I Grant lee Buffalo: Copperopolis (Slash/london)

Despite the patronage of that lllost olllnipotent being from above (Michael Stipe not the old gee/er with the beard). (iratlt Buffalo remain quite underrated and more than frequently llllstlndel'stood. ()lle dribbling hack even tried to bracket them with The Levellers. less a red herring tllatl a tie-dye albatross. Fact is Cil.B's third l.l’ fillds them grazing familiar pastures (the fall of Alllerica. spiritual loss. ghosts of childhood. etc) and gracing us witll another work of elegant splendour. 'Arousing Thunder" and ‘All That I Have‘ are btlt two examples of their ltlsll country -l‘ock-gospel-bltles on stilts. Lovely. (Rodger livans)

I The Fall: The Light User Syndrome (Jet) Weird packaging. easily mistaken at first sight for another compilation of offctlts. Tasteful balld portrait. sensible typography and >— Peel-penned sleevenotes. Inside. the band are ill muscular form vocals. bill for the most part the band have played it safe here. Reillember.

7 get this

The Fall produce their 700th album

though. that The Falls idea of playing it safe is more inspired than tllost ballds could ever dream of. Their best record for {no il'ltrl/r' \‘r’rtr.\.'.' (Alastair Mabbott)

for a knlx‘k-elll-dead compendium of what they do best: skewed pop. Kralltrockabilly alld the usual peculiar. free— ranging l~'a|lsollgs. Wild card is the presence of Karl Burns and producer Mike Bennett on sporadically tunefttl

I Pizzicato Five: The Sound Of Music By Pizzicato Five (Matador) Nowhere else bllt on l’S's opening ‘Rock Alld Roll’ will you hear a sound that's almost like ‘The (iirl From lpanellla' meeting Moloko and llletamorphosillg illto the tastiest dose of teenage dreampop heard so far this year. Pizzicato liive are Nomiya Maki and Kollislli Yasuhartl. who. switching between Japanese and linglish.


I George Strait: Blue Clear Sky (MCA) Loads of great alternative country this time round. bllt we start firmly ill the mainstream with another hugely polished release from Strait. this features country. bluegrass. and even a touch of sophisticated jazz swing. all despatched with the kind of consummate grace which makes it all sound almost too easy. Which it really isn’t. lf smooth is to your liking. John Berry's I-‘uitll/illlv (Capitol) may also appeal. while Strait also features on The The Line (MCA). a driving line-dancing compilation which makes fine listening.

I Waylon Jennings: Bight For The Time (Justice) 01' Waylon has signed a llllllti-album deal with Justice (via Transatlantic ill the UK). and if they are all tip to this standard. then it will be a more than worthwhile late addition to a great country career. It‘s as strong a set as he has turned out ill some time. while the featured musicians include label- lliate Jesse Dayton. whose own debut album. Ruixin' Cain. is well worth a listen. Waylon also shows up on another fine release

from the label. Kimmie thotles' powerful. gl'lllY H'exl 'li'l'm Hertt‘en.

I Gillian Welch: Revival

(Almo) Welch wrote ‘()rphatl (iirl’. featured on limlllylou Harris's brilliant ll’rel'killg Bull. and her own slightly more t‘ootsy version opens this highly recommended album. She is a line singer as well as an excellent songwriter. and isn't afraid to dig deep into 'ullcollllllercial' bluegrass roots on songs like ‘By the Mark'. alongside the more overtly country material.

I Kate Campbell: Songs From The levee (Demon) Another beauty. Campbell has a sweeter. folksier voice than Welcll. and uses it to fullest advantage on this superb debut set. Again. her songs are uniformly strong. and she dips into a wide range of idioms. from country and bluegrass to blues and folk. Kathy Chiavola‘s dazzling bluegrass set The Harvest (Demon) is every bit as good. if marginally less commercial.

I Bon Walser: Texas Top lland (Watermelon) The (ll-year-old Walser left his good judgement at borne the day he decided to cut an awful version of ‘Danny Boy‘. but it is the only false note he strikes

ill this fine. back to the roots country set. No Nashville gloss here. bllt old-style country and cowboy songs. sung ill affectineg straightforward. loving fashion.

I The Bottle Rockets: The Brooklyn Side (EST!) The Bottle Rockets are one of the best of the current crop of roots-rock outfits springing up all over the USA. Their approach is straight out of the Jayhawks/Uncle Tupelo school. btlt without being derivative. and they are a worthy addition to a recent batch of excellent records ill this rocking country vein. notably The Derailers' infectious Jackpot (Watermelon). Alejandro liscovedo's fiery With These Hum/s (Rykodisc ). and Golden Smog‘s mini- disc ()Il (Io/dell Smog from the same label.

I Brooks and Dunn: Borderline (Arista) Back to the mainstream with the other Brooks. Kix. and partner Ronnie Dullll. Their fourth album is a typically solid commercial country package with rock undertones. Finally. a word for newcomer Jo Dee Messina. whose spirited self-titled debut on C urb/Hit shows great promise. (Kenny

* Mathieson)

playfully crib from disco. house and the biggest and tiniest of pop while setting up a persuasive argument that their interest ill jazz. runs more than skin deep too. Some will find this too naive. others too knowing. but jaded palates should seek refreshlllent here forthwith. (Alastair Mabbott)

808 State are back after a four year Stone Roses- style break. Their new album Don Soluris (7.1T) is an odd one. Once upon a time (in the late 80s) 808 State could certainly claim to be at the cutting edge of dance music. as anyone who has heard the awesome ‘Paciflc State' will tell you. Not only were they one of the original acid house pioneers. they also proved that studio-based. compater-generated techno music could be performed in a live context which has undoubtedly contributed to the careers of Ulldelxvorld. l.eftlield. ()l'bital. l.ionrock and the rest of the touring techno ‘acts'. The album itself confirms that 808 State are still very much doing their own thing ill terms of musical experimentation. There's

808 State: deltnlte grower

something for most people here from the vocal drum 'n‘ bass of ‘Mooz' and the funky ‘Banacheq' to the excellent and rather unlikely collaboration with James Dean Bradfield from the Manic Street Preachers on ‘l.ope/.'. Be warned though. the album is a definite grower. so if you don‘t get it first time round. give it another go it's worth the effort.

De La Soul have also

like an obscene length of time. It's been three years since their last album Bull/oolle Mint/state and ill the meantime new stars have shone ill rap like Busta Rhymes. Biggie Smalls and The Fugees. The new album. the aptly- titled Stu/res Is High (Tommy Boy) is one of the most anticipated releases of the year so far. What‘s it like“? Well. put it

this way. no amount of

been away for what seems

hype ill the world could do it justice. It sounds superior ill every way. from the crisp. classy production to the exceptional rappillg. Standout cuts on this supreme album are ‘Supaemcees' and ‘4 More'. This is quite simply ill a rap world of its own.

Someone else who has been setting the standards for others to follow is one of New York‘s finest garage and house artists

Victor Simonelli. The Sound ()fSl/ilo/lelli (Soundproof/MCAt features a mix ~ by the man himself ~ of Simonell's past work. Witll a history like his -- lle worked with Arther Baker at the legendary Shakedown Studios you wouldn't expect anything but the best and that's exactly what you get. The album is a lesson for those who thought they knew what real garage alld house sounds like. The album positively radiates soul and ftlllk ill almost every track and as all added bonus the mixing is silky smooth. ()n all album packed full of stunners. the highlight is difficult to choose btlt ‘Deliver Me' by the Simollelli-produced Urban Blues Project is still a classic. (Jim Byers)

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The List l4-27 Jun I996 45