ELECTRONICA SPYLAB This Utopia (Guidance) COO
On first listen you assume Spylab must be from Bristol, surely they live down the road from Portishead. pop round Massive Attack‘s to borrow a cup of sugar. perhaps even Tricky delivers their (rolling) papers.
But no. they join Frog Pocket in Ayrshire's burgeoning electronic melting pot. Down tempo yet expansive beats in a similar style to their Bristolian counterparts. they even have those sultry female vocals (from Sophie Bancroft usually seen performing in jazz folk fusion outfit the Sophie Bancroft Quartet). Cool and calm. but too familiar to get really excned about.
DAVE DOUGLAS The Infinite
(RCA Victor) 00000
Trumpet master Dave Douglas includes a thank yOu to Miles Davrs on this disc. and it is easy to hear why. The music is very much an oblique tribute to DaVis' transitional experiments of the late 60s. from the culmination of the second great quintet into the epochal fusion explorations of In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew.
The instruments (trumpet. fender Rhodes. bass clarinet) and musical approach that Douglas chooses strongly evoke that transition, but not in any literally recreative fashion ~ the inusic
remains entirely and identifiany his own. It is one of his best albums. which means it is one of the best contemporary jazz records around.
EPITAPH IAN DURY AND HE
T BLOCKHEADS Teri More Turnips From The Tip (eastcentralone) 000
Posthumoust released album by Britain's greatest singer/poet Ian Dury and his mighty Blockheads. this was put together from a proposed tracklisting found in a pad on his desk shortly after he died of cancer in March 2000.
This of course ain‘t New Boots And Panties vintage but few things are. There are some gorgeous tunes here thotigh all backed with those superb Blockheads reggae rhythms. ‘Dance Little Rude Bey'. ‘The Ballad Of The Sulphate Strangler' (about his old bodyguard Pete Rush) and 'Books And Water' are as good as anything on 1999's superb Mr Love Pants LP. Robbie Williams ties up the album with a rather sweet rendition of Dury's gorgeous classic ‘You're The Why'. (Paul Dale)
THE JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION Plastic Fang
JSBX have always secreted rock from their pores to the extent that they roll in it onstage. and Plastic Fang is the epitome of their rockin'.
116 THE LIST II 2/") All! 2“)?
rollin‘ soul. Which is odd because somehow it isn't that engaging: tracks like ‘Killer Wolf' and ‘Down in the Beast' are presented as rock 'n‘ roll of almost biblical proportions. but end up too much like an overlong sermon. Things improve in ‘The Midnight Creep'. which recalls the rawer kung-funk of 1998's Acme. and album-closer ‘Mean Heart’. a stomping. sleaze-blues-gospel anthem of reconciliation with the rock ‘n' roll God. Still. these plastic fangs don't bite quite like they should.
(Jan F Zeschky)
ELECTRO sow- FUNK DAVID HOLMES/
FREE ASSOCIATION Come Get It I Got It (13 Amp) 000..
Remember the final scene of Staying Alive where John Travolta wins the dance comp and goes out strutting to celebrate. Well that's exactly what David Holmes is doing here. CockSLire that he's got the rare psychedelic soul records that many out there would kill to own, Holmes gently lays these vinyl gems alongside the Coldcut- esque electronic funk of his new production outfit Free Association featuring collaborator Steve Hilton. The result is a heavily overdubbed. seamless funk groove that whups the sorry ass of the Essential Mix in terms of its style and the sheer number of hard- to-find clasSIcs that will have you on your knees begging sweet mercy.
Fireworks (Singles 1997—2002) (Hut) .0.
It's the old friend you haven't met in years: the bottle of wine you've been saving; the comfy leather sofa in your favourite pub; the
Sunday morning lie-in. None of it exceptional. all of it reasswing, life asserting, cosy. That's Embrace; they've never been blessed with artistic prodigy. but they can write a damn fine tune when they put their heads together. All the album duffers have been gleaned off. and as a contractual swan song. Fireworks is surprisingly cohesive. There's none of the musical progression you might expect from six years' slog: instead it's a heady swagger of lazy philosophical lyrics. beatific instrumentals and understated melodies. gracing sweeping epics and j_)syched(-2lic dippyness. An elementary indie anthology. (Maureen Ellis)
JAZZ FUNK VARIOUS ARTISTS Hammond Street (Acid Jazz) .000
Lovineg gathered organ primer (ooh missus) that brings together all that is Hammondtastic. Openers to compilations do not come much stronger than the ferocious cover of ‘ltchy Feet‘ by The Past Present Organisation.
From here on in it's a blast with some grinding beauties from the Trashmonkeys. James Taylor Quartet. Phaze (an awesome version of “Indian Rope Man') plus a very bizarre version of Nirvana's ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit' from Pleasure Beach. Not quite as good as Groovy Sounds Unlimited and Mr Fine Wine's Vital Organs collection but welcome all the same. Clint Boon this one's for you.
JAZZ PAUL KIMBER QUARTET
The Dance (Paul Kimber) 000
Born in Nonhern Ireland. Kimber has worked with most of the orchestras in London playing double bass and bass guitar. This album with his quartet is a rather pleasing fusion of trad jazz. old-time swing variations and easy on the ear forays into the classical folk arena.
Though basically original tunes improvised with trumpet/flugel, piano. bass. drum, flute and guitar styling. this keeps to the more conservative plains of modern jazz. Not that this a bad thing for ‘Orthodoxy'. ‘Perelandra'. ‘Freetown' and ‘Gently' make for very relaxing if not particularly challenging listening.
Well recorded and mixed. this will smooth the nerves of your jaundiced old Jazz bore. Buy on-Iine at www.patilkin'ibercom. (Paul Dale)
PETE YORN musicforthemomingafter (Columbia) 000
Seems like y0u can't move for bleeding singer-stroke- songwriters nowadays. This one got his breakthrough writing the score for the Jim Carrey turkey Me, Myself <3 Irene. but thankfully his music has a little more substance.
Most references point to classic. dusty Americana: the odes to troubled relationships; the rather compelling voice somewhere between Springsteen and Lou Barlow: the unsl'iaven face and long hair. That said. despite a consistently pleasant line in melancholy and a couple of standout tracks ‘ Counting Crows at their wistful best (‘Strange Condition') and the interesting acoustic New Order of
‘Black' - there isn't much more to pick him out from the mire.
(Jan F Zeschky)
ROCK DESAPARECIDOS Read Music/
Speak Spanish (Wichita) 0000
Those precious few who have heard Conor Oberst's main band Bright Eyes will know straight away that this rocked up side project is not going to be a tiptoe through pleasant daisy- strewn hippy pastures. And so it is. as Oberst and new recruits fire up the amps and rampage through a thoroughly dark and breeding rock hinterland. filled with At The Drive-In riffrage and Dinosaur Jr slackerfuck sensibilities.
Oberst is American angst incarnate. as he screams and punches through the blistering likes of ‘Greater Omaha' and ‘Man And Wife' and “The Latter (Damaged Goods)‘. but there is searing intelligence behind this glorious maelstrom making it a compulsive listen. (Doug Johnstone)
ELECTRONICA VARIOUS ARTISTS
Rough Trade Shops Electronic 01 (Reugh Trade) 0000
'WUB WUB WUB WUB'. 'BRRRRRRR RRRRRRRDDDDDD'. ‘WADAWADAWADAWA DAWADA'. Noises made on often cumbersome. cranky contraptions to happily offset the onslaught of tedious guitar rock flooding the earth in the early 708. Then ()bViously Rick Wakeman got a hold of it and it all went to shit. But meanwhile. the smart ones not wearing the capes and the glitter