By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
By Ray Cummings
By Nicholas Pell
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
A Little Deeper
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
If Andre can sing-song hip-hop, so can his babymama ("Love of My Life Worldwide," "Danger").
For the mountains above and the mud belowespecially the mud below ("Comin' Round," "Take a Load Off").
Blood lust meets death wish where punk meets metal ("The Gallon Is God," "Hall of Mirrors").
JEDI MIND TRICKS
Visions of Gandhi
On crack, maybethem, 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").
Sometimes he thinks he spends too much time on the road, and he's right ("Always Coming Back Home to You," "Say Shhh").
Like Never Before
Rebel, patriot, musician, legend, populist, sentimentalist, small businessman ("That's the News," "Lonesome Day").
BRITISH SEA POWER
The Decline of British Sea Power
Amid the echoes, Echo & the Bunnymen loom loud, with Iggyfied Bowie shtick on top ("Apologies to Insect Life," "Blackout").
Attack of the Attacking Things
(Third Earth Music)
Props for both the Stylistics and *NSyncI like that in an undie rapper ("God's Gift," "Live-4-U").
Dangerously in Love
With her daddy, the bonus cut revealsas if we didn't know ("Yes," "Baby Boy").
THE PREACHER'S KIDS
"A boy inside the body of a man" spitting his father's rock and roll readymadesor more likely his uncle's ("Respect Me," "Death of a Rolling Stone").
Pretty loose for hardcore, pretty loose for militant too ("No Prevail," "Go Where the Kids Go").
BLACK BOX RECORDER
(One Little Indian)
Still recites beautifully ("I Ran All the Way Home," "Andrew Ridgley").
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)
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, email@example.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, firstname.lastname@example.org; 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, email@example.com