Archive for June 2010
The Secret History, Our Lady of Stalingrad
Kathryn Calder, Castor and Pollux
Boyskout, You Act Strange
Fabriclive 51, Portishead/Machine Gun
Crazy Mary, Way Too Freaky
The Crazy Ivans, My Favorite Song
Cate le Bon, Digging Song
The Salteens, All We Want Is What You’ve Got
The Living Sisters, How Are You Doing
Crystal Castles, Fainting Spells
Black Tambourine, Throw Aggi off the Bridge
Undersea Poem, Come So, Morre So
Night Driving in Small Towns, Barstool
Horse Feathers, Thistled Spring
The Struts – Keep Your Hand Outta My Pocket
The Shocks – More Kicks
Gardening Not Architecture – If You Only Knew
12 Steps To Nothing – Bad Choices
Face To Face – Road of the Righteous
Vitamin Party – Over the Counter
Donnas – Don’t Wait Up For Me
The Uglies – Shakedown
The Bronx – False Alarm
Consumed – Something To Do
White Barons – Suicide Mission
Rancid – Born Frustrated
Whiskey Avengers – Leavin’ You
Teenage Harlets – Not Me
Eddie Haskells – Human Race
Electric Frankenstein – Fired Up For Action
Emanuel – Breathe Underwater
I reviewed last year’s incarnation of this, and it’s a privilege to get to do it again. Forty tracks is best described as “many,” but here are some highlights.
AgesandAges sound exactly like what I expect a Portland band to sound like. “No Nostalgia” triggers plenty of it, actually, as I think of all the hand-clapping and power-pop harmonizing I have heard over the years come out of the Rose Garden City, or whatever it is that they call themselves. I beg your pardon, but I promise nothing.
Deelay Ceelay does a synthy instrumental, “Tange Rine,” that has a 1980s vibe to it. It makes me want to wear a shirt with the collar turned up. Menomena are one of the bigger names on this comp, and “Five Little Rooms” is just as good as everything else they do. Some people go to 7-Eleven and buy Coke, so surely there are those who see this compilation and want to hear them, so there you are!
“El Ranchero Tejano” is just what you would like it to be, only better. Thanks go to paper/upper/cuts. ¡Uds. son la mierda! Surely that translates perfectly. I also like “Bodyblood” by the Angry Orts. They remind me of Staci Twigg.
Mean Jeans gives you the pop punk you’ve been waiting for with “Steve Don’t Party No More.” It’s half Ramones, half Hi-Fives.
“Boxcar Children” is Ioa’s contribution. It is part OMC, part Talking Heads. I hope the title isn’t a euphemism, because having 12 children in our modern society is far, far too many. Strength brings us “Marianne,” and although it’s not likely to be about Marianne Pillsbury, it’s still a great song, complete with synths and seductive lyrics.
Let’s say you had a jazz morning show. If you did, you would enjoy the Andrew Oliver Sextet. “Only a Quality Lime for Eric Gruber” is clearly an inside joke, but so what? I can play along. My-G provides the hip-hop with “Don’t Look Down on Me.” Transient does a lot of yelling on “Pythia Misunderstood.” Yeah, I can’t imagine why there would such a misunderstanding.
I love love love Peacock Dreams’ “Peacock Dreams.” Minimalist staccato percussion and Murmurs-style singing are all I need for a good time. A Weather are buried at the end with “Giant Stairs,” but this is one of the best songs on the comp. Stick around for this one.
They do a lot of long song titles, which can imply pretentiousness if you wish to infer it. Something. This slightly distracted record has a lot going for it. It’s somewhat dreamy and uninhibited and should make a lot of listeners happy.
“It Takes a Horse to Light a House” seems more like forced wordplay than wit, but the song itself is typical of the Bay Area sound. “Louise (I Live in a Fantasy)” reminds me of the White Stripes, although the drummer sounds awfully bored. (Wait, then it’s exactly like the White Stripes.)
They do know how to get to my heart, though. Two tracks are named after local highways, and of course I like them the best. “Oedipus Hex (Hwy. 1 North)” makes me want to get in the car and go to Sodhi’s Cheaper! in Half Moon Bay. The other is “Concrete Blonde on Blonde (880 South).” It’s less memorable but still fun.
This band reminds me of one I would see at the Starry Plough, as I struggle to stay awake at the bar and wonder when the last BART leaves Ashby. I can tell they are talented, but it’s just loud to me. Good for you, perhaps!
This run-of-the-mill power-pop record comes to you all the way from New Zealand, and that just might be enough to make it cool. “Kingmaker” reminds me of John Strohm. “No Magic” musically sounds like The Reputation, but of course here a dude is singing.
“Coal Town” is a little brighter than the rest and works best for those that struggle with the rest of the album. “Barbed Tongue” is a solid rock song that demands to be taken seriously. I’ll take it to the movies.
“Mariachi Stomper” veers off into Talking Heads territory, but I can dig it. This one rivals “Coal Town” in quality. All in all, these songs are too long for no reason, and nothing really jumps out at you. I love me some Kiwis, but this just isn’t doing it for me.