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Various Artists
The Tarantino Connection

Like Quentin Tarantino's movies, this selection of music heard in Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Natural Born Killers and Four Rooms is Pastiche City, a scramble of motifs. The best example of mixed influences is my favorite: the vintage '70s cheese of "Little Green Bag" by the George Baker Selection (overheard in Reservoir Dogs). Who was George Baker? What was his Selection? What was in that Little Green Bag--is it the same thing that was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction? The vocals on this wonderful one-hit from a one-hit wonder makes weird transitions--from bad-ass, bluesman hiss to wailing Latin hyperbole ("There is only loneliness around")--all set to the borrowed rhythm of the Beatles' "Taxman." Other musicians collected here include Robert Palmer, Urge Overkill (with a cover of Neil Diamond's slimy "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon") and Chuck Berry (a dandy obscure tune, "You Never Can Tell," heard in the Jack Rabbit Slim scene in Pulp Fiction). Tarantino replaces George Washington on the dollar bill on the "I'm only in it for the money" cover. He also gives a few brief but vague interviews on two tracks. (Richard von Busack)

AO Records

Resolve fits snugly into the woebegone existentialism that seems to have immobilized the post-boom generation of kids. Jack is a fully realized album; that is, you fully realize that the band may never be sick and tired of being sick and tired. The wounded opening tune, "Dollar Guts," is representative of Resolve's attitude. "Call up my brother," whines lead singer/guitarist Bill Madden. "I'm already half way gone ... turn out the fucking lights / I don't care if I die, anyway." On "Gun For Christmas," he pleads for Santa to send him a .22, so that he might join Cobain in Nirvana. Madden and company see themselves as contemporary Edgar Allen Poes. Unfortunately, they manage only to sound like Poe-tasters. The title "Selections From the Diaries of a Well-kept Boy" alone ought to trigger firehouse alarm systems, warning listeners of the deadening pretensions to come. (Nicky Baxter)

Pizzicato Five
Sister Freedom Tapes

Japan's coolest combo throws us another slinky curve on Sister Freedom Tapes. One song has appeared previously in the U.S.; the rest are new. "Airplane" straps Maki Nomiya's delicious voice to a 1977 punk-rock engine. Mod pop and heavenly ba-ba-ba's cut through "Holger & Marcus" and "Mini Cooper." Brian Wilson's "Passing By" is rendered with kazoos, and "To Our Children's Children's Children" sounds like '90s Paul Weller. In a way, Sister Freedom Tapes works like a concept album about war and peace (airplane=bomber, snowflakes=nuclear fallout, children=future, curry chicken=???). Never letting weighty subject matter interfere with a good time, producers Tomonori Sato and Masanobu Sugatsuke add string arrangements, piano rolls, twang guitar and other devices to produce pop music in flavors nature never intended. (Todd S. Inoue)

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