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Week of May 29, 2000

[fold your hands child, you walk like a peasant]
Belle and Sebastian / Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant / Matador

The standard Belle and Sebastian orchestral folk-pop sound is largely unchanged, though the somber "The Chalet Lines" drags it into previously unexplored dimensions of ribaldry. As with most B&S albums, there's an undercurrent of self-conscious randiness here, mostly divulged in sidelong fashion -- though "The Model", dancing around the concept of blindfolded lovemaking, unloads the line "It was the best sex that she'd ever had" so conspicuously that you're sure B&S want to give you aural whiplash...more»
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[darla 100]
Various Artists / Darla 100: 1994-2000 / Darla

Though so large and all-consuming that it nearly defies characterization, the CDs show how Darla has embraced every form or style out there (other than hip-hop), from the popular low-fi of Guided By Voices to the extremely successful update of Sarah pop as envisioned by Hydroplane and Lali Puna, my favorite of the groups found here. Sixteen new songs from Darla artists complete the collection, including Lali Puna's essential "Nin-com-pop"...more»
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[moon and antarctica]
Modest Mouse / The Moon and Antarctica / Epic

Employing the production services of former Red Red Meat soundsmith Brian Deck, Modest Mouse have created an album of spectral beauty and epic intent that is light years ahead of anything they have done in the past. It's an album filled with brittle sentimentality conveyed mainly through Isaac Brock’s yearning howl, around which the band has sculpted microscopic symphonies dedicated to love, loss and the search for all that is eternal...more»
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[we have the facts]
Death Cab For Cutie / We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes! / Barsuk

Even when Death Cab's songs seem different, with changes in musical focus or instrumentation, the overriding sense is always the same: "I am a well-polished pop song." Since most experiments fail, it seems dumb to criticize a band for not saying "What the fuck" sometimes, but I hope Death Cab for Cutie pull out their own Sandinista someday...more»

[no more sad eyes]
Brendon Massei / No More Sad Eyes / No Town

I guess Massei is a singer-songwriter, although it seems a bit strange to think of him that way. His songs don't sound singer-songwriter-y. They sound like songs your grandpaw might have sung to your mom when she was little...sort of. They're not old-fashioned songs by any means, and while Massei may not be writing songs about microchip brain implants and the International Space Station, he's clearly singing about the life of a 21st-century human trying to make sense of his world...more»

[live from the battle in seatle]
The No WTO Combo / Live from the Battle in Seattle / Alternative Tentacles

This live disc, recorded on December 1, 1999 in Seattle, finds the premiere political instigator of our day, Jello Biafra, in the midst of protests against the World Trade Organization. Biafra began his attack on the establishment with the insightful and incite-full Dead Kennedys and is even better at his craft today. As with all of his work, it is impossible to separate the music from the political intent, which is what makes this album so compelling...more»

[lure]
Bill Streett / Lure / Bill Streett

Unlike many artists in this genre, Streett tends to take an alternate path by keeping each of his compositions tightly coiled. Instead of setting a mood and gradually building up an experimental piece of epic time proportions, Streett promptly sets the rhythm and enables you to feast upon the various sample enhancements that propel his compositions to the next level...more»

[supermodified]
Amon Tobin / Supermodified / Ninja Tune

Though not as darkly elegant as Permutation, Supermodified is still rife with sophisticated Brazilian lounge-jazz samples and unpredictable drum'n'bass skitterings, this time augmented with more overt nods to hip-hop and Aphex Twin-style sympho-electronica. "Four Ton Mantle" first lulls with a gentle oboe loop, then rams home its message with crashing percussion, a batch of stabbing string samples and one of those head-scratcher samples that you swear you've heard before but can't quite place...more»

[long dim road]
The Tossers / Long Dim Road / Thick

The Irish theme is pretty strong throughout Long Dim Road, to the point of being downright dominating, but there's still a nice punk rock edge. If there was a cross between a jig and a slamdance, you can easily picture Tosser show-goers doing this move. It makes you thirsty for Guinness, really...more»

[domesticated]
Yours Truly / Domesticated / Ba Da Bing!

With Domesticated, Yours Truly have done an excellent job of kick-starting my old brain. The bouncy grooves assembled by Linda Smith and Paul Baroody evoke clear memories of the Human League -- but it's the bells that killed me. When Smith's girlish, breathy vocals combine with the clang of tubular bells, Yours Truly sound uncannily like Book of Love...more»

[at a glance]
And this week in At A Glance...
Seventh Sign, ALL, Dudley, Kings of Convenience, Versailles, Maquiladora, Exxxile on Main Street, Puffball, Wesley Willis, Gooloo, Brown 25, Black Kali Ma, Collapsis, Shannon Wright, Superheroes, Recoil, White Trash Debutantes, The Capitol City Dusters/Aina, The Mercury Program, The Up On In

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