Sunday, September 26, 2010

Which One Is Pink?

One of the best singles of the year.

Nice Zombies vibe to this one. 

Endnote: Perth's Tame Impala plays Neumos on Fri.,
12/10 (with Stardeath and White Dwarfs). Click here for
my review of the Black Angels' Phosphene Dream.

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.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


Margaret Cho, Cho Dependent, Clownery Records

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
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-
's Jill Hennessy, except I can't see them singing the Carl New-
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)

Endnote: For more information about Margaret
, please click here. Images from Planetary Group.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

September Reviews

These are the reviews
and other pieces I'm
working on this month.

Amazon DVDs: Boy
Meets World - The Com-
plete Second Season

[three-disc set]
, Boy
Meets World - The Com-
plete Third Season

[three-disc set]
, Hung - The Complete Second Season [two-disc set], Parenthood - Season 1 [three-disc set], and The Criterion Collection - Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.

Amazon Theatricals: The Town (Ben Affleck returns to Bos-
ton with Jeremy Renner and Rebecca Hall), A Woman, a Gun
and a Noodle Shop
(Zhang Yimou remakes Blood Simple),
Never Let Me Go (Ishiguro Kazou adaptation with Carey Mul-
ligan), and Inside Job (Charles Ferguson on the financial crisis).

Still playing (or yet to open): The American, Eat Pray Love,
Get Low, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, and Please Give

Siffblog: Pier Paolo Pasolini's Mamma Ro-
and Michelangelo Antonioni's Le Amiche.

Still playing: The Tillman Story.

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
, and Parenthood - Season 1
[three-disc set]

Endnote: Image from Keeping the
Bear-Garden in the Background