PAPER ROUTE GANGSTAZ
Fear and Loathing in Hunts Vegas
Show You the World
TIMMY CHAN 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 Middlemarch. 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.”
THE LONG BLONDES
APOLLONIA KOTERO 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
Spinefarm 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
Tee Pee 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 II, 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
Swami/Vagrant 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
And Other Distractions
The Formation of Damnation
Nuclear Blast 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!
1928 Recordings 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.
CAR PARK 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.
Ecstatic Peace 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.
Thing of the Past
DEATH IN JUNE & BOYD RICE
Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-1979
Soundway 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
J. SPACEMAN AND SUN CITY GIRLS
Mister Lonely: Music From a Film by Harmony Korine
Drag City 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!
HOYT MANSPEAKER A few years ago, two drug-addled miscreants and regular Vice 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.”