By Jef With One F
By Bob Ruggiero
By Corey Deiterman
By Marco Torres
By Angelica Leicht
By Angelica Leicht
By Charne Graham
Cry, Cry, Cry takes the same unhappy, life-sucks subjects, but it lacks the overriding we're-going-to-make-it message of Williams's other albums. This disc iss depressing. Not depressing in an uplifting, reassuring, wow-someone-else-feels-as-empty-lost-and-lonely-as-I-do way. Just plain depressing. The songs are sad, the songs are sung to be sad, and I wanted to fast-forward through them all.
Actions and Indications
It can take lot out of a band when they get released from a recording contract. Tacoma's Seaweed were at the tail end of the glut of bands who jumped from Sub Pop to the majors in the grunge years. In 1995 they released their fifth album and major label debut for Disney's Hollywood Records and then disappeared until now, resurfacing on another credible small label, Merge. As the world has turned away from the sludge and bludgeoning of grunge, so has Seaweed, whose members seem to be getting smarter as they age. They still walk the line between the Stooges, Soul Asylum and '80s postpunk (as the inclusion of their version of Joy Division's "Warsaw" points to). But nearly a decade after getting together the band has lessened its love of metal riffs in favor of more complex songwriting and strong melodies.
The guitars are crunchy while the vocals are delivered behind a sheepishness that makes them all the more enticing. Actions draws in listeners while delivering thick meatiness to sink teeth into. Somewhere in the odd space between melodic grunge bands and the off-kilter time signatures and avant-guitar of bands like Jawbox and Fugazi, Seaweed roars when it has to but most often stays just below full throttle. This ability to keep things barely reined in pays off in a big way on the two-minute blare of "Red Tape Parade," which seems to hint at the troubles the band had with Hollywood ("Lost in litigation / I don't wanna wait no more"). The urgency and anger come across in the crisp tempo, but by keeping the guitars in perfect time and not letting them get sloppy, the members seem like wounded veterans, not like whiny punks bitching about "the man." Smart guitar rock without irony or stupidity is a valuable commodity -- invest here.
Faith No More
Who Cares A Lot? The Greatest Hits
My favorite bar of all time had Faith No More's note-for-note replication of the Commodores' slow-dance anthem "Easy" on the jukebox. On more than one occasion, I played it over and over, to the dismay of most of the other patrons, who didn't think it was funny. There have been lots of people who didn't get the jokes of Faith No More: the live, flopping fish in the video for their breakthrough song, "Epic"; the pictures from the slaughterhouse in artwork of their Angel Dust record; calling their final studio recording Album of the Year. In the 16 years that the San Francisco funk/metal band was together, the members wrote balls-out songs and still took the piss out of themselves more often than they needed to.
All of the jokes, such as "Easy" and a less faithful cover of the Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke," are included here. The first single, "We Care A Lot," with first proper singer Chuck Mosley (Courtney Love did time before him), made fun of rock stars championing humanitarian causes, with an amalgamation of hip-hop, metal and progressive rock. Those three genres were touchstones for the band from then on. The only big hit FNM had was "Epic," from 1989's The Real Thing. Rooted in Billy Gould's slapped bass, Mike Patton's rapping and operatic metal singing, and huge guitars, the song is undeniable, even ten years after its original release.
Other than "Easy" and "Epic," the best parts of Who Cares? are from 1992's Angel Dust. "Midlife Crisis" and "A Small Victory" temper The Real Thing's frothing anger with a sense of doom and confusion. "Midlife" employs a sample-laden, drum-machine-fueled bridge, certain to confuse Nirvanamaniacs in those pre-Beck days. Now, it would be right at home alongside Tricky's remixes of Bush.
-- David Simutis
Beleza Tropical 2
When David Byrne's Luaka Bop label released the first Beleza Tropical compilation a decade ago, Brazilian music was just beginning to show up on the radar of world music lovers in the States. The disc sold 350,000 copies and reintroduced North Americans to giants like Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Jorge Ben. This year marks the tenth anniversary of Bryne's Luaka Bop label, and Beleza Tropical 2 is part of the label's celebration.
The first Beleza Tropical contained a pleasing variety of styles but played it safe by presenting artists who already had some name recognition in North America. Beleza 2 takes more risks, presenting work by artists largely unknown outside Brazil. Os Paralamas is a rock band but a bit heavier on the rhythm than most U.S. rockers. Its "Nao Me Estrangue O Dia" is a frothy pop confection that combines hip-hip and dance-hall reggae with Brazilian doo-wop harmonies. Chico Science and his band Naç‹o Zumbi called their music "mangue," a hybrid of folk forms that they mixed with rock, rap and heavy metal. Science was killed in a car accident last year, but his "Rios, Pontes & Overdrives" shows rap's multirhythmic potential and makes his loss seem even more tragic. The irresistible groove of "Batuque" gives Daniela Mercury, one of Brazil's most popular young vocalists, something solid to work with, producing a performance with a spunky fire that was missing on her American compilation of crossover tunes (read: tired pop arrangements). Beleza 2 also has some inspired moments from the usual suspects -- Gil, Veloso, Margareth Menezes, Marisa Monte and Tom Ze -- as well as an unusual rockabilly samba from Moleque De Rua.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city