April 2004 Archives

Eagles of Death Metal - Peace Love Death Metal (Ant Acid Audio/RekordsRekords) [mp3] [video]

How do you make Peace Love Death Metal yourself? Take your old Steve Miller, Steeler's Wheel, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and disco-era Rolling Stones records out to the California desert. Leave 'em out there to bake for a couple of years. When they're done, see if they play - if they do, pick the best songs from each (they should sound markedly similar, yet equally ass-kicking by this time), and make a massive mix. Then proceed to dance your ass off.
TimTim - Let's Pretend We're Going (Bpitch Control) [audio]

Drawing on his experience as a multi-instrumentalist rock musician, TimTim approaches the electronic genre with enough historical sensibility of form to keep all the bleeps and squelched noises from escaping the confines of individual songs. Undoubtedly influenced by late-era Notwist and Lali Puna, TimTim still doesn't outwardly betray the genre he's chosen, consciously keeping every bit of this recording electronic (with the exception of an occasional acoustic guitar). Don't overlook this one.
The Party of Helicopters - Please Believe It (Velocette/Bifocal) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

Those crazy kids in PoH have pulled off a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup scheme of massive proportions: they got their indie in their metal in their prog in their Led Zepplin; added a layer of falsetto vocals like Chet Baker channeling Rob Halford; wrapped it all around songs about moustaches, car stereos, getting your ass on the dance floor, children who are actually alien spies; and came up with a candy treat you just can't put down.
French Kicks - The Trial of the Century (Startime) [mp3] [upcoming shows]

In the five years since their eponymous debut ep (which, frankly, was an uninteresting mess), French Kicks have been dependably surprising and more and more deserving of every accolade they've been given. The Trial of the Century makes use of not only the band's best songwriting yet, but also their best arrangements; captivating organ tones, sparing use of reverbed guitar, and deep and bouncy basslines. There's something almost Motown-like about this record, and how sweet it is.

Ambulance Ltd

Ambulance LTD (TVT Records) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Ambulance Ltd. have done their homework, and come up with a perfectly international album, one that hops back and forth between the misanthropic musical traditions of the U.S. and Britain. The whole album is such a pastiche, every song sounds familiar, though I can never put my finger on exactly what any specific tune draws on. It's all in there, from the everlovin' VU to the Smiths, from shoegaze to Beach Boys, and the result is impossible to keep out of my head, or my stereo.
Graham Coxon - Happiness in Magazines (Parlophone) [upcoming shows]

It's suddenly become clear why Graham Coxon parted ways with Blur; Think Tank was many things, but it wasn't a rock and roll record. Happiness in Magazines, however, is very much a rock and roll record and its first single "Freakin' Out" could be the best tune the Buzzcocks never wrote. The remaining tracks play out like a crash course in '70s English rock, recalling everyone from the Faces to the Fall without sounding uninspired or plagiaristic. That's the stuff.

The Pills - A Fistful of Pills

The Pills - A Fistful of Pills (Primary Voltage) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

More than thirty years on, the spectre of Big Star still haunts every garage band who choose Rickenbackers over Les Pauls. Boston's Pills are a long way from Memphis, but the ardent (pun intended) southern hospitality of Bell and Chilton's classic recordings is very much alive on A Fistful of Pills. If there's a better traditionally-minded power pop album to be released this year, please point me in its direction. This one's hard to beat.
Mark Lanegan Band - Here Comes That Weird Chill (Beggars Banquet) [audio]

Why take one of music's purest voices and electronically process the shit out of it? This is almost as disasterous as the time the Laughing Hyena's John Brannon, one of the late 80's greatest screamers, became convinced he was really a crooner - or last year when Bon Jovi rerecorded his classics into a even bigger giant steaming pile of crap. It takes a few tracks before you can be positive that Lanegan is the vocalist and more than one track features bad spoken word over industrial noise-dominated backing tracks. Avoid.

Shannon Wright - Over the Sun

| 1 Comment
Shannon Wright - Over the Sun (Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records) [mp3] [upcoming shows]

I heard many of these songs just once when I saw her give a piercing live performance last June. Upon giving Over the Sun a spin last week, I remembered almost every stop and start, every claustrophobic passage, and every twist and bend she encounters on the path to each song's eventual end. It's as if they'd been tattooed on my brain tissue with laser precision. Now, if that doesn't speak to the brilliant ability Shannon Wright has to craft music, I don't know what does.

Dead Men EP

| No Comments
The Dead Men - EP (electronic78/prescription records) [audio]

It's good to hear Sonic Boom put the joint down and stopped twiddling knobs long enough to return to a more rock and roll orientated record. Although he is only credited with percussion, synths and guitar feedback, his stamp is all over this EP. From the simple two chord guitar progressions, to whispered reverbed vocals and vibed-drenched organs, some of these tracks could be mistaken for outtakes from Recurring. This is a nice morsel of spaced out musical mellowness that could be stretched out to allow maximum bongular absorption.
The Neon Philharmonic - Brilliant Colors: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (Rhino Handmade) [audio]

I'll just have to assume 1969 was a very strange year. Perhaps strangest of all is the Neon Philharmonic making a name for themselves by charting two singles from their oddball album The Moth Confesses. 35 years later, Rhino Handmade issues this comprehensive set containing both full-length albums, some non-LP singles, and more. Not for everyone, but fans of Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, and Harry Nilsson will be in lush psych-pop heaven.

Muse - Absolution

Muse - Absolution (Warner) [audio] [upcoming shows]

This isn't new. Like the Bulletboys before them, who forged a career out of aping David Lee Roth-era Van Halen, Muse aim to ensure their notoriety with an in-your-face brand of thievery - their victim: Radiohead. Where Absolution succeeds is the difficulty you'll find in pin-pointing the precise instances of theft. With the exception of Matt Bellamy's spot-on Thom Yorke impersonation, you never hear Radiohead being directly lifted. But when the album's over, your next move will instinctively be to throw on OK Computer.

The Get Up Kids - Guilt Show

| 1 Comment
The Get Up Kids - Guilt Show (Vagrant) [audio and video] [stream the album] [upcoming shows]

Wow. If you're anything like me, after that last record, you were prepared to skip this one, all together. Never fear, though, this record represents a bit of a return to form for the ol' TGUK. They holed up in their own studio and did all the recording themselves (with help from Ed Rose). They rock. They don't pretend that they're being played on some adult contemporary radio station. And there's no Scott Litt to be found. Buy without fear, children.

Monthly Archives


Powered by Movable Type 5.02

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2004 is the previous archive.

May 2004 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.