By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
By Ray Cummings
By Nicholas Pell
Dud of the Month
Dud of the Month
Have a Nice Day (Island)
Bon Jovi mean so little long or short term that it was only with this redolently entitled cheese bomb that I realized they hadn't actually broken up back in the fabled '90s. (ReallyI took all their '00s albums for reunion one-shots, and couldn't figure out why the product kept coming in the three seconds I thought about it.) The commercial secret is as unchanging as Jon-Jon's mysteriously unwrinkled countenancehard rock so inoffensive it's less Aerosmith than Air Supply. Not only is it impossible to tell whether the one called "Bells of Freedom" is pro- or anti-Bush, it's impossible to tell whether it's patriotic. A depressing argument for the existence of that intellectual fairy tale, the passive mass audience. C PLUS
Additional Consumer News
Bitterly weary, which isn't always an advantage ("Missing Link," "Nothing at All," "Join the Club").
Leave Iraq and stay with your love ("Where's All the Freedom," "It Always Will Be").
In pop, when the production's solid and the voice a little less so, the songs had better be on the money ("Got My Own Thing," "Table for One").
The Cox-Mitchell band at its most documentable ("Hey Baby [New Rising Sun]," "I Don't Live Today").
Bring 'Em In
Blues subpatriarch claims soul as his dominion ("I Put a Spell on You," "Ninety Nine and One Half").
All Jacked Up
Not a good sign when the three really good ones are about booze (if you count the one that's really about stardom) ("All Jacked Up," "One Bud Wiser").
(World Village, c/o Harmonia Mundi, 2037 Granville Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90025, )
I ask you, how much do words matter with John Hurt? (OK, a little) ("Indépendance," "Djonkana").
(All Natural, allnaturalhiphop.com )
Always militant, always calm, always on the one ("Keep It Movin," "Heel-Toe").
SON CUBANO NYC
(Honest Jon's, 278 Portobello Road, London W10 5TE, England, honestjons.com)
Finally, Suicide influencees that rockFrancophones, mais oui ("L.L. Romeo," "T.R.O.U.B.L.E.").
Sudanese child soldier turned Christian rapper meets Sudanese Muslim elder for great story and above-par music ("Alwa," "Gua").
(Gigantic, 59 Franklin Street, Suite 403, NYC 10013, giganticmusic.com)
Those awaiting a new Jimi should note that this one has Jesus on his side ("Hooked," "Rich Man's Lounge").
Front Parlour Ballads
(Cooking Vinyl, PO Box 1845, London W3 0ZA, England, cookingvinyl.com)
Finally, it says here, an acoustic recordwhich he leads with some rock and roll ("Miss Patsy," "My Soul My Soul").
For no discernible reason, blues and Spanglish bring out the irreverence in her ("La Cantina," "Mouth of the Mississippi").
SYSTEM OF A DOWN
Firm in their convictions and (relatively) simple in their art rock ("B.Y.O.B.," "Radio/Video").
CAROLINE, OR CHANGE
What better can one say of an original Broadway cast recording than that you'd love to see the play? ("JFK").
(Razor & Tie, PO Box 585, Cooper Square Station, NYC 10276, razorandtie.com)
They try, and I'm rooting for them, but the real pan-Latino Black Eyed Peas would have more hooks ("Bilingual Girl," "Bla Bla Bla").
(Don't Ask Don't Tell, Mighty Sound)
"One of the Fortunate Few"
(Cost of Living, New West)
(All Over the Road, Big Barn)
"You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son"
(Apologies to the Queen Mary, Sub Pop)
BUKKY LEO & BLACK EGYPT
Afrobeat Visions (Mr Bongo)
Got No Strings (Mighty Sound)
Bungalow Hi (Southern Domestic)