Squirt You

August precedents, timely details, and timeless novelties you will find nowhere else


THE THIRD UNHEARD: CONNECTICUT HIP HOP 1979-1983
(Stones Throw)

No lost Spoonie Gees or Melle Mels, and half the beats are "Good Times." But these rediscovered 12-inches aren't the usual humdrum crate-digger arcana. In precise parallel to the first run of punk 45s, spirit is all: you won't just be reminded that early hip-hop was about having fun, you'll have fun. Main man Mr. Magic raps the oldest rhymes in the book with a sense of entitlement that grants them life, while young Pookey Blow advising kids to stay in school and the lisping boasts of that dummy Woodie are timeless novelties you'll find nowhere else. A MINUS


Dud of the Month

WILCO
A Ghost Is Born
(Nonesuch)

Not counting the 11-minute synth drone that Jeff Tweedy says reminds him of his migraines, the most blatant of the mannerisms that riddle this privileged self-indulgence is its dynamic strategy. Play the soft parts loud enough to hear and the loud parts will demonstrate the limitations of your cheapjack sound system, you pathetic transistorized consumer clone. Fortunately, there is a counterstrategy. Play the soft parts as faintly as they deserve and you'll still be able to make out the guitar workouts that are the only conceivable attraction the album will hold for any neutral party not seeking an associate degree in sound engineering. Once Tweedy wrote legible songs. They didn't add up to much because he didn't, but they had their shallow charms. Here he's beyond such compromises. "Handshake Drugs" we get, and the NPR-ready one about the best songs not getting on the radio is a clever feint. But it's hard to imagine any of the suckers who fell for the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot hype striving to identify with, say, "Muzzle of Bees." Not impossible. Just hard. B MINUS


Duds

GOODIE MOB
One Monkey Don't Stop No Show
Koch

WHEAT
Per Second, Per Second, Per Second . . . Every Second
Aware/Columbia

BRIAN WILSON
Gettin' in Over My Head
Rhino

ROBERT WYATT
Cuckooland
Hannibal/Ryko


Additional Consumer News

Honorable Mention

THE FALL
The Real New Fall
LP
Narnack

"I hate the country sound so much/I hate the country folk so much" ("Boxoctosis," "Contraflow").

IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE
Revolutionary Vol. 2
Viper

He's got rhymes, he's got flow, he's got beats, and he wants the world to know that 9/11 was an inside job ("Obnoxious," "Crossing the Boundary").

THE BOOKS
The Lemon of Pink
Tomlab

Ambient musique concrète out of acoustic instruments, fractured song structures, and talky voices ("Tokyo," "The Future, Wouldn't That Be Nice?").

THE GEORGE W. BUSH SINGERS
Songs in the Key of W
Oglio/True Believer

He calls, they respond; he loses and we get to make Dubya jokes, we lose and he gets to make First Amendment jokes ("War in Iraq," "Peeance Freeance").

BIG & RICH
Horse of a Different Color
Warner Bros.

More funny than smart, meaning too cornball to truly kick Montgomery Gentry's ass ("Rolling [The Ballad of Big & Rich]," "Kick My Ass").

ALANIS MORISSETTE
So-Called Chaos
Maverick

Platinum role model can't help helping others, so she tries to help other girls avoid this mistake ("Eight Easy Steps," "Doth I Pretend Too Much").

DEAD PREZ
RBG: Revolutionary but Gangsta
Sony Urban Music/Columbia

Crime pays—better than capitalism, anyway ("Hell Yeah [Pimp the System] [Remix Featuring Jay-Z]," "Fucked Up").

GEORGE JONES
The Gospel Collection
BNA

The Possum, Billy Sherrill, and a great American songbook plus ringers ("The Old Rugged Cross," "In the Garden").

PJ HARVEY
Uh Huh Her
Island

A genius's depressions can be as dull as anybody else's, especially if she thinks passion precludes laughs ("It's You," "The Pocket Knife").

PATTERSON HOOD
Killers and Stars
New West

Sketches and disses living-room style, with a sweet kissoff for Chan Marshall ("Uncle Disney," "Old Timers Disease").

CHRISTINE LAVIN
Sometimes Mother Really Does Know Best
Appleseed

Half funny folksongs, half the standup beast itself ("Planet X," "The Legal Ramifications of a Crackerjack Vendor Who Works in Yankee Stadium").

WASHINGTON SOCIAL CLUB
Catching Looks
Badman

"Nonsense about nothing" puts a cheerful face on the modern trance ("Modern Trance," "Are You High?").

DEAD PREZ
Get Free or Die Tryin'
Boss Up/Landspeed

Inclusive music trumps militant ideology ("Last Days Reloaded," "Window to My Soul").

MORRISSEY
You Are the Quarry
Attack

Less miserable than bitter, as he's always better off admitting ("First of the Gang to Die," "I Have Forgiven Jesus").

TOM HEINL
With or Without Me
Leisure King

Junior Brown with more jokes and no stupid guitar tricks ("I Love," "Pinto Squire").

OTIS TAYLOR
Truth Is Not Fiction
Telarc

The kind of blues where spiritual intensity vanquishes cultural pain ("Past Times," "Walk on Water").

WESTSIDE CONNECTION
Terrorist Threats
Capitol

So scabrous and sardonic it's cleansing ("Pimp the System," "Get Ignit").

THE BRIEFS
Sex Objects
BYO

Punk is eternal, snot not ("Killed by Ants," "Destroy the USA").


Choice Cuts

JOHNNY CASH
"The Mystery of Life"
The Mystery of Life
Mercury

STEPHAN SMITH
"You Ain't a Cowboy"
Slash and Burn
Universal Hobo/Artemis

USHER
"Confessions Part II," "Bad Girl"
Confessions
Arista

THE STARTING LINE
"Make Yourself at Home"
Make Yourself at Home EP
Vagrant

PEACHES
"I Don't Give a . . . "
Fatherfucker
Kitty-Yo

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