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The Golding Institute
Sounds of the American Fast Food Restaurants, Vol. 1
Planet Pimp

Want to know the nuances inside a KFC, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell and seven other bastions of fast foodery? Now it's possible to introduce health-food fans (or Martians) to the ambiance of the multibillion-dollar industry. Gregg Turkington, in a fey Discovery Channel warble, narrates this stroll through Bay Area fast-food franchises. Slobber as Turkington camps outside a Burger King drive-through and surreptitiously tapes an order. Gasp as a man demands two "wild" burritos at Taco Bell. Weep as a disgruntled parent shakes down an order from his grumpy child. The single climaxes at Hot Dog on a Stick, where Turkington keenly advises listeners to hone in on the sensuous sounds churned up by the lemonade pumper. Future releases in this series include Sounds of Californian Car Rental Agencies, San Francisco Adult Bookstores and American Copy Shops. (Todd S. Inoue)

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The Blue Nile
Peace at Last
Warner Bros.

The Blue Nile's Peace at Last offers feel-good, easy-listening music, shimmering with near-mawkish romanticism. The Scottish trio creates jazzy Celtic pop with a tapping high-hat drum, a sharp guitar and Paul Buchanan's spectrum-spanning vocals. One moment, he sings with the torment of a man who has just read a tragic novel or watched an especially bad episode of One Life to Live. In the next, backed by uplifting gospel vocals, he sounds like a Bruce Springsteen impersonator (especially on "God Bless You Kid"). Musically, the Blue Nile roams all of light-rock territory. The bright synthesizer of "Sentimental Man" makes the funked-out techno passable, while "Family Life" features the piano chords and soulful crooning of a Frank Sinatra number. Overall, however, the album grooves on syncopated beats, fine melodic sense and tear-jerking emotion. (Bernice Yeung)

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Guy Aroch

De La Soul
Stakes Is High
Tommy Boy

Forget about the De La Soul that picked psychedelic daisies and rocked like black dadaists. That De La exists no more. The boys have turned into men with kids, and they're more concerned with preserving the old-school ways. The trio's fourth album is its most conservative. It's obvious that Pos, Maseo and Dove, tired of that rat-a-tat-tat rap, prefer to go back to a time when MCs battled it out on stage and not in the streets of Las Vegas--no live musicians, no fancy studio tricks, nothing but De La Soul and a few Native Tongues for back up. Tunes like "Supa Emcees" and "Wonce Again Long Island" could have been written 10 years ago. But there is a method to these sonics, and it has little to do with ultraviolent fantasies. Check for "Brakes," which loops Kurtis Blow's original block-party chant. Beyond the gigantic hook, there's some acidic social commentary. (Nicky Baxter)

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If Diatribe or 187 Calm's cybermetallic wall of sound looms too high, float down to Stormdrain. The San Jose band rotates more around Nitzer Ebb's galaxy than DJ Krush's, pairing blurry guitar tones with a wall of industrial beats. Vocalist Skott Reyns frames disillusioned fables in well-executed vocal takes. You can hear his distaste pulsing in "Of Corpse" and "Yurset," two songs screaming for airtime on Live 105. My mind began to wander around the third and final song, "Loophole," but that's a something of a compliment; there's a lot of local bands that couldn't hold a hummingbird's attention. Stormdrain does. (TSI)

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From the October 31-November 6, 1996 issue of Metro

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