March 2002 Archives

Brendan Benson - Lapalco

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Brendan Benson - Lapalco (StarTime) [mp3]

My new fake boyfriend is Brendan Benson. Not only has he put out a record that I can't stop listening to, like me, he's a product of the Motor City. My favorite track changes with every listen, and it's refreshing to see a record made as a whole piece of work, not just a couple of singles and some filler. Emotive but not emo, look for it on everyone's best of 2002 list come December.

Clinic - Walking with Thee

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Clinic - Walking with Thee (Domino)

The masks make sense on more than one level - never has a band been so proud of an identity crisis as Clinic. Still not having found a prescription that works on their third full length release, this much over hyped Brit rock combo fails to wow, and is destined to appeal to those who pride themselves on an affectation of being complicated. When these tracks were laid down. the doctor was definitely out.

Songs:Ohia - Didn't it Rain EP

Songs:Ohia - Didn't it Rain EP (Secretly Canadian)

You could sneak a Jason Molina record onto any diehard Will Oldham fan's jukebox and they wouldn't even blink. The only difference being the songs are longer and the separation of vocals and instrumentation is more pronounced. The best tracks here are the two that feature drums while the rest of the tracks requires you to slow your heart rate down to about ten beats a minute to find the groove. The perfect soundtrack for rainy days and book signings.
Desaparecidos - Read Music/Speak Spanish (Saddle Creek) [mp3]

Emo boy goes punk, gets mad at urban sprawl. Poor Omaha. It has been beset by highways, chain stores, and patriots. But oh, does this record make it all sound so majestic. Even the quavering, anguished vocals come off as triumphant, with the overall vibe teetering on the edge of Blink-style pop bliss, but saved by screaming and a certain rawness. Exhilarating despite unintentionally funny anti-consumerist lines such as "He's hungry. I should buy some popcorn."

Tullycraft - Fun Beat Surf

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Tullycraft - Fun Beat Surf (Magic Marker Records)

Back and a bit more subdued, they haven't changed much (despite sporting an obvious Imperial-era Unrest influence on the first track) and thats either good or bad, depending on how much you cared for their previous releases. The trademark unmistakable whiny vocals, Casio keyboards with dying batteries, and direct lyrical references to other indie rock subgenres have all remained untouched. Listening to Tullycraft can make anyone believe that writing a great pop song is as easy as inviting friends over and hitting record on your boombox.
Erik Sanko - Past Imperfect, Present Tense (Jetset Records)

Although not the first to compose a thematic album based on lost love, Erik Sanko does a fine job of revealing his loneliness and despair with the misguided delusion that things will get better ("I get along fine without you," he sings with little conviction on "I Get Along Fine"). Throughout the CD, Sanko finds the haunting medium between the down-home lo-fi recordings of Sparklehorse and the twisted fantasy music of Danny Elfman.

N.E.R.D. In Search Of...

N.E.R.D. In Search Of... (Virgin) [audio]

N.E.R.D. debates whether to a) respect the laydeez or b) fall asleep during oral sex, an epic internal struggle set to the tune of Nirvana riffs and acoustic soul (no shit!) instead of their signature 808 thump—guess pimpin really ain't easy. It's a hit-or-miss affair whose failures are made all the more glaring by Chad and Pharell's untouchable streak of dope production for other artists. However, the album's bookend tracks ("Lapdance" and "Stay Together") are keepers.

The Promise Ring - Wood/Water

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The Promise Ring - Wood/Water (Anti) [mp3]

"Rocker comes to terms with own mortality, writes best album of career" is a common theme, yet who’d have predicted just how good Davy VonBohelen and Co’s latest would sound? Lovingly orchestrated pop magic in every sense of the word; the sonics can get a bit too sleepy-eyed for my tastes (especially following Very Emergency’s joyful noise), but in no way does it detract from an expansively beautiful album.

Princess Superstar - Is

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Princess Superstar - Is (Rapster) [audio]

Possibly the only female MC to pen a track called "Bitch Betta Have My Money," Princess Superstar is a cunning linguist who’d make even the most incorrigible thug moist in the drawers. From sugar-mommy pimp fantasies and "Bad Babysitter" tales, to basic underground MC show-and-prove, PS’s latest comes strapped with enough tongue-twisting wordplay and magnetic charisma to back up the most brazen of her boasts, silencing playerhaters whilst justifying her royal namesake once and for all.
The Liars - They Threw us all in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top (Gern Blandsten) [mp3]

The post-punk-slap-ass-funk child that is The Liars will wake you up. An amalgam of intensity erupts from the minimal looking album with a Don Caballero-esque title. Aussie born vocalist Angus, electrifies tracks with whispers, wails and guttural effects, building an urgent core within a hurricane of driving beats, digital samples and energetic bass reminiscent of Shellac. The album culminates in a 30 minute conundrum conjuring an urban post-apocalyptic fantasy, leaving only the question - "what the hell just happened?...."
Alien Crime Syndicate – XL From Coast to Coast (V2) [Ozzy MP3]

"Please just lift up your hands, if you like Ozzy or the Motley Crue." If the chorus of Alien Crime Syndicate's single "Ozzy" doesn't get you pumping your fist in the air, then you might as well not bother with the rest of this surfspacestonerpower pop CD. As a whole, the CD may not be a masterpiece (it's awfully good though), but the single alone merits consideration for Best of Song of 2002. (By the way, my hands are lifted).

Go Back Snowball - Calling Zero

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Go Back Snowball - Calling Zero (Fading Captain)

If you accept the basic premise of the cult of Bob Pollard - that he is a genius with an ear for irresistible hooks, weirdly evocative nonsense-lyrics, and, sometimes, the perfect pop song - then you have no business complaining about his mammoth output. This long-distance collaboration, with Pollard adding vocals to Superchunk-frontman Mac McCaughan's instrumentals, features a Magnetic Fields quality at times, one true-genius song, a few close contenders, and plenty of lo-fi pop candy in between. Not just for diehards.
The Bellrays – In the Light of the Sun (In Music We Trust)

Soul music isn't a popular style among indie rock kids. Of course, those kids haven't heard the powerful voice of The Bellrays' Lisa Kekaula. Kekaula possesses the passion of a young Aretha Franklin and her band, heavily endorsed by MC5's Wayne Kramer, plays with the spirit of an early '70s garage rock band. Originally a cassette-only release in 1992, this CD re-issue sounds just as welcomed in 2002 as it would have in 1962. I'm a converted believer!

The Tyde - Once

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The Tyde - Once (Orange Sky Records)

Three-fifths of Beachwood Sparks make up one-half of this one-third psych-pop, one-third experimental keyboard-rock, one-third Americana band. Believe me, it all adds up. Fronted by ex-Further singer (and brother of Beachwood Sparks’ Brent) Darren Rademaker, this little hippy-country-space pop outfit brings to mind early Wilco (before Jeff Tweedy lost touch of his rural roots), Olivia Tremor Control, and even a little bit of Lou Reed, filtered through a hazy northern California afternoon in, say, 1968.

Aesop Rock - Labor Days

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Aesop Rock - Labor Days (Def Jux)

If mainstream hiphop lived in a shack along the Alaskan pipeline, Aesop Rock and his cronies would live in apartment complex down in the Florida Keys, just about as far as you can stray while remaining within the same genre. Mind bogglingly intelligent and intricate lyrics (at one point he references A Christmas Story) float over simplified beats and dreamlike samples. The only complaint: mental overload - too much content to digest in one sitting.

Boards of Canada - Geogaddi

Boards of Canada - Geogaddi (Warp) [audio]

This is quite possibly the most accessible IDM record I've ever heard. That doesn't equal bad, unless you're a snob. And even if you are, there's enough layers and intricate styling in the same vein as their debut, Music Has The Right to Children, to make you happy. Geogaddi is your soundtrack to dreams of impossibly beautiful places that don't exist.
Beulah - When Your Heartstrings Break (Sugar Free) [mp3]

When Your Heartstrings Break is *exactly* what the Beach Boys would have sounded like had they been part of Louisiana's Elephant 6 Recording Company. Fuzzy pop gems stick in your head while you're listening to them, but are forgettable once you stop the disc.
V/A - Rock Music/A Tribute to Weezer (deaddroid Records)

What's the point in putting out a Weezer tribute when all of the bands sound like Weezer and contribute pretty straight forward covers? I'd rather burn myself a "Best of Weezer" CD and include a few tracks off the new CD which, for some reason, wasn't touched on the tribute. The kids will buy it though for the tracks by Dashboard Confessional, Midtown, and The Stereo. My question is where is Ultimate Fakebook and the Get-Up Kids?

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2002 listed from newest to oldest.

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