Puppies and Trains, I Know You’re With Me
Cibo Matto, White Pepper Ice Cream
Jenny Choi, Comfort Me
Olivia Broadfield, Happening
Cinnamon, Springtime of My Life
Margaret Cho, Intervention
Old Monk, Skullsplitter
Chop Chop, Escape
CocoRosie, Fairy Paradise
Audra Mae and the Almighty Sound, Old Italian Love Song
Class Actress, Love Me Like You Used to
The Clash, I Fought the Law
ZZ Ward, Last Love Song
Cocteau Twins, Violaine
Coralie Clement, Houlala
Jesse Thomas, Madeline
Club 8, Dancing With the Mentally Ill
The Coathangers, Sonic You
Black Bananas, Rtx Go Go
Cocktail Slippers, Gotta Crush
Cock and Swan, Remember Sweet
Jessica Jalbert, Wild One
Coco, Cutie Pie
Concrete Blonde, Close to Home
Woodpigeon, … And as the Ship Went Down You’d Never Looked Finer
The Concretes, Teen Love
Company of Thieves, Pressure
The Lovely Bad Things, You Done Messed Up
Colleen and Paul, Please Be Kind
Controller.Controller, Sleep Over It
Sharon Van Etten, Kevin’s
Comet Gain, The Fists in the Pocket
Cowboy Junkies, Sir Francis Bacon at the Net
The Kabbs, Down This Road
Christina Courtin, Mulberries
The Corner Laughers, Thunderbird
Grace Woodroofe, Oh My God
Corpus Callosum, The Siblings Greely
Cotton Jones, Somehow to Keep It Going
Cate le Bon, Fold the Cloth
Saskia Crescentia, Swinging Swings
The Cribs, Victims of Mass Production
Big Deal, Distant Neighborhood
The Curious Mystery, Hot Port
Crazy Mary, Orgasmic Annie
Archive for March 2012
Puppies and Trains, I Know You’re With Me
I guess before she was a solo artist but now is leading a band. I’m not clear as to whether her songwriting is getting any better, though. “My Friend the Devil” is a catchy tune, but the lyrics are a little too cliched for me. That I even noticed the lyrics is not a good sign.
“Annie Get Your Gun” is better, especially if like slower songs. If you want a waltz, “Old Italian Love Song” is as easy as one-two-three. This track is slightly more melodic as well, evoking thoughts of Neko Case.
The slightest of rockabilly can be heard in “Climb.” There are a lot of different styles on this album, perhaps to see what sounds the Almighty Sounda are capable of. The last track is “Two Melodies.” It’s an acoustic, slow song, and the songwriting here does get a little better. It’s all coming together for Audra Mae, et al. The next album should be the one.
I’m having trouble classifying this balladeer. She’s a bit like Sheryl Crow, and her Kentucky roots show from time to time. All her songs are really slow. The record is mixed a bit poppy, but it doesn’t seem fair to put her in the same class as Taylor Swift, because she is a better songwriter.
Also better is “Better Geography.” I’m not afraid to say I like “Brave” as well. “Back to Fighting” and “Madeline” round out the highlights of this album.
Her name rings a bell, but I can’t figure out why. Sharon share alike, I guess. Typical of Jagjaguwar singer-songwriters, she has a strong voice with just bits of musical accompaniment. “Give Out” is a good example of this.
Another pretty display of vocals can be found on “Kevin’s.” Absolutely breathtaking singing quality goodness here. Would you like another descriptor? How about scintillating? Great stuff.
Slower among a slew of slow tracks is “All I Can,” a great Laura Gibson impression. I also liked “Magic Chords” and “I’m Wrong.” She sure does sing a lot about herself.
Some fun tracks here if you’re into sleepier, stronger female artists.
Let’s just skip the formalities: Pink Mink should open for Wild Flag when they go on a nationwide tour. That’s where they belong. I bet they’re upset that the Runaways movie came out because now everyone thinks they’re just copying them, but it’s obvious they’ve been at it for longer than that.
“Earthquake on the Loose” has similar guitar to Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy” and David Bowie’s “Modern Love.” Vocally, there is a definite Pat Benatar/Joan Jett vibe. If you want something a little slower, as in a ’60s vibe, “End of the World Delight” is for you. Not generally crazy about namedropping, but you get to hear about Jett, Lydia Lunch and John Waters movies. You get license to do that when you cut a record, so who am I to say you can’t do it?
Fans of Pretty Girls Make Graves will like “Seekin’ Scott Seekins.” This one is a lot of fun. The other track I like is “Shot Down.” It’s a straightforward rock song. Gimme a beer.
What an absolute treat. Some of my favorite acts have been on Mint (Operation Makeout, Neko Case, Pansy Division, etc.). Although none of them are on this retrospective, we still get great tracks from the New Pornographers, Cub, and Huevos Rancheros. Here are the highlights:
- The Pack a.d. sound like the Quails on “Sirens”
- Vancougar sound exactly like their name (meow!) on “Distance”
- Bella is a poppier version of Vancougar (more synths, better backing vox) on “Give It a Night”
- Immaculate Machine’s lead singer sounds a bit like Neko Case on “Jarhand”
- P:ano is a country version of Suddenly, Tammy!, and “Pure Evil” is anything but, unless sweet melody leads you astray
- The Organ is appropriately named and is half Siouxsie, half Kim Wilde, on “Brother”
- Young and Sexy have appropriate male-female vocals and sharp lyrics in “The City You Live In Is Ugly”
- Volumizer is a rock ‘n’ roll good time and makes me wish I could change my name on “I Promise You, Thomas”
- The New Pornographers’s best song ever — EVER — is on here (“Letter From an Occupant”) and gives you a chance to hear Neko Case in all her awesomeness
- Carolyn Mark’s best is on here as well (“Edmonton”) and is folking amazing (although the melody is a little too similar to “American Pie” to be a coincidence)
- cub is cub, as they always are, on “New York City” so not much else to say about that awesomeness
All the songs are good, and most feature piano and tend to have power-pop sensibilities. That’s Mint in a nutshell, so of course that’s how it is here, too.
I wonder whether these guys are inspired by Black Grape, because, well, that would be pretty clever. I’m going to take that liberty. There are a lot of similarities between the two. It’s odd, though, because you would never eat just one grape, yet how often do you eat more than one banana? These guys are musicians, not pedants, so I will just have to move on, I guess.
“It’s Cool” sounds exactly like the cover art. The whole album does, really. Jennifer Herrema even sounds like a cross between Shaun Ryder, Don Henley, and Mick Jagger. And I don’t mean a female version of them. I mean, she sounds like them. This band has no reason to become kind of a big deal.
If you want something with a little more soul, “Acid Song” gets the job done. There’s a wee bit of estrogen in this song, but nothing too noticeable. I think my girlfriend thinks these are all dudes.
I really like “RTX Go Go.” It reminds me of Len. Remember them? This song really steals my sunshine. It’s odd, because when Damone got shitty, it was when they tried to do this sound. They must have just sucked at it, because Black Bananas does it right.
“Rad Times” probably sounds good live. In fact, this could serve as a theme of sorts. Can’t you picture them playing this at the beginning of every set? I also like “Foxy Playground.”
If you liked the Party Posse, you’ll like “Nightwalker.” The same vocal effects are used, and even Milhouse can be sexy then. This is definitely a good album for hipsters that still wear trucker hats even though they “know they’re not cool anymore.”
Birds & Batteries, The Machine & the Vampire
Bettie Serveert, Sunday Morning
Puppies and Trains, Behold a Pale Puppy
The Black Angels, Bad Vibrations
Bjork, Vertebrae by Vertebrae
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Theme From 45 Eugenia
Black Box Recorder, Child Psychology
Blake Babies, What Did I Do
Blonde Redhead, Ballad of Lemons
Bitesize, I Forgot My Mantra
Young Magic, Sparkly
Zoe Boekbinder, Serrated Spoon
Blondie, The End The End
Olivia Broadfield, Push
Blue Skies for Black Hearts, Ambition
Old Monk, Sacred Birds
Bosque Brain, Train Song
Misty Boyce, Slow Burn
Elk Bell, All Fall Down
The Breeders, Full on Idle
Brilliant Colors, Short Sleeves at Night
Brassy, Work It Out
Big Deal, Mai Joy
Bratmobile, You’re Fired
Basia Bulat, The Shore
Hindi Zahra, Our Soul
Kate Bush, How to Be Invisible
The Butchies, Not Like Mine
The Lovely Bad Things, I Just Want You to Go Away
Camera Obscura, Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken
Cadallaca, Fake Karaoke Machine
Tigertown, Still Breathing
Call and Response, Misty Moon
Cat Power, Cross Bones Style
Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps, Strong Shoulders
Carissa’s Wierd, The Piano Song
Yael Meyer, Shed Their Fear
Catatonia, Sweet Catatonia
Care Bears on Fire, Heart’s Not There
Neko Case, The Needle Has Landed
Chairlift, Make Your Mind Up
I’ll admit my ignorance of not knowing a thing about Justin Robinson. Apparently he came to power as part of Carolina Chocolate Drops, a band name that’s hard to get away with. In any case, on tracks such as “Bright Diamonds,” you get some folky, stringy stuff with female backing vocals. It’s very good singing, writing, and music with none of the pretense you tend to hear these days.
“Butcher Bird” is fine. I really like “Nemesis or Me!” The strings are similar to Julie Choi’s “Sorry Song,” although the melody does unfortunately remind you of Plain White T’s “Hey Delilah” from time to time.
A good story accompanies “Vultures.” Musically this would work better in a rockabilly style. It sounds kind of restrained as is, especially the drummer, who seems poised to go off at any moment but can’t because of how the song is composed.
“The Phil Spectors” is more accessible, commercially. The vocals are mixed a little bit higher, and the strings don’t compete with the rest of the song. Although I wouldn’t expect to hear it on a Top 40 radio station anytime soon, this would sneak into a Triple AAA format fairly well.
Dragons Power Up!, Educate Her Hair
Azure Ray, Nothing Like a Song
Neverever, Baby Oil and Iodine
Zee Avi, Bitterheart
Au Revoir Simone, Through the Backyards
Hindi Zahra, Beautiful Tango
Audrye Sessions, Nothing Pure Can Stay
Babes in Toyland, All by Myself
Liftoff, Kool It Man
The Bad Plus Joined by Wendy Lewis, Barracuda
Baby Guts, Rum and Coke
Big Deal, 13
Bambara, Snakes in Our Hair
Olivia Broadfield, Coming for You
Jessica Jalbert, Daniels
Bang! Bang! Eche!, (You + Me) As Thick as Thieves
Bardo Pond, Just Once
Sumner Brothers, Big Rock Candy Mountain
Beat Happening, Teenage Caveman
Bat for Lashes, Horse and I
Damn Handsome and the Birthday Suits, Incredibles
The Bears of Blue River, Tickled Pink
Belle and Sebastian, Act of the Apostle
Axelle Red, Elle Est Tout Pour Lui
The Anthemeers, Stray Dog
Belly, Slow Dog
Best Coast, When the Sun Don’t Shine
Claps, Final Time
Ben + Vesper, Honors
Old Monk, Telephone Bones
Be Your Own Pet, Spill
Bikini Kill, Rebel Girl
Voltaire Twins, Romulus
The Bird and the Bee, I’m a Broken Heart
Bis, Popstar Kill
Phenomenal Handclap Band, Following
Big Tree, October