Author

Simon Reynolds

London’s A.R. Kane are a black duo who wield guitars rather than sampling machines. But their ethereal version of ”black rock” has little in common with the funk-metal bombast of Living Colour. Influenced by Miles Davis’ late ’60s jazz-rock fusion and reggae’s echo-laden beat, A.R. Kane combine irridescent guitar haze with haunting melodies and mystical imagery. Americana is their U.S. major label debut, courtesy of art-rocker David Byrne’s new record label, Luaka Bop.

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Richard Marx would have us believe that his third album is a risk-taking proposition. Certainly, Rush Street is more R&B- influenced and ”from the hip” than the glutinously imploring lite rock that made his first seven singles go top five. Throughout Rush Street, Marx strives to let down his hair. He piles on palpitating slap bass along with frothy solos from his squad of session guitarists, while his histrionic vocals aspire to Michael Jackson’s falsetto.

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As a U.K. expatriate, I’m well qualified to warn you about Transvision Vamp. I’ve lost count of how many times singer Wendy James’ scantily clad form has appeared on British magazine covers. But what’s really aggravating is the way she cloaks her shamelessness in justifications drawn from post-feminism (exploitation is cool if it’s self-exploitation) and the Pop Art idea that there’s no difference between art and commerce.

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Genre-blending rock

Burn down the disco/ Hang the blessed DJ,” sang Morrissey four years ago. His words were a call to arms for his college-rock following, who thought dance music was mindless and manufactured. But for a new generation on both sides of the Atlantic, the old barriers no longer make sense. Bombarded by the gaudy debris of a fragmented pop culture, these kids like punk and rap, acid rock and acid house, metal and funk. Now that they’re forming bands themselves, they see no reason not to combine everything that turns them on.

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