Thursday, September 09, 2010

So Good

, No Quarter

After coming across praise from Dave Segal (The Stranger) and John Whitson (Holy Mountain) for the second LP from Endless Boogie--a name that
sounds like the title of a lost Leo Sayer album--I looked forward to
giving it a listen, but I'm not so sure I share their enthusiasm (the
band actually swiped their name from a John Lee Hooker record).

I don't expect to like everything those two endorse, but they're
tasteful gents, so the dual recommendation caught my attention.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
The public-facing organ of Endless Boogie, Paul Major [Top Dol-
lar], croaks like Fred Cole doing Chris Griffin from Family Guy.
-- Doug Mosurock, Dusted Magazine

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

There's no doubt this Brooklyn quartet can rock, and I love the
feedback-saturated excursions, but Top Dollar's growl is a bit of
a buzz kill--like the Cookie Monster on helium. Basically, he does-
n't sing when he can shout. And if he can't sing in the convention-
al sense, that's for the best, but he sounds like a parody of an
old blues man crossed with Neil Young on an epic bender.

Granted, I wouldn't expect slick from dudes steeped in the Allman
Brothers and other Southern-style rockers, but Greg could sing
(and Duane could play, but the younger Allman still hasn't gotten
his due). The lyrics can be hilarious, too, as in "Mighty Fine Pie,"
in which Dollar waxes rhapsodic about his favorite food.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Mincemeat or key lime, any kind of pie, I'm gonna eat it. Apple, pump-
kin, blueberry... Don't need a fork, I'm gonna eat it with my hands.

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

Well! Okay. Rather than sexual innuendo, the singer
appears to be quite literal about his pastry addiction.

Though I'm unfamiliar with their debut, 2008's Focus Level,
the song titles indicate consistency, i.e. "Smoking Figs in the
Yard," "The Manly Vibe," "Bad River," "Executive Focus,"
"Gimme the Awesome," "Steak Rock," "Coming Down the
Stairs," "Jammin' with Top Dollar," "Low-Lifes," and "Move
Back!" (Only "Executive Focus" seems out of character.)

Click here for Jing Wei's Endless Boogie woodcut.

I'm gonna give Full House Head several more listens to see if
it grows on me. I like the way it recalls the MC5 at their grungiest
and the 'Stones at their greasiest, but for now, I'm on the fence.

Update: I'm coming around. Bonus: Pitchfork hated it.

Hot Panda, How Come I'm Dead?, Mint Records [10/12/10]

About Hot Panda, I once wrote that the "quirky Winnipeg
quartet combines new wave noise and indie-pop on their sec-
ond eclectic release, Volcano...Bloody Volcano." Like that LP,
this one manages to be noisy and melodic at the same time.

And that seems to be the intention since the press notes reveal
that they "wanted it to sound alive, spontaneous, lo-fi, and play-
ful," adding "there are lots of different 'slapped together' tidbits
and half-songs, so it should not sound over-produced or over-
rehearsed. You can tell the band just had fun writing these
tunes." For better or for worse, I would have to agree.

Click here for "Mindlessnesslessness."

Le Vice, Le Vice, self-released [8/17/10]

Le Vice invest their unique brand of hip-hop with continental
flair. It sounds as if the San Franciscans cut their teeth on the
Euro sounds of Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder before embrac-
ing the Bronx rap that followed in its wake. MC Alex Lee spits
rhymes over synths, real and fake beats, and a sinuous bass
line that recalls No Doubt--a little something for everyone,
at least for those who like Chic, Donna Summer, and ESG.

Click here for "Hard to Be Ill" and here for "Shy Guy."

Murdocks, Distortionist, self-titled

This Texas trio does that emo thing on their sec-
ond record. If that's your scene, you might dig it.

The Rakehells, Please Yourself; or the
Devil in the Flesh
, Rockpark Records

N, pl: (rākˈhĕls) Dissolute men in fashionable so-
ciety [syn: rakes, profligates, rips, bloods, roues]

This NYC five-piece delivers hard rock with glam-rock attitude.
In the portrait that accompanies Please Yourself, they sport
flaxen wigs and frilly shirts, so I'd assume they're students of his-
tory (whether they prefer George Washington or Louis XIV, I
couldn't say). I have a soft spot for glam, but the Rakehells--
image aside--aren't doing anything I haven't heard before.

Sweet Nasty, Life on Fire, self-released [10/19/10]

Pub rock with a dash of country, Life on Fire is better than
expected from a band named Sweet Nasty. Still, I could do
without lines like "Woman, I saw you fall like a girl," even if
I do have a soft spot for Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a
Woman Soon" (Urge Overkill cover, too). As for the
name, multi-instrumentalist Anthony Fusco says
the Arizona quintet aims to create "those sweet
ballads that tear you apart and those nas-
ty grooves that get you moving."

The Vita Ruins, A Day Without a Name, self-released

Atmospheric yet danceable, Vita Ruins mix shoegaze and el-
ectro-pop to fine effect. The DC duo doesn't evoke M83, except
for "...Like a Band of Strangers," but fans of M83 and other ef-
fervescent acts are likely to enjoy A Day Without a Name.

Click here for "Seven Suns."

Endnote: Hot Panda play the Comet Tavern on 12/5. For more information, please click here; for Le Vice, here or here; for the Murdocks, here or here; for the Rakehells, here or here; for Sweet Nasty, here or here; and for the Vita Ruins, here or here. Endless Boogie image from Raven Sings the Blues.

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