…because I got an assload of discs for review this week and I’m only one man. Of course, sometimes I’m only one woman, but that’s another story.
Here we go!
Sonic Bliss “Loved to Death” – In one disc, Sonic Bliss somehow manages to sound like Guns N’ Roses, The Proclaimers, Dokken, Kansas, Queen, Blue Öyster Cult, Living Colour and Stone Temple Pilots… and that really makes it up to you to decide if that’s a good or bad thing.
Peel “Die in June” – I bet all the kids are gonna go ape-shit for this album that sounds exactly like all the other “Twilight”/”Underworld” soundtrack bands that all the kids are currently going ape-shit for!
Steven Wright-Mark “Sideshow Freak” – When it comes to criticism, I can never do power pop justice because it’s just not my cup of tea; but, genre of music aside, Wright-Mark gets points because he wrote every song, sang every lyric, played every instrument, produced the entire album, and handled the disc’s artwork.
Clue to Kalo “Lily Perdida” – A clever concept album (each track is “told” by a different character close to the story’s main character, Lily Perdida) from a duo who know how to slowly pour acoustic folk over a foundation of synthesized noise, erecting a sound structure that exists somewhere between the ground of Yo La Tengo and the atmosphere of Stereolab.
The Dutch Uncles “The Ghost of Everything” – This disc starts out with the same-old pop you’ve heard a hundred times over (“Everything”), but halfway through the album a hint of country twang comes into the mix (“A Million Years” and “Safe at Home”); the few times the pop mold manages to break is when things get interesting.
Beast “Beast” – The Lo Fidelity Allstars + Amy Winehouse + The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy + Portishead = BEAST!!! Yes!!! (And yes, I know that was two sentences, but I really liked this disc so LAY OFF!)
Various Artists “Guilt by Association: Vol. 2” – Fourteen cheeseball hits of yesteryear covered by bands of today, like New Edition’s “Cool It Now” (Robbers on High Street), INXS’ “Need You Tonight” (Cassettes Won’t Listen) and Toto’s “Africa” (Lowry).
Mr. Meeble “Never Trust the Chinese” – This album fits nicely between the worlds of souped-up tunes from Air and watered-down instrumentals from Nine Inch Nails, but falls just short of being as cohesive as either; still, it’s a solid album that avoids unnecessary vocals (i.e. sticking lyrics into every song just to fill space), and I applaud that.
Eulogies “Here Anonymous” – A solid quartet of musicians who produce keyboard-laced melodies that are more spacious and ethereal than they are eye-rollingly arm-huggy, further proving that not all white boy guitar-bass-drum-and-vocal bands have to sound the same… now if they could only spread the word to the rest of the music industry.
The Hot Puppies “Blue Hands” – This Welsh five-piece does have a unique sound, and I think front woman Becky Wood’s voice is a nice change from primarily male lead vocals, but I wish they would have stripped all things “eighties” off the album (synthesizer, theremin, etc.) and instead stuck to their conventional instruments (cello, drum, etc.) because they play them well, and that just makes the other stuff come across as being gimmicky and dated.
Kenneth Pattengale “Stories Places” – The press release for this 26-year-old singer/songwriter states that Pattengale hopes to “…follow Tom Waits, Gillian Welch, Chris Smither and Loudon Wainwright in their ability to conjure a unique American voice,” and while the road to that goal may be a couple decades and a dozen or so records long, he’s definitely at least on the right path.
Gavin Castleton “Home” – In order to deal with the end of a six year-long relationship (bear with me), Castleton created this fifteen-track concept album that tells the story of a doomed boyfriend/girlfriend “team” as they try and survive a zombie invasion; pretty sweet story, and not a bad “soundtrack” to back it up. (EXTRA “MORE THAN ONE SENTENCE” NOTE: Castleton isn’t a newcomer to clever ideas, as his previous album was also a concept endeavor that recounted his life backwards, beginning at the moment of his suicide in the year 2054.)
Jeremy Jay “Slow Dance” – Jeremy Jay is a whinier version of all of those eighties crybaby bands that people love (Joy Division, The Cure, etc.) but I just don’t get.