Reviews: 9/10/2007

Our Opinion… not that anyone really asked for it.
For the week of 9/10/2007

I’ve never really been one to join a drum circle and I’d never be caught dead (pun intended) in tye-die. Bongos are usually a red flag and so are strong ties within the jam community.

That said, Outformation owes a little more to the good ol’ south then they do hemp filled festival fields and college town headshops. Tinkly barroom piano, heavy guitars and whiskey soaked vocals – nothing’s more profoundly American. The only real shot against the band would be on Traveler’s Rest, their second album, it’s a little too cleaned up for true southern roots rock.
Regardless, when they come through town it’s your civic duty to buy a six-pack of cheap beer and go see them live. – Cornelius the Alien
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Certain tedious customs of hip-hop vault national and cultural boundaries, mon petitie porcs – pray remove that beer hat and pay attention, you may notice – and this “Ivan Ives” enacts many of them. El primero: the opening track of pure braggadocio, what features the emcee’s own name as a refrain. We have heard this before, little ones, among hip-hop’s lower strata, and in our educated ears it is desperate and grating. This uncouth Rus seems a simulacrum: when not indulging in background “yeeahs” or calling attention to his own writing (“Second verse, even better than the first, even better with the words…”), he attempts to ape El-P (“…from the ghettos to the burbs,” echoing El’s “Earnin’ respect in ghettos and burbs for word placement”). Perchance Ives suckled at the fecund teat of Def Jux..? for his “Victory” features Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox fame, and the I-did-it-myself narrative of “Mad Game” walks a path well-trodden by Sage Francis. “Olivia Josephs,” however, recalls the sordid Marshall Mathers’ repudiation of a former paramour by name, and Ives’ over-reliance on samples indicates a general lack of originality, rather than a conscious attempt to imitate any particular group. Sadly, our Russian is lacking; perhaps Ivan’s innovative in his native language? Foreign rappers, be well warned: while English is a gorgeous bitch of a tongue, and should be savored upon the tongues of all cultured peoples, American hip-hop is better served by variation than emulation. – El Marquis de Nada
I never liked Azure Ray too much – they were one of the only things to come out of Saddle Creek that I didn’t follow blindly. Maria Taylor has always sounded like she was singing underwater, but the other half of the group, Orenda Fink, had a voice that was sweet like Tupelo Honey. So when Miss Fink formed the band Art in Manila with Adrianne Verhoeven (The Anniversary),  Steve Bartolomei (Mal Madrigal), Dan McCarthy (McCarthy Trenching), and Ryan Fox (The Good Life), I was pretty excited and thankfully, their debut Set the Woods on Fire did not disappoint. With the kind of lyrics sixteen year old girls will always be able to write on their binders and use in their away messages to scold their highschool lovers, it seems the format of the album will cause it to have some great success. It’s sappy; you’ll like it. – Sugar Tits
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Fuck. Grass Geysers…Carbon Clouds is the album I wanted Primal Scream to make after XTRMNTR but with unexpected bonus bits of Ted Leo and Spoon… shit, even touches of Stereolab – albeit Stereolab after a speed/acid cocktail.
But none of those bands are really hungry enough to pull off an album like this anymore – this raw and visceral. It’s all over the place but still manages to stay spitting at you less than an inch from your face. It’s got swagger, attitude and depth all filtered through their danceably accessible tendencies ala the Brooklyn art punk scene.
I’m really beginning to feel like such a cheerleader, but damn. If anything this shit is just too good. – The Baffler
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Anyone can say that they sound like someone completely awesome and influential. I used to be in a band at college that said we sounded like Jets to Brazil. Did any of our best songs sound near Blake Schwarzenbach’s worst? I’d like to think so, but probably not and I don’t think anyone other than ourselves ever actually made the comparison.
But dammit, Coffinberry or at least their marketing wizkid have off and said they sound like Pavement. Only thing is – they actually kind of do. And not in some sort of “high school history teacher living out his mastabatory civil war fantasy reenactment” kind of way, but these kids from Cleveland are actually taking the formula and expanding on it. If you don’t like sloppy alternative 90’s guitar rock with dettached vocals, then you won’t like God Dam Dogs. But honestly, I have no idea why you wouldn’t. – Moongator
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