The Violet Hour



Most new indie rock--possibly the world's least sexy music--sounds like mere Muzak to me: Attenuated guitars plus whining whiteboy vocals plus anemic rhythm sections equal huge yawns. So why do I love the Clientele? Their music, as represented on their debut album, The Violet Hour, is fragile, so very Caucasian, and destined to inspire not much more than tentative hand-holding among couples. Maybe it's because The Violet Hour captures the unbearable poignancy of Britain's fleeting summer. Maybe it's the Clientele's frosted-lens production and unhurried pace, which make every song seem as if it's emanating from a sacred cave far from the music industry's crass machinery and from accursed civilization in general. Ultimately, there's something irrefutably pure and good about the Clientele's songs; they plow a very narrow path through rock's fields, but that path is soul-stirringly lush. DAVE SEGAL


The Rocknroll EP

(Self-released) (


If you can get past the title track of this EP, a volley of stone classic pop rock straight from the top of the imaginary hit parade, you're doing better than I did. "Rocknroll" is such a great song that if you have a love of the single--i.e., the kind of song you used to be able to hear on the radio--you may just find yourself skipping back again and again to hear the refrain, "You're good at pushing me out," tower melodically over a stuttering brace of stacked guitars. That the rest of this EP never matches the oughtta-be-a-hit quotient of song one is no criticism; the other five songs show a young band coming to grips with its will for majesty, wrestling its influences (Radiohead, Sunny Day Real Estate), and finding an original voice, most notably on the dialogue with divinity, "Down Toward the Healing." An amazing debut. SEAN NELSON


So Stylistic

(Tommy Boy)


Fannypack inject dance music with a healthy dose of humor and get the party started on the upbeat. The group is the brainchild of New York's Matt Goias and Fancy, a DJ duo attempting to connect old-school dance music and new-school hiphop. Goias and Fancy culled the slick-tongued stars of their show with skill--Cat (21) came from the club circuit and Jessibel (18) was selected after Goias heard her yelling on the street; she, in turn got her friend Belinda (16) involved. The heavy accents really make this disc, which is soaking in Brooklyn attitude: cat-fighting, finger-wagging, no-you-didn't-girl street swagger spunk, even if it's exaggerated for effect. The girls use their charm to rap about chicks with "hungry crotches" (on their biggest hit so far, "Cameltoe"), give the clubs their shout-out ("System Boomin'"), and do off-the-cuff skits making fun of themselves and the people around them. JENNIFER MAERZ

**** Fatty Arbuckle

*** Heavy D & the Boyz

** Chubby Checker

* Fats Domino