Blues' is wonderful wide-
eyed lo-fi mayhem and ‘Strange Religion' is gorgeously understated gothic country. Throughout it all. Lanegan‘s trademark drug-scoured gravelly rasp of a voice is as mesmerising as ever. He sings as if he knows he's lucky to be alive. The luck is also Ours.
JAZZ ACOUSTIC LADYLAND Camouflage (Babel) O...
Saxophonist Pete Wareham takes the spirit of Jimi Hendrix as the inspiration behind this cutting-edge LondOn- based jazz quartet. featuring currently hot drummer Seb
Roachford. Tom Cawley
on piano and Tom
Herbert on bass. Don't expect Hendrix covers. though. Wareham and his collaborators go their own musical way in the course of eight original compositions. The jagged. sometimes funky and highly energised feel of the music owes something to rock. but in terms of idioms it is very much hard-edged contemporary jazz. with a free feel at times (although not as free as their label mates. Roachford's Polar Bear. which also features Wareham). Worth checking Out.
You Can Be Special Too
(Marine Parade) 00.
The name may be misleading (Evil Nine are a tight duo rather than a sprawling collective) but that hasn't stopped Tom Beaufoy and Pat Pardy from being tipped as the breakbeat scene's latest big hope. The BrightOn-
based producers' debut has some real gems. from the twitching grooves and soundsystem vibes of ‘Earth' to the atmospheric. punky house of ‘We Have the Energy‘ and the narcotic hippie teChno of single ‘For Lovers. Not Fighters'.
There's some filler here too (as well as an entertaining snatch of MOR piano). but lovers of mixed influences and boss tunes should be pricking up their ears: Evil Nine make a promismg. bass-heavy racket. (James Smart)
INDIE FOLK SUFJAN STEVENS Michigan
(Rough Trade) 0000
This is a less immediate record than Stevens' last
brilliant effort. Seven Swans. but it's equally gorgeous. SutnthOUs. inventive and endlessly charming. 80 buy both. A paean to Stevens' home state. Michigan is at times a wondrous album as sweeping
trumpets and banjos intertwine with breathy. heartfelt vocals (Stevens assisted beatifically by American altrock loons the Danielson Famile) to Create a whole that is truly moving.
It's probably stupid to pick out highlights in a record of such
seamlessly interwoven melodies and instrumentation. nevertheless. ‘Vito's Ordination Song' will make the coldest. stony heart in the world beat again with wonder. (Doug Johnstone)
ROCK RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Live in Hyde Park (Warners) O.
Benaroya Hall, October 22nd 2003
Live albums are weird. Many capture the power, ferocity and energy of a band never quite harnessed before. Others just muddy the waters or show up how much studio trickery one band have enjoyed. Oddly enough, this two-hour, double disc
collection does neither. It does, however, show what the Chili Peppers have become: a funk band
without the funk. Now, in the studio that’s
absolutely fine - their sensitive pop moments can shine through. But live? It was the funky stupidity and sense of fun that made them exciting, and this isn’t. Despite the inspired covers, ‘I Feel Love’, ‘Brandy’ and ‘Transmission’, this just isn’t a fair
representation of what they can do.
In almost brutal contrast, Pearl Jam were always the slightly curmugeonly journeymen of grunge and this acoustic show, recorded as a benefit for the Seattle charity YouthCare, subdues further the band’s brooding Neil Young-ian songcraft, if bringing out some of the subtleties lost with their full-on rock bombast. Not the best introduction to a band with such a varied and inconsistent back catalogue, though there are points of bright light. But mostly, this is more like another souvenir for
the die-hards. (Mark Robertson)
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5—12 Aug 2004 THE LIST 51