MUSHROOM WITH GARY FLOYD

Mad Dogs & San Franciscans

(Black Beauty/Runt)

Cheeky cover-collection comeback from fiery recluse.

Sightings of Gary Floyd—the self-styled "punk rock commie

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Mushroom, The Delgados, and The Faint

MUSHROOM WITH GARY FLOYD

Mad Dogs & San Franciscans

(Black Beauty/Runt)

Cheeky cover-collection comeback from fiery recluse.

Sightings of Gary Floyd—the self-styled "punk rock commie fag" vocalist from the Dicks and Sister Double Happiness—have been intermittent since the demise

of Sis2x in the early '90s, but if this pairing with crazy-trippy-cool San Fran outfit Mushroom is any indicator, he's lost none of his trademark fire-on-high, blues-belter fervor. The album is conceptual, comprising rock and soul covers from the late '60s/early '70s. In case someone misses the titular pun, included is a dead-on version of Leon Russell's "Delta Lady," which Joe Cocker made famous on his 1970 album Mad Dogs & Englishmen (here, Caroleen Beatty takes on Rita Coolidge's role as Floyd's harmony vocal foil). Floyd's superbly matched with the material, one minute nailing

Curtis Mayfield's falsetto in "Pusherman," the next crooning with uncommon urgency soul giant Clarence Carter's "Slip Away," and the next blindsiding the listener via a haunted, righteously indignant take on Steppenwolf's Hoyt Axtonpenned anti-dope anthem "The Pusher." Simply put, the one-two punch of Floyd's suppleness and intensity can break hearts, curdle blood, and shred metal siding all in the space of 12 cosmic bars. The Krautrockin' cadets of Mushroom hit their marks throughout, additionally serving up a handful of 'shroomy originals, notably a droney space-jazz instrumental called "Even the Beatles

Had Beards" and a wigged-out slab of tribal psych-jazz and funkadelica smartly titled "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, But It Will Be Auctioned Off on e-Bay." Extra points for lithesome guy-gal nude artwork, 'cause the vibe here is definitely communal and swingin'. FRED MILLS

THE DELGADOS

Hate

(Mantra)

Scot combo delivers scathing follow-up to 2000's The Great Eastern.

Sturdy Glaswegian quartet the Delgados utilize the high-gloss space-rock production values of Mercury Rev,

Mogwai, and the Flaming Lips (with whom they share knob-twiddler Dave Fridmann) to illuminate the sad verities of daily adult life—as opposed to the lethal threat posed by sentient robots or the beauty of backwoods sunsets or whatever it is that Mogwai write songs about. It's an approach that serves them well, since frontpeople Alun Woodward and Emma Pollock sing their lyrics with a charming weariness that's offset by all the piping woodwinds and crashing timpanis: "No one, I mean no one, can depress me more than I can," Woodward sang on The Great Eastern, the band's 2000 disc, before riding a flute riff off to happiness. Their latest, the shimmering Hate, might house their bleakest outlook yet. On "All You Need Is Hate," Woodward claims that "hate is in the air" and exhorts listeners to "feel it like you just don't care"; he even clarifies his point for those optimists suspecting good-natured indie sarcasm: "You ask me what I mean/Hate is all I mean." Yet, as always, the sentiment is buoyed by those sumptuous sonics, a murmuring string section chattering with some high-end xylophone and shooting-star electric guitar. The Delgados may bring you down, but they won't leave you there. MIKAEL WOOD

The Delgados play the Crocodile Cafe at 9 p.m. Friday, April 11 with Aereogramme. $15/$12 adv.

THE FAINT

Danse Macabre Remixes

(Astralwerks/Saddle Creek)

Remix specialists give Saddle Creek outfit a dance overhaul.

What made Danse Macabre, the third full-length from

Omaha, Neb., ensemble the Faint, stand head-and-padded-shoulders above other neo-new-wave acts was the group's steadfast refusal to milk rote formulae. Likewise, the finest moments among these 10 new interpretations from that dark little gem come from the overhaul architects who dare to

deviate wildly from type. Take Photek. Here's a man who made his name as a drum 'n' bass producer, then started churning out deep house cuts

(like his unstoppable mix of Zero 7's "Destiny"). What does he do with the Faint's

"The Total Job?" Render it as a throbbing, slow-motion death march that would give

Trent Reznor a boner. By isolating the single word "control," Jacques Lu Cont (a.k.a. Les Rhythmes Digitales) tricks the listener into thinking he's reduced "The Conductor"

into a join-in-the-chant industrial stomper, then slowly emphasizes strings and piano

to underscore the point that it's not a song about electricity or a train ride (two time-worn '80s lyrical clich鳩, but the man at the symphony hall who waves the baton. The standout, however, is Ursula 1000's redux of "Your Retro Career Melted," which the lounge-core vet refashions in the taut, raunchy image of the angular, white-boy funk of Gang of Four or Bush Tetras. But the album's biggest surprise? Even the Paul Oakenfold remix doesn't suck. KURT B. REIGHLEY

The Faint play the Showbox at 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 15 with Les Savy Fav and Schneider TM. $15.

 
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