A stopgap to keep Born Ruffians fans happy while impatiently waiting for the February release of their Red, Yellow And Blue album, the three-song Hummingbird (Warp) EP is a snappy surprise, not at all the one-keeper-and-two-throwaways deal you might expect.
Along with the breathlessly bouncy oh-oh-ohhhing title track, there's the similarly upbeat Kurt Vonnegut. How exactly it relates to the late author is anyone's guess, but it makes for a swell segue into an old-school R&B-inspired crack at Grizzly Bear's Knife, which shows why it's become a crowd-pleaser at their shows. Find out for yourself when Born Ruffians open for Caribou at the Opera House Saturday (November 10). www.myspace.com/bornruffians
You can't do a film about innovative New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat circa 80-81 and not have an awesome soundtrack to go with it. And that's what you get with photographer Edo Bertoglio's feature-length Basquiat film fairy tale Downtown 81 - a remarkably fresh-sounding cross-section of the avant-funk, no wave, art rock noise and abstract hiphop that coexisted in the Lower East Side scene at the time.
Since Ze Records boss Michael Zilkha is the executive producer, Kid Creole, Coati Mundi and James Chance are all well represented on the Downtown 81 (Recall) disc but, thankfully, the right tracks by Suicide, Liquid Liquid, the Lounge Lizards, Lydia Lunch, Rammellzee & K-Rob and Basquiat's band Gray are also included with the clear highlight being the two taut live-studio blasts by Arto Lindsay's DNA. www.myspace.com/downtown81ost
Condo for sale
Long before there was alt-country, Ray Condo and His Hard Rock Goners were busy making twangy hayseed music cool for punk rock kiddos in clubs across the Great White North. Today the trailblazing efforts of the late, great Condo are largely unknown to the new generation of No Depression subscribers, since most of his pre-Riccochets releases are sadly out of print.
But I'm pleased to report that Crow-Matic Records have noted the injustice and assembled a 17-track sampling of the five fantastic albums Condo and crew recorded between 84 and 94, cleverly entitled Ray Condo And His Hard Rock Goners. There's not much in the way of liner notes, and the thumbnail-sized reproductions of Condo's concert posters don't quite cut it, but the cover-heavy selection does a swell job of showing off Condo's thorough knowledge of obscure rockabilly and honky-tonk classics.
Condo was a true fan of the music, and that passion comes through on every crazy track. www.slimsandy.com
While many sample source comps that focus on original tracks carved up by hiphop producers demonstrate the beatmakers' deep-digging resourcefulness and chopping ingenuity, the Discovered (Rapster) collection of Daft Punk samples displays neither.
In fact, the revealing 12-track assortment of relatively common 70s disco and fusion joints by artists like Chaka Khan, Sister Sledge, Tata Vega, Cerrone, George Duke and others just underscores how little creativity went into Daft Punk's biggest dance-floor smashes.
Thomas Bangalter won't be thrilled with Discovered but it makes for a dope disco party platter nonetheless. www.rapsterrecords.com.