Posted inMusic

This Moment in Black History

“The Negro’s role in the history of America? A good question,” intones a 1950s-style voice-over in the opening moments of It Takes a Nation of Assholes to Hold Us Back (Cold Sweat), the second full-length from this Cleveland band. “Perhaps we can briefly try to answer this for you.” Then commence the jackhammer beats, strangulated […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 25 BRUCE COCKBURN Singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn could easily parlay his gift for language into poetry and novels just like fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen. But instead he tends to submerge it in arrangements that sound deceptively adult contemporary: on his new album, Life Short Call Now (Rounder), he wraps his bitter pills in strings and […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Treatment

Friday 18 DETHOLZ! Notwithstanding their weakness for cheese-pop covers (“Sussudio,” “What’s Love Got to Do With It”), these locals’ nerdy, fidgety, aggressively busy new-wave rock is full of original ideas, and I doubt they’ll run out of new ones anytime soon. It’s tempting to chalk up their weirdness to their Bible-school roots, but as far […]

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Latin Love

Marc Anthony Marc Anthony (Columbia) Enrique Iglesias Enrique Iglesias (Interscope) By Franklin Soults “America has no true culture of its own,” a Nigerian acquaintance of mine informed me just before Thanksgiving, smiling with friendly disdain. If there were anything that could prove him wrong, you’d think it would have been Thanksgiving weekend–a particularly American quasi-religious […]

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New Order

Sebadoh The Sebadoh (Sub Pop/Sire) By Franklin Soults Sebadoh’s new album, The Sebadoh, opens with a sustained dull electric buzz, like the sound of a cheap guitar amp turned up too loud. It’s a noise many old fans will surely take as a sonic welcome mat. After an unprecedented three-year hiatus, the loss of drummer […]

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Real Deal

Snoop Dogg Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told (No Limit/Priority) By Franklin Soults When Public Enemy’s Chuck D called hip-hop the black CNN, he hit on a metaphor whose meaning could be appreciated by anyone with even a passing interest in rap. And yet so many hard-core hip-hop fans seem not […]

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Pomo Folkies

They Might Be Giants Then: The Earlier Years (Restless) Factory Showroom (Elektra) Though it’s been 16 years since junior high pals John Flansburgh and John Linnell reunited in a Brooklyn apartment as the brilliantly annoying They Might Be Giants, they have yet to alter their haircuts, learn how to play a decent guitar solo, or […]

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The Future is Now

Tricky Pre-Millennium Tension (Island) Often the simplest way for us to rationalize the relative unpopularity of our favorite pop music is to say that the performer is “ahead of his time.” If there were ever an artist whose ambition and ego were suited by that rationalization, it’s England’s 28-year-old self-proclaimed superstar Tricky, a genius-in-progress who […]

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Ragged But Right

Archers of Loaf Vee Vee (Alias) In the few weeks since its release, the Archers of Loaf’s excellent second album, Vee Vee, has sold a whopping 30,000 copies. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s as many copies as their equally good first album, Icky Mettle, sold in a year and a half. This groundswell […]

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Taking Out the Trash

Tulare Dust: A Songwriters’ Tribute to Merle Haggard (Hightone) On most tribute records, the varied interpretations of a single artist rarely amount to anything more than a greatest-hits package once removed, and often an uneven one at that. But the sheer volume of tribute albums on the market almost guarantees occasional exceptions to this rule. […]