Mt. Eerie, Julie Doiron & Fred Squire, Flaming Home
Night Driving in Small Towns, Come & Tell Me
Nneka, Mind Vs. Heart
The No-No’s, Adorable Combustible
The New Pornographers, Up in the Dark
Marissa Nadler, Baby I Will Leave You in the Morning
The Newloud, Out of Control
Joanna Newsom, En Gallop
Nina Nastasia & Jim White, Late Night
Nazzcar Rain Delay, Imaginary Friends
Negativland/Chumbawamba, C is for Stupid
Kate Nash, I’ve Got a Secret
Meshell Ndegeocello, Slaughter
Neko Case & Her Boyfriends, Duchess
Archive for November 2011
Mt. Eerie, Julie Doiron & Fred Squire, Flaming Home
Katie Johnson, Pocket Full of Posies
Jared Mees & the Grown Children, Inaudible Song II
Kevin Devine, Between the Concrete & Clouds
Fun., We Are Young
Class Actress, Missed
Hess Is More, Burn
Dreamers of the Ghetto, Night Hawks
Mr. Gnome, House of Circles
Louise Burns, Chinook (Sing from the Valley of Doubt)
The Do, Gonna Be Sick!
The Lower 48, Golden Shore
Sarah Jaffe, Clementine
Anomie Belle, Bodies Offering
My Brightest Diamond, We Added It Up
It’s always nice to review another record from the same act because then you can see how the band has matured. It’s almost like when a band releases a new album.
At any rate, Girl in a Coma have done a lot of homework since their last effort. Although the sound is still distinctly them, as well as San Antonio, home of such luminaries as Naked Rob, there’s nothing to make you cringe.
You could even say the band knows how to adjust on the first track, “Adjust.” It reminds me of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, before they signed with a major. And before you forget where the band’s name comes from — it’s a Smiths song — get ready to enjoy “Smart.” It has that ’80s modern rock guitar, mixed with wee bits of Dashboard Confessional and Smashing Pumpkins. This shepherd’s pie of a song is a new instant favorite of mine. It puts the “pen” and the “us” in stupendous. Most songs can only do one.
“So” slows it down, but the song does well with it. The vocals are mixed superbly here. All the songs with short titles are the best. I also like “Hope.” It has drums that remind me of U2′s “New Year’s Day.”
“Sly” is the other track I recommend. It builds and builds over five-plus minutes, and then it’s done. Yet somehow it works.
It’s a she, not a band, but her band, like her, is probably from Canada. “Straight Line” sounds like three other CDs I’ve reviewed today. For those who aren’t here (i.e., not my cat), let me put it in other terms: She sounds like Julie Doiron or Caroline Smith. Better?
Danielle Howle and Blair Tefkin fans alike will like “Sleep Away the Winter.” You don’t have to sing like a girl or farmer’s market songstress to be proficient in the indie rock department, and this track is proof.
“Foxes” is a well-balanced track that defines Terra Lightfoot quite accurately. A subdued banjo peeks in and out during the four-plus minutes. I also like “Parking Lot.” It’s truly paradise.
The last track is “Creases.” It is stringier but otherwise like the rest of the tracks. In retrospect, maybe all the songs sound a little alike, but so what? At least they’re repeating a sound that works.
I know their fans hate it when I say it, but Colin Meloy, today’s James Taylor, is back with an EP. “E. Watson” is first and does what the Decemberists do so well: tell stories.
“Foregone” reminds me of the Jayhawks. Death Cab for Cutie fans will appreciate “Burying Davy.” That’s my favorite on this record. A treat is the home demo of “I4U & U4Me.” This sounds like James to me, and I do appreciate the Circle K shout out.
If you want something a little more country, give “Row Jimmy” a spin. The last track is “Sonnet.” I have no idea whether the lyrics actually are one.
Ha. Every time I see “noh wave” I giggle. But that is what they call this stuff. Proof that modern Japanese music doesn’t have to be J-pop, these guys gives us weird, brooding dream pop with progressive chords. “Queens” is like Cocteau Twins if they did prog rock.
“Reversal Crystal//Murder of a Spider” is very proggy. Good stuff for progtologists everywhere. (That’s keyword density right there, folks.) The other track I like is “A Star Over Pureland.” Wailing guitar and wailing vocals for your wailing souls. This song hits you like a shark attack. There’s not a lot of selling here. You’re either into that opera/prog sound or you’re not.
I used to work with this sweet old lady named Veronica Davis. Her son opened for The Devil Makes Three at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz. It was a favor to him I guess that they asked him to open for them (enough pronouns?), and so now I will return the favor on his behalf and review this record.
The Devil Makes Three are your standard banjo-based, hardly strictly bluegrass band, if there ever were one, with an edge. “Statesboro Blues” is a good introduction to the genre if you have no clue.
This is a live album (recorded at the Mystic Theater in Petaluma), by the way, which gives you all the proof you need that this band has actual fans. Similar to Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” there’s a large segment of the population that wishes things were like they were in the perceived good ol’ days, and that same segment loves shit like this. Give “Tow” a spin and reminisce about days that probably never existed, even if your grandpappy says otherwise.
“Graveyard” makes me think of what the Eagles would sound like if they had been a little bit country. I enjoyed “They Call That Religion” even if the song is just preaching to the choir. Actually, it’s much deeper than that, but with such a polarizing title, no one will notice.
You can get jiggy with “Black Irish,” which is probably racially insensitive, but those are the risks you take with puns. Actually, it’s one of the best tracks on here.
This act reminds me of Baxter: vaguely industrial with a female lead singer that doesn’t hide her British accent. “Your Body Is a Machine” reminds me a bit of Dubstar as well. So electronic Britpop it is, for you pigeon-holers out there. I love it. It’s not trippy, like Portishead. It’s much more like Lush.
“Wolves” is more ’80s in sound at the beginning, like Berlin, before regressing into Metro Station-type vocals. However, there are also parts that remind me of Men Without Hats’ “Moonbeam.” High praise, indeed.
Although songwriting isn’t generally the strength of these types of acts, “Prisoner” throws a bone to those who want mildly thought-provoking lyrics. You’re better off focusing on the music with this genre, though. That’s why it exists.
The last track is a remix of “Skeleton.” I prefer it to the original version. This one is for Republica and Sahara Hotnights fans. I know a few of those are left.
I’m pretty crazy about this one. I hope we get more of their stuff in.
It’s just a single. Standard modern indie rock fare focusing on a dude singing, especially in the chorus. It does the job of getting you excited, so here’s hoping I can hear a full-length to see whether there’s any creativity with this band. No obvious hooks, but the song flows well and belongs on most college radio shows. Oh, and it features Janelle Monae, who everyone seems to love. See? Now you care.