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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Teenagers - Reality Check








After becoming a fan of their numerous remixes (and in particular the remix of their track 'Homecoming ' by Guns N Bombs), I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Myspace and blog darlings 'The Teenagers' long player 'Reality Check'.

Upon hearing the album I feel that 'The Teenagers' are yet another band that I don't think were ready to release a full album. While having catchy pop medleys and innuendos and lyrics that would make Serge Gainsbourg proud, 'The Teenagers' album really doesn't have much else to offer. Most fans of the current electro-pop craze will probably eat the album up. I am usually one of those fans but I tend to like a bit more development and variety in my artists. Song's like the blogtastic 'Starlett Johansson' and 'Homecoming' stand out but not by much. There are some gems like 'Wheel of Fortune' and 'Sunset Beach' and 'Love No' (their third single out March 10th) that delve into shoegaze territory (I think 'The Teenagers should do a strictly shoegaze album, but that's just me) but the rest of the album just sounds the same. There are a few tracks that I will listen to again but the rest of the album is very forgettable.

'The Teenagers' suffer from the all too common over-hype machine. Sometimes the hype is well deserved (like with the Justice album) but this is not one of those cases. If you like dreamy cheese electro-pop and love your lyrics to be nonsensical and somewhat dirty, then you should be very happy with 'Reality Check'. As for me, I think I will wait for the inevitable remix album.

6 out of 10

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Be Your Own Pet - Get Awkward











Be Your Own Pet, still a four-piece punk band from Nashville, Tennessee seem to have retained their own refreshing sound even though Jemina Pearl can sound like Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeah's on occasion. They may stick to their punk roots by having the CD top out at the half hour mark but they don't always stick to the cliché punk sound. They do have the standard punk anthems such as 'The Beast Within' and 'Blummer Time' but they also change it up and have surprisingly melodic tracks like 'Becky' and, my personal favorite track, 'The Kelly Affair' which describes how 'It could be dangerous / It could be dangerous / It could be dangerous / living in this valley!'. The song is supposedly based on the movie 'Beyond the Valley of the Dolls'. All I know is that it made me want to grab a surf board, a bikini girl and some illicit drugs and head off to the beach, which may or may not be a good thing.

Be Your Own Pet remind me of being back in high school in several ways. First the lyrics are about anything from cult movies to love and hate relationships. Second they sound like that one band you listened to in high school that no one else had heard and you were so proud you introduced them to your circle of friends. Be Your Own Pet is that band! With lyrics like 'You're such a tease, you're such a jerk, why do I waste my time? / I'll make you take back all the things that you said!', from the track 'Twisted Nerve', how can one not be transported back to the days of he said she said politics of high school.

If Be Your Own Pet sound this good on the CD you can be assured that I will be one of the first in line to see Jemina belt out the jams when they come to town later this year. Punk rock has never sounded so (pop) sweet.

7 out of 10


Monday, April 28, 2008

The Kills - Midnight Boom











The Kills consists of vocalist/guitarist VV (aka Alison Mosshart) formerly of the Florida punk band Discount, and drummer/guitarist/vocalist Hotel (aka Jamie Hince). The bands early comparisons to The White Stripes should end with this album as 'Midnight Boom' floats back and forth between punk, pop and electronica. The album does lean more towards electronic than before and this may have to do with the fact that Spank Rock's producer Alex Epton aka Armani XXXchange was brought on board to assist with additional production duties.

The music is very catchy, well put together and somehow manages to pack a punch while still being very minimal. There are a lot of "punk" elements to most of the songs (like yelling and thrashing guitars). The Kills also love another punk mainstay, the chant, and I can only imagine that this goes over very well at live shows. VV's vocals range anywhere from blissful to royally pissed off and I love both. 'Goodnight Bad Morning' shows that the band has a softer side as the song chugs dreamily along (with a piano even!) and has VV cooing to us "Goodnight Bad Morning". Songs like 'Last Days of Magic' and 'Tape Song' (two of the strongest track on the album) make me think that Elastica, The Pixies and Garbage had a love child and named it The Kills. 'Midnight Boom' is an album that grows on you and you will catch yourself hitting repeat on the CD player without even realizing it.

I had expected more of the same with this album (as a lot of groups have been letting me down as of late) but I was glad to see that The Kills are moving onwards and upwards. They are actively making music that not only hints at the bands they were influenced by but to a degree surpasses them. You may be able to tell where they got the inspiration for some of the songs but they make them their own, instead of sounding like cheap imitations. 'Midnight Boom is a great album and if The Kills continue in the direction they started with this album, you better believe I will continue to be along for the ride.

9 out of 10

More to come....











There are a few things in the works as far as my blogging is concerned. I will be doing a new blog for dance tunes and dj mixes starting in a few weeks....more on that soon.

This blog will now become more my personal blog than before. It will also become the new home for my cd reviews, the same reviews that I do for Culture deluxe. The reviews will go up on Culture deluxe first and then migrate over to this blog.

Hope you like the changes and as I said...more news will be coming soon in regards to the new blog!

Stay Tuned!!!

PORTISHEAD IS BACK!!!!!














It's been 10 long years since their last release 'Roseland NYC Live' and some fans (including myself) were afraid that Portishead had packed it in after 2 albums and a (amazing) live cd. Fear not...Portishead is back!

The album starts of with 'Silence' (a track that is anything but) and once you hear the first few minutes of the track, you feel like it was just yesterday that you heard the last Portishead album. The opening lines are telling you what you are in for, "Wounded and afraid, inside my head/Falling through changes". 'Silence', 'Hunter' and 'Plastic' almost have you thinking that Beth and the boys are back with more of the same. That is where you would be wrong.

The album is filled with a little bit of every genre. 'Deep Water' sounds like something the Squirrel Nut Zippers would do, complete with ukulele and barbershop backing vocals. "Small" is almost a 70' psychedelic jam (I think someone has been listening to a lot of Iron Butterfly). 'The Rip' and 'Nylon Smile' are very reminiscent of Beth Gibbons solo albums (there is nothing wrong with that!) with the 'The Rip' being a very folk feeling song in the vien of Leonard Cohen .

My favorite track on the album 'Machine Gun" , which is also the first single, is an assault of beats and blaring synths with Beth singing softly "recognize the poison in my heart". The ending to 'Machine Gun' sounds like it was plucked straight out of Vangelis' 'Blade Runner' soundtrack, and just like the movie, it too is dark and beautiful (I wish that ending was about five minutes longer, it's so good!).

After listening to this album several times I can honestly say this is my choice for record of the year, so far. I am happy that they have a few tracks to keep the old fan in me happy, but I am really excited to hear the band trying new things. I like being able to grow with a band and with Beth's melancholy voice leading the way, I will gladly follow wherever they decide to go. This album may not please everyone but it sure as hell pleased me. If the next Portishead album is this good I don't mind waiting another 10 years to hear it.

10 out of 10