Waiting for the Moon

(Beggars Group)

More than once I've written that there are musical moments you can feel in the corners of your eyes. A gesture on stage, a particularly beautiful song lyric, an entire album that speaks to you at the perfect time--all create a sensation between sting and tear. In 1993, entire bands stung the corners of my eyes, Gallon Drunk being one and Nottingham's Tindersticks being the other. (I came late to Nick Cave and Scott Walker, artists to which the Tindersticks have been compared.) The Tindersticks' eponymous debut was one of the first albums that made me almost forget to breathe--its deep, luminescent blueness and crestfallen lyrics felt so vulnerable that the slightest movement might derail its course. Its follow-up, also called Tindersticks, is even better. No disrespect meant to them, but artists such as Eric Bachmann and Simon Joyner have nothing on Tindersticks lyricist Stuart Staples, whose downhearted vocals contrast divinely with all manner of strings and orchestration but are not augmented by them. His lyrics and vocals could hold their own with only acoustic backing. I recommend all the band's full-lengths except 2001's Can Our Love..., and the new Waiting for the Moon will be a stunning introduction to new listeners but less than perfect to true fans. Still, Moon is pretty as the saddest sigh, and admirers of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra duets will love Staples' pairing with Lhasa De Sala on "Sometimes It Hurts." KATHLEEN WILSON


So Stylistic

(Tommy Boy)

With beats as big and juicy as a chunk of Hubba Bubba and a female trio with more attitude than a Manhattan bouncer with a pack of bridge and tunnel trash, Fannypack inject dance music with a healthy dose of humor and get the party started on the upbeat. The group is the brainchild of New York's Matt Goias and Fancy, a DJ duo attempting to connect old-school dance music and new-school hiphop. Although they're the main songwriters behind this project, Goias and Fancy culled the slick-tongued stars of their show with skill--Cat (21) came from the club circuit and Jessibel (18) was selected after Goias heard her yelling on the street; she in turn got her friend Belinda (16) involved.

The heavy accents really make this disc, which is soaking in Brooklyn attitude--but less the new breed of that area's hipsters, even with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs sample in "Things," and more the cat-fighting, finger-wagging, no-you-didn't-girl street swagger spunk, even if it's exaggerated for effect. The girls use their charm to rap about chicks with "hungry crotches" (on their biggest hit so far, "Cameltoe"), give the clubs their shout-out ("System Boomin'"), and do off-the-cuff skits making fun of themselves and the people around them. All in all, this have-fun, get-loose debut is everything a good dance album should be--the resounding call to get up and move it, with a comedy component as slamming as the beats. JENNIFER MAERZ

**** eyes *** nose ** fingers * toes

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