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LATIMER (Buy CDs by this artist)
World's Portable EP (World Domination) 1994
LP Title (World Domination) 1995
Live From Sour City (World Domination) 1997

This Philadelphia quartet shows a wonderful talent for intertwined guitar riffs (Sonic Youth meets Television), neck-snapping rhythmic oomph and dynamic songwriting. The five-song World's Portable barely suffers from its 8-track recording. "Wants" unleashes a barrage of twin-guitar workouts (Geoff Doring and Rich Fravel); "Good for Motion" harnesses those jagged guitar battles in a whirl of feedback and fury; "Dirgesque" and "Stringbender" are as good as the titles imply-the former is emotive, with drop-D guitar tunings, while the latter is punishing, leaving the track awash in interplanetary noise.

The full-length, recorded in Memphis at Easley (by 1995, the studio of choice for Sonic Youth, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Guided by Voices), effectively proves Latimer's debut was no fluke. Re-recording three songs from the debut was well worth the effort — this is how these songs were meant to be heard. "Stringbender" is particularly transcendent, a calisthenic exercise in sonic abandon. The rest of LP Title works on the same principle — the self-assured group's guitars tangle and snarl loudly in the mix (you can recognize the Spencer sound in the Easley equipment) as the vocals (by Doring and Fravel) crackle. Latimer packs nine more bristling winners onto the record, including the angry "Kiss 120," the eccentric "Cold Front Killer" and the straight-ahead "Hold Down." Guesting on two cuts, World Dom honcho/ex-Gang of Four bassist Dave Allen acquits himself well. Fravel left after the album and Latimer continued on as a trio.

[Mark Woodlief]
   See also Dandelion