Tal Bachman
Tal Bachman
(Columbia)


Tal Bachman is that rare pedigreed artist who displays as much or more talent than his forebears. His father had a string of hits in the mid-’70s that included “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” and “Takin’ Care of Business” with Bachman Turner Overdrive. Tal Bachman’s debut really sounds nothing like BTO, but does, nevertheless, invoke thoughts of the ‘70s.

Bachman is obviously a child of classic rock, and his CD is littered with musical references to the upbeat pop rock of latter decades. George Harrison-style slide guitars color tracks like “If You Sleep.” “Darker Side of Blue” and “Romanticide” are picture perfect sing-song rock anthems and “She’s So High” will have you swaying in entrancement instantly. Bachman’s vocals — somewhere between Harrison and Lennon in depth — are distinctively high and perfect for the sort of power pop that he purveys. When he ascends to a falsetto in ballads like “(You Love) Like Nobody Loves Me,” it’s almost chilling. And when he slides into the stratosphere on the Bic lighter anthem “I Wonder,” it brings to mind the power and majesty of Elton John at his ‘70s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” best.

Bachman shows a knack for ballads; “Beside You” is a delicate bittersweet guitar strummed ballad that again betrays a strong Beatles influence, as does the album’s closer, a lightly jazzy piano and string lullabye called “I Am Free.” Tal Bachman will appeal to both lovers of great pop rock and those nostalgic for a dash of the 1970s in their 1999.

 

Gus Gus
This Is Normal
(4AD/Warner)
½


Probably the most interesting thing about this CD isn’t actually the music, but what you can do with it. (This Is Normal comes with a special computer multimedia component — a demo version of a program called Mixman — that allows you to remix the first track (a Happy Mondays-funk style song called “Ladyshave”) on the CD. Unfortunately, the program doesn’t allow you to work with any non-GusGus files; you need to buy the whole Mixman program to get its full functionality. To use it for GusGus, you need an IBM Pentium computer and about 30 megs of available space, and within minutes you can be playing around with a danceclub-quality mix, punching instruments and vocals in and out as you like.

Just listening to GusGus’ sophomore CD is not nearly as fun as mixing its single. With only a couple of exceptions (like the soft string ballad “Bambi”) this is music that’s meant for background mixing in danceclubs, not for straight “pop hit” listening. The nine-piece Iceland band offers 11 tracks of thumping, oscillating beats and ambient synth bleeps and washes with both male and female lead vocals. It’s not the sort of thing that’s likely to get played on Top 40 radio, but you will hear this on the DJ tables this summer without a doubt. And, if you’re inclined, you can play DJ with it yourself.

 

New On The Shelves


Rhino Records has released a new collection of top of the pops hip-hop: Millennium Hip-Hop Party includes Grandmaster & Melle Mel’s “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It),” Run-D.M.C.’s “Walk This Way,” Tone Loc’s “Funky Cold Medina,” Digital Underground’s “Humpty Dance,” D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” M.C. Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” and Young MC’s “Bust A Move,” among others. There are also songs from Dr. Dre, LL. Cool J, PM Dawn, Arrested Development and Naughty By Nature. It’s an impressive collection of hip-hop pop that’s missing Salt-N-Pepa, but not much else. There’s a “soundtrack” album out now for Dawson’s Creek on Columbia/Sony Sountrax that’s got a decent mix of songs — it leads off with Sixpence None The Richer’s current hit “Kiss Me” and ends with Paula Cole’s breakthrough hit of a couple years ago, “I Don’t Want To Wait.” In between are songs from Sophie B. Hawkins, Shawn Mullins, Heather Nova, Curtis Stigers and newcomers PJ Olsson and Chantal Kreviazuk. The soundtrack to the new movie Go, on Work/Sony Soundtrax offers the first sneak-peak at what sort of tracks No Doubt may be working up for their next album. The disc opens with No Doubt’s fast-moving “New” and proceeds through remixes of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” and Eagle-Eye Cherry’s “Shooting Up In Vain,” as well as Fatboy Slim’s “Gangster Tripping” and a new mellow electronica influenced ballad from Natalie Imbruglia in “Troubled By The Way We Came Together.”