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Edu K, Popozuda Rock n' Roll (Man Recordings) Rating: 8
Hey oh! Getchyer ass song, raht 'ere! Edu K, former singer of rock group De Falla, hit it big a few years back with this worthy contribution to the canon of chocolate shake odes (popozuda is a recently revived slang term for "big-buttocks woman"). Thank the recent Western interest in baile funk for the song's revival, but remember to also give man claps to the DJs for the injections, nip/tucks and augmentations here. Hollertronix co-founder Diplo plays connect-the-dots across '80s rumpshakes while the original maestro Edu K feels up the Neptunes' Boriqua roots for his reggaeton mix. Rio DJ Sandrinho creeps in the backdoor, but gently boosts the drum track for better booty bap. Home fetishists, worry not: the original, instrumental and acappella are here for you to pave your own Hershey highway. Here's an example from one master, DJ Twombly. In the meantime, vai popozuda! Why? "I have the strength of a Jedi Knight" ("Eu tenho a força cavaleiro de Jedai"). Ah, Star Wars lines always get the ladies...
The Village Green, The Village Green (Hidden Peak) Rating: 5
A lot of new bands pepper their promotional sheets with comparisons to more recognizable acts, to help writers, record stores, radio folk and whoever to have a better understanding of what they're in for. Portland, Oregon's The Village Green is no different. Not only are they named after a classic Kinks album, but the power-pop quartet has garnered comparisons to Supergrass, John Lennon, Oasis, and even Kurt Cobain. But where that type of name-dropping is usually way the hell off, The Village Green writes and performs sassy British-influenced rock plausibly and even sometimes endearingly. This brief, self-titled EP is still light-years away from the legendary recordings of its forebears, but sometimes heart-on-sleeve mimicry is useful, and a good place for a young band to start. "Plastic Woman" and "Let It Go" are well-executed and toothy, boding well for the future of classic, attitude-driven rawk.
Nya Jade, My Denial (Katako) Rating: 6
Nya Jade was heading towards a career in medicine before a car crash changed her focus. Using the guitar as both physical and mental therapy and rehab, Jade began playing in coffee houses to larger crowds. And now she's with the big boys and girls with her debut release. Her new album starts with the soulful "One Pill" that is a cross between Alicia Keys, Sarah McLachlan and Natalie Merchant, a smart but edgy adult contemporary pop tune that flows quite nicely. But Jade is equally sultry on the mid-tempo title track. From there Jade excels on the happy, groovy "Crawl" that is a blend of roots rock and reggae. But "Live" is too cheery and formulaic. Jade is able to craft several strong songs for a debut though, particularly with the fine polished pop of "Home" that showcases her crystal clear vocals in the vein of Billie Myers. The only low point is "Molasses" that shows promise but falls off the rails quickly and relies on a harder rock guitar that is rather limp. "Sedated" is more subdued thankfully that has single written all over it. The same could be said for "Best I Can" that brews just under the surface. A bright newcomer for 2006!
The Pope, Jazzman Cometh (Wantage) Rating: 3
To its credit, Jazzman Cometh by the noise-rock outfit the Pope, does not outlast its welcome. In fact, its six tracks last just a little shorter than your average baseball inning. The band sites a huge Boredoms influence, but, unfortunately, it only surfaces in the nonsensical yelling that acts as the "lead vocals" for a handful of these songs. The Pope's shtick, at least from what I can gather by this brief sample size, is that they alternate a genuinely great guitar tone, sort of like a stoner rock adaptation of the "Mr. Brownstone" riff, with spurts of fast-paced by-the-numbers screaming and bashing. Ultimately, the Pope somehow manages to make fast-paced, full-throttle, extreme noise-rock that ultimately just blends into the background. Beyond a few outstanding quasi-guitar solos (that are all essentially the same solo, repeated) there's nothing on Jazzman Cometh that countless bands have done a million times before. The Pope is trying to be unpredictable in the most predictable manner possible, and the results are predictably dull. It's really a sin with straight-out spazz-rock comes out this boring.