Auricle: Music Discovery and Discourse

On my mind: Vibes, Man.

I rather unexpectedly found myself on St. Mark's Place a week ago Tuesday. I had just left Myoptics with my soon-to-be girlfriend, and we had dinner plans across the Village an hour down the line. How to kill 45 minutes on the walk? Why, Mondo Kim's, of course.

Poking through the music racks, explaining to Amy the process behind my Music To Buy list and what makes music fans leaf endlessly through used-CD bins, I fell right into my element. So it was no surprise that a before-dinner diversion led to three new discs.

Two of them were easy pickups: DJ Food's Kaleidoscope which I have enjoyed on MP3 for months, and a used copy of Dave Brubeck's Take Five, which I should have picked up ages ago. Everyone should own "Take Five."

Then I happened across Rated R, by Queens of the Stone Age. Nine bucks. Sure, why not. I'd been wondering about QOTSA for a while; folks like Dave Grohl and Courtney Love were calling QOTSA their favorite rock band, which had caught my attention. The MP3s I downloaded hadn't grabbed me, but I was in the buying mood. Oh, what the heck.

I played a few tracks from "Rated R" that evening and immediately fell in love with the album. It's rock, but it's new; it's heavy, but it's hooky; it plows forward, but includes enough clever left turns -- like the vibes played by Screaming Trees' Barrett Martin on "The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret," the album's phenomenal first single -- to keep the album interesting. Most importantly, while "Rated R" was performed by a diverse, rotating group of musicians, the album is cohesive nevertheless.

By the weekend I found myself amazed that I had missed this album when I compiled my best-of lists for last year. We're talking rock with a vibraphone here! It's irresistible, not unlike the Delta 72's sloppy, happy 000.

"Rated R" is a great rock album. Considering how hard those are to come by these days, it deserves special mention. Put down your tired Pearl Jam CDs and give Queens of the Stone Age a listen.

February 15, 2001


What's an auricle?

Auricle articles
Top Ten Albums of 2000
Top Ten Singles of 2000
The Now Playing list


Billboard Online Top Ten lists
1999, 1998, 1997, 1996

Album reviews on Billboard Online
Chore of Enchantment, Giant Sand
Hooray for Boobies, Bloodhound Gang
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Jesus Lizard, Jesus Lizard

History pieces, from Billboard's 20th Century A to Z
Heavy Metal
The Kinks
Progressive Rock


Ideapad (media commentary)
Journal (personal muses)

About the author

netWert Search

Copyright © 2001 David Wertheimer. All rights reserved.