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Architect of Space-Age Bachelor-Pad Music Dies PDF Print E-mail
Music - Music News
Written by John James   
Tuesday, 15 January 2002 18:00
• Raise a cocktail to the sky and nod in sad salute to the passing of Juan Garcia Esquivel, the “mood music” composer and visionary of lounge electronica. As mono LPs went stereo, Esquivel made bold musical explorations to excite the emerging hi-fi culture. Found in the hippest suburban living rooms of 1950s, his exotic wanderings and stunning cover-art conceptualizations thrilled sophisticated adults. The Mexican bandleader and architect of “space-age bachelor-pad music” died earlier this month at age 83.

• This Tuesday brings a fantastic new CD tribute to Prince, with 10 stunning cover versions by diverse indie artists. Bearing the title If I Was Prince: The Tribute Album on the Rex Records/Beggar’s Banquet imprint, the tri-fold packaging is just as compelling as the artist selection. Highlights include 7 Hurtz with Peaches & Bitch Lap Lap, popping the girl-power disco funk on “Sexy Dancer,” Simian’s theatrical death march of “Under the Cherry Moon,” and Misty Dixon’s fragile take on “The Beautiful Ones.” Other contributors include Hefner, Bronze Age Fox, Capitol K, and the Broadway Project with Jeb Roy Nichols.

• On the other end of the “musical genius” spectrum is Animal World Recordings’ recently released tribute to the pride of Freeport, New Hampshire: The Shaggs. Made up of three sisters prodded by their father to form a band and cut an album, The Shaggs produced Philosophy of the World in the early 1970s, now a cult classic that Goldmine lists as being worth $1,000 plus. The girls wrote such strangely beautiful art-damage gems as “Who Are Parents,” “My Pal Foot Foot,” and “You’re Something Special to Me.” Long held lovingly by many current indie singer-songwriters for their naive simplicity, the three were named-checked by Frank Zappa, who said in 1976 Playboy magazine poll that Philosophy of the World was one of his favorite albums. One of Zappa’s quotes about the band has been appropriated for the tribute’s title, Better Than the Beatles: A Tribute To the Shaggs. Highlights include contributions by Ida, the Danielson Famile, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Mongrell, and Deerhoof. The word is that The Shaggs’ life story is currently under production as a major motion picture.

Television Alert:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes Michelle Branch on Friday and Aimee Mann & Michael Penn on Monday; The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Willie Nelson on Thursday and Cake on Tuesday; Late Night with Conan O’Brien features Oysterhead overnight tonight, Dr. John on Thursday overnight, and Jewel on Friday overnight; Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher sits down with John Lydon of Sex Pistols and Public Image Limited fame tonight overnight; and Saturday Night Live’s musical guest this weekend is a must-see broadcast featuring The Stokes and Tenacious D.

New Releases Coming Tuesday, Jan. 22:
... and like the winds, young grasshopper, are subject to change

Alkaline Trio & Hot Water Music – Split CD (Jadetree) covering each other’s material and other exclusive tracks

Ash – “There’s A Star” (IMPORT) seven-inch, DVD, and two-part CD single featuring new tracks, a cover of The Fixed Stars’ “Here Comes the Music,” tour footage, and rare video clips

Azure Ray – November (Saddle Creek) five new songs and a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “For the Sake of the Song”

Bad Religion – Process of Belief (Epitaph) featuring the return of founding guitarist Brett Gurewitz

Beat Happening – Crashing Through (K Records) six-CD set

Luka Bloom – Between the Mountain & the Moon (Bar None) with guest Sinead O’Connor

Blue Six – Beautiful Tomorrow (Astralwerks) debut full-length album of disco soul electronica from New York-based producer and songwriter Jay Denes

Cobraman – Cobraman (Scooch Pooch) four songs from this “hip hop bat out of hell” and alter ego of Jimmy Luxury

Electrelane – Rock It to the Moon (Mr. Lady) pop electronica from Brighton, England, recently touring the UK with Le Tigre

Evil Beaver – Lick It (Johann’s Face) 13 new chop-busting riffs from this female rawk duo featuring two enhanced-CD videos

Garbage – “Cherry Lips” (Import) 12-inch and two-part CD single

Gasoline – “Take It to the People” (Estrus) 10-inch vinyl and CD EP produced by Tim Kerr

Government Issue – Complete History Vol. 2 (Dr. Strange) two-CD set from these Washington, DC, punk heroes of the 1980s

Neil Halstead – Sleeping on Roads (4AD) solo debut from this Slowdive and Mojave 3 founder

Hefner – Dead Media (Too Pure) domestic issue from this hot British trio

Danny Hooch – Jails, Hospital, & Hip Hop (Raptivism)

David Kilgour – A Feather in the Engine (Merge) new solo album from the founding member of New Zealand’s The Clean

KRS-One – Spiritual Minded (In the Paint/Koch)

Mates of State – Our Constant Concern (Polyvinyl) recently finished touring with Superdrag and The Anniversary

Mekons – Fear & Whiskey (Quarterstick) CD reissue from 1985

Mercury Rev – “The Dark Is Rising” (V2) import DVD and two-part CD single

Stephin Merritt – Eban & Charley (Merge) the Magnetic Fields’ founder with an original soundtrack to the feature film

Mighty Flashlight – Mighty Flashlight (Jadetree) new from former Rites of Spring bassist Mike Fellows, recorded with his acoustic guitar and a Powerbook

Nine Inch Nails – And All That Could Have Been (Nothing) format-sprawling single CD, double CD, DVD, or VHS release that documents the band’s Fragility v2.0 tour

Racebannon – In the Grips of the Light (Secretly Canadian) drawing from influences as wide as Captain Beefheart, the Melvins, Blue Cheer, and Bad Brains

Seaworthy – The Ride (Jetset) solo side project from Josh McKay of Macha

The Shiners – Bonnie Blue (Planetary Records) rising from the ashes of Dirtball

Sianspheric – The Sound of the Colour of the Sun (Sonic Unyon) atmospheric journey of droning waves

The Stratford 4 – The Revolt Against Tired Noises (Jetset)

Strife – Angermeans (Victory) two-CD set

Rosie Thomas - When We Were Small (SubPop) terrific debut from this Michigan singer-songwriter blending acoustic finger-picked guitar and piano into a beautiful coming-out party reminiscent of Joni Mitchell

Thuja – Ghost Points (Emperor Jones) featuring members of Mirza and Id Battery

various artists – Teenbeat Sampler 2002 (Teenbeat) super-cheap CD stuffed with Mark Robinson, Pocket Rockets, Versus, Flin Flon, and more

various artists – Almost Famous: Undiscovered Modern Rock Hits (Lakeshore) budget-priced compilation of new music from Nash Kato of Urge Overkill, Joe Reineke of The Meices, Grandaddy, Post Stardom Depression, and more

various artists – Sexy Swingin’ Lounge (Lakeshore) featuring “Mucci’s Jag” from the film Swingers

various artists - All Tomorrow’s Parties 1.1 (ATP) with Sonic Youth, Stereolab, Cat Power, and Unwound

various artists – MTV2 Handpicked (Columbia) 18-track collection featuring David Gray, Pete Yorn, Travis, Cake, and live Radiohead

various artists – Cinemaphonic Vol. 2: Soul Punch (Motel) mood and action music made available to British media-makers in the 1970s

Vermont – Calling Albany (Kindercore) emo-pop debut featuring members of The Promise Ring and Pele

Willard Grant Conspiracy & Telefunk – In the Fishtank (Touch & Go) six-track session in the experimental series
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