Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Outer Spaces - A Shedding Snake (Don Giovanni, 2016)

Outer Spaces
A Shedding Snake
Don Giovanni

Rating: 7.5 moving bags out of 10

I've been thinking and thinking of what I want to say about this Outer Spaces record, and not a lot is coming to me...it's just a really damn pleasant pop record - no frills, no fuss, no muss, just solid, catchy songs.  Singer Cara Beth Satacino has a great, warm voice that sounds instantly familiar, and is very comforting.  With her voice and the way the songs are structured, this almost feels like an alt-country record minus all the twang.  That probably doesn't make any damn sense but it's something that keeps popping into my head while I listen.  This just doesn't move me to many words, but I'll be damned if I don't really like it.  Also: excellent live. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wolf Parade - EP 4 (Self-Released, 2016)

Wolf Parade
EP 4

Rating: 8.5 drippy bottles out of 10

Hey, Wolf Parade is a thing again!  Color me glad, because I'll finally get to see them later this summer at Hopscotch after missing out the first time around.  During their hiatus or break-up or whatever the hell it was, I listened to a lot of the excellent solo efforts of the two frontmen: Dan Boeckner's Handsome Furs (as well as Divine Fits) and Spencer Krug's Moonface (as well as Sunset Rubdown).  So now when they get back together and come out with a new Wolf Parade EP, it no longer sounds like Wolf Parade to my ears but rather their solo endeavors, depending on the singer of the particular song playing obviously.  But...I don't really fucking care.  All four tracks on this EP are fantastic no what act they make you think of.  It's actually quite impressive that nearly everything either of those dudes touch sounds like gold to me...usually a split means weaker output, but somehow both Dan and Spencer have tapped a bottomless well of catchy goddamn songs.  Friggin' Canadians right?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pipe / Rubbermaid - Split 7'' (Amish, 1996)

Pipe / Rubbermaid
Split 7''

Rating: 7 expressed men out of 10

The was final Pipe seven inch I need to complete my collection of all of the Pipe seven inches.  All five of them!  I could have ordered it cheap off of Discogs but there's something more exciting about finding that final piece in the wild.  Their track "Raceway Park" can also be found on their "International Cement" full length, a good song but probably wouldn't have been my first choice for a single.  At no point have I ever known anything about Rubbermaid, and this one song hasn't changed that.  Pretty typical mid-nineties indie punk I guess. 

Spoon - Someone Something 7'' (Merge, 2002)

Someone Something 7''

Rating: 7 boom screams out of 10

The title song can otherwise be found on the great 2002 Spoon record "Kill the Moonlight." Damn do I love that record, nearly every track is gold.  There are actually two b-sides here, "Is This the Last Time?" and "In the Right Place the Right Time."  Neither is in the top tier of the band's work, which is probably why they got stashed on the other side of a single and are not on an album proper.  But it's still a couple of Spoon tracks from their golden era, so I'll take it.   

Teenage Fanclub - Free Again 7'' (K, 1992)

Teenage Fanclub
Free Again 7''

Rating: 8 dumb hopes out of 10

Two non-album covers from one of the greatest pop bands to ever exist, Teenage Fanclub.  Side A, "Free Again," is an Alex Chilton number that sounds just like a track that Fanclub might have written early in the oeuvre.  It's a match made in heaven.  The flip track "Bad Seeds" is originally a Beat Happening piece that doesn't work quite as well, but then again I've never gotten my feathers ruffled over the Beat Happening so I'm sure that's a big part of it.  Regardless, anything Teenage Fanclub releases is worth having, and I was excited to stumble upon this. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Moonface / Siinai - My Best Human Face (Jagjaguwar, 2016)

Moonface / Siinai
My Best Human Face

Rating: 8 butter funks out of 10

I guess Moonface (aka Spencer Krug from Wolf Parade & Sunset Rubdown) enjoyed his first pairing with Finnish krautgazers Siinai so much that both groups decided to do the whole damn thing over again.  Before this pairing Moonface was plenty enjoyable, but could sometimes get a touch repetative with the organ dirges.  The addition of a full band to the proceedings have really given the songs focus, no more so than on the second track "Risto's Riff" - goddamn does that track burn white hot.  "Prairie Boy" also has a strong kraut vibe that I'm way into.  My only complaint really, and it's more an observation than a complaint, is that when you add a full band to what Moonface was already doing, you kinda just end up back at Wolf Parade...I'm guessing casual fans wouldn't be able to spot the difference.  I'm almost positive I don't really care though, as I'll definitely be spinning this record quite a bit for the next while, no matter who it sounds like. 

Also, we've got a real contender here for worst album cover of the year, right?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Fruit Bats - Absolute Loser (Easy Sound Recording, 2016)

Fruit Bats
Absolute Loser
Easy Sound Recording

Rating: 7.5 fresh fish bets out of 10

It seems like bands don't really go away anymore, at least not like they did in my youth.  Not that I have a problem with that, mind you, just an observation.  Fruit Bats (aka Eric Johnson and whoever he gets to play with him for any particular record or tour) have been making really terrific, occasionally twangy, seventies-style soft rock since the early 2000s.  They would sort of disappear and reappear from time to time (or so it seemed), depending on if there was a new record to promote or not.  There was even an actual "break-up" of the band announced on the usual music websites a couple of years ago...and though it's not clear to me how (what is essentially) a one man band breaks up, apparently he patched things up with himself because here we have a new record, "Absolute Loser."  

All of that nonsense aside, this is a great "return" by the Bats.  Things kick off with the best track on the release, "From a Soon-to-Be Ghost Town," and never really let up.  Well, I guess they must let up at least a little bit if the first song is the best, otherwise they would all the best or better, and that makes even less sense than most things I write.  "Baby Bluebird" is also excellent, and there's honestly not a dud in the bunch.  That's typically true of everything Fruit Bats have released - I can't think of a bad song they've ever recorded.  

A few years from now when Fruit Bats release yet another excellent record, it's entirely possible I'll write this same stupid review again.  Next time it might include even more run-on sentences and grammatical errors!