If you aren’t up on Paper Route Recordz, get familiar. These dudes have been putting it down in Bama for a minute now. With a little push from Benzi and Diplo, the crew is getting ready to blow up like yeast. From the Ecstasy-inspired rave anthem “Rolling” to the syrupy Casio crunk of “Streetz,” this is the finest 16 minutes of lo-fi southern rap since the first half of
When the Smoke Clears.
Somehow these guys even managed to make a Weezer sample sound thugged out.
Show You the World
is Bun B’s second solo album, the first since the death of his partner Pimp C earlier this year. Given the circumstances and given how much I love UGK, Bun could have made an album full of Sting-sampled R&B eulogies and I would have had to give it a good review. But instead of getting all soft, Bun shows us how he’s managed to stay relevant for over 20 years by releasing another near-classic album that completely avoids the ’05 Houston-rap trap that shut down his peers. Don’t get me wrong, there is no shortage of screwed-down keyboards and “RIP Pimp C” ad-libs, but it’s wedged in between crazy Jodeci samples, opinions on Iraq, and exchanges with Lil Weezy. The only way this record could be any better is if you replaced the Lupe and Sean Kingston songs with “Pop It 4 a Pimp” two more times.
For the longest time, backpack rappers have sold themselves as the literary, “thinking man’s” alternative to the killing and ass slapping of gangster rap. After a good listen to the Grouch’s new record I realized that couldn’t be further from the truth. This community-college dropout and the rest of his crew are rapping about Whole Foods, wedding anniversaries, and MacBooks—not quite the audio equivalent of
. Say what you will, but I would way rather hear Lil Wayne make up another word for “cocaine” than hear what this guy is going to rhyme with “Vente Americano.”
It’s beyond understood that looks and style are more important than songwriting for a lot of bands, and there is no better example than this. Shit sounds like Ladytron-lite for high schoolers who just discovering Ween, but just because they’re female-fronted and British I’m supposed to think they’re the second coming of Pulp? If this band was from Tempe, Arizona, and had a fat Jewish kid at the mic no one would know they existed and I wouldn’t need to fire a round into the short bus like this.
From his early days in SF queer-art-punk band Fagbash to his rap-duo days with Tara Delong in Bedroom Productions to his collaborations with Khan to his current solo incarnation, Snax has always sounded at least a little bit like Prince. His love for the Purple One is mighty and unwavering. He could be in a klezmer-krautrock-grindcore fusion band and it would still sound a little bit like “Erotic City.” This latest digital-download EP is no different. Snax rules the Berlin dance scene with diamonds and pearls in one hand and, like, a bottle of lube in the other. Ew! What I mean to say is that he is one sexy motherfucker and these songs will make you feel like shakin’ that ass, shakin’ that ass, shakin’ that ass. Sorry but it’s true.
Hey, guess what? It might finally be time for electronic music to be cool and fun again. I can feel it coming. And who better to lead the way than an adorable couple who drive all over the world in a pink ice-cream truck selling trinkets and candy and who pick up where Chicks on Speed and Cobra Killer left off like the past five years were just a bad Strokesy nightmare? I mean, how can you not jump on the bandwagon when the bandwagon is filled with Fudgsicles?
CHILDREN OF BODOM
A lot of “metal” kids who read Vice will regard this as too slick, not underground enough, blah, blah, blah. Those are the ones who think that recording music direct to tape inside a cum-filled toilet and limiting it to 14 cassette copies makes it more “authentic” than albums made by dudes who actually know how to write, play, and produce their songs. But fuck the haters, this album will still be splitting skulls ten years from now, long after you graduate art school and resign yourself to a career at Starbucks. You’re seriously going to tell me that “Banned From Heaven” can’t outshred whatever sludge made it to Thurston Moore’s iPod shuffle this week? Come on now.
III: Tales of the Ancient Age
Annihilation Time combine the best parts of their childhood—Cro-Mags-style crossover hardcore and a Guns N’ Roses-esque sense of melody—to create pissed-as-fuck cheese rock. This one is almost as good as
, but it comes with a warning: Let’s be wary of taking the shtick a step too far, à la Municipal Waste and their boogie-board crowd surfing. Everyone seems to think that’s “putting the fun back in hardcore,” but it’s actually just MTV Spring Break with ugly people.
THE NIGHT MARCHERS
See You in Magic
As you get older, you come to appreciate consistency and familiarity. Like an old friend, these things offer a sense of a reassurance that all is well. That’s why I like this CD, the latest in the growing line of John Reis auditory security blankets, even though I didn’t listen to it because I’m so tied into my routine of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea and Letterman’s monologue before bed.
THE BLACK ANGELS
Directions to See a Ghost
Light in the Attic
Man, I don’t know what to say about these dudes. The Black Angels is such a heavy name, I wanted to hate them for it, but I listened to this record and then I listened to it again and I started to like it. But then my girlfriend came in and said, “What’s this, honey?” and I said it’s pretty good and she said, “No, it ain’t.” And I said, “I don’t know what’s good anymore.” And then she said, “Wait... no... actually it’s not bad. Turn it up.” She’d been at the gym and her cheeks were flushed and she looked hot. “Should we have a quick one before dinner?” I asked. “Yeah, all right,” she replied, “Just let me go to the bathroom first.” I quickly stripped, jumped into bed, and started rubbing my feet on the sheets really fast going, “Yessssssssssssss.”
Black Wooden Ceiling Opening
PW Elverum & Sun
So after three years the Microphones guy finally got around to making a new album that isn’t actually a big book of photography. Maybe I’ve just become more of a pussy during the lapse, but this sounds a lot heavier than I remember the old stuff being. Like instead of a moody acoustic project that employs crashing, blown-out fuzz to punctuate the songs, it’s become the inverse. Oh, you know what? I just checked and, in fact, I have become more of a pussy. I also grew a beard.
JORDY THAT FOUR-YEAR-OLD FRENCH RAPPER
In the 1970s some old Japanese soldiers were found terrorizing the Filipino countryside because they thought World War II was still happening. Their former commanding officer was located and brought out of retirement to officially confirm that they could cut the shit. Can we find that guy again and send him to Virgin Records? Otherwise they will continue to obliviously assault us with dreck like Deaf Pedestrians, Puddle of Mudd, and Papa Roach until a brave soul stands up, waves a white flag, and yells, “The 1990s are over! We won! Please, throw down your goatees!” Finding this CD in my review pile was like tripping over a land mine made of ten-year-old dog vomit.
The Formation of Damnation
Testament, Testament, Testament. Twenty-five years of thrash and counting. I shouldn’t be reviewing this because all I know about Testament is they had some scary t-shirts when I was growing up, and the kids who wore them were pretty scary too. They smoked weed on the oval at lunchtime and got drunk after school. They punched teachers and got expelled. They got each other pregnant and tattooed their hands, necks, and faces. They scared the shit out of me as a kid, and a couple of times they kicked my ass for having a skateboard. Call me a nerd but I could see the relationship between the music and who they were and where they were headed. So I never listened to Testament. But I’ll give them the thumbs-up because the scary kids from my little town who liked them are still there bagging groceries, hooked on smack, and/or in jail. Not so tough now that your life is completely fucked, huh? Suck it. Thanks, Testament!
I dunno where the hell this band came from (well, San Diego, apparently), but wow, way to single-handedly make garage rock all awesome again. They kinda sound like the Only Ones if the Only Ones had any other good songs besides “Another Girl, Another Planet.” And can we talk about presentation? I dunno, how about getting an ex-cop to shoot bullet holes into each individually silk-screened record cover that also comes with a CD in case you’re lame and don’t have a record player? Shooting stuff is cool and this album is a fine effort. I really hope this band gets big, no jinx.
OK, if all that’s coming up at this point is bland Mission of Burma style-biters, I think we are officially done with the 80s. It’s great everybody finally found out about Orange Juice and all, but can we just call it a day on that decade and maybe put a little energy into dredging the 90s for its forgotten gems? At least until I can listen to EHG’s
Take as Needed for Pain
on something other than a third-generation cassette tape. Seriously, guys, I’m dying here.
Wow, Free Kitten reunion! What a joyous moment for old ladies. Back in the 90s this band was like the episode of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
when Buffy, Willow, Zander, and Tara all held hands and did that spell that merged them into one giant ball of magical power so they could defeat Adam, the unstoppable cyborg-demon who threatened to destroy the world. In this analogy, Kim Gordon, Yoshimi, and Julie Cafritz (of Pussy Galore) are the Scooby gang and the cyborg-demon is the evil of COCK-ROCK! Are you following me? Whatever. Free Kitten ruled and will always rule. That’s all you gotta know.
Lukewarm beige turds of formulaic fag-folk are just oozing out by the toilet load lately. Seems like every time I turn around there’s a ragtag band of ne’er-do-wells in anachronistic thrift-store costumes armed with banjos and a dusty Dillards LP scraped out of a dollar bin somewhere. Vetiver is one more in a series of dishwater-flavored nonentities exhuming some bygone Americana bullshit and dragging it around town for one last predictably lifeless adventure. It’s like the
Weekend at Bernie
’s of musical genres, except not as funny and way less culturally relevant.
What’s up, complete overdose of modern femininity? This CD is an emotional kaleidoscope of shoe shopping, menstruating, being “a Carrie,” feeling guilty about liking chocolate, reading a magazine about why men like blowjobs, and using the word “funky” to describe lighting fixtures. It falls just short of perfection because the disc itself doesn’t smell like lavender mixed with Julia Roberts. Ladies, if you feel like your boring lives are being scripted for you by popular culture, just hop on the elliptical, pop in some Aimee Mann, and ride the estrogen surge straight to the soap and candle store in the mall. Everything’s going to be just fine.
Since I’m guessing the only people who would bother reading a review for a lost Death In June album from the mid-90s are also the type of people who would be excited by photos of Douglas P. and Boyd Rice holding koala bears, let me just say this: The inlay for this album contains photos of Douglas P. and Boyd Rice holding koala bears.
Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-1979
Sometime in the early 70s, a bunch of rhinestone-chomping aliens touched down on a highlife dance floor in Lagos. The next thing you know (I’m just going by the liner notes here), Nigeria exploded with platform shoes, hieroglyphics, velvet pants, inside-out pyramids, and groups with names like Asiko Rock Group, T-Fire, and Dr. Adolf Ahanotu, running around chanting “Want some more, knit some more!” or something. Then it turned out the aliens were allergic to drum machines so the extraterrestrial infunktion shriveled up and died by ’81.
THE ARBORAL DEVENUSTATE
EARLES & JENSEN
Just Farr a Laugh: The Greatest Prank Phone Calls Ever! Vol. 1 & 2
This is the kind of thing that makes me hold out hope for experimental music, even in spite of its constant onslaught of pedalists and “confrontational” names. One 40-minute song that tickles open your scalp and plunks the chisel all the way around your brainpan before pulling off the cap and pounding into the gray matter like it’s a chipped, bony bowl of ground beef. Then, um, I guess the last bit puts your skull back on? Sorry, I jumped into that whole analogy without figuring out where it was going.
J. SPACEMAN AND SUN CITY GIRLS
Mister Lonely: Music From a Film by Harmony Korine
For the soundtrack to Harmony Korine’s new uncomfortable art film about celebrity impersonators, Jason Pierce (of Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized) recorded some pretty, ambient background music, and then the Sun City Girls came along with their pots and pan flutes and banged and clanged away for the other half of the album. And at some point, Werner Herzog dropped by to intone some meaningful poetry about how we are all “vomit in the streets of a seedy bar.” It’s easy to tell who did which song: The ones that make you feel nice and floaty are by Pierce, and the ones that make you feel like you’re having a panic attack in the jungle are clearly the mark of the Sun City Girls. Can’t wait to see the movie!
A few years ago, two drug-addled miscreants and regular
contributors made a bunch of fucked-up prank phone calls and have finally gotten their shit together and compiled them all into one huge honking double CD and elaborate accompanying booklet for you to get really stoned and be bewildered by. Seriously, I’m not even sure what they’re talking about half the time, but I do know that impersonating Christopher Cross’s personal assistant, calling Coyote Ugly pretending to be Morris Day, and calling an Italian restaurant pretending to be Garfield is all comedy gold. And in case you’ve ever been prank-called by these hooligans, here’s the phone number for Jeff Jensen’s Williamsburg-based taco truck so you can even the score: (347) 400-8128. But hey, get some delicious tacos while you’re at it! Associate Editor Thomas Morton recommends the “suicide burrito,” which is a burrito with all the meats in it—chicken, pork, and beef. He says that it is “sinfully delicious.”