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Week of August 21, 2000

[excuses for travellers]
Mojave 3 / Excuses for Travellers / Beggars Banquet

Two of the fellows in Mojave 3 were (are?) in Slowdive, and while Excuses for Travellers probably isn't going to inspire much shoe-gazing, the simple, slow, quiet songs aren't likely to disappoint Slowdive fans...or non-Slowdive fans, for that matter! It's hard to imagine how a song as pretty as "My Life in Art", with all its reverby nostalgia and broken hearted vocals, could fail to touch any reasonably sentient being...more»
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[life style]
Silkworm / Life Style / Touch & Go

"Damn," I thought, "why can't more bands today pull these little miracles off?" Then along comes Silkworm. Yes, this Chicago outfit has been a mainstay on college stations for years, and perhaps their sound isn't revolutionary or ever-changing like Yo La Tengo's, but their blend of fuzzed-out, stumbling bass with crunchy guitars and stuck-in-our-head lyrics captures a little something that I haven't heard in a long while -- something akin to the shameless pop of the '80s...more»
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[keep left vol. I]
Various Artists / Keep Left Vol. I: A Benefit for David Barsamian & Alternative Radio / Ace Fu

An impressive range of artists donated music for Keep Left -- testament to Barsamian's following and to the value of AR's service. Do you own another compilation that includes Kronos Quartet and Olivia Tremor Control, let alone one that puts them back to back? Or disc on which Built to Spill, Negativland and Loren Mazzacane Connors share liner note space? Suffice it to say that if you enjoy an eclectic mix of challenging music dominated by guitar and string textures, Keep Left should be on your must-have list...more»
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[hey 19!]
Aden / Hey 19! / Teenbeat

Aden are easily among the best indie-pop bands around, thanks largely to Jeff Gramm's voice. Gramm sounds similar to Holiday's Josh Gennett, and can even bring a tinge of melancholy to lyrics like "2,3,5,9 everyday/okay,okay". Credit also Kevin Barker's stellar guitar work, which this time around provides the backbone for melodies a little looser and jazzier than previous efforts. For the first time, I guess Aden's music reminds me of labelmates True Love Always....more»

[movement in still life]
BT / Movement in Still Life / Nettwerk

To me, Movement in Still Life's cover suggests naff contents. The reclining BT shows off frosted hair and a thick growth of stubble. He seems to be saying "Sleep with me, beautiful women, for I have crafted this fine electronic album." Since the album has been getting commercial radio attention -- something I didn't know when I initially wrote this review -- BT might even score. The thing is, however, that as electronic music goes, Movement in Still Life really is a decent effort, a deft mixture of styles that'll keep your speakers happy for hours ...more»

[tender is the savage]
Gluecifer / Tender is the Savage / Sub Pop

What began back in 1994 as a pseudo-sloppy experiment in jammin' power chords has evolved into a full-fledged assault. The scowling Biff Malibu belts out his razor-sharp lines, backed by the dual guitar forces of the sly Raldo Useless and uber-sex-kingpin Captain Poon. Gluecifer delivers classic-rock-inspired material here, opening with the great ditty "I Got a War." Beckoning you to take a bite out of rock 'n' roll history, "Chewin' Fingers" serves up a tasty slice of MC5 that will have your tongue drippin' drool all over the floor as you anxiously beg for thirds...more»

[com plex]
The Helio Sequence / Com Plex / Cavity Search

Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel are quite young -- young enough that, when My Bloody Valentine's seminal Loveless was released, they must have purchased it with birthday money. Or allowance. Or perhaps a big jar of pennies. It's clear, though, that Loveless somehow fell into their hands...for ten years later, Summers and Weikel, aka The Helio Sequence, have produced an album that takes Loveless as its starting point and expands outward into a galaxy full of white noise and classic pop harmony...more»

[1000 hurts]
Shellac / 1000 Hurts / Touch & Go

Sure, At Action Park had a few moments of brilliance, but overall it was bland and lifeless -- and Iím not even going to start talking about whatís wrong with Terraform. That's why I was surprised -- no, make that shocked -- by what I heard on 1000 Hurts. The annoying King Crimson-aping art-wank and infernal Albini screaming are gone. In their place stand ten white-hot blasts of lean, muscular and brutal punk fucking rock. Oh, and Steve actually sings this time...more»

[oddities]
Spring Heel Jack / Oddities / Thirsty Ear

Nowhere on Oddities will you encounter the dubby drum 'n' bass stuff that you'll find on typical Spring Heel Jack releases. Instead, you get pieces like the haunting, delicate "2nd Piece for La Monte Young", which is constructed chiefly of processed violin samples. It recalls George Crumb's "Black Angels", but without the same brutality. It's really beautiful! "Shine a Light" is a cover of the Spiritualized tune of the same name, and SHJ's John Coxon and Ashley Wales do a great job of capturing the vast, static quality of Spiritualized's music while imbuing it with their own sense of urgency...more»

[tangled messages]
The Teryakis / Haunted Hungarian Sauna / Priapus

Experimental indie-rock is often either noise or intentional weirdness designed for maximum annoyance. Once in a while, however, a band like the Teriyakis puts together instrumental curiosities that sound like they simply couldn't be done any other way. The disc opens with "Brown Family Theme", a Pixies-esque track with mumbled vocals, before sliding into "Candela," which begins with echoing guitar dwiddles before building into a song that sounds like prime Dinosaur Jr. without the distortion...more»

[at a glance]
And this week in At A Glance...
Bettie Serveert, Debbie Andrews, Permissionslip, Pinback, Marc Tremblay, Hollydrift, The Selfish Jeans/Ska Girl and the Hands of Ra, The Riptones, Clit Stop, Paxton, Lola Hum, Brandtson, Carrie Akre, Dagmar 41, The Hamicks, Moonbabies, Elliott, Dee Snider, Livehuman, The Marshmallow Coast

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