May 12, 1998
Stuck Mojo (Century Media Records),
A dash of hard core rap, southern ethnocentrism, and a whole lot of metal makes the band Stuck Mojo. I would love to stick Puff Daddy in a room with these guys so I could watch them beat the crap out of him. Stuck Mojo's music is moving in an L.A. earthquake kind of way. Corey Lowery's bass lines will twist your underwear. With the pounding codes of drum sounds from Bud Fonsters, Lowery thickens the undertones of Stuck Mojo's sound. Just as impressive to me was the guitar work of Rich Ward. This fella will scare you with his hard hitting riffs, especially when they take frequent 80's swing. Headman Bonz completes the unique equation with his energetic, L.L. Cool J on crack, rap lyrics and voice.
All of these Georgia natives possess no hesitation when it comes to pushing and shoving. They don't look past the first punk, bully, or suit. Everybody gets it. If you are a hard core metal head you will definitely like Stuck Mojo's latest album, RISING. Touring with bands like Testament and Type O Negative speaks plenty for their reputation. To learn more about Stuck Mojo, write to 1453A 14th Street, Suite 324, Santa Monica, CA 90404. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
MOMENT OF TRUTH,
Gang Starr (Noo Trybe Records/ Virgin Records),
10 out of 10
I picked up the new album by Gang Starr -- a collaboration between Guru (of Jazzmatazz fame) and DJ Premier -- on the recommendation of a friend, and I was immediately blown away. What first got me was the unique sound of the album. It has the deep groves and jazziness of De La Soul but with a little bit of a harder and more intense edge that is easily found in Wu-Tang Clan. The most notable thing about this album is the beautiful harmony between Guru and DJ Premier. Guru's raps are smart and they flow fluently, while DJ Premier might just be one of the most exciting DJ's today. His samples and beats are not only complex and dynamic, but fairly eclectic as well. He samples everything from old soul songs to sound clips about astronomy and metaphysics. This is undoubtedly the best album of the year to date. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
-- Matt Kessler
FRAME AND CANVAS,
Braid (Polyvinyl Records),
6 out of 10
This must be the fourth album that I reviewed since February that was produced by J. Robbins of Jawbox fame. Based on the popularity of Jawb, I'm sure a lot of people consider this a good thing. I don't. While technically a good producer, everything he produces ends up sounding like Jawbox. Even Braid. Maybe I should start of by saying that I have never really liked Braid. While they seemed like really nice guys and their stage show was really energetic, their music has just never done it for me. Their old stuff always seemed terribly mediocre and slightly boring, but then again they're a band who just gets up on stage and rocks really hard and thoughtlessly and that's never been something that's appealed to me. On this album, they try to pick up that unique Jawbox sense of smartness and instead of expanding their appeal it just negates all of their charm. At some parts it's fairly nice and catchy, but the whole Braid sensibility doesn't really spill over the entire album. Instead it just stains the surface and is intermittently appealing throughout the album. I've played it for my friends who like Braid and they didn't particularly care for it either. So I don't think that it's just me. I don't necessarily think that this is going to be suggestive of Braid's future (that is to say I still think they have the potential to put out good albums), it's just that this album will be a poor spot in an otherwise respectable repertoire. I would still recommend going to see them play and checking out their other stuff, just not this.
Write Braid at PO Box 1885, Danville, IL 61834.
-- Matt Kessler
Jonny and the Shamen (Loch Ness Records TMA 007),
Are you a secret agent on the move? Are you tired of working in the shadow of the "James Bond Theme"? You won't have to anymore thanks to the new CD by Jonny and the Shamen entitled OPERATION: TWANG! Through digital encryption, they have been able to create themes for the various predicaments a working secret agent may find her/himself in. For those incredibly unbelievable super-speed chases through metropolitan areas, check out "Jonny!" For those times of smug suaveness (and the seduction of a counter-agent) you need "Beat Party." Traveling to confidential desert bunkers? Then use "Camel Dance" to give that Middle Eastern music flavor to your theme! As a secret agent, you come up against the forbidden, the strange, and the dangerous on a daily basis. But now, with OPERATION: TWANG, you can be ready for any situation.
Write to Jonny and the Shamen at 7769 Kali Oka Road, Saraland, AL 36571. Call at (334) 675-5267. E-mail at Danobookm7@aol.com or check out the website at http://members.aol.com/danobookm7/jonny-shamen.html. To contact Loch Ness Records: 2509 North 12th Avenue, Pensacola, FL 32503.
-- Stephen McClurg