Archive for January 2010

Eels “End Times”

January 29, 2010

Is this Eels’ last album? It would make a lot of sense. If this record were a physical act, it would be breakup sex.
Sometimes you get glimmers of better times for Mr. Eels himself. (That’s Mark Oliver Everett to you, buddy.) “Mansions of Los Feliz” showcases his great storytelling ability. There was something special in his coffee that morning, and it wasn’t Novocaine.
“A Line in the Dirt” is a tired number — not tired meaning “overdone” but tired meaning “exasperated.” If you can handle something so depressing, it’s a great track. Plus there’s a line about pissing in the yard. There was no greater highlight in college for me than the first time I did that.
“Apple Trees” is an interlude spoken word. I love it when artists do this, because it’s a window into their world — their soul if you’re lucky. And one day when someone decides to do a mashup with it and The Orb’s “Little Fluffy Clouds,” you’ll get both references.
Unhinged is one of the more upbeat tracks. I really like this one a lot. The Doors-like organ really fills in the cracks, leaving the tambourine to simply be some other metaphor.
“I Need a Mother” is soul-baring. Some people broadcast their entire lives on Facebook. Everett is old school and does it through song.

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Episode 1288 is up

January 29, 2010

The Watson Twins “Talking to You Talking to Me”

January 28, 2010

The long-awaited record is finally out. I don’t know whether their album title is some subtle twin joke, or maybe I’m looking for something where there’s nothing, like when George Stephanopoulos inferred that everyone wore purple at the State of the Union address in a show of bipartisanship.
There’s no reason to mess with success, and leadoff track “Modern Man” is more of what you’ve come to expect from the duo. “Harpeth River” will make Portishead fans think of “All Mine.” It’s almost a ripoff of the song. It sounds more like a sequel, like Super Mario Bros. 2.
“Midnight” doesn’t just pay triple in the field. It sounds like Dot Allison is the guest vocalist. (We should be so luckily.) The backing vocals make this good song even better.
“Snow Canyons” slows it down and should be the final track. It’s the kind of song I hear right when the rain stops, so I might as well get my boots and take a walk to Jack in the Box.
“Tell Me Why” is a more mature sound for them, and I can picture this being placed on coffeehouse compilations from coast to coast. The drums are mixed a little high, but I think that’s intentional. The benefit of the doubt? That’s what I give the Watson Twins every day.

Episode 1287 is up

January 28, 2010

Episode 1286 is up

January 27, 2010

Seneca “Sweeter Than Bourbon”

January 26, 2010

A full-length that should have been an EP, this is a bit of a mess. You can sense passion in the songs, but you’re not sure why it’s there sometimes.
“Playing Fair” is a fair song. The chorus sounds like Sweetheart mixed with Guided by Voices. Or Mike Rutherford. It’s a great song to make out to.
“Clarity” is very unclear. We need these falsettos why? It’s flat right out of the gate. “Smile” is the same song. (It’s not, really, but it sounds the same.) The music is straight out of an overproduced U2 album.
Maybe they’ll do better next time.

Episode 1285 is up

January 26, 2010

Dead Man’s Bones “Dead Man’s Bones”

January 25, 2010

When your band is named “Dead Man’s Bones,” going with the self-titled album isn’t remotely cheating. Why try to be clever twice?
Fans of Siouxsie and the Banshees might enjoy this early-1990s chanting effort. Some tracks are heavier on synths, Depeche Mode style (“Pa Pa Power”). Others are just scary and have women crying (“Dead Man’s Bones”). Still others sound like old Velvet Underground (“Werewolf Heart”).
“Flowers Grow Out of My Grave” reminds me of a somber Tilly and the Wall song, although the particular track escapes me. I think it is because it uniquely sounds like a party song while being depressing at the same time. That’s one hell of a party.
“In the Room Where You Sleep” is another organ-heavy number deserving of being played a band named “Dead Man’s Bones.” It feels inspired by the final level of the original Legend of Zelda, yet it does not tread on the overdone 8-bit music revival one iota. Good for them.
“My Body’s a Zombie for You” could be a B-side for Bobby Boris Pickett’s “Monster Mash.” It has a backing choir that just might be the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children’s Choir, based on the cover art. I can get into this one.
If this were a wine and cheese pairing guide, I would pair this with some Potshot or other Japanese punk. I’ll let them duke it out as to which one gets to be the cheese. Maybe they can write a song about it.

Episode 1284 is up

January 25, 2010

Episode 1283 is up

January 25, 2010