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Alternative and Indy CDs

    Posted June 4, 2001

    "Confield" Autechre Our price: $13.99 | You save: $2.98
    ...available here.
    Autechre's Sean Booth and Rob Brown use specially developed software to shape, slice, and dice beats; despite their past as acid-house-loving hip-hop kids, the music they make now is resolutely undanceable. They aren't completely averse to melody, but anyone who tries to move to "Confield"'s nine tracks is cruising for a date with the chiropractor.

    "Well Well Well [EXPLICIT LYRICS]" R.L. Burnside Our price: $12.99 | You save: $3.98
    ...available here.
    R.L. Burnside's "Well Well Well" is a raw-sounding document of Burnside's already rough-hewn, Delta-bred, electrified juke-joint blues. "Well" successfully incorporates disparate source material with interview snippets to provide a clear and true portrait of one of the most rollicking bluesmen around.

    "Stay Human" Spearhead Our price: $12.99 | You save: $3.98"> ...available here.
    On "Stay Human," Spearhead infuse hip-hop with an insightful and thought-provoking lyricism. Through a make-believe community radio station, front man Mike Franti ingeniously weaves opinions into compelling narratives so that we don't feel we're being battered over the head with dogma. Emotive, soulful, and opinionated, Spearhead are almost single-handedly keeping alive a tradition epitomized by Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, and Bill Withers.

    "Field Songs" Mark Lanegan Our price: $15.19 | You save: $0.80
    ...available here.
    On Mark Lanegan's "Field Songs," it's tempting to see the singer-songwriter as the American answer to Nick Cave when he sings of "the glorious sound of a one-way street." The disc brims with forlorn lyrics bemoaning missed opportunities and broken promises--perfect for fans of Fred Neil, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen (and yes, Cave too).

    "The Optimist LP" Turin Brakes Our price: $13.99 | You save: $2.98
    ...available here.
    On "The Optimist LP," the catchy British neo-folk duo Turin Brakes mix smooth California pop and T. Rex; there's an emotional nakedness here that's pulled off with vim, vigor, and charming wit.

    "Acre Thrills" U.S. Maple Our price: $14.22 | You save: $0.75
    ...available here.
    At once aggro and out-there, Chicago's U.S. Maple bring their Beefheart-inspired, ultracomplex, absurdist punk to new levels on the awe-inspiring "Acre Thrills."

    "A Portrait of Champion Jack Dupree" Champion Jack Dupree Our price: $14.99 | You save: $2.98
    ...available here.
    "A Portrait of Champion Jack Dupree" documents all the elements that characterize this great bluesman's late period: his aged, rich vocal tone, the confident feel of his hands on the piano, and a rich ability to channel life's experiences into personal songs.


    In recent years, ambient pioneer Brian Eno has devoted more time to producing music and making art than to making his own music. "Drawn from Life," his first album since 1997, is a collaboration with German percussionist and hip-hop DJ J. Peter Schwalm. This isn't some disc full of urban beats, but the rhythms are diverse, syncopated, and determinedly downtempo. The 11 tracks are all moody soundscapes, but they're far from unapproachable. Meditative and absorbing, "Drawn from Life" is proof that some things are worth waiting for.
    ...available here.

    More upcoming releases you can pre-order today:

    Belle and Sebastian, "Jonathan David" CD single
    ...available here.

    "Chicago Underground Quartet"
    ...available here.

    "Samba Soul 70!"
    ...available here.

    Sebastian Tellier, "L'Incroyable Vérité"
    ...available here.

    Squarepusher, "Go Plastic"
    ...available here.

    Trailer Bride, "High Seas"
    ...available here.


    "Oh Inverted World" Shins Our price: $14.22 | You save: $0.75
    ...available here.
    Due to hit the street on June 19, the Shins' debut album, "Oh Inverted World," is among the best indie-pop albums of the year. This inventive group mixes lyrics as strange and vivid as Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum's with a smooth, idiosyncratic pop that recalls Built to Spill, Simon and Garfunkel, and Echo and the Bunnymen.


    "Cold Vein" Cannibal Ox Our price: $13.99 | You save: $2.98
    ...available here.
    A customer from Cary, North Carolina, recommends "Cold Vein" by Cannibal Ox: "All true hip-hop heads listen up: Cannibal Ox's new album is blazing--hands-down the best of 2001 so far. Vast Air and Shamar's lyrical flow is unbelievable and mad abstract. What makes this album so ill is the production; El-P does some of his best work on this album."


    "Music from Rancho Deville" Charles Sawtelle Our price: $12.99 | You save: $3.98
    ...available here.
    Though leukemia claimed the life of beloved and talented Hot Rize guitarist Charles Sawtelle in 1999, we're fortunate that he left us with "Music from Rancho deVille," a wonderful bluegrass farewell featuring buddies like David Grisman, Laurie Lewis, Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements, and Jerry Douglas.


    "Ocean Memories" Bola Sete Our price: $21.82 | You save: $1.15
    ...available here.
    Djalma de Andrade, a.k.a. Bola Sete, finally sees the release of his most fluidly beautiful acoustic guitar work with the revelatory collection "Ocean Memories," a half reissued, half unreleased double-disc set. Brazilian and American folk, classical music, flamenco, bossa nova, jazz--they're all wrapped up in his entrancing, strange, thoroughly beautiful music. One listen and you'll instantly see why John Fahey was obsessed with this guy's music, which is being released by his widow, Anna Sete, on her own indie label, Samba Moon.


    Laura Cantrell's debut album, "Not the Tremblin' Kind," beguiles with powerful songwriting and her sweet voice, making for a compelling combination of country stylings and city sensibility. You can download a pair of tracks for free: the Farfisa organ-driven "Do You Ever Think of Me" and the gentle, brilliant ballad "Two Seconds."
    ...available here.

    To celebrate a trio of fantastic new IDM releases--Oval's "Ovalcommers," To Rococo Rot's "Music Is a Hungry Ghost" and Autechre's "Confield"-- has put together a celebration of the genre centered around yet another great recent experimental techno release, Mouse on Mars's "Idiology." Amazon's Dance & DJ editor Matthew Cooke spoke with MoM's Jan St. Werner about his band's new record and the mysteries of techno on the edge.
    ...available here.
    Posted May 3, 2001

    Air's much-anticipated "10,000 Hz Legend" album finally sees the light of day on May 29. ...available here.

    More upcoming releases you can pre-order today:

    Neu!,"Vol. 1" ...available here.

    Low, Dirty Threea, "In the Fishtank" ...available here.

    To Rococo Rot,"Music Is a Hungry Ghost" ...available here.

    Marine Girls,"Lazy Ways/Beach Party" ...available here.

    Mark Eitzel,"Invisible Man" ...available here.

    Mateo & Matos,"Inspirations" ...available here.

    Brian Eno,"Drawn from Life" ...available here.


    Join Advantage for free and sell your CDs in our Music store. more details here
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    NEW AND NOTABLE Posted 3 MAY 2001

    "Old Ramon"
    Red House Painters ...available here.
    The Red House Painters' sixth full-length, "Old Ramon," was originally recorded in 1997 but was not released until this year. Elegiac, slow, and beautiful, with none of the cheesy production that slightly marred their earliest recordings for 4AD, the record is a fine addition to underrated singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek's output.

    "Welcome to Detroit"
    Jay Dee ...available here.
    Hip-hop producer extraordinaire Jay Dee's first solo album provides further evidence for the low-end theory. Beautiful, bass-heavy beats are accentuated by raps from some of his Detroit colleagues as well as by soul vocals and obscure samples.

    "Rock Action"
    Mogwai ...available here.
    "Rock Action," experimental-noise outfit Mogwai's third full-length album, says no to the harsh walls of feedback and allusions to Glaswegian gang warfare, and yes to banjos, trombones, electronics, and--for the first time on a Mogwai release--vocals, from the band's Stuart Braithwaite. But what's here is likeable; "Rock Action" is a compromise only to the inevitable effects of musical evolution.

    "Vol. 1-Liberation Afrobeat"
    Antibalas ...available here.
    Antibalas is a 14-piece Brooklyn-based group who lay down the heaviest Afrobeat since the passing of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Neither retro nor homage, their just-released debut bursts with strident and empowering political themes, multicultural grooves, powerhouse jazz-funk jams, and occasional group chanting.

    "Suburban Light"
    Clientele ...available here.
    Have you been yearning for fragile yet savvy indie pop the likes of which the Chills and Galaxie 500 used to churn out once upon a time? Then look no further than the U.S. debut of the Clientele, "Suburban Light," featuring a fab collection of new and rare tracks.

    Califone ...available here.
    Chicago's Califone are as inventive and envelope-pushing as Radiohead, as delirious and downtempo as Portishead, as informed by American folk music as Palace, and as bluesy as all get-out. Their debut full-length, "Roomsound," is a minor-keyed masterpiece of smeared melodies and fragile post-pop.

    "Ease Down the Road"
    Bonnie Prince Billy ...available here.
    That alterna-country-folk nutter Will Oldham is at it again, with his second album under the Brit-folk-referencing guise of Bonnie Prince Billy. "Ease down the Road"--the brooding singer-songwriter's brightest, most easygoing trip yet--is a real treat for Palace completists and newcomers alike.

    "Last of My Kind"
    Paul Burch ...available here.
    Lambchop drummer and alt-country crooner Paul Burch's "hillbilly" home recording--he played everything himself--is based around characters from Tony Earley's Depression-era novel "Jim the Boy."

    "Haiku d'Etat"
    Aceyalone ...available here.
    Haiku d'Etat's self-titled debut is a hip-hop revolution from within, uniting three of L.A.'s underground lyrical geniuses: Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, and Mikah 9. Their whip-smart rhymes are blended with organic live music, creating sugar for your ears in the tradition of the Roots and Guru's "Jazzmatazz."

    "Omega: The Final Recordings"
    Brownie McGhee ...available here.
    Blues great Brownie McGhee's music has been sorely missed since his 1996 death, but thankfully the master Piedmont stylist left one last masterpiece, "Omega: The Final Recordings." It's a diverse collection that shows off McGhee's voice, which stayed limber despite advancing age.

    "Nu Breed"
    Sander Kleinenberg ...available here.
    Dutch DJ Sander Kleinenberg's Global Underground "Nu Breed" mix is a delicious mélange of house and trance--funky, progressive, and intense. The second disc in particular is a treat, as Kleinenberg delivers a curious, eclectic mix in fine style.


    "Down Home Live! [LIVE]"
    Buckwheat Zydeco ...available here.
    Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural leads his band through a brilliant tour of zydeco with serious excursions into funk and blues on Buckwheat Zydeco's "Down Home Live!" Recorded in the burly squeezebox master's hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, last Thanksgiving, this is one seriously booty-shaking release.


    Fans of the Harry Smith anthology, rejoice. "Folks, He Sure Do Pull Some Bow" gathers 24 tracks of old-time, blues-inspired fiddling. Spanning 1927 to 1935, the CD features tracks by the Mississippi Sheiks, the Tennessee Chocolate Drops, and Banjo Ikey Robinson, along with a host of lesser-known violin greats and jug bands. This is an awesome collection, boasting great liner notes and a good remastered sound.

    More recent records garnering extra attention: ...available here.

    The New Pornographers,"Mass Romantic" ...available here.

    Ani DiFranco,"Revelling/Reckoning" ...available here.

    R.L. Burnside,"Well...Well...Well" ...available here.

    Mouse on Mars,"Idiology" ...available here.

    Shaver,"The Earth Rolls On" ...available here.

    Dry & Heavy,"Full Contact" ...available here.

    Danielson Family,"Fetch the Compass Kids" ...available here.

    The Sadies,"Tremendous Efforts" ...available here.


    "Re-Inventions: Best Of The Vanguard Years"
    Sandy Bull ...available here.
    Guitar iconoclast Sandy Bull passed away on April 14 in his Tennessee home. In the 1960s, Bull fused ethnic, improvisational, folk, and blues styles; he is one of folk guitar's true pioneers, along with John Fahey and Davey Graham. The 1963 track "Blend," recorded with jazz great Billy Higgins on drums and released as part of the collection "Re-Inventions," remains hauntingly original to this day.


    "Thai Elephant Orchestra"
    Soldier ...available here.
    No, the Thai Elephant Orchestra is not some belated April fool's joke. In fact, it's a brilliant exploration of gamelan-sounding music as performed by, you guessed it, a handful of improvising Thai elephants. Dave Soldier and Richard Lair of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center masterminded this project, creating instruments specifically for their oversized musicians and then allowing the elephants to play whatever they wished. It's some of the most fascinating world music you've ever heard.

Editor, Michael James McGonigal, associates of,bn,tower,cdnow

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reviews excerpted are copyright © 2001 & associate ncdn and CDnow, TowerRecords, Barnes & Nobel associates