On the racks: September 12

Basement Jaxx, Brazilian Girls, Black Keys, Junior Boys, and more. . .
By MATT ASHARE  |  September 13, 2006

Junior Boys
Hard to believe it’s been over a decade since Basement Jaxx first scored a club hit with a little “Samba Magic.” But the production duo of Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton haven’t run out of nifty ideas just yet. Their new Basement Jaxx production, Crazy Itch Radio (XL) offers a less robotic take on the nightlife fun of Daft Punk; it dips into a little banjo-driven gypsy folk, and coaxes the legendary British singer Linda Lewis out of retirement for an alluring “Lights Go Down.”

Speaking of, ah, veterans, the Dutch band Bettie Serveert seemed destined to be forgotten as one of those great little ’90s bands who came and went straight into the where-are-they-now file until The O.C.’s tastemakers came calling last year. You can bet Bettie Serveert are taking full advantage of the exposure: their new Bare Stripped Naked (Minty Fresh) is a two disc set featuring a full CD of new material plus a bonus DVD with live footage, videos, and the usual behind the scenes extras. 

Akron’s Black Keys took a different route to setting up their new Magic Potion (Nonesuch) with a TV soundtrack: the Rubber City garage blooze duo hooked up with Denis Leary’s firefighters drama Rescue Me and joined the Von Bondies, Wolf Parade, and Ray LaMontagne on a comp that Nettwerk released back in May. They also finished up their deal with Fat Possum with the May EP Chulahoma. Not sure whether Nonesuch is a vertical or just a horizontal move, but the band sound as raw and raucous as ever.

You might not expect it from Brooklyn’s Brazilian Girls, the three-boy/one-girl foursome whose electro-organic blend of avant-jazz and suave pop seemed playful enough on their self-titled debut for Verve’s Forecast imprint last year. But even singer Sabina Sciubba sounds pissed on the new Talk To La Bomb (Verve Forecast), an angrier, more aggressive disc filled with fuzzed out synths, life during wartime rage, and only a touch of the smoky, late-night, chill-out vibe of their debut.

Yeah, Everclear are turning into one of those bands who feel like a guest who just won’t leave. I mean, it was fun for a while. Inspired, even. But does Art Alexakis really have anything left to prove? Apparently, he thinks so. And the disc’s first single, “Hater,” certainly doesn’t do the band’s legacy any disservice. But, c’mon Art: isn’t it starting to be time to move on?

If So This Is Goodbye is anything like their show last week at the Middle East, Junior Boys have hit on one of the better neo-new wave grooves since the DFA started producing singles. Think New Order basslines, electrofunk beats, and the playful allure of Scissor Sisters all rolled into one tight little package filled with hooks and melodies that seem almost too familiar, or maybe just familiar enough.

Sure, there are only eight tracks on Amputechture (Universal), the new Mars Volta album, but the hard-hitting neo-prog band go on for nearly 17 minutes on one of those tracks, and there are two other tracks that go well past the ten minute mark. Oddly enough, guitarist Paul Hinojos left the Sparta, the other band to emerge from the At the Drive-In split, to join Mars Volta last year and, along with a little help from Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante, lends his talents to Mars Volta studio album for the first time here.
Related: Freedom songs, Mining the past, Crossword: '''Tis the season'', More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Daft Punk, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Denis Leary,  More more >
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