By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
"Butta" shows how this country gentleman can be as triple-X as the next parental-advisory sticker-bearer, upping the sleaze quotient when he oozes, "Now we done a lotta talkin' and enough has been said/Girl, get up on this toast and let's see how you spread!" -- the neighborhood nubiles being the one vice Freddy allows himself. "Watch for the Hook" is the obvious lead single and sports a sample that'll be in your head for days, but, more interestingly, "Good, Good" bounces along on a honeyed speech-tic sweet as a Georgia peach atop meandering G-funk synth and trickling piano. Predictably, C.B. claims in the title track that he raps the best, but, to his credit, he's puts himself on the line with the rhetorical chorus "Who got their heart on tapes and CDs?" -- it's an endearingly vulnerable twist on hip-hop's standard-issue empty boast.
If Breeze has an identity crisis, it works to his advantage as he dizzily hopscotches through roles of philosopher, whoredog, pranksta and gangsta. Still, his most likable permutation comes across in "The Field," where the milky-smooth throb of bass and lovely echoes of chanteuse Nivea frame yet another Cool entity: the penitent before God who values the wisdom that only grandmas have. Multifaceted as he is, this MC is at his best just being his good-natured, red-blooded, level-headed self. (Andrew Lentz)
THE LUNACHICKS Luxury Problem (Go Kart)
Since their late-'80s beginnings, when they brattily tossed aside the street-cred Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon offered them, the Lunachicks have managed to be the purest of punks by offending punk purists. They started their career playing with appropriate badness and passion, but dressed up like thrift-store glitter rockers. They borrowed heavily from theatrical metal and pop, reinventing the Rock God ethos punks revile. Now they play too well and have actually started modeling for Calvin Klein. Yet all this punk rule-breaking only points up how true they are to the original punk spirit.
On their new Luxury Problem, the Lunachicks continue to beat out punk-correct short, braying verses on songs like the unison shout-sung "Knuckle Sandwich," but then stray nose-thumbingly into rock-operatic histrionics on the choruses. "Hope To Die," for instance, actually threatens to become an old-style Aerosmith drama replete with Theo's pointedly over-emotive wailing, but pulls back just in time with lines like "I take off my bra and cross my heart and hope to die/With a 36C." This couplet is a small feminist portrait, but, in Theo's suddenly bellowed reading, it's also a goofy joke, and the effect is one of schizophrenia rather than serious comedy.
Throughout Luxury Problem, the Lunachicks delight in their refusal to be defined by any existing touchstones, whether the serious Clash or the silly B-52s, and there is a wonderfully snotty willfulness about the way they'll drop in a harmony, say, just when it would most infuriate a punk scholar. By the time they close out the record with the classic-sounding 90-second punker "Down at the Pub," it's impossible to be surprised when the belches and fake-Cockney shouts of "Sod off!" make it clear that they're using punk to make fun of punks. What could be more punk than that? (Dudley Saunders)
JEJUNE This Afternoon's Malady (Big Wheel Recreation)
This band of Berklee School of Music transplants, now living in San Diego, recently returned to the Eastside to record their second full-length for Big Wheel Recreation, following 1996's Junk. While these jazz-trained indie rockers like to kick out the heart-heavy jams with emo-style lyrics and fervent guitars, This Afternoon's Malady is a very languid landscape, with the occasional electronic doohickeys, harmonica and the tasty layered voices of Araby and Joe.
The cosmic epic "One Transmission" is a big fave at KXLU and also happens to be the most gorgeous song on the album. The title track, a surprisingly shiny-happy song for this serious bunch, is a "candy-coated sparkle haze" for the "fuzz-pop kids": "When the bombs are dropping/I'll hold your hand/because you rock." Simply smart is "Coping With Senility (lowlife owns a pen)," where everything is "Existential . . . Way too surreal" and it "All leads to zero."
Malady has moments swirling with Icarus-soaring-into-the-sky profundity ("Solar") and others firmly planted on Earth ("Fixed on the One"), and it all wraps up in the crackling, lo-fi depths with "Same to You." Its 12 melodious songs are packed with substance and strength. (Rita Neyter)
HASH JAR TEMPO Under Glass (Drunken Fish)
Few CDs have surprised me more than Well Oiled, the 1995 debut release from Hash Jar Tempo. New Zealand guitarist Roy Montgomery -- always more interesting for his painterly sounds than for his compositions -- and Bardo Pond, perhaps Philadelphia's most rigorously tuneless drone-rockers, made their reputation with creeping jams that unfold like trudges home through slushy snow: atmospheric, sure, but you wouldn't want to live there.
Thrown together, though, for a spring 1995 jam session, Montgomery and Pond plunged themselves and their listeners into a stunning deep-sea dive. The tempos throughout the resulting CD are glacial, the mood murky. But over and over, gorgeous guitar tones bloom in the mix, translucent and colorful as jellyfish. Bits of shattered melody float over the current of muffled drums and silty bass like plankton. Well Oiled lasts over an hour, feels like four, and leaves me blinking, breathless and still.