We don’t usually review R&B records in these glorious pages, unless it’s R. Kelly or T-Pain of course. But what’s great about The-Dream is that he’s R. Kelly mixed with T-Pain. On his first album, the songwriting genius behind “Umbrella” actually manages to mesh the R’s conceptual ambition and operatic stylings with Teddy Pain’s antiheroic charm and unabashedly cheap melodies. Add in a healthy dose of Prince rip-offs and what you get on the first six songs is a level of pop perfection that rivals Jodeci’s finest work.
After he messed up Tribe’s lyrics at the Hip-Hop Honors, Lupe pretended that he was never a fan of Tip and Phife, but rather had spent his whole life bumping Spice 1. Well, guess what, homie? Spice 1 ain’t inviting you up at the Hip-Hop Honors anytime soon. Boy was I ever ready to become a full-on Lupe hater at that point. But even though the kid is an over-eager dork who exudes bad taste (did we say self-proclaimed skater, streetwear fanatic, and Japanese art enthusiast?), his album is pretty good. There’s enough fresh 90s throwbacks on there to keep any Tribe fan happy.
Here’s something that’s been bugging me for a while: Why did Germans have to eat so much shit over the 80s while the French got away more or less scot-free? For all the Sprockets crap going on, Berlin alone had Neubauten and Nina Hagen and even Nick Cave for a little while. What was France sitting on that whole time, Vanessa Paradis? Please don’t misinterpret this as some hackneyed American anti-Frog thing either, I just have no patience for a culture that never mastered the robot voice in its own language. However, Annie from the Quebecois version of
says that this comp is extremely important and influential. She says it’s like “the
of French electronica.” So… noted.
Cody Critcheloe’s face has haunted me since the first time I saw it, in one of Jaimie Warren’s photos I think it was. He’s in a lot of Jaimie’s photos, and she’s in a lot of Cody’s supergay, superweird music/art videos, which are truly riveting. You should go to youtube.com/thession and watch this crazy shit. What’s up with the awesome scene in Kansas City? That’s what’s great about living in a smaller city—the kids are so much crazier than in NYC or LA because they’re not constantly bombarded with the latest cultural trends and fashion snobbery every second of the day. They are free to make up their own style—and they all look and sound bonkers!
I could easily get behind an entire album of synth business from the Super Furry Animals guy, but why do half the tracks on this sound like Missy Elliott? That’s not a rhetorical question either, I seriously want to know what happened here. Studio mix-up? Affirmative action run rampant? The disparity between every other song on this album is so jarring that it feels like I’m “taking turns” on the car radio with my 13-year-old cousin.
Theatrical doom metal just sounds classier when you throw in those soprano vox and choral thingamajigs. That way it becomes the kind of stuff you can get morbid to but still get approval from the Black Sabbath superfan working at Guitar Center. Usually I gravitate toward less produced, sludgier flag-bearers of doom, but after a few songs this definitely has shoveled its way into the barren ground that conceals the icy grave of my soul. I mourn the loss of serenity and cry out to God as his ashes fill the sky. Anyway, gotta go,
It would be easy to play jaded foil to these excitable little guys for any number of reasons, but that feels like a fat guy on a recliner kicking a cute puppy, and you know what? Fuck that. It’s a new year: Let’s like stuff. This record is catchy and fun, and if we’re going to take people to task for overly serious concept albums and songs that unfold with the urgency of books on tape, then we need to applaud youthful enthusiasm in turn.
New York DIY-hardcore showgoers might have caught this unit lurking around the place lately. They make a bleak shitstorm of noise that is Nausea-crustified but faster and tighter around the seams. No short sharp shocks either—songs clock in around three minutes each, which means you get run over slowly but by a much heavier truck. Totally devoid of mosh-metal breakdowns and wanky guitar noodles, Disnihil is a one-stop shop for timeless thrash dirges and no-frills destruction. If this sounds like the stuff you used to like but have since grown out of, well, guess what: You are old. Shouldn’t you be writing child-support checks instead of sitting here reading Vice?
Gassy Jack and Other Tales
This is Nardwuar’s band—you know, that funny Canadian punk nerd who does really enthusiastic interviews with bands and such. Watching him get worked up and ask people absurdly in-depth questions is a good time, but I can’t say the experience translates too well into music. I mean, I’m sure seeing him scramble around stage all excited in a goofy shirt would be charming, but when it’s boiled down to his squeaky voice over generic punk songs based on obscure stage banter by the Pointed Sticks, it’s just… I don’t know. Sorry, Nardwuar… Great, now I feel like a dick.
Dear Tee Pee: Wanted to let you know that I made a sincere effort to like this but I hate Chris Cornell’s voice and this dude spends too much time in “Spoonman” territory. Plus, these guys all look like emaciated clones of my dad in the 1970s. Why is it that when people like music from a certain decade they feel compelled to dress up in period costumes? Anyway, sorry this kinda blows, but if you do another Drunk Horse LP I’m all over it. CU L8R!
THE DUKE SPIRIT
The Ex Voto EP
You Are Here
Some people only listen to the first half of the Minor Threat discography, while others think
Out of Step
blows away the primitive early stuff. Capital hovers comfortably in between, pissed but not cynical, melodic but not lame. There are those who will be down and those who will roll their eyes and skip ahead because they’re too cool to bother. It’s for the kids, as always. But maybe also for the adults who still have an Avail patch sewn onto an article of clothing somewhere. We’re still out there but we just don’t mosh too often because our knees hurt and we have work in the morning.
PETER POSI PANTS
Dead Meadow is the second-best makeout-music band currently in existence (Blonde Redhead is the first). You cannot go wrong with these guys. I feel like the vocals are a little more prominent on this one, which could prove to be a distraction, but otherwise this here is your new soundtrack to handskis and blowjays aplenty.
Apes singer Breck Brunson says these songs are “comments on the disparities of economic hierarchies, one-world leadership, and existence unbound by time or physicality.” Can you imagine hanging out with this guy and listening to him talk? For that matter, imagine hanging out with anyone named Breck Brunson. He should do everyone a favor and walk around holding a sign that says “I’m Breck Brunson and I’m full of bullshit nonsense. Steer clear.” PS: This band gets worse with every record, so this is the next logical gurgle in a career-long series of toilet flushes.
This band rules. I’m not stoked on their name, but whatever, Led Zeppelin is a crappy name… NO IT’S NOT! Led Zeppelin is the best band name ever! It’s rad because you can shorten it to Led Zep. I used to work at this café, and me and the guy who owned the place, Dave, had this game where we would see how many times we could sneak “I’m into Led Zep” into a transaction without the customer noticing: “OK, so that’s three cappuccinos, a veggie focaccia— I’mintoLedZep— and a Coke? That’ll be $12.50, thanks.” I could only get in one because I’d crack up, but Dave would get up to, like, five or six!
Overly precocious bullshit by a kid whose mom definitely safeguarded against scrapes by outfitting him in kneepads when he went to the playground. There’s a two-panel picture in the liner notes of this sackless, barefoot doofus that seriously makes me want to fly to Seattle to punch him in the fucking neck and then come back home because it’d probably be raining and boring.
Faces of the Night
This girl’s voice is so over-the-top genteel and precious that it makes the whole record sound like nursery rhymes for people with graphic-design jobs instead of shit-logged diapers. There’s a joke in there about graphic designers and wallowing in excrement, but I’m drinking alone in my apartment reviewing music so I’ll leave it for someone on more solid footing to make.
I love Cat Power so much I don’t even know what to say. I’ve loved her for like 12 years and I have never not loved a single thing she’s done. I’ve seen her play lots of times too. From her hair-in-her- face, incoherent-rambling, walking-offstage days to her more recent smiling- and-dancing-around- Town-Hall-with-old- black-R&B-guys shows. I guess I’m kind of a stalker. This is getting embarrassing so I’ll just say that you will love this. You can listen to it when you’re happy or sad. It is equally appropriate for any occasion. It’s all covers except for one new song and she somehow manages to make the song “New York, New York” not only NOT annoying but, I dunno… soulful? Good lord, I’m shutting up now.
The Ghost of HW Beaverman
Can the city of Athens please shut up for one goddamn minute? This sounds like every fey- voiced-saddie- singing-songs- of-pie-eyed- whimsy-while-their- friends-play-tuba- in-the-background that city has farted out over the past decade, every single one of them all rolled up into one damp pile of grating preciousness. And the fact that one of the guys from Elf Power is in the band unsurprised me so hard I nearly didn’t do a spit take. Finish school already, you bums.
This is a collection of theme songs that correspond to grown, 40-something men with names like Undertaker and Rey Mysterio. Tragically, Motörhead are found here embarrassing themselves alongside the likes of Lil’ Kim and nü-metal also-rans Saliva. Please note that if you are a WWE fan and you are older than 12, you are considered legally retarded. If you aren’t a fan, listen to these songs and stare at the accompanying photographs until you understand what retardation sounds, looks, and feels like. It’s a surreal but valuable lesson we can all learn from. Recommendation: Start with Shawn Michaels’s “Sexy Boy” and add chromosomes from there.
Check out the skinny white kids from Boston who ditched their Converge hoodies when someone told them about Whitehouse. Now they roll with that new “shocking” noise scene, which is pretty much an ongoing, transparently calculated ploy staged by quite ordinary MySpace nerds and J. Crew shoppers. Gratuitous screeching, noncontextual use of the word “faggot,” and songs about child rape will earn you a super-scary rep when you get banned from the local art gallery, but to the rest of us it’s as safe, boring, and dumb as any football game. See you in a few years for your folk-rock phase, brohams.
Women as Lovers
Kill Rock Stars
Man, do I love this goofy art fag. I spent my high-school years surrounded by female drama cases right at the pinnacle of all those Saddle Creek bands’ reign of precious “torturedness.” So now, every time I hear Jamie Stewart’s warbly voice take that ball and run with it the point of complete absurdity it’s like being transported back to those obnoxious years but having a well-read, acid-tongued gay friend who likes free jazz and Dennis Cooper to riff with instead.
This is some swampy ambient stuff from Bradford Cox of Deerhunter. Yes, skinny dude. Him. It sounds like the kind of music where there’s all sorts of crazy business going on in the background and different notes moving from speaker to speaker, but seeing as my sole pair of headphones is currently being held together by a large rubber band and an entire roll’s worth of Scotch tape, you’ll just have to go on my gut.
DAVID SCOTT STONE
Plays the Modular Synthesizer
Listening to this LP is like being let in on a secret that only really badass music guys know. David Scott Stone has played with and is a favorite musician of all your favorite musicians—the Melvins, Unwound, and Big Business to name just a few—and this solo synth collection is him finally going, “Fine, I’ll show you why if you promise to leave me alone.”
SOILED MATTRESS AND THE SPRINGS
Honk Honk Bonk!
Upset the Rhythm
Brooklyn’s favorite sax-keyboard-and-drums trio squeaks out another album of fine, adult-contempo-flavored melody-jazz. Actually, that doesn’t even do it justice—riff-jazz is more like it. No, wait! Jizz-raff! Sorry, one of the marketing guys here got us a whole pallet of some new energy drink and I am fucking jacked right now. The band’s new stuff is a little more noisy and experimental than the songs on their first release, but guess what? That whole first EP is on here too, so all the bases are covered! You should go to their MySpace page and watch all the awesome animated videos their saxophoner Matthew Thurber has made. Go do it now. We’ll wait.
Oh my, this is filthy. This is a filthy Scotsman with a very thick accent whispering filthy poems and funny sex stories in my ear, with a bit of mood music in the background… and I LOVE it! It’s so weird—he looks like a fat, greasy werewolf with a broken nose, and yet listening to him whisper the words “cunt” and “finger” in my ear like the big, fat, disgusting Scottish pervert that he is makes me giggle and fidget in my seat, if you catch my drift. This is what’s called “a double standard.” And also maybe “gross.”