12 Play: Fourth Quarter
Jive 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 Vice 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.
Never Be Afraid
Domino 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.
Let the Music Take You There
Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs
Does You Inspire You
QUEEFER SUTHERLAND 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
Chunksaah 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 Vice 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.
Female Fantasy 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 Nuggets-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
Hydra Head Their 1995 album, Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men, goes down in the annals of heaviest albums ever and Special Wishes 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.
Columbia 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.
THE GAY BLADES
Triple Crown 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
Douchemaster 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
SideOneDummy 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
Magic Marker 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 Graceland. 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.
THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN
The Power of Negative Thinking: B-Sides and Rarities
Megaforce 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
Thrill Jockey This is the favorite band of that person who watched that scene in American Beauty where the boy is getting gay all over that bodega bag and had a quiet little cry.
How Shadows Chase the Balance
Tomlab 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
Thrill Jockey 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.
STEPH CAPEZIO 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 Watership Down 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.
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
Locust 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 Rushmore, 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.
Knowle West Boy
The Society for the Advancement of Inflammatory Consciousness
Cochon 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.”
ESP-Disk 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.