Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Houndog in Limbo

It's not easy to make new music sound old, but Houndog knows the trick. If you like Lowell Fulson's "Tramp" or "Pass the Hatchet" by Roger & the Gypsies, you will probably enjoy Houndog's song, "Cruisin', Pt. 1". This song was part of a Yep Roc sampler included with an issue of Harp magazine last year. The song grabbed me, and I started looking at the Yep Roc site periodically to see if the record was coming out soon. But Houndog isn't even listed on their roster of artists. With a little more searching, I learned that Houndog was the project of David Hidalgo (from Los Lobos) and Mike Halby (from Canned Heat). They made a self titled record in 1999. I missed that one, although I did hear Hidalgo's other side project, the Latin Playboys.

There are several bands called Houndog (including one here in Atlanta), but since AllMusic describes the 1999 Houndog album as "murk blues" and Halby's voice as "sounding like a 45 playing on 33," I feel safe in assuming that this song is the Houndog of Messrs. Halby and Hidalgo. Since "Cruisin" wasn't on their 1999 album, the remaining question is whether Yep Roc or any other label will be releasing a new Houndog record.

Houndog: Cruisin', Pt. 1

Friday, February 24, 2006

Silk Tymes Leather, Son of Bazerk, Jungle Brothers

One of the first acts Jermaine Dupri put together was Silk Tymes Leather. They were an obvious copy of Salt 'n' Pepa, but they could definitely rap. Their album It Ain't Where You're From, It's Where You're At contains a LOT of Rakim samples and a few good songs, like today's track, "Do Your Dance (Work It Out)". This is the 12" mix, and was produced by Dupri with Joe the Butcher. I used to hear this a lot on the WRAS hip hop show "The Beatbox", with DJ JD. I wonder if Jermaine had any idea when he was sampling Janet Jackson in 1989 that he would be with her 15 years later. My turntable slips a little at about 1:13, sorry.

Son of Bazerk is remembered for one song, "Change the Style". Their 1991 album Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk had a few other great songs on it, and was produced by the Bomb Squad when they were at the height of their powers. The song "Bang (Get Down, Get Down)!" had some crappy singing on the album version. This is the instrumental from the 12". It actually has some rapping and toasting on it, so it's not strictly an instrumental, but without the singing you can focus on the Bomb Squad's extraordinary production work.

The Jungle Brothers followed their uplifting Done by the Forces of Nature album with 1993's confusing J.Beez wit the Remedy. They seem to be lashing out against their record company or the music industry in general, and the music becomes truly abstract on later cuts like "Spitting Wicked Randomness" and "For the Headz at Company Z". But the leadoff track, "40 Below Trooper" is a classic. Produced by Bob Power, it samples the Billy Squier "Big Beat". Another forgotten Jungle Brothers' album is 1997's Raw Deluxe. The song "Brain" features the Roots.

Silk Tymes Leather: Do Your Dance (Work It Out)

Son of Bazerk: Bang (Get Down, Get Down)!

Jungle Brothers: 40 Below Trooper

Jungle Brothers: Brain

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dancing with the Hoods

If the Dancing Hoods are remembered at all, it is as a footnote to the career of Mark Linkous, a/k/a Sparklehorse. Linkous played lead guitar for this Long Island power pop band. If you like early Cheap Trick or the Gin Blossoms, you would enjoy the Dancing Hoods.

Their first release was a four song EP produced by Glen Morrow of the Individuals. Linkous was credited as “Freddie Linkous” on this EP, and as “Freddie Mark Linkous” on its followup, 1985's 12 Jealous Roses. I first got into the Dancing Hoods when 120 Minutes played the video for their song “Pleasure”. The song had a great guitar riff, and do you remember the chorus? “I danced on ledges a hundred flights up, drank dirty water from a jagged cup”... I think I later saw the Hoods on MTV playing live with Johnette Napolitano, but I can’t be sure.

1988's Hallelujah Anyway was supposed to be their breakthrough album, but the band broke up after its release. Some of the songs were obvious grabs for airplay. The bargain bins are filled with copies of this CD. So why do I carry a torch for the Dancing Hoods? Take a listen to these tracks. Lead singer Bob Bortnick quotes Dylan Thomas at length on “Crooked Angel” (which has a great riff by Linkous). And the band reimagines Leonard Cohen’s turgid “Diamonds in the Mine” as a balls-out rocker. So they were smarter than the average bear (they also covered the Left Banke on their first LP). Linkous exchanged his Johnny Thunders influences for Tom Waits, and I think Bob Bortnick went to work in A & R. I was surprised the other day to see that Uncut magazine's CD this month has an uptempo country-flavored cover of "Diamonds in the Mine" by the Broken Family Band. You can hear it at the blog Kofi's Hat.

Dancing Hoods: Crooked Angel

Dancing Hoods: Diamonds in the Mine


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Great mp3 blog concepts

Chris Ott wrote my two favorite Pitchfork features. One was a guide to the best alternative rock CD's commonly found in the cutout bins. The other was a list of the worst bands formed after the breakup of great bands (e.g., Big Audio Dynamite). Chris now writes a blog called Shallow Rewards that examines how online auctions have inflated the value of rare records and music memorabilia. It's well-written, funny, and interesting to the casual or rabid collector. Chris clearly loves music, so he's not someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. The articles I mentioned above are archived on his blog.

"Because no one should have to listen to the Wiggles, ever" is the subtitle of (Sm)all Ages, a new mp3 blog by Clea that features good children's music. As a father of two, I am painfully aware that a lot of the music produced expressly for children is tripe. (Sm)all Ages highlight the exceptions -- Dan Zanes, They Might Be Giants, Pancake Mountain -- as well as music that may not have been written for kids but still strikes a chord with little ears. "Hoodoo Voodoo" by Wilco is a classic example. Skip Spence's "Little Hands" (or the Robert Plant cover of same) is another good one.

I've successfully encouraged my 10 year old son to listen to the Ramones, Motorhead, and the Super Furry Animals. His own tastes now run toward punk-pop (Green Day, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Jimmy Eat World). My 4 year old son likes Arular, "Hong Kong Garden", and this song, from a wonderful album of Daniel Johnston covers.

K. McCarty: Rocketship (available at eMusic).

The following song is a sweet, blue-eyed soulful lullaby.

Will Kimbrough: Goodnight Moon. Buy Will Kimbrough records here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Revisionist Visionary

Siouxsie and the Banshees’ first album, The Scream, recently got the deluxe reissue treatment, with a bonus disc that includes two Peel Sessions from 1977 and 1978, plus rare demos and singles. The packaging features a number of alternate photos of the ghostly swimmers who graced the album cover, and detailed liner notes (wherein we learn that the cover and title were references to the Burt Lancaster film The Swimmer). It’s an incredible album, and sounds brilliant on this CD remastered from the original tapes (assisted by bassist Steven Severin). Younger listeners whose awareness of Siouxsie began with “Kiss Them for Me” might not realize how radically abstract, abrasive and violent the early Banshees’ music was. Pretty Girls Make Graves fans should hear this. Anyone exploring the early Gang of Four and the bands on the Grlz compilation should hear this.

The reissue of the album may cement its significance in punk rock history, but the liner notes, written by one Simon Goddard, are guilty of historical revisionism. He states that Siouxsie was being “rapped on the knuckles” by journalists (an understatement) for wearing swastikas in 1976, and that through the song “Metal Postcard” she “coolly rebuffed any lingering doubts about her political leanings with (a) tribute to the work of anti-Nazi propaganda artist John Heartfield.” This much is true; the song is explicitly dedicated to Heartfield in the original LP’s liner notes. “Metal Postcard” came out on a 1979 single backed with “Love in a Void”, which is described as a “live favourite” – but Goddard neglects to mention its inflammatory lyric, “Too many Jews for my liking”. The version of this song included on the Scream bonus CD is from the first Peel Session, where Siouxsie sings, “Too many bigots for my liking.” Goddard is well aware of the original lyric. In fact, he calls Siouxsie to task for it in this 2005 interview

“Overground” is (according to Severin) about the Banshees’ mixed feelings on signing to a major label. Fair enough. But “Hong Kong Garden” is described by Goddard (and by Siouxsie herself) as a “belated venting of teenage frustration at witnessing right-wing skinheads torment (the staff of Siouxsie’s hometown Chinese restaurant).” The song’s lyrics don’t bear this out at all; they are a laundry list of general observations about Asians (some stereotypical), rendered in a voice that is detached, not outraged. I’m not denying Siouxsie’s experience as a teen, but she might as well claim that the song is a protest against the “old custom to sell your daughter” that she mentions in the song.

The early Banshees flirted with images of mass murder (in “Carcass” and their cover of “Helter Skelter”), domestic violence (“Suburban Relapse”) and the ravages of addiction (“Switch”, “Nicotine Stain”). They flirted with images of Nazism as well. I don’t believe that Siouxsie was anti-Semitic; I think she enjoyed provoking people, and she was somewhat of an opportunist. She abandoned the swastika in favor of the Star of David when the band’s career began to suffer, and her audience began to draw too many skinheads for her liking. To portray herself as a crusader against bigotry in these early recordings is rewriting her place in punk history. I’m not posting any Banshees songs today, because I don’t want to get Siouxed.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Forgotten Slice of NY Punk Funk

There's precious little information on the web about New York band the 4 Skins, because they shared their name with a British oi band. Rather than being white supremacists, New York's 4 Skins were a multi-cultural group who released one 7" single ("I'm Mad" b/w "When I'm Gone") and a four song 12" EP entitled White Neighborhood, on the Beatnote label (1981). This isn't the downtown dance-punk of ESG, Y Pants, or Liquid Liquid, and the 4 Skins' other songs were more rock-oriented and less socio-political in their subject matter than "White Neighborhood". It's my favorite of the songs I've heard by the 4 Skins: I love the cautionary tour of New York, the bassline, the horn riffs, and the backup singers.

As a teenage fanzine editor, I received a number of unsolicited records for review (in addition to those I solicited or paid for). Some were extremely strange or outright offensive: the German Shepherds' Music for Sick Queers, several singles by the C*nts, and an LP from San Francisco band Black Humor (on Fowl Records) that had a handmade cover. I don't mean to suggest that I found "White Neighborhood" offensive or strange; it just arrived one day, like the other records, with little or no information to accompany it. This one had more staying power.

4 Skins: White Neighborhood

Friday, February 17, 2006


In what appears to be some type of international rock band exchange program, the Belgian band dEUS will tour the US in April while America's own Magnapop tours Belgium and Holland, where they have had a strong fanbase since their first album was released in 1992. After a stint in LA, the Magnapop braintrust of Linda Hopper and Ruthie Morris returned to Atlanta, recruited a rhythm section and recorded a new album in 2005 for Daemon Records called Mouthfeel that shows their sound largely unchanged. Ruthie's aggressive guitar rhythms are balanced by Linda's cool vocal tone. Mouthfeel is available on iTunes and eMusic. I especially recommend the songs "PDX", "The In Between", and "Stick to Me". There are lots of Magnapop mp3's available at www.magnapop.com, including one of my favorites from their first record, "Garden". Magnapop puts on a GREAT live show, and you should catch them when they come back to the US after April. Ruthie bounds around the stage with her Gibson SG like a female Angus Young. Listen to her tear it up on these two songs:

Magnapop: Radio Waves (1996)
Magnapop: Lay It Down (1994)

I don't know how to paste in this awesome picture of Ruthie, so I will suggest that you go look at it here!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

dEUS Reunites, Visits North America

There have been a lot of band reunions in the past few years, some big (Pixies, Gang of Four, Rocket from the Tombs, Rezillos, Wire, Buzzcocks, Pylon) and others overlooked (did you know that the Fire Engines and 100 Flowers reunited and made new records in 2004? Or that the Slits will release a new record this year?) I myself was especially happy that the Belgian band dEUS got back together after a ten year hiatus and made a new record. Only two members remain from the original lineup, and dEUS is now essentially Tom Barman & Co., in the same way that the Fall is Mark E. Smith plus his current wife and sidemen. Pocket Revolution isn’t my favorite dEUS album, but it is excellent. It hasn’t been released by V2 in the US, but you can get it on iTunes, or be a geek like me and buy the import. The other great news for dEUS fans on this side of the Atlantic is that they are coming to SXSW in March, and will play some other shows in the US and Canada while they’re here.

I have loved dEUS since I first heard “Suds and Soda” on college radio. When the file sharing revolution started, I discovered dozens of dEUS b-sides and covers. They started as a Violent Femmes cover band, and they have great taste in covers: Alejandro Escovedo, Palace Brothers, GBV, Sebadoh, Pixies, Leonard Cohen, Big Star, Marc Ribot... There are a few stray tracks I don’t have yet, and I’d love to hear from other fans. “Overflow” is a sad and delicate dEUS original that I want played at my funeral.

dEUS: Overflow

dEUS: Suds and Soda (live 2004)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Fast talkin', rhythm rockin', rockabilly women

San Francisco singer Pearl Harbour made several solo albums after her band the Explosions broke up (the rhythm section joined SF legends Chrome). Pearl's first, 1980's wonderful Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost Too, was recorded during her relationship with Paul Simenon, and his brother Nick plays drums on it. I wonder who plays the lightning-fast pedal steel on this great tune, "Out with the Girls", which Pearl cowrote with guitarist Nigel Dixon. As a bonus, here's a song from Pearl's 1995 album, Here Comes Trouble, which features East Bay Ray of the Dead Kennedys on guitar.

Bunky and Jake made their lone album, LAMF, in 1969. Bunky was a black woman, and Jake was a white man; their real names may be lost to history, though "A. Jacobs" is credited as a songwriter. Felix Pappalardi may have played bass on this track, which is a frantic Chuck Berry cover (a/k/a "Slow Down, Little Jaguar"). This LP had a lot of miles on it from the original owner, and I wasn't able to clean up all the pops and clicks, but I think they add to the charm. There's a great book called Listen to This (Hyperion, 1999), where famous musicians are interviewed about their favorite records, and Terry Adams of NRBQ lists Bunky and Jake's LAMF as one of his choices.

Pearl Harbour: Out with the Girls

Pearl Harbour: Have Love, Will Travel

Bunky and Jake: County Line

Monday, February 13, 2006

Songs for Your Valentine's Day Mix

Say you want to make a Valentine's Day mix CD for your wife, and you're trying to find a song that expresses the joys inherent to the marital partnership. There just aren't that many out there. Here's one from P.Hux that will fit the bill. Parthenon Huxley (born Rick Miller) had a single under the name Rick Rock ("Buddha Buddha"), a couple albums by his bands P.Hux and VeG, as well as releasing solo records under the Parthenon Huxley name. He also leads the Electric Light Orchestra (you heard me, ELO) in Jeff Lynne's absence. "Simple Things" is pure, pulse-raising power pop. (High on my want list is the Badfinger tribute CD Come and Get It, which includes P.Hux.) I would also recommend the song "Valentine's Day" by Steve Earle for your mix CD.

Here's a song you can use on an anniversary mix (along with the smoove "Anniversary" by Toni Tony Tone). While I am a great fan of the music that Tim Rogers makes with Australian band You Am I, his side projects have gotten progressively worse. What Rhymes with Cars and Girls was great; the solo disc that came as a bonus with You Am I's Dress Me Slowly was sort of self-indulgent; the first Temperance Union CD was not so good; and I don't plan on getting the two new ones. Anyway, this is a great song from Cars and Girls that name checks Deborah Kerr; it has a tasteful horn solo; and Tim uses the Australian slang word "shickered", which I'm told is equivalent to "f**ked up" or "s**tfaced". Tim wears his influences on his sleeve, and his Paul Westerberg fandom is obvious on this "Swinging Party" style track, which is fine by me.

P.Hux: Simple Things

Buy P.Hux records here

Tim Rogers and the Twin Set: Happy Anniversary

Friday, February 10, 2006

From Red Five to Redd Kross

I have followed Redd Kross as they morphed from a bratty punk band into their Manson Family and NY Dolls fixations, their metal phase, and their later power pop days. The Third Eye album is a personal favorite, and "Where I Am Today" is an all-time Top Ten on the mixtapes I’ve made. As my wife and I have grown older, our tastes have diverged to the point that the only things we can agree on are the records we listened to when we first got together: Green Mind, Nothing’s Shocking, Surfer Rosa, All Fools’ Day, this Redd Kross album, and Ultraprophets of Thee Psychic Revolution by the band Christmas. If you don’t like Christmas or Redd Kross, I don’t want to hear about it.

This song is so perfect. The money note is when Steve McDonald’s bass leaps an octave just before the guitar solo, and Jeff McDonald says, “Whoo!” I get goosebumps every time. Redd Kross should have made it with this 1990 album (released on Atlantic, now out of print). The songs include tributes to Shonen Knife and Planet of the Apes (“Zira”); an homage to bubblegum music; and the theme song to the McDonald brothers’ feature film 1976 (with lead guitarist Robert Hecker’s eerily perfect Paul Stanley impression: “You know you gotta boogie cuz yer platforms are FIIINE”). The unclothed woman on the album cover is Sofia Coppola.

Redd Kross: Where I Am Today

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Whatever Happened to Red Five?

The mp3 blog South of Mainstream (which appears to be dormant) posted on the band Red Five a few months back. This Southern California band, led by Jenni McElrath and Betty Carmellini, made one album for Interscope in 1997 called Flash, and then disappeared. It's hard to find much information about Red Five, since their name (which is a Star Wars reference) has been used by several other organizations and individuals.

I first heard the band on a promotional cd that came with a pair of Converse high tops. The song ("Around the Wicked") was credited as "from the album Wink", which was apparently supposed to come out in 1999, but didn't. A customer on Amazon who reviewed Flash said that she had a rare Red Five EP with a few demos and a studio song called "I'm Bound". The 1997 film Slaves to the Underground had a few Red Five songs on the soundtrack that weren't on Flash. Carmellini now works for Filter magazine and has a solo album coming out this year called Here's to Skating on Thin Ice. I found Jenni McElrath on Myspace, with a band called Mostly Sunny.

I'm not crazy about Flash, but the song I've posted here today is SO good that it makes me wonder what else Red Five had in the can when they broke up. "Around the Wicked" is miles beyond anything from the first Red Five album, a delicious slice of punk-pop with soaring harmonies and rich layers of guitar. Bon appetit.

Red Five: Around the Wicked

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


The Long Island band Hypnolovewheel is remembered, if at all, by the members of Yo La Tengo and a few folks on I Love Music (or for their cover of “Antmusic” ). They made a few great albums, combining power pop smarts with post-punk guitars and a sense of humor that was missing from most of their contemporaries. Hypnolovewheel is one of the few bands worthy of comparison to the Embarrassment, as Byron Coley noted in the Trouser Press Record Guide. Here's how he described their songs: “When Hypnolovewheel come up with something that's potentially too catchy, they bury it under a small load of six-string noise.”

The band’s later discs on the Alias label litter the bargain bins. I highly recommend 1991's Space Mountain and 1992's Angel Food, but would caution you to avoid their final record, Altered States, where the band seems to have lost track of the qualities that distinguished them from REM and their jangle-pop ilk. If anyone can hook me up with the band’s earliest LP’s on the label Fabian Aural Products (or the "Sybil" double single), I would be deeply indebted to you. Hypnolovewheel members Dan Cuddy and Peter Walsh now play in a Hoboken supergroup (?) called the Special Pillow.

The first two tracks here are from Space Mountain. “Pleasant Valley” is a song that belongs in an episode of “Pete and Pete”. I love the twin guitar lines, one descending and the other ascending. The other track, “Bronze Bug”, shows off the band’s sense of humor, with minimal/absurdist lyrics and deliberately off-key guitar leads. “Black Hole of Love” is a beautiful song from Angel Food. "Of all the fish in the sea, you're the one for me."

Hypnolovewheel: Pleasant Valley

Hypnolovewheel: Bronze Bug

Hypnolovewheel: Black Hole of Love

Monday, February 06, 2006


Clock DVA is a band with a lengthy and complex discography (much of which is out of print), and numerous lineup changes. An officially sanctioned discography is available here. Originally contemporaries of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA moved from its early industrial and improvisatory music to more accessible electronic dance music (much as SPK did). Vocalist Adi Newton is essentially the only constant throughout the band's catalogue. As recently as 2004, Mute Records was working on reissuing some early Clock DVA, but nothing seems to have come of it. Newton's own label, Anterior Research Station, has reissued some Clock DVA as well as Newton's later group, TAGC (also known as The Anti-Group).

The Clock DVA album Thirst is a classic that skews the conventional rock band lineup by adding dark electronics, Newton's sometimes atonal clarinet work, and his unique voice. Thirst is similar in some ways to the early Pere Ubu albums. Most of the musicians on Thirst left to become the group The Box. "Four Hours" was actually a hit single in the UK. Newton's snarl often echoes in my head:
I must go to work
I know where it is
I've been there before...
I've seen Clock DVA's music described as "coldwave". Another song from the same period with a similarly dark outlook came from Bill Laswell's band Material. While generally known as avant funk, Material rocked on the early song "Slow Murder". The vocalist growls, "The future holds no information/It's just a cold suffocation." I think it's Michael Beinhorn singing. He's now a famous record producer.

Clock DVA: Four Hours

Material: Slow Murder

S'Cool Days

I was really happy when I recently found this song again. It used to be a single on the jukebox back in my own school days. I don't know a lot about Stanley Frank, and his website isn't very illuminating (although you can hear a few more of his songs there, and you can read the lyrics to "S'Cool Days"). This was a hit song in Britain in 1977, and probably in Stanley Frank's native Canada as well.

It isn't really a punk song, and it isn't quite glam. I guess it's power pop because it's catchy and upbeat, and sung with an infectious passion. I always thought Dana from the Mystical Beast would enjoy this song, but he's out of the blog scene now. Maybe the folks at Little Hits know more about Stanley Frank.

Stanley Frank: S'Cool Days

Friday, February 03, 2006

Real Brain Damage

GAM was a really interesting Savannah band from the late 1990's. They had a strange sense of humor. One of their songs was called "Greg Ginn Body Bag". They wore outrageous costumes on stage. You can check out some of their visuals and hear their music at this site. GAM was led by Keith Kozel, a musician, actor, and artist. A "memorial fansite" suggests that he is deceased, but a quick search of the Savannah newspaper shows him to be alive and well, and still active on the arts and music scene there. "Brain Damage" was on GAM's first album, Phase 8, and it used to get some play on Album 88 in Atlanta.

Speaking of brain damage, I saw Bill Berry yesterday among the many visitors at the Georgia Aquarium. Sorry, REM fans! Just kidding about the brain damage! But I really did see Bill Berry. He looked good. I resisted the fanboy impulse to say, "Looking good, Bill Berry!"

While I'm rambling, you know those magnetic ribbons that people put on the back of their cars to show their support of US troops in Iraq, or breast cancer research, or other causes? I saw one this week that said, "Support Magnetic Ribbons". At first I thought it was funny. Then I started to think, isn't that what you're really doing when you buy a magnetic ribbon to slap on your trunk? You're not actually doing anything (like buying war bonds or planting a victory garden), you're just supporting the manufacture of magnetic ribbons.

GAM: Brain Damage

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I've got a Bimbo Toolshed behind my Zombie Birdhouse

A quick one today. Bimbo Toolshed was an all-female punk band from California who released one album in the 1990's before splitting up. This song was the highlight for me. "Scott's Life" has a great guitar sound and is fun to sing along to ("Bus to Phoenix! Bus to Phoenix!"). I really wasn't sure if Swoopo (the singer) was male or female until I looked up the band. I got this from Falling James, whose band the Leaving Trains is still alive and well, with a recent live album and a reissue of the classic Keats Rides a Harley and Warfrat Tales compilations.

Bimbo Toolshed: Scott's Life

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

When Black Music Happens to White People

There's something about white performers' cover versions of rap and R&B songs that is both compelling and disturbing. Lots of attention was given in the blogosphere to Nina Gordon's NWA cover and Ben Folds' "Bitches Ain't Shit". I have to admit that I liked the Gourds' bluegrass version of "Gin and Juice". I even used to like the Barenaked Ladies' cover of "Fight the Power".

But even when the intention is to be ironic or clever, are these covers any different from back when Pat Boone would take a Little Richard song, bleed the aggression and transgression from it, and flog its pale corpse before a white audience? Discuss. And what really makes a song "black" or "white"? Is it the performer, or the audience, or something intrinsic to the song itself? Some white performers try to mimic black musical styles, but when the Embarrassment tackle Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop til You Get Enough", they do it in a way that is unabashedly white, and the song succeeds on its own terms.

Despite my reservations, I sometimes like the cover better than the original. (Except
"Fight the Power".) I've lost respect for Kelis, and I try to avoid the multimedia conglomerate that is Beyonce, but I can enjoy their songs translated into guitar rock (even if the British rapper on "Crazy in Love" is weak). The Pictures are an Australian band led by Davey Lane of You Am I. If you download just one of these, make it Heros Severum. Like their Athens neighbors We Versus the Shark, they are taking post/math/whatever rock into a new, danceable direction. Even my kids like it. Heros Severum are a trio with two guitarists and a drummer. If you said their music had no bottom end, that would be a bassless accusation (har de har). There is a new Heros Severum CD on the Two Sheds label.

Heros Severum: Get Yr Freak On
Snow Petrol: Crazy in Love
The Pictures: Milkshake
The Embarrassment: Don't Stop til You Get Enough