Claire Voyant Time and the Maiden Time Again: A Collection Of Remixes (Metropolis) It’s rare that a remix album is more satisfying than its source, but Claire Voyant manages to pull it off. Their reissued

Claire Voyant
Time and the Maiden
Time Again: A Collection Of Remixes

It’s rare that a remix album is more satisfying than its source, but Claire Voyant manages to pull it off.

Their reissued LP, Time and the Maiden, presents 13 tracks of ethereal goth-pop. Strings and choirs give the tracks a sense of beauty, while beats and catchy vocals keep them grounded. “Love the Giver” boasts tranquil loops, bells, and expressive guitar lines.

The slight trip-hop and harmonized vocals of “Elysium” crescendo into an ultimately poppy chorus. The album is tight, but too many of the tracks sound the same.

Enter Time Again. This new disc features artists like Haujobb, Luxt, and Covenant remixing Time and the Maiden into genres as far flung as jazzy drum ‘n bass, ambient, and EBM. “Iolite” appropriates vocal snippets and a piano line from the album version, creating an expansive trance number. VNV Nation’s remix of “Majesty” focuses on the original’s strings and piano, heightening the song’s sense of grandeur. And “Mercy” is transformed from the album’s brooding Cranes-esque melodrama into a wild industrial dance number.

Time and the Maiden is a decent album by a promising new band…but Time Again does a better job of keeping your attention.

Maiden Grade: B
Time Again Grade: A-
-John Vettese
8Ball & MJG
Space Age 4 Eva
(JCOR Entertainment)

With the recent emergence of many southern hip-hop counterparts, it is easy to overlook 8Ball & MJG. Players in the rap game for almost a decade, the Memphis natives are sorely underappreciated in comparison to better known acts. Stylistically, Space Age 4 Eva does not vary from their previous records, but the group has made a few adjustments.

First, although they are known as the foremost representatives of the Houston-based Suave House label, the duo has switched to Los Angeles’ JCOR Entertainment. That move has prompted the group to experiment with new production by the likes of Swizz Beatz and DJ Quik.

The first single, “Pimp Hard,” summarizes the group’s steez and is currently receiving love on both video and radio shows. “Buck Bounce” is another standout track, offering some variety to the album. Unfortunately, “Boom Boom” and “Thank God” are major disappointments, proving that Swizz’ production style does not mesh with 8Ball & MJG.

Ironically, Space Age 4 Eva’s downfall is rooted in the group’s desire to expand. They earned their bread by staying consistent and not following trends, but with the current movement of simply copying the most popular artists, 8Ball & MJG have regressed into followers rather than trendsetters.

Grade: C-
-Aggrey Sam
Mark Kozelek
What’s Next to the Moon

2001 is a divine year for Red House Painters fans. Come springtime Sub Pop will issue the long-delayed sixth RHP’s album Old Ramon. Equally exciting is What’s Next to the Moon, the second solo release by Painters’ singer/songwriter Mark Kozelek on San Francisco’s Badman Recording Co.

What’s Next to the Moon is an album of old AC/DC songs totally transformed into the Red House Painters style. That is to say, they do not rock. They crawl with aching beauty. Three of the songs also graced Kozelek’s last release, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer mini-album, which acts as a sister album to this release.

While an album of covers sounds about as appealing as a scraped chalk on a blackboard, those familiar with Koz’s past covers know to fear not. Like a modern day Johnny Cash with a fondness for 70s rock gusto, Kozelek gives honest-to-god gorgeous renditions of nearly all the songs on Moon. Only the weary “Riff Raff” falls short of perfection.

Moon showcases the best aspects of Mark Kozelek: his moody acoustic guitar, his one-of-a-kind vocals and his keen ability to make any good song his own.

Available now at or in stores Feb. 13th.

Grade: A
-Neal Ramirez
(Emperor Norton)

Take an 80s new wave sound, mastered by bands such as New Order or the Eurythmics, and mix it with a modern electronic sound of the Bjork or Pizzicato Five variety. The end result would be the up-and-coming European band, Ladytron. The four-member band’s first full-length album, “604” is a 16-song superset of dark, danceable delight.

Tastefully utilizing almost only electronic instruments for the entire length of an album is a talent accomplished successfully by few, but Ladytron proves it possible. The symphony of tactfully thought-out synths, beats, and vocals brings to mind the Phantom of the Opera throwing a rave party in his lair. At times, the overuse of the artificial sounds get to be a bit much, sounding almost like a Halloween sound effects tape put to a beat.

Still, for the most part, the band’s ability to maintain the balance of retro and modern electropop is a unique and enjoyable one, capable of gaining a large popularity of both the underground and mainstream genres. Ladytron mechanically works its way into the listener’s skull with each singable, sythesized song.

Grade: B
-Eric Van Osten
The Places
The Autopilot Knows You Best
(Absolutely Kosher)

The Places’ debut album calls to mind a more experimental, drunken Liz Phair or what one might hope Jenny Toomey learned from her time in Liquorice. The Portland-based group’s greatest asset is the country-twang in Amy Annelle’s voice, which demands nothing short of the listener’s total attention. Annelle propels the Places’ pleasant music into a bewitching experience.

“Mouth to Mouth” is an album highlight with a driving rhythm and Radiohead-like lyrics in “We’ll take care of everything/now you just sit back/try to relax and give us the facts.” Most of the other tracks are back porch blues, such as “Will Try” and “No Mystery,” which throws in a bit of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” for good measure.

The Autopilot Knows You Best isn’t an immediate fix, but the band’s music is habit-forming, especially for those who prefer their music dark, difficult and beautiful.

Grade: B+
-Neal Ramirez
Emiliana Torrini
Love in the Time of Science

Emiliana Torrini’s debut album is “trip-hop pop,” if you will. Her lyrics evoke thoughts of Dido and her voice is a strange mixture of Bjork, Catatonia’s Cerys Matthews, and Beth Gibbons of Portishead. Love in the Time of Science was produced by Tears for Fears’ Roland Orzabal and co-written by Eg White. While Torrini is not exactly the most original artist ever, the more you listen to this album, the more it grows on you.

From time to time Torrini does forge her own path. Songs such as “Unemployed in Summertime” and “Summerbreeze” would make your typical Lilith Fair-goer squeal with delight and prick up a jaded music critic’s ears at the same time. Perhaps her mimicry of others is just a usual trait of the Debut Album Syndrome but if she doesn’t stick to more original work, Torrini will be lost in the girly-girl singer/songwriter shuffle.

Grade: C+
-Maureen Walsh

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