Moby “Animal Rights” (Elektra)
Like Ice-T in the early ‘90s, techno/ dance artist Moby has shifted artistic gears on his latest release, largely abandoning the genre he helped pioneer in favor of hard-hitting alternative rock. While some fans may decry Moby’s defection, many will embrace the album’s authenticity. From the punk/goth rock vibe of “Someone To Love” and “Soft” to the furious assault of “Heavy Flow” and “You,” and from the industrial groove of “Come On Baby” to the ethereal vibe of “Anima,” the album offers a varied plate for music fans who can appreciate the spacey experimentalism of Brian Eno and David Bowie and the unrelenting energy of Rage Against The Machine. A bold new artistic direction for an artist who refuses to limit himself.
“Love Travels” (Mercury)
Kathy Mattea has always walked her own path, and this quirky collection of thematic songs dealing with spirituality is no exception. She’s always had great ears for good songs and has gathered 11 gems here, from Jim Lauderdale’s “I’m On Your Side” to Lionel Cartwright’s “If That’s What You Call Love” and Jerry Lynn Williams’ ethereal “Sending Me Angels.” She’s also got two Gillian Welch songs, including the current single, the rocking, insistent “455 Rocket.” Is it country? Is that even a viable question anymore? It’s Kathy Mattea at her best, which is very good indeed.
The Jazz Passengers Featuring Deborah Harry
“Individually Twisted”(32 Records)
Having collaborated on material for the Jazz Passengers’ fabulous “In Love” project, the downtown New York improvisationalists and new-wave diva Deborah Harry cut a whole album together, fusing their distinct sensibilities into a surprisingly effective musical ensemble. Also featuring Elvis Costello on his composition “Aubergine” and in a duet with Harry on “Doncha Go ‘Way Mad,” the album unites the best of the Passengers’ instrumental inventiveness with the talents of two endlessly versatile singer/songwriters, diminishing none of the appeal the various players have on their own. Other highlights include a remake of the Blondie hit “The Tide Is High,” originals “Maybe I’m Lost” and “Pork Chop,” and two David Cale collaborations.
“Generations I - A Punk Look At Human Rights” (Ark)
Punk compilation featuring the likes of Joe Strummer, Pennywise, Green Day, the John Doe Thing, the Vandals and Bad Brains benefits the Action Center for Human Rights, which is trying to promote awareness of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Compiled and executiveproduced by Jason Rothberg of Los Angeles punk indie Lion’s Pride Records, “Generations I” consists mostly of new material, its focal track being Strummer’s title theme, which is an aggressive but uplifting anthem that marks the artist’s return to the spotlight after an absence of several years.
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