Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Men - Electric 7'' (Sacred Bones, 2013)

The Men
Electric 7''
Sacred Bones

Rating: 7 joke camels out of 10

Highly listenable new seven inch from hot shit band The Men. It's kinda weird how different this band sounds from when I saw them a couple years ago, but I've genuinely liked all their different incarnations so...yeah.  First side "Electric" is an anxious nineties alt-rocker, a wall of guitars that is impossible not to tap your toes to, as cheesy as that sounds.  But I really like the flip side "Water Babies" the best of the two, which I would bet a thousand dollars was a Dinosaur Jr cover if I didn't know better.  Maybe a little less guitar histrionics than J Mascis, but other than that holy shit was I surprised how much the Men sounded like them here.  I could listen to these two songs over and over.  In fact, I just did. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ty Segall - Would You Be My Love 7'' (Drag City, 2013)

Ty Segall
Would You Be My Love 7''
Drag City

Rating: 6 water bottles out of 10

A rather uneventful seven inch by the current god of the garage underground, Ty Segall.  Side A is the title track "Would You Be My Love," which is already available on the "Twins" record - good song but nothing new there.   The B-side "For Those Who Weep" is a mellow acoustic track that sounds a lot like the Beatles to be honest.  Not my favorite work by Segall but a nice track.  This release is worth grabbing if you're a big fan, but nothing I'd go out of my way for. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mean Jeans & Big Eyes - Split 7'' (Dirtnap, 2013)

Mean Jeans & Big Eyes
Split 7''

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 for Mean Jeans, 6 out of 10 for Big Eyes

This split features two songs by each band.  The front half is Mean Jeans, one of the best Ramones-ish pop-punk bands working.  First track "I Miss Outerspace" is classic Mean Jeans, very enjoyable.  then they cover a Big Eyes song "Since you Left," and definitely make it their own.  The flip is Big Eyes, a band I didn't know shit about.  They have more of a glam pop sound with female vocals, and pull the flip formula from the Jeans - one of their own and then a Mean Jeans cover.  Not as into their half of the record, but it ain't bad.  The Mean Jeans side is aces though.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Guided by Voices - The Bears for Lunch (Guided by Voices Inc., 2012)

Guided by Voices
The Bears for Lunch
Guided by Voices Inc.

Rating: Watch me bulldoze every bulldozer away.

Hey, another Guided by Voices record!  Imagine that!  Look, it sounds pretty good.  Some hooky songs, some filler, typical GBV.  It's like this - never heard of these guys?  Go buy "Alien Lanes,"it's one of the greatest records by any band of all time.  Then work your way up and/or out to their more recent work, but get completely dick deep in their nineties output.  As for longtime fans like myself...if you're keeping up with this recent resurgence, you might as well get this one too.  You won't be disappointed, but you probably won't be wowed either. 

Jon Mueller - Death Blues (Taiga, 2012)

Jon Mueller
Death Blues

Rating: 7 artificial cherries out of 10

I really love this Jon Mueller record "Death Blues" and want to promote it to anyone who will listen, but at the same time I feel completely unable to properly describe it in a way that would make people want to listen.  This record makes me feel dumb, and despite my outward appearance it's not a feeling I'm accustomed to.  Mueller is a drummer by trade, and percussion is definitely the foundation of all these songs; but he layers on top of that a smattering of other instrumentation including monk-style chanting and playing the guitar like a hammered dulcimer.  It's very rhythmic and repetitive, but never boring.  If I was the person in charge of genre naming, this one would go under "monastic kraut drone."  Again, really loving this despite the stupid review. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A$AP Rocky - Long.Live.A$AP (RCA, 2013)

A$AP Rocky

Rating: 7 laser blasts out of 10

Despite my typical taste in hip hop, I'm digging this A$AP Rocky record.  God knows I'm not the audience he is shooting for, and the lyrics are pretty inline with the typical dumb pop rap that dominates the charts, but something about this stands out...the tone maybe, and definitely the music.  I'd likely listen to an instrumental version of this, the music is so good.  A$AP has a nice, pleasant voice and flow, something I don't say too often about today's popular rappers.  I can't imagine my words are going to move any more units so I'm not going to waste them, but for anyone on the fence this record is worth a listen. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Low - The Invisible Way (Sub Pop, 2013)

The Invisible Way
Sub Pop

Rating: 7.5 cup sleeves out of 10

Another new record by the musical institution known as Low.  They've been a part of my life for so long that it's hard to imagine what it was like not being able to hear their delicate, wonderful music.  Apparently "The Invisible Way" marks Low's 20th anniversary as a band, and they are one of a very small fraternity that I find just as riveting now as when I first heard them probably 18 years ago.  They've done this by keeping things relatively the same and very simple - sparse instrumentation, quality songwriting, and some of my favorite vocals in all of music.  I've read Jeff Tweedy of Wilco was their producer this time in the studio, but to these ears you can 't tell a difference - it still sounds like vintage Low.  To be perfectly honest, so long as the record includes Alan and Mimi singing, they could probably put out an album that was 90% fart sounds and I'd be happy to listen.  No fart sounds here though, just beauty.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Jacco Gardner - Cabinet of Curiosities (Trouble in Mind, 2013)

Jacco Gardner
Cabinet of Curiosities
Trouble in Mind

Rating: 8 red hots out of 10

I didn't know dick about Jacco Gardner when I came across this record, but pretty much anything Trouble in Mind puts out is worth taking a chance on.  Turns out Jacco is a young kid from the Netherlands, and it sounds like he got teleported straight from 1968.  And I don't mean that he sounds like a modern dude mimicking those classic psychedelic pop sounds - he truly sounds like an actual relic from that age.

So, dude sounds like a "throwback" if you will - but what sort of throwback exactly?  There seems to be a whole lot of harpsichord here, so comparisons to the Zombies is going to be frequent, and deserved.  Jacco's vocals may not be in the same category as Colin Blunstone, but that is meant as no slight - I'm someone who holds the Zombies in exceptionally high esteem.  When people want to argue Beatles vs. Stones, I always get cross looks for choosing the Zombies; so when I say he's slightly inferior to that band, that's actually serious praise.  

This is going to get a lot of spins from me for the rest of the year.  Good pop music is timeless, and this is very, very good. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Chelsea Light Moving - Chelsea Light Moving (Matador, 2013)

Chelsea Light Moving
Chelsea Light Moving

Rating: 7.5 caramel creams out of 10

When you're in a band like Sonic Youth for nearly three decades and then start a new band, it's gonna be damn hard for even the best reviewers to put aside their preconceived notions and give it a fair shake...and I am far from one of the best reviewers.  But that is exactly what Thurston Moore did, putting the Youth on hiatus after his split with Kim Gordon and starting Chelsea Light Moving.  Yeah there are three other band members including dudes from Hush Arbors and Sunburned Hand of Man and a gal who plays some violin, but let's not fucking kid ourselves - we're listening to this to see Moore is up to post-Gordon.

Turns out, what he is up to is releasing a record that sounds pretty much exactly like Sonic Youth minus the parts where Kim Gordon sings.  I'm sure some other more verbose folks will wax poetic on this release and draw some other random parallels, but let's not beat around the bush - it sounds like a bunch of songs that might have been outtakes from Sonic Youth's early-to-mid nineties period..."Dirty," "Jet Set...," those sort of records.  And I ain't complaining.  Hell, I like this better than I have any Sonic Youth releases in quite some time.

Sometimes change is good.  In this case, pretty much staying the same is even better.