April 2005 Archives

Japanther - Master Of Pigeons

| No Comments
Japanther - Master Of Pigeons (Menlo Park) [upcoming shows]

Have you heard anything lately that's just enjoyably weird? The members of Japanther relish the opportunity to record ideas as they happen. Provocative sound collages and samples are nudged up against rapid-paced, fuzzy pop songs. These songs, both tuneful and aggressive, are not only made better by their immediacy, but also by the fact they invite you into Japanther's little bubble of a world. In fact, you finish the album feeling like you've just gotten a postcard from a good friend. A weird postcard.
A Northern Chorus - Bitter Hands Resign (Sonic Unyon) [upcoming shows]

With years of library experience behind me, I feel entitled to judge books/CDs by their covers. The one looks like a Victorian novel. But it sounds more like a gothic one. Moody. Mysterious. Sometimes chaotic. Always intriguing. You'd always said you'd never let yourself become an accessory to mediocrity. So says track one, and so I agree. This album is the opposite of mediocre. Listen to it all the way through.
Bruce Springsteen - Devils & Dust (Columbia) [upcoming shows]

Betting against Springsteen ever making another Nebraska is as good as money in your pocket. Yet, there's still something equally as charming as it is disappointing about his low-key work in the years since. He's continued to draw from the same well that produced "Streets of Philadelphia," but has seldom been in danger of repeating himself. Devils & Dust's lyrical vignettes remain sharp while the music that backs them is more rooted in southern traditions than ever before. Though he may no longer command everyone's attention, he's still The Boss.

Herman Düne - Not On Top

Herman Düne - Not On Top (Track & Field) [mp3s] [upcoming shows] [buy domestic!]

Herman Düne is actually comprised of two Swedish brothers who collaborate with a Swiss drummer while living in Paris. To fill out the multi-national lineup for their new release, they borrow the talents of Canadian Julie Doiron to give their guys' night out a feminine touch. Even more of a novelty might be that Not On Top is recorded entirely in mono; an artistic decision that helps accentuate the playfully pure and vintage mood of their performance. The Decemberists could sound this good if they weren't so nerdy.

Unrest - Imperial F.F.R.R. Reissue

| 1 Comment
Unrest - Imperial F.F.R.R. Reissue (Teenbeat)

Nowadays, nothing can rewrite a legacy quite like a reissue. This one is well deserved. If you were paying attention, there has never been any doubt that Imperial and Perfect Teeth-era Unrest were the best indie pop band on the planet. Reissued with seven bonus tracks, Mark Robinson's hypnotic guitar riffs/falsetto vocals and Briget Cross's propelling bass lines were instant pop perfection. If you missed it the first time, here's your chance to play catch up and pretend you've loved it all along.
The Holy Ghost - Welcome To Ignore Us (Clearly Records) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

NYC's The Holy Ghost sound more like Boston's The Blizzard of 78 than any 80's revivalist band that share the same hometown with the band. This is a pretty big achievement for the The Holy Ghost to not get stuck with that "NYC sound" as countless other bands do. Watch out for the guitar on "Commercial", it will cut your head off if you aren't paying attention. On "Pyramid" THG mix things up a bit by slowing down while not losing the distortion which produces a beautiful/dirty sound.
Jennifer O'Connor - The Color and the Light (Red Panda Records) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

And I mean this as a compliment: Jennifer O'Connor has multiple personalities. They manifest themselves as country twang singalongs, torch-songesque ballads, rock-out invectives, and your standard singer-songwriter folk melodies. All delivered in a matter-of-fact voice that echoes Liz Phair, Kristin Hersh, and Hope Sandoval, depending on which track is playing. This CD has won a permanent place in the driving-in-my-car rotation.
Ellis The Vacuumchild - Peace By Extermination (Chalksounds) [mp3s] [buy domestic!]

The School of Indie Rock dictates that bands who choose to remain instrumental must flaunt grandiosity. Ellis The Vacuumchild, a six-piece collective from Sweden, skipped class that day. They take the bendable guitar lines that used to be a dime a dozen in the '90s, accent them with lively rhythm dynamics, and only sparingly resort to using the tired quiet/loud/quiet trick that puts food on Mogwai's table. In fact, these songs would work as well with vocals as they do without them.

Hood - Outside Closer

Hood - Outside Closer (Domino) [mp3] [upcoming shows]

After an early career of emulating lo-fi indie rock icons like Pavement, Hood reinvented itself by engaging in experimental rock (use of samples) that evokes, perhaps unfairly, comparisons to Radiohead - Hood is more coherent and engaging … you "get it" on first listen rather than having to figure it out over repeated listens. There is an element of hip-hop in the folktronica beats throughout the CD though the vocals are delivered in slacker sing-song fashion. Is it too early to declare this my favorite release of 2005?

Tom Vek - We Have Sound

Tom Vek - We Have Sound (Tummy Touch) [audio/video] [upcoming shows]

For an Englishman, Tom Vek is very much a student of recent trends in American music - especially New York's contributions. Following a pair of well received singles in the UK, he makes his first proper statement with We Have Sound. Less self-consciously buried in the art than The Rapture and more quizzical than LCD Soundsystem, Vek makes the most of our willingness to embrace most anything new that sounds old. And, in the process, he's made a record tied neither to past nor future trends.

Athlete - Tourist

Athlete - Tourist (Parlophone/Astralwerks) [audio/video] [upcoming shows]

I suspect that Parlophone has contract workers constructing albums; some get released as Coldplay, some as Athlete. The same piano, the same minor keys, the same slightly whiny singing - but I like it however it's packaged. The single "Half Light" is a sugary confection of pure unadulterated Britpop that stays in your brain for hours. The rest of the songs aren't quite so sublime, but after a few listens, most of them will work their way in too.
Mitch Hedberg - Mitch All Together (Comedy Central)

Mitch died this week, which sucks. Drugs suck. Thank God he made this CD first. All the randomness of Steven Wright, with none of the coherency. This guy did one of the funniest sets I have ever seen in my life in Nashville, and I've been a huge fan ever since. One of the most likeable stage presences I ever saw. If you haven't picked up this CD/DVD set yet, do yourself a favor. When he hit his mark, he could be the funniest man alive. Why did you have to stop being alive?

Monthly Archives


Powered by Movable Type 5.02

About this Archive

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

March 2005 is the previous archive.

May 2005 is the next archive.

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