February 2008 Archives

Siriusmo - Allthegirls EP

| No Comments
Siriusmo - Allthegirls EP (Exploited) [audio]

Siriusmo is Moritz Friedrich, Berlin-based producer, remixer and performer who has positioned himself over the past couple years into a bonafide auteur of revisionist electro-funk and disco—the kind that appeared right at the end of disco's reign and might have been sampled early on in hip hop by the likes of Grandmaster Flash. Allthegirls is unmistakably European, but never surly or stiff. Both the title track and "Femuscle" would fill the floor at your next party, and Modeselektor's remix of "Wow" is slippery fun. More, please.
Soulsavers - It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land (Columbia) [audio] [upcoming shows]

What can't Mark Lanegan do? Former singer for Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age, current Gutter Twin and his recent collaboration with Isobel Campbell. Now he creates gospel electronica with a production duo from the UK. Lanegan sings on eight of the eleven tracks. "Spiritual" is a Johnny Cash cover via Spacemen 3 with a slow organ-driven hymn and The Rolling Stones'"No Expectations" is also transformed. It's an oddball pairing—Dust Brothers-like rocktronica with Lanegan's distinctive baritone—but it works.

Vampire Weekend - S/T

| 1 Comment
Vampire Weekend (XL Recordings) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Whatever you've read about Vampire Weekend sounding like Talking Heads playing Paul Simon songs is false. Pure twaddle! The inclination of writers to triangulate a band's sound between two familiar points is common, but Vampire Weekend seems to confound them all. Afrobeat and art punk influences are there, sure, but this band is more than the sum of its parts. Just listen to the record yourselves and draw your own conclusions, okay? "A-Punk" and "Oxford Comma" are exemplary, but the whole thing's a keeper.

Lemuria - Get Better

| No Comments
Lemuria - Get Better (Asian Man) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Welcome the return of the '90s alterna-punk sound with Lemuria! Like Velocity Girl or Discount before them, Lemuria combine female-fronted pop punk in a way that is altogether charming. Get Better is full of two minute songs that link together neatly like a freshly completed 28 minute jigsaw puzzle. In the mix is melancholy punk, a la 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, as well as fun melodic pop, a la a Dirt Bike Annie record. Totally worth getting, playing loud, singing along, and obsessing over.

Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree

| 1 Comment
Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree (Mute) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Hayley Stark was right. The unimaginative soft rock rumblings newly emerging from this UK duo show they're irrelevant in any musical style. The first track is about clowns and though scientifically it's been proven that nothing can be worse than a song about clowns, Goldfrapp give it the ol' college try for the nine songs that follow. Some are less cringe-inducing than others ("Little Bird" and "Happiness" almost work) but at best the album is forgettable, at worst unforgettable. Alternate album title: Pirates of the Cariboring.

Janet Jackson - Discipline

Janet Jackson - Discipline (Island/Def Jam) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Before you even start listening, program the nine skit tracks right out of the playlist. And since you're already removing things, go on and take out the title track while you're there. As you've read elsewhere, it's really creepy and shines a light on way too much of what's going on in Janet's bedroom (eew!). So now you're ready to listen to the album proper, except you realize you'd be happier just listening to Control instead. Discipline is not terrible, really, but this can't be the same person who once owned r&b. Can it?
Ascension of the Watchers - Numinosum (13th Planet) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The previous works of Burton C. Bell and John Bechdel seem to have little bearing on the content of this recording. The dark ambient music with Pink Floyd-esque vocals is almost chant-like in its repetitive nature. When you think that you "get it" they throw a curveball at you with an ethereal cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence". Their flair for industrial sounds makes this album somewhat unique and interesting, but it might be difficult for the masses to digest.
The Motion Sick - The Truth Will Catch You, Just Wait... (Naked Ear) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The Motion Sick do what so many Boston bands do: make guitar rock. It's not strange to hear bands from the hub of the universe rock out the way TMS rock out on songs like "Some Lonely Day". The odd thing about this particular Beantown band is that they sound so evenly at ease playing a Joy Division cover as they do pop and alt-country. The stand out track is quickly "30 Lives", a bubblegum doo-wop ditty that will make you pogo until you're nauseated.
Scary Mansion - Every Joke is Half the Truth (Zum) [audio] [upcoming shows]

If Chan Marshall's transformation of late into a Memphis Belle has left you perplexed and ornery, Scary Mansion's debut album may help soothe the sting a little. I won't do the album the injustice of calling it a Cat Power rip-off, but denying similarities would be equally as wrong. Leah Hayes (graphic artist by day, chanteuse by night) can summon some pretty chilling emotions, and the music that accompanies her broken vocals is subtle yet urgent. Few debuts this year will be more impressive.

Silversun Pickups - Remixes EP

| 1 Comment
Silversun Pickups - Remixes EP (Dangerbird Records) [download] [upcoming shows] iTunes Exclusive Release

By now, I assume most of you have figured out that the Silversun Pickups hype was a lie and that the band actually sucks the paint off your buttplug. For anyone that might contemplate buying this steaming pile of technoturd...*sigh*. First of all, the whole disc is just remixing the same two fucking songs over and over. Secondly, only one track has anything approaching worth or merit (Jason Bentley's "Lazy Eye"). Honestly, if you exchange hard-earned money for this, you're hopeless.

Damemas - Let Your Tape Rock EP

| 1 Comment
Damemas - Let Your Tape Rock EP (Part Mine) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Let Your Tape Rock sounds like a cross-breeding of desert rock with early New York punk. The loud guitars, melodic vocals, and driving bass lines, mixed with a healthy dose of fuzzy distortion, create the kind of rock music that makes you want to jump up and gyrate. There is no pretentiousness to be found on this recording. Only having three songs available to hear on the EP is too much of a tease for music this good. Give me more.

Baby Dee - Safe Inside the Day

| 1 Comment
Baby Dee - Safe Inside the Day (Drag City) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The bastard child of Billy Joel and The Frogs, Baby Dee apparently predates Antony but the comparisons are inevitable and invariably the reason (s)he got signed to Drag City anyways. It quickly becomes clear that like all performance artists, Baby Dee is his/her own biggest fan, as every song, some of which are actually quite promising at their outset, is extended beyond what is humane. This music already applauds itself so convincingly that it might as well go ahead and listen to itself while I move on.
Tyler Ramsey - A Long Dream About Swimming Across the Sea (Echo Mountain) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Acoustic singer/songwriters are rarely as charming and delicate as Tyler Ramsey. On his debut album, he has created a subtle and haunting atmosphere of heartache, with a style reminiscient of José González or Iron & Wine. A Long Dream... softly glides out of the speakers and settles discreetly in your auditory meatus. Mr. Ramsey's skilled instrumentation is always clearly on display, with songs like the instrumental "Chinese New Year" that are bound to get him labeled as the next Bert Jansch.

Lupe Fiasco - The Cool

| No Comments
Lupe Fiasco - The Cool (Atlantic) [audio] [upcoming shows]

This is a great hip-hop album. In the new age of the downloadable single, especially in this genre, that is a very rare thing to be able to say. It's been over a month and I find this album as listenable now, through every track, as it was on day one. This hasn't happened with any hip-hop album for me in a while. From Twista to The Pharcyde to Linkin Park, Lupe's breadth of style will remind you of 30 different bands in 72 minutes and leave you wondering how he can eclipse so many on one disc.

Lupe Fiasco - The Cool

Lupe Fiasco - The Cool (Atlantic) [audio] [upcoming shows]

It's probably good that this album isn't better than it is, because it would be obnoxious for Lupe to drop the best rap album of the year twice in a row. He could have pulled it off, because his rhyme skills are much stronger. The verses are tighter, more dense and confident. The production work is strong, but lacking in the standout tracks that were featured on Food & Liquor. Put this right below Pharoahe Monch on the Best Rap of 2007 list, and miles above everything else.

George Stanford - The EP

| No Comments
George Stanford - The EP (Smash/Mercury) [audio] [upcoming shows]

George Stanford has put together an EP of stripped down, fun and catchy tunes. The tone of the songs' essence harkens back to 1970's artists like Kenny Loggins or Elton John, but remains relevant and never sounds out-of-date. Stanford's voice strains a bit when he pushes it past his limitations, but it ends up just adding to the charm of it all. The EP whets your palate for Stanford's forthcoming full-length album. I hope it's just as good.

The Dø - A Mouthful

| No Comments
The Dø - A Mouthful (Cinq 7) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The Dø offer nothing if not variety on their stellar debut album A Mouthful. There's an effortless eccentricity at play in the album's tonal shifts, as the ADD-rattled French duo alternately ape, among others, Neil Young ("On My Shoulders"), The Concretes ("At Last") and Lily Allen ("Queen Dot Kong"), with the results often matching or surpassing their obvious creative impetuses. This is more than good time music, this is your favorite band delivering a career retrospective on their first try.

John McGregor - Maa ei oo pimee

John McGregor - Maa ei oo pimee (KHY Suomen Musiikki Oy) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The enigmatic John McGregor is an ex-Briton living in Finland, writing and singing in that alien tongue (perhaps the most complex of all the Nordic languages), yet working within a realm of folk music that often sounds distinctly American. It might be nice once in a while to know where he's going lyrically, but it's really rather easy to just sit back and let the soft blanket of the music surround you. Maa ei oo pimee, comprehendible or not, is an ideal counterpart for those Sufjan Stevens and Iron & Wine albums you like so much.

The Keith John Adams - Unclever

| No Comments
The Keith John Adams - Unclever (Happy Happy Birthday to Me) [audio] [upcoming shows]

There's something quite mod about Keith John Adams' particular brand of British garage pop. Something akin to a mid-'90s Ted Leo singing unreleased Kinks songs with strange lyrics...and trying to do a Billy Bragg imitation at the same time. But in a good way. In a very good way. Danceable low-fi rockers like "Elizabeth Hodgkinson Warzone" and "Other Side of the Road" will surely convince you that you made a wise purchase.
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand (Rounder) [audio] [upcoming shows]

This is apparently what happens when musical deities make albums together. They already know they are the shit, so they can make confident, understated tracks of badassery. This is like Plant and Krauss unzipping and pulling out their collective phallus and saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, you hadn't heard? We are Plant and Krauss. We let lesser duets albums try to impress you; we don't have time. Gaze upon our collective phallus of power and bow in awe." I could not love this album more.

Monthly Archives


Powered by Movable Type 5.02

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

March 2008 is the next archive.

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