Foxboro Hot Tubs, "Dark Side of Night": I know, I know — big-time rock superstars get restless and bored. So between radio-friendly unit-shifters, they go on these incognito larks for a giggle and little else. Scott Weiland does this sorta shit under his own name and it's not so bad. The same can't be said for U2 or now Green Day's gloss on classic rack as (har har) Foxboro Hot Tubs. "Dark Side of Night" is their go at the Zombies, I guess — a) it sounds nothing like Green Day; and b) it adds zilch to the overall musical canon that wasn't already there moldering on oldies stations.
Rainbow Arabia, "Holiday in Congo": These Echo Park, California, world-popsmiths toured with Gang Gang Dance recently, and it's not difficult to understand why: ethnic chants that resolve into hiccupped exclamation marks, disciplined drum-circle ka-bum-bum-bum, staunch keyboard stabs that nail the exotic hook home with a vengeance. Promising — a duo to watch.
Sandman, "Anchor": Hard to say which represents a greater risk for this Philly spitter: ditching the Re-Up Gang to strike out solo or utilizing a sample of Queen's "We Will Rock You," as he does here. (Hip-hop's rigid stance on alternative lifestyles: "No homo.") What's for sure: Sandman's intricate, hypnotic rhymes work fine without any assistance. What's not: just how many free-for-download mix tapes the guy will have to release before someone hands him a contract. — Ray Cummings