5Written, Directed and Produced by Kiko Jones
A Ballsy Production

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It’s been a fun couple of days over here at the "5" factory. For one, we’ve had an embarrassment of riches in terms of source material. This one practically wrote itself. Well, not quite. But you get the idea.

Anyway, stay cool. It’s hot out there. In here, too.


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Welcome departure, Mr. Jones [7/15/02: 5 Flicks We Love]. What if one of the 5 was always a movie?

[That’s a thought. We’ll see what we can do. In the meantime, check out our topics for this week. This issue might be what you had in mind –KJ]

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FLACO JIMENEZ Said And Done (Virgin)
THE GRAYS Ro Sham Bo (Epic)
JLS Serpiente En El Huerto (Zero)
ADAM SCHMITT Illiterature (Reprise)
12 RODS Separation Anxieties (Virgin)

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RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS By the Way (Warner Bros)
COUNTING CROWS Hard Candy (Geffen)
JJ72 Oxygen (Columbia)
SIGUR ROS Agaetis Byrjun (Fat Cat)


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Although we’ve always admired and respected Sonic Youth, we haven’t been paying close attention to the more recent output by the venerated downtown/avant NYC combo. But during a recent music-shopping jaunt, we were genuinely gratified when informed that the cool album we had been listing to over the store PA was none other than Murray Street, SY’s newest release. Hauntingly sparse and melodic, we couldn’t help being reeled in by it’s subtle charms and soundscapes, confirming the spot-on decision of bringing noted producer/guitarist Jim O’Rourke on board as a full-fledged member. While we are genuinely surprised that in this plastic-music climate the band is still on a major label (and Murray Street is, in fact, selling quite briskly), what we didn’t expect was the scathing post-adolescent diary rant masquerading as a review, penned by Amy Phillips in the July 10-16 issue of the Village Voice. Aside from confessions of her once blind, teenage love for the band (for all the wrong reasons, mind you) what her piece comes down to is the earth-shattering realization -for her, of course- that since she didn’t like it, the album consequently sucks. What?! Is this the kind of waste that passes for music criticism at the Voice these days? What nonsense!

CHOCOLATE GENIUS / River To River Festival / Castle Clinton, NYC - 7/11/02
Cracking jokes with a relaxed, laid back demeanor while a gorgeous sunset provided a sublime backdrop, Chocolate Genius (aka Mark Anthony Thompson) performed nearly a dozen songs from both his albums Black Music and Godmusic for a rapt audience of 1200 fans and curious onlookers alike. Ably backed by a four-piece band that understood how to approach his Tom-Waits-meets-Jeff-Buckley-while-listening-to-Marvin-Gaye sound and featuring Elysian Fields guitarist Oren Bloedow as musical director, the Genius made the most of this outfit -as nimble and nuanced an accompanist as the songs they were performing.
In a little under an hour Chocolate Genius demonstrated once again why he’s NY’s best kept secret and why he shouldn’t be any longer. Make it a point to find out for yourself.

It’s a given that each and every one of us has dead weight occupying space in our respective record collections. Not just crap, but stuff that that ranges from good to great that we rarely ever get around to listening to anymore. And, for reasons we ourselves do not know, refuse to bid them adieu. So when we read the introduction to Jaguaro.com’s One Hundred Albums You Should Remove from Your Collection Immediately, we let loose a chuckle and prepared ourselves for what we hoped would be a funny and informative piece. Albeit potentially polarizing, but in a good way. Instead, what we encountered was a mostly bitter, self-indulgent rant, littered with such pearls of wisdom as "all live albums suck".
So, we’re supposed to get rid of Paul’s Boutique because The Beastie Boys’ delivery of their rhymes hasn’t changed since ’89? Bowie’s Hunky Dory gets dissed but not the EXTREMELY over-rated Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars? You can’t help but wonder if these people have listened to any of the records on their list lately. Or if, for example, they’re just taking out their displeasure with Dave Grohl’s admittedly clownish antics on his former band’s landmark album Nevermind.
While it’s hard to disagree with their assessment of Combat Rock, The Beatles’ Let It Be, Synchronicity, Pretty Hate Machine, Dookie, Midnight Vultures or most of the Beastie Boys’ catalog -to name a few- the list basically plays as a whiny screed from people who just didn’t get it and are now pissed for finally having to admit that they were way too embarrassed/spineless to avoid buying albums they weren’t into in the first place (Coltrane’s Giant Steps, "a tedious, embarrassing, snoozer of an album"? The Flaming Lips’ The Soft Bulletin, "a monstrosity"? Huh?!). Shame on you for being gullible. Don’t take it out on the rest of us.

[Thanks to "5"er Jeff Kent for forwarding this piece to us –KJ]

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YO LA TENGO / Celebrate Brooklyn Festival / Prospect Park, Brooklyn - 7/12/02It takes guts for a noisy rock band to open a set with the likes of "Big Day Coming", a beautifully mellow song from their superb 1993 album Painful (especially when said album also includes a rockin’, high energy version of the same) but not only did they pull it off, the full-capacity crowd let them know early on that on this wonderful summer night they could do no wrong.
Of course, Hoboken’s finest were not about to toy with the faithful: three songs into the set vocalist/guitarist Ira Kaplan gave ‘em what they wanted, ripping into his trademark Neil Young-by-way-of-Sonic Youth wall of feedback, lost in the sound and shaking like a demented puppet. Yo La Tengo (rounded out by drummer/vocalist Georgia Hubley and longtime bassist/vocalist James McNew) were simply at their best, taking the audience on a splendid ride that made pit stops along their decade-plus career, reaffirming right from the outset why they are not only indie-rock royalty, but a kick ass live band to boot.

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UNDERCOVER BROTHER (2002) directed by Malcolm Lee
With most comedy films these days it’s all about stupidity and not much in the way of genuine, honest to goodness silliness, which is where this little flick comes in. Starring Eddie Griffin in the title role-–a ‘70s style, Robin Hood-type badass who’s so cool, his Big Gulp orange soda won’t even spill in a car chase--and featuring the very funny David Chappelle and the yummy Denise Richards, Undercover Brother is a fun, wacky blaxploitation spoof with some Austin Powers thrown in for good measure. Based on the popular internet cartoon of the same name, UB does lag slightly here and there, but its short running time (it clocks in at 85 minutes) and steady supply of gags and amusing situations more than make up for it. Go check it out.

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GOD BLESS THE MAN: Not only did he discover Billie Holiday, but the late John Hammond Sr discovered and/or nurtured the careers of Count Basie, George Benson, Charlie Christian, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Bruce Springsteen. He’s also renowned bluesman John Hammond Jr’s dad.

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