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CD REVIEWS


BACKYARD BABIES / Making Enemies Is Good
(BMG)

Swedish sleaze rockers Backyard Babies don' pull any punches on their third and latest album. From the leadoff track "I Love To Roll," an old skool tribute to the pleasures of decadence's holy trinity of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, the Backyard Babies fall firmly in the Spinal Tap camp. Other numbers such as "Payback," with its metal-influenced, turn-on-the-dime tempo changes and the thunderous, plodding "My Demonic," simply reek of sweat, leather, and testosteronal teenage aggression. Remember for a moment that they've been around since 1987 and probably haven't changed a bit in the interim; after all, someone's got to guard the orthodoxy of hard rock and protect it from the incursions of rap and electronic music. Backyard Babies play Shibuya AX on July 17-18. See listings for details.


TAJ MAHAL & THE HULA BLUES BAND / Hanapepe Dream
(Respect)


A veteran New York bluesman pulls up his stakes and moves to Hawaii. Settling on the island of Kauai, he hooks up with a bunch of locals who quickly become his fishing buddies. The result? Taj Mahal & The Hula Blues Band, who come together again for the second album in their ongoing exploration of the intersection of blues and traditional Hawaiian music. Taj Mahal's gruff vocals on top of ukuleles and slack key guitars take a bit of getting used to. But before you know it, you're tapping your feet and humming along to tunes such as the traditional sea chantey "Blackjack Davey" or "Livin On Easy," a celebration of the easygoing Hawaiian lifestyle. Purists of the blues or Hawaiian music may find this one difficult to swallow, but for the rest of us it's a nice treat indeed. Sandra Rydowski


ebz / Flamingo
(soundofspeed)


Ever since Yellow Magic Orchestra's Haruomi Hosono began to create ambient music in the '80s, Japan has been at the forefront of the genre and is currently producing a range of excellent ambient/downtempo talents, of which ebz is one of the latest. Also the organizer of Tokyo's soundofspeed parties and their associated label, ebz (Ebizoo Tanuma) has crafted a work that makes subtle use of African sounds and themes, while avoiding the tired use of "tribal" samples. From the reverb-drenched soundscape of "Ojwang" to the more propulsive, drum'n'bass - flavored workouts of "Gillera" or "Why Not?" Flamingo - ebz's debut album - offers an entrancing sonic journey to a place seemingly beyond time. Stay tuned to TC for info on upcoming soundofspeed events.


SOLID GROUND FEATURNING DENNIS BRADFORD / Attitude
(Cab)


Among the many fine, sometimes expatriate jazz musicians in Japan is West Coast drummer Dennis Bradford, who contributes his fleet touch to this album as performer/producer. A drummer who has worked with Kenny G and Chick Corea, to name two, Bradford lays down crisp, funky rhythms that power the assortment of fusion, pop and Latin songs that grace Attitude. Also contributing is keyboardist Mami Horie Bradford (assumedly his wife), Brazilian percussionist Marco Bosco, and a stellar cast of Japanese jazz musicians represented most notably in the memorable flute solos of Shinpei Inoue. Particular standouts include the Latin vibes of "El Quixico" and the inspirational love song "Moniq" on an album that would make the ideal accompaniment to a sunny summer day at the beach.


WEEZER / Weezer
(Geffen)


If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and could bring only one CD titled Weezer, the smart move would be to leave this one at home. Compared to their sly, instantly addictive 1994 eponymous debut, Weezer (2001) doesn't come close. You'd think that after taking five years to come out with new material (especially after the second album alienated half their fan base), they'd want to put out something worth the wait. The green Weezer clocks in at a mere 28 minutes and change - a disappointment in itself - but with nothing nearly as insanely catchy as "The Sweater Song," "Buddy Holly" or "Holiday," you won't mind. Bright spots include the stoner rocker "Hash Pipe" and closing paean "O Girlfriend," but the rest is unremarkable, somewhat irrelevant power-pop that feels about as subversive as a Gap commercial. John Konno


CD REVIEWS ARCHIVE:
OCTOBER
394:
NATALIE IMBRUGLIA/White Lilies Island
DAFT PUNK/Alive
VARIOUS ARTISTS/Trance Progression
GERLING/When Young Terrorists Chase The Sun
THE CHARLATANS/Wonderland
SEPTEMBER
392:
LAURIE ANDERSON/Life On A String
BLAKE/Step Into The Light
ROGER SANCHEZ /First Contact
BUDDY GUY/Sweat Tea
VARIOUS ARTISTS/WIRE01 Compilation
391:
The strokes
New Order
Grant-lee Phillips
390:
Ben Folds
V.A
Jamiroquai
Bjork
Cake
389:
Tantric
Turin brakes
Herbie Hancock
august
388:
Roots Manuva
Green Day
V.A.
Bran
V.A.
387:
Super Furry Animals
Usher
Boz Scaggs
386:
Farida's Cafe
Freaky Flow
Laura Liza
385:
Rhona
Dan Bryk
Jose Padilla
384:
Catatonia
Deep Dish
Manu Chao
Pre_Shrunk
Taraf De Haidouks
JULY
383:
The Cult
Sphongle
Tomb Raider Soundtrack
382:
Ursula Rucker
The Rembrants
Perry Farrel
Iggy Pop
Feed
381:
Stone Temple Pilots
Inner Circle
Gorodisch
380:
Joe Hisaishi
Plaid
Sugar Ray
Tarika
Travis
JUNE
379:
Goo Goo Dolls
Tonino Baliardo
Bran Van 3000
378:
Shur-I-Kan
Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot
Pete Rock
Frankie Valentine
Masanori Ikeda
377:
Depeche Mode
Chilldren ov Paradise
Our Lady Peace
376:
Backyard Babies
Taj Mahal & The Hula Blues Band
ebz
Solid Ground
Weezer
375:
David Byrne
Mekon
Ken Ishii
MAY
374:
AIR
Martires Del Compas
V.A.
Coil
Cosmic Rough Riders
373:
G. Love & Special Sauce
Ben Harper
Neil Finn
372:
Alternative 3
Stevie Nicks
Snake Hip Shakes
Soul Scramble
The Slackers
371:
The Black Crowes
Dirty Beatnisk
DJ Spinna
Mogwai
Tokyo-Mirai
APRIL
370:
R.E.M.
Makyo
Missile Girl Scoot

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