Sunday, April 20, 2008

Islands - Return to the Sea

I really wanted to trash this record, to be totally cool in destroying indies second coming of Christ for 2008 (think Neon Bible last year), but I simply can’t. For an indie record, it’s distractingly well produced and every member (all 6 of ‘um) is insanely talented. Except for the lead singer, everybody here has been to music school. Nick, the lead guy, also said he wanted the guitar and drums to have “the perfect pop sound”, and I think they really have gotten it here. There’s a whole lot less of the silly genre jumping from Return to the Sea and it’s a whole lot more serious and well composed than The Unicorns, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. These are really long, gorgeous pop songs. They’re going to be huge soon, so get on board now.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sam Shalabi

All I know about Arabia is that their main export is horses and their public transportation relies entirely on upholstery. When it comes to music, I’m vaguely familiar with some YouTube videos. But no matter, this album wanks too far to be interesting and noodles too long to be noteworthy. If you somehow could compress the songs by 300%, it would be pretty interesting. As is, there aren’t any friendly ones at all, although some can be rewarding if you try really hard.

For instance, 10 is awesome. It’s free jazz, marching, a chorus of “blah blah”, etc. Like David Lynch as a jazz genie. 4 has some interesting parts and 6 is all but unlistenable – it’s like the excesses of Patti Smith stretched to 6 minutes without any of the stuff that made her great.

The Black Keys

The year was 2008 and Media Consultation INC resurrected the remains of 1960’s era Credence Clearwater Revival into robots. Their purpose? To sell concert tickets. Unfortunately, they were not weathermen. The first scheduled show, a historic, sold out crowd, was on an outdoor stage – and by all indications, it was going to rain. As the first drops hit, the CCRobots played on, completely oblivious to any human verbs like “to rain” or “to rust” or “to sell concert tickets.” They only knew how “to rock”. But as the first drops hit, something changed. They started to malfunction…

(7)…at first confusing their firmware as The Kinks 2.0, playing grungy, dirty, chord driven, pure rock ‘n roll…

(3)…then driving them into a frenzy, rocking harder, fiercer, almost menacingly, on the verge of destruction…

(9)...while a pan flute floats over the rust, growing…

(2)…but they push forth, they still don’t feel the rain, they push forth with dirty, grungy, Delta-blues overdriven rock ‘n roll…

(1)…moving slower, they still push forth, playing softer and softer till they are overtaken by an organ, playing them their funeral dirge..

(6)..and they move slower still, singing their last ballad, collapsing into the sound of electronic glitches, their robotic heart giving up the ghost.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

Don’t go into this band expecting to be amazed, it takes time. They are young, they make young music – college based pop punk you’ve heard before. Some guitars, drums, songs about girls. But with them, it’s their incessant charm, their awareness that they really are writing songs about girls and they don’t care. It’s almost like Beat Happening, they have to hit you at a right time in your life to really get much out of them. You have to be open and ready, emotionally vulnerable, to ever let them affect you much. This is not introspective, personal music. Nor is it balls to the wall rock. It simply is. As for how it compares to Broom, it’s a lot cleaner, more mature, musically sophisticated, etc. Exactly as you’d expect from a band just signed to a major indie label.

7. The stand out track.

3. Harmonious acoustic number that’s smooth and easy

1. One of their more charming numbers. It has cowbell!

5. Perfect, slow build into a mellow, glowing rock out. Plus it features a totally psychotic scream towards the end.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Magnetic Fields - Distortion

“I want to make an album more Jesus and Mary Chain than Jesus and Mary Chain.” With these words by Stephen Merritt, Distortion is explained. No, this isn’t 69 Love Songs. No, it isn’t innovative. It’s an album of brutally witty pop songs slowed way, way down and slammed with a wall of droning distortion. Jesus and Mary Chain is a good idea, but Loveless is even closer. The problem is that it’s more of a personal experience. It’s not music to rock out to, or to cry to, or to even drive to (unless it’s a cold summer night and you’re feeling mellow). It might be makeout music, but it’s definitely headphone music. So, play - play often - but don’t expect it to give your show much energy.

2. One of the most upbeat. Female vocals; superb lyrics.
3. Plods along, but never is boring. Really, really mellow.. in a loud way.
10. Marvelous riff; best Merritt singing on the whole disc.
11. Another excellent female vox, “upbeat”, number.

Really, this is the kind of album where everyone has a different favorite. So if you like Magnetic Fields, especially their darker/mellower stuff, spin the dial and cross your fingers.

I Was Totally Destroying It

If you’re going to paint by numbers, go for Degas, or Rembrandt, or at the very least a stupid sailboat. You’re dooming yourself to failure if you go for the glitter ballerina with anal fissures on a purple moon. Also, try not to be color blind. I Was Totally Destroying It makes all these mistakes when they try to pop-punk paint by numbers. They also make the mistake of totally destroying their reputation. Maybe, maybe if you are a freshman in high school, you’re favorite band is AFI, and you have a penchant for methadone, this might be your album of the year. For the rest of us whose hobbies do not include, but are actually the exact opposite of, hammering rusty nails into our nose, this band is the worst kind of local. Generic, uninspiring, “listen to this my best friend did it and OMG I love it!” local. Think Straylight Run meets The Smoking Popes and nobody wins.

Best tracks are not available at this time.

Friday, February 8, 2008

footnote upon the construction of the masses:

some people are young and nothing
else and
some people are old and nothing
and some people are in between and
just in between.

and if the flies wore clothes on their
and all the buildings burned in
golden fire,
if heaven shook like a belly
and all the atom bombs began to
some people would be young and nothing
else and
some people old and nothing
and the rest would be the same
the rest would be the same.

the few who are different
are eliminated quickly enough
by the police, by their mothers, their
brothers, others; by

all that's left is what you

it's hard.

(by charles bukowski.)