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Week of September 18, 2000

[some dusty]
Birdie / Some Dusty / Kindercore

Deborah Wykes' vocals are nice and conventionally stronger than Sarah Cracknell's voice, and the peppy sounds of the Hammond organ bring to mind sixties girl groups and cool film-chicks who drink from good glasses. The great guitar work of Wykes' partner, Paul Kelly, does not come into play yet -- but outside irrelevancies do, such as Deborah going by Debsey, or the fact the band has great haircuts. In a pop band, particularly one from Europe, these things seem to give a popster some extra glow...more»

[light matches, spark lives]
Sue P. Fox / Light Matches, Spark Lives / Kill Rock Stars

Sue P. Fox (Kicking Giant, Witchy Poo) is an Olympia-type wordcore freak and she makes me very, very happy. I put on this CD, listen for awhile, then drift off and start thinking about something else. Then every once in a while my attention re-focuses on Fox's quavering, demented voice, and suddenly she's talking about tar people and KFC and blood and riding the bus and pus and egg salad sandwiches and breeders and perspiring feet and who knows what else. And then I tune out again...more»

Juno Reactor / Shango / Metropolis

Shango opens massively with "Pistolero", one of the coolest singles I've heard all year. Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens ads some primal axework on this twenty-second century spaghetti western theme -- Spanish guitars and horns mix with pulsating keyboards, breakbeats and pistol-shot samples, uncovering the missing link between Morricone and Moroder. Thinking about how huge "Pistolero" could be on right-thinking dance floors makes me wish I still had a DJ gig...more»

[the scientist]
Astroblast / The Scientist / Astroblast

Doling out everything from quiet, ambient melodies to center-stage, anger-induced post-love trauma, Jenn Kellough is anything but predictable. Her frail and shrill voice blends innocence with something sensual, flawlessly commandeering each tune here with unique prowess. Accompanied by vibrato guitars and muffled keyboards, "You're So Gone" kindly helps you stick it to your ex-significant-other the way you wish you could have done it the first time around...more»

[mixed live]
Carl Cox (DJ) / Mixed Live / Moonshine

With its Mixed Live series, Moonshine is giving the best DJs a chance to represent within their element. They've started out with a set from the estimable Carl Cox, recorded live at Chicago's Crobar a few short months ago. You can even hear the appreciative audience in the background. Cox deserves his reputation as one of the world's best DJs. Working with a triple-turntable setup, he weaves a seamless mesh of slamming beats and stripped-down melodies...more»

[friends of rachel worth]
The Go-Betweens / The Friends of Rachel Worth / Jetset

Itís hard to hear much on this record other than ten lovingly crafted songs by Robert Forster and Grant McLennan, both similar and different from past work (which is natural, given the large expanse of time since Forster and McLennan last wrote together). If someone played this record for me without showing me any credits, neither Sleater-Kinney nor Quasi would spring to my mind. Nor would the dreaded words "lame comeback album"...more»

[four cornered night]
Jets to Brazil / Four Cornered Night / Jade Tree

In this era of disposable bands, we need to be especially thankful for groups like Jets to Brazil. JtB have not only released their second album, Four Cornered Night, but have overcome the proverbial sophomore slump by maturing and growing together as a band, delivering an album that is more poised and more elegant than their debut. The snotty, disjointed tone of Orange Rhyming Dictionary is gone; in its place, the band has crafted a more refined, unabashedly pop sound...more»

The Marshmallow Coast / Marshmallow Coasting / Kindercore

While Marshmallow Coast's previous albums were both fine efforts, they lacked cohesive musical flow, sounding more like a collection of unrelated songs than an album proper. That has changed with Marshmallow Coasting. Its 16-song cycle is as complete a pop album as you could want, full of lilting melodies, delicate instrumentation and Andyís twisted lyrical view of American life. Gonzales and his Of Montreal cohorts paint a series of miniature rural mosaics...more»

[cowboys and aliens]
Speedbuggy USA / Cowboys and Aliens / Headhunter

If asked why they play rock and roll, I would guess the guys in Speedbuggy USA would respond that itís all about big fun. Certain records and live shows donít mean a damn thing if the musicians and audience arenít having a good time. Cowboys and Aliens is an obnoxious barroom rock and roll record with a healthy dose of country blood trickling down, in the tradition of Hank Williams and Merle Haggard...but updated a bit...more»

[electric waco chair]
The Waco Brothers / Electric Waco Chair / Bloodshot

I'm going to say essentially the same thing about Electric Waco Chair that I said about Wacoworld a year or so ago: it's good drinking music for real people. Like an Americanized version of the Pogues, the Waco Brothers' music narrates an honest, working class life filled with modest achievements and regular disappointments. That's the country music vibe they're tying into -- the blue collar, work hard/play hard aesthetic of the forties and fifties...more»

[at a glance]
And this week in At A Glance...
Town and Country, Foil, Wolf Colonel, The Dearhunters/The Hired Guns, The Black Heart Procession, Chic-A-Go-Go: The Soundtrack, Caligari, The Sunshine Fix, Sara Ayers, Troy Horne, The K.G.B., 7 Seconds, Lynx, Ruby Zoo, Thom the World Poet and Rotcod Zzaj, Northern Picture Library, Laura Watling, Gravity Crush, Cub Koda and the Points, Munkafust

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