MUDHONEYMy Brother The Cow
THERE IS SOME justice in the world. Mudhoney is one tiny example, where quality, effort and just plain coolness transcend any mention of unit sales. I don't know of any other band that can make fun of the grunge overkill and quote a Gershwin song all in the same breath. "Generation Spokesmodel" and "Into Yer Shtik" sneer at Seattle wanted-to-bes, while reminding us that Mudhoney was a punk band before it paid, and will continue to be one long after MTV goes back to disco. As they say themselves, "The Grizzled Grandpas of Grunge were too lazy to sell out, too cool to cash in and too dumb too give up."
KENNY BARRONLive at Maybeck Recital Hall
HAVING COMMAND OF a musical instrument lets you make music with such clarity that standards revive, and originals sound appealingly familiar. A sense of humor, a sense of compassion, a sense of playfulness--all are readily available on the palette of the artist of this caliber. Although Barron's tunes are recorded by other artists, and he is known as "pianist of choice" among many majors in jazz, he rarely gets heard in a totally solo spotlight like this. His generosity as an accompanist made those double CD duets with the late Stan Getz shine. Here the pieces he chooses are given that consistently graceful respect and generous touch. Beautiful.
JUST THIS ONCE I won't slag a band for their slacker uniform of baggy pants, filling station shirts and baseball caps. Take away the required fashion and manufactured style, and a meaty little pop band comes into focus. No, don't even try to force anything near a "punk" tag on these lads, who put more emphasis on harmony and conventional heartfelt lyrics and little effort into bombast. Guitar, bass and drums--a startling new idea in rock--make up this trio, and on their debut they don't try to invent anything new. They do deliver a handful of pleasant, nice and somewhat generic "alternative" songs--but fall short of standing apart from the crowd.
VARIOUS ARTISTSTwo A.D.: Vol. 2 Ambient Dub
THE TERM "AMBIENT" approaches meaninglessness (recent sighting: "ambient minstrel show"). This doesn't dilute the available pleasures, however.
In fact, the deep, dub-like bass murmurs and minimalist synth melody lines of Insanity Sect's "Late Night" offer an intravenous soma drip, while Higher Intelligence Agency's aptly-titled "Tortoise" wraps a warm narcotic cocoon around your brain. Some of the tracks also have vocals, most notably Groove Corporation's "A Voyage On The Marie Celeste" (there's a hint for you), which has a spookily seductive female voice and a ganjafried, delicious slow reggae arrangement. All totalled, 68 minutes' worth of quality chill time, courtesy of Sedona label Waveform.
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