Rousing Constituencies

Old dogs singin' slow songs and fairygodmotherfuckers for discerning dilettantes


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Pick Hit

RANCID
Indestructible
Hellcat

The Clash invented punk politics, and got pretty complex about them. Rancid ran with punk politics, which in Berkeley were burned into the subculture as deep as the three-chord forcebeat. Their big ideas and deep convictions are about their scene, not their society, and they devote their warmest album ever to celebrating and justifying that scene, which they rightly see as global. Sure it would be nice if they put their all into offing Bush, but it would also be nice if the Democrats did. Instead, Rancid offer an inside look at a ready-made dissident voting bloc, toggling back and forth from defeated to defiant as they pursue their little happinesses. Wesley Clark is so smart I'm sure he can get this constituency to the polls. A MINUS


Dud of the Month

MS. DYNAMITE
A Little Deeper
Interscope

If all beats are created equal, then Niomi Daley's spare garage is as strong as Kimberley Jones's thick hip-hop. If flow is as flow does, then her earned plasticity is as fresh as Lauryn Hill's easy liquidity. If singing is basically a matter of sincerity, then her straitened cadences express as complexly as Erykah Badu's high-flying scats. If conscious is enough, then "Tell me how many Africans died for the baguettes on your Rolex" will educate as deep as "Black like the perception of who on welfare." But good music isn't the same thing as a catchy feature story, and this Mercury Prize winner has less flavor than a plate of mashed. She's biracial and the eldest of 10 children and manifestly good-hearted, and when she goes ragga on the way out I wish she hadn't been groomed for something bigger and blander. But she made her choice. C PLUS


Additional Consumer News

Honorable Mention

ERYKAH BADU
Worldwide
Underground
(Motown)

If Andre can sing-song hip-hop, so can his babymama ("Love of My Life Worldwide," "Danger").

BUBBA SPARXX
Deliverance
(Beatclub/Interscope)

For the mountains above and the mud below—especially the mud below ("Comin' Round," "Take a Load Off").

THE DISTILLERS
Coral Fang
(Sire)

Blood lust meets death wish where punk meets metal ("The Gallon Is God," "Hall of Mirrors").

JEDI MIND TRICKS
Visions of Gandhi
(Babygrande)

On crack, maybe—them, not Gandhi, who wasn't an "It's not guns that kill people, it's bullets that kill people" kind of guy ("A Storm of Swords," "The Wolf").

ATMOSPHERE
Seven's Travels
(Rhymesayers/Epitaph)

Sometimes he thinks he spends too much time on the road, and he's right ("Always Coming Back Home to You," "Say Shhh").

HAGGARD
Like Never Before
(Hag)

Rebel, patriot, musician, legend, populist, sentimentalist, small businessman ("That's the News," "Lonesome Day").

BRITISH SEA POWER
The Decline of British Sea Power
(Rough Trade)

Amid the echoes, Echo & the Bunnymen loom loud, with Iggyfied Bowie shtick on top ("Apologies to Insect Life," "Blackout").

JEAN GRAE
Attack of the Attacking Things
(Third Earth Music)

Props for both the Stylistics and *NSync—I like that in an undie rapper ("God's Gift," "Live-4-U").

BEYONCÉ
Dangerously in Love
(Columbia)

With her daddy, the bonus cut reveals—as if we didn't know ("Yes," "Baby Boy").

THE PREACHER'S KIDS
Wild Emotions
(Get Hip)

"A boy inside the body of a man" spitting his father's rock and roll readymades—or more likely his uncle's ("Respect Me," "Death of a Rolling Stone").

THOSE UNKNOWN
(TKO)

Pretty loose for hardcore, pretty loose for militant too ("No Prevail," "Go Where the Kids Go").

BLACK BOX RECORDER
Passionoia
(One Little Indian)

Still recites beautifully ("I Ran All the Way Home," "Andrew Ridgley").


Choice Cuts

THE EVOLUTIONARY CONTROL COMMITTEE "The Fucking Moon," "Rocked by Rape" Plagiarythm Nation (Seeland) BITCH AND ANIMAL "Croquet" Sour Juice and Rhyme (Righteous Babe) DROPKICK MURPHYS "Worker's Song," "Kiss Me I'm #!@*faced" Blackout (Hellcat) GINUWINE "Hell Yeah," "Locked Down" The Senior (Epic) JOE STRUMMER & THE MESCALEROS "Coma Girl" Streetcore (Hellcat) BLU CANTRELL "Make Me Wanna Scream," "Sleep in the Middle" Bittersweet (Arista)


Duds

BUSDRIVER & RADIOINACTIVE WITH DAEDELUS (Mush) THE BUSINESS Hardcore Hooligans (BYO) ELEFANT Gallery Girl (Kemado) ELEFANT Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid (Kemado) WILLIE NELSON & FRIENDS Stars & Guitars (Lost Highway) RANDY NEWMAN The Randy Newman Songbook, Vol. 1 (Nonesuch) URSULA RUCKER Silver or Lead (!K7)

Honorable Mention and Choice Cuts in order of preference. ADDRESSES: Artemis, 130 Fifth Avenue, NYC 10011, artemisrecords.com; Barsuk, PO Box 22546, Seattle WA 98132, barsuk.com; Black Beauty, PO Box 18841, Oakland CA 94619-8841, blackbeauty989@hotmail.com; Buda Musique, 188 Boulevard Voltaire, Paris 75011 France; Collector's Choice, 9242 Beverly Boulevard Suite 310, Beverly Hills CA 90210, collectorschoicemusic.com; Diesel Only, PO Box 720508, Jackson Heights NY 11372, dieselonly.com; Hyena, 250 West 57 Street, Suite 725, NYC 10107, hyenarecords.com; Important, Box 1281, Newburyport MA 01950, importantrecords.com; Koch, 2 Tri-Harbor Court, Port Washington NY 11050, kochint.com; Narnack, 381 Broadway, 4th Floor Suite 3, NYC 10013, narnackrecords.com; Polyvinyl, PO Box 7140, Champaign IL 61826, info@polyvinylrecords.com; Razor & Tie, PO Box 585, Cooper Square Station, NYC 10276, razorandtie.com; Righteous Babe, PO Box 95, Ellicott Station, Buffalo NY 14205, righteousbabe.com; Rough Trade, Chelsea Hotel, Room 103, 222 West 23 Street, NYC 10011, roughtrade.com; Rounder, 29 Camp Street, Cambridge MA 02140, rounder.com; Thirsty Ear, 274 Madison Avenue, Suite 804, NYC 10016, thirstyear.com; V2, 14 East 4th Street, NYC 10003, v2music.com; World Music Network, 6 Abbeville Mews, 88 Clapham Park Road, London SW4 7BX, England, post@worldmusic.net

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