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
THINK DIFFERENTLY MUSIC: WU-TANG MEETS THE INDIE CULTURE
Less Wu than advertisedRZA duet, GZA duet, GZA cameo, U-God cameo, with production dominated by RZA subaltern Bronze Nazareth. Not especially coherent, either, even within individual songs. But loaded with beats, and with great momentsRZA's traffic cop, Byata's Russian homegirl, Solomon Childs's African economics. With backpack types now Wu-Tang's natural constituency, the 27 rappers on this comp make their subculture sound dope even if they're not. Plus an infomercial in which Jim Jarmusch bites Yehudi Menuhin. B PLUS
Dud of the Month
The Back Room
Denying prior knowledge of Joy Division, Echo & the Bunnymen, and Interpol, Staffordshire University's answer to the Arctic Monkeys cite as influences early R.E.M., Elbow, and the French Doorsnot Jimbo in Paris, a Brooklyn band that shares members with, you know, Black Lipstick. I believe them, too. Though this strain of heartsick gravity was unknown on earth before Ian Curtis and the goth/new romantic inundation he heralded, it has since been imprinted on every Caucasian adolescent in the English-speaking world. And as leader Tom Smith demonstrates, it needn't be morbid or suicidal. His message is often sanely chin-upas in "Open your arms and welcome people to your town" and even the relatively dark (if sonically comic) "You don't need this disease you don't," 36 repetitions of which constitute virtually the entire lyric of "Bullets." Someone should tell him about the Human League. C PLUS
DAVID MURRAY & THE GWO-KA MASTERS
He needs his ka drummer and his diaspora brass, but the heroes are guest co-tenor Pharoah Sanders and trap drummer Hamid Drake, Yanks both despite their sobriquets ("Gwotet," "Ovwa").
GOOD FOR WHAT AILS YOU: MUSIC OF THE MEDICINE SHOWS19261937
Forty-eight lovingly documented songs, most generic even when also distinguished, many uncomfortably laissez-faire about minstrel stereotyping (Walter Cole, "Mama Keep Your Yes Ma'am Clean"; Jim Jackson, "I Heard the Voice of a Porkchop"; Beans Hambone & El Morrow, "Beans").
(Light in the Attic)
The cleansing power of a big fat gloomy wartime drone ("The First Vietnamese War," "Manipulation").
First Impressions of Earth
You know how it isthe gym does more for your wind than for your jump shot ("You Only Live Once," "Ask Me Anything").
Mad Red Bulgarian Wannabes of the Appalachians ("Somethin' in the Water," "No Such Thing").
The Weight Is a Gift
Emo, if that term retains any shred of cred, for adultswho actually know a tune when they hear one ("Blankest Year," "Imaginary Friends").
DJ MUGGS VS GZA THE GENIUS
RZA-inspired beats, CSI-inspired rhymes ("Destruction of a Guard," "Exploitation of Mistakes").
Mr. Ralph Carney and his small ensemble play the works of Zappa, Prado, Ra, Monk, Cream, Dekker, and others ("Jackie-ing," "Intensified Festival '68").
Children of Possibility
Digable internationalists descant hip-hop spirituality ("Fear the Labour," "Bluebird").
THE SCOTCH GREENS
They tried the country and they tried the city, but speed was the only thing that made them feel betteras bluegrass and punk, respectively ("Rumspringa," "Professional").
JAMES CARTER/CYRUS CHESTNUT/ALI JACKSON/REGINALD VEAL
Jazz guys seeking avant move cover alt-rock demigods ("Here," "Summer Babe").
The essential nourishment and fatal tedium of soul, sincerity, the whole Sunday-morning snore ("Ain't Nobody Worryin'," "Sista Big Bones").
"We're not gonna be yelling and screaming about ignorant shit" ("Dark Skinned White Girls," "Yesterday, Today").
"I Drink," "Mercy Now"
(Mercy Now, Lost Highway)
(Magnificent City, Decon)
(The Rough Guide to the Music of the Alps, World Music Network)
BIG BOI PRESENTS . . . GOT PURP? VOL. II
CHOCOLATE GENIUS INC
Black Yankee Rock
Akron Cracker, akroncracker.com;
Barsuk, PO Box 22546, Seattle WA 98132, barsuk.com;
Brass Tacks, 45 West 21st Street, NYC 10010, drtentertainment.com;
Brown Brothers, 39 East 85th Street, NYC 10028, brownbrothersrecordings.com;
Domino, PO Box 1207, NYC 10276, dominorecords.com;
Half Note, 131 West 3rd Street, NYC 10012, halfnote.net;
Heartbeat, 29 Camp Street, Cambridge MA 02140, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Justin Time, 5455 Rue Par Suite 101, Montreal PQ Canada H4P 1P7, justin-time.com;
Light in the Attic, PO Box 31970, Seattle WA 98103, theblackangels.com;
Milestone, 10th & Parker, Berkeley CA 94710, fantasyjazz.com;
New West, LLC PO Box 33156, Austin TX 78674-0156, newwestrecords.com;
Old Hat, PO Box 10309, Raleigh NC 27605, oldhatrecords.com;
Record Collection, 1223 Wilshire Boulevard 811, Los Angeles CA 90403, recordcollectionmusic.com;
ROIR, PO Box 501, Prince Street Station, NYC 10012;
SpinArt, PO Box 1798, NYC 10156-1798, spinartrecords.com;
Thirsty Ear, 22 Knight Street, Norwalk CT 06851, NYC 10016, thirstyear.com;
Warp, 503 Eighth Avenue 4th Floor, Brooklyn NY 11215, warprecords.com;
World Music Network, 6 Abbeville Mews, 88 Clapham Park Road, London SW4 7BX, England, Yep Roc, PO Box 4821, Chapel Hill NC 27515,yeproc.com;