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Friday, November 21, 2003

I have 2 jobs now, more coming soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Frog Eyes - The Golden River

Surrealistic shards of doo wop slow dance gravel throated magic. Dreams painted by what one would assume is a bearded man with a leather pouch or perhaps a horn filled with wine laced with the resin of some naturally occuring psychotropic that you haven't heard of. A carousel hijacked by the carnival dwarves and ridden beyond the mountain, through the valley of singing goat children. I come awake on a steamship listening to shortwave radio broadcasts from the frontlines of the Dog War, our side was losing. But the strings were building and the piano played in a major key so I had a hard time believing that set back in the struggle woud last very long. The crew agreed and smiles and salmon cakes were passed between us.

Or,

Lungfish meets Badalamenti, scoring a Jeunet/Caro film.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Jerk With A Bomb - Pyrokinesis

This is Jerk With A Bomb's 4th full length release.

So why haven't you heard of them?

Because you aren't Canadian.

Determined, methodical, and dynamic, this really is pretty much just a rootsy rock record, but one of the most well crafted records I have heard in a while.

"And Then There Were None" takes John Henry hammers to your TVs and your Radios with it's determined pace, sinister guitars, and gorgeous piano.

The 2/2 balladry of "Fine Health Is At Home" with it's last call whispers and lonely trumpet is a lyrical masterpiece of desperation and dynamics.

If The Cure themselves were sodden banditos fronted by Tom Waits, they wouldn't be able to come up with anything as beauiful as "To The Grave."

"On the Rails" is all thump and snarl, with a wash of Leslie chorus. Brilliant.

"Don't Forget Your Love" starts off as the kind of Springsteen slow jam that alot of people eat up with baked potatos, but typically bores the shit out of me, until it kicks in, just as I reach for the remote with some seriously dreamy organ that saves it from being a dud.

"Among The Thieves" is pretty enough but the pace of the album is dragging. Perhaps if it were reefer and not coffee influencing me . . .

Fortunately "Le Bang Bang" brings us back to the sort of snappy rocker that would make Lou Reed slap a knee and cackle.

"Raging Bulls" however plods along and quite uncharacteristicsally misses by a long shot lyrically, but is worth the cool organ bridge at 2:30.

"Those Hard Wrecks" is a neat soul ballad that will make any Faces fan smile. By the end I was singing along. I wish there were more tracks like this. I played it twice.

The last bit isn't worth talking about, I am sure it was hillarious at the time.

All in all it ain't totally perfect, but it's close.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

This Moment in Black History - The Cleveland Finger EP

Hot fucking guitar punk that runs you right over and doesn't have the time to even give you the bird.

Cleveland 76 fuck yeah!!!!!

And then the bad news ...

... the singer is tepid, lame, luke warm water.

It's almost passable until you get to a song like "Tony You Owe Me" and he sounds like a bad James Chance impersonator with a cold.

On "10/11" he's just embarassing.

Bummer.

If you're gonna beat a dead horse, every last band member has to do so hard enough to get blood and maggots all over everything and never mind if your hair gets mussed. Otherwise you fall prey to Why-should-I-listen-to-your-band-when-any-given-band-from-the-era-you-are-ripping-off-did-it-six-times-as-well syndrome.

They were pretty good live though.

Maybe next time.


The Wrens - The Meadowlands

Is there anything brand new here?

Nope.

Is there anything fashionable here?

Nope.

So why should you buy this record?

Because it is fucking good.

I learned of this band a long long time ago when they were on some compilation (I think Grass records) that a record store was selling as an impulse item at the checkout counter. The track was pretty good as I remember but it must not have stood out too much from the piles of pretty good indie rock avaliable at the time or I suppose would have bought it. I think at the time I was obsessing over Fad Gadget and The Gang of Four wondering why more people weren't taking from them since they still sounded like the future to me.

So now the joke's on me.

The moral here is be careful what you wish for kids.

So now it's 2003 in Brooklyn, New York and I am sick to death of short sharp angles and broken drum machines and the color fuschia and I am so happy to learn that there is a group of folks out there that withstood the "buy up all the good bands" crapfest of the mid-late nineties.

Of course they did, because they knew they had this great fucking album in them. Loud, dense catchy rock and roll, coming from the same place that informed great folks like GBV and Grifters, just as good really, maybe better (well, than the Grifters anyway). You have heard this stuff before but I doubt you have heard it done this well in a really long time.

I don't mean to say that this is a dated sound. It's just a solid sound. Maybe not quite a "timeless" sound but pretty close.

Great for hanging around the apartment on a Sunday morning. I bet I am gonna really dig this when the snow hits.

And the production is incredible.

Young People - War Prayers

The first Young People record was one of the more frustrating things I had to endure last year. It meandered and wandered and roamed somewhere near the enchanted land of Relevance, but ultimately left me irritated.

Actually I am not sure if I ever made it to the end of the record as I usually lost interest in the songlessness of the thing.

That being said . . .

. . . from the opening track War Prayers is gorgeous. Katie Eastburn's voice floats like the ghost of a long skirted pioneer over the winding squeal and bend of guitars, the thump-a-rump-bump of drums, and the occasional dark alley slinking of bass, singing melodies that reach deep into our collective unconscious. These are songs that are not so much retro as integral to our understanding of music as Americans. Part Tin Pan Alley, part Civil War lament, part rock and roll feedback maelstrom, Young People have captured something unique and important on this album. There is still a looseness to their sound (especially Dutch Oven) but it makes sense now, there is a sense of composition to the songs. They go places, places you want to go to, even if you don't realize it at first.

Thanks Young People for kicking me in the ass.


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