The latest from A.C. Newman is "Shut Down The Streets" and it's on Matador Records. Newman is the New Pornographers leader - a band with five albums - this is his third solo album. Newman plays whimsical pop songs, too many of which are over produced and under thought through and out of focus - sort of like putting on granny's glasses by mistake as the initial "oh, wow" quickly becomes "huh?" The keepers are "There's Money in New Wave" and "Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns," both hook-filled and memorable, but on the others, Newman's reach does not exceed his grasp.
Results tagged “rock 'n' roll call” from Rockin' Roll Call
The new Melissa Etheridge is "4th Street Feeling" and it's on mighty, mighty Island Records. World weary is the prominent world view for Etheridge who has that gruff been-here-done-that voice. She is a long time lesbian icon that has won Grammys, an Academy Award, writes for the Huffington Post, somehow chose David Cosby for the sperm donor for her two kids, is active in progressive causes and is an all around cool chick and a great human being. Her songs are as solid as her Midwestern upbringing - often autobiographical and let us know more than we need to, maybe.
"Failed States" is the new one from the cleverly-monikered Propagandhi and it's on Epitaph Records. The soundtrack for the bumper sticker: "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention," these in-your-face politically driven punkers also lay to rest the notion that Canadians are mellow. Despite the message - scream-o always sucks - it's like your favorite fantasy rock star naked, feeding you pizza while they scalp you with a rusty knife. They rail against capitalism, the new feudalism, that awful oligarchy - those shrugging whatever dudes of the One Percent, not to mention ecocide, racism and animal exploitation. Or in other words, it's a solid message in an uncomfortable package - oh, and once again, extra clever name. Any person who kills a tiger or a rhino for profit or buys said animal parts should have his or her entire village or city carpet bombed into the past tense. It would be a hit on YouTube.
Dylan LeBlanc has a new one out on Matador - his second and that would be "Cast The Same Old Shadow." It's slo mo and languid sad songs by a young twentysomething who has no business being this depressed. He is a southerner, so maybe the general election didn't work out as planned or else he just watched Ken Burns' "The Civil War," or most likely, Miss Take did the usual on a tender heart. "Chesapeake Lane" is probably the best one here as this one just misses being something special. Then again, LeBlanc is only 22, sort of a redneck Neil Young will fewer guitars and life will get worse.
The latest from Xavier Rudd is "Spirit Bird" and it's on Side One Dummy. It's Number Seven from the Australian one man band and multi-instrumentalist, who clearly knows what he's doing. He uses a lot of indigenous instruments and creates these aboriginal jams that would be so right for an aboriginal rave. A stout proponent for justice for the Australian natives and other humanitarian causes, Rudd often sounds like a whole band - an original rocker doing amazing things. "Bow Down" and "Butterfly" are just a couple of good ones on an album with no bad cuts.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is not just some excellent folksy advice but also a lesson that Rhino Records knows oh so well. So it's one more time for the "Nuggets: Original Artifacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968." There's 27 songs on this one from those silly '60s - all of them are good - many of them are great such as "Lies" by the Knickerbockers, the original and best version of "Hey Joe" by the Leaves, "Pushin' Too Hard" by the Seeds, "Farmer John" by the Premieres, "You're Gonna Miss Me" by the Thirteenth Floor Elevators and so many more. Jack White and bands like the Japandroids are proof that someone actually did listen to this stuff.
The Tom Tom Club is back - remember them? They were a new wave band from the early '80s - a side project from husband and wife team Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz - both now in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame because they were also in Talking Heads. Anyway, the new one is "Downtown Rockers," a five-song EP just out on Nacional Records. Obviously these two know what they're doing, they've got that sly, soulful groove wired - the title tune will live in your head like a Disney theme song and "Won't Give You Up" is even better, in addition to the fact that it resonates with our natural stubbornness. Great driving music or make-out music. Tom might be Sir Thomas now.
He has more than twentysomething albums and Bill Staines' latest is "Beneath Some Lucky Star" and it's on Red Hill. Staines is an old school, traditional and solid New England folkie. Everyone has recorded his songs - and he plays 200 gigs a year. Staines sort of sounds like Peter or Paul (not Mary) and is just a no nonsense practitioner of his craft. Look in the dictionary under "folksinger" and you should see a picture of Staines.
"Walk the Moon" is the self-titled big label debut by this meat and potatoes rock band featuring plenty of four-part harmonies. They're on Elvis' old label, RCA. "Anna Sun" is their best known song but it's mostly lightweight pop fluff, sort of like Rick Springfield for the new millennium. They're clearly proficient and I'm sure their girlfriends love them dearly but if I was still grading philosophy papers at VC, I'd have to roll with "competent if uninspired."
The second album from Micachu & The Shapes is "Never" and it's on Rough Trade and wow, is it weird? A lot. The other night, I was channel surfing and I kept returning (for obvious reasons) to a Suicide Girls movie with all this weird music, none of which I could identify - weird like this, weird like the Firesign Theatre's classic observation, "Gas Music From Jupiter." All I know, it's electronic and propulsive rock and one cut, "Heaven," could've been a Love & Rockets song. It's all good driving music but you will be risking a speeding ticket of you're not careful.
"Picture Show" is the third and latest from Neon Trees, also on Mercury. These guys are out of Provo but evidently, some people will do anything (and go any place) to get out of Murietta. Frontman Tyler Green is solid but here's yet another by the numbers, note perfect, carefully concocted soulless rock band that'll probably make zillions. Didn't I just write that somewhere else?
Those three hip-hop rockers in The Coup (with a silent "p") has a new one - that would be "Sorry To Bother You" and it's on Anti Records. Out of Oakland with 20 years experience, these guys are heavily political as they should be. What does the bumper sticker say? "If you're not outraged then you're not paying attention." These guys now backed up by a full-on rock band, stick it to the Man in his many malevolent manifestations - politics, economics, police brutality, the oligarchy, the 1% and all that. Self-described now and again as communists - evidently, they're an offshoot of the classless society - these guys likes money and are making plenty of it.
Martin Sexton has a new EP, "Fall Like Rain" on Kitchen Table Records. Probably in no danger of ever getting a day job, this is Sexton's tenth release and it's of the singer/songwriter, guy-and-a-guitar blue-eyed soul persuasion, not so much like a Cat Stevens for the new millennium. Way mellow and PG-rated - you could play this for grandma and not get the boot out of the will. The riot rhapsody from Buffalo Springfield, "For What It's Worth," gets the white bread treatment - not a bad thing because Sexton is so passionate about his day job.
"Handwritten" is the new one from The Gaslight Anthem, which is on Mercury Records. This is bombastic, meat and potatoes corporate rock, by the numbers perfect but vampires-in-the-mirror soulless. Brian Fallon is the lead everything - singer and guitar player and he has that perfect rock star voice, too bad he didn't have better songs. These guys are talented but generic and to this writer, not up to the top tier of other New Jersey rockers such as the Feelies, the Smithereens, My Chemical Romance, Ben Vaughn, the Boss, Dramarama - and even back to Frank Sinatra, the Shirelles and the Four Seasons. This is music for those who don't think (or care) much about music.
The latest from Perfume Genius is "Put Your Back N 2 It" and it's on Matador Records. Mike Hadreas is the genius in question and he's basically a solo piano guy who gets all emotional and carried away on these intense but ultimately winning tunes. More Elton John than Jack McMahon, Hadreas has this haunting voice going on during these slo mo rockers - no single song stands out - nothing sucks - it's all good as far as bummer music or music to hang yourself by - clearly, music to give your full attention. Like me, you may want the first one as well.
The latest from the Killers is "Battle Born" and it's on mighty, mighty Island Records. For some years, I've always nurtured a warm and fuzzy feeling for the Killers - saw 'em do a couple of tunes at Coachella a few years back which reinforced my feelings. Bleep happens and feelings change. This album is incredibly lame by-the-numbers arena rock - it's sort of like a new Journey album, a band I never liked and this darn fine paper tortured me extra by sending to review Journey at the Fair or back when the sundowns were in black & white. Utterly without soul or any redeeming social value whatsoever, these Killers could be used as torture on Death Row as I could not fast forward to eventually find a listenable song. I never did.
The new Dry The River is a keeper - the album is "Shallow Bed" and it's on Elvis' old label, RCA. The ethereal vocals of Peter Liddle will get your attention and even maybe get you lucky should you play this one down low after making it home hopeful, not alone after drinking to the point where you're on the verge of becoming a sanitation problem. Anyway, this is sort of Mumford & Sons lite with happening three part harmonies but it's all a bit serious and stuffy. If I was still grading philosophy papers at VC, the cliche of choice for this band would be "on the right track."
"All We Love We Leave Behind" - ain't that the truth? It's also the latest from Converge and it's on Epitaph. This one sounds like someone is trying to give birth to a refrigerator as metal remains as loud, as annoying and as dumb as ever. Guttural howl in one impression but cat scaring crap is more like it.
The xx has a new one - that would be their second effort, "Coexist" and it's on Young Turks. This is minimalist BritPop electronic music that is so subtle that there is little discernible enjoyable activity. Once again, the Firesign Theatre were right when they alluded to "gas music from Jupiter." Their debut got tons of positive press and ended up high on those year end lists. Don't blame me, this band is lame. The two x's could well be over the eyes of a dead guy in a comic strip as this is funeral parlor muzak, at best.
He is the tall guy lurking in the back of all the local rock shows.
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