Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Greatest Show On TV

Eighteen characters, fully developed over the course of two seasons by the most complex, intriguing, exhilarating and daring writing that has ever been featured on a television channel.

HBO has outdone their already stunning catalogue of groundbreaking work.

It is without the slighest bit of hyperbole that I say, this series is not entertainment- it is artwork.

The third and final season of Deadwood is the last chapter in the frontier masterpiece that has set the bar for future television so hopelessly high- I may have just lost all other use for the idiot box.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Music That's Not Nearly As Good As You. Week 3

Ohh for the love of God Nooo! Little Timmy! Get out of the house!!

That's right Timmy's mom, It’s back. Everyone’s favorite slurfest. Complete with all new burns, jabs and out-and-out personal attacks.

Although this week’s post is especially painful for me actually.

Two of my all time favorite artists have fallen far, far from grace- and right into a level of music that’s not nearly as good as you.

Remember kids, I don’t enjoy this.

Well some of it, I enjoy some of it.

But not all of it.

Head Automatica – Propaganda

This album is so unimaginably bad- it actually scratched the word “TUOLLES“ into the surface of my Glassjaw discs (get a mirror.)

I don’t know what the hell Palumbo is smoking or jamming in his arm/up his nose but apparently: losing edge = losing the ability to sustain notes and melody. It’s like this guy ignored the actual music on this album’s tracks and decided it would be fun to do a grating parody of his own voice.

The Glassjaw fan in me (the one that just got hit by an 18-wheeler called Warner Records and the production manglery of Howard Benson) can’t help but hope this is some sort of a ‘fuck you’ to a label forcing Daryl to do unspeakable things. Unfortunately I know better. I know a bad album and worse: a washed up artist, when I hear one.

Daryl, who you fuckin’ now?

Asobi Seksu - Citrus

Nothing like a female lead singer that can’t really sing. Apparently this band is a big deal. Apparently I’m the only one who gives a shit about the rules.

The music’s not even that bad. It’s just that it’s not that good, certainly not good enough to carry a weak frontman. Frontperson. Whatever.

Bands like this make me wonder what’s on TV.

Walkmen - Hundred Miles Off

Downloading Walkman’s new single did not put a virus on my hard drive crashing my computer.

I just wish that it had.

This brand of Monotonous, throwback drivel practically begs me to express-mail cow dung to labels like ‘Record Collection’ and say, “Now it’s your turn; review this.”

‘Record Collection,’ no really, that’s a clever name.

Thursday – A city By the Light Divided.

This album is about as pretentious and incomprehensible as its title. But not even the fun and widely outlandish brand of pretentious like Coheed; this is the pretension of a band that expects their fans to still nod at all of the old riffs and screams that worked 6 years ago without asking why those sounds don’t work anymore.

But seriously, are all of my generation’s seminal post-hardcore acts resigned to mutilating their own legacy by releasing work that misses every attempted note and chord?

And what’s worse this record is getting critical praise! It’s like all of the critics who originally made a sour-face at Thursday-and bands like them- when the screaming thing first stepped into mainstream, are now throwing out tokens of appreciation because they’ve finally realized that the rest of the world is rabid for the sounds that they never recognized as important.

You can almost hear the inner dialogue of these brain dead penman, “ Hmm I was never a enamored with Thursday’s earlier work- I always found them too in love with their own aggression and fractal approach to melody, but this latest record marks a vast maturity for group. You can almost taste the wisdom that they’ve earned over the years on the road working the hard music scene.”

No. I can almost taste a band that’s two songs away from writing anti-bush tracks in hopes of masquerading as a poignant and viable group despite every decibel that chokes out of their speakers declaring the opposite.

Go back to Jersey guys. This car ride is over.




Saturday, June 10, 2006

Music That's Better Than You. Week 6.6.6.

Only three bands this time.


It’s not my fault.

Look go start a good band and give me something to post here. It’s not like I can just birth fantastic artist from my swollen golden loins.

Oh also there has been a basic format change, you’ll notice I’ve started listing some information AHEAD of the review to help our readers who didn’t take their Ritalin today.


Genre Alignment: Post-hardcore/Post-rock

Sounds like: Takaru, Welcome the Plague Year, Kayo Dot, Isis, etc vs. Mono, Grails, This Will Destroy You, Tristeza (Seriously I could do this all day.)

No really, sounds like: The Book of Revelation.


I’ve often referenced the oddly kinetic relationship between screamo and post-rock. And if that claim was ever in dispute- if that statement has ever needed any outsider backing, well Envy just rolled through the door with enough ground support to hijack Tokyo.

The Japanese quintet has released Insomniac Doze and it is, simply put, a landmark creation. Insomniac stands like a lone pillar of slowly gathering post-rock beauty carved into existence by a hardcore tonality that literally defies any other band’s claim to the adjective “epic.”

However, while Envy’s name reads across the disc’s credits, the actualization of this beautiful paradox is the result of a slowly culminating tempest of ideals and sounds from two globe-spanning, seemingly parallel scenes: Hardcore and Post-rock. Artists from both schools have enjoyed forays into each other’s territory previously, but they were tentative excurses and never long lasting. And despite the inevitability of a release of this nature, no band has ever had the vision or presence to forge both antithetical realms of melody and discord into one. That was until now.

Still, prospect listeners hailing from the purist corners of the post-rock and hardcore genres should understand that this album does not (and could not) have the polish and prowess of the best hardcore or the best post-rock bands.

This is not Converge meets Sigur Rós.

However, having said that, it’s a helluva lot closer than anything that’s ever been released before, and for that reason alone Insomniac is remarkable. Acting as a conduit for a new still unnamed scene’s growing hunger for a release to define them; Envy has realigned old genre boundaries birthing a new land. And with this new realm’s completion Envy is stalking gloriously into the virgin country with the gait of kings.

Appropriate recognition may be in order.

[MP3] Envy - Further Ahead Of Warp

[HOME] Envy

Pearl Jam

Genre Alignment: Alternative/Modern Rock

Sounds like: Less Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots and a lot more like AC/DC or Led Zeppelin... But not like Wolf Mother does- you know, like soulless scum-sucking melody and riff whores.

No really, sounds like: The fire is back. I’m not sure who blew on the cooling embers, but someone or something coaxed a decent blaze out of a band that could’ve burnt out ten years ago.

There was a time when I enjoyed Pearl Jam, I was young and in those years I found angry post-grunge rock to be both fresh and intriguing. Shortly afterwards MTV and alternative commercial radio ruined Pearl Jam for me, much the same way MTV and alternative commercial radio ruined the 1990’s for anyone with at least six healthy neurons firing someone inside of their skull.

It was in those crucial years that I had begun develop and enjoy some good elitist snobbery, and simultaneously I developed and enjoyed a nice hatred for Pearl Jam. I mean, I genuinely dislike most of the music from the early 90s, but Pearl Jam especially earned a direct-line to my bile duct.Maybe it was their never ending abundance of overplayed songs born of worn-out riffs and all too available angst that grated on me. Or maybe I was too turned off by the group’s constant pretentious, cause-of-the-week, bleeding-heart liberal melodrama. (No one who plays an instrument for a living should take anything other than drugs or women so seriously.)

Or ultimately maybe it’s just Vedder’s voice that made my skin crawl.

Regardless, I couldn’t fucking stand me some Pearl Jam.


A few weeks ago another music snob compatriot of mine (see: Indie-Pop Snob in ‘Best of 2005’ post) insisted I listen to Pearl Jam’s latest self titled record. Now despite the nearly overwhelming bias my friend has towards Pearl Jam (this guy has a serious problem, I mean nearly an addiction) I respect any true snob’s taste enough to give an old band a new shot.

My comrade spoke of a new fury, and new guitar styles. He swore that after their last two (admittedly) sub par releases their latest record truly, and honestly, rocks. He said if there is ANY Pearl Jam album I could EVER enjoy, than THIS, THIS WAS THE ONE!

And so I agreed to give the album a shot.

...Well, goddammit.

[MP3] (Uh, none- because apparently Pearl Jam believes in aiding their fans with every other imagination option except a free goddamn single posted on their website)

[HOME] Pearl Jam

The Like Young

Genre Alignment: Post-Punk/Indie

Sounds like: Rancid, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Weezer and Pixies(Tell me that doesn’t make your head hurt.)

No really, sounds like: That time in high school when the dangerously cute Indie Pop girl got real boozed up and ended up in bed with the detention regular with the four inch Mohawk.

The Like Young can sound a lot like Sex Pistols at times. I stopped listening to bands that sound like The Sex Pistols right around the time I got my driver’s license (turns out being able to drive your ass around tends to take edge out of your punk.) And I think we can all agree the world really doesn’t need another band aping the 70’s punk movement, god knows I don’t need it, so if the only thing I ever heard from The Like Young was the first 25 seconds of For Money or Love (see mp3 link) I would have deleted the track and never looked back.

However as fate would have it, this band’s genius arrives in style on second 26, and in that one second the vocals go from the ‘sing through pierced-septum holes in your nose obnoxious punk’ sound to a melody so instantly appealing it literally froze my cursor above the ‘delete’ key.

So thank god for diversity. Thank god for choruses and harmonies that would be far too sweet to swallow if their weren’t offset by something grating and jagged.

The Like Young’s 2006 full length Last Secrets works on a breathtakingly thin margin. A little more polish and the album would be too sunny and smooth to humor and inversely if there was a little more discordant punk anguish and repetition Secrets would be too simple and to shallow to raise an eyebrow. Thankfully The Like Young have managed a death defying balancing act that’s too odd and fun to not watch with rapt attention.

[MP3] The Like Young - For Money or Love .
[MP3] The Like Young - Dead Eyes

[HOME] The Like Young

[THE’SPACE] The Like Young

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Music That's Better Than You. Week 5

Yeah, fucking Yorke threw off my whole stride. Anyway get the rubbers and let's do this thing.

The Sound Team

There is something about a band that lets their sound breath; allowing chords to drift into gentle termination between the drum’s ringing detonations. It speaks to a band confidence, when the thick drive of the bass hums relentlessly but without anxiety and the vocals are anthemic and yet blissfully patient; letting lyrics linger on the tips the singer’ tongue just long enough to tumble through the depths of the listener’s ears.

From such a description you would expect Sound Team to be another post-rock ambient outfit. But they’re not. Sound Team makes music that could be post-rock, but post-rock for the A.D.D. Truly this band has too much of a pulse to let their songs wander endlessly down ambient hallways because Sound Team’s 2006 full length Movie Monster is unmistakable danceable Album.

And yet for all of the moves Monster dares you to make, the album could just as easily entertain the couch bound melody junkie. It’s this duel nature that makes the band greater than the sum of their parts. Movie Monster throbs with a tempo that refuses to be ignored, and yet despite what the rhythm section would have you think (or do), the rest of the band lounges placidly midst layer upon layer of thick dreamy keys and chords.

The band’s frontman is perfectly suited to his group’s sonic duality, he croons and hooks like any other ego-rich neverwave frontman and yet his delivery snaps and twangs with a timbre that belies the normally postured style he is referencing.

Ultimately the only thing preventing Sound Team from transcending the startlingly well crafted pop-willing album realm and leaping into the masterpiece strata is the repetition of their technique, specifically the near omni presences of the dancehall staple: the four to the floor bass drum. But for those of you who don’t have any idea what that means- you should have no problem falling under this album’s deceptively simple allure, and you should feel damn good doing so.

Sounds like:
If The Secret Machines sounded half as big as they wanted and were fronted by The Killer’s lead singer, and if he had half as much personality as his reflection promised you’d have a sound similar to this.

No really, sounds like:
If tragedy and introspection incited less tears and more dance.

[MP3] The Sound Team - Born To Please

[THE ‘SPACE] The Sound Team

[HOME] The Sound Team


There is a rare type of artist who is so skilled and gifted that his talent radiates from his pours lingering on all of the projects he touches. Often this artist’s true aptitude is his or her ability to inspire and resonate with other artists forming a sort of creative symbiosis capable of remarkable feats of production. And yet there is an artist rarer still, who needs no one else- who can craft great works all by their lonesome.

Such is Karl Rasmus Kellerman.

You may have heard Karl’s more famous project last week on this site when I did a review of Tiger Lou, Karl would be Tiger’s lead singer.

Still, years before he joined up with his mates in 'Lou he made music under a different name: Araki. In 2001 Kellerman recorded his first moody demos, they were later to be finished and then released by the now defunct label Scene Police, the album was named Ikara.

If you found Tiger Lou’s dark swoons, sweeping melodies and finely tuned indie rock craftsmanship something you could easily lose yourself in, Ikara is something you must own. Where Tiger Lou has an unwavering grasp on the basic song format Karl’s earlier work was far more sparse and restrained. The songs on Ikara all bare reminisce to soft requiems, translated into indie-rock. There is a spacious quality to the release that toys with the deconstructed nature of post-rock, but the songs never lose their cohesiveness and Karl’s haunting and devastatingly graceful vocal melodies are never far away…

Sounds Like: A quieter, darker Tiger Lou

No Really, Sounds Like: Soft grave-side musings of a guitar, some keys and a voice that will not forget.

[MP3] Akari - My Ego Could Crush A Full Grown Man

[THE ‘SPACE] Akari


Please read below before continuing with the reviews.

The other day I loaded up my Elite Opinion desktop folder to begin writing this week’s Music That’s Better Than You post and to my surprise I found the file already in progress. It turns out I had already started week five’s post… I just happened to have absolutely no recollection of it.

At all.

After some short detective work (really short, check out the second sentence in the As the Poets “Confirm” review) I quickly deduced that at some point, during Friday or Saturday night I got B.O.D. and decided to whip up some reviews!!

Look out Bukowksi; you’re not the only poet with a liver condition.

Anyway for comedic effect I’ve left the reviews entirely as I found them, in all of their wandering pathetic glory, only the band names have been edited for obviously reasons.

Show me another music blog like this. Seriously.

_______ The Drunken Reviews: ______

Ane Brute
(Post Inebriatory Edit: Ane*Brun*)

If American music still sounded this hurt and blue I would have never turned to hardcore for cartharsis.

Where Jose touches us for his tender intrigue ane stabs us with a depth of cold, cold goddamn sweet cold knife that leaves a scar you can be proud of.

*The following was left incomplete originally and was completed after the original review:

Sounds like:
Jose Gonzalez’s shadowy brand folk got dressed up for a night at blues dive.

No really, sounds like:
A subtle melancholy ache drafted across an acoustic fret board in small clever doses.

[MP3] Ane Brun - This Voice

[THE ‘SPACE] Ane Brun

[HOME] Ane Brun

As the Poets Confirm
(Post Inebriatory Edit: As the Poets *Affirm*)

Yes, this is post-rock, yes this obviously, this el post-rocko. You’re drunk. Stop it.

No, seriously, there are bands who take the post-rock tools (oh stop, we’ve all seen them at the store, reverb and delay on the guitars, some strings and keys plus a drummer who can strike 4/4 earth shaking drops that re-start our pulses. (What the hell was I drinking?)

But sometimes we have a group who takes those tools for granted. And does something trascenedental. They take the queues we lavish on them and brush them off like so much B.S only to make an album so dynamic and coherent we suddenly understand why we’ve been pushing this sound for so long!

YES! This is how to do it!

Don’t just take these epic chords and huge rythmes to bed, restring and pound them into new form and new style to forward an entirely deep and more honost art….

*The following was left incomplete originally and was completed after the original review:

Sounds like:
Sigur Ros’ devotion to the creative concept that mood should dictate technique, and not the reverse. This band has all of the depth and range that puts artists like Do Make Say Think and Evpatoria Report high on a pedestal, towering above the milling crowd of their peers.

No really, sounds like:
The post-rock cannon was dismantled and re-deployed by a nearly classical mastermind’s attention to composition and theme.

[MP3] As the Poets Affirm -Snow-White Wings in the Bottomless Blue
[MP3] As the Poets Affirm - A Lie Told Before Breakfast
[MP3] As the Poets Affirm -A Voice Recited the News on the Radio

[THE ‘SPACE] As The Poets Affirm

[HOME] As The Poets Affirm