to Shrek (Dreamworks 2001) - Shrek is the animated
hit of the summer, a fractured fairy tale complete with blind mice, a big bad wolf, and three homeless pigs. The
film stars the voices of Mike Myers as the lovable
ogre, Cameron Diaz as the princess-with-a-past, and Eddie Murphy as Shrek's talkative donkey sidekick.
Though not a musical, the songs are integral to the film. And the music captures the tone of the film: trendy,
irreverent, and fun.
The soundtrack opens
with "Stay" by Self, and includes two tracks by hit-makers Smash
Mouth: their massive, "All Star," and a hepped-up cover of The Monkees,
"I'm a Believer."
Also included is "Like Wow!" by 14-year-old Leslie Carter (sister to Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and boy
sensation Aaron Carter), and Jason Wade (of Lighthouse) on "You Belong to Me" (a prior hit for such artists
as Gene Vincent, Dean Martin, and Santo & Johnny).
On the more subdued side, you'll find modern rocker Eels with
"My Beloved Monster" (from 1996's Beautiful
Freak), The Proclaimers with "I'm On My Way" (from their 1988 gold album, Sunshine On Leith),
and Rufus Wainwright (son of performers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate
McGarrigle) with a glorious cover of Leonard Cohen's,
"Hallelujah" (produced by Patrick Leonard).
The album also includes
"True Love's First Kiss," a melody of excerpts from the score produced by Englishman Harry Gregson-Williams
and John Powell [who previously teamed for the animated features Antz (1988) and Chicken Run
Shrek is a positive summer soundtrack, with bouncy hits for the younger
C, More (Elektra 2000) - Vitamin C (aka Colleen Fitzpatrick) dials
in her sophomore effort, More. With a contemporary pop sound, Vitamin
C continues the winning ways reflected on her hit single, "Smile."
Colleen's success with her debut release helped launch her onto magazine covers, radio, and movies (Colleen has
screen roles in both Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000 and the Ben Foster/Kirstin Dunst flick, Getting
Over Allison). Says Vitamin C, "It's all been an incredible experience. I feel good that I've been able
to accomplish a lot of things that I originally set out to do."
More, Colleen continues her blend of innocence and come-hither
sensuality. With tracks like "Sex Has Come Between Us" and "I Know What Boys Like" (the old
Waitresses' song), Colleen shows her bad-girl side.
Colleen shows her good-girl side on the ballad, "As Long As You're
Loving Me," and the album's best track, "She Talks About Love" (with synthesized vocals).
Colleen has a terrific production staff, and makes music in the vein of the early Madonna.
Catch this rising star.
Manatees, Snackin' With (Orange Recordings 2001) - Here's
one I didn't see coming. Hailing from Seattle, The Manatees have a psychedelic beach sound, complete with theremin
and wave-breaking surf guitar. Eighteen tracks of guitar-oriented instrumental rock, carrying on the proud tradition
of The Ventures, Link Wray, and Dick Dale. How can
you go wrong?
Our heroes arose from the ashes of Seattle's own, The Dehumanizers. The foursome consists of Phil Manatee on guitars,
theremin, and lap steel, Ed Manatee on drums and percussion, Mark Manatee on guitars, and Dan Manatee on bass.
You can tell
these guys are heading places when you learn that Phil Manatee played bass for the "Vampire Lezbos."
Another amazing fact: The Manatees played at Mark Manatee's children's
elementary school in 1999; Mark performed as a bunny, Ed was a wizard, Dan dressed as a devil, and Phil played
But enough about their storied pedigree. The jam comes with the music, from the surf sound of "The Model"
through the bouncy surf sound of "El Manatee" through the surf-pounding, "Instant Curry."
Yes, my friends,
there you have it: surf guitar rock, in all its glory. Hang ten with Snackin' With.
And in true DIY style, The Manatees boast that "the recording of this album took place in a dark and musty
garage affectionately known as 'the Collaboratory,' over three days with no one song performed more than three
times. What you hear is the real Manatees."
Tah, Into The Oh (Virgin/Luaka Bop 2001) - Geggy Tah is a four-piece
combo from New York City that plays experimental rock. With a sound that is by turns melodic, experimental, and
elegant, Into The Oh goes into modern territory.
Geggy Tah consists of Tommy Jordan on vocals, guitars, and various found sounds, Greg
Kurstin on Wurlitzer, mini-moog, and other keyboards, James Gadson on drums, and Pamela
Stickney on electric bass, theremin, and hammered dulcimer. Also appearing are Annie Church and Carson
Church on "Alien Vocals" and John Pfiffner on lap steel and Larry Millstein on Moroccan tablas (both
appear on the concluding "Love Is In Love").
tracks like "I Forgot," with its "Pakistani Pocket Trumpet," the band shows hints of Cake.
And "Holly Oak" is a smooth, soulful number that brings to mind Lenny
Into The Oh is experimental rock, the eclectic sound that Soul Coughing and G. Love work with. Says Tommy
Jordan, "We started out to make a party record and ended up making our most personal record yet." Also
making a guest appearance is Laurie Anderson, who delivers
"A Postcard From a Strange Cloud" on "Aliens Somewhere."
Into The Oh is a moving target, one with many complexities. But when the band settles into a groove on
tracks like "Holly Oak," you know there's a hit waiting to happen.
- Randy Krbechek © 2001
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