Meshell Ndegeocello, Rapid Fire
Pixies, Build High
The Pipettes, Judy
Mr. Gnome, Wolf Girls
Plastiscines, You’re No Good
Hess Is More, Go Go Go Go
Please Do Not Fight, I Will Not Forget
Polite Sleeper, So Serious
Devil Makes Three, Black Irish
The Pleasure Kills, I Want You
Primus, Hennepin Crawler
My Brightest Diamond, Everything Is in Line
The Prissteens, I Don’t Cry
Pre, So Jazzed
Zoe Boekbinder, Seven Times
The Prids, Sydney
Prints of China, Power Heavy
Firehorse, Baby Bird
Pretty Girls Make Graves, Speakers Push the Air
Kevin Devine, A Story, a Sneak
Puro Instinct, No Mames
Red Aunts, Hate
The Reaction, Right Now
Lou Reed, Sweet Jane
Quasi, Genetic Science
Puffy Amiyumi, Atarashii Hibi
Quitzow, Stay Away From John
The Do, The Wicked & the Blind
The Quails, Shine a Light
Rain Perry, The Compartmentalized Thing
Sports, Started So Tall
Radiation City, Phantom Lady
The Raveonettes, Forget That You’re Young
Juliana Hatfield, Don’t Wanna Dance
Amy Ray, Black Heart Today
Rad Cloud, The Spooky Movie
Melanie Devany, Walk a Mile
The Randies, Boys in Stereo
The Rapture, Confrontation
International Waters, 1994
Gemma Ray, Rosemary’s Baby Vs. Drunken Butterfly
Rainer Maria, I’ll Make You Mine
Gringo Star, Come Alive
Archive for December 2011
Meshell Ndegeocello, Rapid Fire
Classic female-led UK keyboard power pop. They are awesome live; it’s guaranteed. I will be sure to see them the next time they’re in town. Perfect melody on “Better Off Without You” gets this album off to a great start.
Synths make “I Want You” even better and give me thoughts of Siouxsie. “Summer Camp” is also heavy on the synths. It’s a good time.
And they don’t just have a track named after the band: There’s a title track, too. It’s good as well. The thing I am noticing is that the songs are all very Ting Tingy. “Last American Virgin,” “1988″: Just play the record, see them live, buy their stuff. There’s nothing else to say.
Keyword density just doesn’t work when you’re Sigur Ros. My keyboard doesn’t even have a lot of these characters. So this is a live album from London, and if you don’t know, Sigur Ros are from Iceland and have a woman who often sings but have nothing to do with Bjork or the Sugarcubes. They play this post-modern stuff that is hard to describe unless you know what post-modern sounds like. The tracks are all really long. That’s what you have to know.
“Svefn-G-Englar” has the woman singing and is pretty good. “Vid Spilum Endalaust” is more of a traditional indie rock song with the man singing. This might be the one for you.
If you like Tim Tebow, you’ll be disappointed with “E-Bow.” Not everything has to do with him, you know.
The other track I like is “Popplagid.” It’s about 15 minutes with male falsettos, and it builds and builds. If you’re into the ultimate in Sigur Ros, this is the one for you.
This album was a nice surprise. If Garbage were still around, maybe this is the route they would have taken. This would also be how Damone would do dreampop. You can hear what I mean on “10 Weeks,” which is a cross between the former’s “Vow” and the latter’s “Up to You”
“Permafrost” reminds me of some of Rocking Horse Winner’s better efforts. We also get male backing vocals that complement well. The accompaniment for “Small Streets” reminds me of the Cure and Chris Isaak. Vocally we get a duet here, and the man and woman harmonize perfectly.
No skylarkings are present on “Skylark.” This one features the man singing, and there’s tons of reverb to give one a gothic bit of pause. “Recognition” has a early ’90s modern rock feel to it. His backing vocals sound like John Strohm. The guitar sounds like Wish-era Cure.
The last track is “Knock ‘Em Deaf.” This time we have the woman’s voice done on reverb. A lot of this album embraces the mid-’90s, so if you can get your kid into it, you’re going to have an easy time bonding.
This is that noise stuff that people are always telling me about. It’s always easier to cover off-key singing with noise, the same way I use cheese and/or chocolate to cover up my miserable cooking. “School Glue” is an example of that, using female backing vocals to placate me and not notice that the lead singer probably is in the band because he can sleep with anyone he wants, whenever he wants.
More noise can be found on “Nerds.” I also hear some Pornos for Pyros, especially from the guitar toward the beginning of the song. A more haunting melody can be found occupying “Allergy Shots.”
“Thorn” makes me think of those bands with like 10 people who don’t even fit on the stage when they perform live. I guess they’re just really busy, though, because it seems like they only have five or six. I guess you need that many people to have a successful noise band. That or a toddler.
George Carlin once asked, “Where the fuck are all the zombies?” Maybe “Zombies” could have helped him with that. This one has the female backing vocals again, and I can really get into this one. The male harmonies remind me of the Mamas and Papas mixed with Bauhaus. Hey, I hear it.
The last track is Aphasia and is the obligatory “let the women sing” song. In this case, that seems to be violist Amy Cimini, because I don’t have any other information that says there’s another woman in the band. Of course I like this one best. It’s kind of like Sister Soleil with no electro beats but with traditional guitar instead.
These guys don’t seem to care whether people like them. They’re perfectly content with making music that they like, no matter how long the songs are or any of that stuff. They’re an indie-pop band here to do whatever they please. There’s not much else to say because the songs all sound about the same. They’re good, but they all sound the same. “This Fall” and “Seattle Bound” are good examples of what the band has to offer. The vocals are mixed a little better on “Two Seasons.” I really like this one. “Gloria” is not about Richie Rich’s girlfriend, but it’s still a winner. Kaila McIntyre Bader’s voice sounds like what Katie Johnson was going for on her recent recording. It’s a maturation process, I guess.
If you’ve been sitting around, waiting for a faster track, you finally get rewarded with “Home (Here).” The piano really helps, as well as guitars mixed higher than usual. If there were such a thing as indie prog, this would be it. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to smoke to really get into this, though. Just grab whatever’s lying around and give it a go.
The last track is “October.” It focuses more on the harmonies and some horns. This whole record is fine, but it doesn’t really stand out in a crowded sea of indie pop/rock/folk acts out there.
I never know what to make of seven-track records. EP? LP? Let’s call the whole thing off.
This sounds exactly what you would expect it to. The collaboration lets Dirty Projectors be a little weirder and gives something for Bjork to do while she decides on a good reason to cancel on her next Bay Area show.
“When the World Comes to an End” has the dude singing, with the requisite awesome harmonies backing him up. The verses are connected with awesome voice-based synths. He kind of sounds like the lead singer of Squeeze here.
You get more of this on “No Embrace” as well. The last track is “All We Are” and is the only Bjork track I like. The others are mostly Bjork tracks and certainly will give you what you’re looking for, but it’s as if it were a split record until then, when finally the best of Dirty Projectors and Bjork perform at the same time during the same parts of the same track. It’s not redundant. The other tracks are fine but it sounds like the components were recorded separately. (It’s fine if they are, but put more care into the mix so we can’t tell.) But “All We Are” is the exclamation point on what should have been a more exciting release.
Modern country folk music that focuses on the guitar is the best way to put it. “Box of Letters” has a pretty good tempo but is more Charlie Daniels than Neko Case. And I can’t resist a song called “BRB.” This one is pure folk, with little bits of Ida and Tami Hart strewn about.
Beth Orton fans will enjoy “Screendoor.” It has similar vocals as “Central Reservation,” but it’s not a direct lift. The Ericksons aren’t the Vaccines after all. You can hear a bit of Chrissie Hynde as well when she focuses more on speak-singing the vocals.
“Lie for You” is clearly a love song, but I can’t figure out for whom. I also like “How I Love You.” This whole album is kind of like for those who discovered Sheryl Crow but have grown up and moved on. Now, some real music.
Listening to this record makes me think of tons of stuff from several eras: Anne Clark, Petra Haden, Grey Anne. Zoe Boekbinder knows exactly how to make the kind of music I like, and she does it over and over again on these 12 darling specimens of songs.
“Hollow Bones” has a somber horn to add to the mix and is slightly folkier. “Serrated Spoon” is perfect with a mug of cocoa, a cat, and a ball of yarn. (Some assembly required.)
Jenny Toomey fans would like “Seven Times.” The end of “Breezewood, PA” sounds like the beginning of this song. If I were a DJ, I would end with that song and begin with this one. Oh, wait.
If you like storytelling in the Fiery Furnaces style, “Gravity” will do the trick. The chorus has a strangely rhythmic feel. It’s good, but it really stood out to me for some reason, as if the Andrews Sisters had shown up at the recording session.
“Bakery” reminds me of Regina Spektor, and the horn on this one is a little happier. This is probably the weakest of the good songs on the album, but it’s still amazing. The last track is “Anything Forever” and is another slower one, this time with strings. Musically it reminds me of Lisa Germano, but vocally it’s like all the rest. This would have been one of my Top 10 albums of the year, but it was released too late for me to add it to my list before the deadline.
Soley, Smashed Birds
Nous Non Plus, One Night in Paris
Now, Now Every Children, Not One, But Two
The Good Natured, Skeleton
Oh Land, Sun of a Gun
Primus, Hennepin Crawler
OK Go, Do What You Want
Agnes Obel, On Powdered Ground
Big Harp, Out in the Field
Tara Jane O’Neil, This Morning
O+S, Permanent Scar
Meshell Ndegeocello, Dead End
Beth Orton, Central Reservation
Operation Makeout, Current Events
My Brightest Diamond, There’s a Rat
OP8 Featuring Lisa Germano, If I Think of Love
Anna Oxygen, Primary Colors
Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Say No to Love
Peaches, Trick or Treat
Caitlin Rose, Learning to Ride
Pee Shy, The Greatest Show on Earth
The Peekers, Concrete Feet
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Queens
Jemina Pearl, After Hours
Park Avenue Music, Piet
Pajama Club, Tell Me What You Want
The Pastels, Classic Line-Up
Peggy Sue, Careless Talk Costs Lives
Juliana Hatfield, Bringing You Down Again/Stray Kids
Liz Phair, Turning Japanese
Gretchen Phillips, Peola
Melanie Devaney, Nothin In L.A.
Petracovich, Paper Cup
Rain Perry, The Compartmentalized Thing
Gringo Star, Shadow
Persephone’s Bees, Muzika Dlya Fil’ma
Picture Me Broken, Darwin’s Song
International Waters, I’m in Love With the Oni Gallery
Picnic, I’ll Be There
The Pieces, What You Want
Gem Club, Twins
Pizzicato Five, Love’s Theme