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CD Reviews

1/2/2013

CD Rage Against The MachineRage Against the Machine

‘XX’

Epic

There is probably no album that more perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the early ’90s better than Rage Against the Machine’s 1992 debut. Zach de la Rocha’s seething, intellectually Marxist lyrics and Tom Morello’s six string wizardry combined to create a sound that still hits you across the head with its power and meaning. That debut is cleaned up and remastered for “XX,” a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the album’s initial release. Packaged along with the album are a collection of demos and a DVD featuring a couple live shows and some music videos. But, of course, the star attraction is the album itself, and it holds up beautifully. Rap-rock eventually begat nu metal, but one can hardly blame the father for the sins of the son. Rage’s sound and message defined their time, while still being well ahead of it. CV

 

HIV

CD Bikini KillBikini Kill

‘Bikini Kill 20th Anniversary Reissue’

Bikini Kill Records

Not to sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but man the early ’90s were a good time for music. Specifically, 1992 turned out to be a banner year, no matter what kind of music you were into. Nirvana had unleashed “Nevermind” on a sleepy and unsuspecting populace in September of ’91, and in the following 12 months the world would witness (among others) Tori Amos’ “Little Earthquakes,” Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” and Sublime’s “40oz to Freedom.” Meanwhile, in Olympia, Wash., grrrl rockers Bikini Kill produced its self-titled debut EP. Not quite as melodic as the Ramones, but eschewing the often structureless sound of other Northwest punk acts like the Melvins, Bikini Kill’s debut stands as one of the great American punk expressions. From the feedback-fraught “Double Dare Ya” to punk power ballad “Feels Blind,” the EP gives us a band that’s primal, defiant and ready to rock. CV

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