SOULJA BOY TELL ’EM
The Spirit of Apollo
GhostDeini the Great
BLOCK OBAMA I spent almost six years making this overhyped piece of crap and I WOULD NOT buy it if I were you. It was a huge pain in the ass, and unfortunately all we ended up doing was laying a big turd. I reached out to all of my favorite artists to collab with them for the record, and what I discovered in the end was that even if I enlist God to help me, I still am talentless. The one good thing that came out of it was finally getting to write some words in Vice (I’m looking at the glass half full here). I’ve been begging Jesse to let me do an article about my belly-button-lint collection for years and he’s always refused me. At least now I have this review of my shitty, stupid failure of a record.
SQUEAK E. CLEAN
Clean Plate/Youth Attack Imagine a more minimalist, cheerless version of Das Oath. No, really. The difference here is that instead of spiraling upward and outward like a maelstrom of kitchen knives, the vortex twists violently inward and downward like a swirling drain of emotion and ambition. If you have spent the last decade buying hardcore records to stave off human contact, this is a sweet find for you. If you are a 19-year-old closeted art-school punk, you may already be wearing the t-shirt. But the joke’s on everyone because it’s on Youth Attack and so it sold out about five minutes after I finished typing the last sentence! Sorry, suckers.
Self-released I love this band because they remind me of the way I thought of New York before I lived here. It’s hard-hitting and infectious, but the frantic desperation is always palpable. It’s dark in that way. Now that I’ve lived here for ten years, the city seems more like a Maroon 5 single that plays in the background while my girlfriend and boss yell at me. It’s sad, I guess.
TOTAL FUCKING DESTRUCTION
Peace, Love, and Total Fucking Destruction
…For the Whole World to See
Drag City Have you ever heard of these guys? They were an all-black garage band from Detroit who sounded like the MC5 if they’d stuck with the really fast songs instead of covering fucking “Tutti Frutti.” All Death ever recorded was a demo and nobody bothered to release it. Now that it’s out, it could be the fabled crossover between guilty college types who feel bad about “how white” punk is and people who are into some of the best tunes recorded in the past 30 years.
Seems hard to imagine that hardcore in 1982 begat hardcore circa 2008, but there it is. Zero Boys were a crew of skinny, angry, and smart suburban kids who made ripping hardcore in an almost total cultural vacuum. Toetag and Shattered Realm promote themselves as the exact opposite, and some members and/or associates of each band will probably weigh the pros and cons of hunting me down and stabbing me for giving this record a bad review. Vicious Circle will continue to stand the test of time and resonate with each iteration of the so-called scene. The Toetag/Shattered Realm split CD sounds like a burping contest between Godzilla and the Kids of Widney High (final score: a tie). So the only thing connecting these two pieces of plastic is that annoying term “hardcore,” which at this point really needs to be abandoned by anyone with two brain cells to rub together. Put the dumb word on eBay and let the bidding war start between FSU, Steven Blush, and, oh, let’s say Ice-T.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
Tim: Eh, maybe not ALL your cred. But definitely some.
Meg: The new album has Johnny Marr on it.
Tim: My new album has Johnny Marr on it.
Meg: He covers “Song to the Siren.” I love that song.
Tim: That song is gayer than a triangular shitstain on a buttplug shaped like Harvey Milk.
Meg: What, Tim Buckley’s original version or This Mortal Coil’s cover?
Meg: But this guy was a crackhead and a recluse and he has a pretty voice and writes weirdo druggy concept albums. I like my rock stars damaged so I’m gonna roll with it.
Tim: There’s a music video of him eating cereal and sitting Indian-style, playing guitar in his socks. And another one where he jams with John Mayer and Derek Trucks.
Meg: Oh. Oops.
MEG & TIM
THE VON BONDIES
Love, Hate, and Then There’s You
Majordomo If you’re a 13-year-old girl in need of a new soundtrack to dance around your room to before soccer practice, look no further. I hadn’t seen any pictures of this band before listening to this, and in my head, I pictured them looking a lot like the Jonas Brothers. What a shock, then, when I looked the band up online and saw that they’re actually a bunch of grown-ups who’ve been around forever. That was emotionally jarring, for some reason.
Social Registry In the space of a few short years, Psychic Ills have gone from a low-key, psychy jam band (of the nonshitty variety) to making some of the most mind-altering sounds this side of hanging out in God’s bathroom. I’m pretty sure “I Take You as My Wife Again” is the closest legal alternative to running a small jet engine through a fish tank filled with your brains.
Come With Me if You Want to Live
Robcore So here’s what a band sounds like that digs many of the same things I do (Black Sabbath worship, comic books, D&D imagery, and stupid sexual innuendos): TOTAL FUCKING BOREDOM, like a stoner-rock version of postmortem Elliott Smith—which logically indicates that I’m even worse off than I initially thought. Hey, Goblin Cock, thanks for the torpedo fired at my already sinking self-esteem. I’m going to go watch football and buy some stocks now because there’s apparently no reason not to.
Sub Pop/De Stijl Ripping off the Wipers’ logo is pretty much the musical equivalent of walking into a Russian boxing gym and punching the biggest guy there in his back, but somehow these fuzzy No Agers make it out alive and with a few new homemade tattoos that say things like “You guys are pretty awesome” over a picture of a moose.
Woodsist If you tried telling me a month ago that the coldest, most desolate music to come out of New York since the Swans was being made by a bunch of schlubby electronics dorks, I probably would have said, “Of course it is. Depression music always comes from nerds. What, you think Ian Curtis was some brooding Rimbaudian heartthrob or something? Dude probably kissed his Han Solo doll gingerly on the forehead before kicking away the chair. Grow up.”
WERNER HATKINSON I went to Montreal last week, and everywhere I went people said, “Have you heard the Witchies?” Witchies this, Witchies that. Apparently Canada is aflame with the Witchies and their sensible, levelheaded pop music that’s all about growing up and being more responsible. Leave it to Canada to champion such nice young wholesome people. You should go find this before Spin does.
How Will You?
Drag City This is a shovelful of Ativan thrown at a panic attack, summer, Christmas, a smooth beer, and a long drive to nowhere for no reason and then back home… In other words, music for my parents to smoke weed in their hot tub to. I’m serious. I’m giving this CD to them for that very reason.
MV & EE
DiCristina I don’t know if this is fair. If I were stoned and living in a teepee this would be an anthem. As things stand—having just come home from a day where it started raining at the exact minute I left the office, my train was 20 minutes late, and my roommate ran up an outrageous Time Warner bill by on-demanding every Jeff Bridges movie ever made for a “project”—well, I just don’t quite have the patience for celestial imagery. Sowwy.
Skin of Evil
Soft Abuse From the first of its karaoke-grade Cave and Bowie impersonations, this is one humongously shitty record. Terrible even for those sad little Frog Eyes fans always eager to slurp up front man Carey Mercer’s latest side-project muck with a smile and a wine cooler. And because there are too many atrocities to list here, we’re singling out the lyrics: lousy! Some free advice? Never use the word “precipice.” If it’s in any way possible to avoid this album—like if you’re not Mercer’s girlfriend/boyfriend or mom or poetry coach—you should.
Mr. Alien Brain vs. the Skinwalkers
You’ll Never Play This Town Again
Load You know the scene in Pet Sematary where the woman is talking about her sister who has spinal meningitis? And that one part where she starts screaming, “Raaaaachel… you’ll never get out of bed again! NEVER GET OUT OF BED AGAIN!” That was fucked up, right? This CD is almost exactly like that, except instead of a few scary minutes it goes on for like a half hour until you don’t even give a shit anymore and you’re like, “Just die already, you crippled cunt rag.”
SASSY C-CUPS I don’t know how a review in Vice is supposed to explain or address the ten zillion things going on in this album, which is basically a gushing fire hose of abreaction aimed at a pile of sounds and then resculpted into music. Most of these songs will not immediately appeal to anyone, much less the dickheads like me who read this magazine, since they are largely sung without regard to pitch, timing, or anything resembling conventional structure. That said, if you invest the time and effort it will take for this to crawl up your spine and into your skull, it will pay off. You may feel like a wrung-out dishrag, emotionally speaking, but at least that’s something.