Friday, July 25, 2008

All Those

The May

I wanna be on the list, a taste of a perfect dream.
Shiny nights glowing skin, chocolate melting kiss.

Damn, I wanna be on the list, too. Singer/guitarist Catty
Tasso dominates the latest EP from this San Francisco
quartet, and she fills the front woman spot with ease.

Neither all-pop nor all-punk, Tasso occupies that strong
yet spirited midpoint, like Blondie's Debbie Harry or the Pix-
Kim Deal before her. She also evinces the trace of a Ger-
man accent, which is ironic, since she hails from Chile.

As for the six songs on the May Fire's follow-up to 2006 CD
Right and Wrong and 2007 EPs Plastic Army and La Victor-
, they're catchy but not insubstantial. Good, solid stuff.

Peter Bradley Adams, Leave-
Sarathan Records [8/5/08]

“The unusual title and theme of the album is inspired
by a line from the Mark Strand poem titled 'The View':
‘He’s always been drawn to the weather of leavetaking.'"
-- Peter Bradley Adams

If you're in the mood for country-
oriented folk-pop, Peter Bradley
is your man. Unfortunate-
ly, I'm never in that kind of mood,
but I refuse to hold it against him.
It's my "issue," if you will; not his.

Raised in Alabama and based in Los
Angeles, Adams has a well modulated
tenor, and his string and piano-decor-
ated second album goes down easy.

Better yet, it isn't too pretty, i.e. too slick or saccharine,
but more distinguishing characteristics would be ideal. Many
sincere and talented musicians walk the same path; Adams
might wish to veer further off-course next time around.

Digital Primate, Siege Mentality, Public Opinion [import]

Digital Primate fuse reggae with techno and hiphop.
Songs "I Don't Give a Fuck" and "My Bush Would Make
a Better President" give some indication as to where
these Melbourne ladies and gents are coming from:
they may be pissed, but they still wanna dance.

As the group states in Siege Mentality's CD booklet, "Please consider the current state of the world and work out your own position within it." (They include websites.) Plenty of profanity, skittery grooves, and production from the Mad Professor.

The Discovery, EP, Pforder Records

It isn't usually fair to judge a CD by its cover art. That said,
the Discovery's self-titled EP bears an unappealing paint-
ing of a frame-filling eye: a black and gold swirl stands in for
the iris, while a snot-like tear oozes from the inner corner.

The four songs from this Arizona
outfit are clunky, Jamaican-in-
fluenced pronouncements about our
troubled world. The fourth track
splices original lyrics with Phil
Collins' "In the Air Tonight."

I wouldn't say the music sounds exactly like the picture, but neith-
er quite works—not for me, at any
rate. And I like "In the Air Tonight."

Hypatia Lake, Angels and Demons,
Space and Time
, Reverb Records

Hypatia Lake keep doing that voodoo that they do—and
do well—on their third disc. As with Your Universe, Your
and ...And We Shall Call Him Joseph, the Seattle band
follows in the footsteps of S.F. Sorrow-era Pretty Things.

Recorded and engineered by Scott Colburn (Animal Collec-
tive, Arcade Fire), the only significant difference seems to be increased clarity, i.e. more separation between instruments.

A dramatic and moody muse continues to guide these men,
who also bring to mind such diverse acts as Pink Floyd, T-
Rex, Gary Numan, and Ennio Morricone, especially on the
angelic, windswept "Jeremiah, Close Your Eyes Now."

Rurik, Re-education, The Athir Creative Inc.

Rurik consists of two excitable fellows, Christofer Dale (key-
boards) and Kevin Jackson (drums). Their second record, after Definition of Order, features fast-paced dance-rock in the Sparks or Devo mode. It doesn't qualify as new wave revival, however, since the production projects more of a post-millenial sheen.

Unless you're hopped up on something (or naturally hyper-
active), it just might wear you down. Except for "Every Time I
Ride Alone," Rurik remains revved up from start to finish, but
a few more mellow moments would've been most welcome.

War Tapes, War Tapes EP, Sarathan Records [9/16/08]

I feel like I've heard this LA four-piece before. They produce dark,
atmospheric post-punk that recalls U2 and Interpol. The thing is,
no one can do what those Irish rockers do—and bands like In-
terpol and Editors just make me wanna listen to Joy Division.

It isn't cool to admit, but I've always had a soft spot for U2.
Yes, it's partly an Irish thing, even though they rarely sing a-
bout their homeland anymore (see "Sunday, Bloody Sunday").

In any case, since the 1980s, the
Alarm, Big Country, and hundreds
of others have tried to fill their shoes,
but few have come close. Now we
can add War Tapes to that list.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Endnote: The title of this post comes from the May
Fire song "The List." They play the High Dive on 9/2,
while Hypatia Lake plays the Comet on 7/31. For more
information about the former, please click here, from whence
the image at the top originates; for the latter, click here, from
where I swiped the poster graphic. For more about Adams,
click here; for the Discovery, here; and for Rurik, here or
here. All other images from Planetary Group.

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