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  • Article

    Rotation

    Semisonic Great Divide MCA Precious few know this, but Semisonic's Dan Wilson has already been a party to what is arguably the most lucid back-to-nature statement any post-punk band has made this decade. It happened with his last group, the...

    by Brad Tyer on December 19, 1996
  • Article

    Think Hard - Celindine is bent on a musical formula that takes everything, and nothing, for granted

    Coaxing Celindine's Trey Pool out of his protective shell takes patience. But if you don't have the time to get to know him, he recommends nicotine and alcohol to help loosen the tension. Still, even after a few beers and half an ashtray's worth of c...

    by Hobart Rowland on December 12, 1996
  • Article

    Decay Becomes Him - Ex-Chili Pepper John Frusciante sleepwalks through a rock and roll nightmare

    His upper teeth are nearly gone now; they have been replaced by tiny slivers of off-white that peek through rotten gums. His lower teeth, thin and brown, appear ready to fall out if he so much as coughs too hard. His lips are pale and dry, coated wit...

    by Robert Wilonsky on December 12, 1996
  • Article

    Swing Crazy

    More than half a century ago, when folks were kicking the gong around and asking if youse a viper, bands like the Squirrel Nut Zippers haunted speakeasies by the dozen. Now, the Zippers find themselves among only a handful of bands that embody the ra...

    by Brad Tyer on December 12, 1996
  • Article

    Rotation

    Johnny Cash Unchained American Recordings In 1994, just as his myth was in danger of being destroyed by too many mediocre releases, Johnny Cash was rescued from the country-music trash heap and restored to the sort of honorary status afford...

    by Brad Tyer on December 12, 1996
  • Article

    Static

    Trick or trifle... Cheap Trick didn't mean to become a '70s answer to the Beatles, it's just that their timing was so impeccable and their intentions so real. The Illinois quartet -- comprising Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Car...

    by Hobart Rowland on December 12, 1996
  • Article

    Digging the Delta

    The Mississippi Delta, birthplace of the blues -- the trunk from which most worth-a-damn American popular music branched -- has been out of the mainstream spotlight for years. It's been out of the spotlight since the Depression, in fact, when second-...

    by Brendan Doherty on December 5, 1996
  • Article

    Rush to Judgment - Critical darlings? No. Fan favorites? Yes. Stubborn survivors? As all Rush Rangers know, absolutely.

    Sanctimonious intent and senseless experimentation are the lethal ingredients in some of rock's deadliest moments, and at one time or another, Rush has epitomized both. Few acts have provoked more delight and more disgust, more admiration and more ir...

    by Hobart Rowland on December 5, 1996
  • Article

    Rotation

    Mazzy Star Among My Swan Capitol All the music on Among My Swan sounds the same to me -- post-alternative lullabies for people probably better off asleep. Granted, Mazzy Star's much-lauded Hope Sandoval has a pretty voice, but I've got a br...

    by Brendan Doherty on December 5, 1996
  • Article

    Static

    Ballroom bane... The International Ballroom and Pace Concerts didn't win themselves a lot of fans with their handling of Soundgarden's November 26 performance. The problem wasn't the show; it was the fact that a couple of hundred people who had purch...

    by Hobart Rowland on December 5, 1996
  • Article

    Right Number - BR5-49 lives to see the day when Hee Haw is hip

    The bloodhound's name was Beauregard, and the phone number down at the used car lot was BR5-49. If those things make you smile, your secret is out: You were a Hee Haw fan. Whether you saw it as a cunning satire of everything that drove you nuts ...

    by Jim Sherman on December 5, 1996
  • Article

    Wild Things - With a stiff dose of vatobilly, the Flamin' Hellcats aim to cure rock and roll of what ails it

    Whenever rock gets old, fat and full of itself, something inevitably comes along to steer it back to the loud-and-fast honesty that's always been the music's soul. Now that heavy metal, punk and new wave have had their turn behind the wheel, maybe it...

    by Jim Sherman on November 28, 1996
  • Article

    Messing Up in Public - Ray Davies gets the kinks (if not the Kinks) out of his career

    In its September 11, 1964 issue, the British pop magazine New Musical Express featured an article on the Kinks underneath the headline "This week's chart-toppers." Each member of the band, which had just stepped into the limelight on the strength of ...

    by Rob Walker on November 28, 1996
  • Article

    Sound Check

    Reviewing Christmas music isn't easy. Where do you start, for instance? Of the umpteen Christmas releases churned out annually for years on end, which should be considered? Neil Diamond's? (Too predictable.) Brave Combo's? (Already an established cla...

    by Brad Tyer on November 28, 1996
  • Article

    Static

    Two in one... As far as I can see, there are two Jinkies: the band that cares, and the band that could not care less. Identifying traits of the caring Jinkies include an inclination toward craftsmanship, a penchant for contagious hooks and a conscien...

    by Hobart Rowland on November 28, 1996
  • Article

    Matter of Importance

    I haven't made a sweeping pronouncement in weeks, so I'm going to enjoy this: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is the most important rock band working today. That's different than saying they're the best rock band working today (though to my ear ...

    by Hobart Rowland on November 28, 1996
  • Article

    Hum Along with Marshall

    Any fan of quality-tested singer/songwriters is obligated to reserve a little empathy for Marshall Crenshaw. If the sky is truly for the stars -- as Crenshaw proclaimed in his 1987 role as Buddy Holly in the Ritchie Valens biopic, La Bamba -- then ce...

    by Joyce Austin on November 21, 1996
  • Article

    Flawed Diamond

    Full disclosure: Neil Diamond was my first real concert, in my fourth-grade year, the result of my mother's ardent fandom. Me, sis, mom and dad at the Summit. What I remember most is this: Someone who couldn't have been paying much attention tried to...

    by Brad Tyer on November 21, 1996
  • Article

    Static

    Ezra's Wonder... What qualifies as success obviously depends a lot on perspective. Case in point: Throughout their brief career from 1965 to 1968, Thursday's Children never had a single that made it out of Texas. They never recorded a full-length rel...

    by Hobart Rowland on November 21, 1996
  • Article

    Rotation

    The Presidents of the United States of America II Columbia Records Waiting for the arrival of the Presidents's sophomore effort, after the pleasant Top 40 experience that was the Seattle band's eponymous 1995 debut, was a little like antici...

    by Robin Myrick on November 21, 1996
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