Y'all get scared now, ya hear!
BRIGHT STAR RECORDINGS
Possibly the most misnamed album since Madonna's Like a Virgin, Y'all Get Scared is an EZ-Boy recliner of a record put out by a pile o' Scottish kids, including members of Arab Strap, Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai, and Snow Patrol. Strangely, Snow Patrol is the only remotely noisy band in the bunch, and that band's Gary Lightbody is the one who spawned the idea—at a Lou Barlow gig on an 80-proof evening. He wrote the songs in one day, and the band recorded them in 10, a feat that makes even Beck look lazy. It's a surprisingly minimalist record, considering there are 14 guys involved (and one girl, Eva's Jenny Reeve). Aside from a few organs, some brass, a "timbaleze" and some "pigeon noises," it's a straight-up, toned-down rock record along the lines of ultramellow Barlow—which isn't too shocking, as it was less than 12 hours after the show that Lightbody penned the 14 tunes. Though the group mixes it up a bit, trading vocals and instruments from one track to the next, things sometimes get a bit too sedate. The gems "Raindrop," "Sting" and "Tout le Monde" (that last one a fuzzed-out Stereolab groove) are the only songs that threaten your horizontal slouch. But then, this isn't a soundtrack for your trip down the 405. The album's more of an "It's 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, and I'm nursing a Sam Adams, hypnotized by the neon BAR sign flickering in my window" thing. Which is, indeed, the recommended usage. (Kristin Fiore)
Up, bustle & out and Richard Eges
Master Sessions 2
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Up, Bustle & Out's lead creative mind, Rupert Mould, spent years scratching his Third World jones by traveling through Latin America and collecting the sounds of the street—Che Guevara speeches, Santeria rituals, old cars wheezing by—and shaping them into dense techno beats. The best realized effort of this format was the fiery Che worship of their oddly named 1997 EP Carbine 744,520—A Dream of Land and Freedom. On Master Sessions 2, Mould dumps the feisty flamenco and pulsing beats for a soundscape that mixes street sounds, Buena Vista flutist Richard Eges' traditional Cuban jazz, and a spooky Miles Davis-influenced house. Not an unusual mix, considering stony Bristol trip-hoppers Portishead helped lay down some of the tracks. Up, Bustle & Out also throw in some poetry dedicated to the deliciously dyspeptic English expat author Graham Greene. And who better to inspire norteamericanos to explore Cuba's mysteries than the spirit of the author of Our Man in Havana? Viva, Up, Bustle & Out! (Andrew Asch)