LAIKA & THE COSMONAUTSThe Amazing Colossal Band
HANGING TEN IN Finland? Pack those thermal wetsuits, hodaddies! But Surf's a universal language, so these four pull off a Ventures/Tornados homage (appropriately titled "Global Village") minus any appearances of guile or shtick.
And while a couple of tracks also court the attention of Esquivel-enamored lounge lizards (pop an umbrella in your cocktail while "Expose" slithers past), most of the originals have bucketsful of sand and salt to spare. You'll also appreciate the remakes: theme from "The Avengers," John Barry's hokey "The Ipcress File" and Davie Allen's snorting "Skater Dater."
McCOY TYNER TRIOLive At Sweet Basil
TYNER IS THE most masculine pianist in jazz history. He slaps keys like drum skins, continuing an interest in African music previously explored with saxophonist John Coltrane. Forget the composer credits, every tune ends up Tyner's tune: the keyboardist even turns the goofy, nursery-rhyme simplicity of Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Dream" into a wave of aggressive two-fisted chords pointed toward nightmare terrain. The top pianists in jazz history can be counted on less than two hands, and Tyner is unquestionably one of them. No doubt the still-tough player would prefer to be represented by the middle finger.
DURAN DURANThank You
NORMALLY I WOULDN'T waste time on even one Duran, but this album is such a shamelessly hypocritical self-celebration I had to issue a consumer warning: They're taking themselves seriously!
They cover Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay," the Temps' "Ball Of Confusion," The Doors' "Crystal Ship," Sly's "I Wanna Take You Higher," Grandmaster Flash's "White Lines," Elvis' "Watching The Detectives" and Public Enemy's "911 Is A Joke," among others.
John Taylor picked the PE tune because it made him laugh to think of how many people it would piss off. He and Simon LeBon are definitely dumb and dumber.
DD makes imitation the sincerest form of flatulence.
DON DIXONRomantic Depressive
Sugar Hill Records
HE'S KNOWN FOR studio savvy; he produced R.E.M.'s Murmur and Reckoning and the Smithereens' Especially For You and Green Thoughts, among many others.
His first solo disc in six years shows he still builds bridges, hooks and rhyme rhythms with the best, although occasionally forsaking heart and head in songcraft.
The heartland-rock "Oom-na-na-na" mantra of "Never Slow Down" is immediately addictive; "What You Saw" is seething, acoustic bubblegum; "Giving Up The Ghost" pleases too, with Dixon's lightly gritty vocals radiating remorseless romance.
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