Just like the CD reviews in national magazines -- only later!
By Bill Frost
Pete DrogeSpacey & Shakin
Sample: Spacey & Shakin
The coolest album of the year, for at least the next five to 10 minutes. With his third albumand first for the Sony conglomoPete Droge has decided to just rock like a space cowboy who hasn't gotten any in a light year or two. Spacey & Shakin' is 11 tracks of joyfully converse tunesmithing: Brainy, bizarre lyrics on top, dumbed-down, straight-up beats on the bottom. Anything here to top his '94 hit, "If You Don't Love Me (I'll Kill Myself)"? Plentythis line from the gorgeous, longing "Walking By My Side" is an instant classic: "That's how much I love you/Like a belly full of beer/Wishin' you were here." Suck on that, Hallmark.
Get this if: You've always want to hear Tom Petty lose it.
Don't get this if: Your offer for the local Sony rep to "buy" a nice review was turned down.
Gerald CollierSample: Dark Days
Seattle power-pop heroes Best Kissers In the World released a string of great albums on both Sub Pop and MCA in the early '90s, all of which have collectively sold to date about what that sinking boat soundtrack has moved in the time it took you to read this editor-killing sentence. Gerald Collier was the main Kisser, filtering Cheap Trick, the Replacements, the Beatles and more through scrappy, guitar-heavy arrangements. Solo, he's more depressing and tuneful than ever. Next time you're feeling down because he/she/it left you hanging again, spin "Forgiveness From Revenge/God Never Lived In My Neighborhood" and you'll forget just what was so lousy in your own life.
Get this if: You've misplaced the keys to the liquor cabinet.
Don't get this if: You have an unusual amount of "happy faces" turn up in your daily horoscope.
Chris WhitleyDirt Floor
Sample: Ballpeen Hammer
It doesn't get more low-tech than this: "Vocals, guitar, banjo and foot stomp by Chris Whitley ... Recorded on Dec. 4, 1997." In a slight return to the Robert Johnson primordial ooze, Whitley laid Dirt Floor down in one day on a two-track tape recorder. The quick-and-cheap end result is more emotional and intense than his previous over-produced LPscolorized Delta blues for the slacker set. In the hands of a lesser singer/guitarist, this could have been embarrassing (Lord help us if Smashing Pumpkin-head Billy Corgan ever attempts it); in Whitley's, it's pure, dirty gold.
Get this if: You can live without programmed beats for more than two seconds.
Don't get this if: You think Robert Johnson plays for the Orlando Magic.
Live, Rubberneck seem to play one continuous, faux-Prince/Dead/Santana jam from opening to last call and you can't stop 'em. Now, with their debut CD, you can fade them into the background of your favorite drinking activities at the push of a button. Actually, Rubberneck displays a bit more range on El Nino than they do in their mind-numbing live showsthey can funk and groove.
Get this if: You can't make it to the Zephyr every three weeks or so to vacuum to it in person.
Don't get this if: Distinguishable songs are something you kind of dig in your music.
PulpThis Is Hardcore
Sample: This Is Hardcore
Anglophiles unite! Not that there are any around here, mind you. Lead Pulp Jarvis Cocker managed to make Michael Jackson look like even more of an idiot than usual a couple of years ago at London's Brit Awards, so he's OK in my book. Vintage Bowie and Roxy Music cops abound on This Is Hardcore, a pleasant relief from the Beatles pilfering by those other non-Yankee bands that have thankfully slipped from the consciousness of America. This album is such a swollen, throbbing thrill-ride through glitter-rock history that it's tempting to rank it right up there with Radiohead's OK Computer ... nevermind: a fax just arrived from the League of Rock Critics warning against any such action.
Get this if: You've just got to let that inner drama queen out.
Don't get this if: You waited outside of Totem's to see Oasis.
Mary Lou LordGot No Shadow
Sample: His Lamest Flame
Miss Indie Rock makes her big-label debut with what amounts to an Aimee Mann/Lisa Loeb tribute albumis this what everyone was waiting for? Got No Shadow is so pedestrian that the curbside cover art makes sense: All that's missing is the fake push-button that makes the traffic lights change.
Get this if: You still really miss the Bangles.
Don't get this if: You still really miss Liz Phair.
Iron MaidenVirtual XI
Eeehh. Any self-respecting metalhead (that just doesn't sound right) will tell you that this sorry batch of soccer balls peaked in '82 with Number Of the Beast. Hell, even the band agrees: they've been trying to remake it ever since. Unfortunately, lead shrieker Bruce Dickinson left long ago to pursue a different path of obscurity and he's been replaced by some dink named Blaze Bayley, who sounds uncannily like ... Meatloaf. Not exactly the voice you want when you're trying to get back on Satan's guest list. It's not enough that the tracks run longer than the average Dungeons & Dragons game and sound twice as stupid; noooVirtual XI is an interactive CD-ROM, as well. Aside from crashing every time it's launched, it has a free America Online installer just in case you didn't notice those 600 installer discs that clog your mailbox every week. Eeehh.
Get this if: You're a closet metalhead working for a major metropolitan newspaper owned by a church bent on world domination by geeks in cheap suits.
Don't get this if: You own a calendar.
Sample: Thorazine Shuffle
Now, this is heavy! Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the only tolerable band on Capricorn Records: Former Allman Brothers sidemen gone power-trio, spittin' fire and crushing everything in sight like a monster-truck rally plugged into a Marshall stack. If you can sit through all 6:46 of "Thorazine Shuffle" without the slightest urge to shotgun a can of Pabst and wrassle a 'gator, you may want to consider a career in taxidermy.
Get this if: You think the Hell's Angels were just "misunderstood" at Altamont.
Don't get this if: You think Altamont is a new ski run.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Screw the Y2K problemgotta dance!
Get this if: You realize that the future is where we will live the rest of our lives.
Don't get this if: You confused the rest of your life with Days Of Our Lives and can't quite tell Kristen and Susan apart.
Lost In Space(soundtrack)
Sample: Busy Child (The Crystal Method)
Well, it's got a Propellerheads song on it, as well as cool tracks from Death In Vegas, the Crystal Method and Fatboy Slim. Of course, you've already seen/heard them on MTV's Amp, so why bother? For the 30-plus minutes of sub-John Williams orchestral score tacked on the end? Yeah, OK.
Get this if: You need to update your workout routine.
Don't get this if: You've ever found yourself reading a Sean Means movie review and thinking "You know, he's got a point ..."
Blues Brothers 2000(soundtrack)
Sample: Looking For a Fox
Remember this movie? Neither does anyone else. Nothing could live up to the original movie, and Dan Aykroyd proved it, once and for allbut the soundtrack is a different story. EveryoneI mean everyonefrom the old and new schools o' blues is on here, plus one sore thumb (Travis Tritt?!). Highlights include: "Looking For a Fox" (new Brother John Goodman and the goat-piss-to-gasoline BB Band); "634-5789" (Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett and Jonny Lang), "Riders In the Sky" (this year's "Rawhide"); "John the Revelator" (Taj Mahal, Sam Moore, Sharon Riley and the Faith Choral); "Season Of the Witch" (Dr. John and the BB Band); and "Funky Nassau" (Joe Morton, Aykroyd, Goodman, Paul Schaffer and the amazing Eyrkah Badu). There's also a bit of filler: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" (Aretha Franklin, redoing this song for the 114th time), "Maybe I'm Wrong" (Blues Travelerand they're here because...why?) and "How Blue Can You Get?" (The Louisiana Gator Boys, an all-star jam featuring too many players for its own good). When is that House of Blues opening in Salt Lake City, anyway?
Get this if: You were smart enough to avoid the movie.
Don't get this if: You're an anal-retentive "purist" who uses gratuitous "quote" marks to make "points" about whatever the "hell" you're "saying" because you're too "ill-equipped" to just "say" it and get it "over" with.
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