Whether you feel like mucking around in self-pity or just taking a comfy siesta, the
sound of Lori Carson's muted vocal tones trolling over guitar and piano will succor
your psyche like a warm bowl of cream of wheat. Carson has one of those distinctive, pretty voices that is sure to melt even the most iron-clad dj's, and every
track on this album is a mental backrub. Now touring with The Golden Palominos,
Carson may soon be monikered pop's next brooding starlet if she keeps on
shamelessly bearing her soul to strangers.
Click here to read an interview with Golden Palominos drummer Anton Fier.
Mudhoney, the purveyors of Sub Pop grunge, are now on a fat corporate label, but
the new album is still raw, sloppy, and without even a hint of polish. Opening with
the blazing, warped guitar riff of "Judgment, Rage, Retribution and Thyme," vocalist
Mark Arm and the boys prove they'll be around as long as cold toes in Alaska. Arm's lyrics are everything from witty to insightful. On the swampy, harmonica-infested
track "Orange Ball-Peen Hammer," he even launches into an ambitious tirade
against the entire state of Florida. My Brother The Cow is everything Mudhoney
should be, and with this big Reprise deal, they deserve to be rich bastards by the year's end.
In the summer of 1990, Negativland released a crack-up parody of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I Am Looking For," that featured samples of the U2 recording and of Casey Kasem using a string of profanities to bitch out an "American Top Forty" underling. In the American spirit, Negativland got the shoes sued off of `em by Island Records, Casey Kasem, and even their own record label, SST, for sucking them into the whole mess.
Now, after five years of judicial wrangling, the band look back on the experience with this release, on their own Seeland label. Included is a 240-some
page book filled with legal documents, faxes, and press clippings as well as a new
Negativland epic recording that parodies their struggle. Negativland's trademarked
random sampling and Mark Hesler's warbling vocals are a bit overwhelming at
times, and the release is more like a comprehensive study of copyright law than an
album, but the whole thing is pretty fascinating.
The album's cover, which has a pretty silly picture of an unkempt old guy stretched
out like a telephone pole with birds perched on him, might give you the impression
that Our Lady Peace has a vivacious sense of humor. However, the only thing that's funny about this album is what a flop it's going to be. The opening track on Naveed
is "Birdman," a brooding track that has as much substance as any rock opera piece,
and the same can be said about the rest of the material. Our Lady Peace are just
gonna have to lighten up a bit before they're taken seriously.
Home creates music that sounds like a goofy power pop band that got sick of playing
clubs and decided try out lo-fi music. They have some trouble combining their
knack for pop melodies and their affinity for weirdness, but their off-key and
slackhappy vocals do hit the mark at various points on IX. Much like a teenager, the
disk is moody, but always a bit childish and playful (often excessively so).
Blink is yet another San Diego band that plays the mediocre melodic punk that kids
are going loopy for these days. The album is produced by O, the tireless frontman
from fluf, who is an ubiquitous musician filled with punk enthusiasm and an
auspiciousness towards young bands. Without his production know-how this album
probably would have been a disaster. And even as much as he helped "You can't
polish a turd," as REM drummer Bill Berry is wont to say.
It's been some time since we've heard from these hardcore hip-hoppers from the Netherlands. They're playing heavier than ever now, unwisely foresaking the soul
and other eclectic influences that pulled them out of the turd-pile of bad hip-hop
bands before. And Rudeboy's lyrics are sounding more and more contrived ("I gotta step to check your head like the Beastie Boys"). Yep, it sounds like they're jumping
on the bandwagon they used to pull.
You Am I wield one of the largest cocks in Australia's bulging new music scene. Sonic Youth everyman Lee Ranoldo produced the album and contributes some vocal, guitar, and keyboard stuff to it, but he's not just a pair of high heels for the
band to stand tall on. Their music is authentic, with emotionally charged vocals
over 70's power pop song structures. MELVIN approves.
Cool as a beer in the fridge, John Lee couldn't have picked a better title than "Chill Out" for his latest disc. On the title track, he meanders down a mellow blues groove augmented by Carlos Santana's trademark guitar. Then he eases into 11 more tracks
of classic Hooker material, including a duet with Van Morrison and a refurbished
version of "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer." There's not a turd on this album.
It's mellow and smooth all the way through--the perfect lozenge for your aching soul.
America was shocked when it realized an amazing coincidence. The release of this CD happened at the same time as the American Skathic II concert in Chicago... to the very day! Probably only ska fans banished to the dismal tundra between
Minnesota and Kentucky will ever have the chance to see the 22 bands on this disc, but the slick production and swank grooves of this Midwest compilation make it
worthy of its national distribution. Anyone who thinks that its not unusual to mix two-tone with plaid will be well pleased with this release.
Like to bang and slam to good music? Step over this turd.
Emulating the B-52s, The Creamers' five-track ep, all girl kung fu army challenges any band to sound more like the B-52s than they do. Granted, they don't have Fred, or keyboards of any kind. But their swarmy, angry women music, laced with toxic guitar, is sure to drive all the people out of your apartment when you and your other want to be alone. Crank it up and you might get the neighbors down the hall to leave too. The lyrics are trite statements, and the disc is really best used as a Frisbee or a snack platter.
Much as the band's name might suggest, the tunes of Wild Love are mellow and dreamy. Some tracks, such as "The Emperor," will woo you back to the days of
fantastical nursery rhymes, and others are simple in both lyrics and arrangement,
mixing post-Platoon gloom and rabid silliness ("My best friend took a bullet through
the eye. He used to have a patch, now he just has a glass eye....Sometimes he wishes
he had two glass eyes."). The lyrics are Wild Love's greatest attraction, though they
are sometimes ambiguously offensive. MELVIN's got nothing against the pedaphilia
of "Sweet Small Children," but the sexism of "Be Hit" (Every girl I've ever loved
has wanted to be hit...if you abuse them you'll never lose 'em.") definitely spills over
the top. However, this one's worth a taste if you are looking for digestible music for a