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CD REVIEWS


ROOTS MANUVA/Run Come Save Me
(Beat/Big Dada)

“This be a declaration of good hearted ghetto hoorah joyous intent,Eproclaims London rapper Rodney Hylton Smith, a.k.a. Roots Manuva, about his new album. Fusing the in-your-face bluntness of American hip hop with the more angular, oblique rhythms of his Jamaican roots, Smith sets forth an entirely original vision of hip hop that tells the tale of life in his native South London. While it’s sometimes difficult to discern the meaning of words that seem to arise out of a thick blue cloud of weed smoke, Manuva gradually casts a spell, verbally ducking in and out of a grab bag of rhythms that range from freestyle funk to futuristic electronica. For listeners willing to take the time, this is an album that unfolds itself with repeated listenings.


GREEN DAY/Tune In Tokyo
(Warner)


Neo-punk revivalists Green Day have, since their stage-stealing appearance at Woodstock in 1994, gone on to prove that they were more than a flash in the pan. And this document of their March 2001 Japan tour shows why: Green Day has one of the tightest live shows around. This is a band that still practices five times a week, and their letter-perfect renditions of songs such as “Waiting,Efrom their 2000 disc Warning, are indeed a warning to other bands who may feel it is enough to play unrehearsed, sloppy live sets. Another fact that is clear from this album is that, in Japan, Green Day are gods. Singer Billie Joe Armstrong has the crowd in his pocket wherever he goes from Tokyo to Sendai. Should Green Day ever lose their audience in the West, they can always come to Japan and while away the rest of their days in Spinal Tap fashion.


V.A./ [43-26] Original Soundtrack
(Far East Skate Network)


A soundtrack to a skateboarding film is an inauspicious place to find hidden gems by local talent, but find them you can. Of the hefty 18 musically leftfield tracks, most of them are loosely hip hop (think DJ Krush rather than the wannabe rap gangstas from the mean streets of Saitama). After a low-key kick-off with “confuzed introEby DJ Baku, the Rhythm Troops appear with a fine display of scratching skills. Then DJ Baku returns in a featured capacity for asa' “beat back,” with a driving rhythm more characteristic of dance than hip hop. The following “U-S-A” by Transsur is typical of Japanese chill-out experimentalism, while the subsequent “live?” by Kitchen Belt is plain obscure rock. Having covered vast tracts of musical ground in the first few songs, things eventually settle into a more consistent groove.


BRAN/Yawarakana Yume
(Gyuune Cassette)


To anyone who has sampled the Tokyo indie-rock underground, the topsy-turvy world of Bran will be familiar. But to those who haven’t, the slightly disturbed sounds of this three-piece who create “music with madness, introversion, violence, delicateness… and extremely private lyrics including quietness and motion,” could be a surprise. Formed in 1994 by Adachi (guitars, vocals) and Meg (bass) with Kuri on drums, Bran’s debut full-length Yawarakana Yume (“Tender Dream”) looks to the ’60s acid rock of the Doors and Jimi Hendrix for inspiration. “Yume Utsutsu” is a greasy outing of psychedelic blues, while the tortured guitar skronk of “Jibaku” (“Suicide Bomber”) well reflects the content of the song. Bran next plays Koenji live house 20,000 Volts on Sept 9. See www.tonreco.com for complete information.


V.A. The Look Of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection
(Rhino/WEA)


With a whole new generation discovering legendary American hitmaker Burt Bacharach following his association with Elvis Costello on 1998’s Painted From Memory, the timing of this retrospective collection of “special and unique music” chosen by Bacharach himself couldn’t be better. The songs-written by Bacharach for some of the superstars of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s-recall a time when singers didn’t write their own material but instead relied on experts like Bacharach. There are many gems among the 50 songs here. The Carpenters’ “Close To You,” Dionne Warwick’s “Do You Know The Way To San Jose” and Jackie DeShannon’s “What The World Needs Now” are only a few notables among what constitutes a tour through more than three decades of pop music history.


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

PREVIOUS ISSUES:
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