Looking Past Differences

Don't let the young Republicans put you in jail or the restless hipsters scare you away

THE ROOTS
The Tipping Point
(Geffen)

Foolhardy though it was to saddle such an uncrucial record with a title that dares the young and the restless to bitch about how it doesn't change the world, the rest of us are free to enjoy how confidently it develops a groove. Theme-setting Sly remake leads to varied confluences of democracy and Black Thought (try the hummed and mumbled hook of "Don't Say Nuthin' ") that swing up at the end through two attention getters certain to dismay the restless—Timbabeats, how 2003! Then, to remind us they're a hip-hop band, there's a bonus cut for their sole virtuoso —which means ?uestlove, not Kamal. They understand what they can do, and what they can't. That's 2004 enough for me. A MINUS

THE WILLOWZ
(Dionysus)

Old enough to vote, too young to barhop, they spend most of these eight brief songs trying desperately to catch up with themselves, and their occasional collapse into the breathy/slow/acoustic is doubly touching by contrast. It's easier to get a grip on your future when you have time to live in it for a while. Punker than the Ponys, and even more childish, but just as vulnerable. Maybe youth is feeling fragile these days. Maybe it's afraid its headlong rush is not long for this world. A MINUS


Dud of the Month

JUANA MOLINA
Tres Cosas
(Domino)

With Argentina well over on the European edge of "Latin"—which is mostly African whatever its Spanish antecedents—it's no surprise that this reformed television actress should trick up her boring strummed singer-songwritering with not terribly interesting electronica. With the market for both modes desperate for marginal differentiation, it's also no surprise that she gets a bump for being exotic if not literally dark-skinned. Needless to say, there are no surprises anywhere else either. That really isn't how soundscaping is supposed to work. C


Additional Consumer News

Honorable Mention

THE HIVES
Tyrannosaurus Hives
Interscope

Don't care about "going down no in no history," thus wiser than those who think it matters that they won't (only they may) ("Walk Idiot Walk," "No Pun Intended").

OLD 97'S
Drag It Up
New West

The new kids have Rhett feeling down ("Moonlight," "The New Kid," "Bloomingtown").

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO AFRO-PERU
World Music Network import

David Byrne didn't tell us how many males this tiny scene stars (Manuel Donayre, "Negro Carbon"; Arturo "Zambo" Cavero & Oscar Aviles, "El Alcatraz").

BURNT SUGAR
The Arkestra Chamber: Black Sex Yall Liberation and Bloody Random Violets
Trugroid

I wish Tate edited his music like he edits his copy (which doesn't mean perfectly, believe me) ("Funky Rich Medina," "No Direction Home I").

FRANZ FERDINAND
Domino

Young enough to only work when they need the money, a musical tradition worth fighting for ("Michael," "Jacqueline").

MERCAN DEDE
Sufi Traveler
Mi5

Won't upset your stomach as it heals your soul ("Nar-1 Ask," "Guilname").

CHUMBAWAMBA
Un
Koch

"Pissing in the wine, pissing in the wine" ("When Fine Society Sits Down to Dine," "On eBay").

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO PUERTO RICAN SALSA
World Music Network import

Progger and/or blander and/or folkier than anyone but a world-music sap would prefer (Willie Colón & Héctor Lavoe, "Todo Tiene Su Final"; Jose Alberto, "El Canario," "Déjate Querer").

THE CATHETERS
Howling . . . It Grows and Grows!!!
Sub Pop

Pissed off, barely tonal, and in the tradition—the fuck you say ("Natural Law," "Ravenous Animal").

MASTA KILLA
No Said Date
Nature Sounds

Kills Ghostface because RZA still rules ("Old Man," "No Said Date").

COCKTAIL SLIPPERS
Rock It!
MTG import

Go-Go's with heft by Norwegian gals in matching outfits ("Oh Boy," "Out of My Head").

MASH OUT POSSE
Family First

The brawnier-voiced Musclehead On Parade makes a metal record ("Stand Up," "Ground Zero").

JACKI-O
The Official Bootleg
Poe Boy

"If I suck your dick it'll come fast/'Cause I'ma stick my thumb in your ass" ("The Watcher Remix," "Nookie Remix").

SALSA AROUND THE WORLD
Putumayo World Music

Bands from 12 non-Hispanic nations oversimplify and/or distill Nuyorican clave (Salsa Celtica, "El Sol de la Noche"; Mousta Largo, "Anna Maria").

MC LARS
The Laptop EP
Sidecho

"Were you really born in Stockholm, Lars?"; "No, but my family on my mom's side is Swedish American"; "Uh, OK" ("Signing Emo," "Straight Outta Stockholm").

THE CARDIGANS
Long Gone Before Daylight
Koch

She'll love you as long as the chorus lasts, and if you're good the verse too—a period that lengthens as she gets older ("For What It's Worth," "And Then You Kissed Me").


Choice Cuts

D12
"How Come," "6 in the Morning," "My Band"
(D12 World, Shady/Interscope)

KING MISSILE III
"America Kicks Ass"
(Royal Lunch, Important)

LOS PACHANGA PISTOLS
"I Don't Have a Car and I Live in L.A."
(Not in Our Name, Broken Arrow)

JARABE DE PALO
"El Lado Oscuro"

RAUL PAZ
"Mulata"
(Nuevo Latino, Putumayo World Music)


Duds

KARRIN ALLYSON
Wild for You (Concord)

ERIC CLAPTON
Me and Mr. Johnson (Reprise)

DAT POLITICS
Go Pets Go (Chicks on Speed)

INCUBUS
A Crow Left of the Murder . . . (Epic/Immortal)

THE PLAYWRIGHTS
Guy Debord Is Really Dead(Sink and Stove import)

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