October 2003 Archives

The Wrens - The Meadowlands

The Wrens - The Meadowlands (Absolutely Kosher) [mp3, mp3, mp3] [upcoming shows]

Believe the hype. Jersey working stiffs The Wrens have indeed made one of the best records of the year. They took that classic indie rock sound, cracked its jaw and busted its ribs, then nursed the fucker back to health. It's jagged and messy and quiet and pretty and it'll crush your heart and rock your ass. The next time some jackass tries to tell you that "the album format is dead", throw a copy of The Meadowlands at them. That ought to shut 'em up.

The Rapture - Echoes

The Rapture - Echoes (Universal/DFA/Strummer) [stream the disc] [upcoming shows]

Here's the recipe: First, take Public Image Ltd.'s This Is What You Want LP - tweak it just enough to avoid a lawsuit. Next, take a bunch of Wire guitar riffs, chop them up and place the samples randomly throughout the record. Finally, bring in some Chemical Brothers wannabes to produce it, replace the drummer with a drum machine on almost every track and make it danceable. Place in a studio for three years, then market to unsuspecting hipsters with a terminal case of dance fever. There you have it - new wave for idiots.

Panthers - Let's Get Serious EP

Panthers - Let's Get Serious EP (Dim Mak) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

The Panthers' second recorded attempt at MC5-esque punk boogie is light years ahead of their debut, Are You Down. Their academic conceptualism is still polarizing - some might say "pretentious" - but at least this current batch of songs (particularly "Sexist Not Sexy" and the ambitious, jazzy "It's Not the Heat It's the Humility") has the sense to tone down the rhetoric, turn up the amps, and kick out the jams, motherfucker.

My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves

My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves (ATO/RCA) [audio] [upcoming shows]

"So what's all the noise I'm hearing about this band?" you ask. "How the hell are some long-haired hippies from Kentucky going to be the saviors of rock?" is another question you might throw out there. My question to you: "Have you bothered listening to this fucking record?" Seriously... miles and miles of reverb, ass-shakin' rock tunes standing next to wonderfully heartfelt songs about everyday life, Jim James' monumentally beautiful (and haunting) voice... did I mention reverb? No kidding... build a temple to this shit and call it a day.
The Decemberists - Her Majesty The Decemberists (Kill Rock Stars) [mp3] [upcoming shows]

The songs are so pretty you know all the words before you realize how delicate the lyrics are, and how much you can get lost in the album like a good book with a surprise ending. If the mysterious guy in the back of your geometry class who kept to himself but had pretty eyes and spent a lot of time in detention for just being too weird made a record, this would be it.

Basement Jaxx - Kish Kash

Basement Jaxx - Kish Kash (Astralwerks) [audio] [more audio] [upcoming shows]

I am only familiar with two truly stellar bands that mix world music with contemporary dance and pop. The first is Canadian collective Bran Van 3000. The second, and sonically better, is Basement Jaxx, who has raised the bar again. The first 15 minutes kill. Not so crazy about "Supersonic", but "Plug It In" and "Cish Cash" drip sex. Best dance album of 2003.

The Stills - Rememberese

The Stills - Rememberese EP (Atlantic/Vice) [audio] [stream the upcoming album] [upcoming shows]

The Stills current notoriety might seem a little premature, or at least markedly inverse to their recorded output to date. But whatever, they're just another one of "those bands," with vaguely British sensibilities, nice hair, and a good-ass press agent, right? So who cares, right? Fuck those guys, right? Too bad their handful of songs happen to RULE. Sometimes it sucks to be a hater.
Outkast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (Arista/La Face) [audio]

Not since Prince's Purple Rain has anyone had their way with musical genres like Outkast does on this double album and left everyone feeling good about it. It's rare someone makes indie, punk-pop, rap, fusion jazz dance hall influences come together so effortlessly you can't believe this is the Miss Jackson guy. By description there's no way this should chart, but your ears and ass convince you there's no way it can't.

Neptunes present: The Clones

Neptunes present: The Clones (Star Trak/Arista) [audio/video]

As raging Pharell-mania subsides (a little), it's the perfect time to reevaluate this collection on it’s own merits. "Light Yo Ass On Fire"'s Kraftwerk booty bass and Snoop's boomingly sparse herb relapse are genuine club bangers, and "Frontin" is one of those classics Prince is too clueless to write anymore; yet the rest of the disc is a mixed bag where the less heralded contributors (Fam-Lay, Spymob) far outshining the superstar cameos' dull bling.

The Desert Sessions 9 and 10

The Desert Sessions 9 & 10 - Various Artists (Ipecac/Rekords Rekords)

Is it a Queens of the Stone Age album or a PJ Harvey album? Sort of both, really. Josh Homme from QOTSA brings a bunch of people out to the desert, records insane music, and releases it into the world. This time around he brought along a bunch of interesting guests, ranging from Miss Polly to Dean Ween. The results are fantastic, making it a must have for fans of QOTSA, PJ Harvey, and those who just like good music. You know who you are.

Ween - Quebec

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Ween - Quebec (Sanctuary) [ween radio] [upcoming shows]

Ween is not a band you reach for when you are in the mood for one style of music - and their goofy sophomoric humor will always have their detractors considering them a joke band. Genre skipping as usual, you'll find thrash punk calling for razor blades and speed, drum machine instrumentals, classic rock ballads and a ready-made zoloft jingle. It's possible the unfamiliar may think that they are listening to a mix tape. Lots of quality material, this is consistant in a way that only Ween can be.

Spouse - Love Can't Save This Love

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Spouse - Love Can't Save This Love (Pigeon Records) [audio] [audio here too] [upcoming shows]

Spouse starts off running with the ball that the Pixies left behind, but in the span of 11 songs, take it so many places that Black F & Co managed to neglect in their grand career. Spouse wants you to dance your ass off. They want you to drink and regret. They want to seduce the hell out of you with their voices alone. And with such perfect sounds as these, they'll do it, too.

Hey Mercedes - Loses Control

Hey Mercedes - Loses Control (Vagrant)

Hey Mercedes' new album, without compromising the band's distinct sound, includes a more poppy and polished feel. The angular guitars, dark chords and complex drums leave no room for confusion as to who you're rocking out to, but Bob's crooning is a bit more melodic and the harmonies are abundant and killer. They've truly honed their sound here; this effort is intense and artistic but not afraid to be catchy - 12 great (Emo, Math?) rock songs. In short, you'll be smiling if this album doesn't rock your face off.

Soul-Junk - 1958

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Soul-Junk - 1958 (Sounds Are Active) [mp3]

Even by their own standards, this is weird. One third of the tracks are traditional hip-hop in the loosest sense. The rest are varied, flowing from backwards instrumental soundscapes to snippets of skronky jazz, string quartets, and startling piercing tones that will have your pets climbing the walls. Soul-Junk are on a far out trip with releases that get more unusual, unarguably groundbreaking in their own freaked-out way. At the gates of heaven, they may have some explaining to do.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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