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Thursday, May 18, 2006 02:32 pm

Vinyl Static

Shipwreck hits town; Roots’ new release; shades of the Fugees

SHOWS A-GO-GO! Champaign-Urbana band Shipwreck ventures our way for a show at the Underground City Tavern on Saturday, May 20. If anyone can bring the rock, it’s Shipwreck. This year alone, the band has plans to release an ambitious four — count ’em, four — EPs, and if the 2005 release “Origin” is any indication, all four will be worth a listen. The first 2006 EP will be released July 6. Shipwreck’s sound is, in a word, dreamy — or sleepy — but that all depends on your opinion of shoegaze songs. Don’t try branding this quartet, whose members draw influence from many sources, including alt-country and psychedelic rock. Shipwreck could surprise you. Also on deck in our fair city is the hip-hop band Tabakin, down from Chicago to play Jazz Central Station on May 20.
SINGLES ONLY: If you’re like any hip-hop-loving person, you’ve been following the countdown to the release of the Roots’ new album, The Game Theory, to the second, and finally the folks at Island Def Jam have thrown the waiting crowd a bone in the form of the LP’s first single, “Don’t Feel Right.” The play-by-play: The jam starts with a hammering drumbeat, care of ?uestlove’s sticks, coupled with a pounding piano progression. The picture is completed by the guest vocals of one Maimouna Yousef, a soulful songstress who channels Lauryn Hill’s rasping alto, and the poignant on-beat verses of Black Thought. “Don’t Feel Right” is a near-perfect mélange of funk, soul, and hip-hop. The Game Theory drops in 104 days and counting.
WELCOME BACK: When Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras waltzed out onstage together for the first time in a decade at the concert of the century, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, it was like seeing a ghost. The trio’s short Fugees-inspired performance left fans tripping over their jaws and wondering whether the get-together really meant a reunion. On their newly christened Myspace site, the three have dropped another tune alongside the single “Take It Easy.” In “WannaBe,” Hill poses a question from a Jackson 5 tune: “Can it be I stayed away too long/Did I leave your mind when I was gone?” If the new track is any indication, the Fugees have come back just in time.  
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