Reviews: 10/29/2007

Our Opinion… not that anyone really asked for it.
For the week of 10/29/2007

MAPS – WE CAN CREATE (Mute Records)
Shoe gazing has come full circle with its relatively brief retirement.  Now spliced-genre versions of My Bloody Valentine crop up as if to eclipse dance punk as the genre du jour.  M83 has successfully built fuzzy little epics from silk-pillowed beats and hypnotic guitar, while Ulrich Schnauss has tried to turn Slowdive into something that should be played by the New York Philharmonic. Maps (James Chapman) strikes a modest middle in his approach, resurrecting the sculptural malleability of feedback and using beats and drums for punctuation, but blending, bleeding and smearing so much of his sound that its greatest achievement is becoming an inoffensively pretty surface. It’s not that the listener won’t find themselves, off and on, enrapt in the skeletal ambience, sometimes soft to the point of implosion, and others scribbled in quiet cathedral Jesus and Mary Chain feedback.  But uniformed, blurry, run-on tracks where the Phil Elvrum-esque vocals don’t dent more than a water striders leg would, simply have no aural Velcro.  Chapman could rectify this situation with more space, some gaps to crawl inside of and cradle rock through these cloudy lullabies, but the songs don’t allow for that necessary luxury:  every track packed with one-note keyboard drones, suffocated syncopation, and a singing style beneath a library whisper.  “Lost My Soul” severs the gauzy pattern slightly, with scurrying pitter patter beats, funereal keyboard, and brief burst of guitar and white noise that actually busts through pretty, dainty flatline. “To the Sky” also breaks ranks, to come across as a sonically dressy singer-songwriter detour, but its simply bartering bland for bland.  We Can Create sounds like a record of unseen restraints, a shoulda coulda album where the risks and difficulties remain untapped and untested. – Jenna Holmes
Buy it on Insound
We approve..! Many talented young emcees and beat-wrights are involved in this project, and your own humble Marquis suspects that they might even be heirs to the elusive title of “artist.” We hasten to add, however, that while the rhymes are of consistent quality throughout, a few tracks’ musical work is not in line with our admittedly rarefied tastes. Standouts include “Girl Song” and “The Same,” which exhibit a classic sensibility that restores out hope for hip-hop (recently shaken, claro que si, by this week’s other object of review). A favorite lines: “C’mon shake that intelligence, work that self-respect, girl!” We concur, most heartily. – El Marquis de Nada
Buy it on Amazon
RADIOHEAD – IN RAINBOWS (self released)

You guys know that you can download OK Computer for free too, right?
K.  Just checking. – Cornelius the Alien
Buy it from the artist

Some math: Tokyo Police Club lists six releases in their discography. They’ve issued 2 singles from their first EP (preposterous), and a third single was issued earlier this year. The Smith EP is comprised of 4 songs, 2 of which have been previously released, 1 of which is a remix, all of which are white bread and lame. All of their releases add up to a total of 13 boring, uninspired songs. This has earned them the right to play Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bumbershoot and Glastonbury, a record deal with Saddle Creek and a nomination for something called a “Woodie.” So, if a train carrying a tedious indie rock blog band leaves Canada at noon traveling at 60 mph, how long will it take for everyone wake up and realize this band sucks? – Motown
Buy it on Insound
THE PROJECT – THE TRUTH TODAY (Glow-in-the-Dark Records)

Feh..! We will never understand the mutant urge to wed electric guitar to the raps. Not since Body Count has this been done properly, hijos, don’t listen if you are told otherwise. Early tracks on The Truth Today show such errant tendencies, but later efforts such as “So Be It” and “Hard Money” feature superior accompaniment and such lyrics as will surely reach the turgid hearts of the masses. To wit: “’Who can argue the, death toll due to construction for our huge economy, my tools are a part of me.” There occasional stinging rebuke, such as, “I’m sorry brotha, the eighties are over,” adds some bracing sharpness to this largely mellow recording. One can readily intuit the influences of dub and reggae on this Nueva York triumvirate, but thankfully the intoxicated lassitude of those genres does not overtake the flows of The Project. In short, while our royal self would not attend a live performance in person, we would gladly dispatch a capable subordinate to bootleg it for us. – El Marquis de Nada