Home and Atau.

DYNOMITE D, By the Way (Slabco) It's a coincidence that the title of Dynomite D's debut album alludes to the Beastie Boys' The In Sound From Way Out—or is it? Both records are mostly instrumental, influenced by old-school funk and hip-hop, and indebted to keyboard player Money Mark. In fact, Dynomite D has remixed Money Mark and collaborated with the Beasties' former DJ, Hurricane, so he brings his own toys to the playground. A hip-hop collagist of the Shadow/Krush school, the West Seattle DJ/producer even lured Ninja Tune star Kid Koala to scratch on the clever, understated melange "No Excuses." At his best, D focuses on the origins of the b-boy: "Ya Don't Stop" and "Cold Rock" incorporate slithering horn lines, whipcrack percussion, and eerie, guttural vocals; "Bombin' Subways" flirts moodily with pitchshifting drum-and-bass to capture the adrenal rush of a clandestine tagger. The most relentless beats emerge in the analog experiment "No Empty-V" and the blaxploitation-flick soundscape "Stick 'Em." Then things turn narcotically mellow with the Jimmy Smith-tinged funk of "Alki Beach Dr." and "Lonely Trucker." D also feels compelled to share several song/skits that clock in at under 15 seconds each: the title track's dramatic symphonic air, an answering-machine message from local MC Kirk Dubb overlaid with lounge-piano tinkling, and a rasta's exhortation to "Live good!" Funny but dispensable, these snippets add little to the record's overall effect. With a more sustained effort, Dynomite D could be well on the way to making his own name.—Jackie McCarthy

HOME, XIV (Arena Rock Recording Company) Home are one of those bands that I've filed away in my mind; whenever I have the time, I wonder why they've yet to bask in the success of progressive-rock like peers Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, and Pavement. Usually I can placate myself with the fact that Home's spent most of their time in Tampa, Florida (not really a rockin' town), recording their stuff on cassette tapes (not usually a medium conducive to widespread success). But XIV—their 14th record, counting the tapes—is accessible and focused, current yet reminiscent of the great music that kids like me never got to experience firsthand. Listening to my favorite song, "Burden," is like visiting some special edition of 1969 and listening to the Band, but here the sound is even more than rootsy swing and loose harmonies. At other spots on this album, I feel like I'm at home with Sgt. Pepper or getting high in the back of a '72 Camaro with Emerson, Lake and Palmer. With tracks like "Chicago," Home belong to a growing number of indie rockers, the ones who, like me, are starting to figure out how to reconcile themselves with getting older: "Get your hands on a piece of land in Chicago/There you'll have a child and be a wife." Now that the foursome is based in New York and had Dave Fridmann and Michael Ivins (of Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips) in the studio this time around, dammit, I think this just might be the album that will lead them into the light.—Laura Learmonth

ATAU, Biorhythms (Sire/Caipirinha) Atau, a cosmopolitan Tokyo-based electronic musician, divides his first album into three categories: Blip, Noise, and Groove. You can guess which of these demarcations will be heard on the dance floor at I-Spy or ARO.space. When Atau drops the beat, there's no question that it's worth grooving to; too bad more tracks don't follow suit. The first song on Biorhythms, "heart:beat:monitor," consists of, well, heartbeat monitor sounds. At times the blips overlap for interesting rhythmic effect. The next track, "arteries:of:tokyo," sounds like cars driving by, then phases into white noise and then back again into cars driving by. So, roads are like arteries? There are trippy moments here, but when the tracks aspire to depth they fall flat, and these attempts constitute the majority of the release. They would lend themselves well to a high-brow multimedia presentation, the kind where you're trying to avoid looking at your watch because you'd obviously be the only idiot in the place who doesn't understand. —Dan Latimer

 
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