Listening Party

Wowee Zowee



The bales of critical acclaim heaped on Pavement's first two lp's have forced the band to change their sound. They could've put together another charming collection of indie pop songs, but from the acoustic melody of "We Dance" to the straight ahead punk thrash of "Serpantine Pad" this is a brand spanking new Pavement. While some fans may get their undies in a bunch over the change, kudos to the boys for pulling it off. They certainly haven't lost their knack for writing catchy tunes, it just takes your ears a few listens to tune into them now.

--Brian Bruxvoort



Wax Trax

Disputing the oft- used "Industrial" and "metal disco" tags, KMFDM prefers the term "neo-electric, new-wave punk rock for the 90s." Hey, whatever. No matter what coy adjectives they pick for themselves, they're still as hard rocking as ever. In addition to the usual female vocals, former bandmate Raymond Watts (endearingly dubbed "Pig") returns to add thuggish male vocals, and the guitars are again turned up to eleven. "Juke Joint Jezebel" sounds like it'll be the boot-kicking club hit, and "Trust" is the ultimate 12-step, self-help anthem. Overall, the album covers a wide range of sounds. For as long as they've been around, KMFDM have not stagnated, but continue to find new ways of reinventing themselves. --J. Hudson

Wishful Sinking

Rosa Mota


Rosa Mota toy with different moods on their Mute debut. Consisting of former Ultra Vivid Scenester Ian Bishop and a bucketfull of other musicians, the band plays with wiry guitar backdrops that often build into dark outbursts. The beauty of the whole deal is that, unlike a lot of moody music, the songs are not all that predictable. Bishop throws in flute and cello and, for that Asian flavor, a little Indian banjo. Best of all, he's wise enough to employ the vocal talents of Julie Rumsey, who manages to make this stuff fun once in a while. She's a welcome tickle on the ribs of Bishop's often brooding style. Overall, a fine debut.

--Tom Cornell

Basketball Diaries

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Ever since the Singles collection rejuvenated the idea of milking already overcharged moviegoers with hip movie soundtracks, we've been bombarded with hopeless contenders. Now, with the soundtrack to the slick production The Basketball Diaries, we see why the idea of such soundtracks died in the first place. Featured prominently is author Jim Carroll, who can't sing worth a hoot. While his novels may be streetwise, his songs come across flat and dull, especially on a track with Pearl Jam. Particularly embarrassing is "People Who Died" by the Jim Carroll Band, which tries far too hard at gritty street wisdom. About the only high point to the collection is Flea's tune "I've Been Down," which features the psycho Chili Pepper's half confident vocals over a woozy acoustic backing track. Don't let this and crowd-pleaser tracks by Soundgarden and the Doors reel you in, though.

--Tom Cornell

Psychic Hearts

Thurston Moore


Apparently Thurston had too many creative juices burbling inside him to bottle into the next Sonic Youth record, so now we get this lil' number from the man who redefined guitar. Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley and ex-Half Japanese guitarist Tim Foljahn provide a steady backdrop to Thurston's punk guitar acrobatics and vocal musings. One might expect Thurston to get really zany on his first solo effort, but he was a good boy this time and kept all the songs within the safe and comprehensible realm of rock and roll. The album cumulates in a simmering 19 minute instrumental opus called "Elegy for All the Dead Rock Stars" --brilliant.

--Brian Bruxvoort

The Bends



It wasn't so long ago that people sang "I am a creep, I'm a loser" to themselves while they strolled down the street, and we have Radiohead to thank for that. The Bends is the sound of a band trying to escape their one dimensional image. The whiney vocals of Radiohead's previous release are still there, and there are plenty of dreamy guitars, and a couple of times when the band's three guitar attack locks together to rip through a chorus. But, you won't find a single tune here that tries to cash in on "Creep," and there are some interesting moments that indicate the band is powered by more talent than your average one-hit-wonder act. "Bones" and "Planet Telex" will rattle your frame from start to finish, and cello and a bit more piano lend the band a new arsenal. A pretty good release, all in all.

--Tom Cornell

Thank You

Duran Duran


Duran Duran was kind of fun to listen to in the days when they were the kings of kamp, but Holy Mother of Mercy what the hell is this? With overweening pretension, the band pays tribute to "all of the artists who influenced them." But Bob Dylan? Elvis Costello? Lou Reed? We may have missed something going on really low in the mix of "Hungry Like the Wolf," but it's doubtful that "Lay, Lady, Lay" was it. Nor did we catch the influence of "911 Is a Joke" by Public Enemy, an utterly unconvincing attempt to look pc. Hey, but just because they grew up in Australia, doesn't mean they don't have blood in the hood, right? This is brutal. Buy this piece of shit and you'll kick yourself straight in the cajones.

--Tom Cornell

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