Thursday, July 7, 2005
AnniemalBig Beat | /679 Recordings
The Norwegian pop star Annie is hitting America in a big way—Anniemal is finally getting a proper US release. Sounds of Annie have been simmering and trickling across the Atlantic since her UK debut last year; her first US single, “Heartbeat,” has long been dubbed the #1 song of the year (since last year), and now Rolling Stone and MTV can’t get enough of her.
It’s no surprise that another bright, bouncy blonde is headed up the charts; but why is she being promoted so heavily to jaded underground hip-hop critics? Look in any indie zine, hipster’s blog, Pitchfork, Okayplayer—they’re all about Annie. In this circle, pop’s usually just another four letter word, and this is as bubblegum as it comes—the album kicks off with a song called “Chewing Gum,” for crying out loud! From there, Annie alternates between happy new age disco and slightly mellower hypnotic ballads, but she strikes a perfect balance with “Heartbeat” (it’s true, it’s a great song): Not too bubbly or serious, it’s just pleasant enough to keep in your head without being annoying. It’s clear she’s got the pop formula down—but what makes Annie so cool? I guess even hipsters want to have fun. (BS)
Give ‘Em The Boot | Hellcat Records DVD
As pure rock and roll as any CD collection of worldwide bootboy boogie would be, this visual, from the master of the form Tim Armstrong, moves quickly and wastes no space.
Great sound, clear visuals and devoid of any wimpery, this DVD offers up just enough of the “life on the road” footage to remind one that it’s a live concert set. Rancid and Transplants, Armstrong’s two bands, are the features, the former acoustic and electric and full of the romantic spirit that made them the latter-day Clash. In addition, the Transplants one turn offered them up as the wack hybrid of the future, insanely proficient drumming plus quasi-rapped punk vocalizing.
You get Iggy singing “No Fun” with Rancid, the Dropkick Murphys celting away and the Nekromantix stealing the show with their metallic Goth-a-billy. Purely terrific—order it now! (JA)
‘Round About Midnight | Columbia/Legacy
Miles’ first full-lengther for Columbia—where he was to remain for the next 30 years—has aged gracefully and then some. Augmented by the not-quite-yet-modally marvelous John Coltrane on tenor sax, this is the true birth of the cool, Monk plus standards assayed and all. Not to mention a bonus bevy of unreleased gems from the same general era, including ‘Trane replaced by the dual horns of Zoot Sims and Gerry Mulligan.
Liner notes from Gene Norman, full-color booklet, the shebang and then some, this is a post-bop fan’s nocturnal emission on CD. While it could have been mastered louder (my general complaint with all of Miles’ reissues—they were less subdued on vinyl the first time), this disc opened the door on the greatest jazz bandleader’s greatest era, from 1955 to 1975, where each incarnation of his groups set the standards in free, fusion and funk-based jazz. This one’s right up there with Kind of Blue—get it. (JA)