Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Quick Hits

Here's the latest on a few albums I've checked out recently.
  • Luscious Jackson - Greatest Hits. 2007. Luscious Jackson was one of my favorite bands of the '90's, and this compilation has all of their singles. But their albums were better as a whole, not as one-offs. It's not a bad place to start, but I'd take Natural Ingredients, Electric Honey, or Fever In Fever Out over this compilation any day. For diehard Luscious Jackson fans such as myself, there are a couple of rare songs ("Love is Here" & "69 Annee Erotique") worth grabbing, but the four remixes that are included as "new material" just don't cut it for me.
    Verdict: Not recommended. Sell-Back Pile 1.
  • Love of Diagrams - EP. 2007. Thanks for the recommendation on this one, Yves. "Pace or the Patience" immediately grabbed me, but as I've listened to their EP I've grown more interested in the other two originals. Think slightly experimental, mid-to-up-tempo indie rock with a little fire in their belly. Great voice on Antonia Sellbach as well. Plus they throw in a Pylon cover ("Cool")! The kids know their musical history -- who knew? Their full-length debut will be released in the next two months, and I will be buying it.
    Verdict: Recommended. Portable CD Case.

  • Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? 2007. Thanks for the recommendation on this one, Pitchfork. Pitchfork put it into their "Best New Music" category and had this to say: "Their darkest and most experimental record to date... an album as harrowingly savage in its depiction of breakup psychology as it is inexhaustibly replayable." If by "inexhaustibly replayable," they mean, "playable twice," then I'm with them. This album does have great packaging, but that's about it. Otherwise it's not... good.
    Verdict: Perfect gift for people you want to piss off or sever future contact with. Not one redeemable song. Goes into The Pile of Death (formerly Sell-Back Pile 2).
- Snilch

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Film School - Film School

At the end of last year (amongst the "Best of" lists), I found a pretty interesting column on All Music, called "Under the Radar in '06." I haven't listened to all of these, but if Film School is any indication, these will be some solid recommendations.

Now Film School (2006) does not reinvent the wheel by any means. It sounds like a whole bunch of '80's bands expertly compiled into one sound, with (on the good tracks) a My Bloody Valentine influence. "On & On" and "Pitfalls" don't necessarily go anywhere, but are really nice to listen to. "11:11," on the other hand, has some nice twists and shows these guys are capable of surprises. They just don't throw them in that often.

All in all, this is a very worthwhile lo- to mid-tempo listen, even if you don't like hearing something that sounds like every band you've ever liked rolled into one.

CD Placement Rating: This goes into the portable CD case. Worth listening to again and definitely a keeper.

Merch Rating: I don't feel the need to go back and rediscover their back catalog, but if I could find a swim buddy or two for a show (max $12, I'd say), I'd be willing to give them a listen to see if their sound translates better on stage. And if they were unreal, I'd buy a t-shirt.


P.S. If anyone has heard Arcade Fire's Neon Bible, I'd love to hear what you think of it; I've heard mixed reviews. (If you don't own their Funeral, you should get it immediately. Seriously -- what are you thinking?) So send me an e-mail if you've checked it out.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sloan - Never Hear the End of It

I will be brief. Sloan's 2007 album, Never Hear the End of It, is the best of their career, and one you should definitely check out. It's as simple as that.

I will now open up the floor to questions.

Q: That's a great review. One thing leaps to mind: who the hell is "Sloan"? You could have just as easily said "My Next Door Neighbor," "My Dog," or "Vixen." No one's ever heard of them, dude.
A: If you lived in Canada, you wouldn't have any problem figuring out who these guys were, you jerk. This is actually their eighth album. Their first album went gold, their second was named "The Best Canadian Album of All Time" in a poll, their fourth album hit #5 on the Canadian charts, they released a compilation album (A-Sides Win) that had 16(!) singles on it with music videos for each song... you get the idea. They've been playing for 15 years. Deal with it.

Q: Okay. What does Sloan sound like?
A: Sloan is very Beatles-esque -- you can't miss it when you hear them. All four guys sing and write songs. Onstage, they switch instruments as well, so they're very talented. This current album is a throwback sound, but in general they can be described as mid-tempo poppy (if you want me to slap a label on them).

Q: Fine -- tell me more about this album.
A: Never Hear the End of It sounds great from beginning to end. I hate to make the comparison (and don't want to oversell this), but I think of Abbey Road when I'm listening to this album. It's not that album, but sounds like a cousin of it. The lyrics and song styles sound straight out of the sixties, in a good way.

Q: These questions here are ridiculous softballs -- who am I, Ahmad Rashad? Matt Lauer? Katie Couric? (They're no longer together, you know.) Anyways, it says here that I should ask you about your ratings of this album.
A: Just read the script, jackass. I put this album directly into my car CD changer. I went to show and bought the album there (for $5 more than I could have bought it at Newbury Comics). I won't complain -- it's well worth $15. If they had a decent t-shirt, I would have bought one of them too. I probably will buy the next one without even reading a review. What more can I say?

Q: You realize this bit is terrible, right?
A: I'm not sure I follow you.

Q: Well, I think it's safe to say that this attempt at "humor" and engaging yourself in some kind of critical dialogue is pretty lame. If I want this kind of entertainment, I'd go and see your friend Evan O'Television. He's got this shtick down, you're a pathetic wannabe.
A: I'm not sure I follow you. Are you sure you're really me? (Nervously laughs.)

Q: You are the same type of smarmy, self-indulgent reviewer you're constantly raving against, and this psychobabble only proves you're a bit of a looney as well. Your opions are lame and not well-informed, and I have a sneaking suspicion you just stole them all from All Music. You make me sick.
A: This interview is over.