Reviews: 10/15/2007

Our Opinion… not that anyone really asked for it.
For the week of 10/15/2007

Under this moniker, Tony Simon, has been the beat butcher and baker behind some of backpack rap’s greatest emcees like Aesop Rock and Slug.  On this solo outing, with many dark and deft cuts offered by DJ Signify, he cobbles together beatscapes that include everything from acid rock guitar solos to snippets that sound like an unearthed Klymaxx b-side.  “Grape Nuts and Chalk Sauce” meshes the Spaghetti Western and the Middle Eastern in perfectly melted measure; but the clapping mix of genres proves only amusing. The song itself begs for something precipitous to happen.  On many of Blockhead’s tracks, you want the tempo to shift into something that doesn’t sound like noodling, something that would move the listener to the dancefloor or the bedroom, anywhere but the stool in front of the street sketch artist.  The same improvisational feel that gives the album some of its most exciting slices and splices, jazzy asides, and trip hop upticks, also has the effect of foregoing foreground.  “Squirmy Worm” marks an exception where the breakbeat heart gets gorgeously adorned with horn riffs, sludgy choral ghosts, and countless playful genre criss crosses.  Here, the song has some whole core of its own that’s not unwound in skillfully played tangents that nonetheless unravel the attention span as much as they flash his wax surgeon credentials.  It’s difficult to make a semi-instrumental hip hop record (vocal loops and harmonies ebb in and out throughout) which doesn’t tend toward the cinematic, which is already to suggest a missing accompaniment.  When Blockhead invokes in select sample Ennio Morricone, James Brown or some hotel ballroom band in “Get Your Regal On”, one can’t help but wonder whether you wouldn’t rather simply hear these genres in their original contexts,  not so swatched together and riven by remnants.  While its impossible not to recognize the intellect and talent behind Uncle Tony’s Coloring Book, it’s also an unemotional and impressionistic exercise of deep crate acrobatics that feels like an empty mansion. – Jenna Holmes
Buy it on Amazon
(Lujo Records)
A record this fucking gay should at least be a guilty pleasure rather than, as their name suggests, the aural equivalent of a lousy, raking suckjob.  Even Kyle Minogue has the tenacity of a disease, writing hooks that burrow under your skin, something All Teeth and Knuckles reject in favor of open contempt for all forms of artistic execution:  insipid lyrics, hissy toneless singing, and beats that sound like some generic keyboard setting called “indie club music”. Sick Face Fallon pushes the use of a musical persona to its aggravating extreme, like Justin Timberlake trying to do Har Mar Superstar, and, after several overtly heterosexual noises (yeah, uh-huh), he spends the album talking about what a bad ass he is, how he can use drugs for days on end and everything else you’d expect some egocentric celebutante to tell TMZ with unforgiving relentlessness.  It would help his laughable cause if he could rap, sing, or make any denting sound that didn’t sound like Stephen Malkmus angrily warning that “Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with”. This is the house that Justice hath wrought, as bloggers clamor to recognize the next big thing by reading tea leaves in a flushing toilet. Any number of acts (from Midnight Juggernauts to Modeselektor) make dance music far more accessible, intricate, and sexy than this beat-by-numbers tragedy.  This is the album Andy Dick thought he could make after those last few rails done off a stripper’s happy trail.  Even from the perspective of ephemeral pop you could do so much better and so rarely worse.  Here, like irony, “pop” is an educated dodge to avoid glaring, terrifying deficiency.  If you want to have a laugh with your mates; I’m all for it.  Offering it for public consumption; I’ll have to pass.  Club Hits to Hit the Club is just tinny, creatively anorexic dance music with prosthetic balls. – Jenna Holmes
Buy it on Insound

The Octopus Project seems to defy the laws of instrumental indie-rock. Their songs aren’t eighteen minutes long, they aren’t the least bit overdramatic, and they don’t drone at all. In fact, sometimes they seem a little too accessible and poppy to be an instrumental piece, but it’s nonetheless a good listen. At its best, Hello, Avalanche is rich with more traditional instruments like piano, guitar, drum-kit, bells, and Theremin and at it’s worst it sounds like a spastic Nintendo soundtrack, luckily the latter happens much less frequently. – Bob Seger
Buy it on Insound

From the very beginning of this new offering from San Diego’s Pinback, one thing is clear: they are not fucking around anymore. And if they never were to begin with…well….then they’re still not fucking around, okay? Never losing momentum, even during slower tunes, it’s clear why these guys are with Touch and Go. Having just celebrated the label’s 25th birthday, Corey Rusk has certainly built a reputation for having high standards for bands he works with. Anyone who has worked with Steve Albini for long enough is bound to become rather picky, if he wasn’t beforehand. With that in mind, it’s very clear that Pinback fit the bill. Now, it is true that Pinback’s brand of straight-forward indie-pop is nothing groundbreaking. Even Summer In Abbadon, their last release, had a forgettable song or two. However, Autumn of the Seraphs is definitely their most mature and consistent release and is definitely worth a listen or ten. – SpartaPraha
Buy it on Insound

Have you ever seen Boohbah?  Listening to this album is just like watching Boohbah, only without the hypnotism.  It’s colorful bedroom electro pop that even goes so far as to feature the siren-squealing “harmonies” of the aforementioned show.  If sounds made shapes, this album would have plenty of bubbles.  Tender Forever fails in its use of indie clichés (i.e. conventional sadness and longing, talking about wolves) and in its awkward attempts at conveying sexuality.  Like a fawn masturbating, it’s cute and clumsy, but also weird and upsetting.  It’s not a fantastic album, but at the end of the day, it’s better than seeing Feist’s horse face take sacks of money and handjobs for covering Norah Jones – Motown