Radicals of the Moment

Public enemies tricoastal, and that doesn't even count the Balkan guys

Boban Markovic Orkestar
feat. Marko Markovic
The Promise
Piranha

In which the most invigorating Balkan brass I know becomes a tad neater under the watchful production of Meddlin' Ben Mandelson. The general air of woofled hilarity continues. But in a slack-wire music of crooked harmonies, naturally occurring dub, and unisons that are no such thing, virtuosity is best deployed in the vicinity of a near miss, and there aren't quite enough of those here. B PLUS

Public Enemy
Rebirth of a Nation
Guerrilla Funk

PE's best album in nearly a decade was overseen by Oakland Muslim-stockbroker-revolutionary Paris, who puts his stamp on its functional funk and unyielding class consciousness. In fact, with its international perspective and bitter "People on the bottom kill each other for scraps, "Paris's "Hannibal Lecture" boasts the sharpest lyric on the record. But he's got competition—from a retrofitted Jesse Jackson, from Professor Griff if you can believe that, even from reality TV 'ho Flavor Flav: "I'm in your mouth when you wake in the morning/I'm the stink on your breath when you're yawning." But mostly, of course, from Mistachuck, whose musicality carries the record—and who folded in a Katrina song after the CD was done. A MINUS

Neil Young
Livin' With War
Reprise

OK, more news event than musical milestone. But a really great news event—believe me, the '60s never produced an album that felt this much like a peace march. The key is the sense of fellowship, with music carried less by the artist's broad guitar and creaky voice than by loud drums, what-the? horn arrangements, and a hundred-person chorus on every song. The second consecutive Neil Young album where you know what all the words mean (following 50-odd where you didn't) specifies that this radical-of-the-moment is not averse to supporting a repentant Colin Powell. This proves him a populist if anything does. B PLUS


DUD OF THE MONTH

Bruce Springsteen
We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
Columbia

We shall overkill, he means. Never have his Howard Keel tendencies, or maybe now they're Paul Robeson tendencies, tripped him up so bad. The idea is to big up the music and play the jokes you don't ignore like you're working a Roman amphitheater. I'm glad to have met the anti-war lament "Mrs. McGrath" and Sis Cunningham's "My Oklahoma Home," and sort of hope young people deprived of music appreciation funding will now hear "Erie Canal," "Froggie Went A-Courtin'," "John Henry," and "Jesse James." Only are young people really ignorant of these songs? And how many of them buy Springsteen albums anyway? Amping up his strange bluegrass-Dixieland hybrid like E Street is just around the corner, he sings his lungs out. But in folk music, lightness is all—and only newbies and John Hammond Jr. lean so hard on the cornpone drawl. B


Additional Consumer News

HONORABLE MENTION

KOCANI ORKESTAR
Alone at My Wedding
Crammed Discs
Macedonian tuba funk for that once-in-a-lifetime blowout, its horns, vocals, and beats imbued with Middle Eastern quaver ("Siki, Siki Baba," "Zen Nube").

T-K.A.S.H.
Turf War Syndrome
Guerrilla Funk
Conscious anti-gangsta talks the walk ("How to Get Ass," "American Nightmare").

KAL
Kal
Asphalt Tango
Roma guitar-violin-accordion postmodernists whose emotions translate better at higher speeds ("Dvojka," "Obrenovac Boogie").

KONONO NO 1
Congotronics
Crammed Discs
Your chance to eavesdrop on a genuine African ritual! ("Lufuala Ndonga," "Mama Liza").

NATACHA ATLAS
Mish Maoul
Mantra
Less mish-whatever than dichotomy—Cairo trad versus Western pop ("Haram Aleyk," "Hayam Inta").

PUBLIC ENEMY
New Whirl Odor
Guerrilla Funk
"Preachin' to the Quiet," as in, "How you gonna say no to drugs if you don't say no to thugs?" ("MKLVFKWR," "New Whirl Odor").

TOGETHER AGAIN: LEGENDS OF BULGARIAN WEDDING MUSIC
Traditional Crossroads
Clarinetist Ivo Papasov of Kardzhali and saxophonist Yuri Yunakov of the Bronx show off their speed, multi-traditional command, and suitability for polite company ("Star Dimo/Mama Radojcho Gulcheske," "Oriental").

THE LITTLE WILLIES
The Little Willies
Blue Note
Norah Jones and pals goof on the country music you'll believe she loves—and take publishing on several dull genre exercises and one funny one ("I Gotta Get Drunk," "Love Me").

DR. JOHN
Mercernary
Blue Note
Johnny Mercer's recyclable songbook, eccentrically stylized and expertly played ("Blues in the Night," "Lazy Bones").

PAUL SIMON
Surprise
Warner Bros.
64-year-old liberal singer-songwriter reveals unanticipated knack for soundscaping ("Beautiful," "Outrageous").

THE DRESDEN DOLLS
Yes, Virginia . . .
Roadrunner
Do actually display many cabaret-associated gifts, a light touch not among them ("First Orgasm," "Mrs. O.").


CHOICE CUTS

DONALD FAGEN
"What I Do," "Security Joan," "Brite Nightgown"
(Morph the Cat, Reprise)

BABYSHAMBLES
"Pipedown"
(Down in Albion, Rough Trade)

GOLDFRAPP
"Ooh La La"
(Supernature, Mute)


DUDS

AMOS LEE
Amos Lee
Blue Note

SHAWN MULLINS
9th Ward Pickin' Parlor
Vanguard

UNKNOWN PROPHETS
The Road Less Taken
Unknown Prophets

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
New York Concert Tickets

Concert Calendar

  • October
  • Sat
    25
  • Sun
    26
  • Mon
    27
  • Tue
    28
  • Wed
    29
  • Thu
    30
  • Fri
    31
Loading...