Elvis CostelloKojak Variety
COSTELLO HAS WRITTEN so many original songs in his 20-year career that the copyright office must have run out of forms. In the meantime, he's recorded 15 offbeat tunes--as if they were B-sides for his own compositions--written by other weirdos like Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Willie Dixon, Randy Newman, Ray Davies, etc. "Leave My Kitten Alone" is one tasty gem (though it's almost impossible to record a poor version of this lesser-known R&B treasure), while "Please Stay" actually makes me like Burt Bacharach's sappiness.
This is all down and dirty, thankfully without an overabundance of spit and polish, but also with some trademark Costello wailing--and an overriding loving atmosphere.
Terence Trent D'ArbyVibrator
THE TITLE TRACK suggests The Chambers Brothers went back in time (has come today), picked up the funk wherever they left it and brought it back to 1995.
"Supermodel Sandwich" is cascading sweet soul music with D'Arby's falsetto sting about the narcissism of the fashion world. Kind of ironic that Terence poses as a "genius" himself--it's always easier to smell someone else's arrogance.
His voice is as amazing as ever; at times he's as smooth and high as Marvin Gaye on "Read My Lips (I Dig Your Scene);" as gutsy as Tina Turner on "Holding On To You;" as wicked as Wilson Pickett when he sings "Surrender."
One of these days Terence may redefine funk and soul--he hasn't done it here, but the threat and promise is still alive.
Babes In ToylandNemesisters
THIS TRIO OF grunge gals hates to be associated with what they see as narrow-sighted "Rrriot Grrrls"--in talking with guitarist/vocalist Kat Bjelland it's obvious she has her own agenda. Making hard-driving passionate music--regardless of gender--is one of her goals, and she's capably aided by the cave-lady-like Lori Barbero, who is one of the crudest drummers I've ever shared a stage with.
"Sweet 69" especially bursts with sexual tension and a frantic emotion, and, as the band says, "All the Axls, Tylers, Jaggers, Plants and Dave Lee Roths combined couldn't come up with the cajones to croon one chorus of this C(r)ock Rocker gone way wrong."
| © 1995-97 Tucson Weekly . Info Booth