Issue: #355

Busta Rhymes, Marilyn Manson, The Black Lips, Oasis, Kill What You Adore, Various Artists, The Weavers, White Lies, Zap Mama, Cage The Elephant, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jenny Owen Youngs, Chairlift, Catherine MacLellan, The Datsun, Valerie Smith & Becky Buller, Daddy, Sarah Borges And The Broken Singles, Lawrence Blatt, P.O.S., Psychostick 

THE HIGH FIVE!!

Tom Fuller Band “Abstract Man,” Redcap/Mesa/Bluemoon/Fontana

The Stryker/Slagle Band with Joe Lovano “The Scene,” Zoho/Allegro

Jason Boland & The Stragglers “Comal County Blue,” Apex Nashville/Proud Souls/Thirty Tigers

XX Teens “Welcome to Goon Island,” Mute

Elsiane Hybrid “Self-Titled,” Elsiane/Nettwerk

ALBUM OF THE WEEK


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Busta Rhymes “Back on My B.S.,” Monami/Violator/Universal


Motown

Still spewing the same relatively inane rhymes and the giant, over-blown beats that gives him the style of his notoriety, Busta Rhymes’ hasn’t changed in the slightest in his years of work in hip-hop. An album full of cameos remains the norm for Rhymes, especially with the world’s favorite Lil’ Wayne, Jadakiss, and Pharrell, plus another entire limousine of celebrities all waving their hands in unison with Back On My B.S.

While Rhymes may have needed to spend a few extra days working on spicing the album up a bit, the normalcy of his releases seems almost centerpiece to it all. Name recognition and everything, Back on My B.S. is proof that hip-hop’s still kicking.

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Marilyn Manson “The High End of Low DOUBLE CD,”


Interscope/Universal

While his fame as “evil” was ridiculously over-played in the late ‘90s (parents seemed to have completely missed the scene of Danzig opening a chicken over a woman’s chest…or Varg Vikerenes’ countless church burnings), Marilyn Manson has been a staple in radio’s “Shock Rock” category. All they are doing is lying to themselves because “goth” has become a dirty word. The High End of Low is doing all in its power to make amends to this indefensible error.

The album runs much quieter than previous Antichrist Superstar, relying on slower mechanized drum beats and simplistic synth lead lines reminiscent of New Order, separating Manson’s musical work from his adolescent output. Lyrics are less about being dark for the sake of gloom, but rather, using it stylistically to hold the themes in the forefront. Manson has never been better than this.

***BEST ALBUM OF THE WEEK***

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The Black Lips “200 Million Thousand,”


Vice

Garage rock revivalism. While certainly not the best to have ever played the genre, and certainly a bit of success-ego to kick it down a few steps, this is hard to hate. Lo-fi recording, miserably off-key singing, sloppy performances, unbelievably catchy chorus-hooks, and performances to die for (“nudity and vomiting? Sounds like my kind of party!”), The Black Lips aren’t completely full of it.
200 Million Thousand sounds like everything else they have done, so don’t expect anything earthshattering. But if you are in the need for more of the pre-pubescent rock that wishes it was twenty years older, The Black Lips have you covered.


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

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Oasis “Dig Out Your Soul,”


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 latest 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.

***LATE BUT GREAT***

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Kill What I Adore “Whatever It Takes,”


Ironclad/Metal Blade

 As the lifespan of metalcore has reached (what I hope) is its mid-life, judging bands by names alone becomes more and more justified. Kill What I Adore is just what it sounds like: a cheesy mess of typical song structures and stereotyped breakdowns.

Another band who sings about babes, mosh, and murder was certainly not what the world needs in the heat of a failed economy, and no one will sleep the wiser with this record in hand. But, if that hasn’t deterred you enough, there is nothing that will hold you back. Metalcore to the bone, if your little jock heart just needs a breakdown, Whatever It Takes can give you the mediocrity you’ve been dreaming of.

 


***MIGHTY MIGHTY***

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Various Artists “Jazz Signitures Vol. 3,”


Starbucks/EMI

Silver, Burrell, Hancock, Green, Morgan, Davis, Monk, Gordon, and Coltrane make up the signitures of the Starbuck’s jazz collection. Yes, the album delivers everything that a perfect jazz mixtape could, with prettier packaging.

All the songs on here are memories of one kind or another, but we’ve all heard them, at one point in our lives. Could not have put together a better compilation myself!

***LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL***

***Shelton's Single of the Week: "Miles Davis: 'Well, You Needn't"***

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The Weavers “Best of the Vanguard Years,”


Vanguard/Welk

The famous Seeger folk band, The Weavers were a force to be reckoned with in their hayday. Beautiful multi-vocalist lyrics, most of which either standards or labor songs, marks the band as recognizable anywhere with a sound that could be no other.
All strings and voices, The Best of the Vanguard Years is a special piece of history that is in dire need of more recognition than it receives.

***POLITICAL ALBUM OF THE WEEK***

***Shelton's Single Of The Week: "Brother Can you Spare a Dime,"***

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White Lies “To Lose My Life,”


Fiction/Geffen/Universal

New-wave and post-punk influenced White Lies debut album To Lose My Life remains impressive from beginning to end. Opener “Death” begins with a solid Joy Division worship melody of subdued emotion and dark ambient keyboards, setting off mood. The song eventually breaks into a powerchord driven wall of noise and emotion, showing a bit more of their contemporary timetable.
Flash forward to “Farewell to the Fairground,” a track that takes more from Morissey than Curtis, and eventually working itself into a Cars-rip off break down. The band is great, for sure, focusing entirely on what worked about the ‘80s, and ditching the rest in the dust. Time will tell if this band actually has the ability to produce its own sound.

*** NEW ALBUM OF THE WEEK***

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Zap Mama “ReCreation,”


Heads Up/Concord

ReCreation is Zap Mama in their prime. A cappella mixed with hip-hop and African folk sets the stage for the voice of Marie Daulne, frontlady of the group, who steals the wind of the entire show.
Single-handedly, Daulne’s breathtaking voice sets herself (and the rest of the act) apart from anything else around. Heavily percussion driven, ReCreation feels like every other Zap Mama album, just more refined than ever. Instant classic for any Zap Mama listener.
"SO NICE GOTTA DO IT UP TWICE"(created by the original NYC D.J., Jocko, 1955)

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Cage The Elephant “Self-Titled,”


RCA/Jive/Sony

 Another band that Vice records will do immoral things to get to. Hip blues-rock revival, with a frontman sporting the obnoxious drunk rambling of Iggy Pop on acid (and that’s only recorded!). 
The band seems to be in love with ‘60s rock, emulating everything from guitar tone to lyrics and the vaguely-psychedelic artwork. The band will be next big thing soon.

***If You Like Music You're Gonna Love This***

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Terri Lyne Carrington “More To Say… (Real Life Story: NextGen)”


E1

R&B, jazz, and pop, all blended up creating something akin to Terri Carrington’s “More To Say…”. The drummer/composer focuses, luckily, on melody before musicianship, creating songs that are catchy and stick with you instead of linger on and on.
Heavy on the saxophone and piano, as all good jazz should be, the album creates Carrington as solid force in pop jazz in the new century.

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Jenny Owen Youngs “Transmit Failure,”


Nettwerk

Pop opuses from Youngs produces some of the best new American pop songs in a long time. Taking a lot of notes from alternative rock, rather than just straight-forward pop songs, Transmit Failure looks more like a lifetime of work than a few days locked in her room: intricate multi-instrumental songs with a sense for impact-ful buildups.
Youngs use of catchy melodies sets herself apart from the rest, incorporating hooks and phenomenal song-writing ability into a package that fills out each corner of the record as needed. Fantastic album from beginning to end.

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Chairlift “Does You Inspire You,”


Columbia/Sony

Not all-that-dance-able electronic pop makes me a little sad. Does You Inspire You sounds like a not-angry Kathleen Hanna, taking notes from incredibly catchy melodies but never any emotional umph! thrown into the mix.
Certainly driving, but not much more so than any other electro-trash band out there, this band serves as a step in the right direction, but not quite there yet.

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Catherine MacLellan “Water In The Ground DOUBLE CD,”


High Romance/True North

Classic folk-band set up, MacLellan’s brand of songwriting uses emphasis on vocal melodies before the rest, leading to herself in the spotlight, even if her voice is mixed lower than the industry-standard (which, for me, adds more to the entire package than detracts).
Songs mostly about love in roundabout ways, emotions that run through, and a fairly consistent feel from beginning to end, Water In The Ground is great for any folk listener.

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The Datsuns “Headstunts,”


Rocket Science/Cooking Vinyl

Fantastic fast and hard-hitting garage rock. With vocals right on the edge of falsetto, Headstunts relies on the heavy uses of “woah”'s to bridge their energy and raging progressions to make a band that is both catchy and full.
Headstunts flirts with a few surf progressions, giving way to a Man or Astroman? –with-vocals feel at times, adding to the bands entire package.

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Valerie Smith & Becky Buller “Here’s A Little Song…”


Bell Buckle

Bluegrass-esq country from Smith and Buller. Heavy use of strings, with minimal percussion, both use their voices to the genre and make it all work together like it should.
Personal lyrics push the album to feel incredibly singer/songwriter, but lacking the pitfalls of redundancy and masturbatory meddling that the genre somehow loves to drill to the ground. Great songs, so pick it up anywhere you can.

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Daddy “For A Second Time,”


Cedar Creek

 While the name makes me a little uncomfortable, that is the only awkward part of this entire release. To the point, even, where For A Second Time may actually be at a loss of personality for the complete lack of anything adventurous.
Bluesy-country with little-to-no real personality, Daddy's performance doesn’t break out of any molds, doesn’t go out on limbs, and certainly aren’t going to say anything that might be pushing buttons. Yes the songs are catchy and well written, but these things only go so far with no real substance.

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Sarah Borges And The Broken Singles “The Stars Are Out,”


Sugar Hill

 Reinventing herself, this time with a studded belt and a cranked-up distortion pedal, Sarah Borges has left behind her more straightforward country roots for something more fun, upbeat, and, to be honest, much better suiting.
Rock-pop, with the help of Borges singing her heart out all over the record, creates songs that are infectiously catchy, really just sticking from the first chorus hook to the end of the album. With covers from both Smokey Robinson and The Lemonheads, this record is something new, for sure, and shaping up to be something special too.

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Lawrence Blatt “The Color of Sunshine,”


LMB

An entire album of Lawrence Blatt playing acoustic guitar beautifully. Yes, there is a recorder here and there, and a few shakers, but beyond that, the entire album consists of finger-picked compositions. For me, this gets boring quick, but for those who would find this soothing, I promise you you’ll be able to sleep better with it.

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P.O.S. “Never Better,”


Rhymesayrs

Punk-hop? No, this is just good. An incredibly interesting new approach to hip-hop, performed by P.O.S. Never Better is served incredibly aggressive, taking notes from late ‘90s gangster rap and the like, but not falling into the pitfalls of repetitive structures and boring topics.
While I’m not a fan of mixing punk and any other genre (especially hip-hop), P.O.S. has miraculously not ruined his music through it, making a record that is genuinely great.

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Psychostick “Sandwich,”


Rock Ridge

System of a Down with A.D.H.D. Psychostick’s goofy lyrics (“Caffeine”, being a pissed off attack on the band members withdrawal from the aforementioned drug) and amateur songwriting (incessant stops and starts with skits multiple times a track) gives the band personality, if nothing else.
This band is the definition of cheese, which, if that appeals to you, you are going to shit yourself over this album. If you are like me, and prefer music with substance over humor, keep this away from a disc player like the plague.

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THIS WEEK'S SONG LYRICS:

Artist: Bob Dylan
Song: The Times They Are A-Changin’

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.