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Spring 2001 Music Reviews
Tell us about your favorite albums, some great music you've heard recently, or even stuff you hate!
Sleater-Kinney - The Hot Rock
I'm reviewing this one as a tribute to the great traffic that the latest s-k show created on git.talk.music. Actually, I'm not really reviewing it, just recommending it. As g.t.m readers know, I adore s-k and their show last weekend was just incredible.
This album is a strange sort of turning point for them. Before this album, s-k were more of a ... punk-oriented riot-grrl outfit (if anyone has a better explanation, please feel free...). With "The Hot Rock" and their latest album, they've moved onto a newer tone, more melodious and less in-your-face rocking out. Personally, I prefer the newer tone, though I know some OGSK purists will lynch me for saying so.
I mean, it's still pretty hardcore, compared to most of the crap we get pushed on us these days, and songs like "The End of You" manage to mix the old style with the new very effectively. Kind of like, we're angry and loud, but we can harmonize! Oh well. I'm sucking at this. Someone help me out.
Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Back when I was in highschool, about 7 or eight years ago I used to listen to them along with School of Fish and The Connells. Those three were my favorite "alternative music" as it used to be called back them. I think NAD and The Connells are from England or something, not sure. But if you've ever heard cool English music (I have absolutely no idea what genre they would be put in, just cool) you might be able to get a foggy idea of the kind of music. It's not punk, if that helps.
Anyway Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam were cool back then too. Those 3 bands now don't really turn me on any more.
Right now I would have to recommend Frente and Tori Amos for good woman singers. Frente is no longer together and they only made one album and every single song is a good one. Two songs you might know are "Labour of Love" and "Bizarre Love Triangle" which is a cover. Frente's music is rather folkish, I guess. Her voice is very sweet and almost childlike.
Jeff Buckley is one of my favorite solo singer. He isn't around anymore but his one tape I have is really good. It's rather soulful, in fact I think it is very soulful. "Lilac Wine" is a sweet love ballad. It is very beautiful.
Lilac Wine verse
"Halleluja" is one of the more soulful songs
Verse from Halleluja:
Well I heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do ya
Well it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composes Hallelujah
I like all the songs, but the ones you might have heard are "Last Goodbye" and "Grace"
The Replacements are cool too, Paul Westerburg is the singer if you know who he is. The "All Shook Down" album is a good buy if you like the Replacements because all the songs are good. "Sadly Beautiful" is a cute little song. Favorite lines:
Well you've got your fathers hair
and you've got your fathers nose
but you've got my soul.
Sadly beautiful. Sadly beautiful.
Alex Fox. Awesome Spanish Style Guitar player/singer. Terrific songs. Unique. I saw him play in South Beach outside on a patio of a restaurant with a woman (latin) dancing on the table. Very Entertaining. Well, hell, I recoommend South Beach. Don't know where you could get a copy of his cd/tape.
Smashing Pumpkins I recommend their Gish album for new listeners. For old listeners I'm sure you know what you like. I prefer Gish over all others.
Olive Very cool techno/dance/mysterious music. Big time recommend Olive
Helmet's "Unsung"! I haven't heard it in so long, some ppl in South Carolina stole it and some other cd's out of my car. This song is crazy awesome. I get excited just thinking about it. It is bad ass.
Ministry's "So What". Brings back memories of highschool and when this was my attitude. :) I really identified with those two words that were the chorus. There really is no leading up to the chorus which what makes the chorus so dramatic. You'll see, turn it up LOUD.
The Cult My God, they were so cool back then on Sonic Temple and before. Ian's hair, and singing, mixed with the cool tunes...
And if you haven't already, go by a Rush CD
Just a couple of quick notes. Frente! has made two full albums and one long EP release. The first album is "Marvin the Album" and the second is "Shape." The long ep is the "Labour of Love" EP. They also have other EPs and singles, but none are as long or as good.
Jeff Buckley also has a few albums released. The "Grace" LP was his only official release while alive. However, there are two posthumous releases. "Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk" is a 2CD set that I like even more than "Grace." And "Mystery White Boy" is a sort of compilation/live album that just came out a couple of weeks ago. I highly recommend picking up "Sketches," though. There's about 18 new songs.
Oh, and I believe "Hallelujah" is a cover of a Leonard Cohen song. But I'll have to check on that.
Tori's also great, of course. At least up until the new tracks on Venus...
And for all those who don't know, Jen's right about The Replacements. "Let it Be" is considered a seminal rock and roll album.
Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jenning, Chris Christopherson singing "Highwayman" (a cover) Recommend
Yes I actually like country now. Tough. I've live in the South too long not to appreciate some country ppl...Not to say there aren't country ppl in the North, not to say there is no other place than the North and the South.
OH, I almost forgot, The Flat Earth Society
This is my friend's band, and I wouldn't have mentioned them if they weren't really good. I'll put up a link to a sample of their music soon. Here is a sample of their music, it's a mix of 4 of their songs. Flat Earth Soc. mp3 (2.36MB) Please tell me what you think...jeni@cc
God Lives Underwater - does no one know this fabulous duo? Shaggz Mickley
Jucifer - Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip
This one's more of a query than a true review.
Jucifer are an Athens based duo that manage to make a remarkable amount of noise for just 2 people. Their debut (and only) album, "Calling all Cars on the Vegas Strip" is a wonderful blend of music, from straight heavy metal, to electronic/acid rock, to strange and almost drum and bass style.
The vocals come from Amber Valentine, a young woman who performs in 7" platforms, a beautiful wig, and black lipstick/eyeliner. Her voice, which ranges from angry and frenetic to soft and even angelic, is drowned out by the sound of her furious guitar playing. Traditionally, she plays a sweet little axe wrapped in fur, but recently she's acquired a silver Gibson flying-V.
Her partner in this whole escapade Edgar Livengood, a man who plays the drums so furiously that he makes himself bleed and blows out amps.
My query, though, is: Who's heard them besides me? For a rather famous local band, there don't seem to be many folks who have ever heard of them, let alone heard their music. And if you've heard them, do you like them? Why, why not?
Anybody ever listen to the Refreshments?
They're a band out of Arizona who put out 2 good cd's before breakin' up. They're probably best known for their song Banditos (give your ID card to the border guard. Are you ready, it says your Jean Luc Picard...). I really don't know how to describe their music- it definitely has a Southwestern feel to it, I don't know that I've heard much else like it...
Anywho, Just wondering...
I like Underworld and Orbital. Also, you should chech out Liz Phair's first album 'Exile in Guyville' and the Pixies' 'Surfer Rosa.' That album has the catchy tune from Fight Club.
Too bad Underwold broke up.. well.. actually, they're still together, but just recently, one of the 3 members, Darren Emerson, quit the group to focus on his DJing career. If you haven't heard Darren Emerson's Global Underground CD, it's a must! It is the BEST dance music mixed CD I've ever heard.
wrt the Connells - they're not British, they're actually from NC. :)
...I can totally see how someone could think that they were British, however. ;)
And don't listen to Bruce; the new Tori is great. :p
I've burned.... um, I mean bought.... a couple of really good CDs recently. First, thanks to the wonderful creation that is Napster I was able to nab a numer of Orbital's CDs that I didn't already have. If you are into the techno scene and haven't heard any Orbital... well, then I have to wonder if you're actually into the techno scene!
I used to be a huge fan of The Chemical Brothers and a casual listener of Orbital, but after giving some of their stuff a hard listen I was amazed. I think my favorite of the ones I just acquired was Orbital 2 (The Brown Album). There are some absolutely fantastic tracks here, including Halcyon+On+On and the epic Impact USA. Even with some pretty lengthy songs, their music does not ever get to the point where it seems repetitive. This is a wonderful album to own, and a must-have for any techno colletion!
Another one I was surprised about was Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Honestly, I've never been a big Chili Peppers fan in the past. But I was pretty much blown away by this album! There are some wonderful tracks here. There is the usual, radio-overplayed Scar Tissue, but this is not even one of the best tracks from the album. Check Parallel Universe, Around the World and the title track. I think this album is a good progression for the Chili Peppers and might just be the best non-techno album I've picked up in the last year...
The techno scene isn't.
What exactly do you mean by that?
Strangely enough, exactly what I said. ;)
Ah.. but just wait till dance music takes over America. It's coming.. the movement has already swept the majority of the world. The Global Dance Movement cannot be stopped! :)
Interested in educating yourself about the Atlanta scene?
Check out www.lunarmagazine.com
And when you're ready to get a little taste of some of the vibe and music, come to Joe Mugg's on Peachtree St. on any Monday from 8-11pm. Candy ravers, DJs, and coffee.. oh my! :)
(BTW - The event at Joe Mugg's is ALWAYS free!)
Please, Mr. Center of all Knowledge in the Universe, educate us as to what real music really is.... I'm dying to hear this.
I never said that I know "what real music is". No one style or type or form is "real music". Real music is whatever moves you.. whatever touches your soul.. whatever captivates your mind. When you find the "music" that does this for you, never let go of it, and make wonderful melodies of your own.
I think you misunderstood me, Chris... my statement about educating us concerning music was not pointed at you but at the other statement made about there not being a techno scene. Sorry for the confusion...
Ah.. ok.. just one of the downsides of the co-web :)
I don't have a problem with the music itself. I have a problem with what people today generally see as "techno" being labeled as part of a scene.
What used to be correctly labeled as the "techno scene" is not anymore. 5 or 6 years back, the general public didn't have any preconceived notion of what the "techno scene" was. Which is exactly what allowed it to exist. All-night house parties in Allston, with DJs spinning random stuff that you've never heard of and candy ravers holding platters of ... stuff. And that still exists, in a few small places, but that isn't what's thought of, in general, to be the techno "scene."
You say techno to a person and what they think of is the generic techno-pop crap that was originally fed to us when MTV and the American media machine decided that "techno" could be possible. Prodigy, Orbital, Chemical Brothers. They were fed money and marketed, just so that distributors and the media could slap words like "techno" and "electronica" onto them to make money. Why do you think that about 5 years ago, people started to use terms like "drum and bass," "trance," and "ambient" with far more prevalence? A need to identify themselves. The more respectable artists didn't want to be associated with the new "techno."
It used to be that the most popular techno bands were the most talented. Orb (NOT Orbital), FSOL, Aphex Twin, Crash Worship, Sheep on Drugs. Good bands.
Now the "techno scene" isn't. It's barely, if at all, techno. It's not club music, it's pop music. I mean, c'mon. I don't have a problem with people liking the Chemical Brothers, but at least don't mislabel them as techno. They're pop, pure and simple. And a scene? A scene doth not consist of "house parties" populated by frat boys and MTV/radio station-sponsored raves.
That which was the "techno scene" back when the term was accurate had to change. It was split along finer lines, or tried to change names. For a while it was the rave scene, but the media pirated even that. Now it's back to something much more simple. Folks seem to be calling it just the "party scene," which makes sense, since that's what it was all originally built on.
Same thing that happened with ska. (Twice!) ;)
Actually, the labels for different music only came about as different types of dance music came-to-be. Techno is what's used to refer to the orginal type of dance or electronic music, and techno is characterized by fast, repeated, industrial sounds which originated in Europe, for the most part.
In the early 80's, smaller house parties started poping up in the Northern US area, were some of the local DJs who played pop music at the time started playing around with studio equipment, synths, and such and recorded records of their own that they wouldn't sell but would play at their local house parties. Thus, the house sound was born, and it was called house because people didn't know how to describe the records. They were just like "you know that track you played at the house party.." "I like that house party track.." and it eventually just shortened to House.
So.. techno.. and house.. grew up almost entire seperate. As the years went on, the europeans began to be exposed to house, and vice-versa with americans, and the two have blended over the years into several different forms of music (trance, breakbeat, and about 10 different variations of house.)
As for DnB or Jungle, the American style came from the breakbeat genre as some of the electro-breakbeat DJs started to produce a faster, more rapid sound.
Most of the general US population still mislabels techno today. Even most of the groups Bruce desribed are not techno artists (most make music that is know as big beat.)
If you really think that "techno music" has become mainstream and commericalized, maybe it appears that way to you, but the underground still grooves on.. and always will.. trust me :)
Okay, you made some pretty ridiculous and outlandish statements there, and I'd like to address them, at least to some extent. First of all, how can you have the audacity to call something such as The Chemical Brothers "pop music"? Have you ever listened to pop music in your entire life? Michael Jackson is pop. Hanson is pop. To say any group/band/artist such as the Chemical Brothers, Orbital, etc. is pop is childish and without foundation. If you want to argue that they are not true techno... well, then go ahead, although I still do not agree. But don't ever say that again - that's asking to bring ridicule upon yourself...
Second, it's pretty obvious what kind of person you are. You are that guy - the one who thought he was the stuff because he was into the (fill in the blank here) scene first, when it was underground, back when it was "pure" and "good". When people started catching onto it, realizing that it truly was good, giving it the respect that it deserved, you weren't unique and as "cool" anymore... so you took the opposite side, criticizing it for not being what it used to be. Do what it takes to be unique, I guess. You probably say that songs actually get worse when they are played on the radio... it is not that the song itself gets worse, but that your impression of it does when it becomes overly-ingrained in your brain. When a favorite song of mine gets overplayed on the radio, I blame the radio station - I don't go blaming the artist for selling out and becoming another member of the pop music genre. If you didn't singlehandedly start the techno movement I doubt you have any right to say what is and what is not a part of it today with any credibility. Your opinion is your opinion, and so be it, but do not try to force it as anything but that.
Third, I will agree with you - I like Fluke, FSOL, Orb, Aphex Twin (a little). Indeed, they are good bands. But once again, they are not all of what techno is. Orbital is as much a part of the techno movement as any of them, if not more than all of them put together! I mean, heck, they were around way before some of those bands were! And to trash on one of Britain's most popular techno duos, from what could be considered the heartland of the techno movement, is what one could expect from an arrogant American. Hopefully you will open your eyes and be willing to consider more than just the bands which haven't received widespread recognition and fame yet - what are you going to do when and if Fluke hits it big in America? Will you deny them and criticize them as just another member of the "pop" scene? I am guessing that you will, but I sure hope not....
Belle and Sebastian - Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant
Well, I figured after the bitchy rant I just posted, I might as well put up a real review.
So anyway. Those of you that would care probably already know it, but the new Belle and Sebastian album came out on June 6th. It's another edition of their trademark twee-pop Scottish fare. However, there are a few minor changes. From their first album, "Tigermilk," up until their last, "The Boy with the Arab Strap," B&S have been creatively dominated by Stuart Murdoch, vocalist and guitar player.
As of "Arab Strap," though, it started to seem as though Murdoch wanted to branch out more. Or perhaps just to shunt some of the work onto the other members of the band. Regardless, what resulted were a few songs that seemed to violate the general tone of the rest of the album. 90% of the songs were still all the voice of Murdoch, but there were a few interspersed efforts that represented other members of the band, most notably Isobel (also a member of The Gentle Waves) and Stuart Davis (also a member of Looper).
"Fold Your Hands Child" is more of a true group effort. Murdoch's presence is less encompassing, with several songs featuring Isobel's soft vocals, or David's deeper voice. The mix no longer seems haphazard, but instead deliberate, with one song flowing nicely to the next and the tones of each no longer at odds.
Overall, it's quite a remarkable album. Better than "Arab Strap" and possibly better than "If You're Feeling Sinister." If you're into this kind of stuff, go pick it up.
Screeching Weasel - Teen Punks in Heat
past few albums have sucked bad - this one however is pretty decent - but of course i like some of the lame screeching weasel songs. And Phillip of the Teen Idols plays on it!!! (teen idols come to masquerade next month or so) Webb
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