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Monday, July 9 2001

    Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Americana

Not only is the question of 'What 'is' Americana?' open to debate, but so is the very 'Americana' label itself. After all, the genre has a variety of colorful monikers: 'Insurgent Country', 'No Depression', 'Cowpunk', and 'Alternative Country' -- probably the most well known -- to name a few.

    Walker Kong: There Goes the Sun

This poor disc has so far been referred to as everything except its correct name. I first saw it listed as There Goes The Sun

    Thunderball: Scorpio Rising

Can somebody say, “Awwww yeah”? Washington DC’s Thunderball open up their second album, Scorpio Rising, with a slab of superfly pimp-funk that would do

    Spacer: The Beamer

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of good-natured eclecticism. Take Howie B, for instance, former flame of music’s favorite woman-child, Björk

    Squarepusher: Go Plastic

Tom Jenkinson is hard. Don’t be fooled by the fluffy beard, the cute Essex boy accent. He’s difficult, frustrating, out of control. Better

    The Rondelles: Shined Nickels and Loose Change

The Rondelles’ story reads like a rock ‘n’ roll fairy tale. The group was formed by Juliet Swango (vocals, guitar), Oakley Munson (drums, organ), and

    Kelly Joe Phelps: Sky Like a Broken Clock

Kelly Joe Phelps’ Sky Like a Broken Clock is undoubtedly a fine effort. His rich gravelly voice is expressive and easy to listen to. His

    Anna Lauvergnac: self-titled

Female jazz vocalists are once again in the limelight, thanks largely to the popularity of the accomplished and very marketable Diana Krall. I can’t

Ivy: Long Distance

By taking smoothness to shocking new heights in just three records, New York rock trio Ivy has evolved from an indie rock group into something

The Hermit: Flying Out of Solitude

The Hermit is Hamish Thomson. He is a Canadian, which may be relevant, but I doubt it; he is a percussionist who loves electronic music,

David Gray: A Century Ends / The EPs 92-94 / Flesh

I can't imagine what made David Gray change his style. Perhaps there was some personal tragedy or triumph. Maybe it was the frustration of trying to break through, or maybe it was an electrical life-changing charge that went through him on hearing some new piece of music. Whatever it was, Gray stands poised to make some quality, affecting pop in the years to come.

The Gourds: Shinebox

If you’ve been wowed by Phish’s version of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice”, then you’ll be interested to discover that it’

Firewater: Psychopharmacology

What a grisly place this world can be; school shootings, drug abuse, homelessness, etc. And furthermore, what a strange disorienting existence this is; we plod

Faithless: Outrospective

Is there an unlikelier dance music outfit in business these days than Faithless? With a sound best described as all over the map, fronted by

Melissa Etheridge: Skin

Amidst all of the obvious talent that Melissa Etheridge possesses, one of the keys to her success has always been about writing powerfully emotional songs

Corporate Avenger: Freedom Is a State of Mind

Middle ground. A unified understanding. Societies getting along. Are these merely the pipe dreams of a utopian dream, or can they somehow be achieved through

Badmarsh & Shri: Signs

It’s difficult to avoid the words “Asian Underground” when reviewing something like this, although Mohammed Akber Ali and Shrikanth Sriram (a.k.a. Badmarsh

Built to Spill: Ancient Melodies of the Future

Ancient Melodies of the Future is a fitting title for Built to Spill’s latest album, as their music has always had a mystical quality

Autoliner: Be

What exactly is “power pop”? I really don’t know, but if it is anything like Chicago’s Autoliner, it amounts to a weird amalgamation

Friday, July 6 2001

    3rd Degree: Radio 7

“What you will NOT see is a crappy self made CD recorded on a friend’s MY-FIRST-4-TRACK.” This is but one of many bold

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