Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Misery Is a Butterfly (4AD)
The long awaited new Blonde Redhead album is everything you hoped it would be. For those whose lives have not been graced with this phenomenal trio, Blonde Redhead is made up of a Japanese female vocalist (Kazu Makino), and two Italian twin brothers (Simone and Amadeo Pace), who met in New York City,while Kazu was attending art school. The trio found they shared a love of avant art rock, began making music, and the rest is history. This random meeting has produced some of the most ingenious, groundbreaking "rock" music to ever fall upon underground ears. Comparisons to early Sonic Youth abound, yet even the most hardcore of music lovers would be hard pressed in attempting to compare the unique structures of Blonde Redhead's complicated arrangements. Blonde Redhead has a sound all their own, full of sophisticated, lush melodies, and thoughtful lyrics, with an angular, post-modern edge. If you haven't heard Blonde Redhead, now is your chance, it will change your ear forever.
Breakfast for Beatlovers, Mondays 9-noon
Magic and Medicine
For anyone who said, "They sure don't make 'em like they used to," this album's for you. Because, for the most part, this album sounds exactly like they used to. It's impossible to listen to Magic and Medicine without hearing the 60s British influence -- The Kinks, the Stones, The Animals. Of course, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. A lot of music is influenced by those bands. But this album doesn't expand on that sound. You could listen to this album and actually think it was made in 1966. "Liezah" is reminiscent of an early Stones ballad and "Talkin' Gypsy Market Blues" is the standard bluesy-fair. However, on songs like "Milkwood Blues," The Coral do add an interesting string arrangement and "All of Our Love" has a strangely eerie tone to it. Although this album is enjoyable and the songs are fairly catchy, it is too derivative to be anything remarkable.
New music rotation, 3-5pm Sundays
Laced with Romance (In the Red)
The Ponys might well be dismissed as just another garage-rock revivalist band. But they're simply better than most of those bands and they've got more of a psychedelic pop notion than most of this movement, in the vein of the Hentchmen without being so organ heavy. The vocals come off as an odd Richard Hell trying to pick up David Byrne on the street corner. Every track comes off strong with guitar pop hooks and they beat it out to tune with the infectious catchy song writing. Destined to become a cult classic.
New music rotation, Fridays 2-4am
Live in Japan (K Records)
The last release before Phil Elvrum retires the Microphones moniker (at least that's what he says) showcases 11 new songs performed live, usually solo acoustic, but sometimes featuring various collaborators. Minute-long a capella covers of "My Favorite Things" and "Silent Night" may have been intended as wistful, but they just annoy. On some songs, like "Thanksgiving," "I Love You So Much," and the 11-minute "Universe Conclusion," Phil Elvrum's songwriting shines even in this live setting. Unfortunately, just a few stick out from the crowd, and if you've heard a Microphones album before, this is largely just rehash without the endearing production.
New music rotation, Thursdays 2-4pm
Pyramid Electric Co. (Secretly Canadian)
Having switched back to his birth name from his previous trusty moniker, Songs: Ohia, Jason Molina also seems to be taking it back to the sparse basic quality of 2000's Ghost Tropic with his new opus, even enlisting Omaha's in-house producer Mike Mogis again for this ultra-minimal outing. The album has a few fine moments, but it's guaranteed to piss off those who were converted by last year's favored Magnolia Electric Co.
Molina shines on "Honey, Watch Your Ass," which despite its sometimes awkwardly cliched lyrics works out to be the star of the album, mostly because it's the closest that Molina gets to really rocking. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the thin piano of "Red Comet Dust," sluggish and lonely, yet uplifting. It's difficult to see Molina take a step back with this album, but if you're in need of a good exercise in patience, this is your ticket.
Breakfast for Beatlovers, 9-noon Tuesdays
When It Falls (Palm Pictures)
This album was one of my most highly anticipated releases of early 2004. After the release of their debut album Simple Things (2001), I was left completely blown away with its jazzy, soulful, funky, fusion with the combination of electronic spacey downtempo throughout. So after listening to Simple Things a couple hundred times (literally) over the past few years I found myself asking, what next? So, the day finally arrives and to my dismay, after only one listen I found myself looking for the amazing instrumentals that Simple Things provided so abundantly. The new album yielded only two as opposed to Simple Things's seven. Eventually after further listening, I felt that they became too reliant on their vocalists and lacked progression from their previous work. I never thought I might say this, but deep down I think that I hoped for at least a hint of dipping into other genres of music besides just adding a new vocalist. Overall, the music is good and I realize that I am over critical, but to say my expectations were high would be an understatement.
Breakfast for Beatlovers, Tuesdays 9-Noon