September 2002 Archives

Rhett Miller - The Instigator

Rhett Miller - The Instigator (Elektra)

"Like the Air Suppliers said," Rhett? "I cannot believe that you're my lover," Rhett? Ken and Murray and Phil must be rolling in their graves with laughter. Oh, I know the Old 97s are still together, supposedly. But they would be forgiven for never wanting anything to do with you ever again. It seems loooooove has taken its toll on your cheese detector. The most annoying thing? Some of the songs are actually damn catchy. But who wants to be singing stuff like "unless you come around/so come around"? Triple fucking gag. Call the boys, beg forgiveness, and then we'll talk.

Goner - Dollar Movie

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Goner - Dollar Movie (Eskimo Kiss Records) [mp3s]

Some great songs with loads of synths, drum machines, Rentals/Weezer-style keyboards, and pianos. This band could have success at a higher than indie level but the songs would be better served by stripping them down, becoming more organic, adding more drums, lowering the keyboards in the mix or ditching them entirely (see "lifer's lament"). They somehow remind me of those bands you claim to like until they become really popular - in some form, they have a great future. Hopefully, they move in the right direction.

Lone Pigeon - Concubine Rice

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Lone Pigeon - Concubine Rice (Domino/Fence Records) [live mp3s]

Here the former lead of Scottish flyboys The Beta Band got himself sorta well after leaving his mates because of an undisclosed bad humor and released a record that is weird and funny and maybe out for a little payback. There is candid white boy rapping on the whimsical "Beatmix Chocbar Wrap" and a nine minute patching of one minute improvised numbers in "The Rainking" that really does work, for the first six minutes at least. And no gratuitous use of the adjetorial cunt. Bonus.

Mark Mallman - The Red Bedroom

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Mark Mallman - The Red Bedroom (Guilt Ridden Pop)

Mark Mallman once played for 26 hours straight, calling his 300 page opus that featured 28 musicians and resulted in a 3 month case of laryngitis "Marathon." Though not quite the Fox News Channel buzz band the stunt potentially afforded the singer, this glam-obsessed Minnesota cat today has traded novelty for efficiency on this lean album bent on recapturing a time when disco + whiskey = give me the fucking mic stand, it's my turn.

Holiday - Words That Rhyme

Holiday - Words That Rhyme (Melanie Records) [mp3s, video]

To the untrained listner, the 11 songs (about girls and stuff) on Holiday's debut LP sound a lot like Weezer. To the powerpop sophisticate, those same 11 songs (about girls and stuff) sound a lot like the Smoking Popes. Yet it's equivalently kickass wafting through either pair of ears. Well-crafted and ebola-catchy, with a melodic knack that's skewed juuuuust enough (like that Kweller kid, methinks) to avoid the generic cliché pitfalls that tend to crop up from these familiar ingredients. Turn it up and hold that boombox high, Lloyd.

Glassjaw - Worship and Tribute

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Glassjaw - Worship and Tribute (Warner Brothers) [mp3]

With stints on Ozzfest and music videos featuring Vincent Gallo, Glassjaw teeter between trad metal crunchosity and avant experimentation, all with a sophistication and genuine musicality that belies their Long Island hardcore roots. The Morrissey-via-Fugazi vocals may grow a little tedious over the course of a full-length, but the oft-surprising songcraft and clever riffs certainly make up for it. Not for everyone, but worth a few listens more than most "hipper" records I've heard this year.

Ok Go - Ok Go

Ok Go - Ok Go (Capitol)

Ok so, this album is going to explode out of your stereo. Its hooks are huge, its exuberant energy unstoppable. This is some powerful pop. The sheer joy of it all might be a little much for hardcore cynics, especially with the prominent keyboards and song titles like "You’re So Damn Hot." But hey now, the lead singer majored in semiotics: Do you even know what that is? Me neither. Added incentive to purchase, beyond the perfect handclaps and harmonies: It’s one of those cheap jobbies.

Beck - Sea Change

Beck - Sea Change (Universal) [audio]

Beck is down and broken-hearted. While some people in this condition either lie in bed all day or go on a bender, Beck floats on a fluffy cloud of cathartic songwriting, lush strings, and an acoustic guitar. Sea Change is overwhelmingly melancholy, but the beauty of this record is that at its slow drag of a pace, Beck reveals that he’s as good at writing slow sad tunes as he is at assembling ass-shaking grooves.

Rocket From The Crypt - Hot Charity

Rocket From The Crypt - Hot Charity (Swami Records)

Anyone waiting for their rebirth after drinking from the tainted water fountain known as Vagrant Records will have to settle for this reissued release from 1995. Their appearance on MTV's Spring Break now seems like a lifetime ago but Speedo and gang have pressed on, however inconsistantly, with their blasts of full throttle horn saturated rock. To their credit, the original mission and matching outfits are still intact, and these older songs should placate those waiting for the "live" release out soon.

Doug Martsch - Now You Know

Doug Martsch - Now You Know (Warner Brothers) [audio]

Doug Martsch must be reading my weblog. After a wintery trip to Boise, drinking Olympia lager stubbies at the bar where every Built To Spill LP is in the jukebox, I found myself listening to less indie rock and more country & blues. Now You Know, the bearded frontman of Idaho's rock heros first solo album is a wonderful mish-mash of bottleneck slide guitar (liberally borrowed from Mississippi bluesman Fred McDowell) and Martsch's gift for combining sweet Northwest pop with bitchin' guitar solos. This is exactly what I wanted to hear in 2002.

Mark Kleiner Power Trio - Love Tonight

Mark Kleiner Power Trio - Love Tonight (Mint) [video]

Mark Kleiner just entered AA and joined the seminary. Not your typical rockstar dichotomy. Released on West Coast indie stawart Mint Records, whose catalog ranges from dirty garage to crystal clear country, Kleiner fits in his own place. The band's name claims power tendencies, but not with strictly dance guitar or synth. It's mostly Kleiner's maple syrupy-sweet vocals and New Pornographer Kurt Dahle percussion that makes this work.

Neko Case - Blacklisted

Neko Case - Blacklisted (Bloodshot Records) [audio]

Nu-country chanteuse Neko Case says an inspiration for writing her splendidly dark songs about abusive boyfriends and the like was long rides in her van. Blacklisted is an album that travels from the serine back woods of Tennessee on the opening banjo driven number "Things That Scare Me" to the gritty Detroit streets in a deep country fried rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Running Out of Fools." Brooklyn even passes through the rear view on the disjointed art ditty "Deep Red Bells."

Cormega - The True Meaning

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Cormega - The True Meaning (Landspeed) [audio]

Queensbridge spawns hardcore MCs like the Midwest does ironic-shirted indie rockers; as adequately thugged-out and linguistically adept as the collective flows of Nature, AZ, Mobb Deep, et al may be, we’ve simply just heard it all before, dunn. Fortunately, nobody treads water like Cormega (not even his QB nemesis Nas, who gets summarily to’ up on "Love In, Love Out") and each track on The True Meaning thumps with a familiar dopeness – how could it not, with production by Large Professor, Alchemist, and Primo himself?
Maestro Echoplex - Last Night I Saw God on the Dance Floor (Android Eats Records) [mp3 · mp3]

I defy you, dear reader, to listen to the opening track of Maestro Echoplex's debut EP, "My Eyes Are Disconnected From My Head Is Disconnected From My Body", and not have it plant itself firmly in your head. The Maestro's style is most closely related to that of the intelligent-indie-folk pioneered by messrs. Oldham and Molina. The finely-crafted songs, delivered via simple, hollow-body guitar and Hammond organ, coupled with Andy Goldman's intimate lyrical style, make this a truly amazing debut. And their cover of Shellac's "Prayer to God" - Whoa.

Of Montreal - Aldhills Arboretum

Of Montreal - Aldhills Arboretum (Kindercore)

How the distinctively un-Canadian of Montreal evolved from a DIY bedroom collective to a polished quintet can be traced to the whiskey soaked tour that led up to the recording of this album. Yeah, the Athenians actually performed these psychedelic odes to pastoral living a bit in advance of clearing out their four posters for half stacks, which really does show on a record that plays as tight as a radio-friendly, neo-garage ditty. Well, for Elephant 6 standards at least.
The Narcoleptics - Monkey Steals The Peach (A Circles) [mp3s]

This is fucking balls-out screaming rock from New Jersey, although they sound more San Diego to me. Some songs work well, like early-Nirvana, while others straddle the line between good aggressive rock (think Quicksand) and the angry suburban boy rap metal so prominent the past couple of years. I could do without the potty artwork (a diagram of female reproductive parts, so funny!) and the serious "professional" attitude (a drum technician listed as a band member?), but I think with a Valium or two, good things could happen.

Clipse - Lord Willin

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Clipse - Lord Willin (Arista) [audio]

The Clipse do for smuggling/cooking/dealing cocaine what James Dean did for smoking cigarettes, replete with knucklehead charm ("From the panel to the dash, its four pounds of slab/Nah bitch we don't believe in air bags"). Yet no matter how cleverly unrepentant the Miami Vice-referencing lyrics, it’s the sublime Neptunes production that elevates the disc above mere Scarface-isms, touching on everything from Dirty South bounce, bizarro percussion, IDM keyboard quirks, and even… showtunes (the jaunty, Sinatraesque "Ma, I Don’t Love Her," showcasing Kelis' underrated pipes).

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

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