Gypsy Part of Town

Come savor the beaty delights of European multiculturalism, Arabski kjuchek included

PAT METHENY/ORNETTE COLEMAN
Song X
(Nonesuch)

Right, the same damn jazz album—same damn fine jazz album—he/they released in 1986. Only the 18 minutes of bonus tracks, which include Ornette blowing changes and playing bebop, would make a damn fine EP. Instead, they sit there at the very beginning, saying, "We are the loam from which Song X will arise forthwith." A

CHARLIE ROBISON
Good Times
(Dualtone)

I liked the title tune better when I thought he was saying "don't let the fascists get you down" rather than "bastards," but it amounts to the same thing. Long a champion of country music that eschews both purity and virtue, here Robison writes like his life depends on it, which it does—the virtue lobby has all fun in its sights, his music included. On the one about eating his wife's cooking he finds a new shade of meaning for the word "brisket." And on the one about how his wife vamoosed anyway, words fail him: "But I still got my buddies and I still got my pals/And I still got my buddies and I still got my pals." A MINUS


Dud of the Month

KEREN ANN
Nolita
(Metro Blue)

I know melancholy is as universal as joy, and considerably more common to boot, but that's no reason to celebrate it. After all, the same can be said of sloth and will. And while this Javanese-Dutch-Russian-Israeli French succes d'estime obviously isn't lazy—you think pinpoint arrangements come naturally?—the languor she encourages in her quiet cult is the kind of privilege that feels like an accomplishment to Nick Drake and Sylvia Plath fans. I say it's static; I say it gets a person nowhere. At least Norah Jones swings. A little. B


Additional Consumer News

Honorable Mention

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO THE MUSIC OF SUDAN
(World Music Network, 6 Abbeville Mews, 88 Clapham Park Road, London SW4 7BX, England)

Decadent bandleaders, vagina-bearing vixens, and a former child soldier sin against Sharia (Emmanuel Jal, "Gua"; Omdurman Women's Ensemble, "Daloka Bet El Mal"; Mohammed Wardi, "Azibni").

URBAN BRAZIL
(Stern's Music/Earthworks, 71 Warren St, NYC 10007)

Baile funk for party people with more stuff (Botecoeletro, "Coco Nutz Mass"; Rappin' Hood, "Sou Negro"

RODNEY CROWELL
The Outsider
(Sugar Hill/DMZ/Columbia, PO Box 55300, Durham NC 27717-5300)

One more pissed-off patriot heard from ("The Obscenity Prayer [Give It to Me]," "Don't Get Me Started").

MF DOOM
Live From Planet X
(Nature Sounds)

Scoff all you like at the very notion of a live rap album, but just remember—no skits ("Name Dropping," "I Hear Voices").

HUMAN TELEVISION
All Songs Written by: Human Television
(Gigantic Music, 59 Franklin Street, Suite 403, NYC 10013)

Part of the discipline for tune adepts is to let the tunes carry meaning themselves, which is rarely how it worked with the bands they love ("Saw You Walking By," "Yeah Right").

SAMPA NOVA
(Stern's Brasil, 71 Warren Street, NYC 10007)

Samba as beat itself, beat song, and, of course, beat jazz-schlock (Suba, "Sereia"; Otto, "Bob [Edu H Mix]").

VERNON REID & MASQUE
Known Unknown
(Favored Nations)

On Steve Vai's label, only would you believe funkier? ("Known Unknown," "Brilliant Corners").

SOUAD MASSI
Deb
(Heartbroken) (Wrasse, Wrasse House, The Drive, Tyrrells Wood, Leatherland, KT22 8QW, EnFgland, wrasserecords.com)

Sounds like a nice chick, but her Arabic leaves too much to the imagination ("Yemma [Mummy, I Lie to You]," "Ya Kelbi [Oh! My Heart]").

ITALIAN CAFÉ
(Putumayo World Music)

(Putumayo World Music, 324 Lafayette Street, NYC 10012, putumayo.com)

Putumayo say these ingratiating Latins like cute novelties and guys who whisper almost as much as French sophisticates (Giorgio Conte "Gn‚, Gn‚"; Fred Buscaglione, "Juke Box").

BE YOUR OWN PET
Damn Damn Leash
(XL)

Nashville pros' punk kids prove their parents are hipsters like musicians anywhere ("Damn Damn Leash").

CERYS MATTHEWS
CockAHoop
(Rough Trade, Chelsea Hotel, Room 103, 222 West 23 Street, NYC 10011, roughtrade.com)

Catatonia frontwoman writes some folk-type songs, covers others including one in Welch and many by co-religionists, almost holds her own ("Weightless Again," "Only a Fool:).

MEHANATA: NEW YORK GYPSYMANIA
(Mehanata, Bulgarian Culture Center, 416 Broadway, NYC 10013, mehanata.com)

The fermented garbage from which arose the fabled gypsy punk (Balkan Beat Box and Eugene Hutz, "Tromba de Zangari/Yek, Dui, Trei/New Yorkskiri"; Yuri Yunakov, "Arabski Kjuchek").

BRAZILIAN GIRLS
(Verve Forecast)

Trilingual rhythmically, quadrilingual verbally, and they make it all stick
("Pussy," "Homme").

ENZO AVITABILE & BOTTARI
Salvamm'o Munno (Save the World) (Wrasse)

Neapolitan saxophonist, Calabrian percussionists, and world-music luminaries exert their goodwill ("Porto Alegre," "O Munno Se Move").

RED EYED LEGENDS
Mutual Insignificance
(File 13, Box 804868, Chicago IL 60680, file-13.com)

If they don't open when the Fall hit Chicago, Skull Kontrol died in vain ("Milk Crate," "Go-Go Girls").


Choice Cuts

MACUMBALADA
"Samba Do Morro"

SUBA
"Sereia"
(The Rough Guide to Brazilian Electronica, World Music Network) (World Music Network, 6 Abbeville Mews, 88 Clapham Park Road, London SW4 7BX, England, post@worldmusic.net)

KEITH ANDERSON
"Podunk,"
"Stick It"
(Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll, Arista)

MIRANDA LAMBERT
"Kerosene,"
"What About Georgia,"
"Me and Charlie Talking"
(Kerosene, Epic)

GEORGE STRAIT
"She Let Herself Go,"
"Good News, Bad News"
(Somewhere Down in Texas, MCA Nashville)


Duds

DIERKS BENTLEY
Modern Day Drifter
(Capitol)

BERING STRAIT
Pages
(Universal South)

KENNY CHESNEY
Be as You Are
(Songs From an Old Blue Chair) (BNA)

KENNY CHESNEY
When the Sun Goes Down
(BNA)

TOBY KEITH
Honkytonk University
(DreamWorks)

STINA NORDENSTAM
The World Is Saved
(V2)

LEE ANN WOMACK
There's More Where That Came From
(MCA Nashville)

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