Weekly Wire
Salt Lake City Weekly Rotations

New releases for July -- and then some.

By Bill Frost

AUGUST 4, 1997: 

Radiohead
OK Computer (Capitol)

As the Blur vs. Oasis slapfight over who gets to be the Beatles or the Stones continues, Radiohead sidesteps the whole issue and becomes Pink Floyd. OK Computer takes the experimental jag that began with The Bends two long years ago to gorgeous new extremes — even if radio heads don't want to hear it. "Paranoid Android," the slow-burn (and admittedly weird) first single from the album, is being snubbed on the airwaves while they still spin 1993's "Creep." Duh. "Fitter Happier," the David Lynch-meets-Anthony Robbins braindrill that intros "Electioneering," one of OK Computer's rare rave-ups, is all the motivation you'll ever need to finally purchase your own purple sheet and black Nikes. Rate it: A


Motley Crue
Generation Swine (Elektra)

Vince Neil is back. After a solo "career" that's still getting rave reviews from the Witness Protection Program, Vanilla Lice returns to the fold, spindle and mutilate. Bassist/songwriter/trendsponge Nikki Sixx hasn't missed a trick (or Cheap Trick) in the '90s: Generation Swine snaps and crackles with tape loops, samples, fuzz bass, grindcore guitar, vocal effects — everything that the other deposed '80s metal acts reject as "too alternative." While the poodle-haired purists are touring half-filled barns, Generation Swine debuted at number three. John Corabi, the temp-screecher who filled Neil's shoes on the decent-but-DOA Motley Crue noticed: After months of making nice, he's suing the band for a few mil. Word on the street has it that he's settled out of court for a Jell-O-wrestling match with Crue wives Pamela Anderson and Donna D'Errico. Rate it: B


Prodigy
The Fat of the Land (Maverick/Warner Bros.)

Prodigy main man Liam Howlett on this album's debut at the top of the charts: "When I heard it was Number One, I couldn't believe it. The first thing I did was have a wank." Yeah, you and me both. Rate it: D-


Sara McLachlan
Surfacing (Arista)

It took Sara McLachlan four years to come up with 10 new songs. Sure, she's been busy firing hairstylists and putting that little Lilith Fair thing together — but four years? Surfacing could have been recorded 24 hours after her 1993 breakthrough Fumbling Towards Ecstasy — there's a bit more guitar noise, but it's the same Sara. Not that this will disappoint the McLachlan faithful (male and female alike) who will have their noses glued to their PC screens for the CD-ROM portion of Surfacing. She's still got that undeniable it, even though there's no song here that can match up to "Possession," her sultry hit single that I once played in repeat-mode for three hours straight. True story. Rate it: B+


Primus
The Brown Album (Interscope)

Ben Fulton hates Primus. It's not just the usual everyday hatred that he feels toward the world in general, but an all-consuming loathing that burns with the intensity of 1,000 Salma Hayeks. That's nothing — just imagine being the A&R guy at Interscope who has to come up with the press releases for new Primus albums: "This quirky trio's sixth album is a marked departure from the Primus sound of old, a true sonic egress that will ... I can't do it! This is the same fuggin' album they've been giving us since we signed them in '92! It's all a lie! Man never landed on the moon! The government has a car that runs on water! No one really pays attention to CD reviews!" Rate it: C-


Masters of Reality
How High the Moon: Live at the Viper Room (Malicious Vinyl/Red Ant)

The coolest band in the galaxy, live from the dive that killed River Phoenix — who could ask for more? How about a new Masters album sometime before the end of the millennium? Rate it: A+


That Dog
Retreat From the Sun (DGC)

Yet another sign of the New Wave Quickening — special guest star Charlotte Caffey of the Go-Gos even adds goofy synth lines to the title track. Like their spiritual foremothers the Go-Gos, That Dog are rooted firmly in the SoCal '80s — except that Belinda Carlisle would never utter lines like "Don't treat me like a lady/Don't disobey me/Would you love me gagged and tied?" Yeah, they're not as sweet as they look. Probably stems from working at Hot Dog On a Stick after school and getting beaten up by Veruca Salt in the parking lot during the prom. Rate it: B


Megadeth
Cryptic Writings (Capitol)

Anybody knows that even Veruca Salt could stomp the Artists Formerly Known As Metallica: they went limp in the mid-'80s and now just suck beyond human comprehension. Expatriate Metallica founder Dave Mustaine (or Dave the Stain), however, has stuck to one idiot-simple rule since he began Megadeth: More volume, more speed, more gear, more complexities for the sake of complexities and more hair. Cryptic Writings continues the caffeine-metal mission, but some actual hooks have crept into the songs here and there: "Almost Honest" and the serpentine "I'll Get Even" could almost be — gulp — hits. Rate it: A


Michelle Malone
Beneath the Devil Moon (Velvel)

The obvious comparison here would be Sheryl Crow, except electrified folkie Michelle Malone prefers Hendrix and Converse All-Stars to Dylan and Birkenstocks. Even though you've probably never heard of her, Beneath the Devil Moon is Malone's sixth album — if the previous five are even half as good, we've all missed out on something special. Stand-out tracks? All 11. Malone (big surprise) will be a part of the Borg-like Lilith Fair, so Salt Lakers won't be seeing her anytime soon — get this album and pray she graces us with her presence on a solo trek. Rate it: A+


Geezer
Black Science (TVT)

This is where Black Sabbath would be today if Ozzy Osbourne weren't so busy becoming the metal Wayne Newton. Unlike some rock old-timers, ex-Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler isn't living in the past, he's transporting into the future — like about 2050. Black Science is sci-fi metal to the nth degree, like Art Bell with 1,000 Marshall stacks. Mind control, Area 51, Heaven's Gate, the Men in Black, cyberspace takeovers, paranormal paranoia — you name it, it's here. The mix is heavier than Orson Wells, and Clark Brown's scorched-earth vocals are appropriately apocalyptic (say that five times fast): Screw OzzFest, we're goin' to Roswell! Rate it: A


Verboe
Chronicles (550 Music/Epic)

Even without the oddity of having a cello as a main instrument, Chronicles is a decent slab of alternative pop that shimmers and scrapes in all the right places. Problem is, there's not much else to set it apart from the pack — they'll probably just become known as that cool band with the cello that was produced by Bob Mould. But Billboard bow-tie hack Timothy White loves 'em, so maybe it's the greatest thing ever and I just don't get it ... now my head hurts. Rate it: C


Mem Shannon
2nd Blues Album (Hannibal)

Anything that gets another cab driver off the streets is fine by me — if it's playin' the blues, even better. Shannon's a suave, cool-hand blues gentleman in the vein of George Benson and B.B. King. And, as a former cabby, he's got plenty of opinions: "Wrong People in Charge" could stave off a few cases of road rage if applied correctly; "Down Broke," on the other hand, will just reinforce your spite for The Man. Then there's "My Humble Opinion," where he just wants you to get funky — a gentleman always chooses dancin' over fightin', right? Rate it: B


Buick MacKane
The Pawn Shop Years (Rykodisc)

Damn! Buick MacKane kicks out that heart-on-yer-sleeve, pool-cue-in-yer-hand, girlfriend-on-the-last-bus-outta-town kind of rock & roll that there just isn't enough of anymore. It may be possible to listen to The Pawn Shop Years without a beer in your hand and a tear in your eye, but I doubt it: This kind of blotto blooz is interactive, baby. It's fitting that an album with the rattiest guitar sounds since the Stooges would close with a psychotic protraction of "Loose" that Iggy himself would salute, were he alive ... he is? Whatever. Stick this in your top hat, Slash. Rate it: A


Sugar Plant
After After Hours (World Domination)

CMJ calls Sugarplant "mesmerizing." CMJ can bite me. Not that I disagree — I just can't stand CMJ. After After Hours is Japanese flotation music: Cranky, noisy guitars and New Age ambiance co-existing for a better night's sleep, not unlike washing down a Melatonin with Water Joe. By the way, I'm still waiting for that endorsement deal from Water Joe — I drink more of their caffeinated H2O while writing these columns than a normal human could take in a week ... and it shows. Rate it: C


Billy Ray Cyrus
The Best of Billy Ray Cyrus (Mercury)

The first person to identify a Billy Ray Cyrus song, other than that "Achey Breaky" thing, will win a free ad in the City Weekly's brand-new "Men Seeking Livestock" listings in the personals section. Rate it: F — as in "what the ..."







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