Records: New Releases

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The Independent Culture
Guns N'Roses: The Spaghetti Incident? (Geffen, CD/LP/tape). The world's leading poodle-metal band in a heartfelt tribute to their punk roots - what could be more perfect? This starts and finishes in hilariously eccentric style, with Axl Rose's voice going to places it was never meant to go on Fifties teenybop standard 'Since I Don't Have You', and then winding down with Charles Manson's 'What's Your Game?' sung in the style of Tracy Chapman. The pleasures in between are simpler: 11 surprisingly effective assaults on songs which, not altogether unreasonably, stretch the parameters of punk to include T Rex and Nazareth. The most recognisable numbers - Iggy Pop's 'Raw Power' and The Damned's 'New Rose' - come off best, but there is nothing here to give less respected authors such as the UK Subs and Fear sleepless nights while they wait for the royalty cheques. In short, a much more satisfying record than either of the Use Your Illusion albums. But how are Guns N'Roses going to cope with playing their own dreary stuff again? Ben Thompson

Snoop Doggy Dog: DoggyStyle (Death Row/ Interscope, CD/LP/tape). Precocious rapper Snoop, 21, has already earned a dubious place in history: topping the US album charts and, in the same week, standing trial for his (passive) involvement in a drive-by killing. Audiences were introduced to this man's unmistakable vocal style via his rapping and writing credits on master-producer Dr Dre's gangsta-rap landmark The Chronic. In an uncharacteristic show of selflessness, Dre saved his best work for his protege. The beats on this album are frightening - great swaggering loops of souped-up P-Funk, the perfect vehicle for Snoop's seductive sing-song vocals. The wisdom and weariness that seep through his voice make it all the more depressing that he cannot, or will not, rise above the ugly gangsta cliches of misogyny and violence. In interviews he talks about gang murders not being on the whole a good thing, but there is nothing on this record to suggest that Snoop Doggy Dog thinks shooting people is anything other than a bit of a laugh. BT



Ravel Piano Concertos: Alicia de Larrocha/St Louis SO/Leonard Slatkin (RCA Victor, CD). Strong, colourful performances of both works, with a superb 26- minute infill of Ravel's Valses Nobles et Sentimentales and Sonatine. Michael White

Ole Edvard Antonsen Plays Trumpet Concertos (Haydn, Hummel, etc)/ECO/Jeffrey Tate (EMI, CD). Dazzling virtuosity from a young Norwegian who breathes charm into one of the less charming instruments. MW

Pet Shop Boys: I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing (Parlophone, single). The ultimate PSB single. Huge tune, inimitable lyrics: 'I feel like taking all my clothes off and dancing to The Rite of Spring'. BT

A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders (Jive, CD/LP/tape). Complex and rewarding conscious-rap odyssey. BT

Michael Nyman: The Piano (Virgin, CD/ tape). The music of the film of the year. Not much piano, and only one great tune; but the album presses many of the same emotional buttons as Jane Campion's pictures. Especially good in traffic. Tim de Lisle