Hi! Just to assure you that you get your critical money’s worth by reading my every single word of this fabulous BAM column, check this out!
Recent issues of both the Village Voice and BAM have featured exciting 1995 Critic’s Polls–in which critics from all planets (including mine!) submitted lists of their 10 favorite albums, the results tallied, and the final list o’ winners then provided.
The results, you’ll be pleased to learn: Of the Voice‘s Top 40 and BAMâ€™s Top 25 winners, not a single album I voted for showed up at all!
Therefore, from this point forward, I now pledge to listen to every album I review at least once, unless something comes up!
THE MUTTON BIRDS Nature (Virgin U.K. import) Just caught this New Zealand quartet at Austin’s gleefully excessive South By Southwest fest, and they were the finest thing there. Sounding like Crowded House (good) being fronted by Roy Wood (fabulous), the Mutton Birds reek of both talent and commercial viability. There are at least two songs on this new Brit compilation–“Dominion Road” and “Anchor Me” that could absolutely be American top 10 hits, if only some U.S. label was wise enough to pick ’em up! These guys could be the next Butt Trumpet! 5/5
KISS MTV Unplugged (Mercury) The most influential band of the â€™70s or talentless money-sucking geeks who stink? That’s easy: both! Coincidentally, I had a tooth extracted last Friday! 5/5
TORTOISE Millions Now Living Will Never Die (Thrill Jockey) Certainly among the finest of America’s indie bands–and how could any group that digs Can so much not be?–Tortoise takes sound and repetition and meld it together in a genuinely innovative manner. Odd, flaky, compelling, and–despite their name–not at all like “a more serious” Turtles! I was fooled! 4.5/5
HAMPTON GREASE BAND Music To Eat (Shotput/Columbia/Legacy) Experts agree: It’s about time this legendary 1971 double-set was re-released. This fabled Atlanta band’s peculiar mix of sound–Beefheart, Zappa, even Grateful Dead–sounds years ahead of its time, and should easily appeal to fans of today’s rockin’-hip indie scene. Too bad few indie bands around today can actually play this well, but hey–at least they look cool! 5/5
MAXWELL Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite (Columbia) Longtime fan of Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear will be thrilled to note that new artist Maxwell has replicated much of the sound–if not the lyrical thrust–of that mid-â€™70s masterwork here. Put this on your tapedeck, crank it up, cruise down the 405, and stare other drivers directly in the eye as you listen! Light a cigarette! Look out for that truck! 4/5
GIGANTAUR Gigantaur (World Domination EP) A spin-off of one of great unsung bands of the ’80s–Sea Stories, an Australian combo unfortunately then signed to IRS Records–Gigantaur the band is the fab rockin’ side of Simon Honisett and Penny Hewson; the pair separately perform as the quieter duo Sunglass. Saw Sunglass both at the Dragonfly a few months back (audience count: 11) and at the same SXSW gig featuring the Mutton Birds and Underground Lovers. Very good indeed. Call ’em Sunglass, call ’em Gigantaur–just don’t call ’em the last remaining hope for all mankind in case of unexpected nuclear war! 4/5