November 2004 Archives

Le Tigre - This Island

Le Tigre - This Island (Universal) [mp3] [video] [upcoming shows]

Everything Kathleen Hanna has ever touched has set my hopes high and my heart on fire. Until now. If you like your infectious dance beats without a severe dose of feminist politics, then you’re sure to love Le Tigre’s This Island. After all, though your heart is safe, I assure you that your dancing feet are still quite flammable.

Gina Villalobos - Rock 'n' Roll Pony

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Gina Villalobos - Rock 'n' Roll Pony (Kick Music) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

Gina Villalobos is the real thing. A fair amount of artists seem to have studied the mechanics of the genre well enough to get by, but Villalobos approaches the music from a deeper place. Her raspy, crackling vocals ride along top of rock solid material like "Why" and the cover of World Party's "Put the Message in a Box" as though she's been doing this for thirty years. She's forcing nothing; this is what she was born to do and it comes across so effortlessly.

Nirvana - With the Lights Out

Nirvana - With the Lights Out (Geffen) [audio]

Let's clear something up: I love Nirvana. I bought In Utero on the day it came out. I still have the fucking receipt. Needless to say, I've been waiting for this set forever. So... is it worth it? You bet your sweet ass it is. It's a cornucopia of ultra-rare, unreleased goodness. "Beans?" Check. "Opinion?" Check. In Utero demos from the "Rio Session," including what sounds like the first time they ever played "Scentless Apprentice?" Fuckin' CHECK! Verdict: If you love Nirvana, buy this or you'll hate yourself and want to die.

The Brunettes - Mars Loves Venus

The Brunettes - Mars Loves Venus (Lil' Chief) [mp3s]

The Brunettes have to rival Sons & Daughters as the cutest mixed-sex band on the map. Where S&D dip their toes into the blues, The Brunettes cast a wide net over '60s pop and bring back jerky '80s new wave along with it. The principal Brunettes, Jonathan and Heather, turn these songs into musical dialogues with an unjaded, buoyant interplay as their band creates a dimestore Pet Sounds-esque backdrop. Together, these things make Mars Loves Venus just about the most perfect indie pop record you'll hear all year.

Unbunny - Snow Tires

Unbunny - Snow Tires (Hidden Agenda) [audio]

Singer Jared del Deo has a knack for finding the words when words cannot explain just how shitty things are. While the lyrics are quite interesting, his choice to mainly stick with acoustic guitar throughout most of the album is quite risky when some songs have a smattering of piano, percussion, organ, and a children's choir. And yes, this album really does sound like Harvest-era Neil Young. Overall, an inspiring lo-fi album that would sound better with a lap steel guitar and a case of beer.

Anthrophobia - Magnetic

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Anthrophobia - Magnetic (DRP) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Anthrophobia is solid as a rock on Magnetic, lacing meat and emotion through each groove-laden brain grenade they throw at you. But this isn't surprising, as long-time fans are long-time fans simply because this band is a scarily reliable machine. It's "think-fast, act-fast" metallic hard rock without the whine that hearkens back to the latter years of the last decade, but always with a mind that’s planted in the here and now. The roaring nineties just couldn't destroy these guys.

The Czars - Goodbye

The Czars - Goodbye (Bella Union) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

You might not hear a prettier album this year. Its production is modest and its adornments are few. It glides steadily along on the delicate voice of John Grant and the unhurried arrangements of his band. The songs, anchored by simply strummed acoustic chords, develop as they progress; subtle timbres added in layers. Sometimes not seeing the forest for all the trees is a good thing, because the details are what make Goodbye inherently essential listening.

Vincent & Mr. Green

Vincent & Mr. Green (Ipecac) [mp3]

You're in a bar. You don't smoke, but you ask your friend for a cigar. You puff it like a pro. Then you grab the nearest lady/guy and dance like Travolta and Thurman in Pulp Fiction. You've never danced before and you're quite shy, but you plant a kiss on her/his lips and slink away, touching everyone, buying them rounds. Suddenly reality intervenes. Everyone stares, mouths agape. You feel weird, but you want to do it all over again. So you do.

Kylie - Ultimate Kylie

Kylie - Ultimate Kylie (Parlophone) [audio] [upcoming shows]

I guess you just don't realize how broadly transcendent Kylie Minogue's career has been until you can put 1987's "Locomotion" and her new collaboration with the Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears "I Believe in You" side by side. Add to that duets with such unlikely partners as Robbie Williams and Nick Cave, her late reinvention as Giorgio Moroder's wet electronic dream, and the most honey sweet vocal cords in the public consciousness, and it's clear that Britney, Christina and Jessica are just shitting where they eat.

Frog Eyes - The Folded Palm

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Frog Eyes - The Folded Palm (Absolutely Kosher) [mp3] [upcoming shows]

Every neighborhood had one kid who didn't fit in, who was constantly harassed and beaten up. Despite your best intentions, you even found yourself picking on him once or twice. Well, he now has a band and has channelled the abuse from his past into a disjointed, howling, fractured magnificent symphony to his past demons. He is still wearing corduroys and his straight greasy red hair, now parted on the side, still hangs over his eyes. And in case you were wondering, he still smells like hot dogs.

S - Puking and Crying

S - Puking and Crying (Suicide Squeeze) [mp3]

Most reviews for this record that I've come across seem to play the Postal Service card when drawing comparisons. Just so you know, these people are smoking crack. The biggest difference, first and foremost, is that Puking and Crying isn't shallow. After that, it's obvious that none of these people ever imagined what Cat Power might sound like if Chan Marshall augmented her guitar playing with drum machines and synths. There's a deeper lying sadness here; one which Ben Gibbard knows nothing about.

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

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