March 2005 Archives

Eux Autres - Hell Is Eux Autres

Eux Autres - Hell Is Eux Autres (Bon Mots) [mp3s]

Hey kid! No, not you. The one with the backpack and the iPod blaring Keren Ann. Here's your chance to leapfrog those SPIN-reading friends of yours. Eux Autres sing some songs in French as well, but they back it all up with crisp guitar pop that incorporates every great trick short of the kitchen sink. Handclaps, call-and-response vocals, mad reverb - you name it. As a bonus, they're the coolest brother/sister duo to surface since The Carpenters. Hell isn't Eux Autres, heaven is.

LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem (DFA) [audio/video] [upcoming shows]

Guys, have you ever dreamed of throwing a party where you can dance with hot dorky girls in black-rimmed glasses with great bodies and that know the difference between the Clash and the Knack? Have you ever thought about what music you might play at said party? Danceable, not mindless, something that would make one of the aforementioned hot nerdy girls approach you asking what was playing? And are you tired of Basement Jaxx? Well, here ya go. And it is really good too.


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Citified (Eskimo Kiss) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

I like throwbacks; records wholly influenced by another time. Not that I'm wary of progress by any means, but the sounds of my youth serve the same purpose as a well-read book or a tattered pair of jeans. I like comfort. Citified blurs the line between the US and UK varieties of guitar jangle-pop from the late '80s and they do so quite succinctly. Nine songs play out in just over eighteen minutes without a single throwaway.

The Casting Couch – 5 Songs

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The Casting Couch – 5 Songs (self released) [audio] [upcoming shows]

"Athens indie rock meets Austin alt-country." Excellent! Listening to this EP, you can picture a few couples dancing in lazy circles as closing time approaches - in the corner, the band plays drowsily: the guitarist propping one foot against the bar, the pianist smiling to herself, the singer sounding like Lucinda Williams' younger, less embittered cousin. And everyone drinking to the "Whiskey Skiffle." Charming. Makes me feel all warm. Or maybe that's the whiskey.

Yawning Man - Rock Formations

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Yawning Man - Rock Formations (Alone Records/The Stone Circle) [mp3]

Guitarist Gary Arce must have snapped at least a dozen whammy bars in half by the time he finished laying down his awesome tracks for Rock Formations, a loopy journey that makes you want to forget all about your chemicals and just listen. Reverb-drenched surf may not always evoke melancholy, but even while remaining well aware of "Wipe Out," Rock Formations amiably suggests that the dark side of the moon is swamped with activity after all.

Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (Vice/Atlantic) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Almost a whole year has come and gone since I first wrote about Bloc Party on these pages. And in that year, the band has continued to grow both in skill and in recognition. Silent Alarm is the culmination of all this progress, and it delivers in every way I'd hoped. Refusing to be pigeonholed as post-punk revivalists or fashion-conscious hollow men, Bloc Party just make exciting and colorful rock n' roll that should, by right, shame all their peers into working harder.

Yo La Tengo - Prisoners Of Love

Yo La Tengo - Prisoners Of Love (Matador) [upcoming shows]

Three full discs of Yo La Tengo is a lot to endure in one sitting. However, the band and Matador did do a fine job of distilling almost two decades worth of music down to two discs (while adding a third for the completists). Prisoners Of Love, although not assembled chronologically, paints a vivid picture of their career. And, while no compilation ever makes serious fans happy, it eliminates the need for the rest of us to own those individual albums.
The Mars Volta - Francis the Mute (GSL/Strummer/Universal) [audio] [upcoming shows]

NOT. FOR. EVERYONE. This makes De-Loused in the Comatorium look like a B2K album. If you don't have an hour to dedicate to it, don't even bother. Mostly rewarding, if not always toe-tapping, but it still has its problems. "Cassandra Gemini", the much-discussed 32 minute track, has surprisingly little "filler noise" - so why is "Miranda" chock full of it?! The five songs on the album play like four character studies done by an artist in preparation for their masterpiece ("Cassandra Gemini"). I love it, but you have permission to disagree.

Charles Douglas - Statecraft

Charles Douglas - Statecraft (Enabler) [audio]

"Free at Last" is the perfect opener to a near perfect indie/pop record. Douglas has arranged a constant flow of catchy melodies while spitting out witty lyrics throughout the sixteen songs on Statecraft. Joey Santiago (of you know who) shows up to play guitar on a bunch of those songs. "Spitting the Atom" could easily be an radio hit, while "Chan" is a helpless ode to indie shy girl, Cat Power. Don't forget about those damn vibraphones that make "Beneath the Flowers" everything it should be.
Big Business - Head for the Shallow (Hydra Head) [mp3] [upcoming shows]

I'm pretty sure that they've already done a study, but I'd like to hypothesize that listening to Big Business' debut full-length will instantly make you party harder. Instantly. This two man crew bring the "drum and bass" thunder like you've never heard. It's like sitting at home, drunk out of your mind and then an entire season of Convoy crashes through your living room. Comprised of Jared Warren of Karp and Coady Willis from Murder City Devils, their liner notes sum it up best: "We are Big Business."

Miracle of 86 - Last Gasp

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Miracle of 86 - Last Gasp (Immigrant Sun) [mp3]

Miracle of 86 commands admiration. In fact, everything mini-god Kevin Devine has ever done is often filed in the "respect or be damned" category. The band's six-song EP, Last Gasp, is stuffed with upbeat acoustic and electric pop rock, a grungy emo ditty ("We Keep You Honest") and the peculiar "Jesus Christine," all of which have, dare I say, important lyrics. If this is indeed the last gasp, at least we still have our Kevvy.

Fannypack - See You Next Tuesday

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Fannypack - See You Next Tuesday (Tommy Boy) [audio]

Brooklyn bubblegum emcees Fannypack blend retro booty bombast with school-yard yuks for a Beastie Grrrl dance party. Once an NYC radio phenomenon with "Cameltoe" (yes, an homage to the frontal wedgie) the group graduates to the 6th grade, lyrically at least, on this whimsical follow-up. "I'm going to make you scream like Howard Dean," belts 'Lil Kim doppelganger Belinda Lovell on "Keep On," referencing the politico's campaign coup de grace over a drum sample straight from the Wild Style soundtrack.
Sam Prekop - Who's Your New Professor (Thrill Jockey) [upcoming shows]

In the grand scheme, the differences between a record from The Sea & Cake and a solo Sam Prekop record are marginal at best. Closer analysis, though, will reveal that Prekop exploits the breathing room created by not fronting a proper band. Who's Your New Professor proudly twists and turns in ways The Sea & Cake can not. Without the pressure of adhering to a tested formula, Prekop sounds recharged and revitalized... well, for a guy whose oeuvre consists mainly of jazz lullabies, anyway.

Doug Gillard - Salamander

Doug Gillard - Salamander (Pink Frost) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

From the ashes of Guided By Voices' break up rises Doug Gillard's first solo record, Salamander. Longtime axeman for GBV and Cobra Verde, Gillard plays almost every instrument on the record. Gillard has fine crafted a perfect guitar oriented rock/pop record. "Present" sounds like it could be a Superdrag B-side. While the wonderful (But) I see Something (which closes the record) brings to mind Epic Soundtracks and Elvis Costello. Salamander is hooky, infectious, and well-crafted. This may well be Gillard's best musical outing yet.
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, Its Morning (Saddle Creek) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Damnit, I can't hate Conor Oberst anymore. Bought this, Loretta Lynn, and Ray Charles at Target last week and somehow this is the one I can't stop listening to. Maybe his lyrics still sound like descriptions of the pictures his antidepressants put in his head, and maybe critics' attempts to compare him to others still give him way too much credit, but I'll be fucked if this isn't the best record I've heard in months. It's stuck in my head like that shrapnel I got in 'Nam.


Kasbian (RCA) [audio/video] [upcoming shows]

Make a list of all the things which would make a fuzzy guitar pop record fantastic, then erase "creativity" and "inspiration" and you've got Kasabian. Watching paint dry or licking an ashtray might be more fun, but take heed - this is the first horseman of major label's cultivation of faux indie acts. At least they have their looks to fall back on. Oh, wait, they don't.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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