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.)

a division by charles bukowski

I live in an old house where nothing
screams victory
reads history
where nothing
plants flowers

sometimes my clock falls
someitmes my sun is like a tank on fire

I do not ask
your armies
your kisses
your death
I have my

my hands have arms
my arms have shoulders
my shoulders have me
I have me
you have me when you can see me
but I don't like you
to see me

I do not like you to see that
I have eyes in my head
and can walk
and I do not want to

answer your questions
I do not want to
amuse you
I do not want you to
amuse me
or sicken me
or talk about

I do not want to
love you

I do not want to
save you

I do not want your arms
I do not want your shoulders
I have me
you have you

let that

the screw-game by charles bukowski

one of the terrible things is
being in bed
night after night
with a woman you no longer
want to screw.

they get old, they don't look very good
anymore - they even tend to
snore, lose

so, in bed, you turn sometimes,
your foot touches hers -
god, awful! -
and the night is out there
beyond the curtains
sealing you together
in the

and in the morning you go to the
bathroom, pass in the hall, talk,
say odd things; eggs fry, motors

but sitting across
you have 2 strangers
jamming toast into mouths
burning the sullen haed and gut with

in 10 million places in America
it is the same -
stale lives propped against each
and no place to

you get in the car
and you drive to work
and there are more strangers there, most of them
wives and husbands of somebody
else, and besides the guillotine of work, they
flirt and joke and pinch, somethings tend to
work off a quick screw somewhere -
they can't do it at home -
and then
the drive back home
waiting for Christmas or Labor Day or
Sunday or

down by the wings - charles bukowski

they speak of angels or she
speaks of angels
from a plateglass window overlooking the
Sunset Strip
(she has these visions)
(I don't have these visions)
but maybe angels prefer people with
daughters of rich farmers who are dying of
throat cancer in Brazil.
myself - I keep seeing these
wingless creatures of mean story and dismal
and she says
when I defame her
you are trying to
pull me down
by the wings.

she's going to Europe in the summer -
Greece, Italy, most probably
Paris and she's
taking some of her angels with
not all
but some.
now there's this half-Chinese boy who used to
sleep on fire escapes
the Negro homosexual who plays chess and
recited Shelley at the Sensualist

then there's the one who has real talent with the
brush (Nickey) but who simply can't get
somehow and
there's also Sieberling who cries because he
love his mother (actually).

many of these
will leave town and
flow around the
Arch of Triump
to be photographed or
to chase beetles at
9 rue Git-le-Coeur, and
it's going to be a hot and
lonesome summer
for many of us when
the devil walks in and retakes Hollywood
once more.