Archive for May, 2008

My Morning Jacket’s “EEEEEVIL URGES” Review

May 28th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

My Morning Jacket
Evil Urges
(ATO Records; 2008)
9.0/10

So I’ve listened to it a couple times now and I’ve decided that this is My Morning Jacket’s “pop” album. I was expecting something alot weirder after the enigmatic “Z”, but the only evil urge My Morning Jacket exhibit on the album is the urge to hug you:P That being said, yes, the album is pretty awesome. While I do wish that “Evil Urges” were weirder, the album is damn good and will have you toe tapping and singing along in no time.

It begins with the Prince-esque “Evil Urges” which ends with a bit of a jammy-bit reminiscent of the songs off “It Still Moves”.

After that “Touch ME I’m Going To Scream” seems to begin fulfilling the promise of a weirder album with it’s computerized drum beat, “Yoshima” bass lines and weird synths washing or snaking all over.

Jim James goes Princetastic again for the uncharacteristic “Highly Suspicious”, in which his sexy squelling falsetto dances all around a cartoonish chorus that repeats the words “HIIIIGHLY SUSPICIOUS! HIIIIIGHLY SUSPICIOUS OF YOU!” the song is like “WTF?” at first but after a couple listens it’s kinda fun.

“I’m Amazed” returns to the southern rock of their early albums before “Thank You Too” weirds it up again with MMJ returning to their goal of being the next Radiohead. The song is beautiful with all kinds of weird sounds floating around in the background and that signature reverb that MMJ is famous for. It’s some kind of wonderful achievement in which MMJ combine the innovation of “Z” with the soul power of “It Still Moves” and somehow write one of the most accesible songs the band has ever written. The song’s a stone-cold classic and if any girl could resist Jim James after witnessing him sing something as gorgeous as this officially HAS NO SOUL.

No, the album doesn’t let up after that. Sec’ Walkin returns to the Southern rock of th….what? No, suddenly it’s a Motown song?!!? Yeah, seems like Lynyrd Skynyrd just found themselves in a Motown studio and somehow they’re backing Smokey Robinson but then ACID FLASHBACK!!!

It’s 1956 and they’re backing Roy Orbison on “Two Halves” in which Jim James shpeils philosophical about age.

Ok, time to chill out and listen to an acoustic story about a lonely librarian. “Since we got the internet these things hardly get used” so she checks herself out in the mirror, reads books and listens to the radio. Suddenly Jim James is marching in with band and yes, he’s here to seduce you honey (bowm chika wow wow)…oh, btw, he brought the orchestra along, hope you dont mind…

“Look at You” is weird southern music and “Aluminum Park” is a big-hearted rocker that’s friends with “Two Halves”. “Remnants” is weird hard rock.

“Smokin’ From Shootin'” is another gorgeous love song that’s in the same category as “Thank You Too”. The song slowly builds up and becomes more grand and more epic underneath a brilliantly simple melody. The damn thing becomes an anthem, a fucking powerhouse testament that’s bursting with emotion and powerful statements. Damn it’s fucking gorgeous!!!

and then it ends…winding down…could this be the end…

…no

…wait…

…it…can’t…be…

….

…but it is…

TOUCH ME I’M GOING TO SCREAM PART 2!!!

It’s starts slow with the creepy organ from “Into The Woods” like the begining to the greatest horror film ever before a nice little dance beat kicks in. Yes, MMJ has conquered the South, the 50’s, Motown, the library, Prince, hard rock and now they’re coming to the dance floor of the Goth Club. Turns out that the reason everyone’s pale isn’t because they’re goths wearing makeup, MMJ actually ended up at a ghost orgy and things get freeeeaaaakeeeeyyyy. After 8 minutes the orgy slowly arrives at a stop.

The 6 second album closer “Good Intentions” (get it? Evil Urges? Good Intentions? oh, MMJ, you rascals) is just an audience screaming and somebody saying “ok cool”. Then again. It was pretty cool.

P.S. The first time I heard it I wasn’t that impressed, it’s a grower.

check out the band performing the song “Evil Urges” on SNL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87mppgDPNHA

The Weathermaking Challenge

May 28th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

After weeks, months and years of waiting for it, it’s finally here. This week’s band of the week is…

THE WEATHERMAKING CHALLENGE!!!

Consisting of Danny, Ilan, Josh, Mitch and Avi (last names confidential to protect them from female stalker fans), this crew of nice shul-attending boys from Toronto and Thornhill have been creating exciting and indescribable music for the last 3-4 years. They’ve played a gazillion legendary shows and released a fine Short LP/Long Ep. Now they’re moving on to the Drake Hotel to continue their quest for world domination. And I damn well hope they succeed…

So maybe you ask, what’s so special bout them? Well, firstly, there’s Danny of vocals. Maybe he wouldn’t really blow the judges of American Idol away but like the best vocalists, he makes his voice work through sheer conviction and dedication. At times he can remind listeners of anyone from David Bowie to John Lennon, though he never really sounds quite like anyone other than himself. Onstage with his cousin Ilan on bass, they form a perfect tag team combo who play off eachother with beautiful comedic chemistry.

Another interesting note, is that nobody has ever really able to say exactly what or who The Weathermaking Challenge sound like…There’s a classic rock influence burried in there somewhere but it’s filtered through new age sensibilities learned from too many bands to name and to even try do so would be pointless as they don’t sound like any of them. The best I could do is to say that there’s something sort of off-kilter about them, though not in a Zappa/Beefhart way…just…their own way…

Really what I’m trying to say is that like all fine hallucinogenic drugs, you just have to experience The Weathermaking Challenge for yourself. That’s why there’s all that talk about “experience,” because you can’t be told what The Challenge is like, you just have to dig it and then you’ll know.

Luckily for you, you can experience The Weathermaking Challenge soon. Not only that, but for FREE!!! They’re rocking Elvis Monday on June 2nd at the drake hotel. I know I’m gonna be there and you and all your friends better be too. In the meantime, you can check out there myspace for the Baskin Robbins tea-spoon version of their awesome coneful of ROCK!!!

http://www.myspace.com/theweathermakingchallenge

Click here for the facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=17854660476

Lettuce Record Review

May 27th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Lettuce
Rage!
(Velour; 2008)
4.2/10

Lettuce is not a bad band. Lettuce is in fact quite a tight unit, and if they were to toss some more originality into their salad, they might actually accomplish something. Unfortunately, the randomly titled Rage! (it contains about as much rage as you would associate with actual lettuce) is lacking in originality and, more importantly, any semblance of vitality. The album plays like the soundtrack to a remake of a blacksploitation film in which all the characters are played by white college kids. They cover a couple classics in the meantime and show off some decent chops, but at the end of the day, it’s not only not the real thing: it has no reason to really exist.

The album’s fatal flaw is it’s lack of any sort of drive or cohesion. It’s like they just laid down a couple solid funk workouts, threw in some of their favorite covers and said “well, I think we’ve all done a fine job.” If you were to look at it as some kind of project to be accomplished (and with polish) then mission accomplished. If you were to look for some kind of personality, artistic accomplishment or creativity, you would not find a shred of it.

However, there is hope yet! With their current lineup and mentality, Lettuce is worth nothing and will go nowhere. But! On RAGE! they prove that they can play this music and with all the gusto of Motown’s original crack crews. Now they just need some kind of direction to take them from out of the shadows of the past and into greener pastures. if that doesn’t work, they can always work for Lyle Workman scoring Judd Apatow (aka my hero) movies.

El Guincho

May 19th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

So, I’m not a big fan of spanish or latino stuff. This is mainly because my dad is from Argentina and he maybe doesn’t have the best musical taste, so all the bad latino music I heard growing up kind of turned me off of latino music entirely. I’m not actually of latino descent though, as his parents were both from Poland, they just stopped over in Argentina for a couple years before moving to Canada. I checked out this week’s band of the week because I heard that they/he were/was touring with Atlas Sound, the exceptional solo-project of Deerhunter singer Bradfor Cox. I figured that such an interesting and outspoken individual wouldn’t tour with just anyone so I checked out one of the guy’s albums and was really impressed. This weeks band of the week is…

El Guincho!!!

El Guincho is the laptop-based project of Pablo Díaz-Reixa of the Canary Islands. His debut album Alegranza came out this year and instantly attracted alot of attention due to it’s excellent fusion of tropicallia and newer indie sensibilities. If Panda Bear’s Person Pitch was an immersive headphone album to listen to alone in the dark then Alegranza is the album you fiesta to beforehand.

Even so, the greatest similarity between the two albums is the form and construction method used, rather than the actual sound of the album. Where Person Pitch is cold with a strange touch of humanity, Alegranza is like watching a brazilian dance party on youtube in which everyone is dressed up like they just came from the set of The Holy Mountain. It’s a little weird, a bit of cautious fun and pretty lively, but it’s a sort of computerized lively-hood which makes it strange again…

For me personally, it’s that weird computerized touch that makes it interesting as I’ve always thought of Tropicalia as a very down-in-the-street type music that I’ve always found too tan and empty-headed to get into. This album takes that and shoves a computerized brain into it. The results= GGGGGOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!

http://www.myspace.com/elguincho

Boxes and Bags 1 Year Anniversery Show Review

May 19th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Third night of this awesome May 2-4 weekend I wound up at Rancho Relaxo with all the other members of the crew I have dubbed “The Spiral Beach Kids” because I met most of them through Spiral Beach shows. This collective includes various artists, musicians, scenesters and other cool people. Bands like Spiral Beach, Boxes and Bags, Still Life Still, The Miles, Stop Die Rescusitate, Kaliedascope City (go see them btw), Dinosaur Bones, La Casa Muerte, Alphabot, Oscar Browne, Foxfire Forest, and various others are part of this scene and you can see members of each at shows around the city each weekend. It’s a great scene with tons of great, interesting people. I’m lucky to know them. They also happen to make kick ass music.

The show began with Skullians, a band I’d never seen before. They had a kinda punk-ish vibe and they took to the stage well, delivering well written songs that seemed to be wasted on the more indie-kid/Rosedalien crowd. Regardless, check out their myspace if you’re curious, http://www.myspace.com/skullians.

The show seemed to really kick off once Alphabot took the stage. Armed with a keyboard, acoustic guitar, violin and loop pedal, Jake Roels established his beat and proceeded to impress with his looped cheap syth melodies that really impressed. When he kicks in with lovely synth chord padding washes it’s absolute idiosyncratic bliss. His funny lyrics about Robots, Penguins, Cars and other stuff as well as his odd-ball stage presence were innocently endearing and you’d have to be a real grouch not to just seriously enjoy his set which was both fun and musically solid. For the myspace experience click here: http://www.myspace.com/jakeroels.

Still Life Still took the stage next and kicked ass as usual. There was dancing. There was singing. Epiphanies were had. Babies were concieved. A good time was by all. BUT, for once, they weren’t the best band of the night…http://www.myspace.com/stilllifestill

Oscar Browne was up next and for some reason I cannot remember his set. I just remember him getting up there and doing some crazy stuff…I think it was good…http://www.myspace.com/oscarbrown

Boxes and Bags ended the night unforgettably. You know that image you have of the perfect show? Stuff falling down, people screaming and jumping around, Jamez Burling covered in silver wearing nothing but tight silver spandex(?) underwear, etc. Well it was all that and then some. As I’ve said before, Boxes and Bags have decided that they don’t really care about “songs” anymore but more about creating a ridonculous musical experience that is just plain fucking awesome. They took the Best Band of the Night prize this time as they said “fuck that” to any sort of audience-performer divide and made good on their promise to “FUCK SHIT UP!” It was beautiful. It was terrifying. It was Boxes and Bags. Happy one year anniversey guys, and great, great, great fucking show. http://www.myspace.com/boxesandbags