Listening Party

Click here for an interview with Moby.

Various Artists

Encomium: A Tribute To Led Zepplin


Traditionally, tribute albums are a cheap way for record labels to make

a quick buck and has-been artists to get more drugs. Not so with

Encomium. Although industry bigwigs are probably responsible

for the uncreative lineup of bands as well as the annoyingly cute liner

notes, Encomium actually rises above it all. From Sheryl

Crow's soulfelt "D'yer Mak'er" to Duran Duran's lilting "Thank You" to

Cracker's romping "Good Times Bad Times," the quintessential Led

Zeppelin is effectively rendered on all 12 tracks. On that rare

occasion that a song strays from the original, it still seems to work

fine, thanks to the competence of the artists. Although fans are

probably wary of tribute albums, and understandably so after that Jimi

Hendrix cover debacle, Encomium is well worth a thorough and

honest listen.

Buzzy Jones

Fèmälé Delight

Billy Boy Records

From funk-backed rap to a Monkeys re-make and all the variations of rock

in between, these three joes from Indiana make a noteworthy musical

attraction for the diversity of their talent, if for nothing else. Some of the

goin'-too hard-for-the-rhyme lyrics ("No don't you piss her off; she'll

give you good reason to cuss") stand out like white socks at the prom,

but a few of the tracks, such as Mele Kalikimaka (a Christmas lick),

will strike a mallet to your funny bone. Overall, the band has

potential, but the album is a bit uninspired. Maybe next time.

  The Last Poets

Holy Terror


Dubbed the "first real hardcore rappers" by Ice Cube, The Last Poets

have a history of releasing great albums that extends all the way back

to 1968 and, with this release, continues all the way through 1995.

This isn't the charleton rap of Snoop Dog, but instead a convocation of

high-consciousness with lyrics that glide over funky tunes. Featuring

appearances by the flawless Bootsy Collins and the high priest of funk

himself, George Clinton, the disk is high-octane through and through.

Any disdain for preachiness is dispelled here when you realize that

these are real political activists dealing with the

real problems of racial injustice and not just a woeful lot of

suburbanites making trite political statements (see Live for examples).

The Last Poets are a must-have in any complete music collection, and

this album is a fine sample of what they can do.

Dead Hot Workshop


TAG Recordings

If you play this album really slow on a walkman with rapidly fading

batteries, the lead singer sounds kind of like Eddie Vedder. Beyond

that, though, it's nothing MELVIN hasn't heard before on our local pop

rock radio station. There's no reason to describe their sound in this

review, because you just shouldn't listen to the music. Did we mention

that the band has cool renegade song titles such as "Sadomizing Hussein?"

Gee, if we could only get these clever pensmiths to write for MELVIN.