Ruby’s erotically-charged shuffle of downtempo grooves, distorted guitar breaks and menacing sways of dark, curdled jazz opened up a new vein of post-feminist angst on their debut album, Salt Peter (1995). Scottish singer and songwriter Lesley Rankine, who had just signed off on her duties as vocalist for the bluesy thrash punk outfit Silverfish, traded in the shrieks and screams for a voluptuous timbre of deep, sensual warmth that still belied the bitterness of her past musical incarnation.
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An all-star line up of Turkish rappers delivers an old-school hip-hop throwback with “88 Bars”, a mid-tempo shuffle that features the talents of Rahdan, Ados, Adil and others. Recalling the days when ghettoblasters ruled and the iPOD could only have been the designs of science-fiction, “88 Bars” gives us a generous sampling of Turkey’s top MCs and features some nifty DJ cuts courtesy of Güney Uğurlu. Rahdan Vandal, whose normally meditative approach to rapping has produced some of the most haunted hip-hop to come out of Turkey, toughens up on his cameo for some terse verbal exchanges. The lone female in the bunch, Derya, is a particular standout; her cool-to-the-touch delivery brings to mind the streetwise sass of Neneh Cherry.
Iconic French actress Isabelle Adjani made a name for herself early on in her life, taking the lead in François Truffaut’s The Story of Adele H, a role that would earn the actress her first Academy award nomination in 1976 and bring her to the attention of cinema-goers worldwide. Adjani continued her streak in highly successful films and gained notoriety as one of the world’s most skilled actresses whose deeply nuanced and textured performances belied the impossible beauty of her icy, cool and mysterious exterior.
On Cloud Nothings’ much-heralded Attack on Memory, Dylan Baldi started facing the reality of post-adolescence in the face and he decided to fight them tooth and nail. Now, after taking a year off (presumably to stay useless), he’s back with a new album and trying to move his life forward. The first song released from the album, “I’m Not a Part of Me” is Baldi’s argument with himself. Trying to resolve his old slacker self with his newfound sense of resolve, he spends half the song declaring to his old self, “I’m not you”, to which he responds “you’re a part of me.” Although it’s clear that his desire to start taking life seriously is winning out, it’s a clearly a bitter struggle.
Desire Lines didn’t have the staying power of Camera Obscura‘s previous albums because of the lack of a clear-cut single (“Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken”, “French Navy”, “Sweetest Thing”). But that didn’t mean it was bad. Camera Obscura have made a video for “Troublemaker,” one of the better songs off the parent LP, beginning with a dreariness typical of 4AD stuff that immediately gives way to Tracyanne Campbell’s sweetness (lines like “We turn the TV off / It’s old, makes the sound of a saltshaker” and her mission statement, “I’m a troublemaker,” rings more like she wants to be one, rather than she actually is). On the video, Gavin Dunbar notes, “‘Troublemaker’ is a tribute to the British sci-fi of yesteryear, low budget and futuristic in an ‘80s way. It’s also a postcard from Glasgow.” On the latter, a cameo from Stuart Murdoch (of Belle and Sebastian fame) couldn’t hurt.