Record reviews I wrote in March for Vice both published and unpublished.
Vice March Record Reviews
Colin Meloy Sings Live!
1 The guy from the Decemberists sings songs all on his own. If that wasn’t scary enough he also forces the crowd into weird sing alongs and butchers ‘Barbara Allen’. Also, is he paying John Darnielle like, voice copyright dues or something? If you shut your eyes it’s like the Argos Mountain Goat goes solo.
See You In Magic
One Little Indian
8 I wish John Reiss was my dad. Whenever things were getting a bit much you’d be able to head home for the weekend and poppa John would be there making bacon and skillet potatoes, listening to dusty rockabilly LPs, drinking Anchor Steam and be all like: “hey man, where you been? Come on in, want a beer?”
Green Rocky Road
1 First Vashti Bunyan, then Gary Higgins now Karen Dalton. Who are the Laurel Canyon, Devandra toe sucking, patchouli oil smelling motherfuckers going to exhume and rape for re-release cash next? Who cares?
We Have You Surrounded
In The Red
9 If you are the kind of person who already owns all of The Dirtbombs 45’s and the entire Gories discography you will probably be so excited about this first full length in half a decade from Mick Collins and his Dirtbombs that you are running round your living room right now in anticipation. If not you should be. Even after all these years there is not a single better frenzied soul train speeding through the back catalogue of Detroit garage and straight off the rails into sweaty chaos out there.
The Flax Of Reverie
8 Like some black-cowled Merlin straight out of a Kenneth Anger movie, serial collaborator Daniel O’Sullivan applies his blackened midas to yet another piece of perfect darkness scraped from the bowels of some forgotten Albion. This one sounds like Popol Vuh soundtracking Syd Barrett unraveling in the corner of a May Day banquet in 1647.
On Your Sleeve
One Little Indian
5 When Jesse Malin was twelve years old he was fronting Heartattack at CBGB’s hardcore matinees every week. What the fuck were you doing when you were 12? Watching Sharky & George, eating Cheerios and growing your first boner that’s what. For this fact alone no matter how unforgivable covering The Kills may be Jesse will always be better than you.
Super Roots 9
10 The Boredoms are one of those outfits that everyone always talks about in hushed, reverential tones as if they are the second coming of Sir Francis of Assisi or something. Sure, Vision Creation Newsun was incredible and that big drum party in New York looked like a barrel of laughs but have you listened to any of the previous installments in the ‘Super Roots’ series? Kind of hit miss. Not this one though. It’s like the bit where the Millennium Falcon jumps to lightspeed for 40 straight minutes. Wow.
The Exploders Club
7 It is impossible to dislike this album because if you weren’t into this you wouldn’t like the Beach Boys and that would make you opinion about anything, ever invalid. Sorry, that’s just the way it goes. While it’s hardly Pet Sounds it sure makes a brave, woozy, Wurlitzer sheathed stab at it.
8 While all this electronic, cut and paste stuff that is pouring out of Baltimore and New York right now like bleepy, neon, silly putty will never last too far past debut albums it’ll sure do for now! Messers Williams and Deacon: you have at least six months of making everyone get sweaty in warehouses left. After that its back to the postgraduate astronomy degrees or whatever it is you are all shirking from pretending to reinvent the pop wheel. We are onto you but we don’t care. You make us smile.
God Luck And Good Speed
(This is my album of the month) 10 Dixie Dave Collins returns with 9 more tracks that sound like they’ve been embalmed in bourbon, dragged through a lead poisoned bong and then blown through a wall of fried Marshall stacks. I refuse to call stuff like this Stoner Rock. Let’s just call it fucking perfect.
The Black Keys
Attack And Release
2 There is great and noble tradition of ‘sticking to your guns’ in rock and roll. Some bands get away with making the same album over and over again and that’s just fine if the blueprint is bulletproof. Think Uncle Tupelo or The Replacements here. If your ingredients were kind of stale to begin with though and you keep knocking up the same soup you are fucked. Not even trying to make the album title sound like a Simian Mobile Disco record and getting Danger Mouse onboard is going to fix that.
Sex, Drugs and Blah Blah Blah…
Botchit & Scarper
10 Everything about this, from the cover to the title via the sub Fabric room 1 on a Friday night breaks, is so pant-fillingly, tear-inducingly awful that it has to be a work of genius. Like a Stealth bomber of awesomeness in Front Magazine covermount CD clothing this thing is so many degrees past wrong that it can only be the future. Or the apocalypse itself. Either way I’m transfixed worse than roadkill in headlights.
Queen Of Swords/Humanfly split 12”
8 Some things are only ever going to work on vinyl. A 12” featuring one 15 minute track per side of intense instrumental electronic noise and scattershot beats from two bands manned by a bunch of ex record store clerks is one of them.
7 The only things we ever get sent to review are cd’s. There are millions of them in the office. Trillions maybe. We could set up an eBay store selling Akon promos as decorative coasters. So it’s nice to occasionally get something on a format that you almost forgot existed.
Sian Alice Group
The Social Registry
8 Icier than a frozen packet of Fox’s Glacier Mints on a crisp January morning this debut will inevitably have the broadsheets coughing a lung over it’s “ethereal vocals” and yaddah yaddah blah blah. Don’t let that spoil it for you though. It’s a great album. And sometimes that’s all that matters.
7 This is what’s probably playing on a dusty jukebox in the saloon up in heaven where the gentleman cowboys go to play never ending games of five card stud and sip bottomless beakers of bourbon.