Randy Krbechek's Metronews
May 21, 1997
An Upbeat Melissa
1996) - While she looks and sounds
American, 24-year-old Sophie Zelmani hails from Stockholm,
Sweden. However, her music, which brings to mind an upbeat
Melissa Ethebridge, touches on all the rock classics.
The new album was produced by Lars Halapi, a renowned
Swedish musician who also played guitar and pedal steel. With
her incisive lyrics, Zelmani brings to mind vintage
But other influences are readily apparent.
Thus, "A Thousand Times" features a
(circa Wavelength) horn arrangement, while "You and Him" comes
-influenced strings. In addition, "Tell Me
You're Joking" includes a J.J. Cale-style guitar lead, while the
concluding number, "I'll See You (In Another World)," brings to
mind Astral Weeks.
That's a heady list of influences. But Zelmani holds up.
Fans of classic rock will groove to Sophie Zelmani.
1997) - Having triumphantly
turned 50 on stage this spring at Madison Square Garden, David
Bowie shows no intention of slowing down. Earthling builds on
Bowie's continuing marriage of technology and adventurous
rhythms, to mixed results.
Which may be because the nine songs on Earthling were
developed during Bowie's gigs last year with industrial rockers
Nine Inch Nails.
Thus, tracks like "Little Wonder," "Telling
Lies," and "Battle for Britain" ride Bowie's inimitable vocals
amidst powerful guitar thrusts, jarring keyboard flights, and
tricky time changes.
The members of the band include Bowie on
vocals, guitars, and sax, Reeves Gabrels on guitar and
vocals, Zachery Alford on drums, Mark Garson
on keyboards, and Gail Ann Dorsey on bass and vocals.
Explains Bowie, "By the time of the album, the five of us had bonded as
a unit...I wanted to couple my hard-rock band with the melody-driven jungle
Adds Bowie, "In the last year and a half,
we have pretty much perfected the live mixing problems of balancing samples
and loops against live playing and singing in a festival situation...The
band who turned me onto this was Big Audio Dynamite
some years ago: there were two to three minutes of their show when I thought,
'This is the future.' What we are doing now is putting into practice what
I knew I wanted then."
I agree with Bowie:
Big Audio Dynamite
brought an incredible
breath of fresh air to pop music. (See
Unfortunately, Earthling (Bowie's first self-produced album since
1974's classic, Diamond Dogs) doesn't have the same coherency as
his last album, Outside. Earthling may work live, but it's hard
to follow in repeated listenings. And that's the mark of a solid
Rock (Kid Rhino 1997) -
As a follow-up to last year's Schoolhouse Rock box set,
Kid Rhino has released four individual CD's: Grammar Rock, America
Rock, Multiplication Rock, and Science Rock.
That's a smart marketing move.
The Schoolhouse Rock series aired on Saturday mornings on
ABC, and consisted of a series of three-minute animated vignettes
that taught about everything from the Preamble to the
Constitution to the function of conjunctions.
In small doses, cuts such as "Three is a Magic Number" and
"Conjunction Junction" are delightful. But the four-CD set was
overwhelming, especially in terms of cost for preschoolers. The
individual CD's make a lot of sense, and have good educational
(Arista 1997) -
Arista has digitally remastered
four Monty Python albums for CD. Long out of print, yet
immediately familiar to fans, these CD's have held up well over
Matching Tie and Handkerchief was Monty Python's 1975
recording debut, and features such hilarious sketches as "Bruces"
and "Cheese Shop." If you watched the show, then you know (and
love) this material.
Monty Python & The Holy Grail is the 1975 album of the
soundtrack of the trailer of the film. It was recorded live at
the 3:10 showing at the Classic Theatre in Silbury Hill, England.
Featuring material from one of the funniest movies ever made, The
Holy Grail is a must-own for Python fans.
Live at City Center is a 1976 live recording from the
Python's American tour. It too features gems from the TV show,
such as "Nudge Nudge," "Pet Shop" and "Lumberjack Song." Yes,
that's right, you can have your own recording of the "Lumberjack
Contractual Obligation was the troupe's 1980 swan song.
Compared to the prior three releases, it is mildly disappointing,
although one cut, "Martyrdom of Saint Victor," is an outstanding
A treat for comedy fans everywhere, the Monty Python albums
will not disappoint.
-- Randy Krbechek
Copyright (c) Randy
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