Review: Colleen Green – “Sock It To Me” (2013)

Artist: Colleen Green
Release: March 2013
Label: Hardly Art

The long awaited Sock It To Me is here and I am a happy camper. I say long awaited because Colleen has mentioned this release being in the works at least since December 2011, when she played two of these tracks on WMBR’s Breakfast of Champions. Those recordings sure were exciting and left me in anticipation for the unnamed release…which we know now is this record! Well well well, Sock It To Me features the likes of Colleen, her trusty drum machine, and some additional support and engineering from Danny Rowland. The guitars are still fuzzy as ever, the melodies go above and beyond previous tracks, and in general, I’d say these are some really fleshed out tunes.

I really really enjoy “Time in the World,” as it is particularly sticky, thanks to a varied drum beat, layers of guitar and sound, and Colleen’s brilliantly stretched out vocals. To continue in the direction of talking about some more interesting tunes, I’ll mention “Close to You,” which is like the ultimate pop song – almost R&B/slow jam style – distinctly CG, but pretty different from a lot of the songs on this record and in her catalog at large. These vibes continue on the title track, which sounds like it is destined to explode into noise, but keeps the pace with a healthy amount of uh-huhs. And that’s fine!

Side B of Sock It To Me is a good degree faster and heavier than the songs I previously mentioned, so if you found yourself previously big into tunes like “Worship You” or “Rabid Love,” Side B might be your side…or if you are into pretty much anything that Colleen composes, it’s all good! In fact, the heavy shit of “Heavy Shit” straight up rocks. The production throughout the record stands out, as I feel that we now get a super sized listening experience, with differentiation between the trebly guitar parts, the bassy guitar parts, and the other instrumentation instead of one chunk of sound. Colleen is such a good songwriter that she can really do a lot with a little (technically speaking) and Sock It To Me is her latest and greatest example of that. The entire record is very catchy. Additionally, I’m not sure that anyone is really doing the kind of stuff that Colleen is. And that’s cool because she does it so well.

klyamrecommended
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Colleen Green is playing with Fat Creeps, Fedavees, and Ronnie Nordac on April 25th at Radio in Somerville, Mass. This will be a show’s show.

CD Review: Glazin’ [2011]


Band:
 Jacuzzi Boys
Release: 9/2011
Label: Hardly Art

1. “Vizcaya” – B
2. “Automatic Jail” – B-
3. “Glazin” – B+
4. “Cool Vapors” – C+
5. “Libras and Zebras” – C
6. “Crush” – C+
7. “Silver Sphere (Death Dream)” – C
8. “Zeppelin” – C-
9. “Los Angeles” – B
10. “Koo Koo With You” – C-

Comments: Upfront disclosure: I did not expect a softie album from the Jacuzzi Boys. Now, softie to one may be hardcore punk to another. This is a lite album, though, a diet rock ‘n roll.  Traditional pop hooks are everywhere on Glazin’…make no mistake. It’s just that No Seasons, the band’s debut from 2009, possessed these hooks and then some. We live in times where bands with even the most marginal independent label support can spend longer time in a studio setting and complete a nicer sounding record. Sometimes, though, nicer sounding comes across as forced. The late great Jay Reatard didn’t find any remote worth in arranging a block of time for recording. He recorded whenever he felt like it. True, many bands don’t have 24/7 access to sophisticated home recording equipment, but Jay’s point holds. I feel like the experimentation that Jacuzzi Boys endeavor in is a result of them having that extra studio time available. In the end, they stick with internal familiarity. Mid-album songs like “Libras and Zebras” and “Crush” don’t sound like anything the Jacuzzi Boys have done, but by that point in the album it’s as if “oh yeah, I’ve heard something like that a few tracks ago, but it was better.” With “Silver Sphere,” we have an excessive song on our hands folks. It drags and stuff. I sense a bit of cheesiness with Glazin’. It’s fun to be fun and the Jacuzzi’s seemed to have carried that kind of spirit in the making of this record, but where’s the “Smells Dead” and “Island Avenue” circa 2011?

Grade:  C+ (77)

CD Review: La Sera [2011]


Band:
La Sera
Release: 2/2011
Label:
Hardly Art

1. “Beating Heart” – B
2. “Never Come Around” – B+
3. “You’re Going to Cry” – B+
4. “Sleeptalking ” – B+
5. “I Promise You” – B-
6. “Left This World” – C
7. “Hold” – B-
8. “Under the Trees” – B-
9. “Devil Hearts Grow Gold” – A-
10. “Dove Into Love” – C
11. “Been Here Before” – B+
12. “Lift Off” – B

Comments: Here we have it, a brief exhibit in well done girly harmonies, light noise, and a tidbit of dream. Kickball Katy (La Sera) knows her music and stuff like that. Of course, this album is chock full o’ hooks and all that stuff that we music listeners enjoy, but there is that thing that haunts a lot of today’s music — uniformity. Unintentional, probably. Just comes off that way. We hear some neat psych-pop numbers, but also some commercial (literally sound like background TV advertisement/nu-Christmas music…”Left This World” I’m pointing at you) cutesy jingles. Don’t let the jingles get to you, though. Katy’s preciousness so-to-speak is both the high and low point of this record. She doesn’t have that rock ‘n roll spirit possessed by her contemporaries, Best Coast (probably closer to Katy’s sound than…) and the Dum Dum Girls. It’s just not really her thang. This is more of an easy listening thing, like 8th grade final slow dance music (why hello there, “Dove Into Love”). Some of my favorite numbers, in case you are wondering: “Sleeptalking” and “Devil Hearts Grow Gold.”

Grade: B- (83)

NEW HUNX LP! “Too Young to Be in Love”

On March 29, KLYAM Fave Hunx and His Punx will be releasing their studio deubt Too Young to Be in Love on Hardly Art records. With the exception of the upcoming Black Lips LP, this record is the next big thing for me, I really can’t wait to hear it when it’s all ready to go. I’ve been a big fan of about half of the tracks based on their demos, so it should be a goodie. Speaking of which, here is the tracklist:

1) Lovers Lane
2) He’s Coming Back
3) Keep Away From Johnny
4) The Curse of Being Young
5) Too Young to Be in Love
6) If You’re Not Here (I Don’t Know Where You Are)
7) Bad Boy
8) Tonite Tonite
9) Can We Get Together?
10) Blow Me Away