record reviews

ROCK/POP Oldsolar

l/lany Visitors Have Been Gored By Buffalo (Mind

A release from Glasgow indie label l‘~/lllli from a duo who seem so low-key you could probably find them residing under the bottom key on one of Autchre's lvloogs The genteel pop of Yo La Tengo and Beth Orton is melded to burbling, fizzing electronics and swathes of White noise that WOuld get Stereolab or Aphex Twm's valves foaming This is very beautiful music which gets more intriguing With every listen When pretentious dweebs like Life Without Buildings can claim to be the cutting edge of Glas\.vegiaii underground, we can bask in the knowledge that there is still understated gems like this yet to be uncovered (Mark Robertson)

Scott MacDonald

New Heart (Dragonfly) '

It’s called New Heart and showcases a bunch of kids singing Utopian platitudes on closing number ’Show The World Your Love' Despite such ill portents, this Glaswegian troubadour’s album is not a loathsome piece of neo- Celtic MOR tosh but an affecting and human debut of great promise Backed predominantly by a solitary acoustic guitar, these songs of yearning and loss mix folk and country With occasional shots of gospel and indie With no small degree of success And the best track? It is, of cOurse, the one With the Utopian platitudes and singing kids, whose wonderful melody and excusable sincerity brings this fine debut to a rousing close (James Smart)

The Beat

Beat This! The Best Of The Beat (Go-Feet) f: -

If The Specials were the political force of the post-punk ska reVival on the 2 Tone label and Madness were its pop incarnation, then The Beat were its soul Only label mates With their contemporaries for one single (Smokey Robinson's ’Tears Of A Clown’), The Beat formed their own label, Go-Feet, and released three albums, The majority and best tracks on this compilation come from the debut, / Just Can’t Stop It, Where the SOUl bOys (and ageing saxophonist Saxa) mixecl punk energy (’Click Click’) With reggae rhythms (’Whine And Grine/Stand Down Margaret’) and smooth crooning ('Can’t Get Used To Losmg You' - their last single). The Beat were short-lived, like all the best bands (Miles Fielder)


Home Again (No label) Fir

It may kick off With a dirty harmonica torn from the heart of the Mississippi Delta, but don’t be fooled. This is a debut made by the kind of pasty-faced indie kids who spend half their time hiding from the Sun and the other half trying to rewrite ’Half The World Away’ Affluence spend most of this album s0unding like a piss-poor cross between The Bluetones, Dodgy and Noel Gallagher in his guieter, more maudlin moments They manage to dig

54 THE “ST SJan—lB Jan 200i

up a few half-decent tunes, but are, by and large, ab0ut as moving as a suburban traffic Jam Bring back National SerVice, I say Soon

(James Smart)

HIP HOP Various Artists

Rasco Presents: 20,000 Leagues Under the Street Vol. 1 (Pockets Limited) x tr *

West Coast hip hopper Rasco released his first record in l997, and this is the first release on his new imprint, Pockets Limited It sounds pretty promising, showcasing a selection of hypnotic, mellow cuts from artists including ZIOn land Cali Agents The lyrics are less exceptional, dominated by the usual topics of record company angst, street Violence, hardcore marijuana consumption and constant self-aggrandisement, but are at least distinguished by a welcome shot of humour. This isn’t as underground as its title suggests (that would be sCience fiction), but is worth exploration if low- slung, melodic hip hop is yOur thing. (James Smart)


Fizzarum Monochrome Plural (Domino) -# +.

An electric soup of whir and fuzz, blips, beeps, clicks, zaps, farts, and all manner of sonic hiccups, Monochrome Plural is by turns mellow, random and edgy As a work of RusSian electronica, there's not much to directly Judge it against, but it is a record that would be very much at home on the Warp label. ’Phot Of Plex’ is Plone-like in its beat shuffling simpliCity, 'Vesat’ sOunds not unlike a demented Mr Rusty and ’Micanex’ COUld be the drums of the Edinburgh Tattoo as heard from depths of the castle dungeon. A Hammer horror show droogie tolchok in the yarbles. (Rodger Evans)

Bugz In The Attic Collective

Phuturistic Dancin’ (Bitasweet Records) vi at a,

If James Brown was like the espresso of black, $0ul music then, what was formerly referred to as aCid Jazz but now called nu-iazz by the Blue Note set, is the cafe latte eduivalent. Sure, it’s made from the same strong grounds but it’s been diluted With creamy house rhythms and frothed by electronic influences in order to achieve a much more subtle groove, It’s all very 21st century s0u| though, and strong drum & bass elements from the likes of G Force and Paul Seiii go far towards dragging the grooves away from the flacid Jazz of the past and closer to something approaching innovative. (Catherine Bromley)

Various Artists

Clubsole (Solemusic) tr is it

If disco dubs and soulful grooves float y0ur boat then you’ll be the first in line to buy the latest compilation from Glasgow’s nu-iack soul daddies Stevre Middleton and Chris Harris. Together they’ve delved deep into the Solemusic catalogue as well as earmarking some fresh, new exclusives to bring their

dedicated followmg a one hour mix of non-stop, solid soul. The highly slick assemblage features dancefloor classics from the likes of GUiro, Knee Deep, Lego, Urban Magic and Phil Asher and ably sustains a soulful energy that's doggedly determined to get you shakin’ that ass. (Catherine Bromley)

Chateau Flight

Puzzle (Versatile) is- t a:

This collaboration between Gilb’r, owner of influential Parisian label Versatile, and the man who prompted him to establish it, i:cube, is something of a tightrope walk. The latter's typically French recipe for electronica - half dark, half cheese struggles to find eqwlibrium With the Jazzy house that his boss insists on bringing to the party. Interesting time signatures overlayed With brooding bleeps are a novel but entirely suitable match. Until the keyboards or the sax kick in, that is, and the whole thing lurches into that terrifying place we call aCid Jazz. Still, got to keep the guy who pays the Wages happy, (Tim Abrahams)


Marty Ehrlich's Traveler's Tales Malinke’s Dance (Omnitone) * A' s t

Marty Ehrlich is one of those undervalued Jazz musiCians who continues to turn out consistently excellent, slightly left of centre recordings in a variety of settings. Traveler’s Tales is one of several groups he leads, and features an unconventional line-up, With two saxophonists Ehrlich (alto, SOprano, flute) and Tony Malaby (tenor, soprano) in combination With Jerome Harris on acoustic bass gUitar and the brilliant Bobby PreVite on drums Ehrlich contributes all but two of the nine tunes (one of the covers is an unusual version of the Dylan-Band epic 'Tears Of Rage‘,

' while the other is by one of Ehrlich’s ' musical mentors, the great Julius

Hemphill). The mu5ic they make is highly interactive, intensely creative, and Joyoust SWinging.

(Kenny Mathieson)

,, .-»,.'-~'

Stevie Middleton bares his sole

Pat Metheny Trio

Live (Warner Bros) ‘ir ~: 1.

Pat lvletheny's trios have always brought Out the more adventurous Side of his playing, and this newest version is no exception The guitarist, Who is heard on his usual range of electric and acoustic guitars, including his exotic custom-made 42- string and lZ-string fretless models, is jOined by bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart in a state of the art line-up They follow last year's studio debut With this double CD recorded in the setting Which Metheny thinks is most appropriate for his music, live in concert. The trio playing is breathtaking at times on an appealing selection of Metheny’s tunes, old and new, as well as their interpretations of Coltrane’s ’Giant Steps’ and a high-speed romp through ’All The Things You Are' (Kenny Mathieson)

SOUL, FUNK, JAZZ Various Artists

Stand Up And Be Counted (Harmless) iv it i:

What With every DJ, band and film soundtrack composer co-opting 70s funk grooves, it’s easy to forget the music wasn’t Just about chicken struttin'. Volume 2 Of Soul, Funk And Jazz From The Revo/utionary Era Cuts more political rallying cries The Alexander ReVieW is 'tired of segregation' on ’A Change Had Better Come', but let’s not forget that these songs aren’t aimed at the (White) Man - these messages are for the brothers and sisters. Gary Byrd asks his kin ’Are You Really Ready For Black Power’ and suggests ’The key to the black power door lies in respecting your own kind'. Right on. (Miles Fielder)


is a. t is 1r Unmissable

t i. 1. Very ood

s s it Wort a shot

* t Below average

it You’ve been warned