CD Reviews

CATO SALSA EXPERIENCE

A Good Tip for a Good Time

(Emperor Norton)

Tasty platter of Norwegian Nuggets Cheese Whiz.

Truth in titling, the American debut platter from this Oslo foursome gets the party started faster than a barrelful of bimbo basement Pinks: Herein find a dozen tips for a booty-shakin' good time. Right off the bat, one detects the unmistakable whiff of early '70s hard-rockin' funky soul ("Deadbeat" is "We're a Norwegian Band" served up by Grand Funk Railroad down at Mitch Ryder's frat house), mid-'80s avant-skronk psychedelia ("Listen to Me Daddy'O" is magically delicious in a Butt- hole Surfers style), and contemporary garage-blooze stomp ("So, the Circus Is Back in Town" is staggeringly infectious and distorted ᠬa Jon Spencer). And who can resist a Zappa-esque song title like "Albert Bones Electric Meal" and its accompanying overdriven, funkadelicized power psych? Plus, while some may fear we've got the Next Big Strokin' Hive Stripes Thing on key tracks such as "So, the Circus . . . " or primitive riffarama chuggers "Move On" and "Tanquaray," the general arty-factual vibe hews closer to that of the original Nuggets bands, right down to the elegant Cheeze Whiz of Farfisa and psycho singer yelps. So, just to pop the proverbial Pink Floydian question: Which one's Cato? That would be vocalist-guitarist Cato Thomassen, who wisely adapted a more culinary-oriented stage name to the dictates of his jalape�ried combo. (Incidentally, the prior CSE album was called Salso Casa.) Think the music coming out of Norway is hot? Baby, this band's el asesinato caliente! FRED MILLS

Cato Salsa Experience play I-Spy at 9 p.m. Thurs., July 18. $8.

SPACE MONKEYZ vs. GORILLAZ

Laika Come Home

(Astralwerks/Virgin)

Monkey see, monkey do.

How does one winnow the jagged galactic-zombie-house-hop of Gorillaz—the brainchild of swanky producer Dan the Automator, risky Brit-vocalist Damon Albarn, and apocalypticartoonist Jamie Hewlett—into a daring slow-skanked, liquid dub CD that maintains the mirthful moodiness and melodicism of its originator? Practice. Denser than fresh-poured platinum and thicker than sens smoke billowing from trippy blip epics like "Jungle Fresh," the three U.K. dub-mix-downers of Space Monkeyz (D-Zire, Dubversive, and Gavva) celebrate the bullet and enjoy the silence. With their Hammonds set to the heavens, they turn psyched-Gor-greats like "Slow Country" and "Tomorrow Comes Today" into squiggly spacious, still-life-piano-pounded moments. Dripping with mournful melodicas and popping fresh with nubile brass blasts, the skull-rattling reverb mixes are more than "re"; they are far away in a "post" of their own finely divined freaky universe. What truly provokes these echo-plexed treks beyond dub's dusty digital domain is its use of new vocals from U-Brown, Earl 16, and Terry Hall. Best known as the voice of ska revivalists the Specials, Hall's distinctly laconic tones fly through the harmonic cool of his fellow singers in the most welcome career comeback since Michael Jordan's. A.D. AMOROSI

HASIL ADKINS

Out to Hunch

(Norton)

Reissue of rock's psycho hillbilly one-man band.

You think Elvis was cool? Jerry Lee Lewis a badass? Chuck Berry the pre-eminent "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man?" Jack White a brilliant less-is-more auteur? You think Nick Cave writes decent murder ballads? Shit, you need to hear some Haze. Adkins, a backwoods boy from West Virginia, spent the better part of the '50s in a run-down shack with a guitar, half a drum kit, a mono tape recorder, and various stories about girls crawling out of car windows, chicken walking, hot dogs, and "hunching." And he did it all by himself. "I can't have no band," he once said. "I like to change to different chords and can't expect nobody to follow me." This set of 20 songs includes tracks from Adkins' first vinyl release plus four bonus cuts, among them, his biggest "hits." Morning-after nightmare "She Said" starts off with primitive acoustic strum and the maniacal, guttural slang of, "I went out last night/And I got hitched up/When I woke up this morning/ Shoulda seen what I had in the bed with me." A few lines later, the tune becomes an all-out jump-blues rocker complete with a ridiculously worded chorus. "Ow/Eh/Ah/ Ah?" I don't know what the fuck any of it means, but it sounds cool as hell. And if that seems kind of strange, check out "No More Hot Dogs." Adkins howls and laughs like a straight-up lunatic while warning his girl that she better fill up on hot dogs before their date because he's got designs on chopping her head off. See what I mean? Nick Cave, eat your heart out. LAURA CASSIDY

 
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