Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Scared straight program

Catch the Neo-wave

Dear PFM,

Please consider grounding any writer who chooses to reference more than 10 bands in any one single review until they have learned their lesson. Take away their iPod, remove them from guest list spots, deny them the good promos... do whatever it takes to prevent this act from happening again. Be firm!

There are a total of 16 artist names mentioned in the White Rose Movement piece alone and they all read like a fresh from the womb hipster who might also find unicorn art and drinking Sparks acceptable.

All teasing aside, lets try to keep the name-dropping to a less offensive 3-6 minimum.

Thank you, TFM

Wooden Wand / Harem of the ... / Rating 8.0

Cooking with magic utensils

Dear James Toth AKA Wooden Wand,

Writing and putting out music is exciting and all but three releases in the span of just a few months is plain old overkill; some might even call it gluttonous. (Harem, Buck Dharma, and XIAO) I’m not just picking on you, there are many prolific artists heading in this direction (members of the Animal Collective and Guided By Voices…I am looking in your direction) and I swear to you, I would tell them all the same thing:

Quality over quantity people.

Just because you can eek out another record’s worth of material (or have something you deem worthy of a reissue) doesn’t mean you HAVE to release it. Hell I wish all record labels followed this very same motto. The marketplace is over-saturated with a ton of crap recordings that should have remained in somebody’s shoebox under their bed rather than taking up space in your local record store. If you decide the world must include a smorgasbord of your music to choose from, at least give your fans the chance to digest the one you just released before feeding them another. You can’t assume people will still be hungry after you just fed them some of your art and besides, who’s to say they can afford to keep throwing money at just your work?

The beautiful thing about a band website is it offers the freedom to share less spectacular material in one place and if you really love your fans...for free. This way no cd or lp is harmed in the making of your music’s debut. Stores will have more room to stock other artists. Your fans are rewarded for being your fan by the gift of free music on line. And when a good 6 months have gone by… then you can begin to work towards putting out a new record. (Truthfully a full year would be more ideal) Look at that: everybody wins!

People’s heads would explode if they understood just how much music comes out every single week no less how many of those records are actually really good.

You probably own more fingers and toes.

People wonder why their local stores don't carry a larger selection of music and you know what? They can't. There is simply too much music coming out each day/week/month to make this possible. These days a small retailer can't afford to risk stocking something that might not sell right away so they will either bring in the one title they think fans will want the most or they will skip your music all together and find some other artist with just one release that they know their loyal customer base will definitely buy. *

Don’t mistake my words for cruelty; I am not judging the music of Wooden Wand, just the choice of any band or label who thinks just because a band is hot or their original pressings sell for big bucks on EBAY that the whole world needs all your music all at the same time.

Still feeling the need to share a gaggle of songs? Build a box set that will make it onto every cosmic rocker’s holiday wish list. (The ultimate Thurston Moore stocking stuffer !!!)

Your Ace of Cups,

PS: Your “ten things to improve your life” list on PFM makes you my number one crush of the week.

*Anybody with a computer is probably thinking this is why online stores are so much better and fit the modern consumer’s needs but (for now at least) there is still a large number of people who like to buy these things called cds and records, who still like to see a band's artwork, lyrics, and packaging, and most importantly still like to have a real live person working in a place filled with other real live people selling it to them.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

VOIVOD Guitarist DENIS 'PIGGY' D'AMOUR Dead Of Colon Cancer

What the hell?

2005 is a thief stealing the lives of some pretty damn talented people. Just the past month or so it seems like we have had to say good-bye to so many incredible people and here we have yet another unhappy ending.

I become terribly tongue tied and flustered when it comes to writing about loss but for now here is a little bit of what is in my heart.

Voivod was a huge influence on my old band members and it was through them I was introduced to the best / most complex fucked up brutal sci-fi jazz metal on the planet at the time. I can’t remember any tour we took without at least one Voivod tape with us and with each listen there was always some new sick totally twisted part that blew our minds.

God knows we couldn’t master their writing technique and style but for anybody who knew our band, we tried our best to. Us and about 6,000 other bands owe a little piece of inspiration to Piggy and the rest of Voivod. Without this band the family tree of metal, hardcore, and all that is heavy today wouldn’t have a root to anchor it down.

My love and deepest sympathy goes out to all of Voivod and the loved ones Denis left behind.

Cursive / The Difference between Houses and Homes / Rating 6.3

Stating the obvious

I realized something after watching the Saddle Creek DVD, I really don’t like the bulk of the music they put out. I respect the community aspect of their label, the support system among friends, but as an outsider I walk away really loving just two bands: The Faint and Cursive.

Confessing my admiration for these bands might create a bit of a bias when listening to this Cursive collection but then I realized something else. My love for Cursive stems from the fact that their early material reminds me of Archers of Loaf (even hints of Pavement for that matter) at their most unbridled. During their prime years (Icky Mettle) Archers took the classic Chapel Hill mid 90’s sound and spun into a crashing chaos that early Dischord followers could embrace. (Get it, Embrace? Hahaha)

The longer “The Difference between Houses and Homes” plays in my stereo the more I can’t believe I didn’t make this Archers of Loaf connection sooner. At this cd’s weakest moments (think sour At The Drive-In), Cursive’s worst songs are still 10x better than most of the eyeliner wearing next generation emo/hardcore playing a Warp tour stage near you or filling the pages of any recent Alternative Press issue. I am typically weary of any band’s loose ends collected in what is hyped as a legit release but with tracks like “ Dispenser” and “ A Disruption in the Normal Swing of Things” I can say I am glad to have all these tracks in one place and ready to be set on repeat.

PFM’s review brings up an obvious point, this record is not the band at their best and in turn should not be the first cd a new fan or curious listener should start with. Duh. I don’t think any band’s rarities comp should ever be the first or even middle place to start. This particular kind of cd is meant for fans who already have everything else (or close to it) and will appreciate the audio blueprint of the home Cursive’s sound resides in 2005.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Kanye West / Late Registration / Rating 9.5

alright - i'm going to speak a little mind on Kanye West, his latest effort in particular, Late Registration. This record is 100% Grade A commercial hip hop. It's going to sell well, maintain critical acclaim, and most of all improve hip hop's reputation with middle class parents. But you know what? - It's regular. Its the same old shit. You know what I'm saying. It was built to sell. Kanye knows this. I think. Which leads me to the question of why has the production of a hip hop record developed into 3 friends chillin in a studio going "Oh that shit is hot!"? At the end of the day I think Kanye knows his record is just the regular hot shit.

I wasn't that desperate to talk about this but i have already had two people come up to me today and tell me this record is awesome, and I was like are you fucking kidding me? And they were all like listen to this and tell me that shit ain't hot and I was all like of course it's hot, but why can't it be intelligent, why can't it be inspiring, why can't it be upsetting, why can't it be confusing? Kanye's record has the same coming of age ghetto stories as every other commercial hip hop record out there and it is annoying. This is your expression of self - and you plagiarized. Not verbatim, but you followed the formula . If you are going to craft a story, tell one that hasn't been told, and if you are going to tell me about your life then don't wonder what I will think of you - just say it, you don't need justification from me. This statement will tell you how much I know about commercial hip hop or what type of hip hop artist I would be. Kanye's job as an artist has an element I fail to recognize or fail to believe is important. Image. I understand as an artist you have to sell yourself as well as your craft, and it's when you focus on the fore mentioned that you become the "sell-out". Kanye, I bet you look fly even when you at home on a Saturday scribblin' lyrics on a legal pad wit yo Mont Blonc. I apologize but I don't like my hot beats salted down with typical stories of ghetto youth. Kanye should have called Metal Fingers and spoken at length about the creative process: if you don't have anything cool to say then just put out the beats, save yo lyrics for the next record. But then again co-production credits on Late Registration are given to Jon Brion, so what did Kanye even do? who knows? I hate trash talking an album because even I listen to that "horrible catchy shit" that you dont want to tell people about, aka the guilty pleasure. But I don't inflate my trash. I don't go around talking about excellent production on the Diamond Nights record, but I put it on and pretend to drive and I-ROC Z cuz it's fun! and you can do the same with Kanye but don't tell me it's good.

I don't even know Kanye but if this record is that artistic extension of self, then there is a Kanye in every dang town this country has got. Sweardah gah! and Pitchfork gave this record a 9.5, Jebus! The only knowledgeable thing they seem to chatter about is "Without Brion, this album probably sounds a lot like its predecessor, The College Dropout" and for all of those that don't know College Dropout sucked too!

Here is the version of Late Registration I would buy: the EP
Track 1 - Touch the Sky (instrumental) - lyrics are almost painful but the music is definitely a smoker.
Track 2 - Gold Digger - lyrics are insightful and Ray Charles writes some damn catchy shit, thank the sweet lord for Jamie Foxx carrying the torch.
Track 3 - Skit #1 - this shit is funny but only once - he blows it by adding 3 more installments. I will take one, thank you.
Track 4 - Diamonds from Sierra Leone (instrumental) - pass on the lyrics but you can keep the sample from the movie.
Track 5 - Hey Mama - every hip hop album has one but this song quite enjoyable
even though the lyrics are typical - it might beat Tupac's. I don't know... could it? What am I saying?
Track 6 - Gone - it's got a Otis Redding sample and Consequence with Cam'ron really have the perfect balance of image and craft. They wear purple rap about Ruby Tuesdays - genius. Might be the best track on the album.

The rest of them I hit the skippah button and next year I probably won't even remember this shit. I still listen to Tribe and Antipop, why can't get some moah dat shit! Oh wait - they still do make that shite - check this post from Jerome on Aug. 11

You can buy Late Registration and I am not going to look down on you or think you are an idiot, just don't tell me how it's changing the shape of hip hop, or that it's a 9.5. Jebus! You know what I would buy this whole record based on the layout. That little bear is awesome and for $10.98 at Relative Theory / $9.99 at Best Buy, now my only decision is where to get it - what should I do? I am the owner of a record store and I could actually save a dollar if I get it at Best Buy. That shit cost Relative Theory $11.18 bitches! Guess I'll have to download it.


Kanye West

Kanye West’s new CD is garnishing critical acclaim usually reserved for things that save lives, restore peace in wore torn countries, and explain this highly frustrating experiment we call human existence. And for my money the CD’s not all that great. Sure there are moments of highly enjoyable music, and maybe even a flash of brilliance here and there, but most of the CD is overloaded with mediocre to sub-par rhymes disguised by Mr. West’s flashy production. And so what if he brought Jon Brion on board to help him produce? Is this something anyone should care about? What did this guy do? Fiona Apple? Furthermore, why should I be impressed that Kanye is self-conscious about his fame? Is this really such a revolutionary idea? Anytime a rapper participates in anything resembling self examination Pitchfork loses their minds and shouts his/her praises from every rooftop in Chicago. I mean, Jesus Christ, a black man is examining the glaring deficiencies of rap culture. Who cares if he can’t rap? He’s thinking! A black man!

Oh yeah, and George Bush hates Pitchfork.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I Am Kloot / Gods and Monsters / Rating 6.0

Dry ice at a Backstreet Boys concert

A rating of 6.0 seems like a backhanded compliment in comparison to PFM’s actual review.
For instance:

“After two albums of post-Britpop mediocrity, Manchester trio I Am Kloot kick things up a notch (or think they do), and suffer from bipolarity and an ambition that outstrips their ability. The disc plays like a sex operation gone botched-- Adonis to Medusa in 10 minutes tops.”

“More problems arise when this band wants to be somebody's soundtrack-- all vampires and exotic places—“

“If you're looking for reference points, Cinerama's shtick isn't far off, except that was smart.”

“While it's true that stories don't tell themselves, Kloot's stories might speak volumes if Bramwell sang less.”

"I Am Kloot singer John Bramwell's execution is gloomily expressive at best, melodramatic as a rule, and when the Wurlitzers materialize like dry ice at a Backstreet Boys concert, shit's more exasperating than convincing-- and tiresome, too. "

I don’t understand, is a 6.0 a bad rating or is this record not terrible but worthy of as many biting comments as one can fit in a review? I wouldn’t think “Gods and Monsters” would appeal to PFM’s target market but these songs will easily win over a different kind of crowd.

Fans of Sondre Lerche would gladly welcome I Am Kloot to share a stage and their British brand of rainy day piano pop would nicely balance out the romantic crooning of the dashing Scandinavian man-child. This compatible combination would have the audience applauding all the way to their merch table.

PFM goes onto say:

"Hong Kong Lullaby" feels like a cheap shot at fluffy pillow-softness, offering respite from billowing swells of over-instrumentation but little else; "I Believe", a weirdly compelling Nick Drake anthem-cum-rescue mission, comes tacked on as a bedside prayer finale that also fails to salvage or move (to tears or otherwise) thanks to the tyranny of circumstance. *

*Dear music journalist,

Can we please please please try to avoid a Nick Drake comparison just because a song features an acoustic guitar and melancholy vocals? The world is big place filled with lots of sad people playing sad songs so lets try to mix it up a little. I beg you to use a new and varied point of reference in future reviews.

Thank You,

PS:My initial typing of “Gods and Monsters” held the awesome typo of “Cods and Monsters” I imagine this album would then feature nightmares from the deep sea. Oh never mind, Mastodon did that already.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I know you are but what am I ?

It’s only fair I get this out of the way because A) I keep getting emails asking me and B) people don’t seem to bother reading the little profile thing about me.

I am only gonna do this once so here it goes:

1) I am a woman in my 30’s so please direct all insults to the female gender.
2) The only jobs I have EVER had are in the indie music industry.
3) 17 years and counting to be exact…you name it, I’ve done it.
4) Out of respect to the people I presently work for and with I prefer to keep my identity a secret. What can I say, I love music but I also want to keep my job.
5) I may not know how to spell but I probably own more records than you.
6) That was a joke. Lighten up. This is just a blog for fuck sake.
7) In fact this whole site started as a joke between friends.
8) Trust me, I didn’t know anybody else would read this either.
9) This suddenly feels like an Adult Swim spot only I don’t have cartoons to back up my ramble. (sorry)
10) Be kind to your elders.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Super Furry Animals / Love Kraft / Rating 8.5

I understand about 70% of this PFM review

This is a quote taken from the promotional cd’s back cover ”Love Kraft might just turn out to be the definitive Super Furry Animals album. It’s certainly the loveliest and without a doubt the one that feels most like a cohesive body of work.”

Lover number 1
“SFA have made their best album yet.”

Lover number 2
"Super Furry Animals have made their most mature, cohesive album so far, and are back on a roll with no signs of letting up."

Lover number 3
"In the end we're left with little doubt that Love Kraft is the greatest realisation of the Super Furry vision to date, smiting anxieties with genuinely beautiful ideas enacted mostly through strings rather than the synths of old."

Lover number 4
"Undoubtedly the greatest achievement of ‘Love Kraft’ is the Furries ability to weave O’Lagan’s strings within their own highly stylised very technique - an achievement that's helped to create a mature, more organic album that proves the Furries are able to move away from their comfort zone into even deeper waters."

When words like “definitive”, “best album yet” and “most cohesive album so far” are being batted about, clearly people love this new Super Furry Animals cd as if it was their first born. Every message board related to this record is an orgy of compliments so here I am wondering what the hell is wrong with me.

I swear to you, girl scout honor, that I have played “Love Kraft” at least 20 times over the past week and I still don’t love it. I barely like it. I’ve taken it on road trips to the beach. We have gone on long walks for coffee together in my headphones and its even playing in my stereo as I type this. I can appreciate all the references dropped in these glowing reviews, the Beach Boys, The High Llamas, and so on but all I really I hear Primal Scream over-orchestrating Bevis Frond. (and I love me some Bevis Frond)

SFA’s 12 new tracks are pleasant enough but my favorite thing about this band remains: their partnership with the artist Pete Fowler.

The first person to leave a comment on my post saying they want my copy of "Love Kraft" can have it. After you leave your comment and if you are indeed the first person to leave one on the subject, please email me your address at and the cd is all yours.

According to the rest of the world, you are so gonna love it.

Some relief for Pitchperfect

In an effort to make sure Pitchperfect isnt the only one who maintains a presence on this site i thought i might make a post. Not a review of a review, but a review of a trip.
I recently drove from los angeles to Denver. Before hand my fiance and i loaded up her i-pod with an obscene amount of music and headed on our way, with no backup musical plan. I dont know if i was born stupid, or have slowly become this way over the years, but heading towards 16 hours of driving with no backup musical plan in case the i-pod failed was a grave miscalculation. Not only did the i-pod fail to keep a charge, but when it did maintain its power(after being re-charged in Ottp's roadside diner, try the homestyle chicken) it blew out my speakers. There is nothing better than being a music lover forced to listen to your favorite songs as they are torn apart by hisses and scratches. The sound was slightly more tolerable when cds were playing but of course i brought none. I did end up purchasing 5 cds at Twist and Shout but that did not suffice. My choices were king of lacking (You cant really listen to "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" 5 times in a row without wanting some verse, chorus, verse). And let me tell you, AM radio in Utah is something i never want to experience again. I suppose it all gave me a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of the west in its original untouched silence. But seriously, fuck that. I want to gaze upon the rocky mountains while blasting Lighting Bolt.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dungen / Ta Det Lungt / Rating 9.3

Onesie and Twosie

Two reviews of the same record you say? PFM ran not one but two reviews of Dungen’s Ta Det Lungt and 1) the record is good enough to warrant such madness and 2) the cd was reissued domestically with bonus material just a few weeks ago. The new version has scanned over 3500 copies since its release on 8/2 and with an upcoming month long tour, I can only imagine Dungen is going to reach new heights of fame and fortune in the states. I can’t guarantee the latter but I can be certain of one thing, wherever a band with a mega popular new records is, a reintroduction of their back catalog is sure to follow.

We saw a singles collection of older material in the early part of this year, the souped-up reissue of “Ta Det Lungt” in the beginning of this month and now Dungen fans can rejoice: a third cd is on the way. Astrawerks has licensed Dungen’s second record Stadsvandringar from Virgin Sweden and is looking to have it out by October 4th. What a coincidence, it’s just in time for the bands first mega U.S. tour.

Everybody wins… or cashes in depending on how you want to look at it.

Wondering what Stadsvandringar sounds like? It’s dreamy psych-pop with a diminished focus on creamy electric guitars. I hate to say this but there are moments on the record that remind of the new Coca-Cola commercial where a melting pot of young Americans “would like to teach the world to chill" through song on a city rooftop. (shiver)

Jethro Tull and Anchorman groupies can unite as there are some superior flute solos to bask in and while it sounds like I’m not loving this bellbottom ride, I actually am. In the context of where this particular record falls in Dungen’s rock timetable, Stadsvandringar makes total sense. The metamorphous towards the signature sound of the Dungen we love today was well under way in 2002 and this is the record to prove it. It just so happens that their incubation period sounds a whole lot like a euphoric Laudanum dream.

Björk / Drawing Restraint 9 (OST) / Rating 7.0

Boo Hiss : PFM "review" is here

“Björk's music for Matthew Barney's Drawing Restraint 9-- in which the singer also stars-- is her second foray into film music (after 2000's Selmasongs)” PFM

The above statement is partially correct. "Foray into film music” is little vague but if we are talking 100% scored a film then yes, the above information is correct.

Otherwise Björk's music has appeared in numerous movies (see full list here) plus she collaborated with David Arnold / Jah Wobble for the film "Young Americans" with a track called "Play Dead". "Army of Me" was also considered the lead single to the movie Tank Girl ( tho not written specifically for the movie) and while the soundtrack for the Icelandic movie 'Nytt Lif' was never released, Björk also does have a few songs featured in the film itself.

I can get even more nerdy here: she co-wrote the theme to the movie SODOMA REYKJAVIK and to be really specific, The Sugarcubes of which Björk is / was a member scored a film called SKYTTURMAR in 1987. ( To be scary technical The Sugarcubes have never officially broken up the band)

“I've long held a bias against soundtracks. Not for their use, mind you: a good soundtrack can make a movie better than its sum of train explosions, drug deals and awkward romances. However, taken on their own terms, soundtracks tend to reek of passive-aggression. I can imagine how tough it was to score music that complimented, yet never overwhelmed, a film, but my attention span usually demands more than music that just suggests emotion. Not that original scores are all bad-- I have soft spots for Danny Elfman, Bernard Herrmann and Nino Rota” PFM

How about Ennio Morricone? Rudy Ray Moore and the Soul Rebellion Orchestra? John Barry? Serge Gainsbourg? Angelo Badalamenti? John Williams? Galt MacDermot? Bobby Womack & J.J. Johnson? Gert Wilden & Orchestra? Peter Thomas Sound Orchester? Berry Lipman & Orchestra? Goblin? Wendy Carlos? John Carpenter? Lalo Schifrin? Fucking hell this list could go on and on. HOW COULD YOU IGNORE THE TALENT FOUND ON THIS LIST OF COMPOSERS??? SHAME ON YOU!!!

I am so utterly disappointed in Dominique Leone's comment. If this doesn’t show a lack of knowledge about music, I don’t know what does. I haven’t even heard a copy of this soundtrack yet but it doesn’t matter. After reading this naïve take on film scores I wouldn’t dream of taking anything this reviewer has to say seriously…no less about an artist I probably know waaaay too much information about. 7.0 is actually PFM's IQ score when it comes to sountrack history.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Cribs / The New Fellas / Rating 3.0

The Cribs get put put to bed

Bravo. PFM called out every weak aspect of the Cribs record perfectly.

I didn’t think it was possible to have lyrics dumber than The Caesars (“you're such a groovy girl / i love to strap her on / when I'm really gone”) but The Cribs make the Caesars sound like eloquent Cambridge graduates. In all fairness The Caesars are also from Sweden so English isn’t there first language but besides the Cribs being young, English is their mother tongue. Look at me I just made up a rhyme 10 times more complex than anything on The New Fellas.

Just how many songs can a band write about hating hipsters and love gone bad? Apparently an entire record. Off key, clumsy, and grotesquely adolescent, The Cribs aren’t even a third rate version of Franz, The Futureheads, The Caesars, or the Strokes. In fact I think a Sesame Street muppet band could do a better imitation of the now sound.

It’s ironic really, The Cribs curse the scene surrounding them when in fact their entire sound pays tribute to it….DOH.

Saying Good-Bye To Bob Moog

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — August 21, 2005 — Bob died this afternoon at his home in Asheville, N.C. He was 71. Bob was diagnosed with brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme or GBM) in late April 2005. He had received both radiation treatment and chemotherapy to help combat the disease. He is survived by his wife, Ileana, his five children, Laura Moog Lanier, Matthew Moog, Michelle Moog-Koussa, Renee Moog, and Miranda Richmond; and the mother of his children, Shirleigh Moog.

Read more from formal Moog site here and the family journal / guestbook

We'll miss you Bob indeed.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

"He loved explosions," explained his wife, Anita Thompson.

"WOODY CREEK, Colo. - With a deafening boom, the ashes of Hunter S. Thompson were blown into the sky amid fireworks late Saturday..."

"The music business is a cruel and shallow trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men lie like dogs. There is also a negative side"
- Hunter S. Thompson

Saturday, August 20, 2005

One Sheet Fun : The name dropping game

I semi-carefully sifted thru several months of new release books from four different indie music distributors. New release books are filled with one sheets from record labels which are designed to help sales people and record store buyers understand what a band sounds like / is all about without actually listening to the cd.

This is where the buzz band names come heavily into play.

A label will list bands randomly in hopes of impressing the reader and hoping you will connect their artists with bigger more familiar artists. The really silly part about this trick of the trade is how a label might slip a point of reference in. It won't be just that this band sounds like some other band or is inspired by such artists, they might list bands they have played on the same stage with, passed on the highway once, shared the same producer, caught a cold by, is label mates with....well you get the idea. If there is a way to drop an icon of the week, they are going to do it. So that being said, here is a list of bands + artists mentioned more than just a few times. Personally I was pretty amazed to see certain trends and while the names will change like the seasons, this particular collection represents the summer into fall of 2005.

Again, I didn't do a severe number count but this is roughly what I discovered.

Mentioned 5-8 times: Boards Of Canada, Mogwai, Neu, Beck, White Stripes, Can, The Faint, Bright Eyes, Led Zep, MC5, Will Oldham, Tom Waits, Pink Floyd, Arcade Fire, Death Cab, Thievery Corp, My Bloody Valentine, REM, Radiohead, Sunno))), Nick Cave, Franz, Television, Talking Heads, Dillinger Escape Plan, Modest Mouse, Interpol, Pixies, and The Clash

Mentioned 9-12 times: Rolling Stones, Eno, The Kinks, E. Smith, Bowie, Beatles, The Cure, Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop and or The Stooges

Mentioned 13-18 times: Sonic Youth, Black Sabbath, Neil Young, and Animal Collective

"wall of sound" as an adjective – 3

Most random and useless shout out: Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan

Canada/Canadian city and or Brooklyn = too many references to keep track of

Pitchfork Media quote or mention – I lost count after 40...and this is why I regularly target them in my blog. PFM is the key music review source for all aspects of the music industry and in turn is given more power than any one site should maybe have. Like it or not, I try my best to offer a system of checks and balances.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Criteria / When We Break / Rating 4.8

Criteria goes to court, PFM style.

Cursive / Saddle Creek supporters might be tempted to buy this record regardless of the lousy PFM rating but allow me to offer a better idea. Skip Criteria and buy anything Walter Schreifel has done post his straight edge years instead.

No joking, Quicksand or Rival Schools should be paid a buck evertime a Criteria song is played or purchased.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Va /Total 6 (Kompakt) / Rating 8.7

PFM review of Total 6

Vive le difference. I call them future coasters, my blogger music friend actually hears music. Its not exactly record industry jello wrestling but the below is a genuine email thumb war between two insiders with two very different opinions.

Tuningfork: I am listening to this 2x Kompakt cd and wonder how this appeals to anybody no less got a 10 paragraph review and an 8.7.

"By 2002, you could safely call Kompakt one of the most exciting labels in the world" PFM

I totally live on a different planet. Its just a genre that sounds as interesting as a washing machine to me. Its nice, sort of hypnotic but lacks the feeling that a human is behind it all. I find it cold and sterile, others find it pulsing and hot. Go figure.

Anonymous Music Blogger: I don't mind cold and sterile. I like it.

I don't find it cold and sterile because even the most electronic of music has the producer's fingerprints all over it, has an identity and personality behind the blips and beeps. Usually when I listen to stuff like this I picture the work that went into the programming, the creativity, the technical knowledge, the skill, and of course I listen to the music as well. I think the technical skill replaces the lack of emotional depth that is associated with "human" music.

Doesn't sound like a human voice and the strumming of a guitar, but I don't expect that from electronic music.

Tuningfork: How does this music feel inside your body? I am trying to imagine how this resonates and somehow pleases you. I can't decide if my ears deflect this genre completely or if it just passes right through me like a ghost or a spirit of something that in a previous life once held a body with weight and guts.

Anonymous Music Blogger: You know, it's no big shock that most people who go to these shows look to be serious gearheads and technology inclined people.

How does it make me feel? I don't know how to answer that...but I couldn't answer that for any type of music. It would take a lot of rambling paragraphs to try to explain my emotional response to music.

Tuningfork:I will further stereotype myself by including that the tracks I actually don't despise are the ones with vocals and or other instruments involved. Disc 1) #8 Tototronic and #9 The MFA ( vocoder type lead melody) Disc 2) went by without one track grabbing me enough to even look at the track listing. The last track reminds me of a static glitch version of a motown song but I'll be damned if I can recall the exact song I am thinking of.

I don't agree that this music mostly appeals to gearhead / tech people. It seems like the people I know who love this stuff are not rabid record collectors nor do they make music, they just like the idea of this kind of music playing the roll of a soundtrack to a night out in a club. I also know a few record stores who love playing this kind of music all day because its mellow yet upbeat and more importantly, won't scare away customers. It's forward thinking background music.

What can I say other than I guess you can't like everything. I don't milk chocolate or birds either....ha!

Anonymous Music Blogger: I didn't say the fans are all gearheads. I said the people at the shows are gearheads. And they are to a great extent. Totally. Kompakt-type stuff especially. It's not the usual background music. I think that's more typical club music. In this country, Kompact isn't "night on the town" music. At least here. It's music for small, dingy clubs and underground loft parties.

Tuningfork: You wouldn't call a person at that kind of a show a fan? Isn't going to a club, no matter how dingy or small still a night out?

What the hell do I know? This kind of music doesn't hold my attention on cd nor do I live in a culturally diverse metropolis that will ever offer an experience with it outside of my living room. Sad but true.

Your final thoughts on the collection?

Anonymous Music Blogger:
Person at show = gearhead
Fan may not necessarily = gearhead
Person at show, naturally, = fan

Tuningfork: That's your final word?

Anonymous Music Blogger: I'm outta words

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Electronicat / Voodoo Man / Rating 5.1

PFM review of Electronicat

Gosh darn it, I just can't win. I try to hold onto every advance cd I am sent as well as every record I buy (even if I don't like it) for at least a month (or more) just in case it gets a PFM review. In theory this means I am armed to follow up with a companion piece / critique to their artistic works of wonder.

Voila: Tuningforkmedia was born.

The number of cds I receive daily is staggering so as you can imagine. It is a daunting task to sort through them all to say the least, no less genuinely try to give each one a focused and respectable amount of attention. Thank goodness PFM reviews only 5 a day or I would never be able to properly fact check and or play devil’s advocate to the opinions they publish. Anyhow, I eventually succumb to the shrinking space in my apartment and with often no regret, I pass along the no-keepers to friends, local record store folks, or the indie radio station down the street. (Remember folks: it is a crime to sell promotional materials and you will go to indie rock hell for cashing in a cd from a small label that can hardly afford to give it away in the first place!)

Electronicat’s Voodoo Man was released back on May 31st and to be totally frank it was terrible in all the ways PFM describes… so in the yuck pile it went. The promo was sent to me back in April and this disappointing waste of space has sat around just waiting to be set free ever since. By the end of July I gave up. Electronicat was set out to pasture. Almost three months after its original street date, now PFM decides to review it. Hmph! I thought the beauty of computers and the Internet was the immediacy of it all. For instance John Loder passes away, his family posts the information on a blog and in a matter of a day people from around the world grieving over the passing of their friend could reach out to others who are feeling this terrible loss and share it all in the same place as if in a room mourning together. This is the beauty behind technology and the positive power of this tool.

Call me spoiled but I have grown to expect a level of Godspeed in this new day and age of bloggers and websites who are capable of passing along up to the minute information. What can I say, I hated the Electronicat cd over four months ago and I can only wait for so long before I turn it over to a new owner who will perhaps love it better than I ever could. I don’t get it. PFM has a mega staff of people to churn out reviews and yes, I know the world is filled with too many records and too little time but I draw the line at a quarter of a year after the fact. *

*Tuningfork at this point is just me (pitchperfect) and if I am a month or so behind its usually because A) I am just one person damn it!!! B) I often can’t afford all the records I would like to review C) I am not given a bevy of promotional material for free like PFM is, so tracking down music from other sources (thank you kind friends) sometimes takes a few weeks to a month.

Let’s review: PFM = large staff / TFM= one little lady

All I can say I am trying my best. (Typos and all.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Chin Up Chin Up + Sybris = Flameshovel Records

How many indie label do you think there are in the U.S. no less the entire world? It would be safe to say the number would be in the hundreds of thousands.(I would actually be curious to find out just how many there really are so if you know the answer to this question, please post it!) Anyhow I began pondering this when the small label Flameshovel got three of their cds reviewed in the span of just about a month at Pitchfork.

Narrator, Sybris, and Chin Up Chin Up were also all given pretty darn good reviews which I am not complaining about but damn, how many labels would KILL to be in that position. Not even some of the biggest indie labels get that sort of love from PFM. I am interested to know how Flameshovel scored such massive attention and while I wish I could say a great label and great bands deserve it, we all know the real world doesn’t always work that way. Maybe there is some extra bond because they are based out the same region? Whatever mojo this label has going on, high-five to you. You get double the love now because here I am blabbing about you too. High-ten.

* * * * * * *

I had to double check the band’s liner notes because unless the studios they name are bedroom studios, I can’t fathom how Chin Up Chin Up could play hushed in a way that makes The Red House Painters seem boisterous. They attack each instrument so delicately that that they wouldn’t wake a baby sleeping in the next room. I do quite a bit of home recording and out of personal experience this EP sounds like a band afraid to make noise because neighbors will be pissed or a noise sensitive roommate will hate them. Artists who make music at home suffer this dynamic softening all the time but bands in a real studio usually do not. As a recording nerd (add that to my growing geek list) this particular aspect of C.U.X2 confounds me.

This reissue cd with bonus tracks straddles in theory a rhythm section that reminds me of early Modest Mouse (minus the power) but the vocal pitter-pattter rattles on like a steady rain. The singer’s constant wordy but whispery approach creates a distracting ruckus over equally as busy guitar parts. An indie-tronic band rocking on their tippy toes needs layers of sound to work with each other, not against and this is specifically my main point of contention with this release.

PFM opens their review with this to say “Hearing it now, it obviously sounds like a first step, but it reaffirms what many heard on We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers: a poppy spin on a familiar sound, a singer still finding his voice, and a band with a great deal of “potential.” On the opposite end of the spectrum had I heard this EP first I would have filed this band under thanks but no thanks. To match Chin Up Chin Up in style I would soften the 7.0 PFM rating by half. ( Sorry Insound, I know these guys are one of your "very favorite bands")

* * * * * * *

For those who are not a part of the music industry, a one sheet is basically a cheat sheet sent to press, radio, retail, and sales staffs about one particular artist. It is mailed in tandem with whatever new cd the band has out and gives everything from basic band history, to a list of bands they (the label or band) have decided they sound like, and honestly just about whatever other info a record label thinks will sell people on their band. The fun part about occasionally seeing these one sheets is discovering just how many writers seem to replicate / reword for word these sheets rather than actually tell you what they thought of the music. Often this same info can be found on the label or band website and to show you a little example of what I am talking about, here are some bits from the Flameshovel site and the Sybris one-sheet :

RIYL: Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, Swervedriver, Slowdive ( IE for fans of / sounds like)

“To complete it, there's Mullenhour's (singer) acrobatic voice that acts as the band's two-headed catalyst - she has the ability to either ground their sonic chaos or run the whole thing right off the rails. At times, the kinetic Sybris sound invokes Slayer fronted by Edie Brickell (the tail end of "Blame It On the Baseball") and at others it feels more like the lovechild of Belly and Swervedriver ("Best Day In History In Ever"). The band even manages to produce songs that could have wound up on the album of an imagined My Bloody Pixies supergroup ("Neon" and "Breathe Like You're Dancing"). “

Here’s what PFM had to say : “Sybris hark back to the Smashing Pumpkins model, when bands were interested in making what we used to call the Unified Statement, not rummaging though through genres like a trunk full of costume jewelry, and when roles were more concrete-- less instrument swapping, more stability.”

And : “Yeah Yeah Yeahs might abruptly ramp the song up to a yowling blues splatter, but Mullenhour puts on her best Edie Brickell coo as her band rolls smoothly through understated dynamic shifts, building incrementally to a thrashing middle section, sinking through a quiet descent, then a upwelling to a mountainous, distortion-drenched re-crescendo.”

I could go on but I think the above is a very nice example that YES bands do sound like other bands but does a writer have to use the same exact point of reference? Edie Brickell? Listening to Sybris a million other one of a kind voices come to mind but I have to be honest, E.B. was not on the top of my list. In fact it would have never even crossed my mind had it not been placed in my head via the label site. The Smashing Pumpkins connection is a little more understandable but there could have easily been 100 other bands from that same time period to use as an example.

I feel bad using this particular band / release to raise awareness that writers are often fed the words they use to describe a band… but here is why I really truly terrible: Sybris are incredible, even if their style harkens back to the more mainstream alterna-rock of the 90’s. Its not that the vocals or their music reminds me of just one band, it’s the plain old idea of a band sounding 100% like themselves.

I wish I could remember where I read this quote but it said something like “it isn’t perfect but it's just right.” This was the same thing I felt when I first heard PJ Harvey, Come, Cat Power, Scarce, Helium, and Throwing Muses back in the day. (Matador Records alone in the mid 90’s had a ton of women who better than rocked.) It would be difficult to charge any one of these ladies with the blatant imitation of another. Each were powerful, distinct, gusty, and unraveled (naked) yet unmistakably all were / are absolutely unique.

I don’t want to dwell on the fact that Sybris has a woman fronting them because that detracts from the fact that the entire band is worthy of equal attention. As a unit they return back to a time when it was okay to be a cockeyed rock band as long as you did it well. (In this bands case think of guitars ringing like church bells in a cave during a thunderstorm and there you have a sonic base to where this band builds from.) A woman in this band is not and should not be the key focus here, the quality of the music they make should be.

Pixies? Yes. Smashing Pumpkins? Sure. MBV? Why not, they are sited in just about every other review these days. Does Sybris hold their own? Yes, 100%. Do they deserve an 8.0? Yes, and then some.
PS: Just so you don't think I am only picking on PFM about this, try this little test. Google Edie Brickell + Sybris and you can see for youself that more than 10 different sites use that same EXACT description. Lame.

John Loder 1946-2005 : Founder of Southern / Producer Extraordinaire

There is much to say about this man and if you read the comments left on the family blog, you will see just how deeply he touched the lives of those who worked with him or enjoyed the music he helped to create.

"I'd like to give my thanks to John for all the music. If you've learned a thing or two from Crass, Fugazi or Shellac then you've learned a thing or two from John. "
Alec Bourgeois

Love and sympathy never feels like enough at a time like this but I am extending them over the ocean regardless.

Monday, August 15, 2005


I can't think of anything more amazing than this. Better than the Ferrara cannoli, better than paying the employee discount for your new car, even better than Everybody Loves Raymond finally calling it quits...

I've been meaning to ask

Is that actually a Civ song ( "Can't Wait One Minute More") in the new Toyota / Nissan ads on TV?

Sons and Daughters / the Repulsion Box / Rating 7.5

Three quotes from the PFM review :

“As it turns out, the album's brief running time is something of a saving grace, as the band's relentless approach-- even the quiet songs ride fast, insistent beats-- is a bit numbing over the course of a whole LP.”

“Even with the band's relatively monochromatic range, there are a few standout tracks.”

"The record's arid, unadorned sound…does have its occasional drawbacks, one being that in some of her more outlandish moments of rage, Bethel's vocals stand out a little too strongly, such as her shrill screams on the chorus of "Gone" and some of her more emphatic shouts on "Red Receiver".

Does this sound like a record that should have been given a 7.5 rating? I know lot’s of people have stopped reading the actual PFM reviews and just pay attention to the rating so maybe that will work in Sons and Daughters favor…at least in the case of this particular review. I hate to keep asking this but why did this record get a positive rating when the review itself is relatively negative???

This band never does it for me on record but live they are an entirely different animal, an electrically charged and roughish beast to be more specific. Lucky for you they are touring with both the Decemberists and Franz Ferdinand and Bright Eyes so there will be plenty of chances to check them out for yourself.

Live they are a 9, on record closer to a 5.5.

Go see them live and if you love them, take home their records as a souvenir.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Xiu Xiu / La Forêt / Rating 7.9

I was 16 the first time I heard Lee Hazlewood sing It’s dark, dark, in my heart” I wasn’t sure what it meant at the time but the phrase stuck with me. I grew older and with that the obvious happened. Life happened. I buried too many friends and family before their time, watched wars unfold I didn’t believe in, removed a wedding band for good, held hands with terminal diseases, accepted a president I didn’t vote for, gone steady with chemical dependency, clung to crap jobs for insurance and a nest egg… the list could go on forever. We each have a version of this list and whoever says life is easy is taking way better pills then the rest of us. The complexities and specifics to each of our lives connects and separates but the emotions they catalyze help to define the human experience AKA life.

At age thirty something, “Dark in my Heart”? Check.

Xiu Xiu does bleak but not in a way I can compare to any of the legendary grim reapers like Billie Holiday, Jeff Buckley, Porter Wagoner, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith or the like. These artists weave sad tales but within a more traditional song structure and with traditional instruments. For those familiar with musician Arthur Russell you might have a sense of music so personal it resonates like a diary you shouldn’t be reading and this is much closer to La Forêt’s tragic sting. Modern classical pieces dabbling in the avante-pop, Xiu Xiu chokes, whispers, and bellows sentiments using the human voice and an unlikely chorus of instruments to transmit tears.

La Forêt’s hits with the same hurt and memory rush I get while looking at photos of people I loved now gone or reflecting on moments like an ex moving out as I sit on a couch we bought together during happier days. I wasn’t sure these complicated emotional moments needed a soundtrack yet there it is 12 times over. Xiu Xiu’s songs are not all miserable, like life they reach glorious shimmering peeks and then sink back down to a delicate hush. Picking up the pieces of a shattered moment, this painfully private internal conversation has never been better outted.

PFM does a remarkably great job translating the mood and tangled sounds on this record and seemingly is impressed with Xiu Xiu talents. Minus any hint of insult I’ll be damned as to why this record only got a 7.9. I know that isn’t bad but from what I can only guess at, PFM is not allowing this release to stand on it’s own. “Xiu Xiu's last album, Fabulous Muscles, found Stewart reaching the apex of his accomplishments to date.” PFM gave that release a 9.0 and clearly PFM has chosen it as their favorite.

It makes me uncomfortable giving this band or their records a rating because it’s like rating a funeral or a car crash. Admittedly there is a form of beauty found in all tragedy and Xiu Xiu exploits it breathlessly.

Art mimics life? Check.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Life and Times / Suburban Homes / Rating 7.4

I still stand by my original (p)review of L&T back on July 30th. Hit the July 2005 archive to read about my favorite cd from this year.

PFM says this about Life and Times: "The chemistry between the band's members is easy to hear, but it seems like a heavy shrug of the shoulders compared to the boundaries pushed during the last days of Shiner."

Lets did PFM review these last two Shiner cds?

ShinerStarless[Owned and Operated; 2000]Rating: 3.2
"Only Allen Epley remains from the band's original 1995 lineup, and what he's surrounded himself with is testament to why everyone else left this band. Their bassist doubles with Season to Risk, their guitarist hails from the endlessly tacky grunge-metal act Glazed Baby, and their new drummer comes to us from Epic Records' resident failures Molly McGuire. Groundbreaking post-grunge acts like this should give an indication of what these combined noggins came up with for Starless. It's almost as believable as Sugar Ray and it rocks as hard as Soundgarden (who don't rock at all, in case you came here by accident)."

ShinerThe Egg[DeSoto; 2001]Rating: 7.4
"If there's a criticism you could level at Shiner, it's perhaps that despite the obvious attempts to diversify their sound, they still come off a little monochromatic-- their brand of precise, jagged rock can get a little numbing. Otherwise, Shiner are a pretty good bet if you're looking for some dark, rough post-grunge to accompany your allotted brooding time. Just don't come looking for sunshine. "

I give two thumbs down to PFM for the double use of "post-grunge" and the middle finger to yet another middle of the road PFM 7.4 rating for Allen Eply. I have 8 more fingers ( out of a possible ten, duh) to give to "Suburban Homes".

9 it is.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Eon McKai - v - Ian MacKaye : Written by David Dunlap Jr. for the Washington City Paper

A punk pornographer from L.A. has named himself after the DC legend.

Suddenly "straight and alert" has a whole new meaning to me. Maybe its no coincidence that straight edge kids and the porn community both embrace XXX. Sorry, the possible number of jokes on this subject are endless!

There are those who know a lot of useless crap about music and aren’t blessed with the skill to write about it gracefully (but we try our hardest anyway) and then there are people who know a lot of useless crap about music and not only are graced with the ability to write about it but they have a genius sense of humor to diffuse this knowledge through. David Dunlap Jr. and Andrew Earles are at the top of this list and to be fair I actually stumbled across this Eon verse Ian article at Andrew’s site first

Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno blah blah blah / Just Another band from the blah blah blah / Rating 7.3

Umm....huh. Just think in about a months time you can look forward to yet another new record from Acid Mothers Temple on Ace Fu Records. How do you know which one to get? Well the record on Ace Fu is just one 55 minute long track and it's a tribute to Gong. If that sounds like your personal idea of hell then my guess is neither of these recordings should be taken into your home. For others these two cds will be the ultimate excuse to purchase that beautiful hand blown glass bong you've always wanted.

To top off your Acid Mothers experience I highly recommend renting or buying the film "Space is the Place." (Sun Ra at his finest) For all of us who will never make it into an astronaut program this audio / visual combo will create space travel of an entirely different kind. Promise.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Indie rock's obsession with the clap

No not the sexually transmitted disease silly, the actual act of clapping. Hand claps are showing up on just about every new record I buy and now I am determined to make a list of as many indie rock hand clap songs (also if the word clap is in the title) as I ( with the help of you) can think of. A good portion of these will end up in my DJ set tonight.

So far :

Wolf Parade "Fancy clap" " You are A Runner" / Arcade Fire " Neighborhood #3" /Architecture In Helsinki "It'5" and "Do the Whirlwind" / Magic Numbers "Long Legs" "Love Me Like You" / The Legends "Call it Ours""Right On" "Nothing to be Done" ... most of their songs! / Beta Band " Dry the Rain" " Broke" "Easy" "Wonderful" " Simple" and God knows how many more /The Delays " Long Time Coming" Phoenix "Run Run Run" /Ponys " I'm with You" / Spoon " Sister Jack" "Back to the Life" "Merchants Of Soul" / The Most Serene Republic "Content was always my Favorite Colour" " Proposition 61" / S Magic Magicians "Cascade Express" / Fugazi " Public Witness Syndrome" / The Ghost "MewithoutYou's / am/fm "A Best Man" / The Rapture "Echoes" / Pilot to Gunner "Barrio Superstarrio" / Shins " Kissing the Lipless" / Concretes "You Can't Hurry Love" / Annie "Chewing Gum" / Pinback "Fortress" / Go! Team "Huddle Formation" / Black Mountain " No Hits" / Q and Not U " No Damage Nocturne" / Mary Timony " I Fire Myself"

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The beginning of the end

Back in June of 2002 the Europadisk record pressing plant had this to say after filing for chapter 11:

"Business is still not that bad," president Jim Shelton maintains, reporting that vinyl mastering and manufacturing remains "very strong."

Who are we kidding? Every week the need to produce cds and vinyl diminishes as downloading music continues to sweep the world. On Friday July 23, 2005 after 28 years in business, Europadisk officially closed it doors for good. For vinyl fans, labels, and bands around the world this is it...the beginning of the end to a product that for over half a century has helped to shape the music industry and defined these places we call record stores. Remember them? Enjoy them while you can because let's face it, with the death of cds and records comes a ripple effect which could turn these places into downloading kiosks and music accessory palaces…or in reality remove the need for them to exist at all.

I can’t even begin to count the number of once upon a time top notch record stores who have had to start selling hair dye, band shirts, and flavored rolling papers just to stay afloat. Not sure if I am remembering this correctly but I believe the small privately owned books and record chain Olsson’s in Washington DC almost went out of business years ago but the sale of Beenie Babies (during the BB peak) allowed them to climb out of their financial hole. Ugh. This the kind of reality ma and pa stores all over the world are facing.

For all of us involved in this dying part of the industry, maybe we should start sending resumes to Apple* / itunes or Starbucks who are already on their way to being the next big music industry moguls.

I wonder, do we get all the free coffee we can drink and free ipod with that collective selling of our indie souls?

* Ha ha, there was already an Apple records so in your face, find yourself another “record” label name. Then again knowing the money and power behind this mega-giant corporation I bet they could buy the rights to the name. Sigh.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Editors / The Back Room / Rating 6.0

A mere two days ago the DJ who spins before me sprinkled his set with not one but three cuts by Editors. I knew nothing of the band or the label Kitchenware to be honest but it was interesting to see/hear a relatively jaded indie rocker be really excited about a new band.( in all fairness, new to me) I wrote down the artist info to look up later (which I am just getting to now) and viola, Pitchfork happens to run a review.

Personally the last thing I want to hear at this point is another new band paying tribute to ________ (name your favorite 80’s band here) but people seem to keep buying Bloc Party records and the like so what do I know. All of the band names dropped in the PFM review are what every review of this band reads like: REM, Interpol, U2, Joy Division, The Walkmen and Echo and the Bunnymen, but what’s interesting is most of the other reviews LOVE Editors and consider them an improvement over dare I say, Interpol.(fear not: Editors lyrics are equally as mediocre and they may not wear suits but they do sport the classic all black look) Fans of this band all agree that “The Back Room” occupies an audio space more on par with mature songwriting of Elbow and Coldplay than just another new young band from England recreating the now over-abused Factory Records sound but none of this excites me. I have lost my patience for this genre completely and while bands like Maximo Park have managed to sneak in under the rug, it’s going to take a miracle to sell me on this sound again.

I would give this band a high-five out of ten fingers but the press beyond PFM leans more towards an 8.

Other reviews are here :

The Kitchenware Records site: (I know this is an indie label but check out their other bands and you tell me if you aren’t a little scared of the Spice Girls looking “band” called Sirens.)

Band site:

Thursday, August 04, 2005

VA / Everything Ends: Six Feet Under OST Vol. 2 / Rating 6.8

“As the most flawed of HBO's flagship dramas, "Six Feet Under" is both the most familiar and most difficult to take.”

Its bad enough that I am a music dork to the point of reviewing Pitchfork’s music reviews so I will bite my tongue and try not to cross into the world of TV obsessed loser as well. It makes me a little sad to have Six Feet Under called the most flawed drama by PFM when there have been many others (Carnivale!?!) but that would be another hyper-critical blog all together. Consider yourselves spared.

“On paper, it spends too much time on commercial, familiar adult pop and too little on edgy rock; in practice, the predictable songs hold up the best.”

I decided to track down a complete list of all the music used in every episode of Six Feet Under to see just how historically “edgy” they had been all along. There is an impressive amount of both known and lesser-known artists but from looking at this list there are almost none I would consider truly “edgy rock” in the traditional sense. (See for yourself here: ) For the most part it reads like a box set of music a tasteful but brooding 30-something might put together: lush down tempo electronica, a few timeless classics, on the cusp of darkness yet uber popular alterna-acts, top shelf world music, and a good half of the Astralwerks roster. It makes absolute sense to me that A) this collection appears via Astralwerks and B) the track listing is what it is. Maybe I need a better definition of “edgy rock” because I think to most normal average Joe TV watchers, this soundtrack walks the fine line between safe and out of their world as well as represents the music viewers have been exposed to all along. I would also think the average PFM reader owns in some form or another over half of the tracks on this collection. The decision to include exclusive tracks from big hitters like Interpol and The Arcade Fire* is a clever sales pitch to woo all kinds of 6FU viewers, the hip and those trying to be…as well as plain old fans of the TV show.

The only real problem I have with this comp in relation to the modern downloading world is this: you can download this entire cd from itunes for 12.99 but the actual cost of the cd is anywhere from a dollar to 5 dollars more. The bulky booklet should be 100x cooler than it actually is (stills from the opening credits to the show… eh.) and considering the track listing isn’t devastatingly great, the art would be the main selling point to a fan of 6FU. I imagine “Everything Ends” will more than likely be cherry picked by internet types looking to add a song or two but overall will pass on the whole concept of this being a complete and necessary package they must own. For those of you who only buy cds or records (myself included) and are huge fans of the show I have to say save your money and buy the DVDs. At least that is a complete package of audio and visual.

In the end I agree with the PFM 6.8 rating but for totally different reasons than Chris Dahlen suggests.

Dj Set

Hey gang,

I spin records during an overnight shift ( 3-6 am) on a local small indie radio station once a week. I have to keep track of what I play for the station's sake so since the list exists, why not post it. For the most part this is a pretty good look at what I am listening to right now; both new stuff and old favorites I have recently pulled from my vinyl collection.

I type this list as I am DJing so there might be a few typos. You should be used to them from me by now.


Suicidal Tendencies /Instutionalized/ Frontier
Municipal Waste /Hazerdous Mutation/ Earache
Agent Orange /Too Young To Die /Posh Boy
Cursive/ Sink To the Beat/ Saddle Creek
Shudder To Think/ Chocolate Dischord
Generation x /Valley of The Dolls /Chrysalis
Wilderness /Arkless/Jagjaguwar
Modern English/ Someones Calling/ Sire
S /100X / Suicide Squeeze
Lansing Dreiden / Metal on a gun / Kemado
APB / Talk To Me / Link Records
Goldfrapp / Ooh La La / Mute
T Rex / 20th Cent. Boy / Universal
Spoon/ They Never Forgot You/ Merge
Terry Reid /Silver White Light/ Astralwerks
Led Zep /Kashmir /Atlantic
Devendra Banhart/ I feel like a Child/ XL Recordings
Rolling Stones /Mothers Little Helper/ London
Black Mountain/ No Satisfaction/ Jagjaguwar
Suzi Quatro /Your Mama/ Columbia
Va/Florian Keller Presents Betty Barney / Mamma Perfect Toy
Betty Davis/ If I'm in Luck /Just Sunshine Records
Jennifer Gentle /I do Dream/ Sub Pop
Donovan/ Riki Tiki Tavi/ Epic
Joanna Newsom/ Book Of Right On/ Drag City
Caribou /Yeti/ Domino
Messer Chups /Crazy Price/ Ipecac
Pram/ Eggshells/ Duophonic
Swirlies/ Two Girls Kissing/ Taang
Guitar/ House Full of Time /Morr
Jane B./ S. Gainsbourg La Chanson De Slogan /Mercury
Blonde Rehdhead/ Melody/ Touch and Go
New Buffalo/ Recovery/ Arts and Crafts
Ladytron/ Sugar/ Island
Nanobot/ Stopstart/ TaDA!
Ms John Soda /Technicolor/ Morr
Bjork /Triumph of the heart /One little indian
Nada Surf /In the Mirror/ Barsuk
Red Thread /Sleepwalker /Badman
Yo La Tengo/ Tiny Birds/ Matador
Pavement /Greenlander/ Volume
Arcade Fire /Cold Wind /Merge
Ted Leo /Counting Down/ Lookout
Maximo Park/ Going Missing acoustic/ Warp
Beta Band/ Dry the Rain /Astralwerks

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Jamie Lidell / Multiply / Rating 8.5


Sometimes a review is like a recipe. Writer Mark Pytlik and I are both want to ideally recreate the same Jamie Lidell release for the reader only we have two slightly different ways of going about it. His recipe features Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, and Stevie Wonder while mine includes a heaping cup of Prince. Otherwise every single line PFM writes about this release would read like or actually better than I could ever hope to sum up a visionary throwback such as Jamie Lidell.

(As some of you know I am obsessed with music makeovers and for J.L to morph from Super_Collider to heavenly father of funk is truly remarkable on its own.)

Neo Soul? Is that what the kids call this? Well call it whatever you would like but “Multiply” is quality soul, funk and R&B to the point of perfection. I will never quite grasp how the hell PFM grade system really works but sure, an 8.5...I can dance to that.

On a side note (actually the PFM review sort of touches upon label identity) “Multiply”s release via the good people at Warp creates an interesting issue. I commend Warp for having the blessed skill of finding absolute talent regardless of genre but in the end I believe it may be the indie label connection that could weigh down the possible crossover success Jamie Lidell deserves. I don’t mean to imply this is a flaw on Warp’s behalf, I think this is the hurdle any indie label might face when trying to break an artist of this ilk. Had “Multiply” debuted on a major label with all their bells and whistles connected to the top 40 mainstream America, would Jamie Lidell be approaching superstar status rather than hipster flavor of the week or month?

People should be grinding to this on Soul Train. VJs on BET should be claiming Jaimie to be the savior of soul before playing his #1 video. John Legend should be co-headlining worldwide tours with him. I don’t mean to say that winning over the indie community isn’t enough but “Multiply” deserves to reach FAR BEYOND the confines of just a good Pitchfork review and their rabid followers.