Christians and Heathens

Known quantities, brave genre experiments, program music, and a couple of Cairos


Dud of the Month

Dud of the Month

BON JOVI
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. (Really—I 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 countenance—hard 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
Honorable Mention

THE WACO BROTHERS
Freedom and Weep
(Bloodshot, 3039 West Irving Road, Chicago IL 60618, bloodshotrecords.com)

Bitterly weary, which isn't always an advantage ("Missing Link," "Nothing at All," "Join the Club").

MERLE HAGGARD
Chicago Wind
(Capitol)

Leave Iraq and stay with your love ("Where's All the Freedom," "It Always Will Be").

LIZ PHAIR
Somebody's Miracle
(Capitol)

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").

JIMI HENDRIX
Live at Berkeley
(Experience Hendrix)

The Cox-Mitchell band at its most documentable ("Hey Baby [New Rising Sun]," "I Don't Live Today").

BUDDY GUY
Bring 'Em In
(Silvertone)

Blues subpatriarch claims soul as his dominion ("I Put a Spell on You," "Ninety Nine and One Half").

GRETCHEN WILSON
All Jacked Up
(Epic)

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").

EDDIE PALMIERI
Listen Here!
(Concord, 100 North Crescent Drive, Suite 275, Beverly Hills CA 90210, concordrecords.com)

Regina Carter and David Sanchez help more than they should have to ("In Flight," "In Walked Bud").

BOUBACAR TRAORE
Kongo Magni
(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
Vintage
(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)

1972–1982—neopurist Cubanismo from the salsa-is-sauce school (Rey Roig y Su Sensación, "Son Sabrosón"; Henry Fiol, "Oriente").

WE ARE WOLVES
Non-Stop
(Fat Possum, c/o Epitaph, Epitaph, 2789 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90026, fatpossum.com)

Finally, Suicide influencees that rock—Francophones, mais oui ("L.L. Romeo," "T.R.O.U.B.L.E.").

EMMANUEL JAL & ABDEL GADIR SALIM
Ceasefire
(Riverboat, c/o World Music Network, 6 Abbeville Mews, 88 Clapham)

Sudanese child soldier turned Christian rapper meets Sudanese Muslim elder for great story and above-par music ("Alwa," "Gua").

LADELL MCLIN
Stand Out
(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").

RICHARD THOMPSON
Front Parlour Ballads
(Cooking Vinyl, PO Box 1845, London W3 0ZA, England, cookingvinyl.com)

Finally, it says here, an acoustic record—which he leads with some rock and roll ("Miss Patsy," "My Soul My Soul").

MICHELLE SHOCKED
Mexican Standoff
(Mighty Sound, 5042 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 155, Los Angeles CA 90036, michelleshocked.com)

For no discernible reason, blues and Spanglish bring out the irreverence in her ("La Cantina," "Mouth of the Mississippi").

SYSTEM OF A DOWN
Mezmerize
(American/Columbia)

Firm in their convictions and (relatively) simple in their art rock ("B.Y.O.B.," "Radio/Video").

CAROLINE, OR CHANGE
(Hollywood)

What better can one say of an original Broadway cast recording than that you'd love to see the play? ("JFK").

YERBA BUENA
Island Life
(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").


Choice Cuts

MICHELLE SHOCKED
"Hi Skool"
(Don't Ask Don't Tell, Mighty Sound)

RICHARD THOMPSON
"Oops! I Did It Again"
(1000 Years of Popular Music, richardthompson-music.com)

DELBERT MCCLINTON
"One of the Fortunate Few"
(Cost of Living, New West)

MARS ARIZONA
"Elvis Blues"
(All Over the Road, Big Barn)

WOLF PARADE
"You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son"
(Apologies to the Queen Mary, Sub Pop)


Duds

RUBÉN GONZÁ
Momentos (Escondida)

BUKKY LEO & BLACK EGYPT
Afrobeat Visions (Mr Bongo)

LENE LOVICH
Shadows and Dust (The Stereo Society)

LINDA PERRY
In Flight (Custard/Kill Rock Stars)

MICHELLE SHOCKED
Got No Strings (Mighty Sound)

WRECKLESS ERIC
Bungalow Hi (Southern Domestic)

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