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 Shearwater in NY Times 
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Joined: 29 Feb 2004 13:56
Posts: 28
Location: austin tx
This is from the Sunday NY Times:

Playlist: Rap by the Beatles and Reggae by Alicia Keys

February 29, 2004

ALICIA KEYS Her hit "You Don't Know My Name" is a
glimmering slow jam, plushly upholstered by the producer
Kanye West. Now the same song is also an underground
favorite, thanks to a lovely remix that matches her voice
to a slightly out-of-tune reggae groove. The original
sounded old-fashioned, but the reggae version sounds
positively ancient, like some lost classic salvaged from a
dusty Kingston record shop. The remix hasn't been
officially released, but some radio stations (including Hot
97, WQHT-FM in New York) are already playing it, and
bootleg vinyl singles are percolating through D.J.-friendly
stores and Web sites.

THE BEATLES A few months ago, the emerging hip-hop producer
Danger Mouse remixed Jay-Z's "Black Album" using beats made
from samples of "The Beatles," better known as "The White
Album." The result was an impressive experiment, "The Grey
Album," followed shortly by a flurry of cease-and-desist
orders, which in turn inspired a minirebellion: a Web site,, called for a day of "coordinated civil
disobedience" - everyone downloading at once. But another,
less well-known hip-hop tribute to "The White Album" is
even stranger and more inspired. Ghostface Killah's "My
Guitar" is a left-field hip-hop track based on the jazz
guitarist Jimmy Ponder's version of "While My Guitar Gently
Weeps." (Visit to download a preview.)
Ghostface delivers manic rhymes about drug dealing, then
switches to an absurd falsetto for the chorus: "Don't be
stupid/ Don't make me use it/ 'Cause you can't sell here
anymore." It's hilarious, except that, as always, he sounds
as if he is about to cry.

MINDY SMITH Her excellent debut album, "One Moment More"
(Vanguard/Welk), begins with a song called "Come to Jesus,"
and the title is meant as neither a provocation nor a joke.
"Come to Jesus and let him hold you in his arms," she
pleads, but this is a different kind of evangelism - the
advice is directed at herself. Ms. Smith is a
singer-songwriter in love with stillness, and her voice
resists the urgent tug of the lyrics. When she sighs, "I
need a hurricane to empty out this place," the notes just
hang in midair. The album ends with a brave version of
"Jolene": brave not just because Ms. Smith finds room to
play with the vocal line, but because she does it with
Dolly Parton right alongside her, singing backup.

JACKI-O This Miami rapper had a breakthrough single with
"Nookie," a smooth, swaggering tribute to, um, herself,
with a beat that echoed the 1983 club classic "White
Horse." (Visit to watch the video online.)
Her latest, "Slow Down," is circulating on hip-hop
mixtapes, and it's even better. Over a devastating
Timbaland track, she calmly rewrites other rappers' catch
phrases and slyly sidesteps radio censors: "Jacki-O, a gift
not a curse/ Think I'm an 'itch now? Well, the rash gets
worse." Her debut album, "Poe Little Rich Girl" (Poe
Boy/Warner), is due out on March 9; could it all be this

ELECTRELANE The second album by this all-female British
band is "The Power Out" (Too Pure/Beggars), an indie-rock
triumph that runs on restlessness. There are lyrics in four
different languages, and even the quietest songs are
undermined by jitters and eruptions. It works because the
band strikes an ingenious balance between playful and
furious: the last track is a prickly piano-and-drums duet
called "You Make Me Weak at the Knees," which could be
either a carefully composed piece or an inspired bit of
goofing off.

SHEARWATER An Austin, Tex.-based band led by two
singer-songwriters, Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff, who
also play together in Okkervil River. Together, they made
"Winged Life" (Misra), an uneven but engrossing album that
tries to capture the way love feels when it's fading. Mr.
Sheff has a knack for delivering startlingly precise lyrics
in the world's mopiest voice, but Mr. Meiburg contributes
the album's most memorable song, a mysterious, echo-soaked,
banjo-driven lament called "Whipping Boy." The album won't
be in stores until March 16, but it's available now from

BEENIE MAN This reggae star is still recovering from a
January car accident, but he sounds better than ever - at
least on record. He has a hit with "Dude," a
steel-drum-driven duet in which he trades pickup lines with
Ms. Thing; both resurrect the robot-voice gimmick that Cher
wore out a few years ago. He also makes an impressive
appearance on "Dreamweaver" (, an
enthralling "riddim album" (one beat, 15 different songs)
produced by Steven (Lenky) Marsden. The sound of
"Dreamweaver" is dense and eerie, with disembodied voices
and an angular piano line. Somehow, Beenie Man turns this
soundscape into an infectious pop song called "Greatest
Species," built around a to-the-point rallying cry: "More
gal!/ You better gimme dem plenty/ More gal!"

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29 Feb 2004 14:05
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