NO­RAH JONES

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

NO­RAH Jones is not the type of girl you would pick to star in a Russ Meyer film, but the jazzy song­writer who once crooned Come Away With Me has been hurt one too many times and is in such a bro­ken-hearted, venge­ful mood she reimag­ines her­self on the Lit­tle Bro­ken Hearts al­bum cover as the star of Meyer’s 1965 re­venge fan­tasy Mud­honey in an homage to the movie’s poster.

Jones is filled with hurt over a man who left her for a 22-year-old woman named Miriam, the out­right fo­cus of two songs: the re­verb­drenched She’s 22 and the ten­der bal­lad Miriam, which would be down­right lovely if not for lines like, “Oh Miriam, that’s such a pretty name, and I’ll keep say­ing it un­til you die.”

The re­venge fan­tasy is the only time she shows off any kind of mur­der­ous thoughts, although there is a touch of noir on the cin­e­mat­i­catic 4 Bro­ken Hearts.hearts Elseelse­where she’s tak­ing drugs to get over the pain (the poppy Happy Pills is a stand­out), look­ing at old pic­tures and re­vis­it­ing the past. Pro­ducer Brian Bur­ton (Dan­ger Mouse) helps keep things in­ter­est­ing mu­si­cally even when things get dour lyri­cally with heavy bass, syn­the­siz­ers, Wurl­itzer and strings.

She might not be a Meyer girl, but she is on the way to trans­form­ing her­self from adult­con­tem­po­rary lounge singer into some­thing a lit­tle more kick ass. And don’t tick her off. Have you seen any of Meyer’s movies? ½ SOUTH­ERN On­tario’s an­themic pop combo Rik­ers goes all in on its iron­i­cally ti­tled lat­est al­bum Is­lands. What is won­der­ful about this band is the same thing that makes it ir­ri­tat­ing: a pen­chant for mak­ing ev­ery track sound as ex­tra large and emo­tional as pos­si­ble, which borders on the brink of be­com­ing car­toon­ish. Open­ing track Is­land de­liv­ers a gui­tar fig­ure wor­thy of AC/DC and when singer Ryan Kennedy leans into his vo­cals there is no doubt this guy craves at­ten­tion. With his Bono-like ur­gency and abil­ity to build him­self into an emo­tional lather on ev­ery track here, Kennedy will ei­ther be loved or hated by any­one hear­ing this al­bum.

The band churns out some in­ter­est­ing in­die power pop that ref­er­ences ev­ery­thing from U2 and The Cult to some of the bet­ter New Ro­man­tic bands of the ’80s. The taut riffage car­oms off Kennedy’s ur­gent wail mak­ing Is­lands an in­ter­est­ing, if deriva­tive lis­ten. Rik­ers open for Big Wreck at the Gar­rick Cen­tre on Tues­day. THE smartest guy in the room — ad­mit­tedly, a room full of met­al­heads — but Marilyn Man­son al­ways fired his style, dis­si­dence and self-pro­mo­tion with gen­uine in­tel­li­gence. Can you out-think your­self? Born Vil­lain is an at­tempted re­birth, which is re­mark­able it­self for some­one eight al­bums in; then again, ev­ery Man­son al­bum is a rein­ven­tion, if not an ex­or­cism.

Born Vil­lain is a full-on actin­gout, both self-lac­er­at­ing and, of course, venge­ful. An in­dus­trial/ goth heart with a lubed spring in its stomp. Hey Cruel World opens with a re­asser­tion of his dan­ger. No Re­flec­tion is the per­fect homage to Bauhaus et al., with a concise hook. The ti­tle track is way over thought, while Flow­ers of Evil fi­nally fo­cuses the por­trait of how needy he is. Born Vil­lain is an art-con­cept of a con­cept. Give him credit for pick­ing the scabs at the edges of creativ­ity, and hope this grows. Like an in­fec­tion. ½ is vi­brant and joy­ous. His am­i­ca­ble vo­cal feels as com­fort­able as worn-in Birken­stocks. The 10 songs here are en­hanced by his lyri­cal prow­ess as ev­i­denced by The Wait­ress (“Her dreams, they fell asleep on the top bunk/ and woke up on the floor”) or You Can’t Turn Around (“Your cups filled up, but baby your thirst is gone”).

Bar­ber is pos­sessed by a con­sum­mate wan­der­lust for life while ques­tion­ing faith and seek­ing hap­pi­ness only to re­al­ize maybe even ev­ery­thing is not enough (as he notes on the track, Ev­ery­thing is Not Enough). Head­wa­ters is the finest work yet from one of Canada’s most promis­ing young troubadours. SI­MONE Din­ner­stein likes theme-based pi­ano pro­grams. This one re­flects the vo­cal el­e­ments in Schu­bert and Bach cor­re­lated to a poem by Philip Larkin of, “Trees com­ing into leaf Like some­thing al­most be­ing said.” The re­sult is typ­i­cally per­sonal, gen­er­ously im­printed with phras­ing lib­er­ties and closely recorded, but the project is only par­tially suc­cess­ful.

On the plus side is an in­vig­o­rat­ing go of Bach’s Par­tita No. 2 show­ing Din­ner­stein’s even­ness of tone, touch and ef­fort­less pas­sage work. But Schu­bert’s Four Im­promp­tus Op.90 gets a gluey over-in­flected read­ing rather than the more ideal sense of the mu­sic play­ing it­self and find­ing its own way. An in­ert play of Bach’s Par­tita No. 1 closes with the outer move­ments’ tempo deadly slow, though the cen­tral Cor­rente is prop­erly en­er­gized. A dis­ap­point­ingly mixed bag from a pi­anist like this.

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