Tuesday, January 27, 2015

FKA Twigs - LP1 (Young Turks, 2014)

FKA Twigs
Young Turks

Rating: 6 fancy rings out of 10

I think if I probably didn't know better, I'd assume this FKA Twigs record came out in the mid-nineties and was contemporaries with the likes of Portishead, Tricky and Roni Size, and I just somehow missed it.  I suppose it's not just the indie rock of my high school and college years that is getting rehashed these days, apparently the kids need to hear trip hop again too.  Nothing wrong with that mind you, just an observation from this relatively old man, musically speaking.  On the plus side, I actually like (but don't love) this record, and when it's an artist such as this that has been blogged to death across the entire internet, I find that is rarely the case.  On the minus side, nothing else on this album is as close to as good as the hit song "Two Weeks" - the rest of it is perfectly fine and listenable, but definitely lacks that "it" factor of that track.  That song is really damn good, I find I want to listen to it quite a bit.  I guess it can be at least one thing I still have in common with teenagers, other than my awful diet. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jeff the Brotherhood - Dig the Classics (Warner Bros, 2014)

Jeff the Brotherhood
Dig the Classics
Warner Bros

Rating: 7 phasers set to stun out of 10

Jeff the Brotherhood offer up an EP of covers for the fans, and this fan approves.  I'm not sure how often I'll spin this, but I do like hearing their take on some classic tracks, and all of their choices here are solid.  Some songs are fairly straight forward and well known (the Pixies' "Gouge Away" and My Bloody Valentine's "Come in Alone"), others are obscure b-sides (Teenage Fanclub's "Mad Dog 20/20" from an old DGC comp, and Beck's "Totally Confused" that appears to be the b-side of the "Loser" single).  There is even one track called "Cujo," originally by Colleen Green, that I didn't know at all, so it felt more like getting a new JtB song than a cover.  The best track is their take on the Wipers' "Mystery," a song they should definitely be playing regularly in their live sets if they aren't already (they haven't played near me in a couple of years so I'm totally out of the loop on their live output).  For fans this is a must hear - for everyone else, why not?

J Mascis - Fade Into You 7'' (Sub Pop, 2014)

J Mascis
Fade Into You 7''
Sub Pop

Rating: 7.5 clean paws out of 10

Randomly came across this J Mascis single (aka I downloaded this a while back and then totally forgot about it) - apparently this was released for Record Store Day 2014.  The titel track, and main draw here, is Mascis covering the Mazzy Star classic "Fade Into You" - it sounds exactly as you would expect, his voice making most anything sound like a long lost Dinosaur Jr track, as well as making me nostalgic for the original and my freshman year of college when the song came out.  The b-side is what appears to be an original unreleased track called "Outside Eye," and it's great...should have been put on a proper album IMO. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bowerbirds - In The Yard 7'' (Dead Oceans, 2012)

In The Yard 7''
Dead Oceans

Rating: 7.5 purchased bonkers out of 10

Apparently this was released for Record Store Day in 2012, but I picked it out of the bargain bin of Amoeba in LA over christmas.  Bowerbirds are not only great but I used to play basketball with the guys in the group, thereby making them infinitely more awesome.  The title track of this seven inch is also on their album "The Clearing," while the b-side "Always an Ear to Bend" appears to be unique to this release.  Good songs, catchy, slightly spacey folk with great harmonies.  All of their full-lengths are worth a listen. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The White Octave - Style No. 6312 (Deep Elm / Broken Circles, 2000 / 2014)

The White Octave
Style No. 6312
Deep Elm / Broken Circles
2000 / 2014

Rating: 9 empty cake boxes out of 10

Why write about this first release by the White Octave, a nearly fifteen year old regional emo album that I doubt many people outside of North Carolina have heard or give a shit about?  Because not only do I love this record and get to write about whatever the hell I want to, but it finally got released on vinyl by Broken Circles!  

For those who don't know, this group was what musician Stephen Pedersen did between quitting Cursive and starting Criteria.  If I remember correctly, Pedersen moved from Omaha to the Triangle area to attend law school (Duke maybe?), or at least that was what I was always told.  The band always got lumped in with the emo crowd, at least partially because the album was released on Deep Elm, but I always thought of them as being a little heavier and/or more post-punk than that scene.  They're sort of a combination of something like Pedersen's old band Cursive with heavier Dischord-ish fare like Fugazi.  And they killed live, something I recently got to re-live during the 2014 edition of the Hopscotch Music Festival.  

I have no idea if anyone outside of old timers like myself will give a shit about this re-release, but they should and hopefully will.

Morrissey - World Peace Is None of Your Business (EMI / Harvest, 2014)

World Peace Is None of Your Business
EMI / Harvest

Rating: Morrissey. 

Yep, it sounds like a Morrissey record.  A little pompous as always, a lot brilliant as always, and I'll listen to the shit out of this as always.  Seriously, is there any need to write an actual, well thought out review of a Morrissey album at this point?  Us fans simply don't give a shit what the critical take of the man is. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Rites of Spring - All Through A Life 7'' (Dischord, 1987)

Rites of Spring
All Through A Life 7''

Rating: 9 single Emma Thompsons out of 10  

Yeah I already have all of these Rites of Spring songs from their compilation "End on End," but when I saw this record at the store I had to buy it anyways.  There's not a damn thing wrong with owning everything by these post-hardcore (and pre-Fugazi) masters in every format possible.  Plus, it just seems "right" to listen to this band on vinyl ya know?  Really smart people have already written books on this band so I don't feel the need, but they were definitely very influential to me in high school and college. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Van Pelt - Imaginary Third (La Castanya, 2014)

The Van Pelt
Imaginary Third
La Castanya

Rating: 8 packages of snack meat out of 10

The Van Pelt were an excellent post punk band from the mid-nineties that I listened to a metric shit ton back in the mid-nineties.  The band broke up and the key members Chris Leo and Toko Yasuda went on the form the Lapse, a very similar outfit that I liked even more.  Anyways, this record is exactly what the title says - their imaginary third album, had they released it after their second record "The Sultan of Sentiment."  This is really more an EP than a full-length at 24 minutes long, but a new Van Pelt record is a new Van Pelt record and I'm not here to complain.  And sure, some of these songs actually ended up on Lapse albums and at least a couple of tracks are from a Van Pelt seven inch so it's really not even close to a "new" record, but I'm still grateful to have all these tracks in one place.   Especially since this happened out of out of nowhere, a very nice treat just to stumble across.