**** Porking *** Humping ** Boning * Coitus

VARIOUS ARTISTS
The Necessary Effect: Screamers Songs Interpreted
(Xeroid Records/Extravertigo Recordings)
****
Most of the noise-damaged punk acts out there now owe their musical inspiration to the Screamers. The late-'70s L.A. band worked off of distorted keyboards, reckless drumming, and the visceral howl of maniacal frontman Tomata du Plenty, gaining a cult following based on their live shows and their complete deviance from the guitar-based norm. The fact that local labels Xeroid Records and Extravertigo compiled a two-disc tribute to a band that never had a properly recorded release (you're lucky to find a 7-inch or a bootlegged compilation from the band) is incredibly impressive--but it's the selection of bands (including a track by original Screamers KK Barrett and Paul Roessler) and material (a mix of Screamers stuff and songs the band mangled for their own) that really makes this release kick some serious ass. Although the spread of bands comes from all over, take your pick of local boundary-breaking punk acts/unusual performers, and they're lined up here and ready to rock: Akimbo, Intelligence, the Cripples, Ursula and the Androids featuring Jackie Hell, BlöödHag, A-Frames, Teen Cthulhu, and plenty of others. This is an excellent concept record, timed and executed well enough to offer a cohesive variety of great stuff. Dark, damaged, and totally offbeat, The Necessary Effect is a necessary disc for anyone who worships the art of punk noise. Be sure to check out the record-release party for these discs at Re-bar on Tuesday, August 13. JENNIFER MAERZ

GOLD CHAINS
Straight from Your Radio
(Tigerbeat6)
***
Peaches wasn't the first to blend raggedy homemade techno with songs about getting her clit licked, but she's definitely one of the current stars of that magical musical matchmaking. Gold Chains is part of the extended techno sex mob, as he proves on his second release, Straight from Your Radio. The Oakland beat-scalper raps over bass-heavy electronics that he chops into bite-sized buzz clips, and his best songs hit on the lavish world of high-fashion fucking. On "I Treat Your Coochie Like a Maze," the bald-headed party king commands, "Get that coochie over here I want to fuck it ah yeah/Get that coochie looking tight I want to lick it all night," before launching into a bad-boy diatribe about "making business." Meanwhile, "Let's Make It" keeps the bass dirty while the female come-ons continue with the work at hand. "Mountains of Coke" uses vocal distortion tricks to dust the VIP room up with "fake bitches," "tweakers," and white-powder toasts. While sex, drugs, and low-class techno work well together as a combo, the music is so understated in places that it tends to flatline, just as Chains is reaching his peak. That said, Straight from Your Radio is still good for thumping and humping through some (purposely) bargain-basement beats. JENNIFER MAERZ

THE VINES
Highly Evolved
(Capitol)
**
While the garage uprising that lazy hacks have lumped the Vines in with is, in essence, a return to an old-skool rock 'n' roll spirit, the prime press figures have stamped the band's retro-noise with enough personality to claim it as their own. Australia-via-L.A. quartet the Vines eschew Jack White's swaggering cabaret-blues genius or Pelle Hive's eerie IKEA-Jaggerisms, though. No, Vines frontman Craig Nicholls has self-consciously dragged his sticky fingers across rock's most well-thumbed sources, but brought little else to the party. So "Getouttahere" spits and scratches like Nirvana, only less so. So "Mary Jane" swoons psychedelically like Smashee Pumpkee, without the grace or grandeur. And so "Factory," bizarrely, sounds like Guided by Voices-go-reggae, the only moment of true charm and inspiration on this flimsy disc. The rest, however, runs like an idiot's guide to alterna-rock clichés, the epitome of post-grunge corporate rock at its nadir. The paucity of imagination contained herein is staggering. STEVIE CHICK

BETH ORTON
Daybreaker
(Heavenly/Astralwerks)
***
Lying on the median between the dusty highways of summery electronica and sun-burnished folk, Beth Orton's music sounds about as carefully faded as a new pair of Diesel jeans. Not that that's a bad thing. For her third outing, the British mistress of space-country leans heavily toward tradition, and her songs sound like a half-remembered American vacation. From "Paris Train" to "Mt. Washington," the album is accented by knob-twiddling and studio wizardry but clearly wants to be filed under "Country." Ex-Whiskeytown looker Ryan Adams makes a guest appearance (and writes the record's sweetest heartbreaker, "This One's Gonna Bruise"), as does Southern royalty Emmylou Harris, who helps Orton with "God Song"----a slow spiritual, but a spiritual nonetheless. Although Orton's usual suspects are all in attendance----the Chemical Brothers, Everything But The Girl's Ben Watt, "Ray of Light" über-producer William Orbit----it's her eschewing of late-'90s DJ hype in favor of subtle production and tender songwriting that provides direction here. The freeway's wide open, hers for the taking. JON DURBIN

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