Young Jeezy may not have the metaphors of Jay-Z or the output of Lil Wayne, but what he does have is the best voice in rap coupled with the charisma of a Southern preacher running a used-car lot. On
, Jeezy’s third album, the Atlanta rapper shows that style and swagger still reign supreme over five-dollar words and sci-fi references. On songs like “Let the Dollar Circulate,” “Crazy World,” and the single of the summer, “Put On,” he’s never sounded better.
picks up exactly where his last record,
, left off, which is exactly what we were hoping for. Once again, I can wear my Snowman t-shirt with pride.
12 Play: Fourth Quarter
The wizard of R&B has returned once more to grace us with the funniest, most detailed lyrics about sexin’ it up since the golden age of Prince. This album is on permanent rotation in the
office. Who else could rhyme “Can’t wait to see the booty shake like jelly/Zigzag braids got ’em looking like spaghetti” with more finesse than the Kellz? I can’t imagine ever playing this album while having sex though, I would be laughing so hard my boner would have milk coming out of its nose.
I love how the webternet gives us instant ringside access to every poor decision or cringeworthy mistake a celebrity makes these days. Nobody personifies this more than the Game and his string of amazingly terrible facial tattoos. Shortly after a public breakup with 50 Cent, the Game turned up with a freshly inked butterfly just below his right eye. Usually a tattoo like this would be reserved for a spring-breaker’s ankle but being that the Game is from the Compton streets he decided to keep it real and get it drilled into his cheek. I wanted to believe that the butterfly was some sort of strange gang symbol or a dedication to fallen soldiers but I soon found out it represents the same thing for him that it does for hair stylists and strippers: change. A few months later, in either a fit of regret or some strange show of support during the play-off season, he covered up the gentle insect with an LA Dodgers logo. And then right at the moment I thought I was going to die of secondhand embarrassment, this Grammy nominee decides to take it to the next level by surrounding the MLB insignia with a fire-engine-red star. Either the Game is a socialist outfielder or he is doing this purely for my amusement.
I thought this was supposed to be lesbian hip-hop, but it’s just, like, a bunch of angry ladies yelling over old Missy Elliott beats. Oh, wait a sec, I guess that IS lesbian hip-hop! Job well done, sistas.
One of the Paper Rad guys is in this band with another guy. It sounds kinda like happy hardcore but, you know, weirder… I dunno, it’s good is all. Just get it. Describing music is dumb.
Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs
If I was a high school goth who hated my parents and sunlight I could imagine this being a pretty stellar album to listen to while deciding on which shade of contempt and hatred to wear to the food court. It sounds like a sunnier version of the Cure fronted by a Kate Bush type lady. It might even cheer me up a bit and then I would do the little shuffley dance that the goth kids on
Montreal really has my number for these girl-led, glitchy-sounding dance-punk outfits lately. The girl from Duchess Says wins extra points for singing along with every sound the keyboard makes, which is easy enough for normal synths but a lot harder when you’re dealing with “SKLORCH, MEEYONNG, gwwwwwwwrrrrREEEEEN” and the like.
The Wacky Hi-Jinks of Adrenalin OD
Holy shit, so fucking psyched to get this you have no idea. Timeless Reagan-era hardcore that stands up and punches holes through 75 percent of the bands currently littering the landscape. It’s basically 15 minutes of the most succinct social critique of suburbia and its inhabitants (yuppies, old people, jocks) you will ever hear, disseminated at a zillion miles an hour and jacked with even more sarcasm than the most bitingly cynical
review! Fun fact: AOD are cited as an early influence on bands like NOFX, Bouncing Souls, and Beastie Boys, whose fans are descended from the same morons that populate AOD’s lyrics! Hooray for tragic irony.
Hey, this was surprising. The minimal white cover with “Free Drugs;-)” silk-screened on it was intriguing, but I figured it must be another generic noise band, seeing as how the noise boys sure like their wacky, oh-so-provocative titles. Turns out it’s some peppy yet unannoying
-style garage rock with funny lyrics about boobs and drugs. Score! See, sometimes it pays to actually give things a chance. Who knew.
Life… The Best Game in Town
Their 1995 album,
Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men
, goes down in the annals of heaviest albums ever and
is one of my favorite records of the decade, oh, and they’ve got Joe Preston in the band, and now this little gem puts every other heavy record of the year to shame (except maybe Torche). What more could there be, right? Well, there’s bassist Tanner, who not only owns and runs Pies-n-Thighs, a cultishly popular fried-chicken shop in Brooklyn, but also looks like Groundskeeper Willy and parades around town in cutoffs as a man’s man should. When I see him on the street I bow with respect and admiration.
This has been out for a while already but we forgot to say that they SUCK HUGE PUS-FILLED BALLS so we figured better late than never. I would say that they sound like the Kids of Widney High, but I don’t want to insult the Kids of Widney High. First Vampire Weekend, now this. What the fuck is wrong with everyone?
In the Red
A friend took me to see Sex Vid at somebody’s house in Brooklyn somewhere and this band played before them, which is a very weird pairing. It was, no joke, 130 degrees in there so we could only stand it for a few minutes, but from my initial impression I thought, “Ooh, it’s the Shaggs!” They had the bangs and everything. Then I listened to their new CD and I thought, “Ooh, it’s Tiger Trap but recorded really shittily and with lots of echoes!” These are all good things and this is a great record even though it’s only 20 minutes long.
Hey, did you hear Faraquet were back together? Hey, did you hear that they broke up in the first place, or that they even existed at all? Well, they did. Sadly not many people remember them because everyone who ever attended a Faraquet performance did not live to tell the tale. Why, you ask? Sad story: Their hastily crafted plinky-plonk jazz-math-indie-rock noodle-doodles caused entire audiences during the 90s to claw open their own throats out of sheer desperate boredom. Really! When they toured with Fugazi, thousands died, art school courtyards fell silent, and Whole Foods had to hire a whole bunch of new people.
THE GAY BLADES
Not to be mistaken for the excellent (though I think defunct) Gaye Blades, these Gays are less an early 2000s Atlanta teen supergroup and more the answer to the Zen koan “What is the sound of four 311 fans who just bought a couple Fugazi records because they want to impress the punk girl in their civics class they’ve each got a crush on?”
GENTLEMAN JESSE AND HIS MEN
If you like the idea of Joe Jackson and Nick Lowe’s music but aren’t so hot on their clever lyrics or lack of grating redundancy, you are in luck.
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
The ’59 Sound
This is an awesome record. Full disclosure: I am from New Jersey so I appreciate a Springsteen influence more than most and am friendly with some of these guys. Fuller disclosure: This is a record review written by a human being, you fucking retard—it is an opinion and I’m not some meta-data mechanism generating objective reviews of musicianship. Let’s leave the “disclosures” to shit that matters, OK Pitchfork?
THE MANHATTAN LOVE SUICIDES
Hey, it’s the Vivian Girls but British. Weird. Everyone says they sound just like an obscure 80s British band called the Shop Assistants, so I checked out the Shop Assistants and it’s true, they (and consequently the Vivian Girls) sound exactly like them, or at least exactly like the 30-second clip I found of one of their songs on Last.fm. Well, better to rip off some cool British twee girl group than, oh I dunno, Paul Simon’s
. I’d actually be pretty psyched if this whole girl-group thing took off and became the new big deal. Oh, also this band is named after an awesome Richard Kern film, so points for that.
Admit it: Nobody really likes the Jesus and Mary Chain. I call giant heaping piles of bullshit on anyone who says that they love this band because they are LYING, and that includes our
UK editor, who wears a t-shirt of them all the time. Even he said, “I like the idea of them more than their badly recorded songs.” See? People like the “idea” that they put pop songs under fuzzy layers, but nobody actually likes the songs themselves because they are not good songs. Ooh,
is, like, soooo seminal, man. Let me tell you who likes
: functioning junkies who are having casual dinner parties and want to put on some mellow, unobtrusive-yet-“cool” background music. Also LIARS.
The band in that old video with some singer guy on a street shoving people has a new album coming out and it came to us on a Motorola phone. The phone is great but I haven’t listened to the album yet because I’m too busy using the phone because THEY SENT US THE ALBUM ON A PHONE (neat-o).
CHEF LIPS HOWARD
This is the favorite band of that person who watched that scene in
where the boy is getting gay all over that bodega bag and had a quiet little cry.
How Shadows Chase the Balance
About five years ago, me and four other guys drank a bunch of malt liquor and got huge matching tattoos on all of our arms. The fucking thing says “Love Your Friends, Die Laughing” and has made my right arm the permanent butt (pun, whatever) of any fag joke ever made by a person within 100 yards of me. The worst part is that one of the guys from the band that the lyric/man-kiss is lifted from (seminal Virginia yelling guys pg. 99) lives down the street from me now and I have to hide it behind my coffee mug every morning when we cross paths on the way to work. This is the new band from guys from pg. 99 and it’s not yell-y at all but it’s really good.
Good one, guys. No, seriously, you totally got me. I put this on fully expecting the No Wave onslaught of Glenn Branca’s Theoretical Girls to come ripping through my headphones but instead it was your lilting little voice crooning away like a misunderstood 12-year-old girl stuck in the body of three full-grown men and their fag hag. Yolks on me! PS: Wikipedia says that Parenthetical Girls’ original name was Swastika Girls, which I realize is a Fripp & Eno song, but still, fuck you guys… you fucking Portland… guys.
THE SEA AND CAKE
Ooh, this is making my blood boil. Why are they still making albums? Why won’t they die with the rest of everything that sucked about the late 90s? This music is the sound of complacency and mediocrity. I have nothing to more to say on the subject.
A couple of these acoustic tunes get carried away with the breathy minor harmonies and end up sounding like a really quiet Mission UK or something, but the rest have that same vaguely sinister atmosphere as the soundtrack to the
cartoon or one of those 70s art-house flicks like
Picnic at Hanging Rock
that are impossible to make it all the way through stoned. You know what the real secret to those guys is? Speed.
This album is pretty shitty, but I am fully putting my weight behind the idea of a whole national scene of Growing clones. Think about it—wouldn’t it be awesome if you were in, oh I don’t know, let’s say, Oberlin, Ohio, and Growing weren’t there but you could still go see a band lift their whole shtick pedal for pedal, drone for drone? Well, I guess not if they’re as shitty as these guys. Look, I’m not saying the plan is perfect, just give me a couple of days to iron out the kinks, OK?
Real nice. Children are being mortared in half, the world economy is about to collapse, and you’ve recorded an album of bongo music. Way to capture the zeitgeist, Bird Show.
BLACK VATICAN/TRUE PRIMES
True Primes are an unfairly sat-on experimental group from round these parts (Brooklyn), but the real stunners on this mini-LP are Black Vatican, two boys from Des Moines, Iowa—one of whom looks like the Scottish kid from
, the other of whom looks like either of the Proclaimers—who sing pleasant melodies beneath surprisingly pleasant layers of harsh feedback and modulated sine waves and drums that sound like they’re being played down the hall in a church basement. I bet this is how all those heroin bands like JAMC hear themselves rather than the aural equivalent of a yeast infection.
In the pantheon of “Who asked for this?” reunions and comebacks over the past few years, this has to be pretty up there. Wow. Anyway, Tricky remains the last person on earth who hasn’t realized he’s a producer not an artist, so this sounds like a mix tape from your schizophrenic friend who’s pretty into amphetamines, and wow, I really just can’t believe I’m reviewing a Tricky record. Look at that. That’s silly.
The Society for the Advancement of Inflammatory Consciousness
I typically hate it when bands give their albums really grandiose and cumbersome titles (to say nothing of double-word band names), but when they cram the whole name into the last four seconds of a song like it’s a dare, you kind of just have to bite your tongue and go, “OK, you win. You and your band of fucking weirdos who sound like the Sun Ra Singers or something win.”
Lindha Kallerdahl is a crazy Swedish lady who sings pretty and then all of a sudden she goes, “BURP! OOF! Kwee kwee! bwee-ooh! bligga bligga bligga, meep! MEEEEEEEEEEEP!!” She’s like Björk with Tourette’s, or for those of you freaky-female-jazz-vocalist experts, she’s like Patty Waters times a million. It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever heard.