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.)
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.
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."
I'm so high it's like how's the weather? It's really hard for me to string words together. -- "Calling in Stoned" (Cho and Ben Lee)
You'd be forgiven for expecting a comedy album from Drop Dead Diva star Margaret Cho. Her first musical CD provides plenty of comic material, but in sonic terms, it's an indie rock venture.
Guest artists include Tegan & Sara, Ben Lee, Brendan Ben- son, Fiona Apple, Andrew Bird, Jon Brion, Grant Lee Phil- lips, Ani DiFranco--and Tommy Chong on "Calling in Stoned."
As Lee explains in the press notes, "She started learning gui- tar at age 40 after seeing Madonna play." He paraphrases Cho's reaction, "If that bitch can do it, it can't be that hard."
So, the Notorious C.H.O. has an impressive array of musician friends, but what about her voice and writing skills? Well, she can hold her own with any of the other actresses who've turned to re- cord-making in recent years, from Minnie Driver to Law & Or- der's Jill Hennessy, except I can't see them singing the Carl New- man co-penned "Your Dick." If anything, that makes her work more fun--and less likely to receive commercial exposure.
Your dick. Your dick. So big I could hug it, with both arms like a koala bear and fall asleep. Your dick. Your dick. Can be seen from the moon. It's like a harpoon. Talk about Moby Dick.
On "Gimme Your Seed," Hey Big Dog," and "My Puss," she adds dance-pop, country, and hip-hop flavors to the mix, bringing smart-ass outfits like Sparks to mind (presumably for stockist reasons, "Dick" appears as "D**k," "Puss" as "P***").
In addition, the CD includ- es bonus track "Lesbian Escalation" with Rachael Yamagata (I'm embarras- sed to admit I read that as "ejaculation"). Conclud- es Ms. Cho about her mai- den musical voyage, "I want to create a new genre of music that is hilarious, but also seriously good." I'd say she's succeeded.
Complete track listing: 1. Intervention (co-written with and feat. Tegan & Sara) 2. Calling in Stoned (co-written with Ben Lee, feat. Lee and Tommy Chong) 3. Your Dick (co-written with A.C. Newman, feat. Lee) 4. Baby I’m with the Band (co-written with and feat. Brendan Benson) 5. Hey Big Dog (co-written with Pat- ty Griffin, feat. Lee and Fiona Apple) 6. I'm Sorry (co-written with and feat. Andrew Bird) 7. Lice (co-written with and feat. Lee) 8. Enemies (co-written with and feat. Jon Brion) 9. Asian Adjacent (co-written with and feat. Grant Lee Phillips) 10. Gimme Your Seed (co-written with and feat. Garrison Starr) 11. Eat Shit and Die (co-written with and feat. Grant Lee Phillips) 12. Captain Cameltoe (co-written with and feat. Ani DiFranco) 13. My Puss (co-written with Diana Yanez and Kurt Hall / parody of Mickey Avalon and Dirt Nasty song)
Hidden Track(CD/digital only): Lesbian Escala- tion (co-written with and feat. Rachael Yamagata)
Video Librarian:Animals, Whores & Dialogue - Break- fast With Hunter, Vol. 2, Decoding Alan Turing, Fagbug, The Good Mother,Meeting Andrei Tarkovsky, The Way We Get By, Addicted to Her Love, For My Wife,Four Seasons Lodge, I Am Comic, The Prankster,Stiffs, Countdown to Zero,Mid-August Lunch, The Oath, and Parenthood - Season 1 [three-disc set].
I write about popular music and film and the relationship between the two. I'm Irish on one side, Italian on the other—British on both. I was born in Connecticut (Far From Heaven), raised in Alaska (Northern Exposure), and I've lived in Seattle, WA (Trouble in Mind) since 1988.