18 Nov 2010 @ 7:22 PM 

Records. As with a lot of things that come out constantly and in large numbers, there are a few hits and plenty of misses… even from a few bands I love. Sometimes they pleasantly surprise me while others just surprise me with a punch in the stomach. This week I’ve got a little bit of both for you as well as a few other emotions, so try to keep up while I wildly cheer, cry, yell and finally lay down for a nap.

Cloud Nothings: Turning On– While I’ve stuck up religiously for lo-fi in the past, sometimes someone comes along and makes me think I might have been mistaken. The best part about lo-fi rock is the energy that it tends to have. Thats #1. If you don’t have enough of it, you’re fucked. Unfortunately, this is also the biggest thing that Cloud Nothings lack on a consistent basis. They start off on a good note with a song that was so energetic that I immediately thought they might be a lo-fi version of Les Savy Fav. My excitement was almost immediately quelled as the album continued. Its not the tempo of the songs that made them drag so much, it was the uninspired drumming and low-energy vocals that really killed this for me. If they can fix those problems on their next record, they might have something here. If not, they’ll drift back into obscurity as quickly as they came out of it… 5.2/10

Old Street

Maserati: Pyramid Of The Sun– Instrumental rock bands are a dying breed nowadays, let alone instrumental psychedelic rock bands and Maserati isn’t helping things with their latest record. While I’ve not only enjoyed every record they’ve put out until now, I considered them one of the best instrumental post-rock bands around… that is, before I heard this album. Sidebar: Maserati lost their drummer about year ago in a tragic accident and this album is a tribute to his last works. That being said, this record is painfully repetitive and it recycles good ideas and riffs over and over to a point that it at times make it unlistenable. I don’t usually mention how much of a chore it is to listen to something that I don’t like so I can write about it here, but let me tell you, it was a long 50 minutes. Times three. But all is not lost if you’re still interested in their past works, which are all wonderful. Start with The Language Of Cities and make your way to the present. In fact, instead of just leaving you with an mp3 from this forgettable album, I’ll also include a favorite of mine from their 2007 release, Inventions For The New Season. I just can’t leave you with a bad taste in your mouth when they used to be so much better… 4.0/10

Pyramid Of The Sun

12/16 from Inventions For A New Season

The Radio Dept.: Never Follow Suit– As with every EP thats released soon after or just before an LP, the new tracks are whats going to make or break a record. Ironically, this also what makes this difficult for me to rate. The extra songs by them are so short that just when I’m starting to enjoy them, they end. Then, On Your Side is almost a medley dedicated to the memory of Never Follow Suit, which is kinda strange. Then we have a dub remix of the title track by Pistol Disco that extends the title track to double it’s length which turns it into a long, overdrawn and forgettable memory. Then it predictably ends with the radio version of Never Follow Suit. So yeah, I have mixed feelings about it. Overall, its decent but thats about it. Personally, I’d say get the new tracks and forget about the rest… 6.8/10

On Your Side

TOBACCO: La Uti– While the previous record I wrote about focused on a couple of new songs with one remix, TOBACCO‘s La Uti is almost exclusively a remix record except for three totally new tracks. The formulation is simple: Take a song from Maniac Meat, and rap your ass off. The results are not only impressive, they surpassed my expectations at nearly every turn. I approached this with a great deal of skepticism because the originals were more than impressive on their own. Adding vocals of any kind is a tricky fence to walk, but Rob Sonic, Anti-Pop Consortium and the others did it artfully. Unholy Demon Rhythms‘ vocals are a bit annoying, but it still works on a certain level because they’re minimized for the most part. As usual, the three new tracks with guest vocals are inventive, beat-heavy and flow beautifully. Finally, something an indie kid can cruise around with and not look like a total douche. You can thank TOBACCO for that… 8.8/10

TV All Greasy (Feat. Anti-Pop Consortium)

 11 Sep 2010 @ 1:28 PM 

For all the records that August and September 2010 have brought us so far, none have been more noteworthy than those I bring you today. I’m highlighting a few bands that I have some history with as well as a couple of newcomers. I won’t bore you with the details just yet, but lets just say it didn’t turn out as nicely as I would have hoped in all cases. In fact, emotions range from absolute disgust to positively pleased. And we’re walking…

Les Savy Fav: Root For Ruin– For the last 14 or so years, Les Savy Fav have pretty much rocked the face off of everyone they’ve come across. Even today they can still be classified as edgy post-punk as much as they were when they first came onto the scene. Root For Ruin is everything I hoped it would be and completely lives up to the rest of their work in every respect: Creative, slightly unpredictable, full of energy and all Les Savy Fav. At times it even reminded me of 3/5 and Go Forth as far as their energy level goes. My only significant complaint is that its probably going to take another couple of years before they put out another great record like this. Hopefully LSF can continue their great song-writing ability for years to come…9.1/10

Sleepless in Silverlake

Frontier(s): There Will Be No Miracles HereFrontier(s) combines the talents of Chris Higdon (formerly of Elliott) and little else. Coincidentally, 2 months ago I was listening to False Cathedrals by Elliott and thinking to myself, ‘I wonder what these guys did when they broke up’. Well as it turns out, they weren’t doing anything for the last few years until just recently when the aforementioned Higdon decided to re-brand himself as the lead of his new band, Frontier(s). This got me really excited and I immediately downloaded their 2-song EP. Sure it was just okay, but I wanted to give them the benefit of a full-length review… Let me just say that this is in no way like Elliott other than Higdon’s vocal style and typical song structures. Other than that, its not what I expected. Not since Jeremy Enigk‘s OK Bear has the title of an album unintentionally said so much about it beforehand… and in case you’re wondering, OK Bear? Just okay. There are 2 major problems with this record: 1) The drummer is one of the worst I’ve heard in quite a while. Everytime this guy tries to do a fill, I cringe. Not only because he fails and comes back in late half the time, but also because he obviously loves doing them– as if he were good at them or something. And 2) This whole band is a blatant attempt to revive Elliott and all the success they had when in fact, this sounds like a sloppy garage band. Also, the closed parenthesis on the S in Frontier(s) is just fucking stupid… I don’t know, I think I’m just angry now. I suppose if this were Higdon’s first band and there weren’t any expectations attached to it, this might score a couple of points higher, but thats simply not the case. This record is pedestrian on nearly every level and a real punch-in-the-stomach to fans of Elliott and what that band was…3.6/10

Poor Souls

The Prids: ChronosynclasticThe Prids are based out of Portland, OR and though they’ve been around for awhile now, they’re pretty new to me. With that in mind, Chronosynclastic is a guitar-driven pop record with harmonized slacker vocals that combined with subtle underlying keyboards makes for a pretty awesome listening experience. Taking influences from that of Sonic Youth and The Pixies, The Prids have come up with a sound that is as distinctive to themselves as the aforementioned bands sounds were to them. Chronosynclastic flows very smoothly, almost as if it were a shoegaze record, when in fact its much more powerpop than that. With a cup of 90s drone rock and a dash of punk, Chronosynclastic is one of the most surprisingly delicious cakes this year…8.8/10

Desolate

The Clientele: MinotaurThe Clientele write 60s-era pop songs and have accomplished multiple spectacular albums over the years and literally surprised the hell out of me that I loved them as much as I did. In short, I couldn’t quit them if I tried. Minotaur is a slight departure from other things they’ve done in the past and for the most part, this EP sounds largely experimental for them. The songs on this album don’t really seem to gel as much as their past works did and it almost sounds like an album of B-sides. Everything they’ve pushed the envelope with in the past is pushed even further on this record. Whether it was the ‘heavy metal-esque’ solo on Gerry, the mysterious piano concerto No.33 or the odd audiobook-like story(with sound effects, of course) of Green Man, this left me scratching my head as to how these were supposed to be smooth transitions into each other. It was just all a bit strange. But, as a whole, despite all of the oddities that seemed to be strung together to look like a single piece of work, the songs themselves were as heartfelt and beautiful as anything I’ve come to expect from them…7.2/10

Nothing Here Is What It Seems

Film School: FissionFilm School have been crafting moody indie pop for the last few years and in that time released 2 records– one that subsequently improved over the last. Fission continues that upward trend, but in a slightly different way. While their first 2 releases focused more on indie pop creativity, their focus has shifted towards not only crafting great songs, but also focusing on the atmosphere and mood of this record more. The result is less indie pop and more dream pop. This suits their sound much better because while I really liked them before, they really didn’t make as big an impression on me as they could have– something was missing. As it turns out, it was atmosphere. They’ve mastered it on this record and I couldn’t be happier with the result. In fact, most of these songs could be remixed with a drum machine and just as easily be categorized as synth pop in the vein of Depreciation Guild or Deastro if they wanted to be. In any case, Fission is a significant improvement over their last record that I didn’t expect or want, but am glad they made…8.8/10

Still Might

Posted By: thelittlefield
Last Edit: 18 Sep 2010 @ 12:59 PM

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