So, Edan got access to this huge archive of old-school hip-hop records and made this long, abstract, sorta cool 30-minute track of breaks and weird noises and lots of lasers and bongos. I don’t really know what to make of it. I can appreciate it for being all experimental and shit, but I don’t really know when I would play it and enjoy it. It’s confusing, too, because early-80s hip-hop was all about goofy rhymes and good vibes at summer barbecues, not postmodern abstractions and having ADD. Now I’m sad.
Til the Casket Drops
I’ll probably always be a fan of Clipse. Besides the fact that both Malice and Pusha T have great delivery, they also rap about selling coke and being totally badass, which you know you love even if you feel guilty or stupid for liking it. Scaring older people is always a plus in my book, and this album is no different. The Kanye song is great and we all know that “Popular Demand” is hot as hell. Have you seen the video with Cam’ron? Dude looks like he just walked the Pulaski Bridge with his flannel and goofy mustache. I mean, it’s got some boring filler too, but there’s enough good shit to go around for a strong smiley face.
I can totally understand why people don’t like Lupe Fiasco. With his glasses, sweaters, skateboards, and leftist sloganeering, haters get major wood. But I’ll be damned if
Food & Liquor
wasn’t a fantastic album. Not many people can do a hip-hop song with the dude from Far and not have it come out totally nauseating. But this mixtape sucks major dong. I’m pretty sure the point of these mixtapes is to make something new and interesting using familiar components, not just because you’re lazy and haven’t released anything in two years. The first song is him rapping over an instrumental version of “National Anthem” by Radiohead, which sounds totally awful. I just can’t stop picturing Lupe waterskiing in a leather jacket, doing a jump over a conveniently roped-off shark. Look it up, kids.
The State vs. Radric Davis
In the realm of rap that should never be taken seriously and is just fun when you’re drinking beer in your hallway-size living room, Gucci’s doing all right. His signature cadence, which he uses in almost every song, somehow hasn’t gotten annoying yet. Maybe it’s because I’ve only listened to this record twice. It’s pretty funny and upbeat for a guy in jail. I’m not sure if going to prison has helped or hurt his career, but at least it will make his kids better rappers. Man, I hope he doesn’t get raped with an AIDS shank.
CRISTO VON STROM
SKELETON WARRIOR/PREAUX BREAUX GAULD
“Married to Draino” / “Electric Fingertips” split 7-inch
I cannot believe this is what normal music sounds like. Some French guy who’s friends with a celebrity hermaphrodite singing fake dancehall songs through an Auto-Tune over synths that sound like a laser designed to make your brain sterile. One of his collaborators is a white Afro’d DJ named LMFAO. Congratulations, society. You’ve officially let
magazine write the future.
Florida goths are funny. Not funny “haha,” more like funny “get away from me.” Actually they’re not funny. They sing like they just discovered that Bela Lugosi is dead. Well, guess what, Florigoths, he was dead before you got here.
CHILDREN OF BODOM
Skeletons in the Closet
I pushed play on my Discman (yeah, that’s right, I rock a Discman) and when I realized I was listening to Children of Bodom covering “Lookin’ out My Back Door” by Creedence Clearwater Revival I started laughing my head off—the kind of laughter that comes after surviving a car crash or boning a girl wayyyyyyy out of your league. It turns out that these guys made an album of nothing but covers and I like it a lot. There are the obvious ones: King Diamond, Anthrax, Sepultura, etc. There’s an annoying Britney Spears cover and then some weirder choices like “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” If you want to surprise and annoy your friends or just get stupid and circle-pit around your living room to a metal version of a Pat Benatar song, then ramble, don’t amble, to wherever you are stealing .RAR files from.
READY FOR SLEDDY
All Shall Fall
Norwegian black metallers Immortal decided to flip the script and give up human instruments since they are “by human hand created and therefore foul.” Now they only make music that involves teaching dogs and birds to sing on command. No, just fooling, this sounds like all their other stuff.
All Night Dead USA
The first song is a great “Duke of Earl” knockoff, but janglier. Then there are two songs that I didn’t feel strongly about and then a song that sounds kind of like a janglier “I Will Follow Him.” Then there’s more music.
MESSY FIERCE ONE
Whenever people talk about just nuking Detroit and letting animals take over the wreckage, part of me is like, sure, that would rule. But a different part of me thinks, wait, what about bands like Fontana and the Frustrations? Where would they get the heroin to fuel their maniacal AmRep rage songs? Are they just supposed to grow their own opium poppies or would the CIA set up some sort of secret heroin airlift like in Vietnam? Also, what’s going to happen to all the black folks? (By the way, I’m just going to assume that these guys take A LOT of heroin.)
“Teenage Eyes” 7-inch
This is some A-side! An excited guitar starts a-strummin’ and then the opening lyrics come in, “I want to hear them police sirens/ I want to see them police sirens/ she gave me teenage eyes/ She gave me teenage eyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeessss alllllllllll dayyyyyyyy.” As someone who falls in love with teenagers I can verify that this song is what that feels like. Or maybe this song is about feeling like you’re in teenage love even though you are both of a respectable age. Well, I creeped that one up pretty bad. The main Spiderbag used to be in the DC Snipers. It’s odd how all the good bands have had guys who were in other bands with guys from other good bands. At first the New York rock scene seems like it’s full of excellent bands but it’s mostly just the same ten dudes with different hats on.
RETRIBUTION GOSPEL CHOIR
I never got the deal with that band Low. Married couple makes the musical equivalent of eating plain Wheat Thins. Go figure. This is evidently the guy from Low’s new “rock” act and it makes even less sense. Half of it sounds like Seven Mary Three or something and the other half just sounds like Low. It’s like a riddle wrapped in an enigma smothered with the sound of me yawning.
Bipolar Bear have a rolling, vrooming sound, clangs ’n’ bangs, vacuum-cleaner vocals, heavy bass, and wirey guitars. Hiroshima Rocks Around is similar but more frantic. This is sure to make your parents shake their heads as they tell you to make your bed. So discordant and good. I can imagine stuff moving in fast motion while this record’s on. That’s neat.
This is your standard thrash release. Guitars go
chunka chunka chunk chunk chunk chuuuuuuunk
! The drums on the record go
and then pause and do it again. There are some good solos and some funny samples from movies, but ultimately who gives a fuck? I love thrash but most of these bands are interchangeable. Show up where they’re playing and go nuts, then go home and listen to Anthrax, that’s my motto.
The Weeding EP
I think I like Cannabis Corpse more than I like Cannibal Corpse. The only thing I don’t love about this band is that I don’t really care about pot that much. I’ll smoke pot, but I don’t know what to do when people want to talk about it a lot. This shit is fast, heavy, and complex. Maybe you can listen to it while you smoke pot. I will listen to it while I clean my bathroom.
Oh crap, I thought this was going to be that other band, Pygmy Lush. The acoustic-guitar one. Definitely didn’t expect to be rocked like this. Heheheh, “rocked like this.” Like some little old lady accidentally turned on the Accused and now she’s being blown away by the stereo speakers, Buster Keaton-style. All clutching at the sofa cover with her little old lady fingers, thimbles falling off their little shelf. Oh man. Anyway, this music is pretty lousy.
It would be hard for some people to give a bad review to a record that thanks them in the liner notes but it’s as easy as falling off a jerky log into a pile of inconsiderate shit for me. Dinowalrus are a terrible band and I have only been nice to them in an attempt to get close to them in order to crush them. Hahaha! Nah, just joking. They’re fun guys but a little uptight sometimes. I interviewed the main guy in this band using a walrus puppet and he was so embarrassed by it that he didn’t tell the other guys in the band about it. Lighten up, Pete! The record’s OK but it’s too polished. The Dinowalrus live experience is an overwhelming jamboree of light and noise. This CD could stand to have some of the beautiful, harsh, and blown-out sounds that made their live performances good to me.
The Electric Wolfman
This album combines many of the best things about Texas (bluesy Warren Zevon-esque beer-drinking music, guys with gentlemanly surnames, Greg Ashley) with very few of the worst things about Texas (racism, dickhead cops, people who won’t shut the fuck up about Texas). The first song also contains a keen observational “snap” about just how ugly your mom is. Let’s just say “very.”
A Reality Tour
I put this on and thought, “I know everything, this is gonna be awful. Who wants a David Bowie live album recorded in 2004?” Turns out that it’s good anyway. Sure you don’t need to buy this, but it’s hard to not enjoy hearing well-performed live versions of Bowie’s best songs. It overtakes you and you go with it. And then you’re like, “I don’t care that you are a million years old, Bowie. You just keep putting out the same records.”
Make the World Go Away
Have you ever gone to Alabama? Good. Don’t. Mississippi’s got this thing where it’s like, “Wow, so this is as bad as it gets,” which keeps it interesting, but Alabama is just miserable and bad. If I had to live there for life my bed would look like a sweaty, urine-soaked gorilla nest because I would be physically unable to leave it most mornings. Somehow these jokers are able to do it, and when they do, they make angry depressoid music that reminds me of the Zero Boys and every so often the Melvins. Hats off for that, boys, but Christ, find yourselves a better home state already.
Everyone loves this band so I’m gonna hate them because I’m cool and contrary. Just kidding—I’m gonna hate them because they’re mediocre and annoying. They’re supposed to be ethereal dream pop, kind of like Brightblack Morning Light (who are actually good), but their voices are too raw and jarring and their synths aren’t, you know, “shimmery” enough. There are a few of those swelling buildup choruses that work so well in portable-MP3-player commercials, but overall I think it’s sad that people are settling for this. People deserve better.
Good tunes and all, but if I were in command of 30 kids with healthy drug appetites and passable manual dexterity you better believe I’d be having them do more than just go nuts onstage a few times a week. Oh yes, just you wait, you Athenian bohos. Pilfering, porking, and poncing off will be the order of the day when Ol’ Mac and his crew are in town.
MAC THE POCKETMASTER
I hate modern female folk music (except Kimya Dawson and Aimee Mann) and was ready to hate this thing but it turned me around and made me realize I was a stupid clown. There are five strummy songs and I like most of them.
The Calcination of Scout Niblett
I’m really sorry, Drag City, because I love you guys, but this one just isn’t working for me. A weird girl with a guitar, which she plays in kind of a spare way, produced by Steve Albini… That means I have to hold this record up against P.J. Harvey’s
Rid of Me
, which is pretty unfair because basically this record isn’t fit to clean up
Rid of Me
’s puke. And now that I think of it, I’ve never really bought Scout Niblett’s whole deal. Something is off there. Something is rotten in Denmark. I bet she’s secretly really normal. Not cool! I bet she has scented candles in her bathroom and puts on pajamas to go to bed. I bet she has traditional holiday celebrations. When do you think the last time Polly Harvey put on PJs was? (Get it? Ha!) Anyhoo, the point is I don’t like normal people.
Nancy Garcia is a choreographress from Florida who makes fancy dances to go along with skronky, Merzbow-style dial music. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be “charming” per se, but it is, like that time the Fall made a ballet with Michael Clark. Remember that? Well of course you don’t. You were two at the time. Honestly.
THE SURGEON WAS HIS MOM
Bourgie English people love this guy because he’s a cute cartoon version of American poverty they can pretend to care about instead of having to deal with the packs of scary 12-year-olds who live down the street. I mean, I guess that’s the same reason I like Cock Sparrer, but at least they don’t sound like my dad making fun of B.B. King.
THE CAST OF GLEE
Glee: The Music, Season One,
Volumes 1 and 2
Holy crap, I am so much more excited about this than any stupid new indie-band records. If you’re not a gay or a girl, stop reading right now because this is not for you. Every single song from this show gives me chills—sometimes they’re genuinely emotional chills (“Don’t Stop Believin’” and pretty much all the ballads and anything Rachel sings), and sometimes they’re douche chills, like when Mr. Shue raps. But do I secretly love it? You bet I do! My favorite might be Kristin Chenoweth singing “Maybe This Time” from
. Did you notice how she looked and sounded exactly like Jerri Blank in that episode? I love listening to this and picturing Jerri singing it, dressed like Liza Minnelli with those weird pointy bangs. My only beef is that Finn’s voice is so weak compared with everyone else’s. You can totally hear the Auto-Tune on his vocals. Plus he does that thing where instead of singing “meeee” he sings “mehhh.” That bothers me. A professional-singer friend of mine told me that the “eee” sound is difficult to pull off, but Rachel seems to be able to make it sound good, so whatever. This is totally the best album of the month; macho haters can ess my dee.