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
Stiff trance, toothless two-step, antisocial drum ’n’ bass and antiseptic nu-skool breaks have left some e-music fans wondering what’s so fun about peace, love and dancing. England’s DJ-and-production duo Stanton Warriors thirsted for a return to frolic, and so created the world’s freshest sound, “break-step,” through artful genre jumping and individualized remixes. The Warriors’ The Stanton Session mix CD reaffirms the vitality of dance music as a participatory sport that continues to find fuel in the imaginations of its DJs.
The duo started out as party mates in England’s West Country, working together at a U.K. garage label, spinning out and remixing tunes to fit their vision. Their breakthrough tune, “Da Virus,” landed on the nu-skool campus, but left the curriculum open to melodic, revitalized booty breaks that lean on Miami bass and skip to two-step’s bourgeois pace. And their sound — a blend of funked-up two-step and warmed-up nu-skool breaks propelled forward by shout-outs and jiggy pop-hop rhymes — has single-handedly revitalized breakbeat production.
The Stanton Session is a groundbreaking compilation of hand-raising midtempo syncopation, featuring the Warriors’ Dominic B on the turntables; Mark Yardley throwing in bits, pieces and a cappellas from a sampler; and guest MC Moose leading the charge in the kind of sound-system serenade not heard since LTJ Bukem and MC Conrad tore up drum ’n’ bass with Logical Progression. Low-frequency attacks such as the Warriors’ remix of the Basement Jaxx’s “Jump ’n’ Shout” and Azzido da Bass’ “Doomsnight” gyrate, collate and escalate effortlessly on the new 19-track set; these British white boys have brought feel-good breaks back into the limelight through shameless genre slumming. The Stanton Session has more bounce than a ’63 Impala on hydraulic steroids. Whether you drink 40s, Cristal or Red Bull, you can certainly toast to that.
GALACTIC ZOO DOSSIER Magazine No. 5 (distributed by Drag City)
Galactic Zoo Dossier is a labor of psychedelic love issued 1.5 times a year by one Mr. Plastic Crimewave, known on more prosaic planes of reality as 27-year-old Steven H. Krakow of Chicago, Illinois. Millennial technology and Crimewave’s peculiar ambition mean that GZD — which once upon a decade would have been but a smalltime photocopied mail-only rantpaper — takes the form this issue of a nationally distributed, full-size, 52-page $15.95 deluxe mag-package featuring cardstock yellow-and-purple covers, an utterly mental compilation CD and 50 R. Crumb–esque story-plus-illustration cardboard “Damaged Guitar Gods” trading cards.
The ludicrous grandiosity of GZD’s format is almost overwhelmed by the single-mindedness of Crimewave’s determinedly lo-fi, third-eye presentation: The article titles are Pee-Chee-folder doodles, the text is handwritten, and all the illustrations are CW drawings of band photos or record-album covers. Paging through GZD — with its endless articles on psych-scene bottom-dwellers like The Smoke (“recorded in the summer of 1968 by possible genius Michael Lloyd”), The Moon (“delicate Hollies-style psych in the Sagittarius vein”) and Forever Amber (whose sole album was composed and arranged by a high school teacher and sung by his class) — one gets the profound sense of a bong-water-stained time capsule left to us by a 1969 teenage enthusiast with time on his hands and a lot of Oracle (the ur-hippie Bay Area underground paper) ink on his fingertips.
CW is not alone in his obsessions, and while GZD is full of the usual Ptolemaic Terrascope/Ugly Things/Here ’Tis/Scram zine subjects — Skip Spence, the Monks, early Alice Cooper, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Tomorrow, Cluster, Japanese acid rock — the perspectives are enthusiastic, informed and fresh. Syd Barrett or Kim Fowley or Frank Zappa turns up in every article, but where else are you gonna read about Chevy Chase’s psychedelic band Chameleon Church, Kraut-rockers Necronomicon (“serious, intellectual, unyielding bombast”) and contemporary S.F. band Mirza (“like Charlton Heston naked wrestling a wild bull in a Dayglo universe”) and get trading cards of cosmic guitarists like Randy Holden, Randy California, Gary Lee Yoder and Michael Karoli?
Unbeeeeeeeelievable. (Jay Babcock)
GEORGE JONES The Rock (Bandit/BMG)
George Jones is an unrivaled prolific force. In true hillbilly fashion, the Jones crew has lost count of how many albums he’s recorded, but his 164 charting records are an undisputed fact. The Rock is perhaps his 225th release and, like most all Jones albums, contains some mesmerizing artistry, a few amusing gobbets of bad taste and several outright abominations. Parity isn’t a serious concern, though, because when he hits it, the crap is forgotten.
That, of course, brings to mind Garth Brooks and his “Beer Run” duet contribution. It’s as corny a romp as Jones has ever subjected himself to, but the really awful part is the CD-booklet cop-out “George Jones does not in any way condone drinking and driving.” Still, the worst is yet to come, with banal, empty songs like “I Got Everything,” Music City dreck at its weakest and another representation of Jones’ mystifying carelessness over choice of material.
The worthwhile numbers hardly disappoint. The title track (about a gal who’s rolled away) and the intriguingly ambiguous ballad “Half You Over You” (a tale of soured love that also plays as a metaphor for Jones’ relationship with contemporary country) are loaded with the singer’s impeccable interpretive sensibility. The flag-waving lament “50,000 Names,” a grim visit to the Vietnam memorial, is a stunning example of Jones’ power, presented as a series of lyrical images. Jones runs through glimpses of memorial tokens — the voodoo offerings of beer and cigarettes, faded snapshots, weeping family members — with a range of plaintive phrasing, some words shrewdly sustained, others oddly shaped or affectingly downplayed, suddenly breaking into conversational recitation for maximum pathos. It’s a bushel of up- to-date corn, harvested with masterly skill.