Consumer Guide

Six of these 12 picks recast known compositions, and only two of the six are in the rock tradition. But I did find one medium-obscure alt band worth writing about. One.

Dud of the Month:

PLASTIKMAN: Artifakts (BC)(Novamute)One needn't feel deep sympathy for the minimalist project to find use and pleasure in the right Brian Eno or David Behrman, or to conclude that, all subjective affinities aside, Tangerine Dream were full of it. Richie Hawtin is at once sparer and beatier, but not by much, and anyone who would sit there for an hour finding out where he's going has too much time to kill. The belated third volume of a trilogy whose earlier installments I dutifully checked out and guiltlessly discarded, this climaxes midway through with an uncanny evocation of static going down the drain before breaking into a cute little piece of electrofunk that might be sampled by someone with more to say. Then it moves on to Tangerine Dream. B MINUS

Additional Consumer News

Honorable Mention:

Elvis Costello With Burt Bacharach, Painted From Memory(Mercury):sings Burt's chewy music lots better than Burt, not to mention Hal, who proves a healthy influence on his poesy ("Such Unlikely Lovers," "The Long Division"); Baby Sounds(Kid Rhino):ambient bio ("Baby Sounds [Part Two: Toddlers]," "Baby Sounds [Part One: Babies]"); Ultimate Christmas(Arista): chestnuts roasting on an open fire plus surprise gifts— but who invited Kenny, Carly, Sarah, Luciano? (Aretha Franklin, "Winter Wonderland"; Luther Vandross, "O Come All Ye Faithful"); Junior Brown,Long Walk Back(Curb): virtuosity as novelty act, meaning virtuosity that knows itself ("Stupid Blues," "Peelin' Taters"); James Brown, I'm Back(Georgia Lina/Mercury): it was like you never left ("Funk on Ah Roll [S-Class Mix]," "James on the Loose"); Clem Snide, You Were a Diamond(Tractor Beam): deadpan country-folk, nasty when you turn your back ("Nick Drake Tape," "Chinese Baby"); Jad Fair & Yo La Tengo,Strange but True(Matador): Jad never runs dry, but he does trickle off sometimes ("Circus Strongman Runs for PTA President," "Texas Man Abducted by Aliens for Outer Space Joy Ride"); Jay-Z,Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life(Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam): meet Keybmaster Swizz Beats, the missing link between Charles Strouse and Too Short ("Hard Knock Life," "If I Should Die"); Little Charlie and the Nightcats,Shadow of the Blues(Alligator): ain't love a bitch, ain't Stratocasters bitchin' ("New Old Lady," "Dirty Dealin' Mama"); Bette Midler,Bathhouse Betty(Warner Bros.): reclaiming her integrity if not— waddaya want?— her edge ("I'm Beautiful," "Lullabye in Blue"); Silver Jews,American Water(Drag City): noise-tune simplified for baritone monotone ("Random Rules," "Night Society"); Elliott Smith,XO(DreamWorks): high tune, low affect ("Waltz #2 [XO]," "Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands"); Chris Isaak, Speak of the Devil(Reprise): rockaballads AC ("Speak of the Devil," "This Time"); Matchbox 20, Yourself or Someone Like You(Lava/Atlantic): clods have feelings too ("Real World," "Long Day").

Choice Cuts:

John Prine,"Let's Talk Dirty in Hawaiian" (Lucky 13, Oh Boy); Def Squad,"Rhymin' Wit' Biz Markie," "Def Squad Delite" (El Niño, Def Jam/Jive); Nick Lowe,"Man That I've Become," "Failed Christian" (Dig My Mood, Upstart).


Black Tape for a Blue Girl,As One Aflame Laid Bare by Desire (Projekt); Adam Cohen(Columbia); Creeper Lagoon, I Become Small and Go(Nickel Bag); Mary Cutrufello, When the Night Is Through (Mercury); Deftones, Around the Fur(Maverick/Warner Bros.); Grooverider,Mysteries of Funk(Higher Ground/Columbia); Pere Ubu, Pennsylvania(Tim/Kerr); Queens of the Stone Age(Loosegroove); Track Star,Communication Breaks(Die Young Stay Pretty).


Alligator,Box 60234, Chicago IL 60660; Daring,Box 793, Marblehead MA 01945; Drag City,Box 476867, Chicago IL 60647; Gee Street,14 East 4th Street, NYC 10003; Matador,611 Broadway, Suite 712, NYC 10012; Tractor Beam,Box 1591, NYC 10276-1591; V2,14 East 4th Street, NYC 10003. <!— This document created using BeyondPress(TM) 3.0.1 =====-==— — -=— =— = — >

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