April 8, 1990 |
Mike Ness is a frustratingly uneven songwriter. He's blessed with a convincing, unflinching feel for the heightened anxiety and rage of troubled youth, but through three albums now he has frequently settled for overly familiar images in expressing those explosive attitudes. The good news in this tenacious band's major-label debut: The balance is leaning more toward insight than cliches and--thanks to the perspective that has comes from Ness' distancing his worst demons--the songs reflect growing sensitivity and compassion.
June 16, 1993 |
If Tommy Stinson hopes to steal the thunder from his former Replacements bandmate Paul Westerberg by beginning his new band's maiden tour the same week that Westerberg's eagerly awaited solo album comes out, he'd better come up with something more diverting than what Bash & Pop presented on Monday at Bogart's. If, however, the timing of the tour is coincidental and Stinson aspires to nothing more than playing fun, early-Replacements-style rock, the show was a sloppy success.
February 11, 1993 |
"This song was supposed to make us famous, but it didn't," the Goo Goo Dolls' singer-guitarist Johnny said Tuesday at the Whisky in introducing "There You Are." The remark typifies the Buffalo trio's self-deprecating, utterly unpretentious attitude, and the 1990 non-hit embodies the Buffalo band's oeuvre : anthemic, thrashing attack buoyed by ringing hooks and harmonies, expressive of adolescent yearning and confusion.
December 17, 1995
Three of the star divas of the "Waiting to Exhale" soundtrack album are finishing their own new albums. Whitney Houston's hits collection (with three new tracks and some remixes of old songs) is now due in March, as is Toni Braxton's second album (with "Exhale" writer-producer Babyface, L.A. Reid, David Foster and R. Kelly, among the producers). Due in May is Aretha Franklin's latest, with production by Sean (Puffy) Combs and Daryl Simmons. . . .
April 29, 1996 |
Too many contemporary singer-songwriters confuse transparent affectation with originality as they slur, growl, sneer and intone off-key throughout the course of an album or a concert. That makes Shawn Colvin--with her gorgeous voice and natural instinct--a rarity on the current folk-pop scene.
January 28, 1993 |
Did the 1980s produce a better band than the Replacements? Say what you will about London, New York, Seattle and Athens, Ga.; I've always considered Minneapolis to be the capital of the post-punk era, chiefly because of Husker Du and the Replacements. "Let It Be" is the first of the Replacements' Holy Trilogy (which also includes 1985's "Tim" and 1987's "Pleased to Meet Me"), albums that established this band as not only fun but great.
November 7, 1998
Both during and since his tenure with the Pixies, Frank Black's performances have been revved-up, yowling and barking attempts to break out of ordinary life into some special realm of release. It was a surprise then to hear Black open his show Thursday for a half-capacity, but adoring, crowd at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano with a controlled baritone croon on a slowed-down version of the Pixies' nugget "Wave of Mutilation."
March 10, 1996 |
The NBC sitcom "Friends" has already spawned a hit record--the Rembrandts' performance of the theme song, "I'll Be There for You." Now how about "Smelly Cat"? The song, part of the repertoire on the show of the spacey, tonally challenged singer-songwriter Phoebe (played by Lisa Kudrow), has become a favorite of some viewers who, via letters and Internet discussions, have been asking for it to be made available on an album. That's exactly what Reprise Records' Klein would like to do.
March 8, 2003 |
Jesse Malin is not what he once was. The big punk-rock hair is gone, and so is his band, the D*Generation, gone too soon to enjoy the current mania for garage rock. Malin is now a hard-core troubadour, making folk-rock for the underground, with a sound falling somewhere between Paul Westerberg and early Bruce Springsteen. It fits him well, like an old rock T-shirt that he maybe always preferred anyway.
August 6, 1995 |
"Calling from the station, calling from the edge of desperation. . . ." That's Johnette Napolitano on the line, and it sure didn't take the feisty L.A. singer long to get back into fighting form. Barely a year after the end of Concrete Blonde, she's leading another trio into battle against the demons. She doesn't always vanquish them, but she never gives them less than the fight of their lives.