CD Review: Punk [2010]

Band: Reverend Elvis and the Undead Syncopators
Release: 3/2010
Label: Suzy Q Records

1. “I’m A Blues Punk” – B-
2. “Trouble” – B+
3. “The Angel of Death” – B
4. “Kill! Kill! Kill!” – B+
5. “Never Let You Go” – B+
6. “666” – B
7. “Tainted Love” – A-
8. “I Still Believe” – B
9. “Dead Before You Died” – B+
10. “Boppin’ The Blues” – B
11. “Country Heroes” – B-
12. “Rockabilly Riot” – B
13. “Honky Tonkin” – B
14. “Killer Wolf” – B+

Comments: A cross between Bob Dylan and Bloodshot Bill, Reverend Elvis is a great story teller and his back-up crew, the Undead Syncopators, play some sweet licks behind him. “I’m drinking all night long and getting high/I’m drinking all night long not afraid to die” sings Rev. Elvis on “Kill” with a drunken delivery. The band channels fellow rockers King Khan and BBQ Show on “Never Let You Go” if only because of the line: “Oh, little girl I love you/ I love you so and never let you go.” Side note: singing about little girls never gets old does it? How old is little? 20? Hopefully?  Ever wanted to hear a rockabilly cover of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” ??? I was actually expecting a GG Allin cover based on the first few chords, but no go. Rev. Elvis really does the chorus great. Ever bopped the blues? BBT has bopped the blues. Unveiled for the first time: a new KLYAM designation. See below.

Grade: B (85)

CD Review: Of the Blue Colour of the Sky (2010)

Band: OK Go
Release: 2010
Label: Capitol

1. “WTF?” – D
2. “This Too Shall Pass” – C-
3. “All Is Not Lost” – C-
4. “Needing/Getting” – D+
5. “Skyscrapers” – C-
6. “White Knuckles” – D
7. “I Want You So Bad” – C-
8. “End Love” – D
9. “Before The Earth Was Round” – F
10. “Last Leaf” – B-
11. “Back From Kathmandu” – C+
12. “While You Were Asleep” – C
13. “In The  Glass” – B

Comments: I don’t want to be one to hate on this band, a band which has received some degree of mainstream success for their Weezer-like ways. The vibe I get from this album is glossy safety. “This Too Shall Pass” has been done before and turns out to be just as shitty as when Weezer did it. Seriously, though, this is bad and way way too repetitive. Also, I would like to bring up a band that’s much much better at its craft than OK Go. The Lovely Feathers do the glam thing, but their expertise relies on a no-bullshit attitude. If you want a good piece of disaster check out “Before the Earth” which is so ridiculous, it’s already a candidate for worst song of the year. Don’t buy this album unless you want a joke. I guess the only track worth checking out would be album closer.

Final Grade: D+ (69)

CD Review: Weirdo Rippers

Hey there did you hear the news it’s CD Review!….. OK so, I completely stole that from Anthony Fantano’s The Needle Drop and inserted CD where track is. Any who, here’s a review of a somewhat (in terms of it not being too old) classic No Age album.

Artist: No Age
Album: Weirdo Rippers
Year: 2007
Label: Fat Cat

1) Every Artist Needs A Tragedy- 9.0- Classic No Age, sets the atmospheric tone for this album. It’s a bit too long for me on record. Live I can really appreciate the big build up, but on record it simply could be cut 15-30 seconds short. Of course, when that doooo dooooo dunnn guitar riff crashes in, you know what I’m speaking of! it makes this album opener instantly better. The vocals could be stronger as well.

2) Boy Void- 9.5- A noisy jolt of our boys voiding like crazy animals, they would never dare to ingest. Much better than the previous track and in direct contrast musically. BV is straight up noise pop (perhaps more noise than pop!) of the No Age variety: simple, banging of drums, distortion, low vocals, all of which escalate into heavier jamming you can mosh and mash and trash to.

3) I Wanna Sleep- 7.5- Not my cup of tea, to atmospheric for me! This can be said with many of the songs that follow. I suppose this song would work well when going to sleep, but it’s not particularly a tune I would scour for on my ipod. I dig the slow and simple drumwork and distorted, almost menacing vocals in the background.

4) My Life’s Alright Without You- 9.7- One of my new NA favorites! Extremely catchy, to say the least. I love how the song starts off with some strumming of a guitar and the noisy/atmosphericness of previous tracks, then wait… turn the radio up, at least I need to; the vocals are memorable and immediately I start singing along. My only qualm is that it’s too damn short.

5) Everybody’s Down- 10.0- Do I even need to say more? I’ve seen this masterpiece live twice and though it’s not the same on record, unless Randy Randal Randomly appears in your basement and hops off your amp onto your buddies and you whilst slamdancing the night away. Yeah, that hasn’t happened for me either. Nonetheless, my favorite NA song and my #5 fave of all times! (at the moment lol) On this track we have the dueling vocals of Dean and Randy, then some oooo wah oooos, followed by a brief guitar riff, that despite it’s brevity keeps you in suspense for what will come next. As it all comes together it’s an explosion, the greatest NA explosion ever, with fast, loud, pumping drums and guitars. By the end, Everybody’s definitely Up… I just had to say it.

6) Sun Spots- 7.7- Back to the atmospheric feel. Really chill, perhaps you could put it on in the background. It’s basically a transition track, but to me it’s more filler and unecessary, despite it’s cool serenity.

7) Loosen This Job- 8.7-Like the others, it’s relaxing, apropos for a rainy/snowy/windy/ cold, winter day. This is better than some of the other similar sounding tracks. I really like the sound of the vocals and the subtle percussion. I think the beginning could have been chopped up a bit.

8) Neck Escpaer- 9.8- Of course one of the band’s classics and one that brings pure delight to my ears when I hear it live. This song effectively utilizes that atmospheric (I’ve raped this word enough in this post, but I’m grabbin’ second helpings here) touch and offers us some really special drumwork that slowly creeps on you and meets up with the vocals and once they’re linked they are inseparatable. They complment each other so well, they get busy and give birth to a beautiful baby explosion, just a baby one, not of papa ED’s magnitude. Eww (sniffs), hmm, smells like someone died…

9) Dead Plane- 8.8- Back to the chill wintery sound I mentioned earlier. In some ways this plane is dead, but around 1:40, we hear some jammin. Nothing big yet. Wait some more, then around 2:50, things really start to pick up. It gets louder, faster, vocals are introduced and it’s a rocker for the remainder of the number. I’d rather it have been more like that throughout.

10) Semi-Sorted- 8.1- Same as before, for the most part. Around 2:20, we hear some vocals, more speaking than singing. But, it adds more to the song. Then there’s a pumping drum beat that follows. It get catchy toward the end, like the previous track.

11) Escarpment- 6.9- Starts off like others of that variety lol. A bit noisier. Some cool sounds are thrown in the mix, but it never seems to pick up.

Overall: B- There are some really killer tracks and this LP sets itself apart from Nouns (or vice-versa?), but it’s not quite my cup of tea as a whole. Like I said, I’d erase much of it. The songs that don’t completely tickle my fancy are not “bad,” but not necessarily of my taste or they only get my tastebuds swirling round n round towards the end. If this is the only No Age record you have heard, surely, check out Nouns!

Chris

I Am Busy…

I hate making these posts, but I use it more as a heads up for upcoming posts that I have not forgot about; it helps me remember to do them. I have some homework to attend to today and other duties. Yesterday I was out nearly all day. I have concert, cd, and film reviews on the way, and I’m sure others too. So stick around!

Yeah, I know some of my sentences ended in prepositions, but I DON’T GIVE A FUCK! (look out for the King Khan & BBQ Show concert review part II to Glen’s exciting review of their first Mass concert this week.)

Chris

CD Review: The Strange Boys and Girls Club

Band: The Strange Boys
Label: In The Red Records
Release: March 3, 2009

1. “Woe is You and Me” – 9.4
2. “They’re Building the Death Camps” – 9.4
3. “Should Have Shot Paul” – 9.6
4. “MLKs” – 9.5
5. “This Girl Taught Me a Dance” – 9.7
6. “For Lack of a Better Face” – 9.6
7. “Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up” – 9.5
8. “No Way for a Slave to Behave” 9.8
9. “Poem Party” – 9.7
10. “To Turn a Tune or Two” – 9.7
11. “Most Things” – 9.6
12. “A Man You’ve Never Known”9.8
13. “Then” – 9.6
14. “Who Needs Who More” – 9.6
15. “Probation Blues”9.8
16. “Death and All the Rest” – 9.6

Comments:
Former label mates with the likes of Black Lips and Jay Reatard, The Strange Boys possess all attributes of vintage garage rock. Sounds similar to a cross between The Almighty Defenders LP and Black Lips!. The cow-punk of “Should Have Shot Paul” is as refreshing as can be for such an old-time melody. The thing too about these songs are they short and sweet…at times I feel like I want to hear perhaps another verse or the chorus again. “This Girl Taught Me a Dance” sounds like R&B inspired Bob Dylan, particularly in vocal delivery and lyrical structure. It’s probably a shame that not many will come to realize how good an album this is. If you aren’t the old time rock and roll type, you might cast this off as just another attempt at reliving the past. Well you know what? Sometimes we need to bring back the old times! I don’t remember the old times too well (they are ~ forty years my senior) so it’s kind of an amazing thing to hear a modern band do this kind of stuff. I asked someone in my house: “What decade does this sound like it’s from?” “The Sixties” was the response. I’m not shocked. This is easily the best sounding album coming from this style of music in 2009.

Grade: 9.6