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Graham Coxon 

The Golden D
(Transcopic/Astralwerks)

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Blur guitarist Graham Coxon's debut solo release, 1998's The Sky Is Too High, was the musical equivalent of a collection of journal entries that featured melancholy, off-key guitar work and country crooning. Like The Sky, its follow-up, The Golden D, reveals Coxon's appreciation for American indie rock. But while Coxon's first solo effort was lo-fi and reminiscent of Lou Barlow, Golden D is a noisier album that suggests Sonic Youth and the Sex Pistols. Standout tracks include "Jamie Thomas," a trashy punk song that's a tribute to Coxon's favorite skateboarder, and two Mission Of Burma covers ("Fame and Fortune" and "That's When I Reach for My Revolver").

On its last album, 13, Blur hired producer William Orbit (of Madonna fame) to bring out its experimental side, but Coxon, who produced Golden D himself, doesn't need any help to venture outside of the Brit-pop mold. He makes his album sound almost exactly as it would live, and the atmospheric noodlings on "Lake" and the quirky, horn-driven "Oochy Woochy" sound as if they were recorded in a club, rather than a studio. Coxon is solely responsible for everything on the album. He provided all the vocal and instrumental work, released the album on his own label (Transcopic), and created the cover artwork -- a mess of colorful, cartoonish-looking scribbles that depict a bloody gun, a Frankenstein character being struck by lightning, and a sunglasses-wearing, dinosaur-sized rhinoceros with a man in his belly.

More by Amy Schroeder

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