Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 29 Notable Releases

A few of the 2,239 new and re-released albums coming out this week.

R Kelly -- Double Up. When he's not gettin' freaky wit da under-aged crowd, the clearly insane Kelly packs in more cameos than a sweeps edition of Different Strokes (Nancy Reagan AND Mr. T?!?) After, Snoop, Kid Rock, Ludacris (now your speakin' my language Luda), Usher, Chamillionaire, Nelly, T.I. and many many more, the only question is, "does R Kelly appear on this R Kelly release?"

Perry Farrell's Satellite Party -- Ultra Payloaded. Speaking of cameos, we'd expect to see Flea on a Farrell release, wince at the tired notion of buttafaced Fergie, and raise an eyebrow for a duet with the dead Jim Morrison (OR IS HE?!?) Also features two covers, one from the Bee Gees and one from East Lansing's own Rare Earth (think of them as a funky, R&B Verve Pipe from the boomer generation or if you rather, the honkies on Motown.)

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum -- In Glorious Times. Gorilla is neither sleepy nor a museum, discuss amongst yourselves. (OR AM I!?!)

Various Artists -- The Transformers: The Movie. Not the soundtrack to the upcoming Bay-tastic and likely Bay-diculous Bay-tastophe, but the re-released OST featuring Sam Bush's "The Touch" which is almost as good as the Dirk Diggler version (!?!)


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

May 22 Notable Releases

A few of the 1,995 new and re-released albums coming out this week.

The National -- Boxer. Quirky lyrics delivered in a tasteful baritone -- obtuse songs, that seem to actually say something about something else. Could be the album that blows them up to be as big as Springsteen thinks they are.

Jeff Buckley -- So Real: Songs from Jeff Buckley. Some people's leftovers (or "Lover You Should Have Come Overs") are better than other people's masterpieces blah, blah, blah.

Ozzy -- Black Rain (Includes Bonus Ozzfest Ticket Offer). I have no idea if buying this actually improves your chances at getting the free Ozzfest tix -- but it will have guitar solos and lots of doubled vocals.

Pancho Sanchez -- Raise Your Hand. Dirty latin jazz... why are you laughing?


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wilco -- Sky Blue Sky.

You are cowboy?Riding north along Lakeshore Dr. on the 146 express bus, wearing a fake cowboy shirt and listening to Sky Blue Sky, it’s easy to think of Jeff Tweedy’s legacy here in Chicago.

Over the course six albums, nine for you sticklers, Wilco has served as an unofficial urban cultural education program for the suburban kids that crowd into the city in regular batches. What’s alt-country except rural music for city folks and those who aspire to be? How many metropolitan relocations, let alone ill-advised beards and dulcimer purchases, did this band inspire?

Wilco for Yuppies?Yankee Foxtrot Hotel didn’t actually come with brochures from the Cook County Chambers of Commerce, but god, with how sexy and daunting the Marina Towers look on the cover, who could settle for a condo outside St. Louis, Des Moines, St. Paul or the D? You could be living in a mutherfucking moon colony, making crazy future moon rock and using assassin as a verb.

Kids are still crowding into the Northside, but it’s hard to imagine Sky Blue Sky inspiring their pilgrimages. At best this record might sell a couple sailboats.

I’ll try to lay off the gentrification semiotics in a sec, but I will point out Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Bucktown and Uptown are full of more strollers than ever. Fewer people are moving (back) out to the burbs to start their families. They’re renovating duplexes into single-family homes. They’re tending lawns. They’re getting respectable and becoming their parents. Your scary, exciting city goes soft and your crazy moon rock turns to mellow mush.

It’s not worth ragging on Tweedy’s domestication or sobriety. Good for him right? But if your kid is already rocking harder than you (go Blisters), what’s left except to pick through Steely Are you ready to rock responsibly?Dan and Christopher Cross records and 12 step your way through 12 songs about acceptance and patience.

The tracks are nice enough, uniformly beautiful and peaceful, but are you ready to sit still through them all? Sandwich something focused and fiery between "Either Way" and "I Hate It Here," and they’d be great moments. Personally I don’t need a record that won’t wake the baby. I don’t want to be reminded to breathe and wash the dishes.

P-Fork has been calling Wilco "dad rock" for awhile, but Sky is as much about becoming our dads as for them. Yeah, yeah we should be so lucky. Still Father’s Day is right around the corner: Are you buying this for somebody or is somebody buying it for you?

"Impossible Germany, Unlikely Japan," Jeff sings. Enemies become friends I think he means. I’m just not tucking my shirt in yet.

Rating: 2/5

-Dmitri jr.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Haiku Review
Against Me
State Theater, Detroit, Michigan
May 13, 2007

Intensity blooms
Mastodon shreds your mind grapes
Kings of metal age
Against Me rocks solid
But young fans skip the metal
Mind grapes still intact
Mind Grapes fully intact
White vinyl record
Limited edition gift
Best mother's day ever.Blood Mountain White Vinyl, if you don't want it Mom, I'll take it

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Monday, May 14, 2007

May 15 Notable Releases

A few of the 1,425 new and re-released albums coming out this week.

Rufus Wainwright -- Release the Stars. His last album, Want Two was, how do we say this, a tad gay even for Rufus (or even Gay Tad) and it challenged the substantial straight audience he's built up over his career to deal with the most flaming parts of his persona. Back after a couple year break from recording expectations for the pop prince remain high.

Wilco -- Sky Blue Sky. Tweedy and company are continuing their long, strange trip that increasingly is resembling "the" long, strange trips of the Band and The Dead (minus the 30 odd years of heroin use). Special editions and memos to fans to encourage actual purchase show Wilco's very genuine struggle with their business model -- on one hand they're openly giving or at least allowing the free distribution of their music, on the other they're pleading with fans to buy a "hard copy" of the album. I think the model still needs a little tweaking.

Dungen -- Tio Bitar. The fourth album from the Swedish psychedelics, ya' dig Sven?

Beatlejazz -- All You Need. What happens when you get a beatle a little too excited?

Megadeth -- United Abominations. Hello Dave, it's Dave again [shred, politics, shred]. This man just yawned.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Haiku Review
Arctic Monkeys and Be Your Own Pet
Clutch Cargo, Pontiac, MI
May 9, 2007

Arctic Monkeys Rock
Suburbans love the limeys
Lads of potential

Bloomin Monkeys
Be Your Own Pet suck
Hotness does not mean talent
Now, please end career

Ask a Ninja why this band blows.

Acoustics nightmare
House of god, my big black ass
Clutch Cargo is durst

The Dali Durst prays for shows at better venues

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Monday, May 07, 2007

May 8 Notable Releases

A few of the 2,077 new and re-released albums coming out this week.

Björk -- Volta. Icelandic sprite settles down with Mutt Lange for a set of bubbly-supermarket pop... AS IF!!! "Earth Intruders" is bjeyönd, bjest.

Elliot Smith -- New Moon. Presumably the bottom of the unreleased barrel for Smith completists, this 2 CD set mainly contains outtakes and alternate takes from the pre-Either/Or era. Compiled by early Smith recordist and Tape-Op editor, Larry Crane.

Travis -- The Boy with No Name. Is this the return to form we've all been hoping for? Note, contrary to popular belief, Travis is not named for the 24-hour slider joint at 9 Mile & Mack.

Dolores O'Riordan -- Are You Listening? Honestly my little Cranberry... no, not at all.

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony -- Strength and Loyalty. You got harmony in my bone thugs! And you got bone thugs in my harmony! You got 1996 in my 2007! You got 2007 in my... well not really.

Detroit Cobras -- Tied and True. Another set of fairly obscure (and some not so obscure) '60's covers from Rachel Nagy and company. For me, the Cobras have never been quite the same without founder and current Fonda, Steve Shaw -- not sure if Little Steven agrees with me or not, but I kind of think he does.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Veils Reviewed on Deadflowers

Quick link to a review of The Veils' Nux Vomica by the always anglophallic Keggies.

"Thoughts on the Veils' Nux Vomica."

If you take into account the exchange rate, he gave the album a 4/5 rating.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Coachella 2007 Recap

by Peabs and Damore

editor's note: Thanks to a generous grant from the Dr. William H. Cosby Foundation for the Advancement of Flazzum, recordreviews.org was able to send two of our favorite contributors, who coincidentally get along famously and musically but often disagree critically to the Coachella Festival in California last week... this is their report. Hopefully, if some of our other "grant" monies come in we'll be able to cover a few of the other summer festivals. Hopefully, the moustache commentary will be as strong as it is in this excellent dueling recap-- RRRRRock.-- Gorilla


Of Montreal
Peabs: Only caught two songs and wished I would’ve stayed for more. Some early sound problems, but the band sounded strong and as bizarre as usual. Grade: Inc.

Damore: Same. Don’t know much about them other than that their singer has issues with wearing clothes on stage. Grade: Inc.

Silversun Pickups
Peabs: Somewhat of a disappointment, mostly because of their placement on the main stage. The band itself sounded pretty tight, but lead singer Brian Aubert’s voice seemed almost as strained as his unfortunate onstage banter. Grade: B-

Damore: Indie bands on main stage during daylight always blows. Put them in a tent at dark and; they would be good. Agreed, band was solid, singer notsomuch. Grade: C

Arctic Monkeys
Peabs: I never got too high on this band, due to the excessive hype from the Brit music mags. I should’ve listened for once because they’re the real deal. For being only 21, frontman Alex Turner is a star in every possible facet. The songs were super-tight, the stage presence witty and light-hearted. Grade: A

Damore: Going in I had the highest expectations for this band’s performance. Loved their 1st album and currently am gah-gah over the new one too (FWN). The band sounded impressively loud and; tight, getting the crowd into it (while still light outside) with confidence sans pretension, a smart set list, and the overall besteverness of Alex Turner. When they weren’t putting on the best set of the festival, Turner showed his charisma and; charm with witty quips to the audience between songs. Grade: A+

The Jesus and Mary Chain
: The first (of many) reunion sets of the weekend, JAMC sounded great despite a few feedback problems later. However, as they "roared" through their hits I found myself becoming bored. When lead singer William Reid asked if we were "having fun," I couldn’t help but want to ask the same of him. Zero stage personality. Luckily ScarJo’s appearance on "Just Like Honey" helped the seminal outfit finish strong. Grade: B

Damore: Very excited to see JandMC, wish they were a quarter as excited to play there. Drummer Loz Colbert (Ride) was solid and; added a strong punch to the rhythm section, but the Reid’s just looked bored out of their minds there. Nothing like the Pixies reunion set there in ’04. Songs sounded great, just lacked stage presence and seemed like they were counting the paycheck in their heads the entire time. ScarJo was a nice bonus. Grade: B-

Jarvis Cocker
Peabs: Sure he was twenty minutes late and spent the majority of his set babbling on in his trademark cockney slur, but Jarvis could recite an instruction manual and make it all the worthwhile. When he was playing, he was right the fuck on. Rock stars like this are a rare breed. Grade: B+

Damore: During the long wait, I was like, "hurry up bro…I’M STARVIN!!". Unlike most, I loved the between song banter from Jarvis, despite the 20-30min tardiness. Total rock star who doesn’t give a shit about pretty much anything. The songs they did play were outstanding, though punctuality counts a little. Grade: B

Peabs: Carlos D sported a ‘stache and Daniel Kessler actually riffed. Otherwise, Interpol’s performance was typical: Dark, brooding and dynamic. By no means is this a bad thing. The band played three (maybe four, can’t recall) new songs which sounded pretty good; I would’ve preferred some of the standouts from Turn On The Bright Lights, but I really can’t complain. Grade: A-

Damore: Vocal mix was a little too low, but they were outstanding considering their long layoff. The 4 new tracks sound pretty good. Ever the dapper band, Paul Banks looked more casual than usual (black un-tucked shirt). Set had a little too much from Antics for my taste, but overall they clearly should’ve swapped slots with Bjork. Was hoping for ‘NYC’ as the set closer, oh well. Carlos D needs to lose the moustache. Grade: A-

: Bjork has always been kind of hit-or-miss for me. However, seeing her brilliant performance from 2002 in the Coachella film, I was excited to give at least part of the Icelandic singer’s set a good listen. Needless to say, two songs in I was ready to head home and prepare for the marathon that would be Day Two. Sleep-inducing. Grade: Inc.

Damore: Not a huge Bork (yes, pronounced Bork) fan, but I like her okay. Watched a few songs from the Beer Garden and decided to stay for half her set. We left 10min later.
Grade: Inc.


: Quite possibly the most stacked festival day in my personal history started with this British five-piece whom I had been high on for the last six months. They did not disappoint. Their harmonies were solid, stage presence charming, and guitars were loud and reverb-heavy. At the Lager House on May 15th – I highly suggest going. Grade: A-

The Frames
Peabs: One of my favorite bands of the last couple of years, I caught the Irish quintet at Lollapalooza 2006 for the first time and found them stunning. Lead singer and guitarist Glen Hansard has a booming live voice and hilarious onstage banter. While their latest LP "The Cost" isn’t their strongest work, the band played much of their older material with its usual tautness and flair. Grade: A-

Damore: Glen made things fun, and; the crowd appreciated them. The heat definitely affected their performance as they seemed a bit fatigued, possibly while hungover. While FOW played, Glen said, "Who is that, Wheatus? Whoever it is they play pop better than us".

The Fratellis
: Due to the ever-abundant scheduling overlaps, I was only able to catch the last two songs of the buzzing Scottish band. Sounded better than expected and the general word from those who caught the full set weren’t disappointed at the least. Grade: Inc.
Damore: Same

Hot Chip
: Best set of the festival. Fittingly they played at the hottest point of the day, before an overcrowded Sahara tent. Thankfully water and constant dancing keep me from dying from heat exhaustion. Most impressive was the band’s ability to recreate the dense layers (various percussion, guitars and 4!!!! keyboards) so prevalent on their studio records. Hot Chip absolutely OWNED. Grade: A+

Damore: Before their set I was like "who the fuck is Hot Chip?", and when asked if I wanted to stay for them I was "yeah man, fuck it". Didn’t stop moving during their entire set and; lost 20 lbs sweating. Luckily they sound nothing like what they look like—think 4 or 5 Trekies who make the best electro dance music ever. Bonus points for quick cover of New Order’s ‘Temptation’. Grade: A+

Peabs: Welcome back lads. I was skeptical about Travis at Coachella for two reasons: 1.) They don’t exactly rock like many festival acts do, and 2.) The last time I saw one of my favorite bands perform they seemed a shell of their former selves (I walked out). That said, behind the strength of their excellent comeback LP The Boy With No Name and a newfound angst ("We are not Coldplay-lite!!!" – C-Friggs), the band appeared to be the great Travis of old. Oh how I miss 1999 sometimes. Grade: A-

Damore: Fran and co sounded great. The new stuff sounded good and; their classics off The Man Who/Invisible Band brought back good memories (not related to 12 Memories). They did fuck up a couple intros on songs (once on "Writing To Reach You" and twice on "Driftwood"), but they were probably drunk by then (5pm) so whatevs. Grade: B

New Pornographers
: Only caught about 4-5 songs but they were ‘Spanish Techno’, ‘From Blown Speakers’, ‘Twin Cinema’ and; ‘Use It’. Played what you wanted to hear and had fun messing around playing the chorus of ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me? while Travis played it on the main stage.Grade: B

Andrew Bird
: Never really heard much of his stuff prior to, so caught him on a whim. Very good live and; sounds more rocking live than on recording. Great integration of rock violin (think more "Kashmir" than "Ants Marching"). Grade: B

Peter Bjorn and John
: Caught the last 20min and; was impressed. Til then had avoided them due to all the hype, but they rocked. Shout Out Louds’ Bebban Stenborg flew in from Sweden just to sing ‘Young Folks’, subbing for Concretes' Victoria Bergsman, got the crowd frenzied during the final song. Grade: B+

Kings Of Leon
Peabs: Say what you will about the mumbling warbles of lead singer and guitarist Caleb Followill, Kings of Leon bring the rock. Hard. The quartet played a perfect upbeat festival set, rarely stopping and certainly playing off of the crowd’s intensity. Even those who are not fans of this band couldn’t help but appreciate the rock. Grade: A

The Arcade Fire
: Not since Radiohead in 2004 had I seen the mainstage area so packed (that is, until the next night). I have only seen The Arcade Fire in a festival setting (3 times now) and somehow they’re able to translate their passion and dense sound and adapt to the environment. The Neon Bible tracks sounded full of life, and the old Funeral standbys were as fantastic as ever. A great preface to seeing them on their theater tour this month. Grade: A

Damore: 2 things prevent me from giving their set an A+. Their sleuth of annoying hard-core fans that were there---psuedo-hippie types wearing wierd outfits, smiling ear to ear singing every word very loudly and dancing like retards. That and; the guy in the band who does little more than jingle bells and break things—he started breaking drums on the 2nd song. 2 songs in?!? Luckily they rock 50,000+ people as well as they do small clubs. Was amazed at how well they captivated the audience’s attention and; held it until the very end. Grade: A

Red Hot Chilli Peppers
: Had high hopes for their set. Came out 10+min late after joint sub-committee back stage and laid an egg. Their intro jam sans Keidis did nothing but waste time, which they didn’t have. Seemed to get back on track quickly with 'Can't Stop', 'Dani California' and; 'Otherside', before getting off track again with more half-assed solo John Frusciante songs (and a bad Flea joke). With literally a bag of 30 hits to choose from, why would "Readymade" be played? Flea and; Chad sounded great as usual, but Frusciante’s long improvised solos wore me thin, as did Keidis’ new ironic moustache. Finished strong with "Give It Away", "Under The Bridge" and "By The Way", though by then they lost many (including me). Grade: C

: Holy fucking hell, this was the loudest thing I have ever been witness to. Alas, I was only able to catch the last face-melting track as I prepared to close my night in the Sahara tent. Grade: Inc.

LCD Soundsystem
: My marathon, epic Saturday ended with my flavor of the moment (and by moment, I mean since late 2006), the disco-punk outfit LCD Soundsystem. In a day filled with many anticipated performances, this was perhaps the one I looked most forward to. They went on a little late and probably shouldn’t have closed with the ballad "New York, I Love You." Otherwise this was the best possible way to end the arguably the greatest day of music in my life. High-energy, raucous and brilliant. Grade: A-

The Good, The Bad, and; The Queen
: Was excited to see what all the fuss was about with the Albarn(Blur)/Tong (Verve)/Simonon(Clash) collaboration since I haven’t heard much of their album. Ditched seeing The Rapture to catch them and in doing so waited 30min or so for them to appear and; give no explanation. Then they bored me into a coma starting with 3 or so slowish songs that did nothing for me, or most of the crowd. Oh, and they were all dressed in a Rat Pack motif, or something from the 1920’s. Worst. Grade: D+


: Part-Freddie Mercury, part-Scissor Sisters and 100% flamingly awesome. It was in the Brit vocalist’s favor that he played first for his band was perfectly mixed, clearly taking advantage of a sound check rarely seen in festivals. Mika only played for 30 minutes but made most of his time, playing a catchy and concise set of pop candy. Grade: A-

Mando Diao
: I was pretty excited about seeing the Swedish rockers set, having accidentally stumbled upon them a few years back and more recently digging their latest effort Ode to Ochrasy. Despite some early sound issues, they definitely brought the rock. However, Mando Diao is (in a way) a tale of two bands. They boast two frontmen, one of which is far stronger than the other. And if you ask me to even pronounce their names or which one is which, I’ll laugh in your face. Lots of out-of-place "J’s". Just take my word for it that the blonde is better than the brunette. Obvs. Grade: B

The Kooks
: I am not their biggest fan, but the UK quartet’s debut definitely had some catchy moments. While the band sounded pretty good, the lead singer was way too all over the place for me to stay interested. Grade: Inc.

Grizzly Bear
Peabs: I’m not gonna lie: I hadn’t even contemplating seeing this group, due to the fact that I thought they’d bore the pants (or shorts, in this case) off of me in a festival atmosphere. I only caught the better part of two or three songs, but their sunny-pop harmonies and strong melodies left me impressed and wishing I had caught their set in its entirety. Grade: Inc.

Junior Boys
: The Toronto-based electro-pop trio were dead-on as they leisurely cruised through the best songs off of their recent LP, So This Is Goodbye. While they may not be the most high energy group, they were certainly one of the tightest. Grade: B+

: After catching the better part of the Junior Boys set I was intrigued with how Soulwax would sound, their most recent LP, Nite Versions very much on my radar before the festival weekend. Little did I know that it was a four piece live band performing great electronic tracks. My biggest surprise was also one of my favorite sets of Sunday. Grade: A

Damore: Never heard them before but I was blown away by the live feel of their set (had a drummer playing along with electronic loops/etc). Very entertaining. Grade: A

Kaiser Chiefs
: A highly anticipated performance due to my appreciation of their latest (and best) effort, Yours Truly, Angry Mob and a strong Lollapalooza 2005 appearance. Unfortunately the group was inconsistent, mostly due to frontman Ricky Wilson’s (mostly) weak vocals and apparent drunkeness, and a lack of backup singing. One of the few disappointments all weekend. Grade: C

Damore: Not a huge fan of them, but figured I’d give them a shot since I like their new album okay. Singer appeared to be pretty fucked up, and; struggled at times to have enough breath in his lungs to sing their songs properly. Natch they attracted a lot of douchebags with talks of riots, angry mobs, and girls named Ruby in their songs, all which hindered my experience. Grade: C-

: I’m a fan of the "new-raver’s" debut and unfortunately was only able to catch a few songs in preparation for the highly-anticipated Crowded House reunion. One song sounded great, one okay and one not-so-okay. Grade: Inc.

Crowded House
Peabs: Sloan said it best: "It’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans." No I am not speaking of Crowded House’s fans, but of Rage Against The Machine’s, whose rabid meathead fanbase almost ruined a perfectly great reunion of the beloved Aussie group. Fortunately Neil Finn is a consummate professional, remaining on stage despite being hit with a water bottle and numerous classless slurs. The band soared through their many hits, only to be seemingly and sadly cut short. The true great reunion of the weekend. Grade: A-

Damore: Not even obnoxious "bros" couldn’t ruin CH’s set. Finn and co did not let a classless bottle sniper stop the show. Seemed to cut the set short, but were very subtle about it. Probably one of the more good time fun sets of the weekend.
Grade: A-

Peabs: Exhaustion had begun to set in, and Air’s 40 minute delay wasn’t helping matters much. Luckily it was worth the wait as the French duo played a shortened "greatest hits" set, not playing a single track from the lackluster Pocket Symphony. Unfortunately the first few songs were drowned out by the pan-latin polka fusion jazz funk metal dub reggae goth World-Cup fervor blah blah blah of Manu Chao; however the sound was then turned up considerably, as well as the audience’s spirits. Grade: B+

Damore: Air’s set in 04 was one of my faves, so was expecting another solid performance provided they didn’t touch anything from the awful Pocket Symphony. After waiting half hour for Frenchie and Pepe to get the baguette crumbs off their white suits, Air finally appeared and; played pretty much nothing but their standards. Was bummed that they were on the 2nd stage, as the area was breaking at the seams with bros and douchebags looking for a haven to hit a bowl before Rage. Grade: B

: With the reunited Happy Mondays playing at the same time and an overwhelming fatigue taking over my body, it seemed unlikely I’d catch any of Teddybears set. Thank JC for 5th winds. I sacked up and hightailed it to the Gobi and caught the best performance of Sunday (and fittingly my last set of the festival). They may be a gimmick act, but Teddybears definitely know how to put on a great performance. Adorned in teddy bear masks (DUH), the group blew through their set with unmatched energy as a looping DVD of famous movie scenes (with teddy bears superimposed on the characters) played in the background. Worn out after 3 days of fantastic music, I somehow left with the same amount of adrenaline with which I had arrived. Grade: A

Happy Mondays
: Left Air’s set just before the conclusion to catch this reunion. I should’ve just gone to the beer tent after Air was done. There were 8 people on stage most of their set and; seemed more unorganized than most monkey shit fights at the zoo. Singer Shaun Ryder looked like his former crack addict self. They tried to lip-synch a lot of vocal loops and pass it off as live singing, to the point where it makes Avril’s SNL abortion seem run of the mill. Had high expectations, totally underwhelming execution. Left early to finally go get a beer, which by then was unexpectedly closed. Grade: C-

Rage Against the Machine
: Wasn’t that psyched for their set having seen them 4 times previously. Guess Murtaugh and I are just getting too old for this shit. They sounded tighter than ever, as though it was still 1996 post Evil Empire. Many of their fans are just plain assholes, and seeing them in the parking lots drinking Budweiser and listening to Rage all day (probably), somehow made me feel sorry for De La Rocha and; co. Grade: Inc

: Left Rage’s set 6 songs deep or so to catch Dando and; co. Evan’s been a mess almost every time I’ve seen him, so expectations were low. He looked about 80 lbs but the band sounded better than ever, though a female back-up singer would’ve only helped. Caught 6-7 songs, played almost exclusively louder rocking classics, outside of a few new ones off their self-titled 06 release ( and"My Drug Buddy"). Dando also said "What’s that—Rage Against the Miami Sound Machine?". Indeed. Grade: B

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dinosaur Jr. -- Beyond

Why were Jeff Lebowski and Walter Sobchak friends?

Walter remarking he “once dabbled in pacifism,” presumably before he knew the Dude, leads Say what you will about the tenents of national socialismme to believe they’re not childhood pals … but whatevs.You could spend all day equating The Big Lebowski to the Our Band Could Be Your Life mythology of Dinosaur Jr. Mascis = the inexplicable slacker/hippie leader of the group. Barlow = the emotional militant unable to let anything go. He converted to Judaism for a girl right after the second Folk Implosion album ... well, probably. Murph = Donnie.

Except straightedge J. was just as uptight as the pot-smoking Lou, who was too passive aggressive to ever flash a piece out on the lanes or bite off a nihilist’s ear. The dynamics are off.

But the same basic analogy can be stretched to fit Dinosaur’s sound.

The Jesus=8-year-oldsSo how did Hardcore get to be friends with Classic Rock? Seemingly they have lots in common (loud = Polish, guitars = bowling) and nothing in common (Frampton Comes Alive = Vietnam, The Port Huron Statement = CBGBs, Creedence = Creedence, more or less).

As much as anybody, Dinosaur Jr bridged the divide. Show me somebody else who pulled it all together before “You’re Living All Over Me.” Show me anything better than their live cover of “Just Like Heaven,” which I believe is the last thing the original line-up released and possibly the greatest three minutes of balanced power trio perfection ever.

The Dude is real man... he's realWhat’s frustrating about “Beyond” is it should be aware the band was fueled by that tension of influences, rather than internal soap opera dynamics. But it’s not.

Although it’s getting strong reviews elsewhere (what do you know, people are sick of New Wave again), put aside proto-grunge nostalgia and this is record short on excitement.

It’s not just that the band is older. Their reborn live show captures plenty of their old raging tornado power, It’s still the loudest fucking thing you will ever hear. J.’s brilliantly detached solos are still phoned in from Saturn.

If it’s not that everybody now gets along or lack of talent, maybe it’s that after 20 years, treating Rock ’n’ Roll as a swirling, united whole is no longer novel and a band who sounded like everybody and nobody is now content trying to sound like Dinosaur Jr.

If you believe Azerrad, behind his cationic savant shell, J. Mascis is a pretty calculating fella'. He obviously still knows how to write a Dinosaur Jr song and can crank them out at will. Don't be fatuous, Jeffrey.  Almost every track here could be retrofitted to the soundtracks of any number of Gen X “Big Chills."

Like Frank Black going into zombie mode for kids who won’t touch his solo records, the Dino men have a “give the people what they want” indifference that sours even the better stuff like "Almost Ready” and the heartbreaking “I Got Lost."

Still there’s plenty of foggy banality and going-nowhere wanking. Musically, it’s as if the Dude married Maude and took up Hinduism, and Walter reconciled with Cynthia and entered anger management. Mozal Tov, but who cares about middle-aged guys with their shit together?

Rating: 2/5

-Dmitri Jr.

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