BEST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
FKA TWIGS: LP1 (XL)
Sex is everywhere, but nothing feels sexy anymore. These days, most porno flicks look like videotaped pap-smear examinations, and the limp-dick garbage that labels pass off as “baby-making music” is produced by pedophiles, domestic abusers, and hacks who think phrases like “beat that pussy up” are alluring. With LP1, however, Britain’s FKA Twigs has given us a collection of songs that will keep boners stiff and panties wet for generations to come. I’m not saying spinning LP1 will automatically get you laid. But if someone is insane enough to follow you back to your apartment alone at the end of the night, you should definitely play this album instead of “Bitch Suck Dick.”
WILBERT L. COOPER
WORST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
O-TOWN: Lines & Circles (All About the Melody)
Back when I was a boy, every time I’d get really angry I’d run up to my room, close the door, sit on my bed, stick up my middle finger, and hide it behind my cupped left hand in case someone walked in. That’s how I got my aggression out. But when I wanted to spray boy butter all over my Taz doll, I’d always turn to O-Town before I pounded off. This summer, when I received a promo copy of their first new record in 12 years, I immediately ran to the bathroom at work to invite my dong to the palm prom. I did manage to get off, but some splooge spurted onto the promo CD, and now I’m afraid to put it in my computer because my cum is a cesspool of venereal disease.
DINAH SHORE’S TOOTHED OVARIAN CYST
BEST COVER OF THE MONTH
SPIDER BAGS: Frozen Letter (Merge)
I’ve never ridden the brown horse personally, but I’m pretty sure this band’s name is a reference to slinging the finest scag. To me, they sound like dried-up barf on the underside of a porch-couch cushion, but only if the puke happened on one amazing summer night four years ago. You know, the kind of mess you don’t want to clean up. My dad used to refer to puking as “calling Bill,” because of the sound you make when you’re spraying chum—“Billlll!”
WORST COVER OF THE MONTH
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: Brill Bruisers (Matador)
Wow, this is some straight-up yuppie pigshit, huh? I should’ve known the minute it was recommended to me by a glad-handing liberal arts adjunct in barefoot running shoes. The New Pornographers are the craft beer of rock ’n’ roll—the older I get, the more dickheads like them.
What Goes Around…
Statik Selektah is a DJ guy who makes boring beats but has enough famous friends to make rap fans feel like they have to listen to his records. But pretty much every producer-curated album is what the ancient Chinese called shi-tay—all the rappers half-ass it because they’re not getting paid, and all the producers already gave their good beats away. There, I just saved you 70 minutes!
The first time I took acid this girl and I went to Times Square at sunrise, giggling until it felt like our faces were melting off because we’d figured out a cheat code to turn the world’s shittiest place into our own personal playground. We were in college, so we listened to Animal Collective, but if I could do it again, I’d listen to this.
Sometimes you just wanna listen to good-ass, no-frills, rappin’-ass rap music, and at this point in their storied career, Dilated Peoples give you exactly that. They’re kinda old and unstylish, and they can’t not rap about how cool and authentic they are. That said, these are the best beats a decade of underground cred can buy, and that sure outclasses having to listen to your dealer’s roommate’s shitty freestyle about the drop-crotch jorts he copped at the VFiles sale.
For those unfamiliar, Shabazz Palaces makes brainy, afrofuturist-inspired “recorded happenings” that have sentences-long song titles and heady conceptual spins, like if Sun Ra had spat hard bars about transcendentalism as a tiny baby infant thing. The inter-dimensionality shtick starts to wear on you, but the record does sort of make you feel like you’re getting beamed up to a UFO, and believe me, you’re going to love the butt probe waiting to punch your starfish in space.
You know how some dicknobs justify listening to Skrewdriver and Death in June with the excuse that they appreciate virulent hate-shit for the sheer shock and oddity of it all? Well, those people are wrong. This same principle applies to anyone who listens to Lecrae, a rapping man who makes Christian songs and is afraid of gay people. Disregard this review if you fly the Flanders flag, but on the other hand, if you’ve got a Bible stuck up your butt why are you even reading VICE? We burned our non-discrimination policy years ago and won’t hire anyone who thinks God is real.
Have you ever gone dancing at a shopping-plaza nightclub in Tallahassee, Florida? And then, when you exited the club at 1:55 AM to smoke a cigarette, a sexy bro offered to smoke you out, and you accepted, because nothing’s hotter than boxer shorts hanging out of a boy’s white dress pants at a shopping plaza? And then, midway through your smoke sesh, you realized you were smoking PCP, not pot? And then you got blown? That’s what this album sounds like, and while Skrill Man is a total Steve, I can’t pretend I’m not down with this clown.
Angels & Devils
Don’t let the trashy cover fool you—this isn’t Converge’s first acoustic album. This is a UK producer person who just officially passed the most difficult VICE review test. Picture this: I’m on deadline, I just crammed a Western omelet on a bialy into my mouth, and I feel like there are too many smiley-face reviews in this issue. I had my fingers crossed that this music would sound like compressed dick farts, but the songs are actually innovative grime-lacquered future dancehall with nods toward pop hooks. Throw in some collabs with Grouper, Death Grips, Godflesh, and Copeland, and you should have enough for at least a few repeat spins. What the shit else can you ask from electronic music these days?
Oh, I’m sorry! I thought music was supposed to sound good! My mistake. I didn’t realize that 200,000 years of sonic evolution, from Paleolithic bone flutes through to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and the Beatles, was all leading toward a moment when some Glaswegian hack DJ is encouraged to cram 30 stock ringtones into GarageBand and call it a day.
Atlantic Jaxx / PIAS
Now that VICE has an EDM channel called Thump we all have to pretend that we were “born to rave,” or are “ready to rave,” or something like that—I can’t remember the agreed language because I burned the memo. But truthfully, outside of, like, Emptyset or Sandwell District or something, I couldn’t give a duck’s butt about “EDM,” because it’s a marketing term devoted to repeating its own easy-to-digest bullshit over and over forever. That, and the fact its focus on repetition mimics the cyclical experience of being human in mass-media consumer society. I hate that too. These songs sound like they got cut from the Hackers soundtrack, and I’d rather listen to the cats porking in my yard.
JARGON SCOTT’S LEGLESS DOGS
Look Forward to Being Attacked
Imagine you’re in An American Tail and there’s a performance with a band onstage and you cut to a close-up and a little mouse lady is singing on the stage with her little paws outstretched like she’s singing important things. That’s track one. Every other track sounds exactly the same as every other band, so spend your money on something cool, like a tiny handgun that fires out nugs of the dankest dank you ever stank.
My mom once said that this band is Krautrock. After she said that we got into an argument as to what Krautrock actually is. I said that Krautrock is music that was made during a specific time in a specific place, and she said that this music is repetitive, has synthesizers, and gets droney. Then she hit me in the mouth.
Do you know what a hesher is? These are the mulleted, head-banging sons of Baphomet who will smoke anything green and fuck anything in a Priest shirt. You can’t rely on these guys for much outside of putting too much lighter fluid on the grill, but they are 100 percent funnier than you, balls-on accurate about Mercyful Fate bootlegs, and they all love Accept because anyone who doesn’t can stick his head in the microwave.
This record is more polished and T. Rexy than the last few records, and it’s great like all of his stuff, but it doesn’t dethrone Melted as the best Ty record to date. One time my girlfriend tried to sneak up on Ty and French him, but he shot her down. You think you’re too good to kiss my raven-haired fuckhole, Ty? Well, maybe I’m too good for your record! I demand you come and give her an apologetic butt touch to heal her wounded pride.
After the End
Some bozo on the queefternet described Merchandise’s previous (and better) records as “melted cassettes of the Smiths and the Stone Roses.” I could totally co-sign on that, but now they sound more like a melted U2 cassette that’s been pissed on by Echo & the Bunnymen at their most pompous. Sorry, dudes, it bums me out to, um, take the piss out of your 4AD debut, but you already had panties dropping with Children of Desire, and I’m not sure why you had to add in an accordion and gum the whole thing up.
I was told by some press agent not to ask Twin Peaks why they chose to name their band after a TV show about child abuse, incest, and murder. Some things just aren’t important, so I won’t bother. Instead, let’s focus on these four wacky dudes playing fun garage rock and consistently yukking it up in staged promo photos. That hasn’t stopped being awesome. These dudes don’t have time for your cynicism. Let them be great.
I Gave My Punk Jacket to Ricky / Popgun
“I Gave My Punk Jacket to Ricky” is one of those great punk songs few have ever heard. Whenever you play it for people, their minds are blown and you look really punksmart, like you’re Glenn O’Brien on TV Party or something.
DAVID KILGOUR & THE HEAVY EIGHTS
End Times Undone
VICE just hired a shit ton more people, mostly in made-up departments like “project management” and “marketing,” so we’ve invented a paper test to quantify the potential of new hires. It’s pretty simple: How many bands on Flying Nun Records can you name? Zero means a promotion and a raise, and more than five means a transfer to the editorial staff and a stupid nickname like “boomer” or “murph-nugget.”
Lost in Alphaville
Sick! The Rentals are back! For all you children who don’t remember Matt Sharp, he was the only tolerable human in Weezer, the guy who sang all the falsetto vocals on The Blue Album and Pinkerton and jumped ship before they started to piss off your older brother. The Rentals pretty much defined the “nerd rock era” (that storied epoch between the Mallrats soundtrack and the 9 / 11 soundtrack), and they make a great apology act to how heinous of a human Rivers Cuomo is. This new record sounds like their old records (wee-ooh-wee-ooh synths and shattered dork vocals), and there’s no way they’ll make enough money to tour without dipping into their kids’ college funds, but hey, it’s the 90s, amirite? Carpe noctem!
God, remember that Neon Indian album? Was it the soundtrack to your life too? Now that shit sounds like Hootie & the Blowfish to me. I mean, unless it’s mixed into the playlist at a café I’m trying to “do work” at, which means having panic attacks somewhere that’s not my tiny apartment. Why do I make such horrible life choices? Whatever. This PONYO album, his debut, can be the new soundtrack to your life. It’s lush and cool and hot and perfect.
Mozart’s Sister is one of those bands that’s really just one person’s musical “project,” like Neon Indian, Nine Inch Nails, or Dio. In this case, the mastermind is Caila Thompson-Hannant, a Canadian singer with a legitimately excellent voice. After years in the lab, she hit on a magic formula: Take ethereal vocals and spread a bunch of weird samples, electronic dissonance, and bleepy-bloops all over them. Who would have ever guessed that it would work? It’s like, why has no one ever thought of this before? Someone call the media. They’ll want to know about this shit.
I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss
Sinead O’Connor is your crazy Irish aunt who claims Andrew Lloyd “Not a Cocksucker” Webber ate Margaret Thatcher’s thunder cat. You would listen to her wise opinions if she didn’t invalidate them by screaming whenever she drove past a friendly neighborhood Chipotle because it “used to be a club where we talked about heroin and welfare!” In the past few years, Sinead has spent more time writing letters to Miley Cyrus than recording music. Like those letters, nothing about her new songs makes any sense, but they’re really, really crazy, which means really, really fun.
BEAR IN HEAVEN
Time Is Over One Day Old
Dead Oceans / Hometapes
Bear in Heaven is a weird band that makes sonically complex, psyched-out Krautrock with a liberal sprinkling of bummer lyrics. This album isn’t that much different from their last three in that this one also makes me want to jump into a bathtub full of patchouli oil and move to a hemp farm in the Catskills. That could get obnoxious and tiresome (see Yeasayer), but it hasn’t yet. When I decide to retire and spend my days playing bongos while gazing directly at my navel, I’ll still be jamming this record.
People’s moms say don’t judge a book by its cover, but when that cover has American Soft written across it, and the music sounds like a country full of scrotumless flaccid dongs reverently strumming steel-stringed acoustic guitars, you’re free to say whatever the heck you want. Like “bunting.” That’s a fun-ass word to say.
LITTLE MISS HUSK OF A PERSON
CYMBALS EAT GUITARS
A friend of mine dated the guy from this band for a while, and we all got drunk in Philadelphia once. Later that night, when Cymbals Eat Guitars guy started showing me his tattoos, I told him his car-stereo tat looked more like an air conditioner. I don’t know why he got so butthurt about it. I have a tattoo of the continental US on my arm, and when we both get kidnapped by al Shabaab, I’m the guy who’s going to get his nose pulled off with pliers. They’ll just think he likes to keep cool.
ARNOLD J. GOURMAND
Look at these little Loiners, adding up the best bits from Dirty Projectors and subtracting all the offensive appropriation of African culture. Fun fact: People from Leeds are called “Loiners,” which is weird and gross.
Friday the 13th (Original Soundtrack)
If you’re looking for an entry-level slasher to help trick some bimbo into a game of the old “two in the goo, one in the poo,” Friday the 13th will work fine, I guess… but you’re better than that. When you’re ready to graduate to the upper echelons of transgressive sick-fuckery, order VHS copies of In a Glass Cage and Angst—you can thank us when your first marriage dissolves. Both movies have better soundtracks than this uninspired horseshit, which is literally the sound of Harry Manfredini masturbreathing (CHI-chi-chi, HA-ha-ha) over Bernard Herrmann’s and Ennio Morricone’s best ideas.
If you’re holding a print version of this magazine in your grubby little dick-beaters, you obviously can’t say anything, except to yourself or your roommates. But we publish this whole thing online every month for free, and all you buttknockers in the comments keep writing things like “Why should I give a shit about what these elitist, wannabe journalists think about music?” Guys, for the last time—we didn’t get into this game to be traditional journalists. We got into this game to shine an unvarnished light on some of the most underreported stories from around the globe. We got into this game to take a clearheaded look at the most important events of our time. This is the future. This is VICE.
If you’re like me, every time you’re at a house party you’re overcome with anxiety. Everyone will be laughing and drinking and looking at their phones, and you’ll excuse yourself to go to the bathroom. You’ll look into the mirror and ask yourself, How did I get to this point? How did I get from being a tiny baby girl, full of possibility and promise, to what I am today, a coked-out buttslut who’ll do anything to convince herself she’s at the same level her mother was at 24? The longer you look in the mirror, the more your face melts away to reveal your skeletal face, the eye sockets and jaw wriggling with maggots. That’s what this record is like. Buyer beware.