Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sprites: Modern Gameplay (Darla)
release: September 18, 2006
styles: Cutey indie pop inspired by 1980s culture
similar: Barcelona, March records, Small Sins, Tullycraft, Papas Fritas
rating: ***1/2

Like Sprite soda, Sprites are bubbly. Oh good one! high five! But seriously, folks, this is some sweet innocent indie pop with bops of electronics from ex-members of Barcelona. Except for the song about blogs, called "I Started a Blog Nobody Read." A lot of us can identify with this, it hits close to home. It's real sad when no one reads your blog. Going through the rest of Modern Gameplay, it's apparent that Sprites are more about the '80s than anything else. The best thing is that it's not obvious, they don't talk about cliche things like hairstyles and clothing. The title track refers to video game systems back in the day and "Me and the SYSOP" is about system operators and BBSs. I can identify with that too. -Kenyon

Chris Van Cott: Happy Again (self-release. local!)
styles: happy posi singer songy lite rock
rating: ***

Chris Van Cott doesn't want to grow up (good!). On the record's cover, he's on a swing, looking back and smiling. He could have written today that fan letter he has to Michael Jackson on the back of the cover. His third solo record is just as solid as the other two and full of fun-in-the-sun acoustic-based slices of his life. Whether uptempo or ballady, Van Cott knows what he's doing. If the countries at war would just look to the music of CVC, there'd be peace! -Kenyon

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Heller Mason: Minimalist & Anchored (Silber)
released: September 2006
styles: country slowly indie rock
similar: Mark Kozelek, Band of Horses, Beachwood Sparks, Pale Horse and Rider
rating: ****

The vocals of Heller Mason's main person, Todd Vandenberg, are tearjerkingly soft and weepy. It leads the way for M & A's thoughtful country-esque slowcore, which measures up to similar artists any day. The cello, piano and trumpet that is scattered over the record fleshes out the mature lyrics and comforting acoustic guitar. Apt for campfires at 1am, or quiet mornings in your kitchen in the country at 5am. -Kenyon

Black Happy Day: In the Garden of Ghostflowers (Silber)
release: September 2006
styles: experimental
similar: Handsome Family, the Liars' They Were Wrong
rating: * 1/2

One of the stranger records of the year. Black Happy Day--members of Stone Breath and dream-gothics Lycia, go from vocal exercises to a medievel version of Beat Happening within the first few minutes, burning with self-indulgence. The third track, called (gasp!) "Whore," features disembodied vocals atop sounds delivered straight from an old sci-fi film, while wierd ones such as "A Lyke Wake Dirge" are just a mystery, with an Asian-music banjo and the many vocal efforts of unusual baritone Timothy Renner. A challenge and a half. -Kenyon

Robin Guthrie: Everlasting EP (Darla)
release: September 18, 2006
styles: instrumental ethereal
similar: early Cocteau Twins, later Slowdive
rating: ****

You can yearn for the Cocteau Twins getting back together or you can immerse yourself in the lastest from visionary member Robin Guthrie, who, on this supplement to his LP released earlier this year, provides us with another work of sheer beauty. His trademark guitars shimmer, sparkle and fade. Dreamy swirlyness is all over the place. -Kenyon

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

girl you know it's new.

Scissor Sisters: "I Don't Feel Like Dancing". awesomely awesome Bee-Gees-esque. record out today. date in New York sold out. son of a bitch.
Okkervil River: "The President's Dead" (single out in December on Jagjaguwar) I've seen the name Okkervil River many times. And I always want to pronounce it "Overkill River." Not that I think the music is overkill, but because I don't read good. In fact I have never heard the their music, until now. this is a song about a President being dead. new york dates with the nite: October 14, 15 - Bowery Ballroom.
Goes Cube - guys, change that press photo on myspace and make yourselves look tougher! Goes Cube song number 30 kicked my ass twice and stepped on my foot and then i saw the video for song 26 with the flying fish and i was all like WHOA! new york dates with the nite:

9/26 with You Say Party We Say Die and The Blow at Sin-e
10/16 with Valient Thorr and The Giraffes at Trash
11/2 CMJ, The Delancey
Hedley- pop-punk band released this junk today on Capitol. oh, those major labels. can you even take this band seriously? oh i better relax, i mean, i shouldn't take them or myself too seriously. it's all about having fun, you know!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Classic vintage video
Simple Minds: "Alive and Kicking" (1985)

Thanks to "Don't You Forget About Me" (also a pristine video in its own right), other hits by Simple Minds are largely forgotten. The positive-minded "Alive and Kicking" is next in line of their hits, and features some pristine (my new favorite word, sorry) landscape. You can't go wrong with waterfalls either. Only thing is the bassist standing on the edge of cliff makes me nervous. At the end, they're stuck on an island.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Professor Murder: Professor Murder Rides the Subway EP (Kanine)
release: July 25, 2006
style: funkie anti-post punk
similar: LCD Soundsystem, !!!, The Rapture
rating: ***1/2

Other reviews can mention the cowbells. The real highlight is that there's no guitars. Professor Murder of NYC (of course!) is so fantastic with the multitudes of percussion, funk bassy bass and a little synth that the guitars aren't missed. Dance, dance dance. -Kenyon

Planes Mistaken for Stars: Mercy (Abacus)
release: October 3, 2006
styles: loud rock
rating: **1/2

PMFS was smart moving to Denver. Aside from never having to drive across the country to tour, they got out of their frustrating suburban town. The angst from that town stays with them. A pounding of hardcore, post-hardcore, metal and emo, Mercy was at first an engima, in part due to the scruffy, unintelligible vocals. By track number six, something pulled me in. The music still doesn't make any sense to me--the vocals, the riff-roaring guitars, and the unidentified song structure all have something off-kilter about them. But there is something here, if you search. -Kenyon

Tim Williams: Merchant Heart EP (Dovecote)
release: September 22, 2006
styles: Soft Indie Rock
rating: ***

"Out There," the last song on this quiet EP, is a demo recording that most everyone can identify with. "We run to wait in line and drink to pass the time...we sit in cubicles and wait for dust to fall we try to make our lives worthwhile" and so on. The spacious guitars and keyboard and Tim Williams' softy vocals provide shelter from the storm. -Kenyon

Katamine: Lag (Tinstar Creative Pool)
release: ???
styles: acoustic singer-songy
rating: *1/2

The sparse instrumentation (mostly acoustic guitar, which starts to feel repetitive) carries this record, while the vocals feel sleepy and held back. What is this? We need more passion here. Or something. -Kenyon

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Brother Kite: Waiting for the Time to be Right (Clairecords)
release: September 12, 2006
styles: dreampop with some Pet Sounds
similar: Dirty on Purpose, Fleet Foxes, Brian Wilson, High Water Marks
rating: ****

I don't know if vocalist Patrick Boutwell is making a conscious effort to sound like Pet Sounds-era Brian Wilson or he just naturally sounds that way. Either way, he's doing a fantastic job of it, while re-inventing the Brother Kite's ethereal rock. Waiting for the Time to be Right is a big step up in production and songwriting for the Rhode Island band, who on the debut were satisfactory as one of many early 90s shoegaze emulators. It's scary sometimes how much the vocals resemble Brian Wilson. The solid guitars and prominent percussion, however, keep the uplifting songs anchored in atmospheric modern pop. A few selections, such as "Hold Me Down," is less Beach Boys and more driving indie rock. Waiting remains consistent even through the eleventh track, which is bursting like a neo-psychedelic firework. -Kenyon

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pretenders getting acknowledged on VH1 Classics Decades Rock Live, broadcast October 20. includes guests Iggy Pop, Shirley Manson, Kings of Leon (blech?) & Incubus (blech). Incubus and The Pretenders duet on "Message of Love." noooooooo! hold on i'm not done yet....nooooooooooooo! what i want to know is what members of the Pretenders will be there aside from Chrissie Hynde. werd.
Built to Spill . all you people like Built to Spill. there's nothing bad to say about Built to Spill.

Oct 3 Warsaw Brooklyn, NY
Oct 4 Irving Plaza New York, NY
Oct 5 Irving Plaza New York, NY
Oct 6 Irving Plaza New York, NY
for the 3 fans of the Black Crowes who read this blog: now on tour, two members suddenly departed, new record due in 2007. "She Talks to Angels" still a great song.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

kenyon will be in room 3.
the last few seconds of this video making fun of commercial radio is the most funniest.

Stereogum has the same blog ad as advance copy. werrrrrrrrd.
girl you know it's new.

Starsailor- "In the Crossfire". record out august 22.

Tokyo Police Club- "Nature of the Experiment". record out October 10 on Paper Bag. killer guitar and bass action. dates with Enon and Art Brut.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

concertos in autumn are really hot. just a sampling.

CM Schmay Oct 31-Nov 4
The Flaming Lips. where the wild things are.
Dead Kennedys playing CBGB...without Jello Biafra. LAME. hey, anything's better than the New Cars.
Nitzer Ebb. join in the chant. like at the club back in the day.
Def Leppard and Journey added dates to their long tour. due to overwhelming demand!!

who's opening?

Mika Miko (kill rock stars) opening for the Gossip/Erase Errata
Monsters Are Waiting opening for She Wants Revenge/Pretty Girls Make Graves


Friday, September 08, 2006

Classic vintage video.
Fleetwood Mac- "Hold Me"
Because it came out in 1982 and fit right in with videos from the Police and Duran Duran, there was no indication for first-time listeners that Fleetwood Mac was already a veteran classic rock / soft pop band. With luscious harmonies and tickly piano, "Hold Me" was nearly new wave and became a staples of the early video era with its use of mirrors and desert sand.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

girl you know it's new. video.

Kooks: "Eddie's Gun" from Inside In/Inside Out, October 3 on Astralwerks. very British rock n roll. song too short. October dates in New York already sold out! quite the buzz band.
Kasabian: "Empire". record out now. big-budget, expensive-looking art direction (quicktime) (windows media)
Mountain Con: "The Silver Age". band I just heard of today.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Latterman: ...We Are Still Alive (Deep Elm)
release: August 22, 2006
styles: Positive Punk
similar: Against Me!, Lawrence Arms, Hot Water Music
rating: ****

For a while, it seemed like Latterman wouldn't ever be able to continue the momentum from the first full-length. It was probably the best record released from a Long Island band in 2002, and after a hiatus it looked like the local band wouldn't get the recognition deserved. Since reconvening, Latterman has never sounded better on ...We are Still Alive or on the second album released only a year ago. Now on respected label Deep Elm (as of this typing, Latterman is on the website's splashy page), their irresistable anthemic do-or-die posi-shout-along-punk can reach hundreds more disaffected youth who just want to have a good time. -Kenyon

Some Action: The Band that Sucked the Life out of Rock n Roll and Killed itself in the Process (Gigantic)
release: October 3, 2006 (the future!)
styles: garage rock 'n' roll punk
similar: the Stooges, L.E.S Stitches,
rating: ***

Wild, unruly old school rock n roll from New York City that knows its place in music. The "ballad" is a nice break from the other standard punk punches here. Might be more fun live. -Kenyon

The Shut-Ups: The Stud Album (Fraudulent)
release: ????
styles: Pop-Rock
similar: Barenaked Ladies, Blotto
rating: *

On the surface the Stud Album is plain, friendly pop/rock from some regular guys. Below surface, it's condescending (hence the frontman's name, Don Condescending) and not very good at being suggestive. "But I'm a Sexxor and I'm gonna get my way now. Cuz nothing wets her like naivete, she smells her prey." Let's assume the Shut-Ups have a tongue in a cheek. ps how'd you get my address? -Kenyon

Sunday, September 03, 2006

recently viewed.

House of Wax (2005) Cringe-inducing gore and violence, above-average special effects for a horror film. You first have to sit through the quiet, stagnant first half before the action begins. worth $7

Skeleton Key (2005) Voodoo? Hoodoo. Curiosity will get you into major trouble down South. Takes a little thinking to put the pieces together once you get to the surprise twist ending, which is not a happy ending for the lead character. worth $6

Near Dark (1987) There are numerous factors that make Near Dark unlike other vampire films. One is that the word "vampire" is never used. worth $8

Date Movie (2006) Hopefully this wasn't complete career suicide for Alyson Hannigan. She's way too good for this huge pile of trash. Congrats if you can sit through the whole thing. The jokes (if you can call them that) must have been written by a third-grader. Date Movie's (if you can call it a movie) only value is that it's evidence of just how bad Hollywood comedies have sunk. Also, I think we can all agree that anyone else can do a better impression of Napoleon Dynamite. God help us. worth $0

The Hills Have Eyes (unrated version, 2006) One of the few remakes that surpass the original. Freaks for gore won't be disappointed after getting through the uneventful first half. Intense. worth $9

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) The problem is that the mutants are not mysterious and don't look or behave like mutants. $3

Hide and Seek (2005) The surprise twist ending isn't all that obvious. A few loose ends that never tie together prevent this psychological thriller from being complete, which is probably why it got a lot of bad reviews. worth $5
yes, this DOES suck. what internet stations are similar to woxy (particularly the vintage music) that don't have pop-up ads and commercials? i need a new station for when i'm at work.

Friday, September 01, 2006

TRS-80: Mystery Crash (One Cell)
release: August 1, 2006
styles: Cool electronic
similar: Decomposure, Ratatat, ISAN

rating: ****

TRS-80--named after an early computer--formed around 1997, when big beat was big. By the following year, they got a gig with Death in Vegas. And like Death in Vegas, it's refreshing to hear that this Chicago trio has gone on to explore an atmospheric, darker percussion-driven side of electronic. Mystery Crash is one of the few electronic records this year so far that doesn't feel like someone randomly pressing buttons. It has a consistent, urgent mood made possible by non-intrusive beats and dazzling synth. One such example is the Orb-influenced "I Have Friends," which has a female speaking role reminiscent of the Orb's "Little Fluffy Clouds." Aside from this record, TRS-80 has a whole resume of accomplishments ranging from music in television ads to a date with Sisters of Mercy. Easily one of Chicago's best kept secrets. -Kenyon