Allen Poe, yes. Victorian medical techniques? From a bunch of punks? Uh-huh. Gotta problem with that? Vaguely snotty vocals over standard punk groovie is just what the doctor ordered. My God! Oscar Wilde! Stein and Toklas! The cultural edification continues! Cool. — L. Green
Pilfers, Chawalaleng (Mojo)
Low-end heavy sludge, like wading through a muddy undertow. Okay, that’s just the first song “Agua”, complete with the toasting of the ‘90s. Horn-playin’, call and response, assorted random percussions and a sense of harder, darker, more evil Bare Nakeds (dare I say this?), it’s hard to categorize, but thick, melodic, dense ska-gae punk. — L. Green
Uncle Ho, Small is Beautiful (Risk)
Merging obvious influences such as Led Zeppelin, this is a pretty standard rap (in the Chili Peppers tradition)/ rock release. The bad news is that this sort of thing is overdone and played out in America. The good news is they’re German. — L. Green
Handsome Boy Modeling School, s/t (Tommy Boy)
One part hip hop sampledelic fest, some classes in how to be a Handsome Boy from the presidents (Prince Paul and The Automator) as well as guest lecturers (Moustache Engineer Michael Diamond and Table Manners Consultant Miho Hatori, among others) and for two easy payments of $29.99, you too can experience the “hard, hard work” of being the next Tyson Beckford. Work… and turn. — L. Green
April March Chrominance Decoder (Ideal/Mammoth)
Lush, “French” orchestral pop from the alter-id of animator Elinor Blake. Part natural extension of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, part possible “Austin Powers” soundtrack outtake, Chrominance Decoder is more than “Learn French in 19 Easy Lesson”; some songs are actually in her native English (she’s a New Yorker), but more than one sounds reminiscent of Momus and Kahimi Karie’s French projects of late. It’s almost as if “Joe le Taxi” and “Dur Dur etre un Bebe” never happened. — L. Green
Richard O’Brien, Absolute O’Brien (Oglio)
Tim Curry had his “hit” “I Do the Rock” over a decade ago; Nell Campbell gave it up to run a club in NY’s Meatpacking District; Patricia Quinn has continued acting; as have Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick. In the UK at least, Richard O’Brien’s been among the most visible of the Rocky Horror Picture Show alums, what with game show hosting and acting, but that’s to be expected: after all, he created the Time Warp and everything that went with it. But with these evil torch songs, he belongs in the coolest lounge in Purgatory. In some ways, Absolute O’Brien is the sequel to RHPS, with Riff Raff escaping the mansion and landing in a Dante-esque cocktail bar, possibly as a disembodied head forced to live out country, jazz and blues fetishes for tips. Okay, it’s twisted, but so was that mansion! — L. Green
V/A, Morning Becomes Eclectic (Mammoth)
Wow. Filled with on-air performances from the “legendary” KCRW studios in Cali, this CD is all over the place. Sounding like college radio at its coolest and somewhat strangest, “Morning Becomes Eclectic” – also one of the most popular shows on National Public Radio – is filled with everything from world (Angelique Kidjo) to “of the moments” (“folkie” Beth Orton, electronicians Air and UK collective Freestylers), some staples of coolness (PJ Harvey, John Martyn, Mercury Rev) and some that we’re already past (Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” – but at least it was before it was overplayed, uber-college rockers Semisonic and the original “Torn” by Ednaswap – it’s really their song anyway). The drunken carousel of Pink Martini’s cover of “Que Sera Sera” is a great closer. All in all, a literal spin of a dial. — L. Green
Agnostic Front Riot Riot Upstart (Epitaph)
Agnostic Front are the reigning kings of NYC hardcore, and with this record it doesn’t look like anyone else is going to come close to even trying at that title. These guys are lifers and live, AF and their crowd are so intense it’s scary. Riot Riot Upstart is better than Somethings Got To Give, and that one was pretty damn good. All the rage that Guliani has sparked in NYC has at least resulted in some nice viciousness in the local bands songwriting. Loud fast still rules, 17 songs in 29 minutes. Do the math. — Crash
Long Beach Dub All Stars Right Back (Dreamworks)
I’m sure everybody knows, but the Dub Allstars are Bud and Eric long with the extended Sublime family. One of the coolest things about these guys is this Grateful Dead kind of vibe (not just in the music) they have fused with the punky reggae party. Although Brad will sorely missed, his bros have carried on, finding introspection deep in the Irie vibe, getting crucial help from HR and Barrington Levy. One of the best records this summer, and I’m stoked that these guys are keeping on. Music does heal. Siskels all the way around. — Crash
The Clash, From Here To Eternity (Epic)
So much has been written about the Clash that even a simple record review could be a complete dissertation. So let’s keep it simple. The Clash were essential. That having been established, on to the record in question. From Here To Eternity shows the depth and dimension the Clash were capable of on the right night. Most live records differ little from the studio takes save for the applause, but Eternity shows the Clash dynamic when they stretch out on “Guns Of Brixton,” “White Man In Hammersmith Palais,” and “Straight To Hell.” Songs like “Know Your Rights” sound much better live and “What’s My Name” just blazes. The downside is that there’s no songs from ‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope’ here and the act that bands this good aren’t really happening anymore. So go start your own band and try. –Crash
Snoop Dogg, No Limit Top Dog (No Limit)
I used to work in this record store that had a pretty liberal in store play policy. We had a five disc changer and as long as there were a coupe new releases in there, the rest was fair game. We used to play Snoop’s Doggystyle during the day and trip out the customers by telling them that it ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none and we’d laugh our asses off. I love that record and I wish that could tell you that No Limit Top Dog will make you want to do stuff like that but ever since Snoop first split with Dre, his joints have lacked the flavor that set Doggystyle off. The production by Beats by the pound didn’t help matters much, but this go round Snoop fares better by using a few different producers like DJ Quik and Raphael Saadiq. Dre even did a few and those are the best in the batch, but it still ain’t quite there, but it’s a lot better than Doggfather or The Game is… Maybe Dre will produce the whole thing next time. — Crash
Supersuckers, The Evil Powers of Rock N Roll (Twenty 14)
The Supersuckers are one of those bands that everyone describes as so and so meets so and so, usually Hank Wiliams Sr. or Johnny Cash meets either the Ramones or Motorhead. Anyway that’s both unimaginative and unapplicable because although the Supersuckers smoke weed with Willie Nelson, are from Tucson, and made a record with Jimmie Dale Gilmour, mostly they just rock out and party. That’s good. That’s what rock n roll is all about. The Supersuckers ain’t here to reinvent the wheel but they’ll speed around on the ones they got. — Crash
Ween, Painting The Town Brown (Elektra)
Ween my be one of the bands that truly count as warped and bizarre leaving a trail of records like empty scotchguard cans. Loved by everyone from my vert dog skate buddies to my post-rehab hippie girlfriend. You know these audio documents as The Pod, Pure Guava, Chocolate and Cheese, 12 Country greats, The Mollusk, and the newest effort, a 9 year, 2 disc cross section of live anomalies called Painting The The Town Brown.If you were a deadhead this cd would be Europe 72 and you should follow Ween around instead of Phish, and get a haircut. — Crash
Big Bad Bollocks
Night on the Tiles
Celtrash-a-punk-billy for displaced limes is good for you.
Drink: Guinness, ya git!
Remixes by everyone for everyone (last year’s hipsters note: Cornelius,
Drink: whatever’s the “cool” thing to drink
Alive in Athens
‘90s Maiden gives the Greeks a taste of Hell(as), indeed.
Drink: Ouzo and Jagermeister
If Oasis was older and less whiny, they’d sound like this.Gets bonus for knowing where Finchley’s name’s from.
Mindless Self Indulgence
The X-ecutioners + Beasties + Nina Hagen + KMFDM? No, it’s not Marilyn Manson.
Drink: 40 o’Bud
…And Your Point?
The anti-Britney and co. should wipe the pansies off the radio.
Drink: Spiked Punch
Third Mall from
Kraftwerk electro meets ‘90s nihilism, sampled to bits and overlaid with an Australian reality check.
Double Fine Zone
Primarily ambient verging on free-form, occasionally ideal for beach loitering at dawn.
Drink: Sex on
Single “She’s So High” sounds like Robyn Hitchcock forced to sing “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”
Thin Lizard Dawn
’70s pop rocks with real melodies and those neato ’90s doo-dads.
City Rockers: A Tribute to the Clash
(Karma / Chord)
Dave Smalley, Fang, Lady Luck, Hot Water Music, Error Type 11 etc. pay homage to the true guns of Brixton.
Drink: London Fog
Tangled Up in Blues: Songs of Bob Dylan
(House of Blues)
Isaac Hays sings “Lay Lady Lay”. Life is good, baby.
Hope and Adams
Maybe a Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev) side project … maybe just sounds like it could be.
Drink: Quicksilver Freeze
Good-natured O.C melodo-punk with an apparent T.V. fixation. Drink: Bananaheim
New Sweet Breath
Acceleration and Distortion
Late night pop-punk noise bass-heavy enough to move furniture. Drink: Green Lantern
If Radiohead were American and stole a hardcore bassist …
Drink: Cherry Bomb
The London Suede
Farewell album from nouveau glam rockers fronted by the feyest man in
Drum ‘n’ bass, a bit of Space, some Bjork-isms and Danish warblings and symphonic sorcery.
Drink: something cold, clear and potent.
The Fidelity Wars (Beggars Banquet)
Vocal offspring of Buzzcock Pete Shelley or aesthetic contender to their memory of lo-fi lovelorn erudition.
Drink: Messy whiskey
Royal Crown Revue
Walk on Fire
(Side One Dummy)
Horns-a-go-go, new jazz swing harkening back two generations to when big band meant something.
Drink: Dirty Martini
DOPEST IN THE DECK
1. L7 Slap Happy (Bongload)
2. Get Up Kids Something to Write Home About (Vagrant)
3. Slick Rick The Art Of Storytelling (Def Jam)
4. Pietasters Awesome Mix Tape #6 (Hellcat)
5. Sway & King Tech This Or That (Interscope)
6. Chris Rock Bigger and Blacker (Dreamworks)
7. Soundtrack Summer Of Sam (Hollywood)
8. Hot Water Music No Division (Some Records)
9. The Huntingtons Get Lost (Tooth and Nail)
10. VA Before You Were Punk 2 (Vagrant)
11. No Redeeming Social Value THC (Triple Crown)
12. VA Extreme Compilation (Initial Records)
13. Soundtrack Black Gangster (Black Hand/WEA)
14. VA Never Give In Bad Brains Tribute (Century Media)
15. E-Town Concrete Fuck the World (Resurrection)