T.I. vs. Tip
“Big Things Poppin’” is a great record, but the rest of the album? Meh. Tell you the truth, this guy is overrated. I think people just like him cuz he’s light-skinned. And a single with Wyclef on it? What are you thinking, homie?
BEST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
WORST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
BEST COVER OF THE MONTH
WORST COVER OF THE MONTH
You know what? This is too easy. “Sex Planet”? “The Zoo”? “Real Talk”? The video for “Same Girl”? Helloooooooo. Are you hearing what I’m hearing? Is he imitating monkeys? Is he talking about going up Uranus? It’s like the guy wrote this specifically to get a 10 in
T-Pain is our favorite artist in the world right now. He does self-deprecating chickenhead R&B with a Roger Troutman twist. He’s the ultimate anti-pop-star and now every single hoochie mamma is lining up to touch his bicolored dreads. His first album had the sublime ballads “I’m Sprung” and “I’m in Love (With a Stripper),” but Epiphany takes the cake with the two best songs of the year, back to back: “Buy You a Drink” and “Bartender.” The rest of the record is whatever but who cares.
Tha Carter 3—The Leak
This is proof of the absolute integrity and objectivity of this publication. Our last Lil Wayne review was dithyrambic. We concluded that his
mixtape was the best rap release of the year. So what’s up with the follow-up: all these leaked tracks from Weezy’s most anticipated opus? Think we’re going to hop on the kid’s bozak once again? No sir. Played-out chipmunk beats and lackluster contributions from both Timbo and Kanye make this one a big disappointment. Plus Wayne’s stoner flow is getting more and more abstract by the day. Dude’s on some André 3000 spoken-word shit now. Lay off that purp and that Superhead and straighten your shit out, dogg.
None Shall Pass
Aesop and I are both from Long Island. The band I am in has a solid fan base of over-30 males shaped like eggplants and dressed like toddlers. This fucker, on the other hand, gets worldwide acclaim as well as a shout-out from Sasha Grey on her MySpace page. I don’t even have to listen to this CD to know that he is doing something right and I am doing the same exact thing very, very wrong.
KINFOLK KIA SHINE
Hip-hop music has become a one-song genre. What’s funny is that all the Mimes and the Jibbses and the Unks and the Shop Boyzes of the world actually have albums too. Interested? Didn’t think so.
All the Sweet Stuff
This record is all about bouffant hairdos, jacking off, sweet candy treats, cute boys, and partying. Genius, right?
not to our former label Kill Rock Stars who gagged when they heard it. Apparently our gay-dude-meets-Mexican-chick brand of rock ’n’ roll bubblegum club comedy was not ivory enough for their world. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be sitting on a gold mine and then suddenly not be sitting on one. Must feel pretty weird! If there’s not a sound you can dance to here then you are either a jock or a total asshole who hates life. Oh wait, there’s even a song for jocks about farting at a frat party. Totally not a barfy-face album!! You’ll love it.
HUNX (I’M IN THE BAND)
We love these motherfuckers. Boo ya!
C.Y.O.A! Choose Your Own Adventure
Ooh, white heart-shaped vinyl! Awesome. This is the band of the magical duo who operate the Heartschallenger ice cream truck. You know—the pink ice cream truck with unicorns painted on it that’s been showing up outside every fun event in New York all summer long? The one that sells Pink Panther popsicles and neon-rainbow Slinkies and other sundry thingamabobs? We like it so much we even did a whole episode of
about it on
. Hey—you should watch it! Anyway, this is their band and it is very fun and cute and dancey. So next time you see a lil’ pink truck roll on by, flag ’em down and pony up for an Astropop and one of these babies, why dontcha?
Drugs and Drawing 7"
In high school, these underclassmen made a band where they all dressed up like this one upperclassman named Arthur. Ricky as Arthur on drums. Andrew as Arthur on vocals. Jason as Arthur on bass. For Halloween, one of them (Ricky) came to school dressed as Arthur. He wore the kind of outfit Arthur wore and a little nametag that said, “Hi, my name is Arthur.” Around 11 AM, Arthur came up to Ricky in the hallway and, without saying anything, pulled off his name tag and tore it into strips. Then he tore the strips into confetti and threw them at Ricky’s chest. Ten years later, Arthur made this album. Arthur on drums. Arthur singing. Arthur… playing keyboard. Dear Arthur: Will you run away to Mexico with us?
AMIE AMIE AMIE
Night of Broken Glass
In the Red
This just in: Jay Reatard is on an absolute killing spree of garage-recording excellence. First there was
and now there’s this 12-inch, which might be the best thing he’s ever done. Oh wait, but there’s also a seven-inch on Goner that has a pleasantly surprising Go-Betweens cover. They’re all winners! I fully forgive him for hurling a full can of beer straight at my balls the last time I saw him live. That show ruled.
Year of the Pig
What’s Your Rupture
Remember a couple of issues ago when we told you Lil Wayne was the world’s best rapper bar none and that we’d let you know if anything changes? Same policy applies. Fucked Up are the best hardcore band on the planet—look for the memo if the world gets turned upside down, and in the meantime get your summer playlist of
Hidden World, Da Drought 3
, and this new 12-inch ready to go.
ON WATERSHIP DOWN
Orpheus Versus the Sirens
I was going to trash this so hard, but then I realized it’s completely unnecessary to make dozens of tenth-grade kids in Asshole, Florida, feel stupid for being On Watership Down fans. We all went through that phase where we got psyched on some lame local band because, by proxy, every tiny success they had was a vindication of our own shitty existence. And when those fans are in their 20s and 30s and OWD is reuniting to play the neighborhood sports bar, they will cringe as so many of us have cringed before. So for now I say let them have their fun. Run along children, the merch table beckons!
Before The Supply
Satan Wears Suspenders
This girl asked me the other day if I liked “hardcore music.” I said yes, logically thinking she meant Cro-Mags, Token Entry, or maybe current bands like Everyday Dollars. Turns out she was referring to something totally different that involved emaciated transvestites weeping uncontrollably and calling themselves Darkness or Blood or Ashes or some shit. Anyway, I was really glad we cleared that up.
Besides its ostensible worth as a collectible artifact, the main reason to purchase this puking monstrosity (meant as a compliment) is to play it loudly and in completely inappropriate contexts. For example, your roommate has invited Jehovah’s Witnesses in for coffee and banter. Or, you’re at the beach on a sunny day and the guy next to you is super into that Mogwai song on his iPod. Here’s the party album to end all parties… abruptly and awkwardly.
KANG THE CONQUEROR
Down Below It’s Chaos
how I like my jammy instrumental postrock—nonjammy and with singing. Hey, they even quit doing that thing where they play a riff then play the exact same riff two notes higher for five minutes then call it a song. Maybe if I keep focusing my mental energies like this I can make them shave their beards and quit opening for Tool, and transform the girl-bassist into a grinning, big-assed Caribbean girl who plays the samba whistle. Or maybe I’ll just burn a tiny hole in my monitor. Let’s find out!
This is a comp of “choice cuts” from the vast array of vinyl 12-inches that No Age released on a bunch of different labels recently. We’ve been slobbering over Randy Randall and Dean Spunt for a while now and we shall continue to do so. Things they do that are awesome include: taking the cool and the uncool and make it all cool, mixing abandoned 90s guitar stylings with ultrapositive, smart/fun-guy vibes, and taking all the stuff you liked and forgot about and reminding you why you liked it again, aka “being a good band.”
The Hair, the TV, the Baby, and the Band
You know what? Now that Alison Bollsfeld isn’t around to call this a “gay Teenage Fanclub ripoff” in front of Gabe and Andrew during PE, this is actually pretty good. I
this. And you know what else? I don’t care if Elastica ripped off Wire for that one song (I sure wish my dad had a really good record collection instead of, you know, supporting his family)—that doesn’t make it a bad song! It’s called bricolage, you jerkface!
LIFE ON EARTH!
Look!! There Is…
Not sure how it works in Sweden, but over here bookending an album of fuzzy little flower jams between a four-minute jazz-flute seizure and a 20-minute-long two-note drone is what we call “shit-coating a pearl.” If you care, that is.
YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS
Colossal Youth and Collected Works
You can thank Young Marble Giants for every plinky, minimal indie-rock band with a soft-voiced girl singer ever. And also Stereolab and organ-y stuff. And bands with crappy drum machines. The fact that these guys came out of nowhere in Wales in 1978-80, invented a whole new thing, and then broke up immediately afterward is pretty awesome. They have a real air of mystery around them. Plus grainy Xeroxed photos of bands from the early 80s always look so cool. People call them post-punk but they sound so sleepy and fragile, it’s misleading. Let’s just call them “one of those bands that rock snobs always go on about but who are actually worth checking out even if you’re not a totally annoying music nerd.”
Eleven Seven Music
When there’s someone (Gwen Stefani) basically doing what you did but a lot better (and by better we mean younger), it’s time to fade gracefully away into legend status and practice accepting long-winded “we’re all so indebted to you” speeches from the side of the stage. Everyone thinks the Model-T is cool in museums and books, but not so much on the West Side Highway, you know?
ANGELS OF LIGHT
We Are Him
Young God Records
I can’t really get a handle on how Michael Gira is aging not only gracefully but powerfully. His trademark haunting voice gets better and more visceral with time, and at this rate we’re dangerously close to seeing the best records of our era pumped out of a retirement home by a guy who can’t eat solids and poops himself every other day.
CHRISTY & EMILY
If you had tried to sell me on a pair of girls crooning out winsome melodies with an organ and quiet guitar a year ago, I probably would have punched you in the jaw between heaves. But now that some time has passed and my folk hangover has subsided, this is just the kind of hair of the dog I’ve been jonesing for. One of the songs (“Thunder & Lightning”) even pulls off non-sucky-era Stereolab. Well played, Social Reg.
MAYNARD P. LICE
A Touch of Wonder
This CD came attached to the back page of a pink-and-yellow construction-paper zine filled with really shitty drawings of whale-men and raccoons, which is enough to convince me that my decision to listen to it instead of, say, hurling it against the nearest wall and cleaning up the mess weeks later was an act of intervention on the part of a particularly benevolent, good-tune-appreciating god. This is exactly what I always hoped all those Paper Rad/Load bands would sound like instead of just bad noise-jazz—casual little guitar melodies with broken-y keyboards and extended
Hey! Just as I was lamenting the unfortunate NY-to-LA weirdo migration of the past few years, this band appears and the reign of New York City nutcases continues! Half-naked girls in tattered costumes whispering, shrieking, burping, chanting gibberish, and making spooky ghost noises over creepy chimes, echo-y singing saw, and minimal guitar? Check. Elaborate backstory involving a baby ghost who protects its 13-year-old mother from rapists? Check. Oh, what’s that? They roam up and down Ludlow Street on weekends, doing guerilla performances to freak out the B&T crowd? Check and mate. God bless the loons.
Guilt by Association
Engine Room Recordings
Sigh. If we haven’t already, we hereby call bullshit on “guilty pleasures.” There should be no such thing. You either like something or you don’t, and don’t be a pussy about it. Hold your head high! So what we’ve got here is an album of “cool” musicians covering “lame” songs. Will Oldham does Mariah Carey, Devendra Banhart does Oasis. Ooh, Oasis. How cheesy! How guilty! Cat Power covered “Wonderwall” years ago and didn’t make any excuses. PS: “Don’t Stop Believin’” is one of THE greatest songs of all time, and how ironic is it that Petra Haden, formerly of THAT DOG, is embarrassed by being associated with Journey and not vice versa. Sheesh.
Wow. It’s pretty rare that I have the attention span for a whole album, let alone an album that’s worth listening to the whole way through, but darn if this isn’t the best album I’ve heard in ages. I love that Animal Collective don’t sound like any other band. Except for a tiny bit of Beach Boys singing, there is nothing to compare it to. It’s derivative of nothing. The mind boggles! Sorry to gush, but I swear I’ve listened to “Peacebone” like a hundred times since I got this. Do you ever have songs like that? That you just put on repeat for hours? After the initial ten listens, I realized that part of my obsession with this song is that there are subtle steel drums in the background of the chorus. It made me think about when I went to Jamaica with my cousins when I was 12. I sat at the pool listening to the steel-drum player and thinking my weird 12-year-old thoughts. My cousins were cool and took me to one of those topless showgirl revues (just like in
!) at the casino too. Not such an exciting memory, I know, but a fond one. See, that’s how you know what songs are good. They make you think of stuff.
SIR RICHARD BISHOP
While My Guitar Violently Bleeds
It sucks that Sun City Girls has been put to bed (RIP Charles Gocher), but at least it gives those of us born after 1975 a chance to catch up on the billions of albums and tapes and seven-inches and side projects and comps and soundtracks and stand-up acts and entire labels full of material they put out constantly. This is a three-song album of intricate oriental-sounding guitar work from Rick Bishop mixed up with a little spacey feedback sort of stuff and it’s only his, oh,
release in the past year. Come on guys, cut us a little slack already.
SIR RICHARD BISHOP
Oh, for fuck’s sake, what did I just say?