In My Mind
Look, you know I wasn’t even trying to sweat this album. I really thought this was going to be pure
material at this point. I mean, the minute I saw what the Ice Cream sneakers looked like I wrote dude off. But there’s some shit on this record, yo. This takes me back to that first N.E.R.D. joint which, looking back, was really kind of a classic despite all the cornballs who embraced it. Pharrell actually comes across as a rapper on “Raspy Shit,” and the “Yong Girl/I Really Like You” combo is what Mazarati would sound like if they came out today. So I’m with it. Just don’t ask me to call him Skateboard P. I ain’t going there.
BEST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
WORST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
BEST COVER OF THE MONTH
WORST COVER OF THE MONTH
Tha Dogg Pound
Cali Iz Active
You know what? Fuck it. I’m a come out (pause) and say that the West Coast is still the coolest. And nobody cares anymore. But that’s all right because Daz doesn’t care about anyone. I mean, homie’s sitting on a ton of Tupac masters and he’s been chilling in his ranch in Arizona, steadily putting out records ever since he said “Fuck Suge” ten years ago. This is his latest, and it’s got Lady of Rage on it. And Diddy on the single, for some strange reason. You should support.
SMACK: The Album Vol. 1
Papoose said it best: “They need to give my man SMACK his own TV show.” Not his own record deal, mind you. But this also comes with a DVD which is as classic as all the other SMACK installments.
Listennn: The Album
As annoying as Khaled is, this is the album with “Holler At Me” on it, which in case you didn’t get the memo is the best posse cut since “Protect Ya Neck.” “Problem,” featuring former nemeses Beanie and Jada, is also insane. And Rick Ross is all over this thing. Not too shabby.
Classic Material I
We don’t usually review mixtapes but it’s a slow month so might as well show love to a couple of joints you might’ve missed. And even though mash-ups are so two years ago, here are two fine listens. Team Canada comes with the eclecticism you’ve come to expect from these types of mixes, but everything is put together with the precision and good taste of meticulous Montrealers. What a great name too. Whereas the Bangers do what you should’ve thought of doing the minute you got your Mac: Remixing all of Killa Cam’s hits with Prince beats. Hence the title. Cute, it works.
This kid has sent us all his albums for the past four years and has written us every week for the past six months. And apparently, no other magazines want to review his stuff. I still didn’t get a chance to really peep his record either, but at least he’s in here. So this is the lesson you learn on a slow month: Perseverance pays off. There. You’re in
Impeach My Bush
Back with a shocking (gasp!) new album title and her trademark rather-be-scoring-than-singing delivery, Peaches plants her flag as “leader” of the “electro-punk movement!” Put another way, that’s like having the “front seat” on a “bus full of retards.” Even if “Fuck the Pain Away” were a halfway decent novelty song a couple of years ago, it’s time to cut the bullshit: An overfed and under-talented party tart clumsily deconstructing gender dynamics is as threatening to the mainstream as Weird Al doing a Toby Keith parody—and certainly far less entertaining.
These guys are too cool for school. They won’t do interviews, they wear masks in their press pictures, they never play concerts, and they boycotted the Swedish Grammys. Who the fuck do they think they are? Tool? My friend Skunk says Tool is the most innovative band ever. Ever. I think the Knife should cover some Tool songs. Maybe the one with the riff and the video with the animation. There should have been a Tool cover on this album. Then it would have gotten an 8. Too bad, Knife. Maybe next time you won’t play so many spooky electronic songs and you’ll play something off
THE FAT GUY
Cansei De Sar Sexy
Dear Lovefoxxx, I interviewed you last month and for at least 15 minutes you talked (in cute/frustrating broken English) about social-networking sites. I said “Uh huh” a lot, and told you I was just as obsessed. Confession: That was a lie. Also, when I told you I got the critique of hipster culture on your album, that was a lie too. But don’t get pissed, please, ’cause when I said I didn’t like the new Mudhoney and that I thought it was cool your band’s name came from a Beyoncé quote that was totally the truth. Sorry. Your album is still a pretty good time. As always,
Dan Deacon and his friends from Baltimore have invented a genre of music they call “Future Shock.” I’m glad they told me that before I reviewed their new EP, ’cause I almost called it an electro-psych record, which would have been totally embarrassing for everyone involved. Really though, I liked it better when we just called this kind of music “mediocre.”
Devastation of Musculation
Wow, I really hate to have to be the one to tell you this, but—here, why don’t you have a seat—nobody was ever actually “into” your music. Don’t get me wrong, that Thor costume with the giant cuff spikes was great and all the metal-bending and water-bottle-popping blew many an eight-year-old mind, but the tunes? How exactly do I put this? Even if they were jokes, Manowar would still have you beat by a solid bajillion.
This is basically a less gay version of Wolfmother who won’t get half as much attention because they don’t have Clyde Frazier haircuts and they dress like you and your buds instead of like your zany Aunt Jinny. That’s fair.
MARY LOUISE BUTTERS
Take It, Somebody!
I like to think that in 20 years someone is going to be having a conversation like, “Hey, remember when that band Modern Machines played in so-and-so’s basement? Man, that show ruled and that band totally changed my life for the better.” The other, more likely, possibility is closer to, “Hey, remember that Blink-182 song in that beer commercial? Yeah man, I love beating my kids.” Not saying that you’ll definitely be a child abuser if you don’t appreciate good music, but come on. You know you will.
Cluster fuck. “Cluster,” meaning a massively disorganized bunch of whatever, and “fuck”… meaning, well… fuck.
=Cluster fuck. This record is simultaneously one of the best and worst records you will hear this year and it’s likely that the band that conceived it couldn’t care less how you feel about it.
Stoner Rock would be the wrong nomenclature for a band that has spent the last five years honing such a distinctive yet easily absorbed sound. These two men have crafted riffs that are as dense as a back-country, dirt-road, all-out bar fight and, with the addition of the cinematic remix by Renaissance man Justin Broadrick, as pleasant as a cruise down the PCH with beer in hand at sunset. It’s a perfect Saturday in 25 minutes.
I put this on and pressed play, saying to myself, “Fuck yeah, new Voivod, shit is going to kill!” Then I started thinking about what I wanted for lunch, what time I had to be at work, and the deadline for consolidating my student loans. After five songs I was like, “What the hell am I listening to again?” When I remembered, I was utterly crushed, but not in a
War and Pain
way. Took care of that loan thing though, thanks for asking.
Now You’re Screwed
There are two kinds of Black Flag fans: On the one hand there’s the dude who spent a few years listening to punk and has
The First Four Years
on his iPod. Maybe he puts it on when he wants to freak out his buddies in the office carpool. Then you have the social retards who can go back and forth for hours on a topic like Dez vs. Chavo until they go home and listen to side B of
alone in the dark. I’m deep in the latter group, and I fucking LOVE this record, OK?
How big of a fucking slam dunk would this have been if, in moving back to overdriven Dungen territory, these Scandos had kept the weird Finnish forest mumbling instead of roping in some ESL ex-goth to spout off about money? They could have been one of those “featured” bands in the
instead of just sounding like my drunk uncle trying to make fun of Ozzy at Thanksgiving.
French Canadian garage-ist fluff on Thurston Moore’s label. Sample song titles: “Incest at Best,” “French Made Simple.” Fun, trashy, intentionally throwaway stuff that sounds very early 90s and while not amazing, is better than it has any right being. It’s like when you find some kind of Polish candy that you buy at a really out-of-the-way store because it’s got a funny wrapper and it looks like dog poop. Then your friend dares you to eat it and as soon as you do, you wish you could remember where the fuck you got it ’cause it’s awesome.
Is this what the guys riding around in those black helicopters listen to? I thought it was something more like maybe Sabbath, or oldies. At any rate, black helicopters and invisible jets are supposed to impart some sense of wonder and fear but this album is just kinda “there.” It’s organ, it’s guitars, it’s drums—it’s everything workmanlike and serviceable you’d expect of four guys from Boston who play noisy rock music.
Kill Rock Stars
As much as I would love to be supportive and enthusiastic about an overtly political all-girl rock group, I can’t help but just cringe, turn it off, and wait halfheartedly for the apocalypse.
New York Dolls
One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This
Like a bar band with a budget playing Stones covers, this is for divorced dads to unwind to after a long day.
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
My mom was always into Joan Jett. I think I’ll give her this CD so she can listen to it in her truck and feel like she’s the town badass on her way to buy gardening supplies. Hell, the way this record sounds she might even run into Joan at Home Depot and wind up exchanging recipes or some crap. Maybe they’ll even share a shopping cart? The imagination runs wild with limitless possibilities.
Comets on Fire
This has that “We wish so bad we were a band in the 70s” feel to it that is so everywhere right now it’s like we’re living in a fucking VH1 special.
Say Hi to Your Mom
One of those bands that you might like if you were friends with them or something, but you’re not so you don’t.
Tapes n' Tapes
OK. Fine. It’s not that bad. But I’m fucking tired of this annoyingly mediocre music. Someone please. Make it stop. When I’m in an elevator in ten years and this is the new muzak, I’m gonna be totally pissed.
Another spunky indie-orgy from the numb gray plains of Middle America that sounds like it was made by people who actually know what they are doing.
You spend years cultivating a secret favorite band and after all that hard nerd-work, when you’ve finally found the perfect combination of good tunes, underratedness, and low googleability in a group that could never see a mainstream revival in a thousand years, some kids go and take one big Strokes-sounding dump all over it. Thanks a bunch, Felt-ruiners.
Like their friends and forbearers Tower Recordings, New York’s Hall of Fame was one of the most underrated acts of the 90s. Hall of Fame singer-songer, one-time Jackie-O member, and lauded video artist Theo Angell’s debut album is both lovely and subtly original. The high-pitched, multi-track vocals, oblique lyrics, and strange orchestration seem to come both from too many nights spent trapped in a tiny apartment and days spent alone in the woods. It is definitely folk music, encompassing the British kind, the Appalachian stuff, and the sort that sounds like Fleetwood Mac demos. We must have more, soon.
Nick Castro & the Young Elders
Strange Attractors Audio House
This exercise in world-jam Renn-faire mystical fluff-prog is kind of bullshit. It’s unfortunate, ’cause studmuffin Castro is really a talented guitarist with a knowledge of many styles. But in an era when trustafarian fake freak-folk bands continue to sprout like kudzu, if you have an album that mixes harmonium, African thumb piano, acoustic guitar, Celtic harp, and goddamn nyabinghi drums and also has lyrics like “Our destinies intertwined/ In the tanglings of the mind,” it has to be seriously awesome (à la Espers or Jospehine Foster) or else you shall face the wrath of ye olde cut-out bin.
Josh from Relative Theory says this rules, and he gave us beer and directions to the beach, so that’s enough for me. I tempered the enthusiasm down to a reasonable 6.5 though, because Josh is from Norfolk, VA, world HQ of Everything Here Sucks, Inc., so his radar might be a bit off.
In the Maybe World
If you have a little sister who keeps you awake all the time listening to Tori Amos and Cat Power, give her this CD. She’ll think it’s totally mesmerizing and you’ll be comatose before the first song is half over. Seriously, it’s faster than the Ambien and Vodka Express.
Shapes and Sizes
I’d be writing shitty records too if I was 25 years old and still getting called “faggot” by the middle-schoolers outside 7-Eleven. On the reals, this album comes in one shape and one size: Gay. Ten godawful post-twee fag-outs about sweaters, crying, and nature.
Jacket Full of Danger
If this album was in a race versus Kimya Dawson, Kimya would win for sure, but Adam would still be the one wearing the smoking jacket and getting BJs after the big race so it wouldn’t matter. Kimya would be standing there, a blue ribbon in her hands and Band-Aids on her knees while AG would be all thrusting his pelvis in a diamond-studded jumpsuit. Dick.
Let’s Get Out of This Country
I’m over 30, all my clothes have hearts or baby animals on them, and all I listen to is retardedly adorable music like this li’l sunshine rainbow of an album. I’m basically turning into Bette Davis in
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
and I’m a little bit concerned for myself, but fuck it. This album sounds like a perfect cross between 60s girl groups and Belle & Sebastian, plus “Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken” is the sweetest single I’ve heard in forevs, so until I try to push Joan Crawford down a flight of stairs, leave me be with my happy delusions.
I don’t know how the South expects to rise again at this kind of pace. Maybe it has something to do with sitting on porches or preservatives or something us Yankees don’t understand, but humping the same songs for half a decade before getting it on record doesn’t exactly seem like the best recipe for a “fresh” debut. I’ll try to send a copy over to five-years-ago me though, I’m sure he’ll be pretty stoked.
The Cairo Gang
Cairo Gang sound like a sparser, hippy-dippier Akron/Family. Weasel Walter mastered this album. I’m in a band that puts out real albums but I still don’t know what mastering is. I do, however, know who Weasel Walter is and his involvement means that this is a good record. I actually didn’t even listen to it. I just know it’s good. Sike, I listened to it.
Normally I frown upon bands putting their own dumb mugs on their album covers, but this one is drawn so well that it gets a wave-through. I also can’t believe a band would cover an Arcade Fire song about five minutes after the original just happened, but again, they nailed it so I have to let it slide. This band is like the badass guy in high school that gets away with misbehaving all the time because he’s like totally hot.
So, finally got an album together, I see. What took so long? Oh right, those fucking 20 awesome EPs. Almost forgot. Well, uh, keep up the being-weird then.
Jesus Christ, I’m with old people. Stop with the screaming and turn this shit down. Yelling doesn’t mean you have something to say and making loud noises with other dudes doesn’t make you a band. Get the fuck off my lawn.
You ever listen to the Rolling Stones with one speaker blown, so only the bass, drum, and backup vocals come through and it sounds like a cover by some weird New York art band from the 70s? I feel like if somebody’d fix the cable for the other guy, this might be some sort of amazing Nausea-inspired Japanese dance act, but I guess it’s not too bad as is.
Roman sludgy destruction, doom, and chaos. Kind of flips between Melt Banana pretending to be a Bay Area crust band and an inexplicably sinister/bratty, shambolic early Deerhoof. Their website says they’d “like to keep Ovo if not outside the market rules, at least very free inside of them.” Um, yeah, so covered. You’re more than there.
Pickpocket/Danger Came Smiling
Linder Sterling is the Mancunian modern artist who taught Morrissey everything he knows and once scandalized the Factory by wearing a dress made entirely of chicken meat. She also designed the collage sleeve for Buzzcocks’ “Orgasm Addict” and played on bills with everyone from Joy Division to Crass. These two albums from 1981 and 1982 full of sax, guitar, subguttural utterances and odd noises tearing at the corpse of 4/4 avant-rock are an acquired taste, but so is Jägermeister and spinach and we all know how good those are for you.