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  Listen Up! 1/27/03 Listen Up!

Monday, Jan. 27

Rebirth Brass Band, “Hot Venom,” Mardi Gras Records. Long ago, the Rebirth Brass Band surpassed the Dirty Dozen Brass Band as the premier outfit of its kind. This record came out a couple years ago, and it’s a funky, exhilarating burst of joyous rhythmic invention and harmonic explosions. A couple songs suffer from weak rapping, but mostly this is just exciting brass band music. There’s way more spirit in the non-rapping vocals than the raps. Not that hip-hop can’t inform this style, just that these guys don’t know the best rappers. Ah, well, I’ll take this kind of party action any day.

The Delgados, “Hate,” Mantra Recordings. Sometimes, the Delgados make me sit up and pay attention. Sometimes they just float by as background noise. I think the attention comes mostly when the woman sings. The man sounds kind of like a mumbly Jeff Tweedy. But the band can play, and they like to build big sounds out of low-key beginnings, and they have a few melodies that really get under the skin. I definitely like “The Light Before We Land,” which is the song I’ve heard four times now (more than any other song on the record), and “Coming In From the Cold” really sounded good today. “If This Is A Plan” just may be the most majestic thing they’ve done, and it even features the guy singer. Further attention shall be paid.

Various Artists, “Pop Punk Loves You,” Wynona Records. There are 25 different bands on here, all sounding exactly alike, all modeled on the Descendents template. Given the fact that it’s been better than 15 years since the Descendents mutated into All – whatever happened to Milo, anyway? – I suppose many of these bands could be imitating third generation imitations of the Descendents. Doesn’t matter. This stuff is so easy to churn out, so limited in its emotional and expressive range, not to mention the chord changes and melodies, that it will probably be impossible to tell the difference between these recordings and anything of this ilk which will be produced in the next fifty years.

--Steve Pick


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