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CD REVIEWS


BEN FOLDS/RockinE The Suburbs
(Epic/Sony)

“I got shit running round my brain/so intense that I can’t explain/all alone in my white boy pain,Esings American troubadour Ben Folds on the title track (which does indeed rock) of his new solo album. It’s a typical sentiment from Folds, who portrays in rich detail the many and mundane agonies that middle class white suburbanites experience in their lives. His tempos range from the easy pace of ballads such as “The LuckiestEto the up tempo soft rock of “Hiro’s Song.EBut FoldsEthematic material remains consistent, as he recounts tales of breaking up (and getting together), growing old, and getting laid off from work. Throughout all this sometimes-bleak terrain, FoldsElithe piano ducks and weaves, sometimes content to remain in the background and sometimes bursting forth into soaring solos. The verdict: a promising solo debut and appetite sharpener for his upcoming show.


V. A./Nada Masala vol. 2
(Dakini)


The latest compilation from Tokyo-based techno artist Makyo’s Dakini label continues to strike a different tone from the mainstream of trance. Despite the psychedelic iconography and Indian accents (the title means “sound blendE, Nada Masala charts a decidedly mellower course than most of the wave-your-hands-in-the-air music that passes for trance these days. Consider, for instance, the drum-in-space sounds of Italy-based Masala’s “Lucid Dreams,E leavened by an otherworldly Indian bansuri flute solo, or the typically hypnotic percussive track “Beyond The Veil,Eby Makyo himself. Unlike most mainstream trance, Nada Masala stands up to listening at home, no artificially induced mind expansion necessary (the music does the job by itself). Look for upcoming Dakini events in these pages or see www.dakinirecords.com for further exploration.


JAMIROQUAI/A Funk Odyssey
(Epic/Sony)


“I think I’ve just made the best record of my career,EJamiroquai’s Jay Kay told The Times about his latest, one of the most anticipated records of the year and his first in over three years. That’s a lot to live up to, considering the stellar quality of much of his previous material, but sad to say it, this record left me feeling somehow flat. It’s packed with plenty of the funk revivalist’s characteristic James Brown/Stevie Wonder meets E0s production technology wizardry. And many of the songs, from the house-inflected “Feels So GoodEto the glistening disco of “Stop Don’t PanicEto the tight funk of “Deeper Underground,Eare irresistibly danceable. Yet in the end, I found A Funk Odyssey mostly forgettable and emotionless. The only exception would be the beautiful song “Black Crow,Ewhich could stand alongside Stevie Wonder’s best ballads of the early E0s.

BJORK/Vespertine
(Bjork Overseas Ltd.)


I had to look up “vespertineEin the dictionary. It means “of, related to, or occurring in the evening.EFittingly, this is an album to be savored in the slow fade of a dusky afterglow. Though lacking the orchestral sweep of Bjork’s latest proper CD, Homogenic, and the dramatic flair of her eclectic Dancer In the Dark soundtrack, Vespertine’s more personal, even claustrophobic, dynamic is not without its charms. “CocoonEis one of the most gorgeous tracks ever laid down by the swan dress-wearing diva, and little weird computer noises throughout keep the album typically atypical. Critics who disparage Bjork for coming across as a little too precious and quirky will not be converted, but even they would have to admit that few if any vocalists on the planet display a style more distinctive and immediately recognizable. John Konno

CAKE/Comfort Eagle
(Columbia/Sony)


Whatever formula Cake has come up with, it sure works. So if it’s not broken, why try to fix it? This Sacramento-based quartet released their fourth major studio album with cover art and incomprehensible title that resembles the last three right down to the font. Their sound remains steadfast, albeit with subtle fine-tuning. More resources from their new label Columbia definitely add to their recipe of rock, E0s Benatar-ballads, funk, spaghetti western soundtracks, wiry electronica, and a very lonely trumpet. Vocalist John McCrea continues to play the role of social ombudsman with his dry wit, cynicism and ukulele. His delivery is symbolic of the band’s message: half song, half-sporadic yet poetic rant, reminiscent of a true Kerouac or Ginsberg. Even Cake’s strange fixation on cars and music celebrities continues with "Long Line of Cars" and "Meanwhile, Rick James..." An audible dessert worth the purchase. Ryan Hart


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' 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:
369-360
359-350
349-340
339-330
329-320
319-309


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