In a gesture of solidarity with the huge number of Latinos who work and live in near-slavery conditions in Eastern Washington, Starbucks has produced Mambo Mio, a compilation of Latin music for yuppies. Actually, let me correct that: this album mentions nothing about farm workers. All we are left with is the selection of music, which is calculated to afford the yuppie a nice bohemian feeling while still pampering his or her Anglo sensibilities. The giants of Latin music are here, including Celia Cruz, Machito and Perez Prado, but so are fools like Dean Martin, appearing with his "Cha Cha Cha D'Amour." So if you want something Latin but don't like to eat sesos or fried pork skins, then by all means, buy Latin music, but not from Starbucks. Fortunately, I've written a poem to express my particular Latin music recommendations:
If you want a good Sonero, go to Maelo Rivera.
If you want a good Bolero, go to Roberto Faz.
If you want a good coffee, go to Vivace.
Starbucks can kiss my ass.
The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper 4 CD Box
I KNOW if you lerb Alice Cooper you done got alla the LPs. Hell, I even got the sucky ones. But if you possessed, you gotta snag THIS! FUCK, Life and Crimes is a fo' CD box--84 gotdamn tracks--servin' as THEE ultimate "all-in-one-place" source for rarities AND, duh, a chronological "greatest shits" survey 'o evolution from R&beat-ginnin's through the brief, albeit brilliant, flirt with underground, to producer Bob Ezrin's driven glam theatrics and on into Cooper's '80s pop metal. Come with a picture book o' history, too. Damn. Overall, I WAS rocked, anna coupla times sooprised, though listenin' to the atrophy o' such solid underground/AOR writin' to emphasis on stage- 'n' radio-friendly rock almost brought me to a woeful tear. But generally the 300 minute set is well paced 'n' entertainin'... helpin' out specially through the tough-to-swaller '80s holler! MIKE NIPPER
In an effort to further entice body-minded DJs to peep Quik's latest single, Profile pressed and comped "Down, Down, Down" as a picture disc. I make a deal wit' the roomie: I'll play the song first and if it's skanky, we don't put it on the wall. The song's got enough rolling bass and sparse clavinet to get the heads bobbing, and I end up with a 12-inch picture of somebody's bare ass over the kitchen sink. Actually, the funkiest jams are on the full length. Dock the brother for leaving out the horns (except on the ballad, where they are least needed), but the rest are unsampled, hamhock-slinging, paeans to pussy. Standouts: "No Doubt," "We Came to Party," and the ghetto-gleeful "Medley for A. V. (The Pussy Medley)." RIZ ROLLINS
Come On Die Young
After two full-length CDs , three EPs, and a re-mix project, Mogwai return with the downest of temps of the most plaintive, if not down-right sad, music yet. Taken separately, most of the tracks are perfect for when the climate outside your head is rainy green-gray most of the time (Mogwai hail from Scotland), but are devoid of the occasional angular playfulness of their earlier releases. The beat relief of "Kicking a Dead Pig" and "Come On Die Young" almost plods you to death by the CD's end. Buy now, play later. RR
Seven More Minutes
The Rentals' first record, The Return of the Rentals, was so instantly likeable and catchy that it was almost offensive--after listening to it I felt somewhat enslaved, I liked it so much. On this second record, the Rentals have toned down the pop and added more rock, and the result is an album less instantly likeable (you'll miss the Moogs), but just as good as The Return, if not better. The formula is still there--a little British Invasion, a little New Wave, and a little standard alternative--but Seven More Minutes is older and wiser than its predecessor. The band has actually made an effort to expand, which is almost unheard of in these bland times for pop. BRADLEY STEINBACHER
EVERYBODY who figger THEY know howda ROCK--indie, punk, 'r otherwise--needa get down an' git wif THIS. The Swell Maps' International Rescue, a kinda "best of" collection o' U.K. 45s, unreleased mixes, outtakes--"collector geek" shit, right? Welp, "geek" AIN'T the overidin' point! Turns out, this collection focuses less on their "experimental" experiments 'n' mo' on the RAW, "garage" soundin' punk, which, thankfully, thoughtfully, ain't typical English "punk-by-numbers." Rather, the Maps' "punk" tends to be above the bar, willfully noddin' to '60s Britpop, but also... ah, lemme jus' say this action smart like what ALL 'em indie kids WISH they coulda INVENTED! Dig? MN
Don't let that steamy Doritos ad fool you: "Smoke on the Water" was the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" of 1972. Once upon a time it was legit. Every garage band played something off Deep Purple's Machine Head--an oasis of metal-heavitude in a sea of early p.c. John Denvers. But forget your Flying Vs and Stratocasters--unbelievably, DP's über-heavy proto-metal is driven by... a Hammond organ! DP perennial Jon Lord inspired a generation of aggressive, unashamed keyboard players. Sadly, such keyboard skills became irrelevant in the '80s, with the advent of synths and the attendant "robotic" sensibility. The "heavy hippie" style was beyond dead. The '80s weren't kind to Deep Purple, though this box set is "rock" solid up through the final Purple CD (1984-98). That devastatingly "modern" decade finds the old boys talking in clichés and sleepwalking through bouncy pop metal. However, by the end of the side, they're in the '90s--which is to say, back in the '70s, and sounding a hell of a lot like Soundgarden. Buy Shades and you'll understand why a generation of guitar greaseballs wore holes in their Ritchie Blackmore T-shirts. SARA DeBELL