November 2006 Archives

Echo Screen - Euphoria

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Echo Screen - Euphoria (Rock Out Records) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The drum intro to Echo Screen's "This Letter Bomb" is a dead ringer for Saves the Day's "Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off To Heaven." They wear their influences on their sleeves and write familiar songs about brown eyes, setting things on fire, and being cold. They dabble in pop-rock for a lot of the album, but the best songs are the upbeat pop-punk ones that would do the Get Up Kids proud.

Rob Anthony - Neo-Jasouloetry

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Rob Anthony - Neo-Jasouloetry (self released) [audio]

It's not hip hop. It's not soul. It's not funk. It's not spoken word. It's not acid jazz. But pick a track on this wildly imaginative CD, and you'll find a match for at least one of those categories. Rob Anthony takes us on a ride through the rocky roads of his overactive subconscious, delivering insights on romantic relationships and the joy of sex with every weapon at his disposal. See the cover? Just call him the Terminator.

Brightblack Morning Light - S/T

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Brightblack Morning Light (Matador) [audio] [more audio] [upcoming shows]

Brightblack Morning Light cradles listeners toward a slanted stupor. Lulling tracks flow together with an improvisational feel—all low grooves, drunken guitars and whispered harmonies. In his slow-baked tempo and blues-y exhalations, the lead male vocalist verges on Hope Sandoval. Haunting female backing vocals add delicacy to subterranean jams. Trippy electro-elements couple with a fog of psychedelia, marrying Portishead to Steely Dan. Native American lyrical allusions serve as a mere afterthought; although the ancient indigenous Spirit is fundamental throughout, stirring a communion beyond words.

Conveniens - S/T

Conveniens (self released) [audio]

Recorded way back in 1984, this twosome were either born too late to make soundtracks for Ed Wood or have predated the two man "space age spaz-jazz" movement by an undetermined number of years. Picture the Electric Light Orchestra as the Electric Light Duo with only a twenty dollar recording budget, too loud in the mix hi-hat and a reliably unsteady drum beat. Completely genreless. Put this on at your next get together and by the second song it's guaranteed someone will say "What the fuck are we listening to?"

Mark McAdam - Cavalcade

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Mark McAdam - Cavalcade (March) [audio] [upcoming shows]

This one could easily pass you by. There are scores of acoustic-driven indie-rock singer-songwriters who can pour their hearts out over a dozen personal songs at a pop. Meet Mark McAdam: he doesn’t have songs that stick out as obvious singles. There's no palpable excitement here either, but rather a solid album's worth of consistently good songs. This is neither an overly pop nor a down-in-the-dumps folk album, as McAdam seems to use genre influences at his own pace.
Andrew Weatherall - The Bullet Catcher's Apprentice EP (Rotters Golf Club) [audio] [upcoming shows]

In the span of four new songs and one remix, Andrew Weatherall's latest EP (the first collection of original work he's released under his own name) goes from the guitar and beat heavy dance rock of "Feathers" and "You Can't Do Disco Without a Strat" to the fully electronic "Edie Eleven," an exercise in the throbbing house thump which has dominated most of his catalogue up to this point. We know not if the future of Two Lone Swordsmen is in jeopardy, but, if this EP is any indication, Weatherall's creative outlook is as clear as ever.
Jennifer O'Connor - Over the Mountain, Across the Valley and Back to the Stars (Matador) [audio] [more audio] [upcoming shows]

Here's hoping that a move to Matador will get Jennifer O'Connor the attention she deserves. More reserved and mournful than her last album, Over the Mountain... deals with death, breakups, and loneliness. Yet the songs—dense with words and delivered with a low-pitched huskiness—are catchy; "Exeter, Rhode Island" could be the "power pop song" on the radio mentioned in its own lyrics. I'm not even going to compare O'Connor to anyone else, because others should be compared to her. Overall, an outstanding record.

The Crawdaddies - Keep Lookin' Up

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The Crawdaddies - Keep Lookin' Up (self released) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The Crawdaddies have been unleashing their brand of zydeco-spiced roots rock since the grunge era, and nothing can stop this freewheeling party band. From the country-fried comical lovelorn confessions of "My Old Heart" to the relentless fun of "Got Nothin'" the Crawdaddies leap in the air with an unyielding sense of joy. The group is completely irresistible, shakin' the shack with hook after hook and bouncy accordions galore. What more can you ask for?
Bobby Bare Jr.'s Young Criminals Starvation League - The Longest Meow (Bloodshot Records) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The Longest Meow comprises 11 genre-bending songs, all recorded in 11 hours with 11 musicians. This is Bare's best album yet, and he proves it, from rockers such as "Heart Bionic" and "Borrow Your Cape," to alt-country numbers like "Demon Valley" and "Stop Crying." You'll also catch a stripped-down version of the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind." Members of My Morning Jacket, Lampchop, and Clem Snide all show up to play on the album, and you can hear through the music that recording this record must have been a blast.
Bobby Bare Jr.'s Young Criminals Starvation League - The Longest Meow (Bloodshot Records) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Bobby Bare Jr. possesses one of the most fascinating voices in music today, both in tonal quality and in the importance of his contributions to the songwriting community. This is his third full-length with the League, and his most eclectic offering to date. It may also be (gasp!) his best. This is more than alt-country; it is a sonic Norman Rockwell painting of the modern South. There is truth in the innocent sincerity of Bare's lyrics, and every song is laced with the earnest, infectious joy of a songwriter who has transcended the concept of "genre."

Neo Nouveau - The Forks & Knives

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Neo Nouveau - The Forks & Knives (self released) [audio] [upcoming shows]

There's something great about these rock bands that make you want to dance, as opposed to bang your head. Providence rockers Neo Nouveau's debut LP does just that, but is perhaps most noteworthy because of its potential. Tracks like "And They Tell Their Friends..." display the foursome's ability to rock you the way you want to be rocked, while "Silver & Orange" shows their ability to write a darn catchy tune. With new material already in the works, there's good reason for anticipation (... no pressure).

Jarvis Cocker - Jarvis

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Jarvis Cocker - Jarvis (Rough Trade) [audio] [upcoming shows]

I bought my first, last and only Pulp album 11 years ago, so I'm without the expectations other people are bringing to Jarvis Cocker's first true solo release. Maybe that's a good thing, because what I hear when listening to Jarvis is a broad and sweeping, swirling and fiery explosion of confident rock songs and a personality bold enough to command them. Pulp, to me, always came across as community theater production with Cocker in need of his supporting players. This album, however, is Jarvis Cocker's terrific leap to the big screen in a peerless lead role.
The Ridgerunners Band - Keep-Ur-Runnin' (self released) [upcoming shows]

Like a classic automobile that they don't make anymore, the Ridgerunners Band are simply better made than any of today's shiny new models. Sure, they have more mileage in them, but that only means they have more experiences to draw from. Their stories of undying love and friendship are as uplifting as they are pensive and evocative. The Jesus confession "In My Soul" will kick your puny white ass, son.

La Pieta - Inside Out

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La Pieta - Inside Out (Contraphonic) [audio] [upcoming shows]

If you liked Madder Rose, you will like La Pieta. Too short at only five songs, the EP's sound is that of a sweeter, higher-pitched Kim Deal singing slow indie pop over simple guitar and bass lines, complemented by subtle harmonies and counterpoint. The hooks will get you humming, the lyrics are wistful and lovely ("broken glass sparkles / stardust falling"), and I LOVE that the cover art refers to the "mustached man on the couch from the party last night."
Dylan Gilbert - The Artist and the Scientist (self released) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Move over, Conor Oberst—there's a new boy wonder in town, and his name is Dylan Gilbert. These 10 guitar-based folk/rock songs pack a ton of feeling and are good for rocking out, getting pissed, or just sitting there and contemplating the world. This whole album should be in heavy rotation on every college radio station. And the guy looks like Adam Brody—need I say more?
Matthew Friedberger - Winter Women/Holy Ghost Language School (859 Recordings) [audio] [upcoming shows]

It's time to stop being polite and start getting real. I acknowledge my imperishable love for Blueberry Boat and EP, but the Fiery Furances are too often lauded (Rehearsing My Choir notwithstanding) to unrealistic heights. On this 2-disc solo LP, Friedberger's mellifluous melodies soar on Winter Women, although he has unfortunately discovered his favorite knobs and levers, as the sounds are repetitive and similar to Bitter Tea. Holy Ghost... left me crestfallen, as it consists completely of cacophonous chords and clatter colliding in connected compositions. Recommended, but listen with realistic expectations.
The New Sound of Numbers - Liberty Seeds (Cloud Recordings) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Now that we're safely on the other side of the Elephant 6 boom, members of the family who choose to remain active are creating some really provocative stuff. Hannah Jones steps in from the fringe with The New Sound of Numbers and shifts the E6 paradigm away from dime store Brian Wilson-isms and covers more experimental, at times Krautrock-informed, ground. While it's doubtful Athens, GA, will become the new Düsseldorf, Jones and her art-fucked cohorts could be the welcome beginning of something unexpected and positively cool.

DJ Shadow - The Outsider

DJ Shadow - The Outsider (Interscope) [audio] [video] [upcoming shows]

So Picasso made these collages at one point in his career. You may have seen them. They are pretty ugly. And Francis Ford Coppola still made The Godfather III. So I mean, you know, it happens. So DJ Shadow made this, half Dirty South, half music-modernica fruit salad album that showcases a lot of his eclectic taste, but little of his production talent. Don't expect another Endtroducing or Preemptive Strike; nothing here will knock you on your ass like half those tracks did.
Elton John - The Captain and The Kid (Interscope) [videos]

You can take Elton John out of Broadway, but you can't take the Broadway back out of Elton John. But c'mon, we didn't need a "Modern Times" from this guy. He has earned the right to fill his catalogue with solid offerings like this. Don't worry about finding some hip, new Elton here; I feel like I found this record while digging through my mother's college albums. So what if the whole album sounds like a Tim Rice remake of Rent? There is little more comforting in pop than hearing a legend smile their way through a collection of songs like this.
The Album Leaf - Into the Blue Again (Sub Pop) [audio] [upcoming shows] [videos] [mini-documentary]

Into the Blue Again couldn't have come at a more perfect time; it's one of those seasonal albums, the kind you instinctively know to put on when the weather starts to change. The songs are ambient, moody, and a bit sad - just like the coming of autumn. So button your coat, go outside, and listen to it while your sneakers crunch the leaves and wait for the first snowfall.

The McKassons - Tripping Maggie

The McKassons - Tripping Maggie (self released) [audio] [upcoming shows]

With fiddling that sizzles and swirls through the air and evocative piano, the McKassons give Celtic folk music a contemporary touch without sacrificing the classic qualities of the genre. Deeply respectful of the music's Scottish and Irish origins, the McKassons walk unafraid in flirting with bluegrass and even Bruce Springsteen, whose "If I Should Fall Behind" is given a delicious Celtic kiss that the Boss won't forget.

Unlove - EP 01

Unlove - EP 01 (Technical Echo) [audio] [upcoming shows]

I can do this in three words: My Bloody Valentine.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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