Give the People What We Want: Songs of the Kinks
(Sub Pop/Burn Burn Burn/Right Now)

The finest performance on Give the People What We Want: Songs of the Kinks, is the Murder City Devils' bloodied and beautiful rendition of "Alcohol." Spencer Moody's commanding vocal performance spills all over Leslie Hardy's careful piano playing, while the remaining Devils create an emotional sonic foundation for the song's bitter narrative. "Alcohol" is soulful, intelligent post-punk cabaret. The Fastbacks' "Waterloo Sunset" is the album's other gem: Kim Warnick's voice is disarmingly pretty, and Kurt Bloch, both in performance and production, gives the song ample dreamy texture. The Makers pull out fine, glammy melodrama on "Strangers," with Mike Maker's voice fraught but rewarding. Mudhoney's "Who Will Be the Next in Line," while not the band's most exciting contribution to rock music, is spot-on; Love As Laughter's "Tin Soldier Man" has Sam Jayne bright and silly with trumpets; and Mark Lanegan's haunted and intimate stamp is all over "Nothin' in the World Can Stop Me from Worryin' 'Bout That Girl." Otherwise, the album (with 19 songs in all) is typical of tribute records. Bands like the Briefs and the Pinkos are fun but predictably punky, while Jon Auer and the Minus Five are well-produced, classic-sounding, and mostly unmoving. Some moments on the album feel dull, and most of the highlights could be higher. Still, Give the People What We Want is worth the price tag for "Alcohol" and "Waterloo Sunset" alone. JEFF DeROCHE


(Division One/Atlantic Records)

For nearly two decades, guitarist Marc Ribot has distinguished himself as a resourceful sideman in bands led by Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, John Zorn, and John Lurie. Saints offers an opportunity to hear Ribot independent of his usual employers' strong musical visions, in solo performances that are expressive and experimental, authentic and alien. The touchstone of the album is the holy ghost of tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler, who drowned in New York's East River in 1970 and is represented by three compositions, including the title track. Among the nine other performances are works by Zorn and Lurie, as well as skewed takes on standards like "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," "Somewhere," and the traditional "Go Down Moses." But it is in his Ayler pieces that Ribot soars with a beat-up homemade sound. He tackles the plaintive "Witches and Devils," leaning into the vernacular inspirations with elemental force and pointing to the pulsing hurt that made Ayler a genius. NATE LIPPENS

This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic
(Suicide Squeeze)

Well, the worst has finally happened: Art-rock is back. But judging from local band Minus the Bear's five-song EP, the worst is actually pretty good. Even if you'd rather eat a King Crimson record than listen to it, you can't argue with the fact that this combo (featuring members of Sharks Keep Moving, Botch, and Kill Sadie) can play its damn instruments. How else to explain five boys with keyboards and guitars making a sound like the howling of a sentient sandstorm on the surface of Mars? Even with wry titles like "Lemurs, man, lemurs" and "Hey, wanna throw up? See me naked," this music isn't Weezer-y cute. It's more like a doomed astronaut floating off into deep space while listening to the strange, mathematical songs the stars sing to one another. It might be cold and lonely, but you have to admit it's beautiful. TAMARA PARIS

White Knuckled Substance


Vendetta Red's debut album lives up to the promise made on the band's "official" demo, Blackout Analysis, released last year. The new album is packed full of emo-rock, but it's frontman Zach Davidson's vocals that make White Knuckled Substance beautiful. At his quietest he evokes a chain-smoking Jeremy Enigk; and throughout the album you'll catch shades of other people's songs. But these influences all fuse together and end up belonging to Vendetta Red. On "Shatter Day," Davidson sings, "Our days are numbered 3, 2, 1/When you bit the bullet I held the smoking gun/Somewhere in these violent volumes/I'll find myself drifting in a sky full of scars." This type of writing is common on the album. Overall, White Knuckled Substance fluctuates between intensely emotional songs and downright enraged, blistering testimonials. BRYAN BINGOLD

Friday at the Hideout: Boss Detroit Garage 1964-67


When I hear somethin' this good I gets to twitchin' like a junkie kickin' gets to scritchin'!! Aw'ight! The Hideout was a Dee-troit teen "club," a weekly rented VFW hall, and the FIRST, er, club in Michigan to host live acts. Cool... well yeah, but they say the kids probably showed up on accounta the house band, the Fugitives, sayin' "fuck" in their version of "Louie Louie"! However, THAT ain't why I'm yammerin'... the club started a label... Hideout Records, and they loaded it fulla local garage acts, INCLUDING... the Pleasure Seekers, featuring a young Suzi Quatro! But that's just the icing on the cake. Hmmmmmm, I guess I oughta tell ya more, huh? Well, you're old enough to get yer own copy! Suffice to say FatH is a cool, rockin' document of a tiny slice of a local scene, and makes Michigan sound like a tiny place. Now then... them pics of a young Bob Seger is NICE, but fer real, Nawton: Get on them lawyers and wrangle us free some of Seger's stuff with the Last Heard!! MIKE NIPPER