April 2009 Archives

Poorly Drawn People - Motion Not Emotion EP (self released) [audio] [upcoming shows]

It's tough enough dealing with a stubborn music scene in the smallest state in the country, but Rhode Island can rest assured hip hop is covered with these cats. This collective of rappers isn't getting the respect they feel they deserve. After days of listening, I finally filed this in my collection next to my People Under the Stairs records, only to take it out the next day, slam it in the dash and start singing again, "Five dollars is the new ten dollars and I still won't pay five for your whack record!"

Art Brut - Art Brut vs. Satan

| No Comments
Art Brut - Art Brut vs. Satan (Downtown) [audio] [upcoming shows]

This is a band who'll never again be as good as they were on their debut album Bang Bang Rock & Roll. Fortunately, Art Brut's third album comes close and is a very welcome rebound after their textbook sophomore slump with It's a Bit Complicated. Eddie Argos is a revitalized frontman, his sing-speak diary entries once again full of wit. The music is equally sharp, having moved from the garage to the studio. Surely this can't be sustained for much longer, but for now... Art Brut, 1; Satan, 0.

Peaches - I Feel Cream

| No Comments
Peaches - I Feel Cream (XL Recordings) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The devil is in the details on I Feel Cream, because any new Peaches album is 99% the same as any other Peaches album. What to look for here are the softer, much more melodic moments like "Lose You" and "Relax" and the straight-faced heart-on-sleeve emotion of "Talk to Me," one of few songs Peaches has ever done with actual commercial radio potential. All in all, I Feel Cream wins by virtue of satisfying the artist's impulses first and ours second, but it doesn't hurt that she's reaching out a hand.

Cash Cash - Take it to the Floor

Cash Cash - Take it to the Floor (Universal Republic) [audio] [upcoming shows]

This band looks ridiculous. Like it's Halloween, or tonight there's some sort of '80s-themed party. They're also trying to pass off their Timberlake-inspired music as punk rock to the Warped Tour kids this summer. This is electronic pop that has been filtered more than top shelf vodka. It's so overly-produced it's almost embarrassing to listen to. With on-point vocals and catchy melodies, this is the type of band that could rival The Format if they leave the bells and whistles alone, or N'Sync if they don't.

Ben Kweller - Changing Horses

| No Comments
Ben Kweller - Changing Horses (ATO Records) [audio] [upcoming shows]

The idea of Ben Kweller making a country-twanged album is sorta like if Ryan Adams made a Rock N Roll album: it feels a bit forced and the reviews are understandably mixed. Listening to these sugary tunes, one easily imagines a young Kweller by the campfire with an oversized cowboy hat on his sweet little head, serenading the stars as a coyote howls to the moonlight. Do yourself a favor and look for the How Ya Lookin' Southbound? ep. You'll avoid the filler and still get the album's three best tracks.

Meg & Dia - Here, Here and Here

| No Comments
Meg & Dia - Here, Here and Here (Warner Bros.) [audio] [upcoming shows]

In a genre where the bar is set high by acts like Lily Allen and Katy Perry, Meg & Dia are upping their game. Here, Here and Here is an ambitious and mostly enjoyable effort. While the album is well-written and slickly produced, many moments leave a lingering feeling that they're trying a bit too hard. The faux British accent on the track "The Last Great Star in Hollywood" is just shameless. Eagerness to please can backfire sometimes.

Röyksopp - Junior

| No Comments
Röyksopp - Junior (Astralwerks) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Norwegian duo Röyksopp have been threatening since the beginning to make pop singles, but were swamped in largely instrumental club music with no way out. The answer? Bring in no less than four guest vocalists doubling as writing partners. Lykke Li and Robyn are both new collaborators, while Anneli Drecker and Karin Dreijer Andersson return in a greater role, all providing a more traditionally pop-styled structure to their respective songs. Junior launches Röyksopp out of the DJ booth and onto the streets.
Actionslacks - Kids With Guitars EP (self released) [audio]

The Actionslacks boys have long been rocking whilst keeping their day jobs, putting out just a few records in more than just a few years. The latest is Kids With Guitars, a 7-song ep that, like most Slacks' releases, is a grower that is very worth repeated (loud) listens. There's the familiar social-political commentary sung with careful enunciation, the rockin' riffs, and the melodies you can't ignore—it's a good time to become a fan.

Deerhoof - Offend Maggie

| No Comments
Deerhoof - Offend Maggie (Kill Rock Stars) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Deerhoof does three things well: makes weirdsy art-music, makes catchy pop music, and makes rockin' rock music. With Offend Maggie, the emphasis appears to be on the pop and rock, but without complete abandonment of their weirdsy strengths. While it is difficult to imagine any Deerhoof release that wouldn't fit in at the graduation exhibition for your local art school MFA program, the recent emphasis is more aimed at catching a groove than pure experimentation. Piss off the diehard fans by saying you like the mainstream stuff better.

The Travellers - Blue EP

| No Comments
The Travellers - Blue EP (self released) [audio]

The Travellers bring together an exotic potpourri of jazzy rhythms, psychedelic warblings and rich shoegazey guitars and, in the process, turn them all into something that wouldn't sound terribly out of place on the Twin Peaks soundtrack. "Mermaid in May" especially combines all the above elements in the most cohesive way, with Gemma's vocals swirling like smoky wisps above the eerie instrumentation by bandmate Robert P. Still rough around the edges, The Travellers are halfway to somewhere great.

Cœur de Pirate - S/T

| 1 Comment
Cœur de Pirate (Grosse Boîte) [audio] [upcoming shows]

Parlez-vous Francais? Who cares?!?! Quebec's Béatrice Martin not only speaks French, she sings French, and it's just about impossible not to be awestruck by her captivating piano-pop songs. The debut full length from this 18 year-old demonstrates her range as a singer/songwriter who's able to write songs that sound both melancholy and jubilant, traditional and modern. At worst this is a collection of cute songs, and at best it's the #1 foreign pop album of the year.

Fang Island - Sky Gardens EP

| No Comments
Fang Island - Sky Gardens EP (Corleone) [audio] [upcoming shows]

This EP features three songs in under fourteen minutes, largely guitar-driven instrumentals, and it takes nearly six minutes into the second track "The Absolute Place" to hear the only chorus of voices on the entire EP. Lots of guitar riffage, leaning towards math rock without the dry seriousness and riffwankery, ahem, prolific chops that tends to hamper the genre. Picture Trans Am and the Trans Siberian Orchestra filling in as the Blue Man Group's backing band and you can get a feeling of what to expect.
Red Red Meat - Bunny Gets Paid: Deluxe Edition (Sub Pop) [audio]

Sub Pop is ushering in the golden age of grunge by re-releasing the deluxe editions of albums released a decade ago. Bunny Gets Paid catches Tim Rutili just as the band is about to move from being a rock band to a more sullen anti-rock band. Sub Pop expands this to a double disc with demos, different mixes and amazing covers of Low's "Words" and Flock of Seagulls "Wishing". Rutili has since moved on to Califone, which has been just as prolific as Red Red Meat once was.

Monthly Archives


Powered by Movable Type 5.02

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2009 is the previous archive.

May 2009 is the next archive.

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