Soundwaves

The Shortlist Prize for Music, JC Chasez, Basement Jaxx, and Cher

by Doug Rule
Published on August 21, 2003, 12:00am | Comments

WHERE THE GRAMMYS DON'T SHINE... The Grammy Awards are always a hit-and-miss ceremony, but every winner is a hit, commercially speaking. How, then, to even begin to discover the gems among the thousands missed by the Grammys every year? The Shortlist Prize for Music is a good place to start. In only its third year, the Shortlist has already established itself as an arbiter of the best of the rest in pop music (albums having sold over 500,000 copies are ineligible for nomination). The revolutionary Icelandic group Sigur Ros won the first prize, and last year's was claimed by N.E.R.D., the rollicking funk-rock side project of leading hip-hop producers the Neptunes. For the 2003 prize, 86 albums have been nominated by a distinguished panel of twenty of pop music's latest and greatest, including Chris Martin (Coldplay's frontman), Erykah Badu, Chemical Brothers, Tori Amos and Perry Farrell (Jane's Addiction). The panel will winnow the field to ten nominees early next month and then crown a winner in mid-October. Notable dance music artists nominated this year include New Yorkers Metro Area, the sometimes stunning, sometimes stunted Norwegians Roysksopp, and the Virginia-reared Ethiopian-American Kenna, auspiciously nominated by fellow Virginians the Neptunes. None of them may make it to round two, competing as they are against the likes of Beck, Blur, Common, Ms. Dynamite and especially Radiohead. But you can discover them and bestow your own aural award just the same. See www.shortlistofmusic.com for more information…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS… First Kenna, then the Neptunes, and we've only just begun to cite native Washington-area dance-poppers making musical waves. See also JC Chasez, originally from Bowie, Md., but more famous as one-fifth of N'Sync. Hoping to follow in Justin Timberlake's wake, Chasez's own debut solo album, Schizophrenic (BMG), will be released in October. It should be as dance-oriented as expected, with production from Rodney Jerkins (Destiny's Child, Whitney Houston) and dance artist and fellow Washington-native BT (N'Sync's Pop). Chasez has also added his vocals to a track on Emotional Technology (Nettwerk), the latest album from Brian “BT” Transeau, whom we like to call a FODD, or high-school Friend of Deep Dish's Ali Shirazinia and Sharam Tayebi. A BT tour is in the works this fall. Meanwhile, Deep Dish's very first release, 1995's Penetrate Deeper, will be reissued Sept. 2 on the duo's current Yoshitoshi label. A combination of remixes and productions from Deep Dish, BT and others, this album, thoroughly marinated in mid-‘90s house sounds, offers proof that the duo was up to snuff years before the Grammys were hot on the trail…


Sioux

BASEMENT BANGING… Forward-thinking U.K. dance duo Basement Jaxx will release its third studio album Kish Kash (Astralwerks) in late October. And they've lined up an eclectic roster of guest stars, from the where-has-she-been-all-this-time Siouxsie Sioux (minus, alas, her ‘80s “Peek-a-Boo” backup band The Banshees) to bisexual soul rocker Me'shell Ndegeocello to -- yes, there he is again -- JC Chasez. Kish Kash follows 2001's Rooty, with the unforgettable tracks “Where's Your Head At” and “Get Me Off,” and 1999's Remedy (all on Astralwerks), with “Rendez-vu” and the alarmingly great “Red Alert.” Sioux adds her voice to the title track, which Rolling Stone reported is fast and dark. And BBC Radio 1 reported that UK dance/hip-hop artist Dizzee Rascal contributed “mad noises, screaming, shouting” to the first single, “Lucky Star.” Let's hope there's Jaxx's usual catchy melody holding it all together…

CHER-ING THE LOVE, OVER AND OVER… If you don't share much love for Cher, the artist is doing all she can to make your world a rather loveless place. Her so-called Farewell Tour, launched last year, has yet to bid adieu in what must be its third life. It will continue to fare well at least through the end of this year, including an Oct. 10 stop at the MCI Center. While her last album of original material, Living Proof (Geffen/Warner Bros.), may have been a commercial disappointment, a greatest-hits package, The Very Best of Cher (Geffen/Warner Bros.), released in April, has more than made up for it, still holding its own in the Billboard Top 20. If you haven't bought it yet, and take kindly to that notion, you might want to hold off till Tuesday, when a special edition is released in conjunction with a live-performance DVD. The Very Best of Cher: Special Edition (Geffen/Warner Bros.) will include a second disc of 18 live songs recorded at her Miami stop last November, which was televised for her recent NBC concert special. The same 18 tracks form the basis of the DVD, Cher Live: The Farewell Tour (Image Entertainment), so one or the other, but not both, will do most Cher fans just fine…

Doug Rule can be reached at drule@metroweekly.com.

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