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  Listen Up! 5/14/02 Listen Up!

Tuesday, May 14

Joi, "Star Kitty's Revenge," Universal Records. I just felt like playing this again. Some hard grooves here, harkening back to the likes of Bootsy's Rubber Band (whose "Munchies For Your Love" gets covered here) and Chaka Khan's Rufus whose "I'm A Woman" gets covered, too). Nice arrangements, too, with some songs opening up a lot of space for Joi's sultry vocals, and others surrounding her with lots of choral backing, and extra-hard funk. Joi is gonna be the new singer in Lucy Pearl, whose Rafael Saddiq is all over this record. That might turn out to be quite interesting.

Girls Against Boys, "You Can't Fight What You Can't See," Jade Tree Records. You can't fight it, but unfortunately, you may have to hear it. Sometimes they sound like bad Jesus Jones, sometimes like bad Iggy Pop, sometimes like bad generic alt-rock. Never do they sound like anything worth spending five minutes of your time with.

Various Artists, "American Polka: Old Tunes & New Sounds," Trikont Records. In the interst of full disclosure, I heard much of a really horrible new Heather Nova album, and a very little of a mildly interesting new Rush album, but I didn't have time to comment on them. Now, when I have time, I'm faced with this nutty sampler of 25 polka tunes from all over the map. Some of it's pretty cool, especially the really old recordings, before anybody thought to make fun of polka music. It's really a good form when done properly, with plenty of room for melodic interjections and spirited faith in the pleasures of dance. But, too much of this is either novelty crap or ironic bullshit. On the plus side, they did license Los Lobos' exquisite "Anselma," which stands out as a modern-day masterpiece amidst some of the detritus dredged up here.

--Steve Pick



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