Braid - The Age Of Octeen
Finally, the third and final Braid album to be reveiwed for quite sometime. I'm sure you're glad. If Frankie Welfare Boy Age 5 was scraps, bits, and pieces, and Frame and Canvas is the more mature and balanced effort, then The Age Of Octeen is the stepping stone between the two. The songs on this album more fleshed out than on the former, yet still lack the level of craftsmanship that is more indicative of the latter. For you perusal: "American Typewriter".
Fischerspooner - #1
I'm not a big fan of electronic music, but I'm open to it as there are bands/albums that will interest me from time to time. Fischerspooner are comprised primarily of Warren Fischer and Carrie Spooner (get it?) and a host of guest vocalists and musicians to round out the sound. Their sound is influenced heavily by Depche Mode, Kraut-synth rock (Kraftwerk, etc), and 90's electronica. If you liked new wave, you'll dig these guys. I'll admit I liked a lot of this album myself. To get some of the Depeche Mode love, check out "Sweetness". For a real treat, see how an utterly filthy and disgusting song about constipation ("Megacolon") can be one of the most stylish, suave and cool songs you've probably heard this year.
The Hitmen - Aim For the Feet/Torn Together
This reissue of The Hitmen's only two albums together one one CD should probably have been left unissued. Maybe that's a tad unfair, it's not really that bad, there's just nothing overhwelmingly interesting, special, or redeeming about it. They were an early 80's band that bare a slight resemblance to Elvis Costello but, don't make any mistake, they are no where in the same league as him. Submitted for your disapproval: "Private Eye".
Les Savy Fav - The Cat And The Cobra
These guys are a pretty big deal among the emo kiddies so I thought I'd check out their 1999 album and see what all the big fuss about. As it turns out, it's pretty standard emo fare yielding few surprises, much less songs that are worth a damn. It's their first album, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and wait until I've heard some of their later material before I pass a final judgment, but as for now, I won't be in a rush to hear more anytime soon. This song had some promise though, "The End".
Level 42 - Level Best
The title must be ironic. Ok, I'm being harsh again. They are a technically capable band but they lack anything more than that. I'd much rather listen to some kid screaming his guts over three chords who means it than a band of "professional musicians" amusing themselves. This record (and apparently this band since this is their "best") lack the most crucial element of music, passion. Level 42's style is basically a funk/jazz/soul fusion that sounds like it could be promising, but ends up being just boring. If you want some good fusion stick to Miles, Level 42 isn't really worht your time. But, in case it's your thing, here's "Love Games".
Murs - The End Of the Beginning
A few weeks back I talked about Murs' (it's pronounced "murce", not "murz") F'Real album on the recommendation of my pal ughh and was thinking he was nuts. He suggested I check out this album before making any further judgments. Boy was he right. This album is fantastic. He says album of th year. I don't think I'd go quite that far, but it's certinaly one of the best hiphop albums I've heard in a mighty long time. The music/production is top notch, the rhymes/meter are varied and skillfully crafted, and the subject matter is entertaining. Whereas so many rappers flow about their Benz, Bitches, and Benjamins - Murs will tell you about how he hates working his day job and how he's broke all the time. He's a bit of a geek too with song devoted to skateboarding, and in the hilaropis "BTS" he raps "April 23rd, 2002, 'round midnight, where were you?/Me I was out for them Episode 2's Star Wars action figures/(Wait, back up my nigga you can't mean toys?)/Hell yeah, fool, me and a hundred white boys/... I'm prayin' that my CD's selling out in the stores/Cos I hate being poor/Man I dropped a couple hundred but I'm one with the Force". Also for you to check out his superb Mc skills, the brilliant "You And I".
Ugly Casanova - Sharpen Your Teeth
If the rumors are to be believed, Modest Mouse frontman/creative force Isaac Brock created this side project for the sole purpose of creating an album around the words taken from a journal written by a crazed Modest Mouse fan. Whatever. What's important to mention here is that this is nothing like Modest Mouse accept for Brock's distinctive voice. Missing is the punch and the signature bending guitar leads. In fact, a good deal of this album is acoustic and very blues based. That said, it is a very decent album and easy to listen to, however, there is nothing that really stands out either. A couple of the better songs: "Ice On the Sheets" and "Things I Don't Remember".
Unwound - Fake Train and The Future Of What
I will be the first to admit I'm a big noise freak. The louder and messier it is, the better. This is not to say that it shouldn't be done right though. Good drone'n'scree bands still need to provide structure and oomph and not just drone on aimlessly. Sonic Youth perfected this style of music and ever since bands have been following in their footsteps with mixed results. Unwound is one of the better ones. Of these two records, I like Fake Train the best. The album is tight, no nonsense, and solid. It was their first album, too. The Future of What is more problematic with too much attempts at cleverness rather than sticking to the meat-and-potatoes of solid song-writing. If you want a more precise description of their sound, they sound like Sonic Youth with the passion of your nieghborhood emo band. Actually, they remind me a little of some other mid-90's noise-core bands like Unsane or the Cherubs, just not quite as mean-hearted and thick. From Fake Train I've chosen "Gravity Slips" and "Nervous Energy". From The Future of What you get the epic, 8 minute "Swan" with its 3-minute mess of feedback meltdown at the end. Mmmmmm.
The Varukers - The Punk Singles 1981-1985
A collection of cuts taken from the handful of albums released by The Varukers in the early 80's. The varukers were third-tier hardcore and this anthology wn't do anything to persuade anyone otherwise. Stick with your Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat records, kids, or, if you really want to dig up some forgotten treasure of early 80's hardcore, unearth some S.S. Decontrol or Reagan Youth records. But, hear for yourself: "No Masters No Slaves".
The Reds - The Reds
The Reds are garage punk that is fast, furious, and fun (14 songs, 25 minutes). They remind me of Lollipop, who I reviewed here a few weeks back, but not nearly as tight. They aren't breaking any new ground or anything, but I like it and it will probably be mized in with my listening choices for the next couple of weeks until I get really tired of it. Try "No Style" or "Mad With You".
A coupla rockin' songs:
These three songs rock: I'm not going to go into reviews or anything, just check them out. If you like rock and roll that is unapologetic, energetic, and all-out, you'll dig these.
Gluecifer - "Under My Hood"
Tricky Woo - "Fly The Orient"
Crime Kaisers - "Over Done"