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Showing posts from May, 2009

The Slits: Typical Girls

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This was in my head this morning and I figured it would end the week on a classic note. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

“Our Present Was Empty/Our History A Mess:” Pop Punk at an Evolutionary and Devolutionary Level

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The Thermals Now We Can See Kill Rock Stars Released: 4.7.09 Rating: 8.25 out of 10 Sometimes I don't mind “fun” being injected into music. Like everything, it just has to be done right. The anthemic joyfulness that pervades Now We Can See , fourth album from Portland pop punk trio, The Thermals, is undeniably infectious, catchy to the point of necessary and involuntary physical movement. With no conscious effort on your part, your foot taps, your head nods, your fingers drum… you just can’t help it. Though typically and vehemently opposed to anything remotely pop punk, (feigning distrust of government, authority and conformity while sounding as controversial or dangerous as a clean napkin), I can get behind The Thermals, specifically because they don’t disguise what they do with any hint of rebellion, unless you consider the album’s evolutionary bent a blasphemous smiting of your possible creationist belief system. As singer Hutch Harris loses his spine in order to turn

Beastie Boys w/ The Roots: So What'cha Want

The Beastie Boys were the guests on Jimmy Fallon's show last night, promoting their upcoming new album, Hot Sauce Committee , and their latest reissue of Check Your Head . As a musical segment, the Beasties got to jam on "So What'cha Want" with The Roots . Works for me: Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: Cryptacize

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Cryptacize Mythomania Asthmatic Kitty Released: 4.21.09 No Ripcord review Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: BATTLEHOOCH

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So, admittedly, there is an absolute shopping list of comparables and influences here, (most notably Mark Mothersbaugh , Captain Beefheart , David Bryne , James Chance & The Contortions ), but San Francisco's BATTLEHOOCH have an exuberant immediacy and somewhat off-the-wall appeal that I find endearing. Bypassing bars, clubs and venues, BATTLEHOOCH takes their show to the SF streets, treating any passerby to their brand of chaos. Battlehooch - The Special Place (Live @ 18th and Castro, San Francisco) from Battlehooch on Vimeo . Their self-released debut, Pieceshow , will be available on June 16th. It's available for pre-order on their website. BATTLEHOOCH: "The Special Place" I'm intrigued. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead EDIT: The rather obvious typo was brought to my attention. The album is entitled Piecechow , (as you can see by the very large and easily read album cover) and not Pieceshow as I typed. Apologies.

Vivian Girls: Tell The World

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The Vivian Girls were one of the many bands I missed last year. Flat note noise pop with grooves aplenty, I've really been enjoying their debut since acquiring it about a month ago. "Tell The World," for me, is the album's gem. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: Black Lips featuring GZA

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In light of a surprise onstage collaboration at this year's South By Southwest festival between garage rockers Black Lips and the only reason to give a fuck about Wu-Tang anymore, GZA/Genius , the band has released an online EP featuring their remix of "The Drop I Hold" which features the Wu-Tang liquid swordsman. The EP is only available through iTunes, which is kind of a drag if you're into quality. Though typically put off by the weak publicity and spectacle that follows hip-hop/indie collaborations, not to mention their often over-hyped byproduct, this one I can get behind. I like the fact that Black Lips at least attempt to maintain their sound while creating a suitable foundation for GZA to flow atop, which is something that really hasn't been done well since the Judgment Night soundtrack. THIS sounds like a genuine collaboration, despite being a remix, and not just a song with some dead air for a rapper to fill up with some half-assed mediocre

“Radiant” is the Word…

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ISIS Wavering Radiant Ipecac Recordings Released: 5.5.09 Rating: 9 out of 10 When Mastodon ’s Blood Mountain reached my ears a couple years ago, the album’s potential for crossover appeal was very clear. Even in spite of its complexity and time signature heft, Blood Mountain had riffs for rock fans, speed for punk fans, mathematics for prog fans and balls behind it all. With Wavering Radiant , fifth album from post-metal progenitors, ISIS , the potential for crossover runs similarly prevalent, but only within the context or category of “music fan.” As snobbish as that may sound, you have to lose yourself in Wavering Radiant to hear and feel the big picture. There are elements at play that suggest and recall past eras of musical exploration and attention to detail in terms of rock, metal or progressive genres, not in a “jam” sense but in a very tight and careful sculpting of the material. ISIS immerses themselves in either concentrated crescendos or prolonged demonstrations

What I Heard This Morning: Iggy Pop

So, after having lost fellow Stooge Ron Asheton earlier this year , Iggy Pop , citing his dissatisfaction with "idiot thugs with guitars banging out crappy music," is putting out a French-centric jazz album entitled, Preliminaires . Explaining his inspiration in a trailer for the album, Pop discusses New Orleans jazz and novelist Michel Houellebecq . Preliminaires is expected to release in the States in early June. In the meantime, news on the album is being tracked at a specialized blog . You can also hear some songs on the attached widget. Get the Iggy Pop widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox ! Like anything else Iggy does, it could be either remarkable or disastrous, but in light of the last Stooges album , I'm inclined to feel as though an absence of rock n' roll in Iggy's album might be beneficial. I'm slated to review the album for No Ripcord. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Interview: The Show Is The Rainbow

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Orbit to Leslie Instamatic The Show Is The Rainbow Beep Beep Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, PA 4.13.09 Photo courtesy of Terrorbird Media Before he began performing his song “Mother And Son,” Darren Keen , (a.k.a. The Show Is The Rainbow ), explained to the evening’s crowd the song’s autobiographical significance. Apparently, back when fetal Keen was a mere presence in his mother’s womb, his face would get routinely pummeled by an endless number of strange dicks from the men she would bring home. “That’s physically impossible,” said one of a group of females by the soundboard, either missing the joke or just wanting her position heard. Soon after the intro, a faint unease surging through the audience, The Show Is The Rainbow began thrashing about off stage, shrieking into the microphone as his laptop carried out the tune. A projected animation depicted a crudely rendered cock aiming for a psychedelic Kubrick -ian vagina, which quickly switched to a malformed scribbled baby

A Woman A Man Walked By Noticed…

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PJ Harvey & John Parish A Woman A Man Walked By Island Records Released: 3.31.09 Rating: 9.75 out of 10 “Who would suspect me of this rapture?/And who but my black hearted love?” The first go-round of “Black Hearted Love,” PJ Harvey ’s long-time producer/musical contributor John Parish stretches his six-string out of line with the rest of the melody like he’s attempting to sing at an octave higher than he’s capable. He reels it back before Polly Jean delivers her first few verses, a wash of seriousness dramatically intensifying what could otherwise be considered MOR. As the tonality finds its stride, Polly Jean romances the music with an impassioned magnetism that grows slowly until the song gently fades to completion. As much as I can admit that I’ve heard objectively better albums this year, none of them have felt as alive as A Woman A Man Walked By , the second collaboration between Parish and Harvey since 1996’s Dance Hall At Louise Point . Flawed? Perhaps. Unf