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Blue Man Group Brings Out 2003’s First Must-Hear PDF Print E-mail
Music - Music News
Written by John James   
Tuesday, 15 April 2003 18:00
The first must-hear record of the year comes from the Blue Man Group, a trio of nameless, faceless cobalt-silver surfers of the double helix as both pop-culture artists and electronic-music stream-clashers. With the group’s new album, The Complex, this mute alien threesome goes beyond the grid and becomes the grid themselves, collaborating with guest vocalists and lyrics for the first time. Best known from their series of television commercials for Intel computer processors and their appearance with Moby and Jill Scott on the 2001 Grammy Awards, this Tuesday’s Lava Records release harnesses the band’s hypnotized performance-art rhythms into one heck of an engaging rock record – one pounding away at PVC pipes with giant drum sticks. Not unlike those other faceless brethren, The Residents, the Blue Man Group seems to have risen from some electric watercolor Bouillabaisse, crawling up on the sand and beating together the first things they could grasp. Much more kinetic than feral, these workout-friendly tracks pulse and pop with waves of drums and walls of rhythm. Monster rock highlights include the track “Up to the Roof,” featuring Tracy Bonham, and the anthropological study of the hairless ape in the black concert T-shirt, as “Time to Start” leads the class through the “basic head-bob” and the “up and down jumping motion.” Cool passages pop up everywhere, from guitarist Nels Cline and turntablist Rob Swift to producer Dan the Automator with guest vocalist Dave Matthews. Other gems include Esthero grinding through a lusty vocal cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” and the lush vocals of Spain’s Josh Haden on “Persona.” Highly recommended for those who’ve treasured Laurie Anderson, Talking Heads, and David Van Tieghem albums, or other perfect Technicolor headphone experiences.

Television Alert:

The Late Show with David Letterman hosts Todd Rundgren tonight; The Tonight Show with Jay Leno welcomes Tori Amos tonight, Ziggy Marley on Friday, Chantal Kreviazuk on Monday, and the Blue Man Group on Tuesday; Late Night with Conan O’Brien features Burning Brides on Friday overnight and The White Stripes on Tuesday overnight; The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn boasts Johnny Marr of The Smiths on Thursday overnight; Jimmy Kimmel Live gets Disturbed on Thursday overnight; Last Call with Carson Daly makes change with 50 Cent on Friday overnight; and Saturday Night Live’s musical guest this weekend is the Dixie Chicks.

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

Acceptance – Black Lines to Battlefields (Militia Group) CD EP with bonus video for “Permanent”

Arab Strap – Monday at the Hug & Pint (Matador)

Marcia Ball – So Many Rivers (Alligator)

Big Star – Big Star Story (Rykodisc) new CD retrospective of album and solo tracks

Black Label Society – The Blessed Hellride (Spitfire) new from Zakk Wylde with guest vocalist Ozzy Osbourne

Luka Bloom – Amsterdam (Evolver) live album

Randy Brecker – 34th N Lex (ESC Records) with guests Fred Wesley, David Sanborn, and Ronnie Cuber

Caesars – 39 Minutes of Bliss in an Otherwise Meaningless World (Astralwerks) Farfisa-organ-driven garage rock from Sweden

Captain Beefheart – Some Yoyo Stuff (Music Video Distributors) DVD

Evan Dando – Baby I’m Bored (Setanta) new from the Lemonheads founder

Dashboard Confessional – Swiss Army Romance (Vagrant) re-issue of the group’s 2000 debut

Death by Stereo – Into the Valley of Death (Epitaph)

Mark Oliver Everett – Music from the Film Levity (Pleximusic) original score from e of the eels

The Fight – Wot! No Beer? (Pink & Black) Eight-track CD EP from Dudly, Great Britain

The Flaming Lips – Fight Test (Warner Bros) EP of covers, oddities, and nifty enhancements

Frenzal Rhomb – Sans Souci (Fat Wreck) Aussie punk gone Californian

Garage a Trois – Emphasizer (Tone-Cool) featuring Charlie Hunter and Stanton Moore

Jerry Garcia & Howard Wales – Hooterroll? (Evolver) CD re-issue of Garcia’s first non-Grateful Dead release, from 1971

Goldfrapp – “Train” (Mute) new single from the forthcoming Black Cherry album

Hangnail – Transparent (Tooth & Nail)

Gemma Hayes – Night on My Side (Astralwerks) domestic release of this Mercury Music Prize nominated debut

Mark Insley – Supermodel (Rustic) new from the Tucson singer-songwriter featuring his cover of Johnny Paycheck’s “Pardon Me (I’ve Got Someone to Kill)”

The Jayhawks – Blue Earth (Rykodisc) CD re-issue from 1989 with three bonus tracks and new liner notes

Jing Chi – Live! (Shrapnel) new from guitarist Robben Ford

Kaki King – Everybody Loves You (Velour) acoustic-guitar prodigy

Albert King – Talkin’ Blues (Thirsty Ear) recorded live in 1978

Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Compliments of the Mysterious Phantom (Hyena) CD re-issue from 1974

Chantal Kreviazuk – What If It All Means Something (Columbia) collaborating with her husband, Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace

Daniel Lanois – Shine (Anti/Epitaph) with guests Bono and Emmylou Harris

Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers – Cockadoodledon’t (Bloodshot)

Lynch-Pilson – Wicked Underground (Eagle Rock) new from Dokken’s George Lynch and Jeff Pilson

Madonna – American Life (Maverick) with guest producer Mirwais

Maktub – Khronos (Velour) debut from this acclaimed Seattle collective that melts rock with soul

Ziggy Marley – Dragonfly (Private Music) with guests Chris Kilmore of Incubus, and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea and John Frusciante

MC Honky – I Am the Messiah (Spin Art)

Bill McGarvey – Tell Your Mother (Thievery) debut solo album from the former Valentine Smith drummer/singer

Maria McKee – High Dive (Viewfinder)

Meat Puppets – Alive in the Nineties (Music Video Distributors) DVD featuring the “Big Bottom Summit” of Cris Kirkwood, Flea, and Mike Watt

North Mississippi Allstars – Polaris (Artemis) featuring brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson; the song “Eyes” is featured in Disney’s new film Holes

The Orange Band – All Around (Lookout) anticipated jangle pop featuring vocalist Roman Kubler

Phunk Junkeez – Rock It Science (Suburban Noise)

Pole – 45/45 (Mute) EP featuring Ohio-based rapper Fat John

Amy Rigby – Till the Wheels Fall Off (Signature Sounds)

The Scumfrog – Extended Engagement (Effin Records) two-CD set from the Amsterdam DJ

Michelle Shocked – Texas Campfire Takes (Mighty Sound) two-CD reissue with tape-speed correction and a 52-page booklet

Skindred – Babylon (Bieler Bros) “ragga punk metal” from the U.K.

Nobukazu Takemura – Songbook (Bubblecore) new from the Japanese electronic composer

Townes Van Zandt – In the Beginning (Compadre) 10 long-lost demos from 1966

various artists – CBGB: Punk from the Bowery (Music Video Dist) DVD

The Yardbirds – Birdland (Favored Nations) all new with founding members Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty, with guests Steve Vai, Brian May, Jeff Beck, and Slash

Zongamin – Zongamin (XL)
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