Sunday, May 31, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The album artwork is pretty self-explanatory of where their sound was heading. Having toured with Oasis, they've fell into a drug-induced LSD bubble of pychedelia and noise. This tends to happen to most bands that open for Oasis. (what the hell are the Gallaghers doing to their openers??) Adding to the new spirit, is an assortment of weird instruments like the use of the baritone guitar (you know, that Twin Peaks guitar), flugel horns, layer upon layers of percussion tracks, and even a guest vocal by actress- Rosario Dawson.
I dig this album, not for any reasons I love the other two, but I'm down with band recreations and experimental mid-fi production engineering. Be broad-minded and check it out. If you have to smoke something first, well that's cool too. (A)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
I fell outta the Tortoise fanclub years ago, after TNT. I saw them on that tour at Irving Plaza and wasn't too impressed, although I do love that album. Expecting a louder, harder edged band, they came off soft and slick, like Steely Dan without the annoying vocals. Either it was the sound of the room, or the bouncer that tried to bust us for smoking that ruined the vibes that night. Nevertheless, it was a boring, repetitive drone-jazz show. If I had took a hallucinogen, maybe I would've appreciated it more.
Their latest release- "Beacons of Ancestorship" is less Proggy and more Psyche, like Kraftwerk if they were from the Chicago Thrill Jockey scene. There are still elements of 1970's Rock ala The Soft Machine or Can, mixing guitar melodies in 5/8 with overlapping standard 4/4 funk grooves. "Beacons..." is their return to ambient greatness, similar to my favorite of theirs- "Millions now living will never die". Few bands can keep momentum the way they do in this genre of instro-rock. Another band that comes to mind is Battles, but they are usually set in one mood, and more abrasive, less melodic. The new Tortoise is ALL melody and perfectly crafted production-wise. Instead of trying to recapture the mid-70's analog sound, they've decided to head toward the future with engineering trickery leaving the listener to wonder how they'll pull this off live. I think they've gotten their mojo back and are uniquely inimitable once again. There may have been some personel changes for this record, but the band remains a one of kind quintet in a world of copy-cat Indy Rock bands. This is the real deal. Thank God for the comeback, otherwise I think Tortoise might've packed it in after the much forgettable- "It's all around you". Buy this record, and buy it on vinyl. (A)
Sunday, May 24, 2009
"OK Bear", a play on the Radiohead album title- "OK Computer", is fucking excellent! Instead of returning to his Emo roots, which would've appeased his followers enough, he's completely changed into another version of himself. It's packed with inspiring musicianship, weird open-tuning guitar riffs, sensationally passionate vocals, and over-reaching poetic lyrics I didn't know he had in him. This phase in an artists career is always the best, the time when one chooses to move forward or go BEYOND expectations. I really, did not think he had this in him. The opening track- "Mind Ideas" moves with that late- "Gaucho" Steely Dan shuffle, mixed with a droning piano cluster, much like the Lennon song- "Mind Games". It's obvious that middle record ("World Waits") was the introspective one, the one where you dig through your old vinyl collection for inspiration, but it didn't feel complete. It searched for a distinct sound, but never got off the ground emotionally. "OK Bear" finds a home for his newest musical adventure, and feels accomplished and whole. This is the record I was waiting for after the late great SDRE retired from office. It's not similar to SDRE, or his previous solo work, as much as it's a new character he's playing out and discovered. The only remaining element is his unmistakable, awe inspiring voice. I haven't checked the liner notes, but he may have hired a new band. The personalities on this record do more than the average back up group, and there's a chemistry as engaging as he once was with you-know-who.
Some might listen and call this adult contemporary. Is that such a bad thing if it's done right? It's not Grungy or heavily distorted like many of us want him to be (again), but the guy's getting older, and like John Lennon did, he is not trying to recapture the sound that made him famous. It's not the 1990's and we're not in high school anymore. This is the path most sacred solo artists take after a departure from a legendary band frequently noted for. He is mature and isolated musically from his former self. That is the only way one can evolve, to eliminate expectations from your listeners, and start anew. I could go on, explaining track by track, why "OK Bear" is his finest work, but I'd be selling it short trying to put his compositions into words. Listen to the record, then listen to it again, I think the music speaks for itself. Jeremy Enigk has gone from a former Indy Rock singer to a masterful sound-auteur. The songs work like images from an old photo book you'd find that bring back memories of your past, much like the first time you heard Nick Drake. I could keep on writing, but I'd rather slap on the headphones and listen to it again for now. (A)
My favorite track is- "Twenty one million light years", which starts out with a skeletal guitar riff, resembling Tom Verlaine's unique guitar style, to which the band plunges into a Television-ish rhythmic groove, something I'd like to hear more bands pull off these days. With a tendency to jam on most of the tracks, I wouldn't be surprised if The Nude were labeled- The Grateful Dead of Punk, but the Tetrault brother's distinctive interplay and staccato singing sets them apart from the rest. Listening to this debut EP, The Nude show a willingness to break away from the solidifying traditions of their more self conscious contemporaries. Despite the EP's garage band production, The Nude make mythic Rock that conjures up steely sky-scrapers the way Led Zeppelin conjured up moss-covered stone castles. I recommend this band to the open minded listener who isn't afraid to mix the intelligence of Bob Dylan's lyrical prose with beer drinking Jukebox Rock, and a touch of psychedelia to shake up the senses... (A)
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Heaven and Hell is good. I do like this record. It's heavily dosed with big riffs and thick production, concentrating more on its blackness, than classic rock singalongs of the 1970's. Any regular reader of guitar magazines should enjoy it. Iommi's still got it, and the rhythm section's heavier than anything. It's worth checking out, and if you don't like it, listen to the unsurpassable- "Mob Rules" again. You can compare and contrast for yourself. (A)
Friday, May 1, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
IRIDESENSE, SHOCK RADAR and HUNTERS, RUN! Lead Six Band Bill at HIGHLINE BALLROOM - THURSDAY - MAY 14TH
More info here:
Tickets are available online at Ticketweb.com
Highline Ballroom is located at 431 W 16th St New York, NY 10011 between 9th and 10th Ave and can be reached by calling (212) 414-5994 or online at http://www.highlineballroom.com
How many times can someone reinvent themselves? Is anyone else from the 1960's even trying? Who's gonna sell out for Coachella money next year.. David Bowie?
Bret Easton Ellis works better on paper. Even though "American Psycho" was a good movie, and some people didn't mind "The Rules of Attraction", his style is dated, and hard to adapt into a current, successful movie. The 1980's was a time that should probably be left alone. Stop trying to recreate the John Hughes glory days of cinema by adding WAy too much cocaine, and meaningless never-ending dialogue. Unless Andrew McCarthy and Jamie Gertz are on board, leave these books alone.