CD Public Places (CD 974057),
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1. I'm Not a Model
2. Public Places
3. Jim's Problem
4. Don't You Believe
5. No 80210
6. Comfortable Place
7. World Over
8. Feel the Emotion
10. Cookies and Cream
11. No Straight Line
12. Everything Falls Apart
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 89
James Staub; Jamey Staub; Russell Simins
James Staub; Jamey Staub
Personnel: Russell Simins (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, drums, percussion); Rick Lee (guitar, acoustic & electric basses, loops, sound effects); Chris Shaw (guitar, programming, background vocals); Dave Harrington, Eric Tew (guitar); Vivien Trimble (piano, organ, synthesizer, bass, background vocals); Danny Madorsky (organ); Jamey Staub (keyboards, percussion, programming, scratches); Mike Mills (bass); Mike Diamond (drums); Bijou Phillips, Chyna Phillips, Miho Hatori (background vocals).
Recorded at Astoria Lounge, Greene Street Recording and The Magic Shop, New York, New York.
Personnel: Russell Simins (vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, drums, hand claps, percussion); Christopher Shaw (vocals, guitar, programming); Vivian Trimble (vocals, piano, organ, keyboards, synthesizer); Rick Lee (guitar, drums); Eric Tew (guitar); Danny Madorsky (organ, hand claps); Jamey Staub (keyboards, drums, percussion, programming); Mike Diamond (drums); Pete Rock (scratches); Chynna Phillips, Miho Hatori, Bijou Phillips (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Christopher Shaw ; Jamey Staub; Russell Simins.
Recording information: Astoria Lounge, New York, NY; Green Street Recording; Magic Shop.
Not surprisingly, Russell Simins' first solo excursion Public Places feels like a culmination of the work he's done with his various side projects as well as his main gig, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Fortunately, most of Public Places recalls the JSBE and Butter 08 rather than Crunt; the album opener "I'm Not a Model" mixes cheesy, sleazy samples with a sludgy, bottom-heavy groove. Many of the best songs, such as the flute-laden "Don't You Believe" and the stream-of-consciousness hip-pop of "Scope" and "Cookies and Cream" sound uncannily like unreleased Beck tracks -- but that's a good thing. The unapologetically dumb title track (which features the line "She likes girls/But she likes me better!") even feels like a slightly whiter version of the sex-machine pose Beck adopted on Midnite Vultures. Public Places falters a bit when Simins tries to out-and-out rock, as on "No 90210" and "World Over," which just aren't as distinctive as his artier work. However, the distant, moody ballad "Comfortable Place" and the final song "Stay" (which also features Cibo Mato/Butter 08 vocalist Miho Hatori) tip the album's balance toward Simins' strengths. Though it's not a consistent album, Public Places is a surprisingly diverse debut that will intrigue fans of Simins' other groups. ~ Heather Phares
Rolling Stone (12/7/00, p.114) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...A forum for an underrated songwriter-mixer who...has worked with everyone from Cibo Matto to Asian Dub Foundation....It's a collagelike album that draws on the legacy of MELLOW GOLD-era Beck adn Beastie Boys' ILL COMMUNICATION..."
Q (1/01, p.116) - 3 out of 5 stars - "...[His] most promising venture beyond his parent band....a varied bag of punky guitar tunes, quirky rhythmic digressions, evil guitar riffs and overloading speaker gunk..."
Alternative Press (12/00, p.115) - 3 out of 5 - "...A natural at cross-pollination....his explorations of popular music's wonderful colors...possessing the same love of hip hop, sampling and urban funk of any JSBX disc..."
CMJ (10/16/00, p.30) - "...Alternates fairly neatly between punky rave-ups and mutant slack trip-hop jams..."
Melody Maker (11/21/00, p.60) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...Impressive....[his] tireless creativity is laudable....The musical signposts are far from cool, but the songs repeat on you unexpectedly....in a nice way..."
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