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CATATONIA / Paper Scissors Stone
(Blanco Y Negro)

CatatoniaSinger Cerys Matthews of Welsh rockers Catatonia has been putting the boy toys of Britpop to shame for several years now, and with Paper Scissors Stone, an album she describes in an online interview as "psychological warfare," she may as well declare victory. Unlike Radiohead' excessively hyped releases of the past year, or the tedium of Oasis' and Stereophonics' latest, this album actually lives up to its expectations, proving itself artistic while avoiding pretentiousness. Check the Beatlesesque craftsmanship of "Change My Friends" or the in-your-face fury of "Is Everybody Here On Drugs?" Verdict: If rock'n'roll were still revolutionary, this would be the battle cry.


DEEP DISH / Yoshiesqhue Two
(React)


Deep DishWith the tsunami of DJ mix CDs washing the world's shores these days, one has to be a bit suspicious of yet another. But the care that Washington, DC duo Deep Dish (who recently played Yellow) put into each and every one of their releases makes them an exception to the banality of most slapdash record company "product." Yoshiesque Two sees Ali and Sharam once again exploring a spectrum of sounds in search of something greater than the sum of its (electronic) parts, with elements ranging from a jaw-dropping Chemical Brothers remix of Spiritualized's "I Think I'm In Love" to Deep Dish's own mix of Dusted's "Always Remember To Respect And Honour Your Mother." Also represented on this tour de force are dance music heavyweights Danny Tenaglia, Roger Sanchez and Tom Middleton.


MANU CHAO / Proxima Estacion: Esperanza
(EMD/Virgin)


Manu ChuoManu Chao is back this summer with a sequel to 1998's Clandestino, which has been playing in cafes all over the world ever since its release. On his new album, Proxima Estacion: Esperanza, late-80's punk/reggae/hip-hop group Mano Negra's ex-leader brings back sounds from Clandestino and explores them further, this time with lighter themes. This album is, like the previous, mostly in Spanish but also has songs in English (like "Mr Bobby," a tribute to Bob Marley) and French ("Le Rendez Vous," in which he reveals fantasies of his native Paris). For those yet unfamiliar with the variety of international sounds that Manu Chao has to offer, think jazzy, reggae flavored guitar and trumpets with electronic beats and samples of revolutionary cheers. If it won't refresh them, this fiesta-injected album will certainly give a beat to your hot summer days! Patrick Benny

PRE_SHRUNK / Soundpimp
(Gianormous)


Pre_ShrunkIf what this unusual Australian three-piece (two bassists and one drummer) mean by their album title is selling other people's sounds, then they've got it right. Signed to Tower Japan's indies label Gianormous, Pre_Shrunk pimps others' sounds in the sense that they are highly derivative, stealing a bit from the early '90s alt-rock of Primus here, and a bit from late '90s techno there. But despite it all, they manage to come off sounding rather original, perhaps a result of the obsessive personalities you sense in the three members, and oddball lyrics like "Relaxation is just a diagnosis away." Pre_Shrunk may not be tearing up the charts anytime soon, but they certainly have carved out their own unique slice of the musical pie.

TARAF DE HAIDOUKS / Band of Gypsies
(Nonesuch/Warner)


Taraf De HaidouksHaving never before heard the music of this band of 12 gypsies from the small Romanian village of Clejani, I find hard to say how their new album compares with previous work. Suffice it to say that Taraf de HaEouks - who will be performing in Tokyo in late August and early September - are formidable. Blending skirt-swirling gypsy melodies with a manically mad rhythm section, the group has been a staple of the world music circuit since blowing minds at the Montreux International Jazz festival in the early '90s. Band of Gypsies captures them live, and from the consistently polished performances they give on all 14 songs, it's clear that the Taraf de HaEouks - despite any negative stereotypes of gypsies - are disciplined virtuosos devoted to their craft.


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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