Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Night Marchers - Allez Allez (Swami, 2013)

The Night Marchers
Allez Allez

: 8 closed eyes out of 10

The Night Marchers aka Hot Snakes 2.0 took five years to follow up their great "See You in Magic" with "Allez Allez," and there isn't a single solitary hint at the dreaded sophomore slump.  Hell, for my money it's even better than their debut.  Much like Hot Snakes (and before that Rocket from the Crypt), John Reis handles the vocals in his signature aggro way - one of the most easily identifiable vocalists on the planet.  And just like with those past bands, you know exactly what you are getting with a Night Marchers record - rock.  Pure rock.  And I love every second of it. 

William Tyler - Impossible Truth (Merge, 2013)

William Tyler
Impossible Truth

: 6 buzzing hummingbirds out of 10

William Tyler is a damn fine guitarist, be it here on this solo record or with Lambchop, his other main gig.  You could even say resplendent, though I may have to go look the word up to make sure...yep, the definition is “attractive and impressive through being richly colorful or sumptuous,” so it fits.  But the problem for me is – I don't much yen to listen to this record.  I can play “Impossible Truth,” remark on what a talent the man is, but then after a song or two I just want to listen to something else.  Something catchier, more accessible, something I can sing along to.  The problem seems to be that I'm just a pop tart at heart, and this ain't pop music.  It's some sort of combination of instrumental folk and jazz, it's of a damn high quality, and I'm afraid it's not for me.  (Though as a side note, I've seen the man play live and found it much more engaging). 

Telekinesis - Dormarion (Merge, 2013)


Rating: 7.5 shocked shells out of 10

Every time I hear a Telekinesis record I love it - such upbeat, catchy pop songs - it's been a true fact all the way from their first record through this most recent one "Dormarion."  But for whatever reason I'll then forget about the band for long stretches of time, sometimes all the way until a new record comes out...and it will start all over again, loving the music and wondering why I don't listen more often.  Perhaps my listening habits with this band are related to my inability to come up with anything to really say about other than "good, catchy pop songs," because I'm also at a loss in this category.  "Emphatic People," "Wires," and especially "Dark to Light" are the top tracks, but the entire record from start to finish is highly listenable and recommended. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Endless Boogie - Long Island (No Quarter, 2013)

Endless Boogie
Long Island
No Quarter

Rating: 6 first class flights out of 10

Never has a name been more fitting of a band's sound - Endless Boogie.  It's a bunch of old guys jammin' some sort of seventies classic rock/stoner rock/kraut rock hybrid, and the record is so long it's only a few seconds short of a CD's max length (the record is 79:36 to be exact).  And when I say old, I mean actually old, as in some of these dudes might have grandkids old.  Matt Sweeney (formerly of one of the all-time great bands Chavez) recently joined the group; he's probably in his forties, and is probably referred to as "the kid" in practice.  I like their jams, but in small doses...after two or three nearly ten minute long songs, you feel like you've had your fill.  Worth checking out if you dig this kind of music, but not a must-have. 

Stornoway - Tales from Terra Firma (4AD, 2013)

Tales from Terra Firma

Rating: 6.5 best bets out of 10

The previous album by Stornoway, "Beachcomber's Windowsill," would easily be a nominee for my favorite records of the last five years.  Because of this, and through no fault of the band, I had unconsciously and unfairly set the bar quite high for this follow-up record from these Oxford lads.  "Tales from Terra Firma" is a good album, a very enjoyable album, but sadly it's no "Beachcomber's Windowsill."  And that's ok...most bands don't even have one record in them as good as that one, so even if Stornoway never top it they're still ahead of most of crowd. They are still mining the same whimsical folk-rock territory, but tracks just aren't quite as catchy this time around.  Still worth a listen by my estimate, but grab "Beachcomber's Windowsill" first.     

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Texas Is the Reason - Do You Know Who You Are?: The Complete Collection (Revelation, 2013)

Texas Is the Reason
Do You Know Who You Are?: The Complete Collection


Rating: 10 sensitive scarf wearing college students out of 10

My love of this Texas Is the Reason record, especially in the nineties, is damn near unparalleled.  It would likely make my top ten of the decade, which is saying a lot since I'm still pretty much stuck in that period musically.  Along with Sunny Day Real Estate, they were the high water mark of the emo movement of those days, and for my money their recordings still stand up well.  This recording includes every song they ever recorded in their short career - the single album they recorded under the same name as this one, tracks from a couple of seven inches they appeared on (one a split with the Promise Ring), and even a couple of "new" songs.  And by new songs I mean songs from their original period that had never been recorded until now.  You'll get no unbiased review of this material from me - this is perfection to me, memories of college days, good times with friends, an era when life was easy and awash in golden light.  I'm just glad I can finally pick it up on vinyl now. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Warm Soda - Someone for You (Castle Face, 2013)

Warm Soda
Someone for You
Castle Face

Rating: 7.5 cave reports out of 10

Bare Wires were a damn good band, very catchy... but bands break up; especially bands in the garage/punk/pop realm...the shelf lives of these acts often seem rather short.  But fuck it, life goes on, and these break-ups often lead to former members going on to form new awesome groups like Warm Soda.  

Where Bare Wires had a little Thin Lizzy snarl, Warm Soda has hooks.  Lots and lots of hooks.  The production likely plays a large role, but this reminds me so much of the first Strokes album it's ridiculous (and hype of that era aside, that record was really fuckin' good).  I don't have the greatest speakers but it sounds like "Someone for You" was recorded onto an old tape deck, which is basically what makes it sound like a retro power pop record instead of a modern pop marvel.  Either way, very catchy and highly listenable. 

Psychic Ills - One Track Mind (Sacred Bones, 2013)

Psychic Ills
One Track Mind
Sacred Bones

Rating: 6 red weiners out of 10

The music world is usually pretty cyclical, and these past few years sounding like Jesus & Mary Chain, Love & Rockets and Spacemen 3 is apparently the new thing to circle back to.  That's certainly the case with Psychic Ills. You could certainly take a worse route, but I'm not sure what makes me want to pick this band to listen to over one of the groups I compared them to.  I'm not even sure why I started writing this because I clearly have nothing to say.  So you want to hear some drone-laden shoegaze done in a competent but mostly unoriginal way?  Here you go.