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
Still, the band does seem to be all on the same (nu)wavelength, from the Missing Persons mode of “New” to the provocative, Berlinesque “Comforting Lie.” And the buoyant jazz-standard-style romp “Bathwater” is nearly as vivacious as Kingdom cuts like “Spiderwebs” and “Are You Happy Now?,” while the wistful ballad “Simple Kind of Life” is better than their biggest hit, “Don’t Speak.” But No Doubt fans who expect more than just a few good candies in their heart-shaped box will be disappointed, as Return of Saturn’s so-so sweets (like cotton candy, you can never really sink your teeth into ’em) by far outnumber their addictive confections. (Lina Lecaro)
WOODY SHAW Givin’ Away the Store 2 (32 Jazz)Listen to Woody Shaw: Real Audio Format Cassandranite Sun Bath
As ferocious a hard-bop trumpet player as there ever was, Woody Shaw showed up in the mid-’60s right in time for his genre to fall out of fashion, his star just starting to ascend as fusion supplanted straight-ahead jazz late in that decade. Conventional wisdom states that little if any progressive jazz happened during the fusion era, but Store — culled mostly from Shaw’s 1970s Muse LPs — tells us that acoustic jazz was still vibrant, and that jazz trumpet was kicking hard, even if the audiences were smaller. In fact, the disc’s only unsatisfying cut is “Symmetry,” which shows the trumpeter trying to update his image by collaborating with avant-gardist Anthony Braxton. Elsewhere, Shaw is heard in the company of such giants as Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock and Kenny Barron, all of whom work magic for these sessions, and Shaw was clearly their equal. Unfortunately, a troubled personal life often interfered with his career.
When Wynton Marsalis arrived in the early ’80s and the ensuing “Jazz Is Back!” implied that all ’70s jazz was fusion, artists like Shaw, Ricky Ford and George Coleman were rendered invisible, as if they hadn’t churned out gems for a decade. But Shaw was in peak form during the ’70s, and Store is full of incredible playing. Compared most often to Freddie Hubbard, Shaw was actually more advanced in many ways — he was the Joe Henderson of trumpet. And though his most famous recordings were as a sideman (especially Larry Young’s Unity), many of his best are here.
Shaw died in 1989 after jumping in front of a subway train, but he generated echoes in such contemporary trumpeters as Dave Douglas and Graham Haynes. Store — with its supercheap list price — gives us an inexpensive way to check out a master. Call it a public service. (Skip Heller)
VARIOUS ARTISTS Magnetic Curses (Thick)
Inspired by record compilations that introduced regional music to the rest of the world, Magnetic Curses uncovers Chicago’s remarkably diverse and thriving punk scene. In the past, these collections often covered locales that had a discernible sound, such as Orange County, D.C. or the East Bay. But the 26 bands on Magnetic Curses have very little in common.
Originally from England and now residing in Chicago, the Mekons are the best-known band here, and their “Where Were You” is a very English, slobbering-guy-in-a-pub-style tune. Not from England, but with the whole fake-British-accent, we-support-the-class-struggle thing down pat, the Strike (among the best of the wannabe-British punk bands) deliver the fine anthem “Three Steps Forward.” The only group with a girl singer, Mary Tyler Morphine, sounds like a ferocious rottweiler tugging at its chain, while Oblivion and Muchacha are great, straightforward melodic-punk combos of the old-timey sort. There are a couple of forgettable ska-punk bands, a not-bad Pogues-influenced Irish bar band called the Tossers, and two groups made up of the remnants of Naked Raygun, of which Pegboy fares far better than former singer Jeff Pezzati’s latest aggregation, the Bomb. Several members of the Smoking Popes have a new thing called Tom Daily, whose bizarre “I Am the Bus Driver” sounds like an overloaded dump truck crashing into a mall.
The best song on the CD is “The Devil Has a Pussy” from Apocalypse Hoboken (whose sticker is prominently featured in a scene in the movie High Fidelity) — though the band broke up onstage at the release party for this album. Overall, this disc proves Chicago’s punk scene to be among the best in the country. (Adam Bregman)