Thursday, June 30, 2005

Other Music new release email : the metal mania continues...

Swedish math metal to be more specific...heck yeah!


No-Neck Blues Band
Jamie Lidell
Spectral Sound Vol. 1 (Various)
Laura Cantrell
Boobs: Junkshop Glam Boutique
Julien Neto
The Magic Numbers

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Lowlights / Dark End Road / Rating 7.7

I love a good music makeover and Albuquerque’s Scared of Chaka is no exception. Members of this blazing punk band went on to play in the Shins (Dave Hernandez) and Lowlights. (Dameon Lee)

My only bonus comments to the PFM review is a request for a small warning label to be placed on the cd saying “Do not operate heavy machinery or drive while listening to “Dark End Road”. The humble lullabies cradled by even softer harmonies sedate and seduce as powerfully as it’s near cousins Vetiver and Iron and Wine.

Listen here:

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Various Artists / Não Wave / Sexual Life / Rating 7.9 & 7.8

Attention all readers : I am looking for some help.

I can't really afford one, no less both of these imports but they sure seem tempting. I have tried finding more reviews on line but have come up empty handed. Does anyone have any review(s) to show me other than the Pfork one or a store trying to sell them?

Personal testimony will work for me too.

Lastly, it doesn't appear this comes on vinyl but maybe somebody knows otherwise. ? !


PS: It must be national typo month (including my many) because the Pitchfork site says Various Arists ( minus the 2nd t) in reference to these cds.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Art Brut / Bang Bang Rock & Roll / Rating 8.9

Is the state of music today so pathetic that we need to call Art Brut “refreshing”? Are they really “the most punk band” we have heard in years? I will leave that argument to the letters section of Maximum Rock and Roll and Punk Planet but just to offer you my own silly idea of what punk is, I consider Medulla by Bjork pretty damn punk and anti-mainstream.


Certain bands must have a dog-like whistle that only certain people can hear because I can’t pick out the quality and worth hidden behind Bang Bang Rock & Roll. This might be the very same invisible awesomeness fans of The Offspring or The Hold Steady celebrate but I do not. I don’t hate them but at the same time I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to a full record by them either. Their humor and charm is totally lost on me and with each Art Brut song mocking a different band in lo-fi demo form, it befuddles me even more. Aren’t there are hundreds of “punk” bands just like them clogging the stage of a high school talent show right now?

Call me paranoid but I feel like when Pitchfork embraces a record this silly its like a test to see just how gullable the readers are. Do yourself a favor and listen to some MP3s before you consider buying this cd.

Until something better comes along I will turn to Born Against when I need to quench my 1-2-fuck-you thirst.

PS: After reviewing pictures of the band they appear to be snappy dressers so maybe that’s selling point to all those looking to add a few more sassy lads and lassies to their Anglophile music collection.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah / Rating 9.0

My ears must be broken.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah sounds like David Byrne drunk singing karaoke to a Smiths record. ( I am being lazy and quoting myself from an email I just sent a friend but I needed to get this off my chest officially)

How did this get a 9.0 from Pitchfork?
Why is this number one at Other Music?

I am clapping my hands and saying EH.

A little help here.
Are they good live?
Have friends in high places?
Did they cast a magic spell over NYC to love them?

Mice Parade / Bem-Vinda Vontade/ Rating 6.6

"I know Múm's more song-oriented direction has its fans, but for my part Valtýsdótti's singing is completely unlistenable, a tuneless whisper/shriek that seems to exist only as a twee placeholder without having any content on its own. When she comes in on "Night's Wave" and "The Boat Room" she completely pulls me out of whatever reverie the music inspires. Here is an example of when indie's DIY inclusiveness goes too far."


"Nothing wrong with formerly instrumental bands wanting to experiment with songs but it makes sense to recruit singers and songwriters that approach the skill of the music that surrounds them. So much of Bem-Vinda Vontade sounds so nice, with guitar and drum textures as lovely as anything the band has attempted. But the singing seems tacked on and the music suffers, resulting in Mice Parade's least consistent album."

I am going to put this simply. Ditto.

Mice Parade's last tour also included Kristin and besides the fact that she stood so far over to the left of the stage she was hardly there at all, her windy approach to singing made her utterly pointless within M.P.'s otherwise gorgeous performance. Adam Pierce’s carefree yet calculated drumming by bare hand on the box he was seated upon is a perfect example of how even live their lax, go where ever the moment takes them vibe is exactly what makes them so special.
Live and recorded.

I also can’t help but notice that the vocal melodies Adam chooses for Bem-Vinda Vontade remind me of a more insecure Swirlies; a group he has been playing drums in for years. My hope is this record will be a vocal stepping stone for Pierce and for their next release he will offer more confident singing and fewer vocal cameos.

This cd is close to good but no cigar.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Why? / Sanddollars, The EP / Rating 6.6

In the mid 90’s two separate artists in two totally different parts of the country really captured my attention.

I was at a hardcore show in N.J. watching the usual screamo back turned to the audience kind performance when curiously one lone kid with glasses started to set up a drum machine and microphone. Adam Goren AKA Atom and his Package played for the crowd the sort of set one would expect to get their ass kicked for daring to perform in front an all ages rented hall crowd. His lyrics too clever for his own good took the ubsurd pop intelligence of They Might Be Giants and managed to win over most of the high-water pants and backpack wearing audience. I couldn’t have imagined comedy whined over synth hooks and simple Yamaha drum beats working but it was like listening to a young David Cross trying to sing and damn it he was really likable. It was one of Atom’s first shows and while it was clumsy you could tell he was onto something good. Maybe not for everyone kind of good but none the less he was onto something new.

A few thousand miles to the left Sam Jayne was in-between bands. The Olympia / Seattle band Lync had broken up and his solo cassette only project called Love as Laughter was about as underground and unknown as it could get. Just a few years before Beck’s hit song “Loser” introduced the mainstream to indie rock’s version of hip-hop and as Beck extended his repertoire to include his version of the blues, Sam Jayne was included among several other Northwest guest stars on “One Foot in the Grave”. This snowball affect of mix and match styles had taken root in Sam Jayne’s songwriting and out came two tapes of some of the craziest most unique sounding home spun records around. His trademark nasal vocal straining remained but replacing a full band was a drum machine and the kind of experimental instrumentation few kids attached the blooming Sunny Day Real Estate scene were capable or willing to make. Love as Laughter has matured into an utterly different monster almost a decade later but his early 4track material easily still fits under the same family tree Anticon has built over the past several years.

(I swear I am going somewhere with my walks down memory lane…promise.)

The first time I heard Why? All I could do was think back to these two separate time periods in my life and connect the dots to the now like a cartoon map filled with dashes between the past and present. Forgive me but I don’t associate Yoni Wolf to hip-hop at all. My ears settle into the comfortable feeling I get when I still play “Don’t Let Start” by They Might be Giants. Lyrically I can understand why hip-hop fans would be a fan of Why? but if anything I feel like his talents deserved to be heard by a much wider audience. The same people who embraced that scrawny white guy singing “I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me” or didn’t cringe at the thought of listening to an entire Beat Happening record.

I love the “Sanddollars” Ep because of all the above reasons and for his mention of the Danielson Family. There is nothing “safe” about his lyrics and if having a strong melodies and song structures to back them up makes it less appealing to his usual fan club then good. Why? deserves better.

Va / Army of Me Remixes & Covers / Rating 3.8

It should be further explained that all profits from this "20 track charity record...a tedious exercise in song destruction" will be donated to Unicef emergency work with children.

A quote from Bjork on the inside of the cd cover tray says "here are mixes that through creative force of nature unpredictably started flooding my website. I then redirected this positive wave to children who had suffered when a destructive force of nature unpredictably flooded their way."

Perhaps knowing the above information will help make "the majority of this mostly middling, sometimes excruciating collection" a little more meaningful to those of you with a soul and who are not in the privileged position to be given this music for free as a promotional tool for the charity at hand, not just the artists included.

Its irresponsible to attack a record and not even mention the charity it was specifically organized for. Way to go Ryan Dombal. Idiot.

Bjork fans should check this link out:
Dancer in the Dark fans rejoice; Bjork who swore she would never act again will be back on the big screen. Matthew Barney has created a new film called Drawing Restraint 9 featuring a soundtrack composed by Bjork. She and Barney also star in the film making this their first collaborative effort ever. Besides a fantastic overview of this 2+ hour film and the details of the soundtrack, audio sneak peeks are available and totally worth checking out. ( Wait until you hear the Will Oldham collaboration!!!)

The movie premiers in Japan on July 1st and I think the cd soundtrack is slated for the end of July.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Orthrelm / OV / Rating 8.5

“In any case, isn't minimalism is supposed to be dead?”

Hooray, another metal review and clearly one that wasn’t proofread.

Its sorta cute actually. Metal is the music underdog, the little genre that could and the good(?) people at Pitchfork are doing their part to bring it to the elite masses. The only problem is finding a reader who actually trusts Pitchfork enough to buy a release based on a review of a style of music they don’t excel in writing about.

Who would you trust to talk about metal seriously: the kid in the Judas Priest shirt he bought at the show last night (which replaced the Junior Boys shirt he had on the day before) or the dude in the faded Slayer shirt circa 1985 who got so drunk at that show he doesn’t even remember it or how he ended up with a shirt? Not to say that the staff of something like Metal Maniacs reflects the latter but I have to say true metal fans have a more trusted source for reviews than the moody trainspotters at Bitchfork.

The Narrator / Such Triumph / Rating 7.5

If Narrator had been a band about ten years ago this release would have fit nicely on Gravity Records or Kill Rock Stars and they would be opening for the likes of Unwound, Lync, and Cap’n Jazz. Not to say this isn’t a good record because it is actually surprisingly good, but I am shocked Pitchfork didn’t trample all over this with some sort of stinking pile of insults. Consider me stumped.

If you miss the days of post hardcore and emo when it actually had some grit and angst to it then I would say relive the past with something new. “Such Triumph” makes for one hell of a time machine.

Screaming Trees / Ocean of Confusion / Rating 3.5

Mark Lanegan BandBubblegum[Beggars Banquet; 2004]Rating: 7.2
Matthew Murphy, August 30th, 2004

“As scratchy as a three-day beard yet as supple and pliable as moccasin leather, Lanegan's voice has evolved into a remarkable instrument, one that couldn't have been earned by easy living. But Lanegan is no Chinaski-come-lately, and he's got the voice to prove it.

Mark Lanegan BandHere Comes That Weird Chill[Beggars Banquet; 2003]Rating: 7.6
William Morris, January 8th, 2004

“But his ability to consistently deliver dirty, linear melodies without too-soon drying the well is the biggest feather in Lanegan's cap.”

“Lanegan is the brand of artist who can make a home in any camp, and, as he proves on this stormy release-- in any weather. Watch your back, Mark Eitzel.”

Mark LaneganScraps At Midnight[Sub Pop]Rating: 7.9
Jason Josephes

“Forget about that alt-country/ "No Depression"/ Y'all-ternative country thing. Like Vic Chesnutt, Mark Lanegan makes rootsy music filled with soul. Really. Scraps At Midnight is filled with Lanegan's husky, smoky groans and wails. It's a more relaxed affair than those old Screaming Trees records Mark played on-- the most interesting moments are those where the coil of his voice slithers up from a quiet spot and pins your ear to the wall with a serpentine tongue.”

Screaming TreesOcean of Confusion[Epic; 2005]Rating: 3.5
David Raposa, June 20, 2005

“Because you don't want to hear a young Lanegan pass a kidney stone while fronting an above-average bar band.”

“Because, sometimes, bands are better left forgotten.”

If you want to list some regional bands worth forgetting I would sooner list Hammerbox, 7 Year Bitch, Cat Butt, Gruntruck, and the Tone Dogs.

I shudder to agree to anything the bitter David Raposa has to say about anything but in all fairness this “greatest hits” collection is a joke and does not reflect the best time period for this classic Washington state grunge band. The artwork is pathetic and indeed trying to cash in on Lanegan’s revived career is cheesy but we are talking about a major label here. I don’t think I have ever held Epic / Sony in any high regard so my expectations are less than shattered. Mr. Raposa’s hate-fest is unnecessarily cruel to a band that not only deserves a little more respect but is fronted by a man Pitchfork has otherwise been rather supportive of.

“Ocean of Confusion” is not something anybody other than a huge fan will need to own but if you are looking for a genuinely great retrospective of this notable northwest grunge bands then try tracking down the Screaming Trees Anthology on SST. It compiles their music from 85-89 and is the closest thing to a best of you will find.

Give it time but like all trends the Seattle grunge sound will make a come back and Pitchfork will certainly be the first to let us know when its cool again. I on the other hand will continue to play my Mudhoney, Sound Garden, and Screaming Trees records proudly.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Not exactly Pitchfork related but they like this band too:

Things I thought about during and after the Architecture in Helsinki live performance :

1. How lame is my hometown that I had to drive almost three hours outside of it to see AIH play?

2. Thanks to America’s school system cutting out most music departments, the next generation of children in the U.S.A will never step foot near instruments like the trumpet, trombone, or clarinet. A band like this will be a dying breed.

3. In a tug of war would Broken Social Scene or AIH win?

4. Why wasn’t Huggy Bear, Heavenly, Sons and Daughters or Animal Collective this engaging live?

5. How can a band from Australia with 8 members afford to fly all of its members to the U.S., rent a van and tour the whole country with a trailer in tow? ( I later learned that like much of the rest of the world, their country cares about the arts and offers grants to bands and other creative types which in turn affords them the chance to travel far and wide. The band was horrified to discover that the American government does not extend the same financial help to its musicians and suddenly realized why more bands from the states don’t tour down under. Lucky for us (Americans) Australians can be given grants to put on things like festivals whose budget can include flying in talent from around the world.)

6. Speaking of 8 band members, how do 8 people fit comfortably in a van for weeks at a time and remain so damn posi on stage each night?

7. A band with so may distinct personalities on stage at one time rival Jaga Jazzist and are equally as captivating live. ( You need to see J.J. play live too !)

8. The band from stage told the crowd that a fan asked them a few nights ago what language Australians speak. God help our country and its people.

9. Their charming school band gone bad-ass performance made me wish I didn’t give up the flute in 7th grade.

10. A Brian Ferry cover ended their set and love isn’t a drug, its these 8 kids playing curiously fantastic skewed pop songs that I am utterly addicted to now. This band is totally worth a 3 or a 10 hour hour drive.

You don't have to buy their records or download if that’s how you roll but please please please do see Architecture in Helsinki play live.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Red Sparowes / At the Soundless Dawn / Rating 5.9

Hmm, which is more insulting?

“Red Sparowes treat their genre like a menial internship”


“Not surprisingly in a genre premised on stylistic choices that bear almost universally negative connotations, instrumental post-rockers lead a pretty thankless existence. Their music is slow, humorless, and uneventful.”


how about the fact that this cd came out at the end of February?

Why Sam Ubl do you have to be such a hater and like 4 months after the fact? I can think of a bunch of people who might want to kick your ass for such blind commentary on a record which for months now has actually been given exceptionally positive press. Unless other bands like God Speed and MBV also make you gag I can only wonder why you bothered to review this cd at all.

Its almost as if Sam was looking for an excuse to smack post-rock on the nose with a cyber paper and the Red Sparowes cd happened to be the band on the top of his promo pile. (Actually on the bottom since it took him so damn long to write about it)If you want to punish a band for shitting on your audio carpet lets consider 1/3 of the Chicago snore-core scene whose artwork and packaging continues to outdo the music itself.

"Slow, humorless, and uneventful”...I can think of a review or two this could apply to as well.

Thrones / Day Late, Dollar Short / Rating 5.8

“Thrones pursue sonic texture rather than a catchy hook”

C. Byrom have you ever heard a Thrones cd before or seen Joe play live??? After reading your review my guess can only be no. The above quote taken from your review should be the very thing you hang up your career in reviewing metal with. Seriously why review things you don’t seem to know ANYTHING about. A hook ? Are you really looking for a hook? That’s like looking for a vagina at a Madonna-thon gay pride parade after party.

Joe Preston is one of the few men I know who can wear an orange jump suit with his hair in braids while selling a promotional beard on a stick and still have an aura of cool. His one of a kind approach to making music takes almost as much guts as it does to over analyze a release by a dude you probably just learned about from a friend who brought you to a High On Fire show.

"Day Late,Dollar Short" should actually be the name of Byrom's Pitchfork review.

If you want a better review of this cd try :
or hell even this is better

Friday, June 10, 2005

Coldplay = good even if you don't like them

Coldplay is easy to hate. That's the law of mass appeal.

That being said, I would now like to say that if all Coldplay wants to do in their time off is listen to Pink Floyd and the Bee Gees then fucking let them. Pitchfork writers now write the review before they hear the CD and you know why that is so apparent? Because they trash so much shit. Before they were big and almighty they didn't trash nearly as much shit but now that they know everyone is reading it becomes fun to bad mouth. My friends this is what money does to you - when you have none it's about the struggle and the passion, but when it's around your too busy spending. I guarantee Pitchfork is too busy lining up it's new festival than listening to new music. Cest' la vie [long time sayer, first time speller]

p.s. i will try and attend Pitchfork's festival - the summer of no rules is in full effect. Shizah!

Monday, June 06, 2005

White Stripes / Get Behind Me Satan / Rating 7.3

New record shnew record.

I call "bold and bewildering" Jack White's very recent marriage to model Karen Elson in the Amazon basin(Brazil) by a Shaman priest followed by a blessing of a Catholic priest and then the band's website claiming it is Jack's first marriage. ( umm, and why is he holding some sort of crocodile in all the new "wedding" pictures on the boat????)

Oh right... Meg is his sister. Does anybody really believe that crap still?

There are too many ways to pick on the White Stripes so I will just stop here. Ok ok...maybe one last thing: I think all of the press photos used by different news groups from around the world might make him look more insane than Michael Jackson.

Ok....just one more...please?

I wonder how many weeks it will be before a porno takes on the White Stripes title "Get Behind Me Satan" ? What do I know, maybe there is one out there already.

All kidding aside it breaks my heart that this where the band which brought us two brilliant records like their debut self titled and De Stijil have landed. They are one step closer to being Edward Scissorhands in a circus sideshow then the odd but well dressed super musical duo from Detroit. Ahh, the old days. I miss em'.

ps: Its nice to see Meg lose the pigtails and move towards looking more like a Loretta Lynn hair model. The bigger the hair, the closer to god.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Four Tet / Everything Ecstatic/ Rating 7.4

I spend a lot of time in my car and I suppose for many people this is were we actually have the chance to be alone with a record and really listen to it. My guess is we all have certain kinds of music we like to drive to and I have discovered that many an incredible cd at home does not agree with the me behind a steering wheel. My initial listen to “Everything Ecstatic” was in my car and after one listen it was shoved in my glove box and forgotten about. It wasn’t that I hated it; it was too dense and complicated for my ears to enjoy as 4 lanes of I95 whittled down to 1 and paving trucks hammered and screeched past my practically parked Honda.

Almost every review (not just pitchfork) you will read of this record will talk about its connection to free jazz with all its skronky unpredictability and lack of structure. This is all very accurate and the not huge jazz fan in me wondered if I would really listen to this newest Four Tet again.( in the car or at home) Much to my surprise I find myself returning to it because my ears feel like I am still missing something. Not in a I don’t get what the hell this record is about way but in fact that there are a thousand sounds happening in every song and there is no way anyone could digest it all after just a few spins.

The name dropping of who Keiran Hebden has remixed for and who he is presently working with didn’t prepare me for what this record really sounds like and while most of Ryan Dombal’s review is decent I can’t say I really agree with calling this a step backward as a solo artist. Every second of “Everything Ecstatic” sounds like it is exactly as Keiran wanted it. For any artist I would call that a step forward or at worst, sideways. There are no sell out commercial radio friendly moments and if anything the playful chaos of it all makes for a curiously charming challenging but in a good way release.

Who can build a track out of something that sounds like you just won 1,000 bucks from a slot machine and sandwich it between beats the Beastie Boys would kill for? Four Tet can, that’s who. Finally there is an artist who uses his computer like an actual musical instrument and a soulful extension of himself. Beat geeks, avante jazzies and IDM fans unite!

Do you rate a cd according to how commercial its success will be or on its creative merit? On a scale of 1 to 10 this by merit deserves a 9 but truthfully its accessibility is more like a 4.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

TTC / Batards Sensibles / Rating 8.0

This might be one of the funniest reviews I have ever read on Pitchfork and Peter is pretty much dead on in his description of why this record is so wrong yet so right. My only question is why are they reviewing a cd that came out back in February or something ?

What exactly happened to the reviewer during the past 3 months as TTC's dirty lyrics were getting translated by the French girl next door ?

On a sidenote Pitchfork reviewed the Deerhoof cd a week or more ago and that doesn't come out for at least two or three weeks.

I'm confused by their reviewing timeline...or if they even have one.