By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
Like so many unpretentious young bands-with-a-knack, the Ponys are assumed by their contemporaries to bring nothing new to the party even though their sound is theirs alonean object lesson in the primacy of timbre. Their second album isn't quite as good as their first album because its hooks are slightly less inescapable, which you can blame on Steve Albini if you want. But the difference is slight, and other differences are positive: more momentum, the girls get to sing one, and the Richard Hell guy sounds as weedy as the Peter Perrett guy, hence more like himself. A MINUS
Download "Glass Conversation" (MP3)
Dud of the Month
DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979
You're a Woman, I'm a Machine
Idon't get this. We listen to a Snoop or Lil Jon recordI do, anywayand say, Yeah, the music is pretty good, but it's really no fun hearing women degraded that way, so the hell with those guys. Maybe if the funk is terrific (Cam'ron, or the new improvedand somewhat more mild-mannered50) or the rhymes acute (Jay-Z, Ghostface), we let down our guard and try to hear how the other half feels. Otherwise no. So why is this tight, intense, recidivist screech-and-crunch exempted from such complex responses? Preferring funk to crunch as I do, maybe I'm merely insensible to the guitars' siren call. Or maybe its slaves are insensible to misogyny that stops at cut-and-run man's-gotta-do you-hurt-me-too, rather than claiming to control that 'ho. B MINUS
Additional Consumer News
"Old Faithful's just a fountain/Compared to the glory of true love" ("She Is My Everything," "Some Humans Ain't Human").
Stream "She Is My Everything" (Real Audio)
Stream "Some Humans Ain't Human" (Real Audio)
Sans their famed debut EP, San Francisco weirdos prove it's not so hard to make entertaining straight-ahead guitar rockonly now try and imitate it ("Truckin'Stream "In Frisco" (MP3)
Lost and Found
Raps better than Rodney Dangerfield (even when he was alive), and funnier to boot ("If You Can't Dance [Slide]," "Ms. Holy Roller").
Stream "If You Can't Dance (Slide)" (Windows Media)
Stream "Ms. Holy Roller" (Windows Media)
He's hard to ruin, which doesn't stop Steve Lawrence and Sammy Davis Jr. from trying (Ella Fitzgerald With the Duke Ellington Orchestra, "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)"; Sarah Vaughan, "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye"; Louis Prima and Keely Smith, "I've Got You Under My Skin").
Stream "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" (Windows Media)
Stream "Night and Day" (Windows Media)
Stream "I've Got You Under My Skin" (Windows Media)
LITTLE CHARLIE AND THE NIGHTCATS
Cool cats confront or deny their own inevitable decreptitude ("Circling the Drain," "Quittin' Time").
Provincial lads make a go of Tony Blair's morass of neoliberal compromise ("Saturday Night," "Born to Be a Dancer").
Stream "Saturday Night" (Windows Media)
Stream "Born to Be a Dancer" (Windows Media)
"My Baby Left Me," "Angel Baby"
(Rock 'n' Roll, Capitol)
(Resight Your Rights EP, DreamWorks)
MY SO-CALLED BAND
"Patriot Act," "Message Board"
(Weapons of Mass Distortion, SW)
"Bleed Like Me," "Why Don't You Come Over"
(Bleed Like Me, Geffen)
BRITISH SEA POWER
Human After All
R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece
(Doggy Style/Geffen/Star Trak)
In Love and Death(Reprise)
Bows and Arrows