The Nields - Gotta Get Over Greta (Razor & Tie): From the Who-influenced title track, it's clear that the Nields have jumped clean out of the folk bin and landed squarely in the middle of pop-rock. While the vocals of sisters Katryna and Nerissa anchor the sound in the '90s, the rest of the band explores a retro rock realm as diverse as Led Zeppelin and David Bowie. "Best Black Dress" and "I Need a Doctor" slip effortlessly between tasty acoustic-guitar grooves and heavy distortion. The tom-tom driven "Bulletproof" shows Katryna plenty strong enough to hold her own over a wash of distortion, while "All My Pretty Horses" closes the CD with a gentle beauty.
- Jef Scoville
Stone Temple Pilots - Tiny Music...Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop (Atlantic): Fans will enjoy what comes with this new release: The CD sleeve unfolds into a poster-collage of the band. Too bad this is the only good thing about their latest effort. After a two-year hiatus, STP have come out with 12 new (mostly grunge-rock) songs. They don't sound like Pearl Jam anymore, but then again, they don't even sound like Stone Temple Pilots. The music lacks focus, there's no depth to lead singer Scott Weiland's voice, and the melodies fall flat. Only two standouts: the slow "Lady Picture Show" and "So I know."
- Lisa Leigh Parney
Randy Weston - Saga (Verve): Pianist-composer Randy Weston is a prime example of the essence of jazz, translating life experiences into fresh music. Because portions of his life were spent living in Morocco and touring other African nations, African themes and rhythms are prominent in his work. Here, he covers a wide spectrum from "Casbah Kids," where Weston recalls children in that Tangier native quarter, to "Loose Wig," based on a 1950s American experience. Saxophonists Billy Harper and Talib Kibwe, and trombonist Benny Power deliver brilliant solos; Alex Blake, Billy Higgins, and Neil Clarke provide the powerful rhythms.
- Dick Bogle