Saturday, February 24, 2007

classic vintage video. Blur- "Chemical World" (1993)
Blur hanging out in the forest with the forest animals and doing their best to look real cute.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

girl you know it's NEW.
Winterpills- "Handkerchiefs" (record out on Signature Sounds, February 27) inspired by some of the best songwriters, Winterpills' hushed soft pop is like Galaxie 500 fronted by an uncorrupted Jewel.
Illinois- "Screen door" (record out on Ace Fu March 6). a choo-choo train of happy rock.
Thomas Lunch- "Tator tots and Robots" (record out on Hi Fi Alliance, February 8) Tator tots and robots. That's a pretty random combination. Minimal electro-spun quirkiness owing much to Devo.
myspace pick: Christian Williams- gothy country more brooding than Johnny Cash covering "Hurt."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Wintersleep: untitled (Labwork Music)
release: March 6, 2007
style: sorta epic indie noise rock
similar: Pedro the Lion, Lou Barlow, Elliott
rating: ****

The music from this Nova Scotia band isn't as dreamy as the name Wintersleep suggests, but this untitled (why?) effort does have it's fair share of etherealness. The band's interplay of guitars, bass and drums are anything but standard, taking on various complex patterns and an assortment of guitar effects, all at an easy-going pace. They are also skilled at being real quiet: "A Long Flight" begins with acoustic guitar and chorus-like background vocals before evolving into yet another great performance. -Kenyon
Thirdimension: Before the End Begins (Hidden Agenda)
release: February 20, 2007
style: unplugged
similar: Super Furry Animals, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
rating: **

A band really can't go wrong recording live and acoustic in an old church in Sweden. Thirdimension takes selections from its first two neo-psych pop-rock records and minimizes the instrumentation while getting heavy reverb. There are a few covers too, though "We're Not Gonna Take It" is hardly Twisted Sister, as it only borrows the chorus. For "Don't Fear the Reaper," Thirdimension gets the job done even though the song has been exposed enough in recent years. Fortunately, they put a twist on it by making it a medley with the Posies' "Dream All Day." "Sore Lips," and "This Time" are two standout originals due to fullness and harmonies. As much as it's nice to get intimate and focus on the basic structure of the songs, Thirdimension sounds more comfortable when they're plugged IN. -Kenyon

Richard Lloyd: Field Of Fire (double CD re-doing, Reaction/Parasol)
release: February 6, 2007 (originally 1987)
style: rock n roll, bar rock, pop-rock
rating: **

When records of big name artists are remastered, it's usually pointless because we've heard the music before. Then there's people like Richard Lloyd, who few people have heard about and who put out albums before CDs existed. For that reason I can understand why this double CD (one is the remastered--and better--original, the other is a "revisited" version) was issued. What irks me is that the guitarist of early New York punk band Television can't sing all too great, as his voice is pretty throaty (think Bruce Springsteen with a bad cold, although he's closer to Ian McCulloch on the opening track). Some of the melodies do better, notably "Keep on Dancin," "Watch Yourself" and "Black to White." You might then think of him as a working-class American man instead of one of the first punks. Surprisingly, Field of Fire doesn't sound too dated. But even in 1987, there were better things going on. -Kenyon

Friday, February 16, 2007

girl you know it's new.
Cornelius: "Fit Song". from Sensuous, out April 24 on Everloving.
breakthrough, mindblowing. you've never seen any video like this, ever ever. although the song itself is quite minimal. and yes, it's been five years since we've heard from the Japanese experimentalist.
If they don't listen to Al Gore, maybe the unconverted will listen to Snoop Dogg. Live 8, take THIS!

Al Gore announced a HUGE worldwide 24-hour event featuring concerts to focus on the threat of climate change, to take place July 7 when it will be mad hot. Line-up so far inclues Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dogg, Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, Duran Duran, Korn, Pharrell, the Black Eyed Peas, Enrique Iglesias (eh?), Faith Hill. The "Live Earth" concerts will take place in Shanghai, South Africa, Australia, London and cities to be announced in Japan, Brazil and the United States. This sounds a little inconvient.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Evil Dead the Musical
at New World Stages, 50th Street in NYC. seen February 10, Saturday 11pm.

The Evil Dead series of films had become more comedy than horror with Army of Darkness. So the next logical step? An over-the-top musical comedy with gore in front of a live audience. It's the kind of thing we might have heard years prior to it actually happening, but never thinking it would actually come to fruition (Freddy Vs Jason, anyone?). But, like it or not, Evil Dead the musical is now a large (and possibly, in time, integral) part of the Evil Dead cult following. Judging by the audience at the theater and reviews online, everyone appears to like it. And there really isn't much to dislike, unless you are devoted to the frightening, atmospheric early 80s horror of the first film. I'll certainly raise my hand to being a diehard of the more serious Evil Dead, and while I was skeptical and disappointed the stories had gone in a knowingly campy direction, I went to the show with as open a mind as possible and wasn't going to let the audience, which usually annoys me at concerts, get me down. Happily, the crowd never became an issue and everyone seemed to respect the show as well as understand all the references to the Evil Dead movies, the one-liners and the show's spoofing of formulaic horror films. One of the best things about the performance was that the story, more or less taken from Evil Dead 1 and 2, successfully tied together the two movies, something Evil Dead 2 itself wasn't able to do (you can probably look all that up on Wikipedia or something). Aside from that, the set design for such a smallish theater was rather impressive, complete with a cellar door on the floor and a talking moose head in the cabin where most of the action takes place. And let's not forget, this IS a musical, so, there were songs. Those songs were carried well by the actors, even when Ash and Scotty were singing "What the f*ck was that?!" (one of my favorites) after their girlfriends became taken over by demons. With the addition of the dead-on (sorry) jokes and the gore, blood and guts that mostly splattered into the "splatter zone" at the end, Evil Dead the Musical was an unusual, entertaining two hours that raises the question as to what an off-broadway musical can be. Wait for it...wait for it........groovy. -Kenyon

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll is out this week. They printed one of my comments. boing! the top 10 were hardly shocking, pretty much what was expected considering what past years have looked like. out of nearly 500 critics, i was the only one that voted for Elefant.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mas Rapido!: Pity Party (Parasol)
release: February 6, 2007
style: indie rock, indie pop
rating: ****

Pity Party is just what it sounds like. The band formerly known as Toothpaste 2000 (only one of the best names ever) wrote a record about being unloved, broken-hearted, sad, lonely and depressed. And they really pile it on through the 15 tracks, song after song. Happily, they have the hand-clapping songcraft to go with that, channeling and paying tribute to the Kinks, Teenage Fanclub and Neil Young. Fun times. -Kenyon
Dear and Glorious Physician: s/t (New Granada)
release: now?
style: Indie Rock
rating: **

While this band consisting of four siblings (two brothers and two sisters) doesn't stand out among any other rock bands I've heard lately, there's a familiar boy/girl vocal and a rugged guitar, bass and drum attack that I can't quite pinpoint. It's comfortable in the '90s indie rock era, that's for sure. Dear and Glorious Physician (which is, after Googling the name, also a book title from 1958) straddle punk and noise-rock, and there's some basslines worth moving to but they need to do more than dress in solid white outfits to get my attention cause the tunes aren't exactly doing it......awkward! -Kenyon
Light Yourself on Fire: s/t EP (Kiss of Death)
release: now?
style: Hardcore metal
rating: ???

Oh good, it's been a while since I listened to sh*t like this. And because band names with the words "die", "I", "kill" and "me" were getting exhaustive, it's, um, refreshing to hear a name like Light Yourself on Fire. This very brutal band, with growling vocals and heavy heavy guitars calls its style "power death" and they claim one of their influences was Joy Division. Really. -Kenyon
Monikers: Eat Your Young EP (Kiss of Death)
release: now?
style: old school punk just before punk got real popular
rating: ***

Thank you Monikers for restoring the idea that diy pop-punk still exists. In fact, the band (which includes the ex-guitarist of Discount) is straight out of 1993, and you wish you could be seeing them this weekend playing with Jawbreaker and Green Day at some little place like CBGB or the Continental. -Kenyon

Monday, February 05, 2007

David Lee Roth rejoins Van Halen. A Van Halen without Michael Anthony. dumb. we wait all this time and then they pull this shit. Anthony was the least significant member of the band, but come on! bets are on as to how long Alex and Eddie can put up with Roth till they get pissed off again.............Prince at Super Bowl half time show was hot. I liked the lights. He did a medley starting with an abbreviated version of "Let's Go Crazy" and ended with an abbreviated of "Purple Rain" with some other random music in between, including a cover or two. nah, sorry, no witty comments on this.

Friday, February 02, 2007

classic vintage video. Rick Springfield- "Human Touch" (1983)

what do you do when you wake up in the year 2016? you dance, of course!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Skinny Puppy: Mythmaker (SPV)
release: January 30, 2007
styles: Industrial, experimental, electronic
similar: Skinny Puppy
rating: **1/2

Practically a legend through its 20+ years, Skinny Puppy's bleak, statement-making music is definitely an acquired taste. Hell, I even tried to get into their less accesible industrial noise-art tracks by watching a concert video years ago but found myself satisfied enough with dance club favorites "Assimilate" and "Smothered Hope." On its 13th album, it's hard not to expect the same qualities for which SP is known. At the same time, it probably would not be a good idea to expect a replication from the late 1980s. Featuring lyrics inspired by recent experiences with manipulation and control as well as the same from "public figures," Ogre, cEvin Key and new member Mark Walk are hit and miss with the latest installment. Since the distorted vocals have been a defining characteristic of the band, it's tough hearing otherwise. When the vocals are relatively clean, the band is convincing. The vocoder, however, should have been left behind (especially in "Haze"), as it removes the seriousness of a serious band. Leave that for Daft Punk. "Politikil" is one such track with distorted goodness and segments of it is welcomingly old school. And as for those lyrics, when they can be made out, it's troubling. "Ugli" includes the repetitive line "Jesus wants to be ugly" before making noises and dying, while on the first track there's something about "your mother's pisshole" and being "the maggot's muscle." If the delivery and context of those lines were as strong as a classic like "man in motion going nowhere" or had a notable sound bite, I just might be compelled to interpret the meaning. Otherwise, forget it! -Kenyon