Archive for November 2008

Killola “I Am the Messer”

November 30, 2008

This is a refreshing take on a lot of early and mid-80s female rock ‘n’ roll, with a bit of mid-90s influence as well. Killola lead off with “This Is How the World Ends,” and it sounds like a Pat Benatar cover with Veruca Salt backing vocals.

“Strung Out on Sunshine” might be continuing the theme with a vague reference to “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & the Waves. I don’t know. The music sounds more like a Republica B-side, but the vocals again remind one of that Joan Jett ’80s style, or perhaps a more talented Courtney Love.

“Is This a Love Song” shows that this band can sound like any era’s best, with music reminiscent of both Pretty Girls Make Graves and The Go-Go’s. I didn’t even know that this was possible.

“Personal Graveyard” lets the band take on a sound a little more unique to itself, a real driving rock anthem. Add it all up, and you get a band that at worst is a guilty pleasure or at best gives you an excuse to grow a mullet so you can be cool when you see them perform live.

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Gringo Star “All Y’all”

November 30, 2008

A bunch of catchy tunes here. Gringo Star aren’t just a clever name. “All Y’all” offers 14 tracks of poppy hooks and mid-’90s alt rock guitars.

“Up and Down” has a driving Britpop sound. I can picture Edwyn Collins doing something like this. “TransMission” is a little whiny, but it has the same style. I guess really the entire album features this same presentation of wah wah and back and forth jangly guitar.

If you want some piano, then focus on the waltz called “All Day Long.” It’s pretty clear that Gringo Star want people to think of the Beatles when they put out tracks such as this one.

“Eve of Your Expression” has a Saturday afternoon John Cougar Mellencamp feel to it. Despite the songs having a similar makeup, they do have definite personalities.

Lou Reed “Berlin: Live at St. Ann’s Warehouse”

November 30, 2008

What can be said? It’s Lou Reed. The former Velvet Underground frontman pays homage to his former mates with a performance of “Sweet Jane” that’s very easy on the ears.

Like any live album from a legend, you have to find the songs that sound better than usual. A good example is “The Kids.” This song comes complete with crying kids in the background. Both parts of “Caroline Says” are good, but the second part showcases Reed’s voice at its best.

The title track is met with hoots and hollers (the good kind) as the piano plays its way into the song. Shorter than most of the tracks, it is certainly not without its substance.

Pick your favorite track from the original “Berlin” and listen to it played here, 33 years later. This album is as advertised, and that’s a good thing.

Episode 863 is up

November 30, 2008

Episode 862 is up

November 29, 2008

Episode 861 is up

November 28, 2008

Episode 860 is up

November 27, 2008

Elizabeth Willis “Elizabeth Willis”

November 26, 2008

The recording quality sucks ass. If you can get past that, this is a nice little earner, but it would be helpful if you were listening to this in the background so the distortion is not so noticeable.

Elizabeth Willis sings and plays the piano. Someone else drums and does the other stuff. If she can be a studmuffin at the guitar she could play at farmers markets. “4am” is a typical example of what she can do. Singing and piano-ing, with strings in the background. It’s not Tori Amos. It’s more contemporary than that.

“Thoughts” has an above-average chorus. The piano also reminds me of Tricia Concepcion. “(In) Love” is the opposite of Tomb Raider. This song sounds the most like a single, although this album definitely does not waste time on manufacturing radio-friendly songs.

Most of the songs have the same tempo, but “Blackbird” is a little faster. It’s not better, just faster. It reminds me of Emily Lord.

Episode 859 is up

November 26, 2008

Dead to Me “Little Brother”

November 25, 2008

Hey, it’s on Fat Wreck. It doesn’t mean what it used to, but you should still expect good things when something is from Fat Wreck Chords. Dead to Me have their Foo Fighters moments, such as on “What’s Wrong.” This EP is a something-for-everyone pseudo punk album.

“Don’t Wanna” starts things off with a driving song that sounds like a cover of a Japanese punk song. Like most covers, it is not as good as the original, and the problem here is that no original exists.

“Arrhythmic Palpitations” and “Little Brother” kind of blend into the background. Every time I listen to them I get distracted. And suddenly it’s “Ran That Scam.”

“Ran That Scam” is the best album. It’s not overly complicated, but it is easy to listen to and sounds like a hell of a lot of fun to play. It also has that Foo Fighters feel I mentioned earlier.