Friday, March 23, 2012

Jonwayne Review

I reviewed Jonwayne's Oodles of Doodles this week on RapReviews.

Started school again and realized I'm gonna be mad busy for the next two months, which will no doubt impact my writing about music. Although I have a million things in my queue to write about. Well, like five.

I listened to the Red Hot Chili Pepper's Uplift Mofo Party Plan today at work. on Spotify. I bought it on cassette when I was 12, then on CD when I was 15, and have since sold it. It's kind of terrible, since RHCP are kind of terrible, but there are bright spots. I really love "Walking Down The Road," "Behind the Sun" and "Skinny Sweaty Man." Everything else is forgettable rap rock.

This, my friends, is what 80s L.A. was:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Christian Rap, Black Up, and Sad Beats

I have three new reviews up this week.

First out the gate is the latest album by Christian club rapper Applejaxx, Organic. While I'm not his target audience of evangelical Christians, and I thought he labored the "organic" metaphor to death, he's a decent rapper and has some good production.

Then I reviewed B. Durazzo's melancholy beat tape. Worth downloading at his bandcamp page

Finally, I did a review of Shabazz Palaces' Black Up, which came out last year. Pretty brilliant.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Bad Show Is Like Bad Sex

The wife and I went to see Sea of Bees and Wye Oak at the Independent a coupla weeks ago. The sold out show was part of the Noise Pop festival. We got to the show in time to see Sea of Bees set. The wife loved their twee folk, but it wasn't really rocking my world. The most exciting thing for me was that their bassist was Jake Mann , who I went to high school with. Apparently he has a band called Jake Mann and the Upper Hand.  He was a year ahead of me in school and played bass in the jazz band. It was nice to see he was still involved with music.

Wye Oak are a duo with Jennifer Wasner on guitar and vocals and Andy Stack on drums and keyboards. Yes, drums AND keyboards. Here's the thing: drums are pretty much a two-hand, two-feet kinda instrument. You can't really play the drums and another instrument at the same time. At least not well. Stack proved this with the rudimentary rhythms he was pounding out while playing rudimentary bass notes on a keyboard. It was like talking to someone who is texting at the same time. Not very satisfying.

Still, they were impressive live. Wasner has an amazing voice, and is able to produce a lot of noise out of her guitars. It was so loud the walls were shaking.

Which was the main issue with the evening. The wife doesn't share my appreciation for loud music, and she was not amused by the whole walls shaking thing. I was dog tired from a long stressful week at work and school, the downside of a Friday night show. We sat through four songs, and then a combination of not wanting to make my wife any more miserable, and my own desire to be in bed won over and we left. It was such a disappointing experience, not because the band let us down but because WE let us down. I felt old and tired and lame. Then again, maybe I'm just at the point in my life where going to shows is no longer a focus. I had a chance to see WATERS free last week and didn't go.

As Dr. Evil said, there's nothing more pathetic than an aging hipster.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hippy Music

I broke down and bought Pink Floyd's Relics the other day. It hurt to pay sixteen bucks for it, but I have been wanting a clear recording of that album for twenty years. I first had a shitty recording from vinyl on cassette. Later I upgraded to a cassette recording of the CD version, but I never actually had it digitally. The album collects their early Syd Barrett-penned singles, including "Arnold Layne," "See Emily Play," and "Interstellar Overdrive." 

I appreciate later Pink Floyd, but not enough to really listen to it. I sold my copies of The Wall and Dark Side of The Moon years ago, and only rarely do I want to listen to either of them. Their early stuff was much more exciting and immediate.

I wrote about the latest Phenomenal Handclap album on Blogcritics recently. I wasn't as in love with it as I wanted to be, but it's worth listening to.

I've been listening to a lot of old eighties punk on Spotify recently, while doing administrative work, the most unpunk activity there is.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Sleigh Bells Make Lana Del Rey Look Like Robert Fucking Johnson

So Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells have a new album out,Reign of Terror, which I just downloaded. They are schticky and work the same formula over and over, but dammit, it's a good forumla. Loud guitars, booming beats, and singer Alexis Krauss's cheerleader barks and girlish whispers.

The new album tones down the guitars a little bit, so that not every song is blowing out your speakers. In place of that, guitarist Derrick Miller channels Def Leppard, and Alexis gets to flex her R&B influence. It's slight but enjoyable, as a good pop album is.

What's funny about Sleigh Bells is how they've become indie rock darlings, despite the fact that they are basically a pop act. Lana Del Rey created a shit storm earlier this year by coming off as inauthentic, and yet Sleigh Bells, who have an equally fabricated persona, are welcomed with open arms. Granted, Sleigh Bells music is more interesting than Lana Del Rey, but that's not saying much.

Like Lana Del Rey, Sleigh Bells have been in the industry for years before reinventing themselves. Miller was in suburban angst hardcore band Poison the Well (their version of Smashing Pumkin's "Today" is almost as hilariously self-serious as Confide's version of the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights,"), while Krauss was in wretched teen pop act RubyBlue. They recorded but never released a disc of generic and forgettable pop in 2001 before disbanding.

Their new album has come with its own aesthetic, which bleeds from the album cover to the clothes they wear onstage and in their videos. Its sort of an ultra-American high school bad ass vibe. All of which is fine, but its interesting that they get a pass while everyone dumps on poor old Lana. Maybe her marketing scheme was less subtle than Sleigh Bells. She can have the last laugh, though; she's selling more records.

Anyways, I like the new Sleigh Bells ok, and sort of hate myself for liking it. Speaking of rocking bands with tuff female singers, I was listening to the Distillers today. Coral Fang is a strong album. Too bad they broke up.

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