Sunday, April 28, 2002

Melt Banana - Scratch or Sniff *CD <5777>
Plot in a Pot
Sorry it's been so long, more record reviews on the way... (5/10/02)

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Lo Fidelity Allstars - Don't Be Afraid of Love
I didn't hear much of their last album, but I must admit that the track "Battle Flag" off of How to Operate With A Blown Mind was one of the very few things worth hearing on commercial radio last year, so I was curious about this one when it came into the radio station.

I always think of typical electronica separated into two (grossly oversimplified) categories. The first is the hardcore electronica stuff made by some mad studio scientist, where the focus is on the music and sounds, the beats and samples. The other is the pop dance anthems played in clubs with over the top diva-esque vocals and big choruses, this generation's disco. This album has a little of the former but is mostly the latter. Generally I don't enjoy the totally unrestrained female pop singing that's all over this record. The beats are undeniably funky, but I'm just not a disco / europop fan.

I did enjoy some of the more instrumental moments, and really liked the help LFAS got from Greg Dulli (formerly Afghan Whigs) and Boosty Collins. (Does that make me a music misogynist, since I don't like the female vocals?) It's just that they (Dulli and Bootsy) are so much more subtle and restrained, letting one focus more on the music. Unfortunately this is not what this album is generally about, and I just couldn't get into it. We probably won't put this one out in the new bin at the station.
Shari Elf - I'm Forcing Goodness Upon You
Shari makes quirky childlike folk with a good sense of humor. It's cheeky and lo fi with lot's o cheap instruments like casio keyboards circa (probably) 1988 or so. I have never really liked folk all that much, but at least Shari is not the generic female pierced and hair dyed alterna chick Liz Phair / Indigo Girl knock off playing coffee shops annoying metal head cum indie rockers like me everywhere. She is a ray of sunshine, and I am only modestly annoyed at her very earnest attempt to prostelytize in Jesus at the Hardware store.

Ya know normally I hate terminally cheery people. However after confronting the death clock ( I've come to realize that being negative is hazardous to my health. This fact is not enough to make me decide to change my ways. It's just that someone should try to cheer people up at my funeral, so her sunny disposition would make her perfect for the job, being that she is most definitely an optomist and will most likely live longer for that fact. Let's just hope she doesn't try to turn my family on to Jesus, being that I am am a Heb.

The best review for the music for this pretentious colege radio DJ reminds me of a Simpson episode. Marge is commisioned to paint Mr. Burns, and she draws him honestly in all his naked repulsiveness. Mr. Burns looks and say "I know what I hate, and I don't hate this" This is not to say the record is like the painting of Mr. Burns, it's just that I'm not generally into this kinda stuff. It's just that phrase, and I couldn't have said it better myself.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Tom Waits - Blood Money
This album is really odd, even for Mr Waits. Has all the weird elements of an album like Rain Dogs without the bluesy / jazzy edge or hooks that is typical of that and other albums of his. It has really unusual instrumentation too, lots of horns, oboe, clarinet, chamberlain?, pod?, marimba, pump organ etc. A lot of the arrangements are somewhat spare, and the whole record has an old timey feel, like something from the 20' or 40's. Tom sounds generally very somber throughout the album too, very little fun uplifting tunes on this one, like he's been listening to too much Leonard Cohen. I liked it somewhat, I just wouldn't recommend it the same way I might with Mule Variations.

Ya know it figures TW got dropped by Island, then proceeded to have his BEST SELLING ALBUM EVER on an independent (Anti records, subsidiary of Epitaph). Major labels don't know their ass from a hole in the ground!
First Night on Earth - no one knows anything for sure
Despite the fact that they sound VERY british, they're from Charlotte NC. As a matter of fact everything about this band sounds British - the drummer's feel, the vocals, the production, the dreamy guitars. I am not a Brit Rock fan though, so I got very little out of this one. At times a bit gothy, a lot of texture guitar rock, and some of that Manchester? sound. I didn't really latch on to any of the hooks and found it a little schmaltzy, but plenty of people like that kinda stuff (just not me). I hate being too negative on bands that dont suck completely and are trying to get a break so to end on a positive note I will say this - The production is top notch; it's definitely sounds really expensive but probably isn't being they are on an indie label. the website is as follows -
Here goes nothing!

Ye Olde Castletons - In Like with Love
This Austin Texas band is one heaping dose of math rock that actually rocks (not that overly cerebral prog rock crap where you have to count all the time), a shot of staccato funk ala Gang of Four, and really big hooks. I still have the hook for Chopping Block stuck in my head(it's not their song but it still kicks ass). Any band that plays in 5/4 is cool, and Track 5 - Rub It Off does just that, really well I might add. They clearly got a good sense of humor which makes it that much more enjoyable. The production is not what it could be but if they are starving musicians they probably recorded this for a couple of thou and did a decent job.

- Come to Chicago, and talk to Steve Albini, I think he'd get a sound that work well for you.-

Looking forward to this band playing in Chicago.
This is the website for the ongoing WZRD Record Review Project. Basically Wizards at WZRD can review as many or as few records as they want. All I ask is that if the CD or LP is in our back catalog put whether it's a CD or LP and give the number as well. Review your favorite records, but also try to give a good description of the music, not just whether it sucks or not. Thank you!