LOU REED & METALLICA
Where Are We From
Shady/Interscope Since Yelawolf’s “people” figured it’d be a good idea to build hype around this turd by not releasing it for review, I’ve been left with no choice but to imagine what it might sound like if I forgot I took Ambien an hour ago and started listening to the Sparks album Whomp That Sucker instead: Dude, “That’s Not Nastassia”? Fucking dope.
NELAWOLF Where Are We From sounds a little like the soundtrack to the popular children’s film 3 Ninjas, but that’s awesome, actually. I’ve always been a big fan of what they’ve got cooking over at K Records. They keep me young, you know? In that “I might be too old to be a senior in high school, but I’ll never be too old to break up with my girlfriend with a mix CD-RW packaged in a decoupaged wooden box” sort of way.
THE BIG PINK
4AD Here’s a band that made a record. It’ll sound good on your run, it’ll sound good on a dance mix, it’ll sound good while you’re waiting for your HIV test results at the free clinic. One time I had a blister on my vagina; this will not sound like that. The name of this band does make me think of vaginas though, which is probably the point. Hey guys, what should I get for lunch, nachos or a Subway sammie? Hmmmmm?
BLONDE CAMERO Claire Boucher describes the music of her Grimes project as “post internet.” I don’t know what that means, especially considering I read that quote on a blog. I do know that Visions, Grimes’s sophomore LP, is an important record because it succeeds where nerds like How to Dress Well have failed. Because of the hype, needle-dick critics will want to take this Canadian import down a notch by rattling off her blatant influences—Björk, Beyoncé, the Knife… but those people can go fart in a sock and then smell it.
WILBERT L. COOPER
THE BIG SLEEP
French Kiss These lazy motherfuckers finally filled their Adderall prescription and gave us a glimpse of their potential. There’s still a lethargic element to the psych-rock, but they’ve forsaken the filler instrumentals we’ve seen on past albums for intelligent lyrics and haunting hooks. Next year for Halloween I’m not gonna dress up, and when people ask me what I am I’ll say, “A ghost in a body.” Then I’ll go all apeshit hipster on them like, “What, you didn’t listen to the Big Sleep’s third album? Pssshhh.”
Dead Oceans If Carey Mercer had a real band that backed his horrible lyrics, they’d tour directly into the hell-catalogue of late indie rock; if he’d just released the backing tracks, they’d be boring bedroom instrumentals in the age of Bandcamp. But as it is, the sashaying man-poet gives unusual foreground to meandering, reverbed-to-fuck tracks, and the tracks create enough tension with the operatic, ridiculous vocals that you can forgive them. So, surprise, I guess; this’s kinda not bad?!
Merge Why can’t it just be the 90s again, when we were surfing waves of Zima into shores of cocaine and bands like Spacehog could exist with no consequence at all? Instead, we have to put up with contemptuous reminders of the Christian ska bands our friends used to play in because there’s “so much to fight for.”
A BAND OF BEES
Every Step’s a Yes
ATO Sure, Paul Butler, you’ve been off getting enlightened on ayahuasca in the Amazon with a shaman, but you’ve still got a lotta nerve. The idea of stomaching this album on the way to work while being farted on in the subway is a bit much. The US “deluxe” version of what was originally released in the UK back in October of 2010 comes with five new tracks, including a live version of the unfortunately Jason Mraz–esque single “I Really Need Love.” Unless the vinyl takes me to Narnia when I lick it, I’m not buying.
Line by Line
HoZac HoZac makes a lot of records for a label of their size. Most are forgettable, but when they make a good one, oh boy, is it good. This one sounds good. That’s the limits of my descriptive power. “Sounds good.” Lots of sound effects like when a person materializes in a He-Man cartoon.
PERSONAL & THE PIZZAS
Diet, Crime & Delinquency
Oops Baby This is a three-song seven-inch by a band from Jersey that are so Ramonesy I am pretty sure they just changed a few words to preexisting songs. It’s good, though. You can hardly do better than being wholly unoriginal in every way and completely ripping off a band that lots of other bands also rip off. Honestly I don’t really give a fuck about any band that isn’t Ramones-core.
JEFFY HIGH MAN
Self-released Imagine my surprise when this wasn’t X-Cops, the all-GWAR thrash band, but Ex Cops, the reverb-heavy, mellow-as-shit band. Now, even despite my disappointment, I have to say: They’re not too shabby. Perfect for those times when you’re trying to bang an American Apparel model (I mean sales associate) and are trying to show how sensitive you are. Plus, the cover of this album has some boobies.
Attack on Memory
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask
Slumberland Sorry, kiddies, you caught me on the wrong coast. I’m sure if I were soaking in the rays with my buds in Venice, or even prancing from coffee shop to gluten-free bakery in Portland this would be a welcome addition, but here in New York, where I spent the day trying to hail taxis in the rain while dickheads in ill-fitting suits slammed their briefcases full of failure into my kneecaps, your jangly K Records worship is about as palatable as pedophilia.
LOU REED & METALLICA
Vertigo God, Lou Reed sounds brittle. He sounds like an old man who wandered into a recording session where other old men were trying hard to remember what it felt like not to be super comfy all the time. The sound of Lou Reed’s voice clashed with the music so much that I thought that maybe multiple pieces of media were playing at the same time inside my computer. There are a couple tracks that really rip, but Lou Reed’s singing is so off-putting that I am certain he came in and recorded all his vocals in one day without ever hearing the music he was supposed to be singing with.
PASTOR OF PUPPETS
“Shot Down” b/w “Sister Burnout”
Trouble in Mind The garage revival of the late 00s and 10s is way better than the garage revivals of the 80s and 90s. Those guys were mostly squares trying to be wild men, especially the Dandy Warhols and Brian Jonestown. So corny. Apache Dropout are only slightly corny, but in the same way that showing real emotion can feel slightly corny.
“Automatic Lips” b/w “Laugh”
Last Laugh This is a re-pressing of a classic obscure punk track that most people probably know from the appearance of the song “Laugh” on Killed by Death #9. It’s a song about laughing at normals and then them laughing back at weirds. The chorus is “Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!” Awesome song for people who hate people and love drugs.
Dreams Come True
Warp/Terrible I wish that at least one rogue soloist shoot-off from a freak-folk powerhouse would walk by an analog synthesizer and not make an album with it. Analog synthesizers and the people who use them aren’t bad, but when are we going to stop calling things “bedroom pop solo albums” and start calling them what they are: “masturbation in your studio apartment”?
Nothing to Lose
Drag City Years ago this girl brought a bunch of assholes to a party at my house and they tried to get rough. A lot of things were broken and someone stole some of my roommate’s DVDs. I asked her if her friends had stolen my shit, and she said that while she thought it might have been them who stole our shit, she had no intention of asking them. Fuck you, that is not how you act. You have to be responsible for the actions of people you bring to a party. Now you made a record and I am giving it a bad review! KARMA IN ACTION!
Sargent House I’ve learned to expect genre orgies from Boris, the Japanese power trio who have released more than 20 albums exploring the vast nexus of heavy music from experimental noise to stoner metal, but on this they venture out to the final frontier for headbangers—pop. These catchy hooks and synth and string flourishes make this album sound like a new direction for a band that already seemed to have a pretty great direction, and despite the toned-down axe-sludge, Wata’s guitar hijinks still makes me burst my dorsal veins.
WILBERT L. COOPER
THE SOFT MOON
Captured Tracks When it starts getting cold out and Williamsburg starts looking like an industrial wasteland, I like to listen to some spooky shit while power walking through these stomping grounds in a black coat and combat boots like I own the motherfuckin’ place. This EP landed in my hands on a bleak day, so I took it out for a stroll. Walking around listening to this made me feel like some postapocalyptic protagonist of a sci-fi cult film.
Panic of Looking
Warp When it’s 9 PM on a Saturday night and you’re in your sweatpants dicking around in your room, and then hear your roommate’s key in the door and panic like “Oh crap, she’s gonna think I don’t know how to party and aren’t living my life,” put this album on and then it’ll just be like you’re in there doing deep shit. Brian Eno making brainy noises over, around, and in between Rick Holland’s poetry? Whaaaaat? I bet these guys have never even HEARD of an OkCupid profile.
KAYLE MACLUE RUINS ALONE
Skin Graft Boredoms were great, but something about the whole quasi-spiritual aspect and hippie monk chanting always lamed on my parade. Ruins on the other hand were perfect. One chimp-faced Japanese nerd on drums and a guy who looks like the personification of being stoned on bass playing the most barely coherent, just-came-up-with-this cartoon madness this side of Spike Jones (the old one). Yoshida Tatsuya (the nerd) has been cycling through replacement bass guys for the last 15 years and last time he played in New York it was just him bashing and yodeling into the mic with a boombox playing beside him, but it’s still the only music I would ever sincerely praise as “goofy.” To this day, I can tell that I’ll get along with someone if the nervous songs they make up in the car sound like a track from Refusal Fossil. And that it’s probably been a while since they last got laid.
Skin Graft OK, so this is just a fuller band with Yoshida Tatsuya playing in it. I’m not going to sit here and go through the whole spiel again. If you like it, you like it. OK? Cripes.
“Till the Stroke of Dawn” b/w “See That Girl”
Mighty Mouth Music This is a reissue of a gloomy psych single that was originally released in 1966. Probably a good song for paisley people to kill themselves to, I bet. They’re both good post-break-up songs. Oh my goodness, I’m so fucking lonely. Please brush your fingers across this review. I need your touch.
THIS IS A CRY FOR HELP
“(I’ve Got) Trouble in Mind” b/w “Je M’en Vais”
Trouble in Mind Would you like to get this record? Don’t bother looking for it, it’s not for sale at your record store. It’s a limited-edition tour record. I mean, I have a copy. The songs are in the style of 60s French garage and it’s great. I’d put this in VICE’s music bragging column but they refuse to make one so it’s in the reviews.
Camp Skingraft: Now Wave Vol. 1–3
Dais Back before Psychic TV and inventing the idea of techno, before Throbbing Gristle and inventing the entire idea of dark music, Genesis P-Orridge was in this performance-art group with Cosey Fanni-Tutti where they’d cut themselves up nude onstage and spray bloody enema water all over one another’s (nude) bodies while all their contemporaries were busy saluting the sun at Glastonbury. This is a recording from 1974 that incorporates a broken piano being played along with a scratchy reel-to-reel of Genesis’s voice. The music was recorded at the Coum Transmissions headquarters, known as the Ho Ho Funhouse, and there’s an explanation of what the whole deal was like written by Gen in the liner notes. Getting to hear Genesis’s stories is a real pleasure, so this record is boss for two reasons. Also, there are only 1,000 of them, so get on it already, Shylock.
SHE & HIM
A Very She & Him Christmas
Merge What’s the difference between God and Santa Claus? Who gives a shit, ZDUBS IS SINGLE AGAIN!!!!!!
La Rose Noire I heard a whisper behind me. What was that? I turned and found no one, just rippling blue velvet drapes. Shit, what happened to my damn bamboo curtains? I clicked “stop” on my iTunes. Again. Again. But This Train wouldn’t stop. It just won’t stop. Why won’t it stop?! I looked left. I looked right. I took a bite of my egg fried rice. Wait, did David Lynch just gurgle, “You lookin’ so glamorous / Large heart-shaped diamonds”? I reached a hand to my face, realized my mouth was moving. Oh my god. I was Chrysta Bell the whole time…
Dais Usually when goth kids pick up the acoustic guitar it sounds like some sort of corny Hitlerjugend singalong, but this is nice and Western-y in a Warren Ellis, cracked-black-leather duster sort of way. Which will probably still piss off King Dude or his label whenever they read this for being the wrong reference or whatever. Goths are so fucking prickly.
Wierd This seven-inch is the perfect soundtrack for a quick make-out session with empty-eyed goth girls, too detached to admit they’re actually thinking about their cheating bisexual ex while you’re too self-involved to realize or even care. Congratulations to this guy for getting the fuck out of Tallahassee and moving to Brooklyn. Next step is to realize that a black-and-white headshot of looking miserably disaffected does not a record cover make. My ass hurts.
JEW MAKES THE NAZIS? Before those nerds on the Troniks board turned all noise music into the same shade of hateful, squalling Nazi worship, shit was fun. Come on, Flying Luttenbachers? Quintron, pre-Miss Pussycat? Granted there were some unfortunate forays into slap bass and everybody dressed like they were auditioning for an Urge Overkill video, but at least I could leave the album covers lying around my bedroom without finding my Jewish mother quietly sobbing with the lights off when I got home. Well, most of them.