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Salt Lake City Weekly Scene & Heard

Fringe Elements

By Bill Frost

DECEMBER 15, 1997: 

L.A. acid-jazz diva Jade Vincent: "First, we take care of moose and squirrel..."
The Jade Vincent Experiment The Jade Vincent Experiment (Village Recorder). This is one of the bands that I saw in Portland at this year's NXNW conference and the memory is still burned into my cortex: An eight-piece band with a full-on horn section, keys, lap steel, percussion and who knows what else, laying down a cool, dark jazz vamp on a cramped little stage in a likewise cramped club. Minutes later, Jade Vincent, a noir-sexy brunette who exudes danger like a '40s film star, makes her entrance and puts a spell on the room for 45 minutes. This is not easy listening: Vincent's smoky, hard-times voice and the sheer intensity of the band's arrangements keep you looking over your shoulder and wondering if the next moment is your last. Names such as Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Sun Ra and Frank Zappa are dropped in the bio, but the JVE are slightly more accessible — not that you'll hear "10 Days In Hell" next to Kenny G on any lite-jazz stations in this lifetime. This six-song EP isn't widely available just yet, but it's well-worth your time to bug the Village Recorder in Los Angeles to hurry it up. (Village Recorder, 1616 Butler Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025. www.villagerecorder.com.)

Various Artists Acid Jazz: Movie & TV Themes (Acid Jazz/Hollywood). Obscure acid-jazz bands covering obscure movie and TV theme songs — why didn't anyone think of this before? Actually, the film and television themes aren't all headscratchers: You've heard of Rollerball, The Graduate, Mission: Impossible, Dirty Harry and The Love Boat, but what in the world were Angels, The Sweeney, Riot On 103rd Street and Countdown? The groups probably won't ring any bells either: Lovetrain, Van Groove, Snowboy, Sockadelic and more — the James Taylor Quartet is the best-known here, and it's not Mr. Carly Simon. All 16 tracks are groovy, but it's Corduroy's furiously-funked take on The Heist that stands out — the fact that it was written by Quincy Jones probably explains why. (www.hollywoodrec.com/acidjazz.)

Various Artists Flyin' Traps (Hollywood). An album by drummers, but not necessarily just for drummers — Neil Peart was not invited. Flyin' Traps is the brainchild of Redd Kross' Brian Reitzell, who wanted to put together a drum-centric collection in the spirit of the records that Sandy Nelson and Hal Blaine made during the 1950s and '60s. Besides Reitzell, the Flyin' Traps line-up is an impressive drum corp of '90s alt-rock's best skinsmen: Matt Cameron (Soundgarden), Steven Drozd (Flaming Lips), Joey Waronker (Beck), Josh Freese (Paul Westerberg), Tim "Herb" Alexander (Primus), Mike Bordin (Faith No More), Mac McNeilly (Jesus Lizard), Michael Musburger (Fastbacks), Alexis Fleisig (Girls Against Boys), Dale Crover (Melvins), J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees), Chris Vrenna (Nine Inch Nails), Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction) and Dan Peters (Mudhoney). The songs in which Cameron and Taz Bentley ("Theme From Wrong Holy-O") and Alexander and Bordin ("Choked") duet/dual in panned stereo are headphone musts. Flyin' Traps is visceral, tuneful, and like nothing you've heard before. (www.flyintraps.com.)

Various Artists Lounge-A-Palooza (Hollywood). Is it permissible to use the word "lounge" here? Are the DABC lacing up their jackboots? Living up to its subtitle, "Taking lounge music to its illogical conclusion," Lounge-A-Palooza is all over the map: The expected neo-swingers (Combustible Edison, Pizzicato Five), alt-rockers (Ben Fold Five, Poe, Fun Lovin' Criminals, Edwyn Collins), neo-jazzers (James Taylor Quartet, Cassandra Wilson), original lounge gangstas (Steve & Eydie) and flat-out weird collaborations (Glen Campbell & Michelle Shocked, Jimmy Scott & Flea, P.J. Harvey & Eric Drew Feldman). Steve & Eydie's "Black Hole Sun" proves that a good tune will withstand any interpretation, while Campbell & Shocked's re-make of Glen's "Witchita Lineman" (with a little help from the Texas Tornados) proves absolutely nothing — it just feels right, baby. Since there's just far too much strangeness to describe here, you should really swing on over to the Lounge-A-Palooza listening soiree at — where else? — Burt's Tiki Lounge on Dec. 17 and experience it for yourself, cats. (www.loungeapalooza.com.)

Travis Shredd & the Good Ol' Homeboys 668: The Neighbor of the Beast (Blue Cliff). Another cool band I was hipped to at NXNW. Travis Shredd & the Good Ol' Homeboys hail from Bellevue, Wash., and they're quite possibly the only country/metal/rap band north of hell. They can switch from Charlie Daniels to Cinderella in a millisecond, with a helpin' of LL Cool J on the side — Shredd proudly wears his Malcom "X" on the front of his 10-gallon (or is that 40 oz.?) black cowboy hat. Sound impossible? One listen to "My Ex's Lawyer Is the Antichrist" or "Fire In Her Eyes (Hail Satan)" and you'll be a believer, pardner/dude/homey. These guys are no joke band: They're tighter than Garth Brooks' royalty contract and put on a live show that'll have you headbanging, two-stepping and laughing yourself stupid. Shredd & the Homeboys may be touring with their bud Weird Al Yankovic next summer — until then, get 668 and drive your neighbors nuts. (ShreddQuarters, PO Box 52962, Bellevue, WA 98015. www.loop.com/~bermuda/travis.html.)

Snout The New Pop Dialogue (Au-Go-Go). They're pure pop, they're jet-set stylish, they're Australian and they're most brilliant blast of rock I've heard in the last 10 minutes. That said, they probably won't sell jack when The New Pop Dialogue is released domestically next month. Snout put the swing in mood swings — from the Prozac-happy "Famous People Think Up Everything Cool" to the dimestore-drama of "Remember to Die," they just may be the most perfect guitar-pop trio on the planet. Just imagine the Beatles, the Jam, the Kinks and Nirvana in a convenient, microwavable TV dinner washed down with a Foster's. This makes the wait for the return of Urge Overkill a bit more bearable.

The Chrome Cranks Live In Exile (Au-Go-Go). The Chrome Cranks crash the Jon Spencer fractured-blues party, drain the liquor cabinet, get laid, pass out face-down in the bathroom, wake up, torch the place and move on with the threads still immaculate. Live In Exile is a live album that's so raw, you can practically hear property values dropping in the background. Swamp rock, blues, garage-punk, psychobilly, whatever — any band that's got the cajones to cover all 8:38 minutes of Steppenwolf's "The Pusher" is bucking for sainthood in my book. All the hits are here: "Hot Blonde Cocktail," "We're Going Down," "Dead Man's Suit," "Nightmare In Pink" and more. The Gun Club and the Stooges are the bread of the Chrome Cranks' sonic sandwich — you don't want to know what the meat is. (Au-Go-Go, GPO Box 542D, Melbourne, Vic 3001, Australia. www.augogo.com.)

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