May 2002 Archives

Breeders - Title TK

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Breeders - Title TK (Elektra) [audio/video]

Aided and abetted by Steve Albini (and some dudes from Fear, of all places), the Deal sisters recapture the peculiar charm of Last Splash but replaces it's whip-crack surf pop with minimalist, crying-in-your-Pabst blues and "pure white noise." Viewed solely as a decade-in-the-making follow up, TK disappoints, but Kim and Kelley's latest stands alone on it's own quirkily enjoyable merits.
Royal City - Alone at the Microphone (Three Gut Records) [mp3s]

Welcome to a Texas death style wrestling match with the members of Wilco (including all ex-members), Giant Sand, Palace Brothers, Crazy Horse and the Old 97's as the participants. If the last five men standing had to record an album together, you might end up with Royal City, who combine the best elements of all the previously mentioned bands and create a boatload of sparse catchy country influenced songs. While listening to this I kicked my dog, smashed a whiskey bottle, lost my job, and my woman left me. This is as legit as it gets.

Babu – Duck Season, Vol. 1

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Babu – Duck Season, Vol. 1 (Sequence Records)

While not as classic as Nintendo's Duck Hunt, Babu's mixtape-esque collection brings more then enough classic boom-bap for the summer. Seamlessly transitioning from The Beatnuts to Quasimoto, J5 to Big Daddy Kane (!), the entire disc is a satisfying blend of both tried and true hip hop as well as genuinely underground shit (like Phil Da Agony's creepy "Kronkite"). As the album-opening baby voice intones, "it's duck season, punks" – best holster them light guns.

Eminem - The Eminem Show

Eminem - The Eminem Show (Interscope/Shady Records)

Eminem's career has always bobbed somewhere between battle-rhyme underground style and 3-minute commercial jams, and his latest LP is the strongest effort he's mustered yet far to fuse those two ends of his rap spectrum together. This time around, he adds a whole new cache of styles to his quiver, from the Outkast/Nelly-esque southern-funk of "Square Dance" to the Jay-Z pimp-posturing of "Superman", and he even tries, er, singing on "Hallie's Song." Sick flow and beats throughout, however.

Moby - 18

Moby - 18 (V2) [video]

Okay Moby, you get a by on this for three reasons: 1. You've done more to advance and evolve stylistically than most artists do in a lifetime. 2. Your sincerity is real, but you maintain a good sense of humor, especially in the face of the recent dissing by Eminem. 3. There are bright spots on 18, as long as by "bright" you understand I mean melancholy and depressing in the beautiful way. Not your best, but I still feel you.
Ultimate Fakebook - Open Up and Say Awesome (Initial Records) [mp3s]

Secretly purty pop songcraft backed by the sonic muscle of a million kids jumping on their beds strumming tennis rackets along to Too Fast For Love, Bill McShane's indie rock wrecking Crue follow up their sorely underlooked This Will Be Laughing Week with 12 tracks of Marshall stacks, devil horns and (what else) girls. Yet again, the Fakebook infuse their riffs with a genuine panache that the rest of their ilk (save for Reggie) sorely lacks.
Ugly Casanova - Sharpen Your Teeth (Sub Pop)

If Sparklehorse's It’s A Wonderful Life was a looping, audio-image of backwoods Virginia, Sharpen Your Teeth is its companion for the damp Pacific Northwest. Modest Mouse frontman and self-described Satan's pal Isaac Brock's anticipated solo debut brings together co-producer Brian Deck and members of Califone and Black Heart Procession into Brock's home studio in rural Oregon. The result is a magnificent picture of what's inside his head, songs that sound like intense middle of the night living room jams drunk on Olympia lager, recorded and then tweaked.

Lunchbox - Evolver

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Lunchbox - Evolver (Magic Marker Records)

Oakland-based Lunchbox offer up an indie rock version of those variety packs of little boxes of cereal- musical variations of many different styles are tossed out, falling into three basic categories: carnival pop, similar to The Apples In Stereo jamming with The Blues Brothers, space rock with tweaked electric noises peppering the background while pounding walls of fuzzy noise swallow the song alive, and some straight up indie pop complete with horns and handclaps that reminds me of The Beatles' "Revolver". Fun, fun, fun.

Richard Hell - Time

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Richard Hell - Time 2xCD (Matador Records) [mp3]

Richard Hell holds a very high position in the history of U.S. punk rock, situated right near Iggy and the Ramones. Although he concentrates more on his writing nowadays, he should be remembered not only for his music and acting, but also for being the prototype for the Sex Pistols "look". This double cd contains all his classics, digitally remastered from the most crappy of sources, and featuring loads of previously unreleased live tracks. Get this cd, a copy of Please Kill Me and spend the weekend feeding your brain.

Buck 65 - Synesthesia

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Buck 65 - Synesthesia (Endemik Music) [mp3]

With a voice reminiscent of a young Tom Waits, Buck 65 serves his second 2001 release with mad relish. It's hard to believe the cohesive 39min track that is the ENTIRE ALBUM was a manufacturing error, and not a brilliant stroke at drawing his abstract stylins of distinct hip hopisms to a new idiom. Synesthesia is all about the spoken rap, deft scratches and sharp irony of a one man production-djing-sampling force.

The Get Up Kids - On a Wire

The Get Up Kids - On a Wire (Vagrant) [mp3]

When did these guys go "adult alternative" while I wasn't looking? It's like "What if R.E.M. went into the studio all fucked up and said 'Let's make the worst album we could possibly imagine! Let's even rip off Pink Floyd (Let The Reigns Go Loose), but butcher that too!'" This comparison is, of course, aided by the fact that Scott Litt produced this steaming turd. "Grunge Pig," indeed. Destined to be one of the worst albums of the year, I would file this one under "music to shit by" ...but that's too generous.

The Good Life - Black Out

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The Good Life - Black Out (Saddle Creek) [mp3s]

Somewhere Robert Smith is wearing his white hightops, kicking back and smiling. Saddle Creek's pillaging of the 80's continues, as the second new wave is embraced by the new pretty young things. The Good Life, like The Cure, reap all the benefits of heavy black eyeliner and teased out hair, only without having to sport the uniform that was required way back when. A proven formula executed perfectly here, many fading memories flashed back with every familiar melody.

Alfie - A Word In Your Ear

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Alfie - A Word In Your Ear (Beggars Group)

What is it with Britain? Sure, the food sucks, but every barber is a genius! From the Beatles to the fauxhawk, even the most distant Gallagher cousin is guaranteed to have kickass hair. Alfie lace their warmly mellow, Belle and Sebastian-y fingerpicking with all manner of drum-machines, synths, and bird-sounds, all while cultivating far more stylish coifs than my stateside ass can ever hope to comb. Fuckin limeys.

Doves - The Last Broadcast

Doves - The Last Broadcast (Heavenly)

With moments of brilliance (songs like "Words" and "Pounding") surrounded by a moat of mediocrity, it seems that British swirl-rockers Doves have gone and sucked on the same lemon as Travis by releasing a brilliant first record (2000's Lost Souls), and then following it up with a more straightforward effort in the interest of hit-making. The Last Broadcast is an entertaining record, but it sometimes feels a bit too much like a bid to be the next Coldplay. For some reason, I'm not so sure that's a good thing.

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

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