Issue: #342

ALBUM REVIEWS


Oasis,
VHS Or Beta,
Radiohead,
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,
Watermelon Slim And The Workers,
Pat Metheny,
The Motown Collection,
The Flaming Lips,
Sen Dog,
Underoath,
Women Of Jazz,
The Colour Revolt,
Maria Muldaur,
Roger Kellaway,
Honeyhoney,
David Byrne & Brian Eno,
Sarah Brightman,
Liars,
Albert Hammond, Jr,
pH10,
Daryl Hall & John Oates

THE HIGH FIVE!!
  • Doctor Noize “The Ballad of Phineas McBoof,” Pictoria
  • Science Faxtion “Living On Another Frequency,” Mascot
  • Travis “Moonchild” Haddix “Daylight At Midnight,” WannSonn/Earwig/Burnside
  • Mark Lemhouse “The Great American Yard Sale,” Yellow Dog/Burnside
  • Bob Gibson “The Perfect High,” Legacy
ALBUM OF THE WEEK


Radiohead - In Rainbows
Political Song of the Week:

Nine Inch Nails - "Capital G"
Political Article of the Week:

Why I am a Socialist by Chris Hedges

Back To The Homepage

Album Reviews:


Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul

Oasis -
Dig Out Your Soul


Big Brother/Reprise/Warner Bros.

I’m glad to see Oasis hasn’t completely lost their Beatles worship, but at least they are coming into their own a little bit: Dig Out Your Soul sounds like the Gallagher Brothers may have cut back a bit on the psychedelics and turned up the crunch on their distortion.

The newest album is pretty much what you would expect: lots of dynamic British rock with the style that this band has always embodied. The first single of the album, “The Shock of the Lightning,” is perhaps their strongest point: a really solid pop song, with minimal obnoxious effects. While Oasis dipped a bit after Be Here Now, the band is seeming to get their act together again.

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VHS Or BETA - Bring On the Comets

VHS Or Beta -
Bring On The Comets


Astralwerks

Bring On The Comets, third full length to Kentucky’s VHS Or Beta, is perhaps their best work, moving more in the direction of disco. Their earlier fliratation with Travoltaism was nice, but this full blown love triangle between themselves, disco balls, and Ian Curtis may be working out much better for them than anyone would have thought. Fun, upbeat songs with some great jangly guitar parts that don’t go on to long and really awesome lyrical flow. Nothing bad about this record.

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Radiohead - In Rainbows

Radiohead -
In Rainbows


Xurbia Xendless/TBD/Warner Bros/RED

The band that continues to out-do themselves, Radiohead, didn’t cut a single corner on In Rainbows: from the opening hits of automated percussion to the piano fade out during closer “Videotape”. With almost 23 years of doing this, they have not only reinvented themselves countless amounts of times, they have also never lost sight of the goal.

Artistically driven (as seen from the unbelievable packaging of this record), to the vaguely absurd lyrical concepts, In Rainbows is as much a winner as any winner ever is. Another incredible release.


***Best Album Of The Week***

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will.i.am - Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa

Various Artists -
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa


will.i.am/Interscope/Universal

Black Eyed Pea's frontman will.i.am essentially takes up the majority of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa soundtrack. Note the orchestral interludes in-between all songs, and occasional alternative artist (Barry Manilow, anyone?), which takes a few turns here and there.

Overall, it's a bit silly: most of the original songs are songs about the movie, which are just juvenile and uninteresting. I guess this is a kid's album.

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Watermelon Slim & The Workers - No Paid Holidays

Watermelon Slim And The Workers -
No Paid Holidays


NorthernBlues/Redeye

Slide guitar like no other. Watermelon Slim has something about him that sets him apart from the rest. Either his exquisite slide guitar playing, his slurred shouts that pose as vocals, or the actual rare quality of catchy-ness while playing the blues, there is something about this man. Intelligently constructed songs, and man, that incredible voice, makes this an incredibly well put together blues album.



***ARTIST TO WATCH!!!***

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Pat Metheny - Day Trip

Pat Metheny -
Day Trip


Nonesuch/Warner Bros.

I can describe just about any track on this album, and tell you what you will be hearing with about one line per instrument: the drumming is faster jazz drumming with brushes, the bass is doing a great job at walking jazz bass lines, and the guitar play is basically soloing from beginning to end, bordering on masturbation. A few moments here and there have horn, but this, for the most part, is identical through and through.

Personally, I'm into this style of jazz: fast and upbeat, and almost taking notes from the free jazz movement, but generally monotonous from beginning to end. If you are interested in an hour of the same jazz song, this is perfect for you.

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Marvin Gaye - Hitsville USA - The Motown Singles Collection, 1959-1971

Various Artists -
The Motown Collection


Time Life/Universal

Time Life just keeps doing what it does best with this hits collection. This album compiles standout tracks from across the Motown catalogue and provides a stellar document of early '70s funk and soul. None of these songs are new or exclusive to this release, but they are certainly timeless, and the CD is worth it for the convenience of having all of these songs together.

Motown created a sound with these songs, and jumpstarted the careers of countless legendary musicians. Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Jackson 5; they're all here. These songs are mandatory listening, so if you aren't familiar, now's the time.



***LATE BUT GREAT***


***Shelton's Single Of The Week: "Commodores: Sail On"***

The Commodores - Motown Legends: The Commodores

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The Flaming Lips - Christmas On Mars (The Original Film Score)

The Flaming Lips -
Christmas On Mars


Warner Bros.

So, technically, this is a soundtrack to the DVD: a film that would come out of the Flaming Lips secret vault. All I know is that there is costumes, drug references, and lots of the Flaming Lips.

Oddly enough, the soundtrack itself isn't quite normal Flaming Lips. I'd say orchestral, but it lies closer to harsh noise: sounds, tones, but no real music. I know that there is a type of person who throws themselves off bridges for this band, so I'm sure you already know if you want this or not.

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Sen Dog - Diary of a Mad Dog

Sen Dog -
Diary Of A Mad Dog


SRH/Suburban Noize

Frontman of both Cypress Hill and Kottonmouth Kings Sen Dog has finally gotten through his piles of weed to get around to writing his solo full length, entitled Diary Of A Mad Dog.

If you liked either of his previous bands, you certainly are going to love this. Lots of gangster-influenced beats but enough of a nu-metal edge on top of it to make it a bit more cheesy than I like. Really aggressive delivery with original flow, Sen Dog, despite anything else, has mastered his style as an MC.



***MIGHTY, MIGHTY!!***

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Underoath - Lost In the Sound of Separation

Underoath -
Lost/In/The/Sound/Of/Separation


Solid State/Tooth & Nail

While Christian metalcore has always been a joke to me, I can't help but say that this album is pretty awesome. The cover art says it all: psychedelics to the extreme, with a music disc of Christian metal guys.

Living up to those standards, Lost/In are moving more in the direction of bands like MeWithoutYou or any of the other Tooth & Nail post-rock stars, with less screaming and more shouting, more experimentation with guitar work, and more interesting uses of structure. Heavy, yes. Catchy, yes. Christian, unfortunately yes. Good though? Yeah, I would say so. Not bad at all.

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Etta Jones - Jazz Ladies

Various Artists -
Women Of Jazz


Putumayo

Putumayo's recent release of Women Of Jazz is, undeniably, another winner. As the title suggests, the album showcases 10 of the most exceptional female jazz performers in North America right now: everyone from Melody Gardot to Sophia Milman, Cassandra Wilson and more, all adding their unique styles of jazz to the mix. Everything from Cuban influence to standards, to even a few original styles can be found on this perfect compilation.



***LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!!***


***Shelton's Second Single Of The Week: "Etta Jones: Since I Fell For You***

Etta Jones - Jazz Ladies

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Colour Revolt - Plunder, Beg, and Curse

The Colour Revolt -
Plunder, Beg, and Curse


Fat Possum

First off, this is some of the best artwork I have seen in a long time. A really long time. I can't describe the style, but this is really the sort of thing that catches my attention, especially with album after album consisting of picture after picture of the performer. Personally, presentation says a lot for a band, showing where they stand, what they want to show, and what sort of feel they are going for.

"Creepy" is what the album says, and that's what it delivers. For a band that has opened for names like Dinosaur Jr, Black Lips, Explosions in the Sky, and the Manchester Orchestra, you aren't going to be disappointed. They exist in the genre with the rest of these acts only in theory: they work with these bands, but musically are so original and individualistic that they seem to exist solely as their own category.

I can certainly hear pieces of Dinosaur Jr. and Black Lips in here, maybe elements of Arcade Fire, the Pixies, Black Heart Procession even, but they are not the sum of their parts. Guitars use the Modest Mouse approach of primarily single notes through and through, and use quite a bit of effects to layer them even more to the over all emotion. The singer's voice, while mixed incredibly low, carries the entire thing: an almost flow of consciousness feel to them only furthers what their intent is. Again, if album art counts for anything, this band's got everything.

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Maria Muldaur - Yes We Can!

Maria Muldaur -
Yes We Can


Telarc/Concord

Maria Muldaur knows her niche, and she certainly performs directly to them. Liberal politics of coffee shop folk and the ever-loved blues and pop collaborations are really the sum of her parts, but, for the most part, really don't do much for me.

It's a bit more cheesy than the blues and folk I like. It is incredibly upbeat and pop, with hooks and a lyrical flow that could have come from an arena country artist, but it just isn't my thing. But, if any of these qualities appeal to you, and you need something upbeat and what seems to be inspiring, I'd say go for this.



***POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK***

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Roger Kellaway - Roger Kellaway: Live At the Jazz Standard

Roger Kellaway -
Live At The Jazz Standard


IPO

New jazz records rarely blow me away. This one does. Roger Kellaway takes on a more free-ish jazz approach, and it sounds so much better than 90 percent of jazz out there today.

Interesting progressions lay a strong backbone behind the entire mix of musicians accompanying everything. Fast, emotional, and constantly moving, I highly recommend this for any jazz listener.

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Honeyhoney - First Rodeo

Honeyhoney -
First Rodeo


Ironworks/UMG

The rock duo seems to be such a large part of twenty-first century music. Honeyhoney is the next in line with the trend, and, as always, seems to work out better than bands with more members to screw something up.

First Rodeo, their debut album, isn't what you would normally expect: produced songs, with different feels between them and lots of interesting tones and instrumentation, the album adds a sort of southwestern feel below it all, giving more of a sassy edge to the entire release. Fun, enjoyable, and definitely crossing through the yards of a few different angry genres, this is an album for those who are in the mood for something new and interesting.

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David Byrne & Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

David Byrne & Brian Eno -
Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.


Todomundo/Opal

So two things about this: one, seeing as how this is Brian Eno of Roxy Music and David Byrne of the Talking Heads, I invision this having been much better than it actually is. In reality, this is still amazing. Eno, taking care of the noise that has been labeled "music", has created what I always wish I could: amazing pop music out of sounds that are so fuzzed out and so interesting that it gives traditional pop music feel to sounds, taken out of context, would drive most people mad.

Byrne, as always, does what he does best: great vocal melodies. A little less punk sounding then his band work, it is still great to hear his voice again. This is for anyone who likes anything interesting.

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Sarah Brightman - A Winter Symphony

Sarah Brightman -
A Winter Symphony


Nemo/Bluenote/Manhattan/EMI

Known with contemporary crowds to be one of the most boring artists out there, Sarah Brightman does not disappoint on A Winter Symphony: a grim approach to an already terrifyingly bleak holiday.

Strings mark the entire album to end with the most un-offensive progression, making the songs only recognizable by Brightman's voice, which is good. I only wish she sang something interesting.

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Liars - Liars

Liars -
Self-Titled


Mute

The contemporary band that has always taken the cake for "art-punk" for me is Liars: New York originated musicians working with everything they do and don't have to make some of the most interesting music out there right now.

The self-titled release jumps headfirst into their own makers, creating a sound that may have come from a terrifying heaven or hell, complete with the perplexing occasional chorus hooks and pretty regular regurgitation of a repetitious riff, over and over again. Lots of keyboards, and occasional dance beat, post-punk hasn't been this good since Gang of Four.



"SO NICE, GOTTA DO IT UP TWICE"

(created by the original NYC D.J. Jocko, 1955)

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Albert Hammond Jr. - Como Te Llama?

Albert Hammond, Jr. -
Como Te Llama?


Black Seal

I wouldn't quite call this garage rock, but it wouldn't fit nicely anywhere else, either. Lots of driving rock beats, with overdriven vocals carrying everything down the road like the rock our parents loved. Emotion and honesty are fully visible on this release, without coming across cheesy or overdone. ÀComo Te Llama? is another solid rock album.

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pH10 - Well Connected

pH10 -
Well Connected


Helmutplex

Some incredible drum & bass from pH10, one of the best Jungle musicians coming out nowadays. Innovative beats, some of the more interesting MC work that I have heard recently, and, damn, some really mindblowing loops that put most of the rest to shame. Well Connected is a great bridge between electronic and hip-hop, perfect for anyone interested in getting into jungle.

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Daryl Hall & John Oates - Live At the Apollo

Daryl Hall & John Oates -
Live At The Troubadour


Shout/U-Watch/DKE

This album is the thing that any Hall & Oates fan will shit themselves over. A close and personal serenade from Daryl Hall & John Oates, being performed from one of the worst venues in southern California, The Troubadour, feels exactly what I would imagine seeing these legends would be like.

The stage bickering, the great renditions of classic songs with only the subtle accents of life performance shining through, and the genius writing of Hall & Oates. If you don't know the band, it may be worth checking this out. If you like this band, there is no reason you shouldn't own this immediately.

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Political Song:
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Artist: Nine Inch Nails

Song: Capital G

I pushed the button and elected him to office and
He pushed the button and he dropped the bomb
You pushed the button and could watch in on the television
Those motherfuckers didn't last too long

I'm sick of hearing about the have and have not's
Have some personal accountability
The biggest problem with the way that we are doing things is
The more we let you have the less that I'll be keeping for me

Well I use to stand for something
Now I'm on my hands and knees
Trading in my god for this one
and he signs his name with a capital G

Don't give a shit about the temperature in Guatemala
Don't really see what all the fuss is about
Ain't gonna worry about no future generations
And I'm sure somebody's gonna figure it out

Don't try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person
You hadn't had enough to know what it's like
You're only angry cause you wish you were in my position
Now nod your head cause you know that I'm right..alright!

Well I use to stand for something
But forgot what that could be
There's a lot of me inside you
Maybe you're afraid to see

Well I use to stand for something
Now I'm on my hands and knees
Trading in my god for this one
and he signs his name with a capital G

Well I use to stand for something
But forgot what that could be
There's a lot of me inside you
Maybe you're afraid to see

Well I use to stand for something
Now I'm on my hands and knees
Trading in my god for this one
and he signs his name with a capital G

Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero - Capital G