Various Artists
Flying Sidekick: Home Alive Compilation II
(Broken Rekids)

In 1993, someone murdered Mia Zapata in Seattle. The firethroated Zapata sang with the Gits, one of the most impassioned and easily the most unfairly overlooked band of Seattle rock's salad days. The crime was never solved. It feels weird to say that "something good" came of such an atrocity, but something did.

A group of activists and musicians, outraged at police bungling of the Zapata case and the risks women face on Seattle's streets, founded Home Alive. Among other pursuits, the nonprofit group organizes self-defense classes and keeps the issue of violence against women on the agenda of the oft-frivolous indie-music scene. Doing God's work doesn't exempt you from the hazards of the economy, however; Home Alive recently announced it's dropping its paid staff in favor of an all-volunteer structure, adding that it may have to give up its Seattle offices.

So you really ought to buy Flying Sidekick, a compilation CD benefiting Home Alive. If altruism doesn't move you, perhaps the fact that this is a hot-damn potent anthology of some of the Northwest's best musicians will.

The Gossip, Olympia's seething blooze-punx, open proceedings with the unapologetic (to say the least) "I Want It." Aside from a couple isolated missteps, the 17-track comp does not look back. Indigo Girl Amy Ray teams with the Butchies for a surprisingly gritty rant, leading into the Pinkos' fist-pumping version of the Joe Hill Wobbly anthem "Rebel Girl." The Makers show up in their suave incarnation, all plangent keyboards and rock-a-bye love-makin' rhythms. The Need's brutal rhapsody to metal and mayhem, "Frayed Ends of Sanity," provides the comp's most harrowing moments. Maktub, Seattle soulcats supreme, laze through "Uptown Feeling," a laid-back meditation on the urban condition that Stevie Wonder would envy. By the time Portland's Dead Moon ends the album with the disarmingly childlike "Where Anything Goes," Flying Sidekick has assembled a convincing sonic manifesto for a very fine cause. Zach Dundas

Check out


snap judgments

Jesse Dayton
Hey Nashvegas!
(Stag Records)

Combining honky-tonk traditions and tear-in-your-beer ballads with rockabilly flavor and swing danceability, the third solo release from Jesse Dayton finds the former Road Kings frontman filling out a larger pair of shit-kickin' cowboy boots. His George Jones-like bellowing is more confident, his songwriting more colorful and his Telecaster-playing more tricky and awe-inspiring. Hey Nashvegas! reflects Dayton's wide-ranging influences, stretching into Tex-Mex, big-band-style swing ("Panhandle Jane," which features back-up singing by the Dixie Chicks) and traditional country. Dayton's got soul, passion, wisdom and skill--and he's using them all just right. Jenny Tatone

Jesse Dayton plays at 9 pm Friday, Dec. 7, at Dante's, 1 SW 3rd Ave. 226-6630. $8+ advance (Fastixx).

Madonna Greatest Hits Volume 2
(Maverick/Warner Brothers)

Will acolytes of Volume 1 (a.k.a. The Immaculate Collection) reject Volume 2's more layered phreaks? Nah. Both volumes bulk up on gems ("Borderline" et al. for V1, "Ray of Light" et al. for V2) and a few clunkers ("La Isla Bonita" etc. for V1, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" ad nauseam for V2). Volume 2 even includes a few cuts from the barely year-old Music. How audacious! Perfecto if you're looking for something to pop in the player after a haphazard get-together turns boozy, bound for Truth or Dare. Caryn B. Brooks

Keith Jarrett
Inside Out
(ECM Records)

Keith Jarrett's soft touch and limitless improvisational ability may make him the greatest jazz pianist of his generation--even if he moans uncontrollably during performances. Performed without the framework of old standards, this entirely improvised live set with longtime colleagues Gary Peacock and Jack deJohnette is quietly extraordinary. Brian Libby

Various Artists
Boyd Rice Presents Music For Pussycats

Could it be that Boyd Rice--notorious Satanist, alleged fascist, determined misanthrope--is going soft? Nostalgic? Fearful of his own mortality and, thus, eager to revel in the joys of youth? Music For Pussycats anthologizes deeply obscure '50s and '60s girl groups beloved by the noise music pioneer. Rice puts up a brave front in typically millenarian liner notes ("What we know of any culture or civilization ultimately comes down to what survives"), but mostly this album is straight refined sugar. Honey Ltd.'s creepy anti-war sashay "The Warrior" ("We need to kill more people/ Strong men is what we need") and the Love Exchange's "Swallow the Sun" trip lightly over the sort of Sturm und Drang Rice usually concerns himself with, but most of these 12 tracks deal in party girls, wounded hearts and clever ways to meet hunky lifeguards. Bouncy, syrupy, chirpy fun--if Boyd Rice can't deliver it, who can? Zach Dundas