July 2005 Archives

Steve Broderick - Self Titled

Steve Broderick - Self Titled (Find it on CD Baby) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The Southern roots-rock sound does not figure prominently in my CD collection, but I have to say this album grew on me. The earnest, soulful tracks reflect solid musicianship and songwriting skills; Broderick has been in several bands, including, of all things, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Mix up the Allman Brothers, the Black Crowes, and Collective Soul, and you get a sound much better than most of the "rock" that's currently on the radio. I pick "You Don't Even Know" to make it on the charts.

Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger

Maxïmo Park - A Certain Trigger (Warp) [audio] [upcoming shows]

You wouldn't fault a contemporary trumpet player for sounding like Miles, would you? Yet it's all too easy to dismiss a band like Maxïmo Park for sounding like XTC or the Jam without really understanding that post-punk is a musical form as valid as any other. So, considering they've chosen to work with such a specific palette, you should realize that what A Certain Trigger accomplishes is quite extraordinary. And, in the context of the current revival craze, it's an even more impressive feat to make such a timeless album.
Eels - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations (Vagrant) [video] [upcoming shows]

This two-disc set is the first Eels album I've owned since Electro-Shock Blues, and color me shocked. The first disc is an entrancing set of stripped-down pop, instantly inviting and familiar. The spell continues onto the second disc, and only after multiple listens can you shake the opium cloud off long enough to realize how many wonderful stand-alone songs there are in the latter half. If this is what I've been missing out on, I apparently need to backfill my collection.
Flotation Toy Warning - The Bluffer's Guide to the Flight Deck (Misra) [mp3s/audio]

Orchestral, epic and spacious, at home with recent Mercury Rev or post-guitar, pre-electronic Flaming Lips. There are traces of the pomposity of Queen in the atmospheric production, yes that Queen - intersped with layers of sound bites, opera singers, violins and pianos. Grandoise music made for fans of Sparklehorse, Radiohead and early Grandaddy. A definite vibe record, the lyrically rhythmic vocals seem to have come from the unlikely gene splicing of Freddie Mercury and Jason Lytle singing for Sigur Ros.
The Most Serene Republic - Underwater Cinematographer (Arts & Crafts) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Had they been around a decade earlier, the Most Serene Republic might have been invited as the only international members of the homespun Elephant 6 collective. In 2005, however, the E6 is no more and, by virtue of geography, they're now a part of the notoriously ambitious Arts & Crafts family of Toronto. Their brand of densely arranged psychedelia-tinged pop seems a comfortable fit, though. Somewhere between the extremes, the Most Serene Republic has found a fertile middle ground which is already yielding delicious fruits.
The Perishers - Let There Be Morning (Nettwerk Records) [audio/video] [upcoming shows]

The delicate-piano-and-spare-guitar soundtrack to washing the dishes while weeping over life not having turned out the way you expected. Which is not to say all the songs are depressing. In fact, "Weekend" is quite encouraging in a morose way. And the title track ends the album on a hopeful note... even if the protagonist is on his deathbed. The highlight, however, is "Pills," a hearbreaking duet about the end of a relationship that neither one wants to admit to. File next to Athlete, Keane and Snow Patrol.
The Woggles - Soul Sizzling 7" Meltdown (Chicken Ranch Records) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

These garage rock and soul veterans seem to have taken a time machine from another era, most likely the mid-60's. An incredible live act, lead vocalist The Professor may resemble a sickly Rodney Bingenheimer but he shrieks and swings with the best of them. This release puts their shoutalong singles and unreleased tracks over the course of ten years onto one CD. While playing this, don't be ashamed to do the twist and the watusi - it's perfectly appropriate.
Hexes & Ohs - Goodbye Friend, Welcome Lover (Noise Factory) [mp3s] [upcoming shows]

Montreal scene veterans Heidi Donnelly and Edmund Lam have gone from band to band thinning their numbers until only the two of them remained. Hexes & Ohs, their latest incarnation, is proof that no more people than necessary need to be involved in the making of a great record. On the surface, I'd say this would appeal immediately to fans of the Postal Service, but deeper down lurks an entire album of obscured melody and experimental craft. Let the world have "Such Great Heights." "Alive Until Saturday Night" is for you.
Math and Physics Club – Weekends Away (Matinee Recordings) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Before I heard this delightfully enchanting EP, I thought that math and physics sounded like moaning and weeping... the noises I made back in high school when checking my answers in the back of the book and getting them all wrong. But perhaps if I had joined the club, I could have bounced around to sweetly grave incandescence. Like Belle and Sebastian at its poppiest best. But way better. New EP out in a few days. I can't wait.

Daryl Waits - The Rustler

Daryl Waits - The Rustler (Paradeco) [mp3s]

Still not listening to Moron Parade? It's your loss, trust me. Here is band member Daryl Waits with his own solo record. The slow and deliberate vocals are somewhere between Loaded-era Lou Reed, Smog, and David Berman. The music is reminiscent of the pop scrappiness of Swearing at Motorists or The Feelies and Yo La Tengo at their blissed-out best. Also throw in some of the dissonance and quirkiness of early Modest Mouse. It's all tied together with a thin, home recorded production touch.

Smoosh - She Like Electric

Smoosh - She Like Electric (Pattern 25 Records) [audio/video] [upcoming shows]

OK, to be fair: the lead singer falls out of key occasionally, the keyboard can sound a bit simplistic, and the lyrics are less than deep. But the band has a combined age of 24, writes songs that are catchy as hell, and plays them with a boisterous enthusiasm that has me completely hooked. I don't care if it isn't technically perfect; it is rare to hear this much talent and naive joy in the same record, and it is utterly infectious. Thank you, Asya and Chloe, for reminding me why I started to love music.
The Deathray Davies - The Kick And The Snare (Glurp) [mp3] [upcoming shows]

The key ingredient to the Deathray Davies' creative longevity is the knowledge that good power-pop never goes out of style. Because of this, they're allowed to borrow liberally from the past to make something new (on "Plan to Stay Awake," they hijack the vocal melody straight from the Beatles' "I"ve Just Seen a Face"). The downside, however, is that most records of this nature contain as many misfires as they do successes. As we wait for them to make their perfect record, the successful half of this one will do.
Idlewild – Warnings/Promises (Parlophone) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Hello, my name is Meredith and I am a Britpop/rockaholic. Listening to the single "I Understand It" was like coming home... to a crackhouse. I needed more. Frantically scrabbling through the 75orLess submission pile, I fell upon the full album and greedily shoved it into the CD player. The opening notes of "Love Steals Us From Loneliness" surrounded me with jangly guitars and lovely harmonies, and I knew that my addiction was going to be well taken care of.
Various Artists - Burn the Street Vol. IV (Daredevil)

The fourth aggro-rock scene profile in the Burn the Street series seems to have been a victim of a strange conspiracy, because nearly every one of its tracks is eerily run-of-the-mill. However, the few towering flames it does offer, including those by Spiritu, Dove, El Caco, Mastodon and Couldron, do a commendable job of warding off the bucket of water it would take to extinguish this otherwise small bonfire. Best when experienced in desperate times.
The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan (V2) [video] [upcoming shows]

The scope of this album exceeds this site's format. Jack White has become the Tarantino of rock, building wholly original masterpieces from the disparate elements of his musical upbringing. Despite containing the first mediocre song of their major label output ("The Nurse"), Satan solidifies the duo's status at the apex of rock by challenging its listeners, signaling a completely new sound with every increment on your CD player's track display. They've milked a decade of relevance from each day spent in the recording studio. Their third classic.

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

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