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<< P 3 NYC 1, 2, 3 >> PALOMAR
PALOMAR III - Revenge of Palomar
( Self-Starter ) 2004

For Brooklynites, these kids - three girls with guitars and a guy drummer; everyone sings - sound awfully darned British. Maybe they listened to too much Guided By Voices when they were younger. But don't let this wee aural kink deter you from shimmying around your flat (or 'apartment', as we say in America) to the insanely catchy Palomar III - their third full-length in five years of existence, and their best effort yet. Clocking in at a pop-perfect 37 minutes, PIII's exquisite pop sheen and infectious joy will help you get through the dog days of summer with a smile on your lips and a song in your heart - or your iPod, if that's your thing.

Despite recent sadness over now-defunct label Kindercore, which went kaboom last Fall just after signing the band, the bright shiny faces the quartet don for the 14 tracks on PIII give you the (probably correct) impression that every day is sunny at Camp Palomar. Combining the smartly retrofit 60s girlie-pop of Aisler's Set or the Pastels with the Wood-Be-Goods' pithy verbal assault and Elf Power's loud, melodic guitars, giddy harmonies and summery hallucinations, PIII is upbeat without being witless, cloying or simply creepy - an object lesson that bands like Polyphonic Spree and CocoRosie, among countless other young and sincere types, should study closely. Even on potential downers, like "You Dance Bad", "Work Is A State Function" and the brutally funny, tempest-in-a-tea-cozy drama of "Knitting for Pleasure" - Palomar keeps it all buoyant, hooky and endlessly engaging. Their terriffc song "Albacore" isn't a plea for saving the dolphins but is perhaps the best pop song I've heard in more years than I care to remember. And anyone who uses a squeezy-toy sample as a clicktrack gets my utter adoration.

—LD Beghtol ::(08/22/04)  << P3NYC >>

 

Glee Club Room 305 Panoply Academy
Everything Here Was Built To Break
( Secretly Canadian ) 2004

"We all deserve to know what we deserve."

Fade-outs in song is a sure sign of us, the kind listener, being robbed of our time. Those seconds used on the fade-out and what may lie on the other side is song never to be heard. Panoply Academy (and her many glees & legions) is a band who has, but once and only once (see: "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag" featured here),not allowed their listener to be cheated of quality Academy time.

The Panopoly gang, for whom you may not be as well informed about as you should be, have been coveted in my home for their 'Corps of Engineers' coverage of Supertramp classics in the dark .. . while nude (see: "Dreamer/Crime of the Century" ). A fitting homage to one of the greatest bands the mid-to-late 90's allowed to float around practically unnoticed, Everything Here Was Built To Break compiles extremely rare material (see: "The Acquisition" - originally on a vinyl pressing of no more than 200) and five unreleased to cd compositions from the "lost abum" (these 5 tracks start 'Everything Here.. .'). Of these 5 tracks, I can say that if "Nom De Plume" is where the Acadmey is / was headed - a new album would make weak of many futile so-called "bands" on the scene as we know it.

Should you still be out of the clues on the Panoply Academy and her many aliases - start here and slowly work back, following with the early recording known as 'Rah!' on Secretly Canadian. Known to throw a chant, cheer or mighty trumpet solo in the middle of the fiercest rhythm of discontent - you owe this to yourself.

+ kaleb 10.30.04 << SC >> << home >>

 

country parker Graham Parker
Your Country
(BLOODSHOT) 2004

Graham Parker goes country? Well, yes 'n'no – though this is touted as his first foray into country music, Your Country is your basic fine GP album with some country undertones. There's a higher "twang" quotient to this, as well as a slightly loping, shuffling honky-tonk country beat, but this is just more of the same wonderful stuff we’ve come to appreciate from ol' Graham: genial, soulful roots-rocking indignation, sung with that most human and welcoming of raspy voices. The highlights would be "Cruel Lips,"a nice duet with Lucinda Williams that would’ve been perfect for Johnny & June, and the yearning "Almost Thanksgiving Day," which shows that GP still finds inspiration from the Band (the moniker of his 70s ensemble, The Rumour, is also the title of a Band song from Stage Fright). There’s an unexpected (and faithful, albeit a bit more tart) cover of Jerry Garcia’s "Sugaree.” Songs like "Tornado Alley” and "The Rest is History"could've come from older GP albums like Stuck By Lightning or Burning Questions, and that's a darn good thing, to be sure. The faithful will dig this, but let's hope the Americana/alt-country set picks up on this, as GP was doing "roots-y" rock & roll when the members of Uncle Tupelo were mere glints in their daddies' eyes.


-Mark Keresman
:: (04.26.04)

 

FIVES Parlour
Hives Fives
( Temporary Residence ) 2005

Four years went into the making of Parlour's Hives Fives E.P., and it shows. Hives Fives starts pleasantly with "Such (A One Year Stem)" that instantly nabs and propels the listener into an upbeat, energetic mix of technically-adept, technically perfect anthems. Quite surprisingly, the laptops of old have been replaced with musicians, yet the pristine groove is maintained by eight players in widely varying instrumentation - synths, guitars, drums, saxaphones, bass clarinets - a small orchestra, if you will.

But therein lies the problem - it's a little too perfect; it seems as though the band spent four years capturing the creamiest snippets of the crop, then stitched them together to form symphonic movements that grasp gingerly toward, yet fail to provide emotional and dynamic variation. The human element gained from live musicians seems to be lost in the technically flawless performances; every song is consistent from start to finish, from the start of the disc until the end.

This record aches for vocals - its construction is well-suited to vocal phrasing, and the consistent emotion & dynamics would be highly complimented by something more, something alive to draw the listener's attention, maintain it, and affect it. Hives Fives hits its mark, but leaves this listener wishing they'd aimed just a bit higher.

Dr. Dulcet 07.03.05 << info >> << home >>

 

quick-ly P A N I C
4 song ep + 1
( bridge nine )

"You call it growing up / come to terms with all the years / that you spent fucking up".

Those are the first words uttered by this insane stuck in the 80's punk rebebillion singer. Four songs (actually five) make up this incredible ep that is PANIC. This cd is simple. And to the point. It's old new school with a tiny hint of new school. Punk/ Hardcore to the max. Refused would be proud. This will be the most intense 10 minutes you'll ever spend with your ears to speakers. Not only does it come packed full of originals, now with a cover!! A cover of the Unbroken's Fall on Proverb. So, just because you think you can yell kinda fast, and your band can play 80's influenced punk with a hint of hardcore you think you've got yourself a hit?

ray :: (12.03.03)
Link :: bridge 9

 

mocking cuts papercuts
mockingbird
( antenna farm ) 2004

First thing that comes to mind is Mazzy Star, then comes an image of Hope Sandoval fronting a watery Mercury Rev. Maybe. Galaxie 500 is certainly on the bill, or at least the same Velvets that G500 & producer Kramer molded a bands studio sound around (hear: "Judy"). Then I attempt to figure why I am thinking so much while this beautiful batch of wonder is chiming around me - so I allow myself to sink. Sink I do into the second anthem "Poor and Free" and decide to no longer see the world as round, but more of a broken fragment of sulfur. What this broken fragment of chared coal needs is more sounds like those contained on mockingbird.

The man behind papercuts (engineer, singer, etc.) is Jason Quever - and I do believe we have another unique voice to follow in awe. If you need a reference, Mister Quever has hands in production for past Cass McCombs projects.

Something tells me John Lennon would have liked mockingbird, but this may just be the same something that told MDC to kill. Don't think too much - no, don't think at all. Listen. If you're too broke to listen, steal it. If you have no arms, I say "I am very sorry".

kaleb 05.05.05 << M I S R A >> << home >>

 

<< heel >> Pedro the Lion
Achilles Heel
(Jade Tree) 2004

Almost 8 years ago now, I found myself in Chicago with friends at a show at the Fireside Bowl. In my particular case, it was a show that I was going to because a friend wanted to see another band playing, and I was pretty much obliging and thinking that it would be good for me to try to be social for once. As I was sitting and talking with some people, I heard singing above the conversation that really captured my ear and I excused myself and went and watched one Mr. David Bazan and others as Pedro The Lion. Since that time, I admit to not having been the biggest fan of the group but at the very least a curious follower.

Although my favorite release by the group is still probably The Only Reason I Feel Secure, I have to admit that Pedro The Lion had hit a pretty good stride with their last two releases of Winners Never Quit and Control. Although musically and thematically quite different, each one worked well within a concept and were full of solid tracks. Having listened to Achilles Heel many a time now, I'd have to say that this is one of the least strong discs by the group in their entire discography.

I'm not sure if it's the lack of a clear-cut conceptual idea or something else, but the 11 songs on the release just seem to plow along through waters that the group has already rowed many times before. The slowcore opener of "Bands With Managers" is actually one of the more successful tracks on the release, moving through molasses before punctuating choruses that shake the track free. "Arizona" also manages to stand out a bit with a strong chiming guitar melody before crunching back into distortion land.

The lack of variety definitely bogs down the album in large part as well, especially through the middle section. Fortunately, things switch up a bit towards the end with the buoyant and glorious "Transcontinental" and the countrified closer of "The Poison." Even though the album is 11 tracks and under 40 minutes of running time, it just doesn't have the same amount of memorable parts of previous releases. Whereas old tracks like "Big Trucks" and even "Slow And Steady Wins The Race" stick in your craw for a long time, I can barely remember a thing after Achilles Heel stops spinning. It's not a flat-out horrible album, but quite a dissapointment from the usually reliable group.

Rating: 6


aaron ::(05/28/04).  << buy >>

 

<< quiet >> Pelican
Australasia
(HydraHead) 2004

So you wanna be hardcore... .

Following the grizzly, fabricated and untimely death of their vocalist - Pelican were forced into a difficult predicament: "Should we disband, returning to our life of crime, or carry on as a voiceless foursome?".. . Carry on Pelican did - and thankful you should be. This is heavy without the bullshit, emotional minus the whine. I picture any of the five furious compositions (out of six tracks total) backing Flash Gordon if he decided to return to battle that bald, thick browed bastard Ming the Merciless in the 21st century. Take the halfway point on 'Drought' (which is in the proximity of five minutes) - guitar strings are beginning to plead for mercy, drums make like helicopters on the brink of all-out war.. . this is the anthem of a hero calling heads. Don't let the Bedhead-like opening minute of Australasia fool you - 'Nightenedday' may begin at an acoustic crawl, but the remaining ten minutes are serious lashes of full-on fury.

These fellas choose to play dead on the title track, complete with the singing saw of Andrew Furse - 'Australasia' comes off as the lost track from Black Heart Procession's 3. Now that I think of it, this may be the moment that Pelican are paying final respect to the enemies who lay dead.. . Then, quicker than they rolled to their rest, it is time to serve up one of the albums darkest, deadliest blows on Australasia's untitled, 11 minute closer. It's obvious this battle has only just begun.. . .

Pelican have been tagged "intsro-metal" - maybe think of them as Meshuggah (circa Contradictions Collapse) minus the words. This, of course, is just one way to describe a band as phenomenal as Pelican - actually hearing it is another realm. Another way to view Pelican is they are your very own 'portable rock band' - maybe even carry the cd down to the skating rink on Karaoke night and show the locals "what you got". It's guaranteed to make some girl cry.

Every great album should be supported by great design - and Australasia has just that. Aaron Turner (Feral Pig) has done the album justice with the albums collage of yellow, blue & orange clouds, seas & mountaintops.


+ k
:: (05.14.04)  << buy >> << home >>

 

<< quiet >> P.G. Six
The Well of Memory
( Amish Records | Perhaps Transparent ) 2004

What to make of a genuine hippie folk record? Compared to the hippie posturing that boutique labels and other fashion makers try to pass off as authentic these days, Pat Gubler's P.G. Six is indeed a breath of fresh mountain air. While most other psych-folk projects go too far off the trail, P.G. Six takes the worry out of the wandering by not only taking us down the winding path, but also by helping guide us through the psychic terrain.

"The Well Of Memory" draws heavily from the best aspects of The Incredible String Band as well as the Takoma Records catalog. In "Crooked Way" there are hints of John Fahey, but mostly we find Robbie Basho type chord ruminations - a variation on the bass note, Gubler plays the repetition until resistance to the picking pattern becomes impossible. "Three Stages of a Band" reveals a folk-jam (complete with Richard Thompson-esque Country Eastern electric guitar lines) that would make any ex-Fairport Convention member jealous. While many of the tracks are based in traditional folk music - i.e. built around a repeating guitar line or lyric, Gubler uses repetition to his advantage in more than one way. He bookends the album with drone/harp tracks entitled "Well of Memory Part I" and "Well of Memory Part II". These are the most abstract and formless of all the tracks (reminiscent of his Tower Recording NYC Loft experiments), but they are essential in setting the emotional tone for entire journey through the record. Clearly, the strong vocal melody on track 2 "Come In/The Winter is Past" hits even harder after six and half minutes of foggy feedback and minor key harp musings. On "Come In" and "Crooked Way", Helen Rush provides a lovely harmonic counterpoint to Gubler's understated vocal approach. She shines, however, on the album closer "Weeping Willow". The strength and purity of her voice recalls some of the legends of British folk such Anne Briggs, or Shirley Collins.

While current music magazines and online sources are heralding a new folk scene erupting in the United States, most of these artists disappoint. Unfortunately, these media outlets refer to a new breed of instant cult musician who loves to reference obscure folk music in interviews and photos shoots. Sadly, most have little or no skill at truly integrating or interpreting traditional folk into their pop template. Thankfully, Pat Gubler' P.G. Six is the real deal. "The Well of Memory" reveals a mastery of acoustic and electric instruments, thoughtful song arrangements, and an original synthesis of traditional folk music and modern themes.

AT James :: (09.16.04)  << P.G.Amish >>

 

<< heel >> Sam Phillips
A Boot and a Shoe
(Nonesuch) 2004

“When no one’s listening/I have so much to say,” croons Sam Philips on her gorgeous new album, A Boot and a Shoe. She oughta know: Having renounced her burgeoning career as a big-haired Contemporary Christian Music diva (see: Leslie Philips) and her label, Word, as a “right-wing propaganda machine” in the late 80s, Philips then married her producer T Bone Burnett and has apparently lived happily ever after — under her own terms. Since then she's released a trio baroque-pop discs for Virgin, best represented by 1994’s Grammy-nominated Martinis and Bikinis, featuring the Beatlesque almost-hit,” Baby, I Can’t Please You.” The title of her 1999 solo retrospective, Zero Zero Zero, pretty much sums up public awareness of her post-evangelical work. They’re wrong, of course. But sadly, more people hear her strums and la-la-la's on The Gilmore Girls than will ever buy her records.

With her second release on Nonesuch, home to such ‘uncommercial’ artists as from Laurie Anderson, Wilco, Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim and now Stephin Merritt's The Magnetic Fields, Philips hits her musical stride. Like 2001’s Fan Dance, an exquisite collection of miniatures, A Boot and a Shoe abandons complex production for intimate, sensual recordings — barely more than acoustic guitar and upfront, pulsing drums — that focus on the sheer beauty of Philips’ low, slightly ravaged voice, rich melodies and casual poetry. Ballads like “If I Could Write” and “How to Quit” welcome you into her twilight world even as the album’s closer, “One day Late” (“Help is coming/One day late…”) sends a chill through the place your heart once was.

—LD Beghtol ::(06/25/04)

 

phos = glow Phosphorescent
Aw Come Aw Wry
( MISRA ) 2005

".. .we can curl in the water, naked swrilin' like otters - you know how they are"

Having a small Salvation Army's-worth of horns and a novice orchestra in your band / studio when you record an album (or tour) shouldn't immediately merit you a reference to the legend that is Neutral Milk Hotel. If this was the case, I could name at least a dozen (squared?) random bands trying to rekindle the magic that Jeff Magnum created and - as quick as he molded the structure - buried under the indie yard in just 2 mesmerizing albums (On Avery Island, In An Aeroplane.. ). Athens-based (who new?) Matthew Houck, here posing as Phosphorescent, comes equipped with off-kilter vocals (in a Tim Kinsella-meets-Aidan Couglan method), a miserable piano and a good size set of orchestration - slide guitars, a pump organ and brass included.

Stated - Houck achieves the NMH merits on Aw Come Aw Wry.

Your senses may need a few complete spins to either adjust or focus on the imaginative tales being told here, including the memorable, faint handclapped backing of "I Am A Full Grown Man (I Will Lay in the Grass All Day)". While not touching in the vacinity of bottled-angst that most of Magnum's work achieved, Phosphorescent and the pedal steel that follows throughout most of Aw Come Aw Wry (3 of the 12 compositions here are labeled the title track with #3, #5 & #6 extensions) hints at something that Mike Mogis would have produced or played upon in the early Saddle-Creek days (say, Fevers and Mirrors). Select tracks, notably the Aw Come Aw Wry-series (#6), last but a moment to end incomplete as if the band either lost interest or the basic need to finish them - and this in itself adds to the mysterious charm this album is presenting.

Seek this - or it will seek you.

( Bonus:: MISRA is easily looking to be my favorite label of the year with Aw Come Aw Wry as well as Great Lake Swimmers [2 albums this year!], everything Will Johnson and the others I have yet to hear. Invest the time and discover some truly fantastic independent music. )


kaleb 05.17.05 << visit >> << home >>

 

tPoMthe Physics of Meaning
the Physics of Meaning
( bu_hanan Records ) 2005

With lyrics as crosshairs taking much needed aim at the current state of politics and leadership, the Physics of Meaning outline their mission through track titles (hear: "the fountain of youth dries up in an election year") and fully deliver in song. Not to be mistaken for the new Fugazi, tPoM hint around many issues that can make for (and rightfully do) meaningful song, as on "small towns and invisible people" - a poem with rhythm that captures the sadness of both growing upwards & older while having major, soulless landmarks such as Wal Mart replace the magical spaces you called childhood. With a successful foundation based around songwriter Daniel Hart (player of the violin since age 3) and producer Alex Lazara (Prayer and Tears) - the Physics of Meaning looks great on paper and sounds outstanding on record.

Allowing both manual instrumentation (guitars, drums, cello, xylophone.. . there are well into twenty people credited on this album) to meld with that of automatic (see: "the inconceivable nature of Vizzini", "Manhattan is an island"), the Physics of Meaning - though at the final days of the year - have put up an album to rival all you've heard thus far. Did you hear that, Illinois!? Slap.

me 11.14.05 << info >> << home >>

 

pig tits Pig Destroyer
 Terrifyer
( Relapse ) 2004

Let's get one fucking thing straight - Pig Destroyer are one of the BEST grindcore bands ever to grace the scene.

So I've been waiting for this damn thing to be released for a good 3 years now, so you can imagine how bummed I'm gonna be if its even a TINY bit sucky. LUCKILY Pig Destroyer don't fuck around and put out the best album of their career.. .so far. I am glad to say that this album exceeded all my expectations. I was expecting another Prowler in the Yard, which woulda been rad, but man o' man.. .This album will tear your anus in half! Let's start with disc 1 shall we?

Disc 1: disc one has 21 songs on it and it's about 32 minutes long. Every single sound sample on this album is scary as fuck, and the songs are OH SO intense. I can't even really begin to describe the guitar tone on this album, not to mention Pig Destroyer doesn't have a bass player - so the fact that this guy's tone sounds like this is absolutely absurd. EVERY fucking song on this damn album has something to like about it. This album gives off a vibe like no other album. It's disgusting (I mean that in a GOOD way bitch!) and just completely over the top. The lyrics are not your typical grindcore lyrics and I wouldn't say this album is completely grindcore either, no no they are ABOVE that. The lyrics are very dark and sinister. Upon reading the lyrics I felt uneasy at some points - so yeah yeah yeah disc 1 makes me completely jealous of this band in every way possible.. . now on to disc 2.

Disc 2: disc two is one track. Oh yeah and it won't work in your CD player - it's a DVD audio track mastered in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. The track is titled "Natasha", well I mean the track is titled after some random girl and it's 37 minutes long, so you know some crazy shit is gonna go down on here. Anyway disc 2 is a journey so to speak, a horror story in many ways. Natasha goes through many changes during the 37 minutes. Some parts are very subtle (not for the most part) and other parts are just down right gut wrenching. This track is probably one of the heaviest things ever.. . reminds me a lot of the Melvins. There is constant feedback through almost the entire track and its not annoying like you might think, it only adds to the super uncomfortable vibe this damn CD eludes. The lyrics to Natasha are absolutely sick, insane and almost beautiful. God dammit I hate this band - how the hell did they write this album?!?!?

Anyway I should move onto the artwork and the overall layout of this damn thing. Let's just say by looking at the artwork you can pretty much get a general idea for the mood of the album. Just super creepy and totally disturbing. I can't say enough good things about this album. Just go buy it for Christ sakes! Oh yeah - the vinyl version is on 180gram vinyl, it weighs a ton!

daniel 10.30.04 << site >> << home >>

 

pink fuss pinkie
"sharon fussy"
( Planting Seeds Records) 2004

"And everybody knows that lying under these clothes, that we're not who we think - and we're not who we know.. ."

With the most misleading cover art I believe I have ever attempted to interpret - once I got into the matter of pinkie's sharon fussy (ie: the sounds) all was resolved. Somewhere in the neighborhood of early Twilight Singers (see:"say after me") and Trembling Blue Stars heartbroken opus 'Alive To Every Smile', pinkie (listed as one Alex Sharkey) has released 12 tracks (bookended by nature's own sounds - seagulls) that deserve a majestic sunrise / sunset montage, or other scenic grandeur for it's album cover over the St. Pauly girl that accompanies them.

This is passionate, monumental and mesmerizing stuff.. . did I forget a proper adjective? There is also something in the (brief) horn section and Alex's tone on "Want It To Work This Time" that brings to mind the gentle, post-'in the ocean' days of the Beach Boys (circa Sunflower). Opinions may be for the birds, but "sharon fussy" holds the true call of nature - a force I see no reason to fight. "Who Is It Now?" and the few twinkling keys of the piano that lead it belong in another exemplary review of it's own.

Beautiful - my ears thank you Alex.

+ k a l e b 11.20.04 << info >> << home >>

 

<< heel >> PN
The Art of Being We
(Life Sentence) 2004

For any band to say they've been around for 12 years, with very few line up changes is quite a feat these days ... especially in the indie / hardcore world. But for PN it's just another day. With the release of their debut on Life Sentence comes great questions, wondering if the U.S. will accept them as Europe has for the past decade. I think this album will prove itself beyond any shadow of a doubt that they're here to stay and will leave fans yearning for more.

PN blends so many different elements of music that most hardcore fans aren't used to it will be a breath of fresh air from the norm. This isn't just a mix of American hardcore and Swedish metal ... This goes way beyond that. Blending jazz, metal, indie rock and hardcore; and throwing thought provoking lyrics PN show that they'll be around for another decade.

ray :: (08/27/04)  << PN >>

 

PCC GO GO Poison Control Center
Go-Go Music Show
( BiFi Records ) 2005

This is a really great upbeat fun poppy album. It's kind of a concept album, I think, centered around the idea of music to a make-believe show called the Go-Go Music Show. They are just perfectly written songs. Their musical range is all over the place but considering that they cite as influences everything from Abba to Zappa, seems like everything between most likely too. Poison Control Center seem to have heard of every band you can think of. Seriously, they even pointed out a cd by the Jets from my grandfather's crappy cd collection.

They took all the great elements of 60's pop and everything since then and just came up with the perfect batch of songs. Great choruses and fun singing with organs, guitars, synthesizers, drums and some other stuff too most likely. You can't not enjoy this album and have fun. The only one's who can't love this stuff are probably like goth kids. I get the feeling that if the Poison Control Center were like the Justice League, their arch-enemies would be goth kids.

Stand out songs at the moment for me are "Freshmint", "The Go-Go Reprise", "All Summer Long", and "The Lolly-Pop Shop".

Birdy Tree 08.05.05 << info >> << home >>

 

POSION POP! Poison Control Center
Did They Live Happily Ever After? 
( Pop Gun Records )

This collection of songs is just a pop mess. It is all over the board. Fourteen songs that range from the noisy keyboard and organ driven mess of "Pop-Gun-Pow #1" to a song called "Grow Up and Marry Your Best Friend" with just boy/girl vocals and an acoustic guitar. The songs sound like they were recorded at different times because some sound well produced while others have a more lower quality recording feel. But the songs do not get compromised with poor sound quality because they use it to their advantage, especially on the song "Pop-Gun-Pow #2" - which is dramatically different from the first version, but still just a great mess of pop noise.   

The subject matter of the songs are just really wonderfully pleasant and optimistic. Song titles such as "Emily and the Cornershop She Found", "Since You Moved to Newcastle", "The French Film We Never Saw" and "The Things I Miss". And the song "Grow Up and Marry Your Best Friend" is the greatest song in the world. Just the title is so perfect and the chorus of them singing that throughout the song. The cd is worth getting just for this one song and you will play it over and over and over again because it's just so incredibly good.   

This band writes such happy fun music that i get the impression they live in like the perfect little town or as close as you can get to Archie and his friends in Riverdale. But yeah, it's more like Ames, Iowa. I can't believe they are not bigger, and I wonder how people can make such a big deal about the Pixies while listening to PCC.

Birdy Tree 08.15.05 << info >> << home >>

 

Sneaky Lil' Bugger! Poison Control Center
Kennedy
( BiFi Recs ) 2005

The latest album from the Poison Control Center is slightly less upbeat pop fun than on previous albums, and more of a tight rock band sound just creating some great songs. The songs are still fun but there is a bit more serious stuff layed out for the masses.

The title track "Kennedy" [MP3] seems to be about crap MTV 90's VJ Kennedy and that one dead president dude too and with some nice horns. John Kennedy comes up again in the song "Make a List of All the People Who Inspire You Before You Kill Yourself", which might seem a bit depressing and to a degree it is but it's still an enjoyable upbeat song with just a smidge of somberness in the light instrumentation and the way it's sung. And it's nice that finally someone brings up John Kennedy's scumbag-ness*.

There's also a song about the niceness of television sit-coms and the pleasant lives lived by the characters on them called "O.C.", mentioning Dawson's Creek, Sex and the City, and even Sixx from Blossom. Awesomeness!!

This collection of songs - while still fun - is more mature than their previous work. It's also interesting seeing the progress or changes with their music with the collection of their work. They don't seem to settle and are always going to be exploring new areas with creating such good pop songs.

* while we as the sctas collective value and wholly respect opinions / views / rambles & rants, we ain't all agreed and even-angled on the shit.

(the reviewer formerly known as birdy) 09.08.05 << info >> << home >>

   

so Mac. Portastatic
Bright Ideas
( Merge Records ) 2005

For those who snoozed through American Indie Rock 101, Portastatic is the "side band/project" of Mac from Superchunk (who may well be America's answer to the Buzzcocks, but that's another story). Just one fellow's opinion, but I think the 'static is Mac's outlet for less "punk rock"-sounding, more introspective, more old-school power-pop songs that might not fit the mothership band's M.O.

"Bright Ideas" and "I Wanna Know Girls" sound like the songs Alex Chilton might have written for Big Star had he not got SO bummed-out re: the album Sister Lovers. "Little Fern" is folk-rock from (gedda load o' this) a slightly more rough-hewn Beau Brummels [hear them]. "Truckstop Cassettes" is slightly bossa nova-tinged melancholia the way the Apples In Stereo and/or pre-1971 Move might've concocted. The recording ambiance is lo-fi on the way to being hi-fi - which is a smarty-pants way of saying there're still rough edges but not overbearingly so; a bit more ambitious than your typical punk-pop band yet not polished to a high gloss. It rocks, it's (oddly) comforting, it's entertaining, it's got spunk 'n' heart - what else do ya do ya want from a rock & roll platter?

Mark Keresman 08.30.05 << info >> << home >>

 

peepeeeff PowerPillFist
Extra Life
( graveface | 70s gymnastics ) 2005

When was the last time you heard a Missle Command solo? Better yet - a combination of glitched samples from Montezuma's Revenge? You haven't - no, you haven't. Really - why the fuck do you want to lie about this? Enter: PowerPillFist - he who rocks the party, rocks the bo-dy.. . . in bits of eight.

Yes - recorded and manipulated entirely on an Atari 2600 console - PowerPillFist (aka "mr. ken" of Black Moth Super Rainbow bass-in-yr-face fame) has cast a beast of desire through thirteen tracks of bleep, blip & doom! The fact that he is giving away "Mashed Potato Legs" on his site is a fucking godsend, for this is the radio single if there ever was one.

Should you have room in the collection between your quasi-limited Wolf Eyes 12"'s and boyarm's Il Programma Di Religione comp - Extra Life will make friends in time zero. Well - you could be a real fan and have a spot right beside last years (way out of print) 15-minute opus Chinese Guy With a Witch Axe 3" - the mashed up state of PPF and BMSR in unison that joined the 2600 and additional synth. Dry your eyes you belated believer - this wagon is ready for you to hop on.

One may have summed it up best on the PPF site: "smile bending reel to reel doom for beautiful fucked up little kids...". Indeed we bleed.

Oh*bonus* - cover art of the year!

: k 05.28.05 << visit >> << home >>

 


scary.. no Prkr
The Ghost Year
( beeprepaired ) 2005

What begins as a touch of the Future Sound of London scene of things (instrumental briefer "Decaying", and picks up later with "Contrails") strikingly reveals organic depth and takes on a beautiful life of his its own on The Ghost Year. Prkr is the project of Parker Hill, a Seattle native who has pressed just 100 handcrafted (numbered) editions of The Ghost Year, a collection of one dozen compositions written & recorded over a 2 year timeframe. Eye-catching minimal artwork (the cover is gorgeous, a touch arctic if I may say so) encases the album, a display of acoustic guitars ("exploring the sea"), sidewinding bedroom / studio nuances (all throughout The Ghost Year) and, above all, breathtaking talent.

Closest kin may be the quieter Her Space Holiday moments, on the title track, complete with spoken dialogue & nature (birds!) that requires headphones to fully adore. Headphones are the one extra item I say you take along with The Ghost Year when you initially take its hand - and head directly into the woods, backpack prepared for a few nights. This is an album that is meant for the stars, the sun and the dew that frames the mornings first glow - and album that will allow you to further appreciate why projects such as these don't come along very often. Track titles incorporating the sea, forest, woods and twilight deliver the message that Prkr is pulling influences from the big place he finds inspiration, and The Ghost Year balances on this axis with exceptional results.

Percussion is minimal, but does make audible appearances on some tracks ("Forest Smiles"), and one additional player - Ruth Marshall - lends her skills on cello here as well. I, the novice, recommend Parker press a decent amount of the said album, for the experienced listener yearns for this.

kaleb 08.01.05 << info >> << home >>

 

blood = cool Preacher Gone To Texas
Choice vs. Chance
Sinister Label, 2002

"Let's not give in to unrealistic expectations We can make the most of what we have got"

I recieved this cd as a "late" Christmas gift from the other webmaster of the website. I also recieved a Coheed and Cambria, sticker/ t-shirt, and, my favorite, a strokes button. But, this cd was one of the better of the gifts. We both had no idea who the hell this band was. He saw and ad for it and was like, Ray will like this. So he got it. I'm very pleased with it. I don't normally like to buy cds without having a clue what the band sounds like, but this was a very very good surprise. Eventhough their actual cd looks a lot like the new Zao, and i get confused on which is which, there's a huge difference in the sound. P.G.T.T. aren't a typical hardcore band. Though the booklet ensues something very evil and down, they're lyrics are half-assed uplifting. Moving on, the singer reminds me of early Hope Conspiracy, where it sounds like they're in another room. What else, what else. There are so many good aspects to this album. Like any other hardcore enthusiast I love a good breakdown. And like many other hardcore bands, this band does not disappoint. Another great thing about this band, THEY DON'T DRAG SONGS ON. If there's one thing I hate, it's when a band let's a song drag on ... for what seems like an eternity. This band knows when to stop a fucking song, and it rocks. Anyway, go fucking buy it!

ray :: (1.11.03)

 

P o War Premonitions of War
Left in Kowloon
( Victory, 2004 )

Whoa! And I mean that from the bottom of my bowels... whoa.

These fine fellows were just recently detected by my sonar and I've consequently just undertaken the process of purchasing everything that they've ever recorded. Some ill-educated fools may choose to categorize them simply as metalcore... no sir... this is straight blast-beat motivational grind with some incredible, earth-shattering sludge sections that'll quake your eardrums into powder. If you choose to debate with me on this, then please enlighten me as to why they have a slot on the upcoming Morbid Angel/Suffocation/Satyricon tour - I apologize beforehand, but I don't see any room on that roster for a metalcore act. It would be strikingly similar to having Norma Jean support a Regurgitate/Obituary/Devourment lineup... and you can see the lack of logic in that. But I digress, faithful fans of the now defunct force that once was Cattlepress will rejoice once they hear these cats prowl... Eddie Ortiz's guitar tones must have heavily influenced misters Gaytan and Meyers. However, don't get me wrong, despite the fact that Iım biased due to my Cattlepress fanaticism, each cog of this machine is oiled very well - Mr. Wharton on vocals has this scratchy Sean Ingram quality that makes me pine for the days of Coalesce; Schoenhofer and Wentworth (drums and bass respectively) lock in like fucking fighter pilots, and when they hit that money-riff, theyıre certainly not afraid of running it into the ground. The only qualm I have is in regard to the brief, but definitely out of place electronic interludes... I understand that it, in some manner, is growing to help define their individualism in an otherwise convoluted genre, but it doesnıt compliment the general integrity of the disc. I will admit that it provides a little relief between sonic attacks and allows me to catch my breath if for only a moment and that's the way I perceive this particular piece... as an interlude. It has this Isis-like quality that brings to mind the SGNL sections of the 'SGNL>5' EP. Unfortunately, it loses a bit of its interlude quality when said interlude interludes on for over 5 minutes - but, I shanıt complain, being an avid Circle of Dead Children fan, I should by now be conditioned against the 'electronica' segments... despite the fact that I firmly believe that the electronically doctored vocal-whispers heard in the background are nothing more than subliminal messages commanding me to cleaver my coworkers and confidants...

So... Do you want something to disrupt the status quo in your neighborhood? Buy this disc. Do you want to feel responsible for resurrecting the mighty Cattlepress? Buy this disc. Do you need something to pass the time until Coalesce reunites? Buy this disc. Do you need the proper motivation to cleaver, and cleaver well? Buy this disc. And on and on and on - I think you're beginning to understand that this is, in essence, a MUST HAVE if you at all appreciate extreme music. To briefly summarize, let me just mention that highlights on this disc include..... .. . . this disc.

A review by: The incredible edible egg.

Bandsite: www.victoryrecords.com