October 2002 Archives

Bangs - Call and Response

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Bangs - Call and Response (Kill Rock Stars) [mp3]

This two-girls-and-a-guy Washington state punk n' roll trio doesn't waste any time on its undeniably hip-shaking new EP. Equal parts Joan Jett, the Donnas, and Bikini Kill influence the six blasts of pure energy and the EP ends as quickly as it began, a mere sixteen minutes later. No filler here, that's for sure. It doesn't matter though because Bangs makes their point and it's resonance sticks. This is basement rock at it's finest.

Shearwater - The Dissolving Room

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Shearwater - The Dissolving Room (Grey Flat Records) [mp3s]

Purposely sleepy and depressing, the debut by Jonathan Meiburg (Kingfisher) and Will Sheff (Okkervil River) is an attempt to replicate the dark mood in Nick Drake's Pink Moon. Almost exclusively using acoustic instruments (banjos, strings, glockenspiel, etc.) the duo play sometimes beautiful music paired with Meiburg's haunting falsetto. Although the lack of direction is bothersome, and the occasional wildly out of tune instrument can be irritating (the piano is a repeat offender), the subtle moments of beauty in songs like "Military Clothes" and "The Left Side" keep things afloat.
Burning Brides - Fall of the Plastic Empire (V2) [audio]

Angry, pissed-off rock and roll music in the spirit of raw power legends like the MC5, Black Sabbath, the Ramones, and AC/DC, but played faster and dirtier. Listening to this album makes me want to slam dance, drive fast, and get stoned (not all at the same time). The trio slithers in and out of sludgy grunge rock ("At the Levity Ball") and power-punk ("Glass Slipper") recalling Bleach-era Nirvana, particularly on "Arctic Snow." Kick out the jams, motherfucker.

The Spectacular Fantastic

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The Spectacular Fantastic - Self Titled (Ionik Records) [mp3]

Under the guise of Spectacular Fantastic, Mike Detmer has released a collection of home bedroom recordings combining the best parts of Neil Young, Uncle Tupelo and country and western singalongs ala Buddy Holly. The unofficial anthem of the album "Getaway", falls somewhere in the area of Anders Parker, Roy Orbison and a handful of sudafeds. These acoustic based and driving lo-fi songs cover a lot of ground with dizzying catchiness and aside from one out of place drum machine track, remain consistant from start to finish.
The Black Heart Procession - Amore del Tropico (Touch and Go) [mp3]

By BHP standards, this is a happy uplifting album even though the subject matter is lost love. The somber and minimalist approach this band has favored in the past has been left by the wayside and been replaced with fuller, richer songs such as "The Invitation," as well as songs that, well, rock ("Did You Wonder"). It's a departure, for sure, though a pleasant one at that. And, if you're keeping track at home, it's the first BHP album to break from a numeric title.

Egon - Behind The Curtain

Egon - Behind The Curtain (Has Anyone Ever Told You?) [mp3]

Not to be confused with the trippy-pop group Enon, this trio hail from the dusty border town of El Paso and play their own brand of jangly indie rock. At times it's surprisingly clever, especially on the jaunty "I'll Help Myself," while other times the songs sound indistiguishable from each other. Still, with the occasional plinks of electric piano and Victor Talamantes' slighty airy (dare I say emo?) voice, it's well worth the $5 PPD to order it direct from the label. Isn't getting mail fun?

Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted

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Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted [Remastered] (Matador) [mp3]

Ten years have passed since Pavement single-handedly changed the ambitions of bedroom slackers everywhere by proving that with some great ideas and decent home recording equipment, anything is possible. This hardly sounds ten years old, probably because so many characteristics of Pavement's sound have become practically the standard now - loud/soft changes, spoken/sung vocals, and one take and it's done mentality. Matador expands this release into a 48 song, 2 cd collection by including a live show, some ep's and peel sessions.
The Blasters - Trouble Bound [live] (Hightone) [mp3, audio]

In their prime, The Blasters were lumped in with the punk movement almost by default and never cashed in, despite being forebearers of the L.A. blues/punk movement. While bands like the Fabulous Thunderbirds simplified the blues formula and parlayed it into mainstream success, The Blasters feuded, broke up and stayed apart for over 17 years. This original lineup only reunited for a quick tour in 2002 and live they hardly sound dated - textured and tight with lots of harmonica, piano and guitar solos.

Bonnaroo Music Festival 2002 Live

Various Artists - Bonnaroo Music Festival 2002 Live (Sanctuary Records)

Twenty-one artists are included in a release from the Summer's biggest and best festival. This release captures the soul, the rock, the funk, the groove, and the jam. If you are a fan of any of the bands on the disc it is a must own. If you have never heard any of the artists, or have ever said "jam bands are boring", it is a must listen the next time you are at the record store - you might be pleasantly surprised.

Low - Trust

Low - Trust (Kranky) [audio]

One assumption was that next logical step from their last LP was a more pop orientated sound. Instead, Low head back into their shell and release a collection of dark songs, including atmospheric, pounding percussion and some shockingly loud moments. Recorded in a church, Low utilize the space to allow ambience to seep into their songs, most creeping along at a snail's pace. No radical changes from the band, still stark and hushed. In fact, its reminiscent of their earlier releases with the unexpected addition of noise and feedback.
Jets To Brazil - Perfecting Loneliness (Jade Tree) [mp3, mp3]

The third chapter in the JTB trilogy is stuck somewhere between the rocking super-brilliance of Orange Rhyming Dictionary and the cheesy shitbox of Four-Cornered Night. Utilizing the huge orchestration so popular this year, Blake Schwarzenbach and crew mix some perfect folk pop, epic spacerock, and familiar guitar singalongs with another batch of his, (yawn), introspective piano ballads where he channels Elton John. Though it needs an editor armed with a razor blade (almost every song is at least a minute too long), I still love this record.
Teenage Girls - The Initial Assault LP: The Art of Friendship [audio]

Teenage Girls are about as original as tribal tattoos on a beefy gay man. This quartet from Philadelphia try to play up the "we sound like Weezer but not really" thing, but end up sounding more like a slowed down version of Creed. Highly derivative of anything ever dubbed "alternative," the record annoys far more than it entertains. From the horrible artwork to the crap-tacular band name and Bob's overly pleading vocals (he moonlights as a spoken word artist, go figure), The Initial Assault LP makes me cringe all over.

Various Artists - One Big Trip

Various Artists - One Big Trip (Red Urban Records)

Billed as the first ever single-disc DVD/Album combo, One Big Trip is an ode to drugs, the open road, and…um…drugs again. The film is just an overindulgent, trustafarian home video, but the accompanying soundtrack is 13 stellar tracks from a who's who of underground hip-hop. J5, Dilated, Lootpack – they're all here, and – surprisingly enough – even doper than usual. Highlights include repeat lyrical headcracks by Del The Funkee Homosapien, and the Hieroglyphics crew's head-nodding exhortation "Get Up Off My Dick."

Soul Junk - 1957

Soul Junk - 1957 (Sounds Are Active) [audio] [mp3]

Who doesn't take a liking to the ramblings of an acid/pot casualty as he raps out sincere, barely decipherable bible scriptures over bizarre hip hop and bedroom techno beats? White man + rapping + religion should equal something disasterous and in some ways this is, but there is something redeeming about it that is really creeping me out and keeping me up at night. Ironically enough, if played at a casual gathering, the first person most likely asking them to shut this off would probably be the person with the strongest religious background.

The Sheila Divine - Secret Society

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The Sheila Divine - Secret Society (Arena Rock) [audio/video]

Sure it's cool when Morrisey is depressed, but it might not be the best of career moves for apparent Moz devotee (and TSD frontman) Aaron Perrino, who jettisons the atmospheric yet rocking tunes of past releases on this blandly despondent EP. Over the course of 6 lush yet rote midtempo guitar swirls, things get progressively more bummed out as our attention wanes. Melancholy + worn grooves = dull, dull, dull.

Do Make Say Think - & Yet & Yet

Do Make Say Think - & Yet & Yet (Constellation) [mp3]

Nothing like extensive European touring to tighten a band's sound. DMST leave behind GYBE! influenced sublimity for upbeat instrumentation at times reflective of post rock and dubby jazz. Song titles like "Reitschule" and "Classic Noodlanding" reference tour experiences such as the Swiss club whose owner housed them in an adjoining hostel and allowed use of his stage for jam sessions, or a Dutch tour poster in the case of the latter. A consistently relaxed and natural album; may cause spontaneous purchase of Eurorail pass.

The Pattern - Real Feelness

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The Pattern - Real Feelness (Lookout!) [mp3s]

Garage rock is the bomb (as any RFTC tattoo could tell you). The problem is that most new-schoolers are more fashionable than explosive. Fortunately, Berkeley non-hippies/hipsters The Pattern know how to kick out the jams something fierce. Immediate and subtly clever, Real Feelness rocks with aplomb - especially on the rollicking "She's A Libra" - befitting rockers who know how it should be done (plus, there's a pretty little out-of-character acoustic song at the end, and I’m a sucker for that stuff).

Calvin Johnson - What was Me

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Calvin Johnson - What was Me (K Records) [mp3, mp3]

First off, let's dismiss the four acappella "songs" as the pretentious crap that it is. What's left are six bare, stripped down quality acoustic guitar tracks by everyone's favorite chain smoking troubadour. This compilation of older material is pretty far removed from his other various musical projects and its good to see another facet to his talent. I was secretly hoping for a cover version of the Anna Nicole Show theme song because nothing screams prescription drug overdose quite like Calvin's voice, especially on this release.
The Boggs - We Are The Boggs We Are (Arena Rock) [audio]

Brooklyn kids and their bedroom re-recordings of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack - I can't tell if it's a put on or not. The fiery banjo fingerpicking, kitchen utensil percussion - washboards, yo - and blues-standard songwriting are all in fine form, but the disc too often feels pretentiously lo-fi and primitive. I guess that's to be expected on any new indie rock release featuring both mandolin AND pennywhistle (not to mention a dude named "Ezekiel").

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

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