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|Some interesting piano/guitar interplay
on Erasure takes Brazil beyond Ben Folds Five
when it was in overdrive. And what seems to start off as
a breezy morning drive through modern suburbia with
Saturn Parkway turns into angry sharks
lashing literally and lyrically before
fading away in somnolent guitar-solo bliss. The band
turns heavy on a dime, seeming both intent on the future
but unsure of it, with a Voivod-like apprehension over
technology, despite their reliance on modern, electronic
instruments. As always, balanced by the piano.
This six-song EP shows Brazil long on chops and innovative transitions but short on harmonies. Rife with industrial noise and other strange electronic sounds, though, theres enough to occupy the ear. Lance Jungmeyer
Maverick Recording Co.
Scraps includes eight previously unreleased songs
recorded for but scrapped from her last album, Under
Rug Swept. The tracks give off a familiar feel to
those of that CD disturbed yet honest, longing yet
|Simple Together, an aching
ballad topped off with a string section, reaffirms
Morissettes deep-rooted angst so apparent in Jagged
Little Pill. If I had a dime for every
hand thrown up in the air/My wealth would render this no
The acoustic version of the single Hands Clean presents a much sweeter and restrained character than the original. It is as if the narrator has had more time to reflect and wants to be more honest with herself. Jessica Chapman
of the Moon
|On this, moods range far and wide
from ethereal 12-string on Little Vampires to
raggedy, driving punk on Up to my neck in
this to straight-ahead yet funky folk-rock on
What makes Johnny run?
Langfords Welsh voice rings out most sincerely in Strange Birds. He saves two of the best for last the rollicking Solitaire song and Are you an entertainer? The latter runs on like a lazy drinking song, the kind good buddies sing when theyre goin nowhere too fast, but who always remember to, as the chorus goes, get the money/dont leave anything behind/just some pieces of your heart, fragments of your mind. Lance Jungmeyer
|Well Dodge it
On The Way Back
Despite a time in the
music industry when pop-rock quartets seem to be
multiplying faster than Tribbles, Orange County,
CAs own pop-rock quartet Fairview still manages to
shoehorn in yet another collection of admittedly catchy
bubble-gum tracks on their debut album Well Dodge
It on The Way Back.
The September Sessions is the
soundtrack from Jack Johnsons 2000 surfing
documentary of the same title. The album features a wide
range of flavors, from the smooth instrumental pieces of
Johnson and his September Sessions band to an unusual
blend of ska and rap by Ozomatli.
Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited
This two-disc follow-up to Mapfumos brilliant Dreams and Secrets is a joyous, tender and inspiring collection of songs and sounds. Mapfumo and his extraordinary company of musicians deliver hope to the disenfranchised of not only their brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe and Africa, but across the world. It is music most American artists are too lazy or too ignorant to create.
As if a plea for domestic radio play, the opening cut on Manhungetunge, Big in America, and sung in English, is a sort of love song to us, asking that we export to Africa not SUVs and reality TV but our ideal of justice to all. Featured is the shearing acid guitar work of Woody Aplanalp.
As Zimbabwe now descends in famine and terror, the second disc, Chimurenga Rebel, delivers to the bone a scathing assault on the failures of world leaders to build a better world. Bruce Rodgers
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