A debut solo album by David Lynch could have been anything. It could have been 74 minutes of him scatting about meditation and playing drums on a Folgers Coffee can.
THE DEAD LAY WAITING
Follow Your Heart
4AD Even as dubstep continues its bellyflop into the cornfield raves of the Midwest, I remember people still being curious to hear the eventual Joker full-length and lo and behold, it’s a snoozer. The track with Shadez is fantastic and if I were listening to a whole album of that things would be different. Everything else sounds like it’ll be featured soon in a Kia dancing-hamster commercial near you.
LUC LONGLEY If you enjoy loud block parties, fun drunk vibes, and summer, you’ll do fine with this band. You’ll also do fine with this band if you love the satisfying feeling of being behind closed doors after wearing tight pantyhose all day and really being able to scratch the shit out of your yeaster.
XENO & OAKLANDER
Sets & Lights
NIKI & THE DOVE
Monotreme Tons of young people will like this and play it on their online-only college radio shows or while getting dressed to go to the midsemester mixer. But speaking for adults whose hearts are dead to such preciousness, there’s no reason to believe that this—or any other record that’s come out in the past 15 years with this sonic/emotional palate—will register. It’s like a dog whistle for rubbery, hairless DJs who work part-time at Big Lots.
ANTONIO SALIERI “What can you expect from toilets in Sweden?” I read this after googling the Nordic land Niki & the Dove call home. Their EP The Drummer is a smörgåsbord of electro-pop noir smothered with poly-blend, shoulder pads, and turd-roll bangs à la Designing Women. Wait. Is that a pan flute at the two-minute mark of “Mother Protect”? Wow. This is good shit. Not the kind that you can expect from toilets of Sweden.
Addenda Initially I started this review by saying that this is a pretty decent record but that “pretty decent” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Then I gave the album another few listens because things have a way of growing on you, and also I am a glutton for punishment. Also a glutton for Snyder’s pretzel bites, specifically honey mustard and hot Buffalo wing. They’ve got that thing like Goldfish where at first you just take a couple, then you graduate up to handfuls, and next thing you know you’re knocking the last bits of dust out of the upturned bag. Anyways, we were talking about something before this, weren’t we? Oh yeah, this band’s terrible music.
Smoke Ring for
My Halo + So
Outta Reach EP
Matador Somehow Kurt Vile makes the most acceptable music on the planet. It’s like he took the best mellow vibes from the 90s, then decided to run them through an “I love the idea of classic rock” pedal. Plus the members of his live band are older dudes with long hair who appear to fucking rule.
Tragedy & Geometry
Kranky In the olden days, all you needed to take a crack at a solo career was a guitar and a signature haircut. Now you need astigmatism and/or a MIDI keyboard. Take Steve Hauschildt, dude from that band Emeralds as a for instance. Musicians go solo because they know they’re the best, but sometimes it kind of gets tricky and the other people in their band might get bummed out, like in the video for “Don’t Speak.” But look how it turned out for Gwen Stefani.
An International Garage Split: Vol. 2
Chickpea Organs are from NYC, and their side sounds like it was recorded in a moving car on the way to quit their jobs. The Cavestompers are from Russia, and their side reminds me of the Monkees; not so much their music, but the show, which could very well still be popular in Russia. I would like this album even if it weren’t lime green, which it is.
JC BROOKS & THE UPTOWN SOUND
Bloodshot Stop pretending it isn’t now. Now rules and you sound like a bunch of ungrateful nerds.
MINCEMEAT OR TENSPEED
Games of Chance
Burger This is severely fun LA bubblegum punk, but I am pretty sure that most of the songs are about my sister since she’s boning the main guy, which might be weird for some people when they have titles like “Too Drunk to Come” and “Make Me Feel Weeeird.” There’s also a line in here where he goes, “Tell me about your dad/ What kind of guy is he?/ You say he hates fags/ Well I think he’d like me.” Despite the weirdness of hearing odes to what a babe or jerk my sister has turned into, this is still a really strong album and I would highly recommend it to people who dig Ty Segall, Wavves, Nobunny, or Mean Jeans.
GAYS IN THE MILITARY
THEE OH SEES
In the Red
Shadoks I’ve been obsessing over this girl at a restaurant I go to, along with everyone I know. Both girls and guys can’t seem to take their eyes off her, and she’s always there. We call her “the Glasses Girl” since no one knows her real name or has spoken to her. It’s all smoke and mirrors, though. I caught her in the kitchen last week without her specs on, wiping some crap off the windows. Not that hot.
THE DEAD LAY WAITING
Rising You might enjoy this diarrhea noise salad if you’re the angsty sort whose only release is titty-fucking the corseted chubby who works behind the counter of Hot Topic. This album reminds me of the time I woke up hungover and took a Percocet thinking it would make me feel better but instead spent the day puking up yellow stuff.
Sorry State Sleep Rough plays like it’s the soundtrack to all men accepting that they will never know what it feels like to come like a girl, which is a pretty major bummer from a male perspective. Have you ever been the only guy in a room full of girls talking about coming? Jesus Christ.
GUY McGIRLY Davey Harms has been composing on pretty much just guitar pedals under this ludicrous moniker for like eight years. This project’s always been on a pretty fun “not new age, not synth pop, not techno” melodic-noise trip, but this iteration RIPS. Please take your shirt off now and flip out.
Subject to Change +
Dischord Is there any arena of human interest as proud of stagnation as hardcore? Thirty years ago its founders came out of the gate like gangbusters, and since then, three decades’ worth of bands have decided to ape the formula with increasingly shitty results. So here we are in 2011, when reissues of records that originally came out in the early 80s are the best hardcore records of the year, and the genre has all the forward momentum of a wet fart squeezed silently into a couch cushion.
THE OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL
Dusk at Cubist Castle + Black Foliage
Chunklet It’s not easy to divorce these guys (and Neutral Milk Hotel) from the legions of fey little kitty-men who took their music as license to clang around on children’s instruments and dress like camp counselors well into their 30s. As with the Dead and the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, however, you can’t let bad consequences ruin great things, such as, let’s say, two albums of songs that might as well be outtakes from a better version of the White Album overlaid with Vince Guaraldi-esque piano, four-track space noises, and bass that sounds like a tree’s pulse. These OTC records have been fancily re-pressed by the guy who makes Chunklet magazine in Atlanta with all the original art and inserts, and each one comes with an hour or so of downloadable B-sides and oddities, like Explanation II, the 50-minute-long, never-once-explained instrumental “soundtrack” to Cubist Castle. I could seriously listen to this business every day for the rest of my life. Maybe don’t hold me to that, though. I just ate like a fistful of mushrooms.
E.F. WORTHINGTON IV
Hometapes Dear anyone making music at any time ever: Do not let the guy at your label send a page from his diary to the people you want to review your record, especially if he is the type of Oregonian kombucha drinker who uses terms like “interior clarity” and “important deliveries in music,” brings up where he was (not New York) on 9/11, and thinks the day iTunes started selling Beatles songs is an important generational touchstone. We are laughing at you so hard right now it’s making us dizzy.
How to Get to Heaven from Jacksonville, FL
Kill Rock Stars Here is some happy hetero indie pop about being a young white person who likes drinking and has relationships that sometimes don’t work out. I didn’t know people still made music like this. I mean, obviously I did, but… oh, come on, you know what I’m getting at here. Yeesh.
4AD Man, this asshole’s really been killing it lately. Like with the songs and crap? It’s like, fuuuuuuck.
This is clearly an EP with some live tracks from a previous album tacked on to squeeze out a “double album” for a higher price tag, and a lot of the tracks sound like Beck jizzed heavy bass all over them, and Charlotte has to whisper a lot of the lyrics to hit the high notes, and the video for “Lemon Incest” where Charlotte cuddles and kisses her naked father in a lush bed of romance still haunts my waking moments, and yet, I love her. But not enough to let this slide.
Polyvinyl This Owen record really opens old wounds. The Kinsellas (for all of their pandering to an audience made up of mostly “funemployed” jackasses) have been really big for me as I “come of age.” It’s not a conflict of interest or anything, but asking me to write a bad review of something a Kinsella is involved with is like asking a cartoon glove to stop being so fucking funny.
THE BEACH BOYS
The Smile Sessions
Capitol OH MYYYYYYYYYY GOOOOOOOODNEEEEESSSSS! A five-CD set of the Beach Boys’ great unreleased record and a good amount of the studio sessions. Disc 5 is nothing but tracks taken from the recording process of “Good Vibrations.” Smile was supposed to be the Beach Boys’ massive follow-up to Pet Sounds but was scrapped due to Brian Wilson being driven nutty by his own genius and other stuff. Many of the songs from this record were rerecorded and scattered across other Beach Boys records, and there was that weird Brian Wilson Presents Smile thing in 2004, but this is a way bigger deal than that. You’re not going to be able to sit down and listen to the whole thing at once, but there are some good goofin’ tracks, like one of Brian Wilson pretending that he’s inside a microphone.
Not Long for This World
Starry/St. Rose David J always struck me as the one member of Bauhaus who took his shtick too seriously. Like, the rest of the band are backstage drinking beers and making out with underage girls from the Batcave and he’s the guy carefully pouring absinthe through an antique Victorian sugar spoon in the corner. Which makes it doubly embarrassing when he pauses to wink at the camera and poke fun at his gothery (“Dead and Lovely”), which he does relentlessly (“Dress Sexy at My Funeral”) on this album of corny ragtime songs (cover of “Gloomy” fucking “Sunday”), which his fans probably call “dark-rag” or something. Oh well. At least it’s better than the cabaret soundtrack he did to Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta. Sorry, dark cabaret. Not kidding.
THE VAMPIRE LESIGH JEAN-CLAUDE VANNIER
Roses Red Rouge
Finders Keepers Aka the frog who arranged the score for Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson as well as a bunch of French films you’ve never heard of. This is an album of chanson-y stuff backed up by a handful of famous French session players who sounds extremely similar to Melody Nelson, but with the added bonus of not being about child rape.
Look at That
Lost Penny Music Young white people starved for a sense of ethnic identity really get into accordions and big mustaches. I’ve been guilty of both, but once I saw the other people getting into them I jumped ship like a rat on the Titanic. I’m not saying this to be like “these things used to be cool before all the poseurs got into them.” It was corny when I did it, and meeting other awful people was like looking into a corny mirror that showed me how awful I was.
Best of Laurice Vol. 1
Mighty Mouth Music Laurice is like a gay Gary Glitter who nonchalantly made all these great glam songs. The first couple of tracks on this best-of album are proto-punk numbers about beating up women. Side 2 is all thinly veiled homoerotic rock ballads with titles like “Born to Serve” and “Rock Hard.” Hunx and His Punx owes a lot to this guy.
Just Like Old Times
Riverman You know when college kids find a record of shitty Korean pop music at the Salvation Army and put it on at parties as a joke, but then the more they do it the more it fades into their regular tunes and eventually they’re just people who listen to shitty Korean pop music? Evidently the same thing happens over there, because this South Korean label just spent months digging up and reissuing the full discography of a balding CanPop songwriter from the 70s who kind of sounds like a damper, even more Canadian Christopher Cross. Have fun with our garbage, you goofballs.
THEME FROM MACARTHUR
Crazy Clown Time
Sunday Best Recordings A debut solo album by David Lynch could have been anything. It could have been 74 minutes of him scatting about meditation and playing drums on a Folgers Coffee can. It could have been an operatic tribute to putting cigarettes out on the carpet. What Lynch actually made is a movie for your earholes; parts of it are hilarious (in one song he says, “Buddy screamed so loud he spit!”) and parts are creepy-spooky and talk about stalking women. The fact that the song Karen O sings on isn’t the best song on the album says a lot for what an utter fucking treat this is.