Phantom Planet



Meet him in the bathroom--he'll be the one who looks like a Gap model. Phantom Planet's Alex Greenwald has always had remarkable trouble acting like a credible artist (that was more former Planeteer/Rushmore star Jason Schwartzman's thing) but, wince if you will, he's always lived well within his occasionally unforgettable pop songs. If Phantom Planet's last record, The Guest, found Greenwald guilty of being white--hearing "California" at the start of The O.C. doesn't even feel the least bit odd--now he's just guilty of being a Stroke. A Stroke who loves to stumble home drunk and listen to Disintegration. The guitars perfectly strut, the bass lines sneer, the drums sound like they're getting laid and when Greenwald parts his greasy bangs to look at himself in the mirror, he's face-to-face with a man on the edge of a great, if not inconsequential, record. But really, what did you expect him to do--save Latin? TREVOR KELLEY


Dub After Time: A Look Back at BSI Records

(BSI Records)


Dub music and Portland may seem like an odd couple, yet BSI/One Drop--a dub, electronic and hiphop label--called P-town home for five years. Now, citing the perpetual difficulty of running a progressive music label, they've cut their last dubplate. To mark this passage, they leave a final retrospective of standout and unreleased tracks, many out of print. Most of these 13 tracks represent a pure dub reggae sound, with Jah-praising vocals, deep bass, and plenty of trippy studio tricks. Local dub scientist Alter Echo and live phenomenon's Systemwide provide a track each, and cuts from Henry and Louis, Alpha and Omega and others are perfect reflections of the dubwise sound the label brought the world. These sounds represent the roots of modern electronic music and most importantly the uplifting culture that a dedicated group of people kept alive for the love of good music. AARON MILES


My Usual Way

(Lelp Recordings)


When Scott Garred proclaims, "I could set my soul on fire, burn my patience down like dead leaves" in the opening lines of "Soul of /02," you want to believe the guy. He sings the line with the sort of authority one might expect from a raging-fire-in-the-loins, passionate type of man, one who would just as easily torch their soul as they would pen such a line. But, of course, you can't believe him. Garred isn't the passionate, soul-burning type; in fact, he's a whole lot more sensitive than that. My Usual Way is a remarkably sweet record; stripped bare of rock 'n' roll excitement, it's essentially a love letter to monogamy. Throw in a rare Neil Young cover, "Lost in Space," more polite strumming/singing, and you have yourself a record warm enough to thaw this frigid winter of ours. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

**** Elvis Costello

*** Elvira

** Elvis Presley

* Elvis Mitchell