Rio Baile Funk

Also: My Chemical Romance and The Hospitals


Rio Baile Funk: Favela Booty Beats

(Essay, Austria)

It's probably wrong to refer to the hard chants, simple, party-starting beats, and heedlessly hedonistic air of Rio baile funk as the Brazilian equivalent of Miami bass. Though bass is a style from which the baile artists crib heavily and frequently, they're also more than happy to swipe anything else they can get their hands on. On this blindsiding 19-track collection, it's stuff that's just as (musically) raw as 2 Live Crew's progeny: Run-D.M.C. circa "King of Rock" (check the just-this-side- of-Billy-Squier guitar riff and solo on De Falla's "Propozuda R n' Roll"), early electro (SD Boys' "Planta Dominado" cuts up Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force's Miami bass ur-text, "Planet Rock"), even formative industrial (Dennis DJ's "Cerol Na Mao" is underpinned by a loop of the opening back-swiping rhythm tattoo of Front 242's "Headhunter"). Everything fits because anything can fit; the only time the comp lags comes at the end, when Waguinho reprises an earlier electro-jam by arranging it for live samba horns and drummers. My favorite stretch comes when the synth-horn blats of Ricardo e Esquisito's "Mulher Coca Cola" make way for the rugged shouts of MC Mascote's "Bate la Plame de Mao" and the dirty double-dutch vocal stutters of Paty's "Cavalo de Pau." You might be different. But you owe it to yourself to find out. MICHAELANGELO MATOS


Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

(Warner Bros.)

Now that after-school programs and arts funding are being excised from our public schools thanks to the Bush tax cut and the states' subsequent budget rejiggering, music has become the latchkey baby-sitter, educator, and supporter of our world-weary teens. Guess what, Mom and Pop, you'd best be keeping tabs on your children's favorite bands, since they'll likely have as big an effect on the kids' worldview as you will. And if your kids have any sort of taste, New Jersey newcomers My Chemical Romance's "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" rocks their Discmans regularly. The MTV-ready single—featuring a playful, Rushmore-lite video—puts some pump in the slump of many a tragi-lescent with its peppy, let's-group-hug-the-pain-away chorus and all-inclusive sentimentality. The rest of the quintet's major-label debut similarly sandblasts dimples on middle-class ennui thanks to Gerard Way's hyperactive, hiccupping vocals and guitarist Ray Toto's unabashed love for both the Fugazi and Guns N' Roses catalogs. Considering the smart, sensitive, and melodic pleas of "Helena," "Cemetery Drive," and "It's Not a Fashion Statement, It's a Death Wish," we could do worse than a generation hooked on emo. Sure, it sucks that there ain't much adult supervision or book learnin' going on, but why educate when the only goal of our education system is to raise more burger flippers, right? YANCEY STRICKLER


The Hospitals

(In the Red)

The cover of the Hospitals' self-titled debut tells half the story—drummer-vocalist Adam Stonehouse in a kitchen banging on a floor tom and screaming into a microphone. Add "Roddy" on flailing, assaulting electric guitar and you've got the band, with static single-drum blasts stumbling into demolition-derby cacophony, while Stonehouse's overexerted yowls and Roddy's guitar take turns barraging the rest of the sonic spectrum. Peripheral contemporaries are abundant—think the Coachwhips and the Chromatics fighting over a basement show stage, minus most of the chord changes and complicated drumming, or Suicide performing in the middle of a carpet bombing run. There's even a dubby cover of Suicide's "Rock and Roll Is Killing My Life." (At least rock 'n' roll could plead self-defense.) Several songs simply degenerate into jarring squalls of feedback; melody's often abandoned in favor of using Roddy's guitar as an additional percussion instrument, with torrents of shrill cymbal crashing through the din, all via In the Red's typical less-is-enough studio treatment. There are times when The Hospitals seems mainly to test your tolerance, with "Don't Panic," its demented surf-guitar riff repetition broken only by the occasional incursion of ear-piercing cymbal abuse, likely the threshold. But there's no denying the energy here. GRANT BRISSEY

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