Anti-Gravitational Boots

Some very rough guides to living in a nation that won't share and will never be the same


PATTI SMITH
Trampin'
Columbia

No, she hasn't regained her sense of humor, but aren't you fast losing yours? "I'm no Sufi but I'll give it a whirl" makes light enough of the mystic path her political obsessions follow. And if sometimes her hymns vague out like "Trespasses" or over-generalize like "Jubilee," the boho reminisce of "In My Blakean Year" represents where she's coming from, the sweet solemnity of "Gandhi" and "Peaceable Kingdom" sings the sacred, and the amateur-Arabist rant-and-release of "Radio Baghdad" speaks poetry to power. It won't prevail. But it's a comfort. B PLUS


HOUND DOG TAYLOR
Release the Hound
Alligator

Live and redundant—six of 15 titles also on best-of, almost all on the three studio albums. But none on his 1976 live set. And who do you prefer when it comes to redundant—the laid-off prole who gets the job done night in and night out or the college-educated goon who pronounces him excessed? Taylor had less class than a metal-shop teacher in a finishing school, and he always believed that making music was the same thing as having fun. Few artists in any genre, most certainly including the dogged bar blues he inspired, have generated such effortless enthusiasm or made ruder noises with an amplifier. His studio legacy is pretty rough. But live he was even rougher, and with him that means better more often than not. A MINUS


WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN: POOR MAN'S HEAVEN
Bluebird

As music, the sixth volume in this all-over-the-place RCA series is even more all over the place. But by segregating the showbiz folk up ahead of the folk musicians, it suggests that citified pop dreamers were even angrier about the Great Depression than the rural immiserated. Jug-blowing Mississippi Sarah moaning "this depression has got me," the Cedar Creek Sheik denied credit in his Afro-Swedish accent, and Blind Alfred Reed entering heaven with "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?" are all hard hit. But they aren't as bitter as Bob Miller, whose 7,000 published songs included "The Rich Man and the Poor Man" ("Oh the rich man gets acquitted while the poor man gets the rope") and "It Must Be Swell" (death, he means). Between categories is the jazzified title tune by country pro Carson Robinson, which craves not just relief but revenge. Not that I myself would want some number cruncher serving me breakfast. But with a little training maybe he or she could do my filing. A MINUS


Dud of the Month

THE THRILLS
So Much for the City
Virgin

If an American—a disaffected suburban boy from the professional class, say—were to concoct this sentimental cutesification of surf and country-rock, drawl and harmony and whisper and mewl, it would be even harder to forgive. Americans have an obligation to comprehend their own culture. But there's something in Conor Deasy's timbre that renders his Dublin version even more saccharine in its artifice. The cure for what ails him? I dunno. A quick chop to the Adam's apple? C


Additional Consumer News

Honorable Mention

NEW ESTATE
Considering . . .
(W.Minc import)

The kind of young band that's doubly convincing on tunes it can't quite handle ("Open," "Don't Like the Way")

BOOKER T. & THE MG'S
Soul Men
(Stax)

Never Before Available Covers of 25 of Your Favorite '60s Hits! ("Harlem Shuffle," "Downtown")

LORETTA LYNN
Van Lear Rose
(Interscope)

Are we allowed to wonder whether she's spunky enough for a Nashville legend with a new lease on life? ("Red Shoes," "Story of My Life")

MISSION OF BURMA
On Off On
(Matador)

Easy for abstractionists to pick up where they left off, hard for them to represent ("Nicotine Bomb," "Fake Blood")

THE THERMALS
Fuckin A
(Sub Pop)

"History will show our progress is slow," so they make sure their music isn't ("A Stare Like Yours," "Remember Today").

LOS LOBOS
The Ride
(Mammoth/Hollywood)

From Chicano r&b to Chicano bricolage and most of the way back, with famous friends pointing the way ("Kitate," "Hurry Tomorrow")

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO THE MUSIC OF THE INDIAN OCEAN
(World Music Network import)

Tourist attractions of half a dozen competing island paradises (Seychelles String Band, "Polka"; Kaya, "Sensé")

RYAN ADAMS
Rock N Roll
(Lost Highway)

Sound effects, emotional affects, he's got 'em all ("Note to Self: Don't Die," "This Is It").

GHOSTFACE
The Pretty Toney Album
(Def Jam)

Don't worry, Ghost—no matter how much you cry we'll never call you "faggot" ("Be This Way," "Save Me Dear").

GANG STARR
The Ownerz
(Virgin)

Why hip-hop heads worship Premier ("In This Life . . . ," "Who Got Gunz")

LAS RUBIAS DEL NORTE
Rumba Internationale
(Bardés)

Before you say rumba wasn't meant to be this civilized, study danzón("Perfidia," "Ambrosa Guajiro").

EYEDEA & ABILITIES
E&A
(Rhymesayers Entertainment/Epitaph)

Especially abilities ("One Twenty," "Kept")


Choice Cuts

LITTLE RICHARD
"Get Down With It," "Rocking Chair"
Get Down With It: The Okeh Sessions
(Epic/Legacy)

HIEROGLYPHICS
"Halo"
Full Circle
(Hiero Imperium)

DILATED PEOPLES
"Big Business"
Neighborhood Watch
(Capitol)

KINKY
"Do U Like It?"
Atlas
(Nettwerk)


Duds

RYAN ADAMS
Love Is Hell Pt. 1
(Lost Highway)

RYAN ADAMS
Love Is Hell Pt. 2
(Lost Highway)

THE SLEEPY JACKSON
Lovers
(Astralwerks)

STARSAILOR
Silence Is Easy
(Capitol)

THE STILLS
Logic Will Break Your Heart
(Vice)

TORTOISE
It's All Around You
(Thrill Jockey)

WOMEN OF AFRICA
(Putumayo World Music)

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