TV ON THE RADIO

Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes

(Touch and Go)

****
The most striking assets of the Brooklyn band TV on the Radio are the vocals--strong harmonies by frontman Tunde Adebimpe and guitarist Kyp Malone that waver between barbershop duet (especially on the a cappella tracks and portions of songs) and Peter Gabriel's icy hum, or take a deeper turn toward soul singers like Mick Collins when they play live. Either way, their prominent talents add warmth to a post-punk record that opens with stark electronics from David Andrew Sitek (minimal beats, light accents from flutes or horns) and slowly melts through the clinical aesthetic with plaintive emotions that, however somber, are still vibrant with feeling on songs about broken dreams and fractured wings or promises of being the ambulance to a lover's accident. Thin walls of space-rock guitars and feather-weighted drumbeats also add color and emo-esque charm to the band's first full-length, the follow-up to the crucially acclaimed EP Young Liars, in a release that's sure to propel the band further into the spotlight they deserve. JENNIFER MAERZ

CANDI STATON

Candi Staton

(Astralwerks)

***
In regard to Miss Staton's pre-disco SOUL, I got two words: Muscle Shoals! Uh-huh, that's THEE recording studio known for producing some serious shit in the '60s: Wilson Pickett... Etta JAMES... DIG? And this ain't much different--well... no less, for damn sure. Right, so this collection focuses on Staton's Fame label era, '69-'73, which tends to git DOWN on smooth AND funky "classic" soul--what some call "Southern" style, uh, as it was recorded in the South--driven with more emotion and sounding raw, well, at least versus the then-contemporary slick Motown clichés. Most of all tho', I'm excited for this collection 'cause now seems a good time for the rediscovery of Staton as it's action like this that reinforces how vapid and transparent today's pop R&B really is. MIKE NIPPER

BETHURUM

Ubiquity

(Concentric Records)

***
Bethurum's debut CD is unfortunately titled Ubiquity, and its opening track bears the even more unfortunate title "Ubiquity Is Everywhere." But because there's no singing on the CD, and therefore no songwriting, and because the Seattle-based producer of the CD, Benjamin N. Bethurum, is a musician and not a writer, the failings of the titles don't subtract from the actual content of the music, which is a charged mix of drum 'n' bass and hiphop beats. Containing no samples (a claim made on the back of the CD case), the tracks are ambitious in scope and ideas. Bethurum is not inhibited, or cautious, or smalltime; his tracks (especially "Wakes of Perfume" and "The Course Of") aspire to and often achieve a level of tension that's as wide and vertiginous as CinemaScope. Not the spare economy of DIY Seattle, but the voluptuous expenditure of a Hollywood blockbuster has made its mark on Bethurum's imagination. CHARLES MUDEDE

EMERY

The Weak's End

(Tooth & Nail)

*1/2
From the opening track, "Walls," all the way through the end, Emery's debut full-length, The Weak's End, is just another take-it-or-leave-it record, with each song following a too-common formula that doesn't allow anything to stick. There's no denying that Emery are good at what they do, but what they do is the same thing that 800 other bands are doing right now--taking a confused and angsty hardcore state and making it tolerable for the masses by sugar-coating it with a melodic prettiness. It's far too safe a structure to leave any sort of impression, and it'll probably get lost in the current storm of screamo. But the upside? It's a debut record and it's well produced. Now that they've gotten all this "follow the rules" business outta the way, though, they should unleash what they really want to say and put that talent toward something more sincere. MEGAN SELING

**** the shit *** caca ** doodi * turd

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